Saturday, January 20, 2018

Influenza in Russell County, 1918-1919

The September 27, 1918 issue of the Lebanon News was filled with bad news. The deaths of three Russell County soldiers in France was reported. Whitley Thomas, an old Confederate soldier who, only a few years earlier lost a hand to dynamite while fishing, succumbed to a long time illness and old age. An infant only a few hours old died and was buried in Cleveland, Russell County.

In other news, a side of bacon was stolen from S. P. Elliott at Barnett. Carl Jessee and Eula Jackson eloped and got married in Bristol. A long list of War Savings Stamp buyers was printed, with E. R. Combs, E. S. Finney, and W. E. Campbell heading the list.

Normal, prosaic activities. One thing missing from the newspaper was any mention of the Spanish Influenza epidemic which began in the United States a few weeks earlier. Spreading rapidly across the United States, the epidemic first began appearing in Southwest Virginia in October. Unfortunately the four issues of the Lebanon News that were published in that month have all been lost, as well as the first two issues of November, 1918.

The November 15, 1918 issue of the News opened with the headline "THE GREAT WAR ENDS", printed in the largest font the paper owned. Good news, at last. However, further reading reveals signs of the epidemic: "MOTHER BURIED FRIDAY; DAUGHTER BURIED SUNDAY" was the headline for the the deaths of Hazel McCloud, 6 years old, and her unnamed mother. Elsewhere, 12 cases of the flu were reported at the home of J. A. Piles, 6 miles east of Lebanon. All were reported "getting along splendidly."

The editor wrote "Indications are at this writing that the disturbing and distressing epidemic will soon have run its course in this community. No new cases as far as I know have developed for the past several days, except in a very few cases, all are well on to recovery."

However, just a paragraph away he writes "Deaths occurring from the disease that have not heretofore been mentioned are as follows: Hobson Kiser, son of the widow J. F. Kiser, near Wilder, a young man in the prime of life; the baby girl of Rev. Tom Shook, of Carrie, and the little orphan girl of Mr. and Mrs. Carle Laforce, whose demise was mentioned in a previous issue of the News, and being the last and only member of the little family."

Just as the paper was going to press, the death of George Breeding, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Breeding" was reported. Influenza and pneumonia was the cause of death.

The positive attitude continued in the following weeks' issue. "Most of the pupils [of the Lebanon State School] have returned to school. And we hope the influenza is a thing of the past." Thomas Buckles, age 23, and Carl Whitt, also 23, both died of the flu. Charlie Davis Alderson, serving in the coastal artillery, survived the flu and returned home to recuperate.

Honaker High School closed again due to the flu, but re-opened a week later.

The November 29th issue follows up on the previously reported death of George Breeding, noting the death of two of his sisters, Frances and Hazel. The editor reports "We still have quite a few cases of "flu" in different neighborhoods of the county." Yet another young man, Harry Kegley, age 19, died of flu and pneumonia.

Although the War had ended, deaths were still being reported. Thomas B. Meade, of Drill, and Fayett Sexton, of Carterton were killed in action in France. Two more soldiers, Luther Harris and John Ball, were reported missing in action in France.

By December 6th, the epidemic was raging throughout Russell County. Again trying to be positive, the News wrote "As yet no one is seriously ill and the malady appears to be in a lighter form than when it swept the county a few weeks ago causing the death of possibly 150 people." The regular December court was cancelled on account of the flu. A week later schools and churches in Castlewood were reopened and sufferers were reported on the road to good health.

The final edition of the News for 1918 reports "Influenza has about disappeared from Lebanon again - most everybody who had it are about well and only one new case has developed."

The epidemic continued into 1919. On January 10th the editor writes "The influenza cases in Lebanon are too numerous for personal mention. So far as the localist is able to learn, there is no one seriously ill." The First National Bank in Lebanon was hard hit, with Hiram Vermillion, Turner Gilmer, Giles Dickenson, and V. B. Gilmer all laid low with the flu. Miss Fern Owens, of Coulwood, died after a long illness with the flu.

In Carterton, 10 cases were reported at the home of J. J. Meade. All but Mr. Meade were said to be better. Additional cases occurred at the home of Merida Chafin. Dr. S. C. Couch, a local physician was "looking after cases" in Carterton.

The next week the cases in Carterton were also "too numerous to mention." In Castlewood William Skeene, aged 75 succumbed. Mrs. George Sexton also died, but her husband and six children survived. Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Monk, as well as their little infant were ill; the baby died while the parents survived. The Methodist Revered Alexander S. Ulm decided the disease was "divine chastise a rebellious, disobedient, hypocritical Christian nation."

Although schools and societies continued to meet - the Literary Society of the Lebanon High School delivered a program in the auditorium featuring patriotic songs and recitations - deaths piled up. Mrs. James Warner and her three month old child died, as well as her brother Jay Carpenter. Flem Austin, another old Confederate soldier, John Hurd, and a child of Thomas Hurd died. The "little son" of Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Ireson died in Lebanon. Small children of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Campbell and Mr. and Mrs. James Warner died.

The next week, that of January 24th, another child of the Campbell's died. Northeast of Lebanon five deaths occurred in the Breeding family. Reverend Ulm committed to preach at Bascom, but refused to preach at Mt. Olive on account of the sickness. Near Hazel, the entire Tolbert Musick family was ill. Several Kisers were also close to death. In Gravel Lick the localist stated "The flu is raging in this community, almost every family has it, some very bad and others lighter. Wint Mercer and one of his little boys succumbed to it." Mercer's eldest son passed away, making three in that family. The wife of Tolbert Musick died, leaving five children between the ages of 2 and 8.

By Valentine's Day 1919, the Copper Ridge localist said "About all the flu patients are recovering, no new patients in this immediate neighborhood." Although the death count was falling, some families were still hard hit. H. J. Clark reported the death of his mother, his three sisters, and his wife.

The Honaker Herald failed to publish its issue for the week of February 28th due to influenza; Honaker was suffering another round of the flu. Cases persisted near Lebanon and other locations in Russell County. Moccasin reported eight new cases.

By March and April the flu appears to have disappeared, with few, if any, mentions in the local paper. The dreaded disease had claimed the lives of hundreds of Russell Countians. On April 18, 1919 the News published the final list of Russell County soldiers killed during the Great War. Twenty-eight names were listed.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

World War I Letters of Russell County, December 20, 1918

The following letter appears in the December 20th issue of the Lebanon News:


Somewhere in France, Nov. 1.

Mr. B. J. Fuller, Jr.,
Honaker, Va.
Dear Father:

This lonely evening will drop you a short note as I am still in the hospital. Am O. K., and the big war is over and maby I will return some time in the future. I am well, feeling fine and my wound is healing.

The weather is pretty cool, but I have a good bed and plenty to eat, but I don't know when I will get to leave the hospital, so you can tell all the kids I will be back some day and not to worry. Tell Bob to just wait patiently and I will give him a job. Tell Lucy Hello.

Ice is freezing over here at night and it is very cold, crops were good there and plenty of apples and chestnuts.

I sure would like to take Xmas with you all but not this time, don't guess. As my old pen is bad will close and write more next time, and tell you more when I come home.

As ever,

S. C. Fuller"

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Sad Story of Alfred Short, of the "Infamous Shorts"

From the Circuit Court records of Russell County, 1850, comes the sad story of Alfred Short, a youth raised in "infamy" who was convicted of passing a counterfeit two dollar note, as well as counterfeit coins. He pled guilty, attempted to hang himself in jail, and was eventually sentenced to two years in the State penitentiary. I have found no record of what happened to him after that point.

"At a Circuit Court held for Russell County, at the Courthouse, on Monday, the 16th day of September, 1850.

Present, Benjamin Estill, Esquire Judge of the 15th Circuit.

Isaiah Fuller, foreman; Edward D. Kernan, James G. Martin, John W. Webb, Meshack White, Joseph Smith, Saml. Taylor, James S. Browning, David Price, Thomas Gibson, Abner Harding, James McCoy, William Gibson, Joseph C. Fugate, James Dickenson, Henry Fogleman, Isaiah Drake, Wesley Gilmore, John W. Honaker, Thomas Meade, Henry Campbell and Samuel P. Fogleman, were sworn a grand jury of inquest for the body of this county and having received their charge withdrew from the bar to consider of their presentments: Wm. Robinson, Wesley Soward, Jeremiah T. Chase, Lewis B. Paine, Martin Fraley & Alexr. Wright, were severally sworn in Court and sent to the Grand Jury to give evidence. The said Grand Jury after some time returned into Court and presented,

An Indictment against Alfred Short, for uttering and publishing as true, a counterfeit Bank note, a true bill. They also found a presentment against the same person for passing counterfeit coin; and not having finished the business before them, were adjourned till tomorrow morning at 10 O'clock.

Alfred Short who stands indicted for uttering and publishing as true a certain false, forged, and counterfeit Bank note and passing the same as true, was brought to the bar in custody of the keeper of the Jail of this County, and being thereof arraigned pleaded not guilty to the indictment; whereupon, cam a jury to wit:
Thomas H. Garrett, Robert Burk, Robert Johnson, Abraham Buckles, John D. Alderson, Gabriel Jessee, Harvey G. Long, Henry M. Honaker, Major A. Fletcher, Thomas J. Richardson, William Gilmer junr. and Benjamin Wallis, who being elected by ballot, tried and sworn the truth of and, upon the promises to speak, and having heard the evidence, but not agreeing in a verdict, were, with the consent of the prisoner, committed to the custody of the Sheriff of this county, who is directed to keep them together without communication with any other person and to cause them to appear here tomorrow morning at ten o'clock: whereupon an oath was administered to Robert Boyd, Isaac Vermillion and Jesse Browning deputy Sherriffs to the following effect that they should well and truly, to the best of your ability, keep this jury, and neither speak to them nor suffer and person to speak to them touching any matter relative to this trial until they return into Court tomorrow. And the said Alfred Short is remanded to jail.

Alfred Short, late of the County of Russell who stands indicted for uttering and employing as true a certain counterfeit bank note, was again led to the bar in custody of the jailor of Russell County, and the jury sworn yesterday for his trial were brought into Court by the Sheriff of said County, were then sent out of court again to consider of their verdict, but not having agreed in a verdict at the time when the Court was about to adjourn, were, with the consent of the said Alfred Short again committed to the custody of the said Sheriff, who is directed to keep them together without communication with any other person, and he cause them to appear before the Court on tomorrow morning at 10 Oclock, whereupon an oath was administered to Robert Boyd, Isaac Vermillion and Jesse Browning that they should well and truly, to the best of their ability keep the jury, and neither speak to them themselves, no suffer any person to speak to them touching any matter relative to this trial, until the return in Court tomorrow. And the said Alfred Short is remanded to jail.

The Grand Jury, by permission of the Court, struck out the presentment made on the first day of the Term against Alfred Short for passing Counterfeit coin.

Alfred Short late of the County of Russell who stands indicted for uttering and employing as true a certain counterfeit bank note, was again led to the bar in custody of the jailor of Russell County, and the jury heretofore sworn for his trial were brought into Court by the Sheriff of said County, and not having yet agreed in a verdict, by Consent as well of the Attorney for the Commonwealth as of the prisoner, the said jury were discharged and the prisoner is admitted to give bail for his appearance before the Court at the next term to stand a trial upon said Indictment in the sum of $200; but being unable to find security he is again remanded to jail.

Jeremiah T. Chase, Thomas G. Sowards, George W. Stacy, Wm. Robinson, Wesley Sowards & Lewis B. Payne in Court acknowledge themselves to be severally indebted to the Commonwealth of Virginia in the sum of One hundred dollars each, of their respective lands and tenements, goods and chattels to be levied and to the said Commonwealth for the use thereof to be rendered. Yet, upon condition, that if the said Jeremiah T. Chase, Thomas G. Sowards, George W. Stacy, William Robinson, Wesley Sowards & Lewis B. Payne, shall severally appear before the judge of this Court at the next April Term to give evidence on behalf of the Commonwealth against Alfred Short who stands indicted for passing a certain Counterfeit Bank note, and shall not depart thence without the leave of the said judge, then this recognizance to be void.

Alfred Short, late of the County of Russell, who stands indicted for feloniously passing a counterfeit Bank note, for whose trial a jury had been empanneled and sworn during the previous part of the term but did not agree in a verdict, was again brought and sat to the bar at his own request; and withdrawing his plea of not guilty heretofore pleaded, by permission of the Court now pleads Guilty to the indictment: whereupon, by his consent and the assent of the Attorney for the Commonwealth, a jury was empanneled to wit: Richard H. Lynch, James C. Dickenson, Francis Lark, Joseph Hackney, Jacob Rasnick, Thomas C. McClearey, John A. Pruner, Meredith C. Logan, James P. Warren, Augustus W. Aston, Alexander L. Bratton and Samuel W. Aston, who being sworn the truth of and upon the promises to speak upon their oath do ascertain the term of imprisonment of the said Alfred Short in the Penitentiary of the State to be two years. Therefore; it is considered by the Court, that the said Alfred Short for the felony aforesaid to imprisoned in the public jail and penitentiary house of the Commonwealth for the term of two years, the period by the jurors in the verdict ascertained therein to be kept and treated in the manner directed by law. And, it is ordered, that the Sheriff of Russell County do, as soon as possible after the adjournment of this Court, remove and safely convey the said Alfred Short from the jail of this Court to the said public Jail and Penitentiary house for confinement and treatment therein according to law.

And the Court doth direct the following statement of the case to be made and transmitted to the directors of the penitentiary: The Court has not had time to inform itself of the provisions of the new Code, which it has not seen till the commencement of this circuit; but supposing it proper, proceeds to make the statement required by the former statute. Therefore, the Court doth order it to be certified to the directors of the penitentiary, that the prisoner, Alfred Short, a youth, was convicted at the present Term on his own confession, in open Court, of feloniously passing a two dollar counterfeit Bank note, purporting to be a note on the bank of Indiana. On the first day of the term the prisoner was arraigned on the charge and pleaded not guilty, and a jury were empanneled, who not agreeing in a verdict, were, with the prisoner's consent discharged on the third day of the term. The Court feeling great commiseration for the prisoner, and not thinking the evidence against him conclusive, offered to bail him in the sum of $200; but in consequence of the infamy of his family and connections, he could not give bail, though the Court believes this to be the first offence imputed to the prisoner, and has heard no other evil of him, beyond his connection with an infamous family. On the evening of the third day of the term the prisoner hung himself in the jail with his bed clothes, but was discovered and cut down before life was entirely extinct. The prisoner, after resussitation said, he would rather die than be confined in the jail (a most unpleasant one) till the next Term. Whereupon, he petitioned the Court for leave to plead guilty and go to the penitentiary at once, though he strongly denied the guilty knowledge charged in the indictment, but finally preferred to plead guilty, which he did and the jury rendered the verdict found in the record. This is a short history of his case.

In consideration of his youth and bad raising, and some uncertainty as to his guilt, the Court feels the strongest sympathy for him, and would have dismissed the prosecution and discharged him, had it not believed it would thereby have usurped the functions of the executive. The Court therefore does all it believes it has power to do, strongly and urgently recommends him to be instantly pardoned by the executive, who knows something of the Sandy country in which this unfortunate though was raised, the lawlessness of which, may be justly compared to that of the worst aborigines of the country, though of late greatly improved in its morals and standing. The Court also recommends him to the kindness of the keepers of the penitentiary.

Peter B. Henritze keeper of the Jail of Russell County for imprisonment and support of Alfred Short charged with felony $32.61.

George W. Johnson, Sheriff of Russell County for summoning a venire in the case of the Commonwealth against Alfred Short charged with felony, and the allowance directed by law to be paid by him to said venire $49.56.

Ordered that the Sheriff be permitted to employ two guards for the safe conveyance of Alfred Short to the Penitentiary convicted of felony, the Court believing that number to be necessary."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The World War II Letters of Billy J. Campbell, Letter 7

Somewhere on Luzon
June 18, 1845

Dear Mom,

Well so far I am still in the same place and feeling fine. Working some, eating a whole lot and sleeping more than anything else. I have done about as much writing as anything else. I should have plenty of mail one of these days if they all answer it. I have written everybody that I got letters from when I got off the boat. And a few more besides. There isn't much to write about but I guess I can say hello and goodbye. A few interesting things but part of them we can't write about. Plenty of the native customs are interesting and as long as we don't talk against them it's O. K.

Boy somebody really goofed off back in the States or they haven't been to the Philipines or or the other. When we started getting ready to come over here they said don't take any moeny, you won't need it and can't spend it. That may have been true when we get closer up but it isn't here. Maybe you had better send me somemoney, it is still a few days yet untill payday. Just registered mail I guess is the easiest. I want to get some souveniers; I have seen some pretty nice ones.

We get cigarettes and beer rations pretty cheap but other stuff is just as high as anywhere. I get my cigarettes and beer then then trade the beer to a fellow that doesn't smoke for his cigarettes. That is the way we get most ever-thing we have something we can't use we trade it to one of our buddies for some-thing he doesn't wan't.

Gilbert and Mason comes over here once in awhile to talk about something.

Well I had better stop now, it is getting dark.

Tell Susie and Ham hello and be good. I will write more soon. Don't worry about me.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fires in Russell County, 1855-1925

March 8, 1855 - Richmond Dispatch

FIRE IN RUSSELL. The saddlery shop of Mr. Meredith Logan, at Lebanon, Russell County, was destroyed by fire lately, involving a loss of some $600 or $800.

April 15, 1864 - Abingdon Virginian

A destructive fire occurred at Lebanon, Thursday night, the 7th inst., supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Charles Carroll's out houses, four in number, were all burned, six short horned Durhams and four fine horses, with many valuable farming utensils, in all perhaps 25,000 dollars worth, went with the flames.

November 28, 1866 - Baltimore Sun

FIRE. Mr. Charles Carroll, near Lebanon, Russell county, Va., had his barn, containing a large quantity of grain, and a threshing machine, totally destroyed by fire a few days since. Mr. Carroll's loss is estimated at $5,000.

February 23, 1872 - Bristol News


Destructive Fire in Russell County.

ABINGDON, Va., February 16 - Lebanon, Russell county, Va., was visited by a destructive fire on Wednesday last. The courthouse and jail, the Planter's hotel W. A. Stuart, owner, partly insured in the Virginia Fire and Marine Insurance Company for $3,000, Jenk's shop, the post-office, Dr. Ferguson's dwelling, A. Hendrick's dwelling and store, and other out-buildings, were destroyed. The fire was discovered in the observatory of the Planters' Hotel at 12 o'clock M. The wind was blowing a hurricane, and all was burned in about ten minutes. The records and papers of clerks office were saved. The loss is estimated at from $30,000 to 40,000.

February, 1872 - Abingdon Virginian


Court House, Jail, Planter's House

$44,300.00 LOSS.

Russell Correspondence.
LEBANON, Va., Feb. 19th, 1872.

Editors Abingdon Virginian:

You will remember that in my communication of last week, I spoke of the beauties which our town would present after having it incorporated, and maturing our plans in having our streets graded and side-walks paved: but, alas! a change has come o'er the spirit of our dreams, and we have another striking demonstration of the fact, that all human calculations and expectations are doomed to disappoint: and how it becomes my painful duty to tell you that the most beautiful part of our town is laid in ashes.

On Wednesday of last week, just as 12 o'clock, a dense smoke was seen issuing from the roof of the west end of the large Hotel, known as the Planter's House, which was erected by Alderson & Kernan, but now belonging to W. Alex. Stuart, of Saltville, and was occupied by H. Askbrook, and as there was a heavy wind blowing from the west, the roof was soon in a flame, and before water could be had, the cupalo was wrapped in a fiery sheet, and the raging flames bidding defiance to the citizens, many of whom had buckets in hand carrying water, vainly attempting their extinguishment. Very soon it communicated with the cupalo of our once magnificent Court House, and on burning the chord suspending the striking weight of the clock, it commenced striking its own funeral dirge, thus making the scene still more mournful; and simultaneously therewith, the Jail, the store and dwelling house of N. B. Gray, occupied by Aaron Hendricks and the Rev. J. H. Torbett, situated directly east of the Court House, were in flames, and by this time the large building belonging to the heirs of Col. A. F. Hendricks, dec'd, directly west but adjoining the Planter's House, was also on fire. This building was occupied by Dr. D. C. Ferguson with his family; J. C. Comann, with his tailor shop and Post office; J. P. Jenks, with his saddlers's shop, and Bruce & Thomas for a produce house.

It was a terrible sight to see those find large buildings, all at once tumbling into ruins, and the angry flames curling up heavenward, and interrupted all the time by the violent west winds blowing burning shingles and sheets of blazing fire a considerable distance towards the east. Burning shingles were thrown some three hundred yards and set Geo. Williams' house on fire, which would have been consumed, but for his son James mounting the roof and extinguishing it.

The winds were so violent, which were continually fanning the flames, that an end was put to the disaster in two and a half hours.

The large stable and corn-crib on the log of the Planter's House were saved; also the crib and stable on the lot of the heirs of Col. Hendricks; but on the lot of N. B. Gray, all the out-buildings were destroyed.

The loss, from the best data that can be obtained, and from information derived from the unfortunate ones, is as follows:

Court House.........................................................$17,000
W. Alex. Stuart.......................................................12,000
N. B. Gray................................................................2,500
Heirs of Col. Hendricks, Dec'd................................2,000
H. Ashbrook.............................................................1,000
A. Hendricks............................................................1,000
J. P. Jenks....................................................................100
Bruce & Thomas, in salt, plows, grain, &c...............400
Rev. J. H. Torbett........................................................150
J. J. Henritze.................................................................50
Lebanon Lodge, No. 215, jewels and furniture..........100
Total loss, $44,300

[...]of this property was insured, ex-[...] three thousand dollars[...]

The fire was not communicated to the southside of the street, but it would have been utterly impossible to have saved this part of the town, bur for the wind blowing directly east, and the immense quantity of water which was thrown on the houses: and much credit is due to the citizens of the town, and many from the country who were here on business, for their determined effort to stop the conflagration. The streets were lined with them carrying water to throw on the houses of Bruce & Thomas, Alderson & Kernan, Judge Burns and Capt. Gent, whilst many others were on the top of all of these houses, receiving water which they poured profusely on the roofs, to prevent their ignition from the excessive heat. The roof of Judge Burns' houses caught fire in two places, and that of Capt. Gent in three places, but was promptly put out.

Those who were thrown of of houses by this disaster, have mostly gotten other rooms, but some of them  only temporarily. Aaron Hendricks has moved his family into the house of N. B. Gray, immediately east of Capt. Gent's house, and has his goods in Capt. Gent's Store-house, and is going on with his business. The energetic and untiring H. Ashbrook, who knows no surrender and has never studied the definition of the words, give up, is again in full blast, in the east end of Capt. Gent's house, were he is prepared to satisfy the appetite of both man and beast, and where he will meet his former patrons with a smile and make them feel easy. Notwithstanding his loss, he saved his bacon, corn, wheat, oats and hay, of which he has no small quantity. Rev. Torbett has moved temporarily to the Parsonage, but in a few days will occupy the house of R. D. Powers. James J. Henritze's family have gone to his father's, he is at present absent from home. Dr. Ferguson will probably move his family to his mother-in-laws on Moccasin; the Dr. was at the time of the fire, and is now, professionally absent in Washington county. J. P. Jenks has moved his shop, temporarily, to the shoe-makers shop of R. D. Powers. J. C. Comann has taken the Post Office to his house in the extreme west end of town, but is trying to bring it back nearer the centre of the place. Capt. J. W. McBrown occupied an office in the Planter's House, and was successful in getting his library out, with the exception of some two or three old books, on which he set but little value.

I have been thus minute as to the fire, and the present locality of the sufferers, believing that it will be of interest of their absent friends, many of whom I know to be readers of your paper.

The fire is thought, by some, to have been the act of an insendiary, but generally believed to be the result of accident from the bar-room chimney.

The next morning after its occurrence, Judge Fry issued a proclamation forewarning all persons from going near the burnt walls for fear of accidents, and forbidding the taking away of anything from the public buildings, or private property, and if anything had been taken away, for the same to be returned to the owners, under the penalty of being indicted by the Grand Jury.

(February 23, 1912 - Lebanon News)

Forty Years Ago.

Forty years ago the 14th of this month the Court House, jail, Hotel, and A. Hendricks' residence was burned to the ground. It was a very windy and disagreeable day. On that day H. Ashbrook rolled four barrels of whiskey into the street, and notwithstanding most every person belonged to the temperance council many got a prescription from Dr. Kernan and the obligation to taste was not forgotten.

February 20, 1874 - Daily State Journal (Alexandria, VA)

Two stables, a cow-house and granary, with contents, valued at about $700, belonging to P. D. Humitzin, of Lebanon, Russell county, were destroyed by an incendiary fire Monday night.

March 18, 1881 - The Baltimore Sun

A fire at Lebanon, Va., last Sunday night, destroyed property valued at $26,500, insured for $11,500. The principal losers were Anderson & Lynch, W. H. Burns, J. C. Gent.

August 19, 1881

Another Fire in Lebanon.

On the night of the 3d inst., Lebanon, in Russell county, was again visited by fire. It was not so serious as the fire which occurred a few months since, but still very disastrous to a little place like Lebanon. The loss this time falls heavily upon Mr. L. H. Clapp, whose drug store and contents were entirely destroyed. His loss is reported at $2,200. He was insured in three different companies for $400 each. The dwelling in which Mr. Clapp lived was also burned, and was owned by Mr. C. D. Boyd. A house occupied by a colored man and owned by J. F. McElhenney, was also burned. The people think the fire was the work on an incendiary. Total loss $3,900. - Abingdon Standard. [As appearing in the Clinch Valley News.]

February 17, 1901 - Times (Richmond, Va.)


Good and Prompt Work Prevented a Disastrous Conflagration.
(Special Dispatch to The Times.)

LEBANON, VA., Feb. 16. - Lebanon narrowly escaped having a very disastrous fire yesterday. The smoke and flames burst from the roof of C. M. Jenks & Company's large store, but in a few minutes the fire was under control. The store is in the central part of the town, and had not the fire been discovered as soon as it was doubtless half the town would have been swept by the flames. The fire originated from a defective flue.

October 10, 1902 - Times (Richmond, Va.)


Cracksmen Were at Work in Lebanon Wednesday Night.

BRISTOL, TENN., October 9. - (Special.)

A telephone message from Lebanon, Va., states that a fire, which broke out there at 3 o'clock this morning, destroyed the store of C. M. Jenks & Co., the post-office, residences of J. C. Gent and W. E. Burns.

A loud explosion aroused the people of the community, when it was discovered that robbers were in the town and had made an effort to blow open the safe of the Bank of Russell county. The safe in Jenks & Co.'s store was blown open and robbed and the building fired. Three suspicious men were seen disappearing in the direction of Cleveland.

Sheriff Ashbrook, of Russell County, is here to-night, and states that there is a clue to the gang which has been doing safe-blowing in Southwest Virginia.

October 10, 1902 - The Tennessean


For the Second Time Lebanon, Va., is Annihilated by Fire - Incendiarism Suspected.

BRISTOL, Tenn., Oct. 9. - (Special.)

A telephone message to this city from Mendota this evening states that the town of Lebanon, Russell County., Va., was practically destroyed by fire, the entire business center being in ashes. The leading properties destroyed were the Russell County Bank, John P. Jinks' emporium, the postoffice building and its contents, Barry's dry goods store, W. E. Burns' costly residence, the Gents building and many smaller buildings. The fire is thought to be of incendiary origin. The telephone wires entering town were cut by unknown parties while the fire was raging.

Lebanon was wiped out of existence by fire during the civil war and rebuilt.

October 17, 1902 - Lebanon News

Lebanon Will Rise Above the Ashes

Lebanon is very much disfigured by the loss of three of her finest buildings in the fire which occurred here one week ago yesterday, but we are happy to say she will rise above the ashes again.

L. L. Bays, the biggest loser by the fire, will rebuild and will erect a much finer business house than the one which was burned. Mr. Bays has also secured a lot from D. K. Banner in the west end of town and will erect on it a find brick residence.

Capt. J. C. Gent and Wm . E. Burns will also rebuild. Capt. Gent has been burned out three times in the last few years but he isn't one bit discouraged. he will rebuild at the same place.

Mr. Burns will build a find business house on the lot where his residence was burned. He has purchased a lot from Capt. H. H. Dickenson on north Church street and will build a handsome residence on it.

This news will be welcomed by Lebanon people with enthusiasm. It takes just such men as Bays, Gent and Burns to make a town.

December 17, 1902 - Times (Richmond, Va.)


For Two Months Safe Blowers Have Been Operating Successfully.
(Special Dispatch to The Times.)

TAZEWELL, VA., December 15. For the past two months safe-blowers have been at work in Russell county and much valuable property has been destroyed.

Last Friday night Compton's store, four miles northeast of Lebanon, the county seat, was robbed and burned. The loss was very heavy, with no insurance, just a few days previous the robbery and burning of the store-house of S. F. Combs & Son, on the headquarters of Weaver's Creek took place.

Before the building caught fire the safe was blown open. The explosion tore out one whole side of the building. The loss was $12,000 with $6,000 insurance.

Some time in October burglars, supposed to be the same band that burned the above mentioned stores, set fire to the stores of the Jenks Mercantile Company, at Lebanon, resulting in the destruction by fire of goods and buildings to the amount of $38,000.

May 23, 1907 - Tazewell Republican


Several Business Houses and Two Residences Destroyed.

Bristol, Tenn., May 21. Fire destroyed several business houses and other property at Lebanon, the county seat of Russell county, last night, the loss being estimated at $40,000 or more.

The burning of Henritz Brothers store alone entailed a loss of $20,000. Other houses destroyed were: W. H. Alderson's store, the Lebanon Bank, and the residences of Judge Harry Burns and T. C. Alderson. The insurance but partly covers the loss.

April 22, 1910 - Lebanon News


Entire Business Section of Little Town Reduced to Ashes.

LOSS $100,000; INSURANCE ABOUT $25,000

Fire which broke out early last Friday evening in G. W. Thompson & Co's., Feed store almost wiped out the business section of Cleveland, which lies next to Clinch River.

The only fire fighting apparatus which was at hand was the old time bucket brigade, which was quickly formed, but the flames spread rapidly from one building to another until they were consumed into ashes.

Many of the buildings were old and dry and fit tinder for the sweltering blaze which swept its way through the little railroad town, which is the gateway to the capital of Russell.

The buildings burned were:

J. B. Branson's & Co's., Hardware store.
G. W. Thompson & Co's., Feed store.
M. P. Artrip's store and livery stable.
G. W. Price and Co's., General store.
Peoples Bank.
Dotson's Hotel.
Purcell Brothers & Co's., General store.
Norfolk and Western Depot.
Lumber yard.
Wm. L. Jessee's dwelling house and stock of groceries.

The loss including buildings, goods and lumber yard is estimated at $100,000 with something like $25,000 insurance.

May 13, 1910 - Lebanon News

$15,000 BLAZE.

A destructive fire occurred at Swords Creek Sunday at 3 a. m. The fire which had its origin in B. J. Wysor's store spread to the postoffice and to J. H. Jackson's dwelling, causing a loss of about $15,000.00 which was partly covered by insurance.

By hard work other buildings near the fire were save.

Origin of the fire is unknown.

March 26, 1915 - Lebanon News


Five Buildings Wiped Out.

Honaker was visited by another destructive fire Thursday night of last week. The Honaker Herald of last week furnishes the following report:

About seven o'clock the building in which J. H. Meade was located was discovered to be on fire and had gained such headway that it was impossible to do anything to save the building and all efforts were turned to save the goods. Much of the goods were saved. The building was owned by Dr. J. H. Lockhart and was a splendid two story frame building. He had only $600.00 insurance. Mr. Meade carried $3000 on the stock of goods. John Jackson and family who occupied the rooms up stairs, lost everything, even to their clothing.

The flames spread to the building owned by J. T. Wygal's Cash Store and restaurant. Quite a little of the goods were saved, but the building was soon reduced to ashes. By heroic work the flames were held in check, here, saving the feed store and Honaker Herald office which were the next buildings.

The fire spread west from Mead's store to G. B. Johnson's law office, which was also burned. He succeeded in saving his library and office equipment, though it was badly damaged. Mr. Johnson carried small insurance.

A frame building owned by Mrs. Ratcliff and occupied by the Busy Bee Restaurant was next to burn. No insurance.

A dwelling owned by a Mr. Sword and occupied by Dr. S. H. Speer was the last house to burn. Dr. Speer saved most of his dental equipment and household effects.

It is impossible to estimate the loss this morning but it is immense.

It looked at one time as if this end of the town was doomed, but willing workers conquered the flames and thereby have the thanks of a grateful people this morning.

The Herald plant was carried into the street and is so badly damaged that it is impossible to get out more than a half sheet this week.

July 15, 1921 - Lebanon News

Destructive Fire at Honaker Wed.

Wednesday morning at 2 o'clock a very destructive fire visited Honaker, starting in Paul Clark's feed store and wiping out the Hurt Saddlery and Harness Shop, Honaker Herald outfit, and John D. Miller's store and residence.

C. C. Bausell, editor of the Herald, asks us to state that he will resume publication of the Herald within a month or just as soon as material can arrive and asks his patrons to kindly send in the amounts due to him at once to enable him to resume business at the earliest possible date.

The origin of the fire is unknown.

Combs & Hurt, undertakes in the Hurt Saddlery building, is said to have lost heavily.

May 22, 1925 - Lebanon News

Honaker Suffers Heavy Fire Loss.

Last Thursday night about 12:30 Honaker had another destructive fire which broke out in the N. Yates building opposite the depot occupied by Henry Branson's restaurant, and in a short time the flames spread to the Walter Wallace building which was occupied by the department store of H. D. Wallace on the east and the Clark building on the west, all of which were totally destroyed.

The loss is partially covered by insurance, the Wallace brothers, it is said, carried four thousand dollars, one thousand on the building, and three thousand on the stock of goods. Yates carried twenty-five hundred dollars insurance on his building and fixtures, while Branson carried only nine hundred dollars, but Mr. Harris had no insurance.

The fire, it is thought, started in the Branson restaurant and it was with difficulty that Mr. and Mrs. Branson and a travelling man escaped the burning building and did so by sliding down a pole.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

William Sample to John W. Martin - 1863 Sheriff's Election

"Mr John W Martin
Please read if necessary on the day of Election


Having been informed that E R Smith my opponent in trying to create an impression that I am under promise to him not to run this race I told Maj Harris in the presance of Maj Fulkerson to rite to Smith and say to him if he wanted to run for the sherifalty to wait til my time or tearm was out and I then would give him my support But has he complyed with his obligation the answer must be no is this my tearm according to law if it is then he can have no claim whatsoeaver or hold me under any obligation in so much as he is contesting the tearm I was elected to hold the above is the true statement which I can prove at any time.

Your friend
Wm Sample

Apl 8th 1863"