Easton (N.H.).

Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia online

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produced and sold. Stock raising is a branch of business that has in all times been
profitably pursued. Numbers of the best horses, cattle and sheep come from this
county. The soil is generally of an excellent quality, and can be purchased at
moderate prices.

Madison County has no railway facilities in its borders, but has good country
roads to the following stations on the mam line of the Virginia Midland Railroad,
viz. : Culpeper, Mitchell's, Rapid Ann, Orange, Somerset, and Gordonsville, the
road to the latter place being macadamized, and extending across the Blue Ridge into


the valley. The productions of the county are still transported to market in the old-
fashioned, but commodious, four and six horse road wagons. These horses, for their
size, strength and endurance, are well fitted for the services they perform in these
mountain regions.

The bottom lands of the Robertson and Rapid Ann rivers are unusually fertile.
Extraordinary corn crops have been raised for forty consecutive years, without any
apparent diminution in quantity. The other productions are tobacco, wheat, oats, rye
and fruit. Iron and copper ores have been discovered in various parts of the county,
and only await further facilities of capital, labor and transportation to get to market.
It is watered by the Robertson and Rapid Ann rivers and their tributaries, and has a
considerable number of grist and flour mills, which latter manufacture for home con-
sumption and market a quantity of the best family flour.

The principal town in the county is Madison Court-House, which is situated on a
commanding ridge in the heart of the county. Ex-Gov. James L. Kemper is a resi-
dent of this place.


"OIVERTON STATION is at the junction of the north and south forks of the
Shenandoah River and at the junction of the Front Royal branch of the
Manassas Division with the Shenandoah Railroad, two miles from Front Royal. A
large amount of freight is received here that comes down the Shenandoah in flat
boats from the Counties of Rockingham, Page and Warren. The products of the
two last mentioned are to a considerable extent tributary to this outlet. Extensive
veins of brown hematite and magnetic iron ores have been opened in these counties,
and only await the construction of a short connection with this railway to get a gocd
and cheap outlet, either in the shape of smelted metal or native ore. A joint stock
company of Northern capitalists, with a subscribed capital stock of $i,ooo,ooo, are
now operating with these ores.

Here the Manassas Division crosses the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, with its
magnificent scenic and metallurgic attractions. Going northward the traveler in a
few minutes finds himself in the niidst of the almost unrivaled pasture lands of Clarke
County, and surrounded by the historic homes of the gentry of the old days, some of
their country seats being on a scale that is truly lordly. Washington's office and
lodgings at Soldiers' Rest, where Gen. Daniel Morgan, of Revolutionary fame, once
lived ; Greenway Court, the seat of the eccentric Lord Fairfax ; the old chapel, built
in 1796 ; the homes of Philip Pendleton Cooke, the poet author of " Florence Vane,"
and of his scarcely less distinguished brother, John Esten Cooke, the novelist, are in
Clarke County. Nor are historic associations with the late war wanting, many combats
and skirmishes having taken place at or near Millwood and Berryville, the county
seat. The lands, originally surveyed by Washington, are as fine as heart could wish ;
indeed Clarke is the gem county of Virginia.

Southward, through a district peculiarly rich in picturesque and diversified
scenery, the traveler is borne to Luray, the county seat of Page County, and within a


short mile of the famou3 caverns to which the attention of the whole world has been
called within the past few years. So much has been written about these caverns, and
so many pictures of their wonders have been presented to the public, that it would be
a work of supererogation to add anything here. Sufifice it to say, that they will amply
repay the visitor for the little time and trouble required to reach them. The distance
from Riverton, on the Manassas Division, to the caverns is just twenty-eight miles.
A delightful excursion may be made from Baltimore and Washington to the battle-
field of Manassas, thence through the wild gorge at Thoroughfare Gap, and the sunny
uplands of Fauquier to Front Royal and Riverton, thence to Luray, and, on the
return trip, to take in Clarke County, Charlestown (where John Brown was hanged),
the romantic heights at Harper's Ferry, and so back to Washington and Baltimore
again, a lay-over ticket enabling the tourist to stop just when and where he

The confluence of the shining waters of the two branches of the Shenandoah at
Riverton furnish an excellent site for the thrifty industrial village that has grown up
there, and the scenery presents many points worthy of illustration. During the war
both the bridges over the north and south forks of the Shenandoah were burnt and
near Riverton some heavy skirmishing between the Federal and Confederate forces
occurred, the former commanded by General Martindale and the latter by General
Wickham ; in addition to these there were the battles of Chester Gap, Cedar Creek
and Front Royal.

At Buckton Station, five miles from Front Royal, a battle was fought May 22,
1862, between Banks' infantry and the cavalry commanded by the Confederate Gen-
eral Ashby ; and five miles north of this place there was a severe engagement
between McCausland and a part of General Phil. Sheridan's army. The Warren
White Sulphur Springs are one mile from Buckton.


OTRASBURG, the present western terminus of the Manassas Division of the Vir-
^^ ginia Midland Railroad, derives its name from a place in the Fatherland, the
original settlers of this region being from Germany. It is distant from Alexandria
eighty-eight miles, from Harrisonburg fifty, and from Winchester eighteen, having
direct railway communication to all of these points, besides to Baltimore City and other
places North and West ; and when this company extend their lines to the West
Virginia coal-fields and the Ohio river, will be not only a railway centre of no mean
importance, but will increase with a growth commensurate with this proposed
railway extension.

At this station there are three churches, two hotels, other improvements, and a
population of about 800. Massanuttan Mountain, one of the rarest beauty in this
region, is within one mile. The famous Capon Springs, only second in the State to
the Greenbrier White Sulphur in point of equipments and the number of its Summer


attendants, is within eighteen miles ; Orkney Springs within thirty-seven miles, and
the Seven Fountains within twenty miles of this point.

On the 22d of September, 1864, was fought, one mile south of the town, the
battle of Fisher's Hill, between the forces under General Early and Federal General
Sheridan. On the 13th of October of the same year there was heavy skirmishing
between Early's Corps and the Federal forces under General Thomas ; and on the
19th of the same month, three miles north of the town, there was a severe battle.
Banks' Fort is barely fifty feet from the Strasburg station. The products of the
surrounding country are wheat, oats, corn, rye, hay, and a great variety of fruits.

Shenandoah County, in which Strasburg is situated, is thirty-two miles long,
with a mean width of fifteen. The central portion is mountainous, and like the rest
of the valley counties, the soil is extremely fertile. Despite the ravages of war,
through the industry and energy of her people and the great fertility of her soil,
prosperity and plenty are again apparent in ever}' home, to which the rebuilding of
the Alanassas Division, which was entirely destroyed during the war, has to a large
extent contributed. At Strasburg the Manassas Division connects with the Harper's
Ferry and Valley branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, affording the traveler
a direct route north to Winchester and Harper's Ferry, and south to Staunton, and
thence via the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad to the Virginia Springs, passing ett
route some of the most superb farms in Virginia — or indeed in the United States.


TDEFORE we return to the description of the country along the main stem of the
Virginia Midland Railway, it may be well to pause a moment for the purpose
of stating verj- briefly what the Midland Company has done in regard to the great
need of Virginia — to wit, immigration. Of the lands, in so far as farming is con-
cerned, and of the climate, we have already spoken, and shall continue to speak, as
we advance from point to point. The mineral interests of the road, if properly
treated, would occupy a chapter many pages in length ; we have space here barely to
allude to them. Recent discoveries along almost the entire line of the road comprise
specular, hematite and magnetic iron ore deposits, asbestos, kaolin, marble, porphyry,
gold, jasper, fine clay, plumbago, slate, argentiferous galena, manganese, fire-proof
stone ; mineral substances for paints, copper ; blue, red and gray building stone, etc.
The development of these minerals, now lying almost dormant, with the productions
of forest, field and garden, will be a constant object of care on the part of the com-
pany in the future as it has been in the past, and no pains will be spared in develop-
ing the entire resources of the country.

Recognizing the fact that railroads in the future must to a great extent depend
upon the local freight and travel, this company will use every exertion to facilitate
immigration to, and settlement in, this region of Virginia. To more efficiently carry
out this plan, some years since, the company acquired from the Legislature of the
State the authority to purchase lands along their lines, with the view of reselling them
on a long credit to actual settlers. This is the first effort of the kind ever made by


any railroad corporation in the State, and should commend itself as the most efficient •
mode yet presented of accomplishing the settlement of surplus lands of that portion
of the State through which this company's lines pass.

When the Midland Railroad passed into the hands of a Receiver the lands
acquired under this authority by the company reverted to their original owners ; but the
immigrant may rest assured that all that can be done in his behalf will be done cheer-
fully and promptly, whether he wishes to purchase or to examine lands once owned by
the company or by other parties ; and to prove this, all that is needed is an application
by mail or in person at the office of the company in Washington City, Richmond or
in Alexandria. An examination of the map will show that for its entire length the
Virginia Midland road runs through the splendid Piedmont district of a State blessed
with salubrious air, superabundant water-power and a capacity second to no other
for the production of cereals, grasses, fruits, and indeed whatever the soil of Mother
Earth in her temperate zone brings forth.


"POUR miles from Manassas Junction, on the main stem of the Virginia Midland
Road, is Bristoe Station, and two miles east of that is Brentsville, the seat of
government for Prince William County, a small village with little or no attraction
beyond the extensive views which its elevated position commands. Prior to the war
and up to the present time the country near Brentsville has been occupied by North-
ern settlers, who have gathered there in such numbers as to form a community of
their own.

During the war several battles were fought near Bristoe. One on the 27th
August, 1862, when General Hooker commanded the United States forces, and
General Ewell the Confederate. Another on the 14th October, 1863, General Warren
commanding the United States, and General A. P. Hill the Confederate States troops.
Large quantities of sumac are received at this station for shipment to Alexandria and
other places.

Nokesville, named for a Northern settler, is the station next to Bristoe, and then
comes Catlett's, w'here General J. E. B. Stuart made a night attack upon United
States General Pope. The lands hereabouts are gently rolling and susceptible of
high improvement ; in fact, some of them have doubled in value since the war.


"I17ARRENT0N, the county seat of Fauquier, is at the terminus of the Warren-
* ^ ton branch of the Virginia Midland Railway. It has a population of about
two thousand, is distant fifty miles from Alexandria, and is situated on a commanding
eminence in the very heart of the county. It is a beautiful and well laid-off village,
and its inhabitants include some of the most distinguished citizens of the State and
soldiers of the late war. The society in and about this beautiful and growing village
has always been good, and there are good schools, churches and hotel accommoda-
tions. Large numbers of summer visitors, principally from Washington City, spend


their leisure time here, and so great are the social and cli iiatic attractions that
wealthy persons from both North and South have built permanent or temporary
homes in or near the town. Warrenton is proverbially the gayest place in summer
in all Virginia. Chief-Justice Marshall, whose portrait adorns the Court-house, and
whose descendants still live in the county, was born nine miles below Warrenton ; a
ruined chimney to the left of Midland Station marks the site of the old homestead.
Warrenton contains about twenty mercantile and other stores, Episcopal, Baptist,
Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, and three educational institutions.

The branch road from Warrenton Junction to the town is nine miles long ; the
junction itself is forty-eight miles from W^ashington.

Fauquier, the county in which Warrenton is situated, was formed in 1759, and
named for Lord Francis Fauquier, the then Governor of Virginia. In this county
begins the grazing region, which extends, with but few local exceptions, through
Culpeper, Rappahannock, Orange, Madison, Albemarle, Nelson and Amherst

Fine sheep, cattle and horses are raised in this entire region, but nowhere of
higher pedigree and qualities than Fauquier. A colt show is held at Upperville, a
beautiful village in the northern part of the county, at which is annually exhibited a
large number of fine animals, many of them of the best breeds, from direct impor-
tations from England and other places. The old Virginia fondness for fine horses
and fox hunting is still, to a considerable extent, indulged in. Many gentlemen keep
hounds, and the emigrant from old England occasionally brings over an imported
breed to have them vanquished in the chase by the more hardy native. There is a
disposition, however, everywhere apparent to advance small industries of every kind,
and the attention to cattle has so grown within the last ten years that 30,000 head are
annually handled in this county alone. There are gold diggings in the southern part
of the county, and some fine varieties of iron have been discovered.


n^HE gaiety of Warrenton at midsummer stands in little need of outside aid, but
is doubled or more nearly quadrupled when the Fauquier White Sulphur
Springs, just six miles off, are crowded with the elite of Washington and Baltimore.
Life in Warrenton is then a veritable carnival. An excellent road extends from the
town to the Springs, the scenery is charmmg, handsome villas and country homes
adorn the gentle slopes on either side, blue mountains immantled in dark-green
forest-robes hem in the peaceful landscape, and the road, crowded with equestrians,
mounted upon blooded horses and with stylish equipages, presents a scene of the
brightest and most animated character. There is a constant interchange of visitors
at all hours of the day, but in the dewy mornings, the tranquil sunset hours and the
moonlit nights, the air is vocal with the whirr of swift wheels, the clatter of fast
trotters and the laughter of belles and beaux. Happy are they whose summers are
spent in Fauquier.

In place of the old structures which existed previous to the war, there is now at
the Fauquier White Sulphur Springs a brick hotel, five stories high, handsome in


design, imposing in appearance, built in the most substantial manner, admirably fin-
ished and equipped with all modern improvements. It stands upon an eminence
which commands a beautiful view. The grounds are plentifully shaded with lofty
aspens and sycamores ; hard by runs the upper Rappahannock, a clear stream, fringed
with trees that love the water, and flanked by a broad level meadow which seems
adapted by nature for the joust on horseback, of which the young Virginians are so
fond, and for other pastimes, such as lawn tennis, croquet, etc. In addition to the
hotel proper, there are a number of highly ornamented cottages in the Queen Anne
and other styles, which are the Summer homes of opulent men from the cities.

The rooms in the hotel are all airy and cheerful, with spacious hallways running
directly through each story. The large ball-room is in the main building. The sur-
rounding country is wild and picturesque, the air pure and healthy, free from malaria
and the annoyance of mosquitoes, and there is, of course, a first-class band of music
in attendance during the season.

It is the determination of the proprietors, Messrs. Tenney & Co., of National
Hotel fame, to maintain the standard of excellence which obtained the past season,
and they refer to the thousands who patronized the Springs last Summer.

Terms will be moderate and regulated by the extent of accommodations required.
The hotel will be opened the ist of June and close the loth of October.

The Fauquier White Sulphur Springs may be reached in three hours' time from
Washington via the Virginia Midland Railway, which so times its special trains as to
enable men of business in Washington and Baltimore to spend the night with their
families at this delightful resort and to return in time for business the next morning.

Concerning the water, it is sufficient to say that it is equal to any water of its
kind in Virginia or elsewhere, containing not only sulphates in various forms, but also
magnesia, chlorides, soda, potassia, iron and gaseous matter. Testimonials as to its
virtues in many diseases may be had of the proprietors at any time on application.
Dr. Thomas Antisell, of Washington, D. C, says : " The source of the mineral
ingredients of the spring lies in the country, which is an aluminous slate, the beds of
which lie nearly horizontal or with slight slope, and holding between their layers sandy
ferruginous seams, in which are imbedded crystals of iron pyrites, with some
hydrated oxyde of manganese. The iron in the water is derived from the crystals of
pyrites, the sulphtir separating from which has in part become acidified and united
with the earthy bases, and perhaps with the protoxyde of iron, to form a soluble iron


PASSING through Fauquier, the Virginia Midland Road enters the fine county
of Culpeper, which was formed in 1748 and named for Lord Culpeper, who was
Governor of Virginia from 1680 to 1683. Between Warrenton Junction and the
town of Culpeper are Midland, Bealeton, Rappahannock and Brandy stations, at
each of which engagements of greater or less importance took place during the war.
Being debatable ground, Culpeper was fought over, trampled upon and denuded of


its timber by the contending armies as no other county was. Its comparatively level
surface affords an excellent field for cavalry manoeuvres, and the heaviest battle between
bodies of this arm of the service that occurred during the war, tooli place at Brandy
Station, June 9th, 1863, Pleasanton commanding the Federals and J. E. B. Stuart the

The mineral wealth of Culpeper County has only been partially explored. Some
rich specimens of magnetic iron ore have been found between the towns of Culpeper
and Mitchell's Station ; ore is seen on the railroad track between these two points on
the farm of Major E. B. Hill, other surface indications have been found on Slaughter's
Mountain and vicinity, and ores of the hematite series are found near the Madison
County line.

Numerous undeveloped mineral springs exist, and Culpeper abounds in building
stone, which, under experiments at the Smithsonian Institution, withstood a pressure
of more than 48,000 lbs. to the square inch without fracture.

Culpeper, the county seat, first called Fairfax, after the lord of that name, is a
town of enterprise and of business prosperity, with 2,000 inhabitants. A large
Federal cemetery, containing 1,349 graves, in 901 of which lie unknown bodies, is
situated just outside the town. Culpeper was, during the autumn of 1 863, the head-
quarters of General Meade, commanding the army of the Potomac. General Grant
also had his headquarters here during the winter and early spring of 1864.

The town is immediately on the line of the Virginia Midland Railway. Its prox-
imity to rail and its unsurpassed air and water make it a desirable Summer resort,
and its hotels and boarding-hoiises are filled every year. It has a large number of
drygoods stores and commission houses, one of the handsomest and most costly
court-houses in the State, many churches, representing every Protestant denomina-
tion, schools for both sexes, a bank, and mills for the manufacture and grinding of
grain, sumac, guano, bark and plaster. A great amount of produce is shipped from
this point. Here the traveler may find a public conveyance which runs daily to Sperry-
ville and Washington in Rappahannock County. The neatly kept Federal cemetery,
the many new and handsome private dwellings and the beautiful scenery which
aroused the enthusiasm of N. P. Willis, combine to make Culpeper a place of unusual
attraction. A little below the town, a cutting through rock, so obstinate alike to the
pick and the blast that it broke every contractor who undertook it, and had finally to
be completed by the company, will attract the geologist and others who are curious
about such matters. In revolutionary times Culpeper County was famed for its
" Minute Men," who, as Randolph of Roanoke said, " were raised in a minute,
armed in a minute, marched in a minute, fought in a minute and vanquished in a
minute ; " but of late years has been distinguished by its Agricultural Society, whose
exhibitions have at times rivaled those of the State Agricultural Society at Richmond.

ly/I ITCHELL'S Station is 69 miles from Alexandria, and 7 from the county seat,
■*■ Culpeper. The battle of Slaughter's, better known as Cedar Mountain, was
fought near this place on the 9th of August, 1862. Two miles from this, and im-


mediately on the line of the railroad, there is an excellent vein of magnetic iron ore,
and near the same locality a mineral containing seventy-one per cent, of silica, which
has stood extraordinary- tests of heat. This amount of silica so near the surface,
with a good soil over it, makes it the best natural soil known to grape culture, the
fruit on the vines being as perfect as when a mountain elevation is had. Commenc-
ing here and running in the direction of the Rapid Ann valley, are to be found exceed-
ingly fine grass lands. Large crops of hay, the usual cereal productions, and large
amounts of sumac are annually shipped from this station.

Rapid Ann Station, five miles south of Mitchell's, deserves special attention be-
cause of its exquisite scenery and its prolific, well-tilled soil. Nowhere on the line is
there a spot which so forcibly recalls the best portions of the North. The place has a
reputation almost national for beauty and fertility. From the station little idea can
be formed of the varied and charming landscapes that are commanded by the em-
inences on which the homes of the well-to-do farmers are situated. On one side are
the rolling dark-red hills of Orange, on the other the plains of Culpeper, yellow with
wheat ; in the middle distance are two small mountains of symmetrical form ; to the
east is the bold and rugged summit of Clarke's Mountain, which was Lee's signal
station during the war ; far to the west and south runs the azure wall of the Blue
Ridge, and in the midst is the silver river, gently winding down the valley. Wealthy

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Online LibraryEaston (N.H.)Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia → online text (page 2 of 11)