Mrs. Stella Strock, School Teacher
By Susan M. Thigpen © 1983-2012
Issue: September, 1983
Mrs Stella Strock is the first little girl from the right in the front row of this photograph taken of the entire Powell School in Dobyns (Patrick County, Virginia). The schoolmaster was Millard Smart (man on right, back row). (Circa 1911)
Oft times, something will strike a cord and bring back a memory long forgotten from the corners of our minds. The photograph on the front cover of our June 1983 issue, of the Keith homeplace near Willis, Virginia, taken in 1905, sparked such a memory in a woman I was privileged to meet.
Mrs. Stella Strock said, “I drive by that place now and don’t seem to notice it but that picture was exactly the way I remembered it as a child.” Mrs. Strock’s mother, Alice Hylton Hodges, and Mrs. Keith were girlhood friends. Mrs. Strock’s mother married and moved to the Claudeville area of Patrick County, but every year, the family would pack up in a covered wagon and make the journey up the Rye Cove Road to the top of the mountain. Then, they would cross onto the dirt road where the Blue Ridge Zoo is located now (see the BACKROADS featured in our August issue), go by the old Langhorne Mill and then on to Willis by way of the Keith’s house. There was a beautiful farm they passed owned by John Cruise also and Mrs. Strock said they were such nice people and that once they were caught in a snow storm on their journey and spent the night at the Cruise farm.