The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - March, 1984

Issue: March, 1984

Dear Mountain Laurel Staff,

Just a note to let you know that I have really enjoyed the few issues of your paper I've seen. I'm going to see more from now on.

I would like to correct the spelling of two names in the picture, "The Meadows of Dan School" You had Carson Sparley and Alpha Sparley in the picture. The name is Sparger. The reason I know is because William Carson Sparger was my father. He died October 26, 1981. Would you please correct this so people will know?

I was born in "The Hollow", Virginia, April 5, 1927 and have lived in Spencer, North Carolina the last 50 years. I dearly love the mountains and visit every chance I get.

Sincerely yours,

Emil A. Sparger
Spencer, N.C.

Dear Mountain Laurel Staff,

I think your paper is great! I get so anxious from issue to the next and when it does arrive, I put everything on "hold" until I have read every word. Meadows of Dan is my home originally and having heard of and knowing so many people of whom you write, makes the paper more meaningful and interesting to me.

The Mountain Laurel travels far and near. I would like to add one more state to its travels by sending a gift subscription to a relative in Missouri.

I have enclosed a stamped, self addressed envelope. I will greatly appreciate it if you will send me the full address of the lady from El Paso, Texas who wrote to you in the February issue. Her letter stated that her great aunt was Sarah Brammer, who married Billy Shelor, a Baptist preacher. Those two people were my grandparents. I would like very much to contact her.

Thank you. Keep up the good work with this wonderful little paper, The Mountain Laurel.

Mildred Cruise
Hillsville, Va.

Dear Editor,

I can hardly wait to get my "Mountain Laurel" each month. I enjoy it very much. I'm sending a paper that you may or may not want to print, but Irvin Scott mentioned in this paper was my father. We lived on Renfore Ridge when I was a small child. My father passed away January 1953, at age 59 years. The land has changed hands several times. If anyone out there has more information, I'd enjoy hearing from them. My father showed me the Renfore Grave many times.

Meda Scott Turner
Route 1, Box 149A
Ferrum, Va. 24088

SUBJECT: Renfore Ridge.

LOCATION: Near the Shooting Creek section of Franklin County, 20 miles from Rocky Mount, Virginia, Route 40 crosses this ridge 2 miles west of Ferrum, Virginia, on the road from Rocky Mount to Woolwine, Virginia, in Patrick County.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: In a very remote spot on this ridge is the grave of a man by the name of Renfore, from which it received its name. Tradition has it that two brothers by the name of Renfore were hunting on this ridge in the early part of the 1800's, long before there were any settlers in this section, each wearing bear-skin covers, and that one morning early when the fog was very heavy, while hunting in these mountains one of the brothers, wrapped in his bear-hide and watching for wild game, was mistaken for a bear and shot down, killed instantly by the other brother. The slain brother was buried in some sort of fashion by his grief-stricken brother on the spot, and a wooden pen was placed around the grave as a marker, which could be seen by the old settlers some 90 years ago. After the first wooden pen decayed, a second one was made and placed around the grave by the late G.L. McAlexander, who lived near the spot and who had heard his grandfather tell of this tragedy.

This old grave is on the property now owned by Irvin Scott, and can be readily pointed out by him. While a small portion of the land has been cleared in this boundary, the roads are still unimproved, and covered wagons are constantly seen in the remote section.


Please find enclosed my check for $10.00 for 2 years subscription to your very fine newspaper. Although I live in South Carolina, I own 73 acres of land in Grayson County, near Independence, Va. While visiting there some time back, I chanced to buy one of your papers and was very pleased with it, especially the Backroads article. Since that first paper, I have bought one every time I visit my farm, but that is seldom and erratic because of the heavy work loads at my place of employment. I have regretfully missed too many of your delightful papers, so I have finally decided to subscribe.

Thank you,

R.W. Akers
Moncks Corner, S.C.

Dear Mr. Akers,

I once lived at Murrells Inlet, S.C. We were practically neighbors!

Susan Thigpen, Editor

Dear Susan,

I would like to subscribe to The Mountain Laurel and also want one for my uncle Chester Leight, who is 84 years old. He really looks forward to reading mine when I am finished; says he even reads every advertisement, then he passes it on to his sister, so it really gets around.

We have a cabin on Laurel Creek and go there every weekend so this summer we hope to follow the Backroads.


Mrs. G. Brooks
Eden, N.C.

Dear Readers,

A lot of times we get letters mentioning relatives from this area and letters from people reading them and wishing to contact relatives or old friends they have lost contact with through the years.

It does our hearts good to think that The Mountain Laurel played a part in renewing family and friendship ties. It would make it easier for us though if you would state in your original letter to us if you wish for your name and address to be given on such an occasion. We will not give out your name and address for any reason without your permission.

If you would like for your address to be printed so that readers might correspond directly to you, please state it in your letter.

Thank you,

Susan Thigpen, Editor

The Origins Of The Bowman's Of Carroll County, Virginia will be published in the near future. It contains information about the Bowman family from the 1600's till 1983. Pre-published price is $28.00 plus $2.00 postage. After publishing cost will be $35.00 plus $2.00 postage. It will be done in album fashion with posts in order that families may add additional family sheets. For more information contact:

Regina B. Manuel
750 W. Pine Street
Wytheville, Va. 24382