Author John Zobel Visits Martin Mitchell, Exploring the Bluemont Connection to Early Flight

Author John Zobel of Seattle visited Martin Mitchell December 5, 2016, to fill in his mental picture of Jerome Fanciulli, publicist of early flight, who worked for aircraft pioneer Glenn Curtiss from 1909-1912.

Zobel came to Bluemont in search of insights on Fanciulli--to better understand what went on at a personal level among the players in the ambitious, risky, fast-moving, acrimonious, lawsuit-riddled, small world of those who explored the development of man-guided flight.


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The Lives and Times of the Snickersville Academy:
The Story Continues--
Even MORE Lively History Comes to Bluemont

This year's Bluemont Fair featured touches of history (as well as American Indian pre-history).

Nolan Barzee of Mr. Print in Purcellville provided horse-drawn wagon rides from the rear of Epling Landscaping into the Boulder Crest property, recalling the times when the village roads were for horses and foot-traffic only (picture right). Other highlights:

--Indian village--exclusive to the 2016 Bluemont Fair;

--More re-enactmants contemplated for 2017's Bluemont Fair;

--First community use of Snickersville Academy in over a century...

All this and more...

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See the "Lives and Times of the Snickersville Academy"
at the Bluemont Fair!

September 3, 2016

The newly restored Snickersville Academy, built in 1825 as Bluemont's first school and church, will be open to visitors Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 during the 2016 Bluemont Fair, September 17-18.

Come and see our restoration!

A handsome new permanent sign in front of the building will tell visitors about the “Lives and Times of the Snickersville Academy.”


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Banners & Hand Maps Highlight Bluemont History

The Heritage Committee of the Bluemont Citizens Association and other local history-minded organizations have joined forces with Friends of Bluemont to bring out the stories behind the memorable buildings of Bluemont.

The bright blue banners you see all over Bluemont mark the dates of our most historic buildings.

Hand maps, a “Walking Tour of Old Bluemont,” guide you to the major points of historical interest. Use your smart phone to scan QR code at bottom of card for more details on each place. During the Bluemont Fair, you can pick up this free map at the E.E. Lake Store and the Bluemont General Store.



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Ryland "Bert" Ruble, WD&O Engineer

Ryland "Bert" Ruble, W& OD EngineerBy Susan Freis Falknor
November 22, 2015

Among the many engineers who drove the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad was Ryland "Bert" Ruble, pictured at the control, right.

The train connected Northern Virginia to Alexandria during the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s.

Many thanks to the generosity of Ruble's grandaughter Mary Timpano, formerly of Round Hill, for pictures of Ruble and other shots of the W&OD. ...see more train pictures...

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Bluemont’s Jerome Fanciulli: Publicist of Early Flight

By Susan Freis Falknor
October 18, 2015

Fanciulli and CurtissBluemont’s Jerome Fanciulli is an example of how local history sometimes intertwines with history of the country and the story of technology.

Known to his Bluemont neighbors as a Ford truck dealer, Jerome Fanciulli was also a well-known turn-of-the-century promoter whose abilities as a reporter, manager, marketer, event organizer, salesman, and talent-spotter helped to usher in the age of flight. (photo: A young Fanciulli with Glenn Curtiss at the controls.)

By staging flying demonstrations all around the country for aviator and businessman Glenn H. Curtiss, Fanciulli helped establish in the public mind that what had yesterday was impossible—pilot-directed, motorized flight—had become a reality. more...

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Introducing Ashford Weadon, Early Patriarch of Carrington House
By Mark Weadon and Kandy Higinbotham
August 29, 2015

AshfordWeadonFamily1887A few Bluemonters today still remember Mollie Weadon, who lived in the old stone Carrington House. She housed and fed travelers and summer guests in early decades of the 20th century until her death in 1944.

.....Genealogical curiosity led coauthor of this article, Mark Weadon, who is a great-great-great grandson of Ashford and Laurinda Weadon, to visit Bluemont several years ago.

He is hoping to learn exactly what happened to Carrington House upon Mollie Weadon's death. He assumes the estate went to Mollie's sons (Paul, Tucker (Clifford), Karl (Charles), and Lee) who then sold it to the subsequent owner. He is particularly interested in contacting the descendants of one of these sons (most likely the eldest, Paul) whom he has reason to believe is in possession of a family Bible containing more information on Ashford Weadon's possibly Revolutionary War forebears ...more....

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The Ancestry and Inheritance of William Clayton

We know that William Clayton founded Snickersville—now known as Bluemont—at the turn of the 19th century. But who was William Clayton? Where did he come from? How long had his family been in America? Was he from the well-known Quaker Clayton family of Pennsylvania?

This article by William Clayton's descendant Don Coram takes up this question and finds documentary evidence to demonstrate that the answer is “yes.” ...more...

Release from Orphans Court - Clayton

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Bluemont Celebrates 190th Anniversary of Snickersville Academy
Susan Freis Falknor
May 28, 2015

On May 16, Bluemonters celebrated the 190th anniversary of the village's first school and church, the venerable Snickersville Acacamy. ...more...

190th Anniversary Honorees

Snickersville Academy, May 16, 2015. Honorees: Susan Freis Falknor (Friends of Bluemont), Rev. Wesley Corber (Bluemont United Methodist Church), Don Coram (descendant of Amos and Elizabeth Clayton), Mark Zalewski (Friends of Bluemont Vice President for Restoration), Ernest Gibson (descendant of Susie Neal) Janet Clarke (Loudoun County Blue Ridge Commissioner), Courtney Gibson (Susie Neal descendant), and Allen Cochran (historic building restorer). Note that the Gibson brothers were born in the cabin during Susie Neal's tenure there, the 1940s to the 1970s. Glasses of champagne poured for toast--lower right.
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Bluemont's Clayton Hall Hosted 1817 Meeting
for First Operating U.S Turnpike

By Susan Freis Falknor
May 8, 2015

Notice Snickersville Turnpike Meeting 1817Thanks to Joe George, a descendant of Bluemont village’s founding family, William and Sarah Clayton, we have received a copy of a historic meeting notice. The notice in the Genius of Liberty newspaper announces the 1817 meeting of the board of the country’s first operating turnpike, at Bluemont’s historic Clayton Hall.

According to the Loudoun History website: The Snickersville Turnpike was established not by “…the first law authorizing a toll road in the United States, but was the first recorded turnpike in operation, opening by the end of 1786. Thomas Jefferson, who was at least a moral backer of the enterprise, pronounced it a success.”

That the meeting of the board was held at Clayton Hall (the house of Amos Clayton) suggests that by the early 1800s Snicker’s Gap had become—not just the remote limit—but the center of gravity of what is now called the Snickersville Turnpike.  ...more...

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Gladys Ashby, in mid-1940s

Ashby Family of Bluemont, Mid-1940s

This candid photo captures a teen-age Gladys Ashby, one morning in Bluemont, around 1943 or 1944.

She sits in front of Bluemont's historic E.E. Lake Store, where the U.S. Post Office was located at that time. Her schoolbooks are piled up beside her. She seems to be wearing glasses.

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Costello & Carter: Families Living in Snickersville Academy--1930s & 1940s

By Susan Freis Falknor
February 7, 2015

Snickersville Academy as family home, 1940sTwo families made their home in the Snickersville Academy in the 1930s and 1940s, before Susie Neal came in in the mid-1940s: These were the Costellos (pronounced COST-el-los) and Mrs. Bessie Carter. 

Long-time Bluemonter Martin Mitchell remembers these families from his childhood.

Bud and Molly Costelllo lived in the Snickersville Academy, Bluemont’s first school and church,  in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Mrs. Carter made the log house her home
during 1941 or 1942. ...more...

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Snickersville Academy Gets New Door for ChristmasNew Door for Snickersville Academy

The Snickersville Academy got a new (restored) front door for Christmas, thanks to Mark Zalewski and Alan Cochran.

The thoughtful gift arrived just in time to move the wreath (donated by Bluemonter Joy Peltier) from the chimney wall over to the door.

DON'T MISS the story of a Snickersville Academy Christmas (December 19 post, below) by Ronn Spinner, a great-great grandchild of long-time Academy resident, Susie Neal.

Please visit and LIKE Friends of Bluemont on Facebook. ...more...

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Christmas at the Cabin:
Ronn Spinner Remembers Christmas with Grandma Susie Neal

December 19, 2014
By Ronn Spinner, Sr.

SusieNeal&Family1970s at Snickersville AcademyAt Grandma's house it was not much emphasis put on the so called glitter of the Christmas season. All that really mattered was the reason for the season. It was more important to give than receive. Putting up a tree to see how it looked after all the trimming brought so much joy and unity to the family.

Walks up and down Snickersville Pike, admiring the decorations and sights, was our way of having fun.

During those days there were actually sleigh rides and Christmas caroling. ...more...

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Ronn Spinner Remembers His Brother Rocky and their Childhood with Grandmother Susie Neal in Bluemont

December 9, 2014

Mrs. and Mr. Falknor,

How are you?  Have'nt spoken for quite some time. So much has taken place in my life at such a fast pace I find myself lost here and there. But because of my faith in God and good, I always bounce back.

Rocky G. Spinner at Bluemont Fair with Susan Freis Falknor, September 20, 2014Our dear brother Rocky visited the cabin [Snickersville Academy] around late September, [at the Bluemont Fair]  with Aunt Susie [Sue Gibson Colbert] and some of my other relatives.

I did not make it due to other obligations, although I wish I had come. Something strange was taking  place all along, beyond mere human capacity.

Rocky just had to be there, as he said many times after his visit. He called me on his way back from there and said....

''Ronn, it was so nice just being there where mom & Grandma Susie were, and it felt like home''....

Well Mrs. Falknor,  .. our dear brother passed three days later at the young age of 56. We have pictures of his last visit to the cabin enlarged and he was waving from the window of the cabin as if he knew he was going home to be with mom. That was October the eighth! Dad passed just recently also only three weeks later, and he often talked about the cabin.

My mind often goes back to my youthful days of Bluemont and I see Rocky and all of us running up  & down the pike heading to what was called Mr. Mann's grocery store, cashing in pop bottles for penny candy and pop.

Thank you so much for keeping me (us) in connection with all our fond memories of such a wonderful time & place. I will be coming through real soon just to reminisce a little more...

Ronn Spinner Sr.

(Picture: Rocky G. Spinner at the Bluemont Fair [E.E Lake Store] with Susan Freis Falknor, Saturday, September 20, 2014.)

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"Chinker in a Bag" -- Unusual Gift Teaches Local History to Kids at the Bluemont Fair

Chinker in a Bag GiftA log cabin gets its strength--not only from the heavy tree trunks of the walls--but also from the daub between them, reinforced with stones called "chinkers."

During the 2014 Bluemont Fair, this lesson was brought home to children who visited Bluemont's first school and church.

Usable chinking stones are about the size and shape of your hand with fingers held straight out and touching together. Apparently the stones got their name from the "chink" sound they make when they bump together ...more...

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Kids from My First Camp at Bluemont Visit Snickersville Academy
August 15, 2014
By Susan Freis Falknor

Children & JustinOn Friday, August 15, fourteen children ages five to eight walked from the Bluemont Community Center to the Snickersville Academy, accompanied by teacher Lynn Harris, parent Christiana Boucher, and Friends of Bluemont President Susan Freis Falknor.

They met log craftsmen Justin LaMountain and Eric Westergard. They listened carefully as Justin explained the pioneer technique of chink and daub at Bluemont's first school and church, now being restored by Friends of Bluemont.


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Chink & Daub at Snickersville Academy--Racing Towards Bluemont Fair
August 11, 2014
By Susan Freis Falknor

The chink and daub wJustin Sprays Water Closeork to seal the log walls of the Snickersville Academy--heading for completion this summer--gives, as Justin LaMountain remarks--"a new meaning to the words, 'restoration using local materials.'"

Not only are the daub and chinking stones and logs of local origin, the very water he is using to prevent and seal up cracks comes right from the creek that runs by the Academy, explains Justin.

By the time of the Bluemont Fair (September 20-21 this year) all the log and stonework should be complete....


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Lucy Ann Bradfield Sampler1826 Sampler Commemorates Bluemont's Snickersville Academy
June 16, 2014

A historic sampler has come to light from the earliest days of Snickersville, now called Bluemont.

The elaborately embroidered sampler is decorated with the alphabet in print and script as well as the numerals, festooned with grapes, pineapples, rosebuds, ivy vines, and a weeping willow tree.

It bears the inscription: “Lucy Ann Bradfield, Snickersville Academy, 1826." ...more...

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It's Official, Bluemont.... We're Historic!
February 4, 2014

New Bluemont Historical MarkerThree new landmark signs, plus one installed near Aldie in 2012, reflect many years of behind-the-scenes work by community leaders. The large, die-cast metal signs, readable from a car or on foot --perform well in transmitting a lot of history quickly.

The new signs are part of a restoration trend that is beginning to re-define Bluemont and shape it again into a Western Loudoun visitors’ destination. The establishment of the Bluemont Mill and Train Station on Railroad Street a few years ago, plus the ongoing projects to restore the E.E. Lake Store and the Snickersville Academy for public use embody this trend. more...

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"Snickersville Academy Restoration Advances"
By Margaret Morton
LEESBURG TODAY, August 8, 2013

Snickersville Academy restoration and family of long-time resident, Susie Neal, were featured recently in one of Loudoun County's leading newspapers, Leesburg Today. Click HERE to read story online. When in the Leesburg Today story, be sure to click on both "thumbnails" to enjoy both photos.)

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Susie Neal's great-great grandchild in antique rockerCorley Gift Brings Snickersville
Academy Rocking Chair Back Home

This picture shows a little great-great-granddaughter of Susie Neal, the beloved Black housekeeper and cook who lived in the Snickersville Academy building from the 1940s through the 1970s.

On a recent visit to Bluemont, the little girl tried out this antique rocking chair. According to Ronn Spinner, Susie Neal's grandson, this was his grandmother's favorite chair.

Several of the grandchildren of Susie Neal, now themselves grandparents, plan to come to the Snickersville Academy during the Bluemont Fair (September21-22, 2013) to tell stories of visiting their grandmother in Bluemont as children.

The hand crafted rocker was donated to Friends of Bluemont by Don and Linda Corley, who lived in Bluemont for many years.

See story by Margaret Morton in Leesburg Today.


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MARTIN MITCHELL: Eight Decades of Bluemont Lore

Martin & homesteadBorn in 1930, Martin Mitchell is one of the village's longest-term residents.

He is reputed to know more about what happened in Bluemont over the past eight decades than perhaps anyone else.

In a January 2013 interview, he talked about a childhood in the Great Depression; his joyous marriage to "the girl next door," Betty Allder; how he obtained his homestead in Bluemont; and his family life with daughter Sandy Mitchell Cochran, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Later stories will cover his long-time service to and friendship with Bluemont luminary Jerome Fanciulli, publicist of early flight and a Ford Dealer in Virginia and Maryland, and his service at the "Big Dig" at Mount Weather on the Blue Ridge.


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"Precious, Precious Memories": Marie Scott Recalls Her Life and TimesJerry & Shelley Lincoln, Mary Scott, Bobby Gibson-250

Born in 1938, Marie Scott comes out of the old Black community of Bluemont. In this interview Marie recalls her family, her childhood, and her working life, during which, for 33 years, she was a well-known presence in the Leesburg office of beloved veterinarian Dr. Kent C. Roberts, and after him, Dr. Chamberlin and Dr. Washington. ...more...

Left: Mary Scott and neighnborhood children play at the Scott's Clayton Hall Road childhood home.

See letter on Marie Scott in Feb 4, 2012 Blue Ridge Leader.

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Roberta Underwood TodayRoberta Underwood: A Gift for Storytelling

Born in 1925, raised in Airmont, schooled in Bluemont, and now a resident of Berryville-- Roberta Underwood has a gift for storytelling. In her December 1, 2011 interview, she talked about her early life on her parent's farm, artistic and literary neighbors, a life as a teenager in the war years, and the independent-minded community which started the Bluemont Fair.

NOTE: Roberta McCarty Underwood, 89, of Berryville, Virginia, died Thursday, November 20, 2014.

"Part I: Beginnings," covers an childhood in the tiny village of Airmont and school days at the Bluemont School. ....more...
"Part II: The War Years," covers how World War II affected the lives of people in Western Loudoun and tells how the annual Bluemont Fair began. .... more...

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Find additional articles.... 2012...2011... 2010 ... 2009 ...2008


Bluemont Heritage Tour Guide --
click here.

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SEE STORIES ON 190TH ANNIVERSARY of Snickersville Academy in LEESBURG TODAY (May 5, 2015) & PURCELLVILLE GAZETTE, (May 15, 2015).
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Read about the HISTORY of Bluemont!
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Read about restoring Bluemont's 1825 SNICKERSVILLE ACADEMY...
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Find ALL our stories from past years.
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Best Book about Bluemont

From Snickersville to Bluemont: The Biography and History of a Village by Jean Herron Smith, Evelyn Porterfield Johnson, and Robert Hoffman.

Snickersville to Bluemont

For ordering information, email

Bluemont Note Cards

Featuring 3 scenes of Bears Den based on antique postcards.

Bears Den Cards

For details & to purchase...

If YOUR House Could Talk

Does your house have a story to tell?

In 2009, Friends of Bluemont launched a new project—“If This House Could Talk” —to spotlight homes or other buildings of the Bluemont area – houses up on the mountain, down in the village, and nearby. We will be taking photos, collecting stories, and scanning historic photographs and documents.

Most of Bluemont is outside of the village itself.  We'd love to hear from anyone in the 20135 zip code, or just beyond the official boundary, with something interesting to tell.