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.
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).
--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
All this and more...
See the "Lives and Times of the Snickersville
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.
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.
Ryland "Bert" Ruble,
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
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...
Bluemont’s Jerome Fanciulli:
Publicist of Early Flight
By Susan Freis
October 18, 2015
Jerome Fanciulli is an example of how local history sometimes
intertwines with history of the country and the story of
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. ...read
Ashford Weadon, Early Patriarch of Carrington House
By Mark Weadon and Kandy
August 29, 2015
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
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....
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.”
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...
|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.
Clayton Hall Hosted 1817 Meeting
for First Operating U.S Turnpike
By Susan Freis Falknor
May 8, 2015
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...
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
& Carter: Families Living in Snickersville Academy--1930s
By Susan Freis Falknor
February 7, 2015
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.
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.
Snickersville Academy Gets New Door for Christmas
The Snickersville Academy got a new (restored)
front door for Christmas, thanks to Mark Zalewski and Alan
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.
at the Cabin:
Ronn Spinner Remembers Christmas with Grandma Susie Neal
December 19, 2014
By Ronn Spinner, Sr.
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
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...
Ronn Spinner Remembers His Brother
Rocky and their Childhood with Grandmother Susie Neal in
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.
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
Ronn Spinner Sr.
(Picture: Rocky G. Spinner at the Bluemont Fair [E.E
Lake Store] with Susan Freis Falknor, Saturday, September
"Chinker in a Bag"
-- Unusual Gift Teaches Local History to Kids at the Bluemont
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
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...
from My First Camp at Bluemont Visit Snickersville Academy
August 15, 2014
By Susan Freis Falknor
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.
& Daub at Snickersville Academy--Racing Towards Bluemont
August 11, 2014
By Susan Freis Falknor
The chink and daub work
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,
By the time of the Bluemont Fair (September 20-21
this year) all the log and stonework should be complete....
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...
Official, Bluemont.... We're Historic!
February 4, 2014
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
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. ...read
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.)
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
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
See story by Margaret Morton in Leesburg
Eight Decades of Bluemont Lore
in 1930, Martin Mitchell is one of the village's longest-term
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
"Precious, Precious Memories": Marie Scott Recalls
Her Life and Times
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.
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.
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.
Is published by
Friends of Bluemont
Join, contribute, or shop
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STORIES ON 190TH ANNIVERSARY of Snickersville Academy
TODAY (May 5, 2015) & PURCELLVILLE
GAZETTE, (May 15, 2015).
restoring Bluemont's 1825 SNICKERSVILLE
our stories from past years.
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.
For ordering information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bluemont Note Cards
Featuring 3 scenes of Bears Den based on antique postcards.
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
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.