Monday, May 31, 2010

Siloam Methodist Church, Toshes, Pittsylvania Co. Virginia

Siloam Methodist Church - Established 1832

The original Siloam Church was located on part of the present graveyard on this hilltop above Daniel Crider's 1791 mill site. The oldest graves seem to be in the center of this photograph. Other fenced family graveyards are over the hill at the right and left from this view.
This vied of Smith Mountain is from the dirt road to the church from the main Toshes Road which is about 200 yards to the east of the church.

Several families have individual iron-fenced family graveyards around the church.

Siloam Methodist Church was established in 1832 on Toshes Road less than half a mile south of the old Daniel Crider Mill site. Geroge Tosh and his wife Catherine gave one acre of land for the church and graveyard. In 1861, his son George Tosh, Jr. and wife Lucy gave an additional acre to expand the large graveyard.

In 1937, the WPA Historical Inventory recorded the church members for the year 1858. The names here are listed alphabetically:

Arthur, Vincent
Bailey, Celia
Bennett, Booker C.
Bennett, Jonathan
Bennett, Mildred
Bennett, Polly
Bennett, Reuben A.
Bennett, Richard
Bennett, Susan A.
Bennett, Therisa
Bennett, Wm. H.
Berger, Ann
Berger, Anna
Berger, David
Berger, Hester A. R.
Berger, Sam D.
Crider, Celia
Crider, Henry
Dickinson, Bettie A.
Duncan, Mary C.
Franklin, Elizabeth
Franklin, Francis A.
Franklin, Ophelia
Franklin, Sarah
Franklin, Tarlton
Franklin, Tenify
George, Elizabeth
Glenn, Zorada
Goad, Nancy
Graves, David S.
Graves, Elmira
Graves, Hafey
Graves, Ivanna
Graves, Thomas
Hatchett, Cornelia
Hogan, Elizabeth
Hudson, Nancy K.
Jefferson, Thomas B.
Jones, John H.
McClanahan, Charles
McClanahan, Rosa
McClanahan, Sallie
McClanahan, Winaford
McCrickard, Bettie
McCrickard, Gillie
McCrickard, John
McCrickard, Mary
McCrickard, Polly
McCrickard, Robert
McCrickard, Samuel
Pickeral, Lucy A.
Pickeral, Martha
Ramsey, Isaiah
Ramsey, Matilda
Ramsey, Sarah
Ramsey, Thomas
Robertson, Wm.
Saunders, Fannie B.
Saunders, Sarah E.
Shelhorse, Celia
Shelhorse, James A.
Shelhorse, Susan
Tates, Nancy
Thompson, Gabriel
Toivler, Joseph L.
Toler, William
Tosh, Daniel
Tosh, Elizabeth
Tosh, George
Tosh, Lucy
Wagoner, Charles W.
Watson, Pauline
Yates, Linda Ann
Slave members, who only had first names, were listed with the name of the family to which they belonged:

Amy (Ramsey’s)
Ann (Ramsey’s)
Ayrena (Graves’)
Booker (Saunder’s)
Carter (Saunder’s)
Celia (Jefferson’s)
Clorina (Thompson’s)
Delcy (Wright’s)
Edmund (Cole’s)
Emily (Crider’s)
Harriet (Robertson’s)
Jack (Graves’)
Julia (Wright’s)
Kezziah (Parker’s)
Loinza (Saunder’s)
Love (Graves’)
Lucindy (Thacker’s)
Matilda (Thompson’s)
Pauline (Watson’s)
Rachel (Robertson’s)
Rebecca (Ramsey’s)
Robert (Reynond’s)
Simon (Saunder’s)
White (Crider’s)
Winney (Thompson’s)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Exploring the Mill Site on Frying Pan Creek

We had a plan and we did our homework, so we found what we were looking for. We went directly to the site of Daniel Crider's old 1791 Mill site on Frying Pan Creek. My son Bobby is a direct descendant of Daniel.

When our friend Herman Melton prepared his well researched and comprehensive book Pittsylvania's Eighteenth Centruy Grist Mills in 1889, he talked with many of the old time residents of Toshes and Frying Pan Creek in Pittsylvania County. He determined that the "prescise site of his (Daniel Crider's) mill is an unknown." The mill seems to have disappeared around the time, or before, the Franklin and Pittsylvania Railroad Depot (affectionately known as the Old Fast and Perfect) was built near the tracks.

The Siloam Methodist Church at the top of the hill on the "road from Samuel Berger's Store to Daniel Crider's mill" was established in 1832. The distance from the mill to the church is only about 2,000 feet. Less than a mile, south on the eastern side of this old road is the old Berger Cemetery.

Berger Cemetery sign on the Toshes Road.

This is a marker for Jacob Berger (1745-1837) who was Chief Wagoner in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War. (more on the Berger Cemetery will appear on another blog).

The well-known Berger's Store stood across the road from the large cemetery. One of the first trustees was William Crider. He was the yougest of Daniel Crider's eleven children. He was born in 1791, the same year that he father Daniel built his mill and would have been 41 years old that year.

From the church, across the Frying Pan Creek valley, is a spectactular view of Smith Mountain and the gap where the dam was constructed much later. It is here that the Staunton River cuts through those large mountains. Between this gap and the mouth of the Pig River down stream was a large Indian village prior to the European settlers arriving in this area. In 1966, I spent many days exploring the site of the Native Americans there. Look at:

On Friday, May 28, 2010, my son Bobby Ricketts of Lynchburg left home at 7 am and I left Danville at the same time. We arrived within two minutes of each other at Fred Ingram's resturant in Gretna. After breakfast, we headed to our destination on Frying Pan Creek about half way on the winding roads towards Smith Mountain Dam. The green trees and fields of rolled up freshly cut hay over the rolling countryside is beautiful this time of year.

This is a view of Smith Mountain from the edge of the Siloam Church graveyard. The old Daniel Crider Mill was just over the hill in the Frying Pan Creek bottom. The old church was established here in 1832. This view of the mountain would have been about the same in 1791 when the mill was being constructed. The gap in betwen the mountains is where the Smith Mountain Dam is now located.

Our first discovery was the old miller's house chimney, across the creek and Milam Road from the old mill site. After finding this ancient and well constructed 18th century chimney, we struggled through high weeds to the north bank of Frying Pan Creek in the direction of the old mill as shown on a map we found in Pittsylvania Courthouse. We were fortunate to find a large tree down across the creek. We walked the tree to avoid getting our feet wet.

This is a beam in the creek where we first crossed. It seems to have washed down from them mill site. Not the larges bolt at left and the bent large nail at bottom left. The eight-inch nail or spike is shown in another photograph below.
(Note: Click on each picture to see a larger image).

Down the southern creek bank, we came to an embankment where the earth had been excavated at a ninety degree angle. The mill was constructed here with two of the walls against the earth. There were large stones forming the foundation of the other two walls which made a square about 45 feet square. The building was about 25 feet from the stream. Near the mill site was a trench in the earth which served as a race. We followed the trench up stream a couple of hundred feet. We did not find the dam site because the water was relatively deep, slightly muddy and the weeds were high at a power line where we lost the trench.

Before we crossed the creek, we spotted a large timber which had washed downstream. It was maybe 10" x 10" and about eight feet long (longer than a railroad tie). From the opposite bank we could see a large bent spike embedded in the timber. (See photograph below). The large nail or spike appears to be hand forged and could have been a part of the original mill.

Here we had just removed the spike from the large timber.

This is the fallen tree across the creek and the highway bridge in the background.

The large eight-inch curved spike at top was embedded in a large timber in the creek below the mill site. It was hand made by a blacksmith. Daniel Crider was a blacksmith, just as his father before him. We found the other one upstream in another beam.

Danny crossing Fryin Pan Creek just below Crider's Mill site on a fallen tree.

This is a retaining beam above the mill where the trestle for the F & P Railroad crossed Buck Branch near Frying Pan Creek a few hundren yards above the mill site. The Railroad crossed this branch and the main creek, then northeast to Pittsville and on to Gretna (formerly Elba and Franklin Junction). The line continued to connect with the main Southern Line from Washington to Atlanta.

Very old beam with a spike in the waters of Frying Pan Creek.

This is a bolt in a wooden beam at the site of the Buck Branch trestle. Between the mill and this branch is a very high cliff on the south side of the creek.

The is the old 1870s road bed for the Franklin and Pittsylvania Railroad. The mill was between the short distance between this road bed and the creek to the north. This is a cut to reduce the grade over a high cliff.

This is a large boulder, probably five feet high, near the mill site.

This is a broken piece of pottery in the creek near the mill.

Some of the foundation stones for Daniel Crider's Mill.
This is house on the site of Jacob Berger's home. Jacob's sister married Daniel Crider. They lived on large adjoining plantations. This house is not so far upstream near Frying Pan Creek. Behind this house is a large chimney for the older Jacob house which burned long ago. Just upstream of this house, Coleman D. Ramsey built a mill in 1886. There may have been an earlier mill at this site.

These relics were found on the hillside in the short distance between the railroad tracks and the mill site. The Coca Cola bottle is dated 1915. The shaving mug has flowers.

This piece of pottery was in the water near the mill site.

This is the chimney of the miller's house across the creek and road from the mill. It is unusually large and well constructed. It is likely that this chimney was constructed around 1791 at the same time as the mill. In 1860, Daniel Crider's grandson Peyton William Shelhorse (1815-1878) was the miller in 1860 and probably live here. My wife Nancye's grandfather was a grandson of this Peyton's sister Melissa Crider. He was named Peyton William Barbour after the old miller.

This is the outside of the old miller's house chimney. The foundation stones on the other side are about 16 x 32 feet.
For more on the Criders and Crider's Mill look at:

Thanks to Bobby Ricketts for the great photographs.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Daniel Crider's Mill

Daniel Berger Crider came from Germany into the Philadelphia harbor with his family in the 1730s and later migrated to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1790, he purchased a 500-acre tract on Frying Pan Creek. In November 1791, the court approved the construction of his mill at what later became known as Toshes. By 1804, Daniel Crider owned a total of 750 acres of land. There were 13 slaves on the plantation when Daniel Crider died in 1836:
(1) Delila born in 1790 (2) Lucinda born in 1792 and her daughter (3) Polly Catherine (4) Rhody born 1807 (5) Rachiel born 1811 and her son (6) Tom (7) Alexander born 1812 (8) Harrison born 1814 (9) Frances born 1825 (19) Nancy born 1826 (11) Richard born 1831 (12) Booker born 1831 (13) Elizabeth born 1832.

The mill remained in the Crider and Shelhorse famalies for almost a hundred years. James Moody Shelhorse married Susan Crider, a grand daughter of Daniel Crider in 1857. In 1879, James M. Shelhorse purchased the "mill tract" and 255 acres of land.

James Moody Shelhorse (1837-c1888)

James Moody Shelhorse was born July 26, 1837 and died before June 25, 1888. This hand colored portrait of James came to my wife Nancye from her cousin Carol Ramsey Savage in Colorado. Another cousin, Cathy Skora, provided some of the old family photographs. James M. Shelhorse was their great grandfather. This 1887 map from Pittsylvania Courthouse shows the location of the old 1791 Daniel Crider Mill at Toshes. The mill is near the road on the south side of the road. Note the dotted line which is the Franklin and Pittsylvania Railroad. The nickname "Fast and Perfect" was a complete joke. It was neither. During its 54 years of existence, there was one year when a profit was realized from its operation from Gretna to Rocky Mount. The railroad was said to have crossed what is now state route 40, back and forth, as many as 39 times. The tract at right labeled "Jas. M. Shelhorse former purchase 46 acres" makes the total acreage over 300 acres.

This is the 46 or 49 acres (surveys have a disclaimer "be it more or less") which shows "The Old Shelhorse House." This is a part of the map above. The adjacent lands on the southeast are those of Col. George T. Berger. The "Road from Crider's Old Mill" is now SR 768 "Milam Road."

On April 17, 1877, James M. Shelhorse and wife Susan signed a contract with the Pigg River Mining Company. The company agreed to pay Shelhorse one-tenth of the net profits made on any minerals removed from his lnad and "after 10 years said L. Scott will have the option of the entire mineral rights on said lands paying the sume of $10,000."
Another agreement was signed after James M. Shelhorse died for the benefit of his children.
There was an agreement made on June 25, 1888 between the Heirs of Peyton W. Crider (who died in 1878) and Edward Hutter of Lynchburg” concerning “lands containing valuable ores and minerals and “desirous the same be developed and mined and taken away provided they receive a fair compensation for the same. This is the land where “a certain Peyton W. Crider died, seized and possessed of a tract of 190 acres.” Peyton W. Crider was the son of William Crider and brother of Susan who was married to the deceased James M. Shelhorse. The heirs were to receive fifteen cents royalty on each ton of iron ore, which was mined and removed. Involved in this lease were: W. H. Shelhorse, Angeline E. Hardy (Obediah Hardy), Caroline M. Barbour (Christopher Martin Barbour), James Daniel Shelhorse, Celia A. Shelhorse, William H. Hatchett (Edward Hatchett) (Nancy Hatchett), Peyton W. Shelhorse, James Daniel Shelhorse, --- Crider guardian for the infant children of Melissa Shelhorse, Nancy Payne (John Coleman Payne), John Witcher guardian for Jacob and Ardenia Shelhorse, infant children of James M. Shelhorse, C. A. Shelhorse and William H. Shelhorse.
This land with iron ore appears to be the old Crider home tract, which descended from Daniel Crider in 1836 to William Cider and then to Peyton C. Crider and these nieces and nephews.
Daniel Crider was born in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1744. He married Catherine Berger in 1765 and they had eleven children. His youngest child William Crider seems to have continued to operate the mill. He married Celia Young on January 6, 1814. Their only son Peyton William Cryder (1815-1878) operated the mill. There were three daughters. Daughter Susan Crider married James Moody Shelhorse (who is mentioned above) on June 11, 1857. Daughter Adaline Crider married James M. Shelhorse's brother William Henry Shelhorse on September 1857. The other daughter Melissa Elizabeth Crider was born on February 28, 1826. On April 1, 1844, at age 18, Melissa married William Gregory (1822-1915). On November 22, 1846, twin girls were born and Melissa died during or shortly after their birth. Photographs of both twins, Angeline and Caroline Elizabeth have been handed down.

Angeline Gregory Hughey (1846-1911)

Angeline was born November 22, 1846 and died on March 30, 1911. She married George W. Hughey. Their two sons died in 1882 during the diphtheria epidemic. As a widow, Angeline went to live with her nephew Peyton W. Barbour and his wife Ardenia "Dennie." Ardenia Elizabeth Shelhorse, who married Peyton W. Barbour, was a daughter of James Moody Shelhorse and wife the former Susan Crider.

Christopher Martin Barbour (1841-1910) & Caroline Elizabeth Gregory Barbour (1846-1927) (marriage 27 Nov 1870). This is from a tin-type photograph.

Caroline Gregory was born on November 22, 1846 and died August 1, 1927. She is buried on the Old Mine Road near Toshes. When her mother Melissa died at childbirth, she and Angeline were taken in by their grandfather William Crider and his wife Celia.

This is the census taker's own handwriting when he came around the "Berger's Store" post office area around Frying Pan Creek on June 29, 1860. The area around Crider's Mill was called Berger's Store after a store on the road not far south of the mill. Jacob Berber was born on December 1745 in Pennsylvania and came to Pittsylvania County with William Crider. William Crider's wife Catherine Berger was a sister of Jacob. The Berger property was adjacent to the Crider property on the south. With William Crider, who was born in 1791, and his wife Celia, who was born in 1795, is their son Peyton William Crider and the twins Angeline and Caroline, then 14 years old. At this time, James M. Shelhorse and William's daughter Susan A. and two of their sons, Peyton W. and James D. Shelhorse. 2010 is a census year. It is interesting to imagine the census worker knocking on the Crider's door and listing these nine people for a permanent record. The census today is entrusted to the White House and the U. S. mail. Does that give you confidence? This was before the Civil War began. There were probably slaves on the plantation at this time which were passed down from Daniel Crider.

Peyton William Barbour, born 1874, was a son of Christopher Martin and Caroline Gregory Barbour.
Ardenia Shelhorse Barbour (1878-1965) married Peyton W. Barbour on 7 October 1896. Their son Ray Barbour was my wife Nancye's father.

Read more about the mill: