Archive for April, 2011
After the wonderful visit here by Homer and Linda Hickam and then recently receiving their newsletter with such a glowing description of their visit: Dear Gentle and Prodigious Readers:
We’ve posted our newsletter on my blog with LOTS of photos and news.
Hope you enjoy it.
Our family here feels such deep concern for them and the People of Alabama who have been so badly hurt in last nights storms. Our own Pulaski town and Draper were hit by tornadoes in one of the recent waves and though we too have experienced the destruction I cannot put in word what it must feel to those who have lost loved ones today.
Mike McMillion and his bike shop are now posed at the entrance to the Dora Trail in the now reconstructed Historic
Pulaski Train Station. It was so good to hear of a bike trail like the Dora and New River now having ties to a local bike shop.
Rochelle and Frank just returned from the 12th annual McGlothlin Awards at Radford University and what a wonderful event it was! Teachers are such a wondrous gift to the children of the world and to see them honored in such a great way made my heart jump. Thank you to Thomas McGlothlin and his family Foundation. Thank you to Radford University and to Blue Ridge Public Television for the educations they supply us all on a daily basis. And Thank you to Homer Hickam for the insightful stories about his teachers and their inspiration to him.
The best part of the Awards was the fact that one of our local girls who graduated from RU and teaches at Belview Elementary in Montgomery County VA won. Congratulations to Lisa Taylor. Keep up the good work and enjoy your travels.
Also due congratulations is the secondary winner Liz Phillips from Wallace Middle School in Washington County Va. And to the finalists in both categories and all the other teachers who inspire children everyday we thank you.
150 years ago the first shot of the Civil War was fired. The first Russian Cosmonaut 50 years ago. First space shuttle was launched 30 years ago. Also the first visit by Homer Hickam here at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast. The auther of the Rocket Boys/ October Sky and now The Dinosaur Hunter which I just started reading. Interesting how the NASA Engineer who started life changes with his facination of Sputnik crossing the October Sky is here on this anniversary of so many accomplishments.
It is such a pleasure to continue the working farm tradition here at Rockwood Manor. Our family forefathers came from Scotch Irish roots and raising cattle was second nature to them. What better business to start here in the New World. Following in the footsteps of these various frontier families where many of their fortunes were based on the cattle industry. Cloyd’s , Kents, McGavocks, Buchanans, and others built up considerable wealth and we often tell our guests that it was the cows that built Rockwood.
Frances Bell was an adept cattle trader and as such traveled the Valleys of Virginia bringing cattle back to his home farm in Swoope, Augusta County, Virginia which he ran with his brother Samuel Hays Bell. In his travels to the New River Valley he met and learned from master trader James Randal Kent who was married to Mary Cloyd and lived at Buchanans’ Bottom ( now known as Kentland and owned by Virginia Tech) J.R. Kent was the wealthiest man in Montgomery County. He had five daughters and Frances (b1820) married Sarah James Kent (b1824) in 1855.
In a wonderful book “Virginia’s Cattle Story” The First Four Centuries by Katherine Brown & Nancy Sorrells the real story of cattle in American history outlines the bringing of the cattle to Jamestown and Williamsburg. From there various breeds were imported and some cattle were actually first exported back to England by great grandfather Frances Bell and sold as “Pulaski Beef”. His sons escorted shiploads of cattle and that sounds like a job to me. A picture of Rockwood Manor and story of “Fat Cattle” can be found on page 147-8.
The home here went from strictly raising beef to become a dairy in the early 1900’s and now we are back to raising beef again. The cows are very curious creatures with a wonderful herding instinct and our guests really enjoy their presence. You will too.
Homer Hickam guest at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast while presenting the McGlothlin Awards at Radford University
One of my heros is coming to visit us at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast while he presents “The McGlothlin Awards” at Radford University. Growing up in a small town in the West Virginia coalfields he and a group of his friends formed a small club that became later in life a book the “Rocket Boys: A Memoir” . This grew into another book about The Coalwood Way” and that was turned into a Hollywood Movie called October Sky.
As a writer and an adventurer he has continued on with multiple stories and has become accomplished as a speaker and presenter. Check him out at
The McGlothlin Awards are a blessing to the teachers of Southwest Virginia and given once a year to the outstanding teachers of the year. We would like to thank Tom McGlothlin and his family foundation for these honors.
|(Roanoke, VA)- The McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence are awarded at Radford University, granted in the amount of $25,000 each to two outstanding teachers. These awards are tied with the nation’s largest awards to teachers-the Milkin and the Disney awards-but are only offered to teachers from communities in the Blue Ridge regions of Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.|
The purpose of these awards, now in its 12th year, is to “find the best teachers working in today’s classrooms around our region. We want to recognize their fine work, reward them for it, and by so doing inspire others to the high qualities they exemplify. This award recognizes in a rather significant way what we consider one of the most important professions-and one with so many unsung heroes.”
My wife Rochelle and I are fans of the New River Community College’s Fiddle, Banjo and Dance Club and for years this group has been putting on shows next door in the wonderful Edwards Hall once a month. Usually they are free to the public and donations are asked for the Bands. We rarely get to enjoy these events as our events and weddings are on almost the same schedules. On our 4th Anniversary this past weekend (April 2nd) we did obtain tickets ( the last four) to see the “Cracker Barrel sponsored group Dailey & Vincent. A sold out show and I can see why!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were simply blown away. What a group of fine musicians and their harmonies were amazing. The Bassman (Christian)
was absolutely incredible. And the show was not only a mixture of Bluegrass and Gospel but a great comedy routine too. I cannot stress the fact that if you have the opportunity to see these guys in action you must take it. I am already planning to be there next year when they return on April 28 2012. Which will be the Reenactment of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain weekend too. TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!! Come and see both of these and have a wonderful stay at Rockwood Manor too.