David Andrew Sturgill’s essay on the Ride of Martin Gambill, featured in the current AHGS newsletter, was originally part of the 1984 New River Symposium. Read his entire essay on the National Park Service’s website, and see the rest of the articles that were part of the 1984 Symposium.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE RIDE OF MARTIN GAMBILL


The Alleghany Historical Museum will re-open Thursday April 2 at 10:00, after being closed for the winter months. The first exhibit of the year will be called Faith of Our Fathers, and will focus on community church histories.The Museum is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00-5:00 and is located at 7 North Main Street in Sparta, across from the Alleghany County Courthouse.

The Museum is asking for loans and donations for the exhibit. The exhibit will begin with items already in the collection of the Alleghany Historical-Genealogical Society, but is expected to expand over the coming months with the help of the community. Please bring items for display during the Museum’s regular operating hours.

AHGS welcomes the involvement of every citizen of the county. If you’d like to volunteer or contribute to Alleghany Historical Museum, the Society is a certified 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on MUSEUM OPENS FOR 2015 SEASON


In an effort to reach potential new members, at the last meeting, the members of Alleghany Historical-Genealogical Society voted to move the meeting date and time from the fourth Sunday of the month at 2pm, to the second Friday of the month at 4pm. It is hoped that more people would be able to attend the weekday meetings. The last Sunday meeting will be April 26 at 2pm, and the first Friday meeting will be May 8 at 4pm at the Alleghany Public Library.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on AHGS MEETING DATE CHANGED

Troutdale History Tour

Saturday, May 9, 2015 – 1:15 PM – Troutdale Trading Post

Don’t miss a tour of Troutdale, Virginia, the highest incorporated town in Virginia and the first town in Virginia to have a female mayor!

Learn about: buildings that still stand and buildings that are no longer there; the trains, train station, and train tracks that are gone; the chartering of Troutdale in 1906. Listen to tidbits from stories by Sherwood Anderson, a nationally known author and Troutdale’s most famous resident. See copies of photographs from various times in Troutdale’s history. Spend about 3 hours of your Saturday afternoon and become an expert on the history of a really neat town.


Have questions or need more information? Contact the tour guide, Ed Clayton at or call Ed at 919-467-1082.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Troutdale History Tour
Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Links referenced in Spring 2014 newsletter

AHGS Wins Statewide Awards at 2013 NCSH Banquet

The North Carolina Society of Historians awarded several honors to the Alleghany Historical – Genealogical Society, Saturday, October 19 at its annual Awards Banquet in Mooresville, North Carolina.

AHGS won a Joe M. McLauren Newsletter Award for our quarterly newsletter and a Paul Green Multi Media Award for our program: Alleghany Memories- five episodes that featured Jeanette Anders, Pauline Meals,  Walter Bell, the New Haven Quilters and the History of Alleghany Cares.

Alleghany Memories won an additional Paul Green Award for four episodes produced in collaboration with the  Marine Corps League, Walter Frank Osborne, Jr. Detachment 1298, that featured local USMC veterans, Bobby Irwin, J.T. Pardue, Bill Sebastion and Charles Pugh.

Alleghany Memories is available for viewing any time at

Of 81 eligible nominations, 22 projects were awarded Paul Green Awards and of 20 eligible nominations, 7 won Joe M. McLauren newsletter awards.

Thank you to the NCSH, its Board and the Judges for these honors!


Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on AHGS Wins Statewide Awards at 2013 NCSH Banquet

A Tribute to President Kennedy

A Tribute to President Kennedy was written in 1963 by J.D. Higgins, Jr. to memorialize the fallen President and featured J.D. Higgins (Vocal), James Billings (Guitar), C. Ray Billings (Auto Harp), Paul Wooten (Bass).

This is just one of the items that were on display in the Alleghany Historical Museum for the exhibit on Mountain Music called These Hills are Alive with Music. If you have items that illustrate our common heritage, consider loaning them to the museum. More participation means more diversity, more education and more fun! The upcoming exhibit will be called Mountain Manufacturing: A History of Big Business in the Blue Ridge and will feature the factories that once operated in our area and will last through February of 2014. If you have items that you think would be appropriate,  bring them for display!

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Tribute to President Kennedy

Visit from Heather South of the Western Regional Archives in Asheville

Heather South at the WRA Opening

At right- Western Regional Archivist, Heather South (center) with Government Records Section Head, Becky McGee-Lankford (left) and State Archivist Sarah Koonts (right) at the opening of the Western Regional Archives.

If you missed the July meeting of AHGS, you missed a doozy. Heather South of the Western Regional Archives spoke about her job and the importance of proper storage and archiving techniques. Sounds dry as dust, right?

Absolutely the opposite. Heather is an enthusiastic (and fun!) speaker who gives technical information in a way even I can understand it. She says- as she holds up a giant 10″ bug- “People remember more with visuals. You’ll more easily remember what I say about pest prevention when you remember the lady with the bug.” When talking about the proper handling of documents or museum artifacts she wears a huge pair of Mickey Mouse gloves.

But, don’t let the silliness fool you. She gave us tons of practical information in her presentation. Like: People store things in boxes everywhere, in barns, basements and storage units. And tiny bugs love to make nests inside the corrugated cardboard of the boxes! So, as a rule, she isolates donations and re-boxes everything into clean, new cartons for storage at the archives.

And: Get your photos out of those magic magnetic photo albums (with the clear plastic sheet over the adhesive cardboard.) They aren’t acid-free and will slowly kill your photos instead of preserving them. Smell a photo album before you buy it for a “plastic-y” odor. If it has that beach ball smell, don’t buy it. The smell means the plastic is giving off gasses that will react with your photos. Heather claims she is “on security camera tapes all over the Carolinas smelling photo albums.”

And: Manilla folders and standard copy paper are generally “neutral” and therefore, safe for storing prints and documents.

We originally met Heather at a Museums in Partnership (MIP) meeting in Ashe County hosted by Ramona Renfroe and the Museum of Ashe County History. MIP is the brain child of Jill Jones, who was Director of the Swannanoa Valley Museum for ten years and is now Director of Marketing & Communications at Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. MIP has been a valuable resource for us, giving us access to a network of area museum professionals for information and advice. Thanks, Ramona and Jill for inviting AHGS to the group!

And THANKS HEATHER, for a fun and informative presentation. Please plan to come back to Alleghany soon!

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Visit from Heather South of the Western Regional Archives in Asheville

The Biblical Recorder Archive at Z. Smith Reynolds Library

In our work on geneology, we’ve recently found another great resource at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library of Wake Forest University. The Biblical Recorder (or most of it) is now online and accessible to researchers.

According to their site, “The Biblical Recorder is the official journal of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. Currently published biweekly, it has been in existence since 1833, when it was founded by Thomas Meredith, a Baptist pastor in New Bern, North Carolina. The Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection is the official repository for North Carolina Baptist churches and institutions. We hold one of the most complete runs of The Biblical Recorder, and it is the most heavily used collection in the archives.”

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Biblical Recorder Archive at Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Driving Through Time – A Great, New Resource from UNC Chapel Hill

Driving Through Time – The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway is the best resource we’ve seen for researching the park that runs the “Crest of the Blue Ridge.”  Built by  The University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with help from several groups, the site is packed full of images and information. There are even photos of Alleghany we bet you’ve never seen! The title is appropriate as it’s easy to lose yourself in this virtual time machine.

We’re adding a permanent link to the AHGS site so you can easily visit (and return) to the archive.

Image above © Copyright 2010, The University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All rights reserved.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Driving Through Time – A Great, New Resource from UNC Chapel Hill