Honoring the Mountain People

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By Sally James

Daniel C. and Minnie (Garrison) Via raised their family on the North Fork of the Moormans River in upper Sugar Hollow. Their property was surveyed for inclusion in Shenandoah National Park in 1926 as tract # 42. There is a stone from their chimney in the memorial at Byrom Park.
Daniel C. and Minnie (Garrison) Via raised their family on the North Fork of the Moormans River in upper Sugar Hollow. Their property was surveyed for inclusion in Shenandoah National Park in 1926 as tract # 42. There is a stone from their chimney in the memorial at Byrom Park.

The sun rises late and sets early for families living in a hollow. The work is still steady, rain or shine, light or dark, and it’s the kind of work that makes muscles ache and bones tired, but it’s satisfying. Productive. Worthy. And working with family binds the family tightly together.

This life was disrupted for those folks who lived in what is now Shenandoah National Park.  And 80 years later, one has to search diligently to find hidden traces of those communities.  Thousands of visitors to the Park have hiked, driven, picnicked or camped over and through homesites, property lines, gardens, roads, churches and mills, and have been completely unaware of what once existed there.

No more.

On Saturday, November 5, at 1 p.m. at Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park, the Albemarle Blue Ridge Heritage Project will unveil a chimney memorial built with rock from the Zermie and Addie Shiflett home place that once stood not far from this new location.  The chimney is a symbol of and a memorial to the mountain life lost when SNP was created.  A bronze plaque has been mounted listing the surnames of the families found in research. When funding allows, a post-and-beam shelter will be constructed that will house informational panels and host cultural events.

Come join the celebration November 5 for the dedication of the memorial and enjoy mountain music and refreshments. Help make history alive again as we bring new life to these old stones.

Consider contributing to the ongoing work of the project: visit the BRHP website at www.blueridgeheritageproject.com/albemarle/, and the ABRHP Facebook page for more information.

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