White Hall farmer Dan Maupin never put his name to a university application, but colleges everywhere will, hopefully, be looking at his name from now on—on checks. The White Hall Ruritan Club is naming its annual scholarship, which helps support the higher education career of deserving Western Albemarle High School students, in Maupin’s honor.
Current Ruritan president Robin Joslin said the club chose to honor Maupin “because he is a founding member with 40 years of perfect attendance, and he’s always a big contributor to the public. He’s a very selfless person. He’s humble and has no desire for accolades.”
The scholarship fund will be an endowment managed by the Ruritan National Foundation. The White Hall club will have to raise at least $20,000 first, a project it agreed to undertake last fall. As of June, $12,650 has been raised, mainly from White Hall-area donors. Club members are hoping Maupin’s many other friends in and around Crozet will consider contributing. The scholarship is not official until the entire sum has been raised. It will award $1,000 annually.
Maupin is not just a founding member of the club (in fact he might be the founding member), he is descended from the founding members of White Hall, Virginia. Maupin still possesses the document from King George II granting 400 acres in Goochland County, which Albemarle was still a part of then, to Charles Moreman. It is dated September 4, 1735. That includes the land Maupin’s ancestor, also named Daniel, bought from Moreman in 1748. At the time, large grants were made with the expectation that the grantees would find buyers who would settle the area. The grant (it refers to itself as a “patent”) requires Moreman to pay rent on the land for three years or risk forfeiting his rights.
The grant, which is on slightly yellowed parchment, or perhaps sheepskin, and has eight panels that fold into one about the size of a jeans pocket, describes survey reference points and boundaries. It gives “privileges of hunting, hawking, fishing and fowling and all other profits and commodities to Charles Moreman, his heirs and assignees forever.” It is signed by Lieutenant Governor (later Governor) William Gooch and predates the famous Fairfax Proprietary grant of 1745, which awarded all of present Virginia north of the Rappahannock River to Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Maupin has other grants as well that describe other parcels Moreman acquired that gave him ownership of 2,000 acres in what became western Albemarle.
The family built what was known as Maupin Meeting House and later as Mt. Moriah Methodist Church and also built a grist mill in the 1700s. That landmark was converted to a hay barn in 1939 and finally collapsed about 20 years ago. “It just laid down,” Maupin remembered. It had a mile-long millrace that was dug by hand to drive a turbine rather than a typical overshot wheel.
Maupin, 83, still farms 225 acres in White Hall, plus another half dozen rented parcels from Browns Cove to Crozet. He has 55 cows and another seven heifers these days. At one time he ran a feedlot operation with more than 100 steers headed for finish weights. He raised his grains and ensilage. His cattle had a reputation for being high-quality carcasses. But there came a stretch where they kept losing money and he shut the feedlot down.
“Farming is a gamble,” he said. “I guess I liked it because I liked taking chances.”
The farm’s main house, which dates to 1900, is actually the third to be constructed in that location. The previous one burned in 1890. The family lived above the summer kitchen, an outbuilding once connected to the house, until a new home was built. The graves and headstones of family patriarchs Daniel and Margaret Maupin lie on the shady edge of the front yard. Maupin’s nephew Danny lives in the house now.
His people fought in the Revolution and in the Civil War. After that war, with Virginia laid flat and bled full, many of them went west into Kentucky and Missouri and scattered with time. There was a big reunion in the ’80s at the home place. “That’s one family that’s stayed in the same place along time,” Maupin said. Dan and Betty had no children. When Dan’s brother James died in 1987, Dan helped looked after James’s four children.
A small orchard of apple trees is planted in front of his door. He said he can remember a time in the 1940s when government-hired workers came through Albemarle and cut down every cedar tree they could find to try to stop the spread of cedar rust spot, which saps apples trees of energy and stunts crops. The blight can spread from any cedar within two miles of an apple.
He’s gotten three bushels of string beans from his garden so far, which is surrounded by an electric fence powered by a car battery to discourage poaching by deer. So far it’s worked.
In the early 1940s, after World War II started, Maupin got the idea he wanted to join the naval air service. But the government considered him too valuable as a farmer and declined to take him. He married his wife Betty in 1954 and was soon building a house not too far from his folks. He barely had the roof rafters in place when he got a notice from the draft board about his classification being changed and he was ordered to report. He got a 30-day extension to close up the house project and eventually joined the 3rd Armored Division in Hanau, Germany, where it was guarding the famous Fulda Gap, the point between East and West Germany where the Soviets would most likely attack if the Cold War turned hot. Maupin was a mechanic. He fixed everything that moved. The best thing about it was the tour of Italy he and Betty took before they came back to the States. “I came home to find hay down and a half-finished house.” “I’ve been farming ever since. I’ve been content to be here.”
Maupin took up farming when he was five, following plows and drags behind a team. “I thought I was a big man when I was walking behind a harrow,” he said. They plowed with horses into the 1940s, often hitched three abreast. They had eight horses, either Belgians or Percherons. “Half of what we raised went to feed the horses,” Maupin said. His dad bought a Fordson once he could.
Maupin once accompanied a friend to a Ruritan meeting in Front Royal and came back thinking they could use one in White Hall. Clubs eventually existed in Greenwood and Batesville, too.
“I took around a paper and got charter members and I was the first president. We needed something to bring people together. At first we had to be at least one-third farmers and one-third non-farmers. I like the concept—a meal and fellowship. I’ve had perfect attendance ever since I started the club.
“We pride ourselves on being a public service organization. A certain amount of what we do has to be for service and not because we are fundraising. It’s not just a social club.” There are about 45 or 50 members. When spouses are invited to events, the Community Center gets a little cramped. They donate to the Crozet firemen and the western rescue squad volunteers. They man the ticket booth for the Albemarle Fair, park cars for the Crozet Arts and Crafts festival, host pancake suppers for charity, clean up roads, build wheelchair ramps, and they organized the firehouse benefit dinner for Ashley Walton.
“I got a call from Robin to come over to the Community Center. They had a notebook for me with the whole rigamarole in it. I said, ‘Why?’ And they said, “Because we think it’s fitting.
“I’m honored. They had everything worked up with National before they told me anything.”
Donations to the scholarship fund can be mailed to the White Hall Ruritan Club, P.O. Box 191, Crozet, VA 22932.