Secrets of the Blue Ridge: When Shoes and Tires Were Made from Iron

By Phil James

For earlier generations, everyday life depended mightily on the talents of those who plied the blacksmith trade. In the age which preceded and overlapped with the advent of the gasoline engine, it was the blacksmith and wheelwright who forged, tempered and sharpened the everyday hand tools, shod the hooves of the working beasts, and built the wagons and conveyances that served the populations.

Antique maps and local road signage give a nod to some of those early tradesmen: Bishop’s Shop, Bowen’s Shop, Critzer’s Shop, Davis Shop, Link Evans Lane, Nicksville, Rogers Shop.

Some blacksmiths were born into the business and learned their way around the shop at a very young age. In western Albemarle County, the 1880 census enumerated William Day, age 48, as a blacksmith, and his 12-year-old son William as a “striker” in the shop. Twenty-three year old William Woodson was already sharing full responsibilities with his father Benjamin in the elder’s establishment.

Auction will benefit local scholarship

  1. A Huge 3-Day Auction will take place on September 18th, 19th and 20th. The Family Estate of the 8th Generation of the Old Gillett Farm Established in 1868 and located at 4 Drake Lane, Elkhart, IL 62634 will sell Auction! The HUGE 3-Day Auction will
  2. In one corner of the barn, Lambert said he found an old coal-fired, hand-cranked forge as well as an English anvil. “I don't know if you know who Percy Dodge was, but we think that this may be from his shop.” Lambert explained that Dodge lived in
  3. At the Thursday evening event (running until August 13th from 5:00 -- 8:00pm on the Count Court House grounds) Marisa has been bringing her anvil, hammer and antique spoons so that you, the customer, can create your very own piece of original art in

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