Meadowview, VA - Our Town

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Here is a link to more pictures of Meadowview PAST

I am a part of Meadowview Va. and I just wanted to let you know that I can remember playing many a day behind THE DAN RYAN building in my Grandaddy Parris' back yard.  He owned the house that stood there.  He lived there with his two youngest daughters, Glenna and husband George Neal and Ethylene and her husband.  Grandadddy Parris and grandma lived in the back downstairs. Oh What Memories! Submitted by: Ernestine Gregory Davis




Kenny Lutrel

Bobby Arnold

Kriby Lloyd


Picture and Story by Paul V. Price:     

This picture is of Henry Ford Pierce who lived next door to me when I grew up in Meadowview. Henry worked on radio’s, yes believe it or not back then people had their radios worked on, you didn’t just throw it out in the trash and run down to Wal-Mart and get a new one. Later, Henry worked on televisions after they finally showed up in Meadowview. Henry was also a “Ham Radio Operator”, I used to go and set and listen to him talk to people all over the world. I remember one Sunday afternoon he was talking to a man in England, all of a sudden Henry handed the mike to me and said “Talk”—HAH!
    To my knowledge, Henry F. Pierce owned the first TV in Meadowview; I believe it was 1954 or 1955. I will always remember the first time I seen a TV, live and in person. Oh, I had read about them in the newspaper and seen pictures of them, but had not actually “laid my eyes” on one.
This happened about a week before Christmas, my older brother C. W., Gene Parris and myself had went “over the hill”, behind where Mt. Carmel Christian Church is now, to get us a Christmas Tree on Mr. Dewey Puckett’s land. Back then nobody had an artificial Christmas tree nor did they drive down to a Christmas Tree Lot and shell out $25-$50 dollars for a tree. Nope, we just went out into the fields and cut us a nice Cedar Tree. Man alive, they smelled real good-----at least I thought so and were very pretty, if you could find one shaped real good. Trouble was, you could spot one off in the distance and when you got to it, it was lopsided. I had strict orders from my Daddy not to cut one with a bird nest in it that was “bad luck”.
     Well, anyway on this particular day we had found us a tree and were on the way home. About halfway down the hill, Gene Parris announced that he bet Henry had got his TV that day. We threw our trees and axes down and ran all the rest of the way to Henry’s house. We walked up on the porch, knocked on the door and when Henry opened the door, we inquired if he had gotten the TV, he replied “yes” and we asked if we could come in and see it. We went in and sat down, there it was----------you could just barely see some people moving around. This was before WJHL Channel 11 in Johnson City came on and I think this probably was Charlotte, NC.  Henry had tuned in. Well, I sat there for a short time and remember saying, “I don’t know where them people are, but it sure is snowing there”.
      We finally got our own TV, heck that thing didn’t even have a remote---of course I don’t guess we really need one. Channel 11 was all that was on. Finally WCYB announced they were going to put Channel 5 on. I remember before they went on the air, our friends would call and tell us that Channel 5 was broadcasting their test pattern and we would turn to Channel 5 and watch the test pattern----imagine---we could soon get 2 stations!!

This picture of number 611 rolling through Meadowview was taken by Jerry & Carrie Penley of Pennjac Productions.


Submitted by Kenneth Gregory


This is a picture of Paul Price's Grandmother Mrs. Charles (Laura Gregory) Price and her brother Robert Stuart (Tuck) Gregory.

"My Grandmother died in 1961 and Tuck died in 1954. I always thought about Uncle Tuck whenever I would watch "The Beverly Hillbillies" on TV, Uncle Jeb reminded me of him. Tuck lived in a house where the Meadowview Pentecostal Church Parsonage now sits."

Submitted by Paul Price



Here is a picture of Henry Gregory and his wife Mary (Mary A. Addison). Henry died February 28, 1925, Mary died in 1960.

Submitted by Paul Price.



Maiden's Store 1935

Meadowview Methodist Church 1950
Sent in by Peggy Stringer Lester

Maiden's General Store 1935 - Clyde Stringer, John Stringer, and Sylvester Logan


Mary Virginia was a respected member of the Meadowview Community who died at age 100 on July 3, 2006.  She is remembered fondly here by Monica Hoel:

    "Mary Virginia died about a month shy of her 101st birthday.  The day before she died she peeled apples and made applesauce.  That’s important because she was always doing something….making something….reading something…checking on someone….working for a cause…recalling family history.  In her nineties, she would cook food for friends who were less able to do so – and jokingly said she was, “Cooking for the old folks!” 

    She was a voracious reader, was interested in absolutely everything, and could talk intelligently about anything.  She could vividly recall what happened 90 years ago, and also eloquently talk about current issues in our world.  She was a “green thumb” gardener, who used to memorize page numbers in the Burpee Seed Catalog for gardening conversations with her nephew.  And she was a “yellow dog” Democrat – meaning she’d have voted for an old yellow dog if he was running on the Democratic ticket. She was concerned about the environment.  She was concerned about young people.  She was concerned about her community, and she was thrilled down to the soles of her feet about the Meadowview First project.  Even at age 100 she was talking to people about giving money for the new building because she felt so strongly about the importance of a medical clinic in this special community.   

    When she planted her flower boxes they always contained a splendid array of deep hues; she’d look at them and laugh and say, “I’m greedy about color!”  That’s not only how she planted flowers, it’s also how she lived her life – ever interested in and passionate about all the world had to offer."

Mary Virginia Smith at about age 16.

Sent in by Peggy Stringer Lester



Mary Virginia recounted this story to Ned Hayter a few years ago and at his request, she provided a written summary of her memories of growing up and living in Meadowview.

A recollection by Mary Virginia Smith:
Ritchie Vance HardwareIn the early 1900's, Meadowview was a thriving trading center drawing from a wide area that stretched from Russell County on the north to the Middle Fork of the Holston River on the south.  It was the largest unincorporated town in Washington County.  The lifeline of the town was the Norfolk and Western Railroad with its four passenger trains, plus the freight trains.
 The depot was always busy.  Cattle was shipped from there, manufactured lumber and produce were big items.  The trains brought back the necessities; bread (uncovered and uncut) from Bristol, oysters (by private order) from Norfolk, dry goods to stock the stores, and mail.  One thing I cannot forget that Train No. 30 brought up from Bristol was the casualty lists of the boys killed in World War I and the gathering of the whole town for the reading of the names on the lists.  We grieved together.  Space in the lobby of the ticket office in the depot was divided by signs: "white" and "colored."

Three schools served the town, Meadowview Elementary, Miss Mary Wiley's private school and a school for colored children.  Meadowview Elementary was a wood building, un-insulated and held up at the corners by uncut limestone rock.  Each room of the three had its own pot-bellied stove, its own water bucket with one dipper.  I do not remember any books other than the children's textbooks.  A faded, flyspecked picture of George Washington graced the wall in the principal's room.

Transportation was simple.  If it was not too far, we walked.  Next, we used horses, and finally steam powered trains.  I remember the noise, the smoke, the cinders, the horsehair seats and the lonesome whistle.

I remember creek that boxes were still in use and cisterns and cellars in dryer locations.  Then came springhouses and iceboxes.  There was one ice house in town, privately owned, insulated with sawdust and filled with blocks of ice cut from rivers and ponds.  The weather was much colder then and some of the rivers froze so solidly as to support wagons with teams of horses.  

Electricity first came with a few Delco systems.  Later, Edmondson Electric Company supplied the area.

The first post office I remember was on the corner of what is now the Maurice Godbey property.  Mail was deposited through a slot at the bottom of the front door when mailed after office hours.  Overhead was the newly organized Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  It was rumored that the Ku Klux Klan also met there.

The first telephone office, privately owned, was on Route 80 south of the present bank building.  Later it was moved to the Square to the second floor of a building where "Central" could, and would give information on what was taking place in the Square.  The lines were party lines and conversations well attended.

Welfare?  Not as we know it today.  The code of our mountains was strictly observed, you took care of your own.  The poorest of the poor who could not look after themselves, (and the few whose families did not care for their own) lived in tiny individual buildings on the County Poor Farm where the 4-H Center is now located.

Church activities were a central part of our social life.  The Presbyterian Church was closed, but the building was still standing, the active churches were the Baptist, the Pentecostal, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and two churches for colored people.  Regular services were held four times a week and summer revivals lasted a week or ten days.  Families did not eat Sunday dinner alone, and a previous invitation was unnecessary.  After the service you would hear: "Brother so and so, come home with us for dinner" and Brother so and so would  - with his entire family.

Business around the Square flourished.  On weekends an influx of people from the surrounding countryside was great.  The R.J. Smyth building housed Smyth's' General Store and The County Bank on the first floor and Miss Emma Ashworth's Hat Shop overhead, a second hat shop next door, Maiden's Drug Store, with its pharmacist, soda fountain and Dr. S.H. Yokeley's office overhead.  The newly located post office, the N&W Depot, grocery store, shoe shop, barber shop, a dentist's office (the dentist also made false teeth), Maidens' Stores.  A little off the Square, to the west was Kendrick's Grist Mill, another general store, D.G. Ritchie Co. hardware store, the Bee Hive (another grocery store with rooms and apartments to let overhead.)

Since the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War was not truly over, lumber was the big item for the ravaged South was still rebuilding.  Sawmills and lumber yards dotted the country.  There were three lumber yards in Meadowview, one at each railroad crossing and one on what is now Hillman Highway. West of Route 80 Highway and Norfolk & Western Railroad crossing was the Smyth Building Supply Complex consisting of a sawmill with its huge piles of virgin timber, a dry kiln, wood working plant all steam powered, plus building supplies of all kinds.  During World War I railroad carloads of black walnut for making gunstocks shipped from this plant.

The Town of Meadowview grew.  It became incorporated, then it became unincorporated.  The importance of lumber waned.  A Creamery was built, a new school building and a new drug store.  The agony of World War I had taken its toll, as did the terrible flue epidemic when two doctors were not enough; neighbors became doctors and nurses and helped bury the dead.  On one occasion my father left home on Monday morning to help a family to which five deaths would come in one week.  He did not return home or have a change of clothes for the entire week.

Community spirit was strong.  A fire brought out the bucket lines.  Churches had their celebrations together.  A neighbor was sick, there was someone there to take care of the chores, or to cook or nurse.

The events that seemed to involve the town and surrounding area were the annual circus, the Chautauqua and Emory and Henry Commencement.  The Chautauqua tent was never large enough, but for Emory & Henry Commencement we had the whole out of doors, except for programs such as the Robinson Medal Contest, which were held inside.

There was never enough room.  People come to the Commencement by train, horseback, and in buggies and carriages.  White tablecloths blossomed under the trees for dinner on the ground.  Families and friends came together who had not seen each other since last Commencement Day and made plans for the next one.  A single spigot at the spring furnished water for a long line of people and the lemonade concession stand was the most popular of the many stands on the campus.

What was life like before the coming of cars, television or even a daily newspaper? When the coming of Sears and Roebuck was an event? Since everything had an intrinsic value a Sears & Roebuck catalog had many uses.  Ask any "seasoned citizen."  Did we feel deprived because we did not have some of the advantages of our city cousins?  Indeed not.  We had our parties, croquet games, fish fries and even a hat shop owner who made two trips a year to New York to bring the latest fashion magazines and patterns for copying as well as all those wonderful hats.

At last, the tensions of reconstruction from the Civil War, World War I and the flu epidemic were over and a period of unprecedented manufacturing and building created an almost circus atmosphere.  The decade known as The Roaring Twenties earned its name.  There was the excitement of women in politics, the Scope Trials (we called them The Monkey Trials), the crime that came with an attempt to enforce the prohibition law causing "stills" to hide in the hills and "speak easies" to grow in the cities.  Our ballads tuned to jazz and our wants became our needs.  The gap between haves and the have-nots grew.  While fabulous fortunes were being made at the top, labor was still making ten cents an hour and working a ten-hour day.  The stock market grew, spiraling into the 1929 crash.  The stage was set.  The Great Depression was upon us.  The first generation of the 1900s was history.

Mary Virginia Smith



This picture of Bill Crosswhie was owned by Scott Ryan and given to Hugh Stringer.  Sent in by Peggy Stringer Lester

Picture of Mr. Alec Wright owned by Scott Ryan and given to Hugh Stringer.  Sent in by Peggy Stringer Lester

A picture of Frank Lee owned by Scott Ryan and given to Hugh Stringer.

Sent by Peggy Stringer Lester

The Fuller Bus - by Paul Price
Back in the late 50's, I believe it was, different localities had the choice of using Daylight Saving Time if they wanted to. Washington Co. Va. decided they would use DST and Bristol, VA decided they would not. Therefore Meadowview, being in Washington Co. was an hour ahead of Bristol.There was a bus line named Fuller Bus that ran from Saltville, Va. to Bristol, VA. The stop in Meadowview was at Roland's Drug Store which was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Rowland (Chief and Lake). For many years they lived in the apartment above the store and then built a new home on Lindell Road, which is now the parsonage for Mt. Carmel Christian Church.

It was told that during this time that Meadowview and Bristol were on different times, that an old farmer came in and inquired of Chief Rowland, what time did the next bus leave for Bristol. Chief replied that it left at 15 minutes until one o'clock. The farmer asked, well what time does it get to Bristol? Chief replied, about twelve thirty. The old farmer looked puzzled, Chief asked; well do you want a ticket? The old farmer scratched his head and said no, but if you don't care, I would like to just stand here and watch that bus take off.

Later in life I met the two brothers who owned and operated Fuller Bus, J. W. and Guy Fuller of Bristol, VA., very nice guys. They had stops in Saltville, Glade Springs, Meadowview, Abingdon and Bristol, but would stop along the road and pick people up. I am not sure of the route from Saltville to Meadowview, but they followed US 11 from Meadowview to Bristol. Times were a little different back then, every family didn't have two or three cars like they do now and used the bus to get to work and go to Bristol to do shopping. Now you go somewhere and there is a lot of cars, but not too many people. You get to checking and the same family has driven several cars to the event. Back in Meadowview's hey day on Saturday night the "bottom" or "square" was full of cars and keep in mind, every car was full, the sidewalks were full of people going to all the stores that were open.

(Images below provided by Paul Price - 9/3/06)

This is a ticket stub for a drawing at Ritchie, Vance and Co.


Could this have been from the event at Ritchie and Vance as shown below in the picture of the big crowd in front of the store?


Here is a card from Holston River Power Plant (Edmondson Electric Company )

Our Community - A History of Meadowview (compiled by Emory Students -2003)
As told by its Residents
Jane Bryan, Pauline Buckles, Bob Cornett, Jennie Hayter, Naomi Lindsey, Mary Maiden, Mary Owens, David Stanley, Sarah Stanley, Susan Stanley and Anne Wallace
Emory and Henry College, November 3, 2003

Place can be defined as the geographic, natural, and built environment in conjunction with culture that develops as a result.  But more than anything, people are what make up a place.  People are the ones with the stories to share, the memories to maintain and knowledge to bestow.  That is what eleven Meadowview citizens proved to our Applied Civic Methodology class on October 7, 2003.  In only an hour's time each student had the privilege of hearing about the challenges and triumphs of living and raising a family in Meadowview.  With so much for these people to tell and so much for our class to learn, it seems like an injustice to have cut the interview process so short.  But the small piece of the puzzle each story provided was a gift to us.  Those pieces have been woven into a tapestry of quotes and phrases meant to retell those stories.  This is your story and you have a lot to be proud of.

"There is no better place on earth to live and raise a family than Meadowview." ~Bob Cornett

Childhood memories should be the sweetest.  Thank you for sharing these with us:

  • Meadowview is a quiet place where our children can play and ride their bikes and be safe because the community looks out for each other." ~Susan Stanley.

  • "We used to have a central where every home had its own ring on the party line.  If you called someone at 3 am every phone on the party line would ring." ~Jane Bryan

  • Naomi Lindsey was raised in the Meadowview area.  She remembers that as a child, her mother taught her to give her earning to the church their family attended.

  • Anne Wallace remembers that school activities were more popular when she was in school, as opposed to today.  Seemingly all of the students went to the dance, football games and basketball games.

  • "Ever since I was a child, I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse because I liked the way nurses looked in the Sears Roebuck Catalogs." ~Mary Owens.

  • David Stanley feels like the youth of his generation will be able to carry out a lot of the goals and projects that Meadowview has planned for its community.

  • Sarah Stanley likes living in a small town and having a yard and some land where she can have a dog, although she doesn't like that she lives so far away from her friends that she has to be driven to their houses.  She is a member of the 4-H Club and serves as secretary of the club.

Meadowview was once a busy town, offering many jobs and opportunities to its residents.  The railway that ran through Meadowview also provided many opportunities for the town.  Mary Maiden remembers that "Meadowview was a booming center at one time- two doctors offices, three service stations, two grocery stores, a post office, a fire department, a hardware store, a funeral home, etc. . . " Anne Wallace remembers her father's store, H.B. Maiden & Sons.  It had a hardware, produce, and general store section.  [There were actually two separate stores - editorial note by Paul Price "There  was H. B. Maiden and Sons Produce Co. that bought and sold "Produce", chickens and eggs, this is where the new clinic is to built. The Post Office was in the right side of the buildings and upstairs was an apartment. Mr. Dewey Woodard who worked for H. B. (Dago) Maiden lived in the apartment. H. B. Maiden and his brother Buddy ran the business for sometime after H. B. Maiden, Sr. passed away. They had a pretty good sized fleet of trucks that hauled their wares. The other one was Earnest E. Maiden's General Store, this is the one nearest the railroad track, they sold groceries, dry goods, some hardware, shoes and clothing. E. E. Maiden was V. D. Kendrick's father-in-law. I will always remember every Christmas, Mr. Maiden, set up an electric train in the show window of his store and would let it run, I would stand and watch that train and want it so bad!!!"] Anne also remembers her father selling wholesale eggs in his store.  "The general store here had everything you could possibly need!  No need to go anywhere else for shopping," Jennie Hayter says.  Farming was very important to Meadowview at this time, and many residents made a good income from it.  Jennie Hayter remembers catching the bus in Meadowview to her job as a nurse at Johnston Memorial Hospital while her husband, Ned, ran a fertilizer supply store in the town which was well supported by local farmers.  A local limestone quarry provided gravel for the roads, lime for the fields, and jobs for number of residents.

As a tight-knit community, Meadowview flourished through these times.  Residents speak fondly of times when neighbors knew neighbors and children played together in the streets.  Much of the family's business was conducted right in town and with people who most likely lived near each other or went to church or school together.  Anne Wallace recalled shopping; the majority of the items her family bought were bought in town.  Ann was sent to Mr. Webb's grocery store everyday to pick up something.  These feeling of closeness within the community of Meadowview have taught us so much about loving a place and the people of that place, in a time when the economy was thriving, the people of the place also took care of one another.  Mary Owens remembers this with fondness, "On Saturday afternoons, almost everyone would come out to stroll along the main square in Meadowview to socialize and shop, but there's almost no activity in the square now."

Later, many of the businesses became family-owned, often employing only family members.  As a result, residents had to travel to other locations for employment.  Anne Wallace states that "The decline of jobs in the area is one of the reasons why the town is less active.  Many of the factories and industries that supplied local jobs have shut down.  This problem had been compounded by NAFTAA.  The rise of subdivisions had also encouraged people to move out of town."  The local schools and the local college provided jobs to some Meadowview residents, both as teachers and school personnel.  Farming became less profitable.  Therefore, many farmers had to supplement their incomes by working another job.  Eventually, tobacco became the crop to produce and provided a good income for families.  Although Meadowview offers a quiet, safe, and peaceful place to live today, many residents have to travel to nearby cities or towns to do their shopping.  Most of the businesses in Meadowview have now closed leaving many of its residents to commute to work in surrounding areas.  There is only one restaurant remaining in the community, so people travel to other places to dine as well.  Jennie Hayter sums it up when she says, "The big folks basically took Meadowview away from us.  The only things really doing well now are the churches - the people just aren't as interested."

Through empowered citizens, residents hope to improve the community of Meadowview.  Mary Maiden voices the opinion of many residents when she says, "I miss the days of old but still love the community deeply."  Some of the problems facing Meadowview today go back to the loss of jobs and economic stability.  Bob Cornett wishes to see the job opportunities return for the citizens of the area:  "I wish that there were more jobs in Meadowview, as well as a greater interaction between older and younger people.  I think a lot of people, especially the younger generations, would like to stay here, but they have to make a living and survive." he states.  Sarah Stanley, a local youngster, has her own ideas for improving the town.  When asked what one store should you like to have locate in the area, Sarah replied after some thought, "Old Navy, it takes so long to drive to one."

Education is also important to the Meadowview community.  "I think it is important that we have an educated community and that the need for book sense is just as important as the need for common sense.  This would help Meadowview grow and become more of a unified body. . . Community is a place where I would want my grandchildren to be able to feel at home.  The community needs to reflect the security and the needs of the family and community itself," states Pauline Buckles

Residents are working together to form a community center, health clinic, and other developments which residents feel would benefit the community.  Jennie Hayter explains that her husband Ned is involved with Meadowview First, a committee working to improve the quality of life for its citizens.  Jennie would very much like to see a community center be included in the plans for the development of the town square.  As the population of Meadowview ages, there is a growing need for a common place where seniors can relax and fellowship together.    

Naomi Lindsey dreams of such a place.  "I go to the senior centers in Clinchburg and 
Glade Spring.  I wish there was a senior center in Meadowview where my friends and I could go."  Not only could a community center be of service to Naomi, but there is also a growing concern for the future of our young people.  Mary Maiden expresses her desire to see a place which would provide activities for the youth.  Susan Stanley, a wife and mother, knows too well the anxiety of looking to a future for her children.  "I think that a community center that would provide job training and a place where our children can go would be very beneficial addition to Meadowview."

In the future, residents would like to see more social involvement.  "Special events such as the Apple Butter Festival and church gatherings can be held to draw families and people of all ages to Meadowview," says Mary Owens.  The Apple Butter Festival can be used as a model for other community-wide events.  David Stanley wishes there were more activities directed toward the local youth.  "Maybe we should include youth tents at the festival held in the square," he suggests.

We know from listening to your stories that Meadowview has it within itself to achieve a new closeness and stability.  Pauline Buckles commented on the community's sense of unity through the actions of her father who continued to maintain his watch repair shop in Meadowview even though her family moved to Bristol when she was three years of age.  Bob Cornett remembers a boy who got into a lot of trouble.  When the boy was released from jail he was welcomed back into the community, which helped him get back on his feet.  Bob believes that uncommon respect is something unique about a small rural community like Meadowview.  People lookout and care about each other like a family.

Through the collective efforts of its citizens, Meadowview will have a future much more reminiscent of its prosperous past.  The assets held by each and every citizen in the stories you have shared with us are living proof of the passion and determination held by local folks.

We, as the Applied Civic Methodology class, would like to extend our thanks to you for sharing a piece of yourself and your community with us.  We would also like to thank the individuals who contributed pictures for our use.  November 3, 2003


Pictures from Meadowview Past

September 2, 2006 - More Meadowview Pictures provided by Paul Price

(To the left) "Here are pictures of two of Meadowview's characters, Dan Ryan (left) and (H.B.) Dago Maiden (right). They used to holler insults across the square at each other, in later years they patched things up and were good friends." Paul Price


Meadowview Elementary / Holston Furniture Company

Meadowview United Methodist Church

Dr. Yokeley's Medical Office

Meadowview Bank -  before becoming the Post Office


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