Author John Zobel of Seattle visited Martin Mitchell December 5, 2016, to fill in his mental picture of Jerome Fanciulli, publicist of early flight, who worked for aircraft pioneer Glenn Curtiss from 1909-1912.
Zobel came to Bluemont in search of insights on Fanciulli–to better understand what went on at a personal level among the players in the ambitious, risky, fast-moving, acrimonious, lawsuit-riddled, small world of those who explored the development of man-guided flight.
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Just three days before the 2016 Bluemont Fair (third weekend in September), Epling Landscaping generously and professionally installed a handsome, new, permanent interpretive sign on the front lawn of the Snickersville Academy.
The illustrated DuraReader sign, purchased from EnviroSigns of Wooster, Ohio, sketches in all the basic elements of the story of this 191-year-old landmark. Those familiar withjBluemont may notice that the sign bears a family resemblance to the already-standing EnviroSign at the Bluemont Station Mill and Tower on Railroad Street.
The Heritage Committee of the Bluemont Citizens Association and other local history-minded organizations have joined forces with Friends of Bluemont to bring out the stories behind the memorable buildings of Bluemont.
Among the many engineers who drove the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad was Ryland “Bert” Ruble.
He worked on the W&OD from the mid-1930s until the mid-1950s, according to his grandaughter, Mary Timpano. Ryland Ruble was born April 1, 1903 in Craig County, Virginia and died June 22, 1980 in Falls Church, Virginia.
Bluemont’s Jerome Fanciulli is an example of how local history sometimes intertwines with history of the country and the story of technology.
Known to his Bluemont neighbors as a Ford truck dealer, Jerome Fanciulli was also a well-known turn-of-the-century promoter whose abilities as a reporter, manager, marketer, event organizer, salesman, and talent-spotter helped to usher in the age of flight.
A few Bluemonters today still remember Mollie Weadon, who lived in the old stone Carrington House. She housed and fed travelers and summer guests in early decades of the 20th century until her death in 1944. As Jean Herron Smith writes in the 1900-1930 chapter of From Snickersville to Bluemont:
“Mollie Weadon, recently left a widow, supported her boys by running a boarding house. Her fame as a cook was such that it was to her table the railroad men went during their layover in town.”
We know that William Clayton founded Snickersville—now known as Bluemont—at the turn of the 19th century. But who was William Clayton? Where did he come from? How long had his family been in America?
In the useful local history book, From Snickersville to Bluemont, by Jean Herron Smith, Evelyn Porterfield Johnson and Robert Hoffman), Jean Herron Smith tells us the following about William Clayton:
[Snickersville] “was conceived by William Clayton in 1813”
“It is interesting to speculate on the lineage of William Clayton which cannot be determined with certainty.”
“The following seems likely and is proposed in the hope that an eventual connection can be made. William Clayton of Loudoun County is the fifth generation of direct descent from William Clayton, who immigrated to Chichester, Chester County, PA, in 1671 from England.” (abridged quotation)
This article takes up Jean Herron Smith’s question about the ancestry of William Clayton and finds evidence to demonstrate that the answer is “yes.”