Abilene News

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19 – People call Wednesday “hump day” because the week is more than half over and the weekend is just two days away.

Without even looking at the calendar, I knew that the year had had its “hump” and was more than half over. This was signaled with the arrival of the first holiday mail order catalogs. It seems they start filling up our mail boxes earlier every year.

Historically, the first month of the second half of the year have included many significant events.

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Locally, Colonel Banastre Tarleton, noted British cavalryman, raided the area around Prince Edward Court House village (now Worsham) in 1781.

In 1928, the first traffic light was installed at the corners of Third and Main Streets; Craddock-Terry started manufacturing shoes in 1934; and, in 1940, Farmville was a real “hot spot”-it got so hot that thermometers exploded.

On the national scene, in 1801, farmers in Cheshire, MA, made a 1,235-pound round of cheese which they delivered to President Thomas Jefferson at the White House. The “big cheese” was placed in the East Room of the White House and people came and went, taking chunks of cheese with them. They didn't have all the fences, gates, and security guards then that are ever-present today.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, floated high above the lifeless surface of the moon in a boxy, four-legged landing vehicle named the Eagle. After some initial problems, the Eagle started its descent. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief and pride when we heard Buzz Aldrin's voice announce: “The Eagle has landed.” A few hours later, Armstrong and Aldrin stepped onto the moon's surface.

Together they planted a U. S. flag and a plaque bearing the message:

“Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Seven years later, on July 20, 1976, the unmanned Viking I became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars.


On Tuesday, July 17, the Abilene Homemakers Club met at the Abilene Community Center. The main topic was the raffle quilt which is now completed and raffle tickets are available. It is a beautiful quilt in garden colors – pink, lavender, yellow, blue, green. If you want tickets, please call Nancy Nelson at 223-8346 or me at 223-2271.

Also, on July 17, I attended the meeting of the Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society at the old Train Station. The speaker was Jennings Custis of Rice who gave a very interesting and informative presentation on the “Declaration of Independence: The Virginia Seven”. He outlined each of the seven Virginia representatives at the Continental Congress. He also made mention of a son of Prince Edward County who signed the Declaration of Independence. George Walton was born in Prince Edward County in 1741 but had moved to Georgia so attended the Congress as the representative from Georgia.

The Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society meets the third Tuesday of each month at the Farmville Train Station. Each month we have a different speaker. Guests are always welcome.

If you were listening to WFLO Wednesday morning you heard an interview with David E. Johnson on his latest book on “John Randolph of Roanoke”. Mr. Johnson will be the speaker at the September 18 meeting. We'd love to have you join us for this program.

On August 11, the Abilene Community Club will hold a chicken dinner at the Abilene Community Center from 4 to 7 p.m. The dinner will include fried chicken, two sides, bread, beverage, and dessert at a cost of $8 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. For more information or tickets, contact Betty Gryder at 223-8343. Proceeds will go to the Abilene Community Club.

Belated birthday greetings go out to Myrna McKay of Farmville who celebrated July 5; Troy Adams on July 6; Merdie Chappell on July 10; and Franklin Gee on July 17.

Belated anniversary wishes go out to John and Marolyn Lavra who celebrated their 43 years together on July 10; Willie and Doris Jones on July 16; and Bill and Mary Bagy on July 18.

Birthday greetings go out to Gisela Hendley of Hampden-Sydney on July 21; Glenda Ottaway of Farmville on July 22; Billie Chappell also on July 22; Joyce Slayton on July 24; Walter Catron July 25; and Gayle Harris on July 30.

Anniversary wishes to Scott and Connie Queensberry who will celebrate on July 21.

Our best wishes go out to Bernie Kemp of Darlington Heights for a speedy recovery from an accident earlier this month.

If you have any news or announcements that you would like to share, please contact me at 223-2271 or e-mail me at kz5ro@kinex.net.