Jeff Harvey

Continuing our look at the history of the families of the Bluestone River valley, courtesy of William Sanders II’s book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV” (1994, McClain Publishing), we come to the old Kegley post office, by then the home of Ruth Bryant Stinson.

The building also served as a home for Ray Reynolds during the time most of the Clover Bottom was being owned and farmed by A.W. Reynolds, Sr., best known as the first council for the N & W Railroad.

According to John Maxey, father-and-son Dan and Rush Kegley lived in the area. Dan is buried in the Josiah Shrewsbury cemetery at the mouth of Nubbins Ridge Road meaning he likely married into the family.

Sanders remembered “Uncle Daniel” Burgess in his 90s, reading the Bible on his porch on South Walker Street. His brother, Kelly, and sister Grace Burgess Pennington lived on what is now Burgess Street off of Low Gap Road.

Grace was a well-known antique dealer and her husband Sam Pennington was a free-lance reporter and historian who wrote an early history of the Virginian Railway. Their granddaughter Peggy Hopkins lives in their South Walker Street home.

A collateral descendant of Hiram Burgess was recently deceased Kegley postmaster Cecil Burgess.

The first Bowlings located in the Clay settlement of Clover Bottom. Thomas Bowling married Sally Walker and settled near the Maxwell mill. William married a Purdue and moved to Athens. A sister married Hiram Burgess and also settled near both the Maxwell Mill and the Spanishburg Mill site.

The first Bowling in America was Jesse, who was kidnapped from England to Maryland during the Revolutionary War and made his way to Spanishburg.

Spanishburg was once known as Spanishboro when the post office was established in 1853. Spanish Brown was a member of the Brown family related to the Clays and the Pearises but it is not known whether he was the postmaster.

William’s father, Hartley Sanders, served the Bank of Athens as chief land title attorney from its founding to his death in 1952. He told William that some very enterprising citizens subdivided and sold more parcels of land in the Spanishburg area than actually existed, selling by mail order. It would take considerable research to confirm such action but Sanders suspected that Spanish Brown and the naming of the post office was connected to the mail order promotion.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at

Recommended for you