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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: November 17, 1868

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Gen. Grant
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper praises Grant for the terms of surrender he offered Lee at Appomattox, and hopes that is an indication of his stance toward the Confederate people. "No man knows better than he does, that Gen. Lee would never have surrendered his sword, if it had been understood that the people whom he represented were to be subjected to African domination."
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The Lynchburg Virginian reports that the majority of Virginians are willing to give General Grant a chance to prove himself as a fair President.
Full Text of Article:

The Lynchburg Virginian is gratified to observe, even among those who opposed the election of Gen. Grant, -- chiefly on account of his surroundings, -- a very general expression in favor of giving him a fair trial. This feeling, we hope, will animate every citizen of the republic -- all who sincerely desire the restoration of a real, abiding peace, with the enjoyment of former happiness and prosperity. Rarely has any incumbent of the Presidential office had higher incentives before him to pursue a kind and conciliatory course -one calculated to bind the whole people in the bonds of fraternal union. If Gen. Taylor could say that he had "no friends to reward and no enemies to punish," his successor, like himself, coming from the ranks of the nation's defenders, and in no wise involved in the meshes of partisan policies, can well afford to discard party, and know only his whole country. If he shall do this, he will receive the earnest support of men who care no thing for office, and desire only to be protected in all their laudable undertakings. The South will, in that event, sustain him as cordially as the North or West, and we may once more witness an "era of good feeling."

Grant's Cabinet
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper quotes the Journal of Commerce in hoping Grant will appoint strong men to his cabinet regardless of their partisan views.

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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The revival in Staunton's M. E. Church is still in progress. on Sunday 21 members joined the church. Nightly services will continue this week.
Staunton Musical Association
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Musical Association has been organized for the upcoming season boasting many new members. A $3 contribution will purchase attendance to all "soirees, rehearsals, and concerts" for the year. D. W. Drake, Association Treasurer, is collecting contributions.
(Names in announcement: D. W. Drake)
Boarding House and Residence Burned
(Column 01)
Summary: The boarding house and residence of Prof. Thomas J. White, principal of the Mossy Creek Academy, burned last Sunday morning.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Thomas J. White)
Good County Roads
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper renews its call for the county to invest in a good road system.
Staunton Lyceum
(Column 02)
Summary: The Staunton Lyceum will debate whether "all statuary prohibitions" are "binding on the conscience."
(Names in announcement: Bumgardner, Skinner, Christian, Baylor, Ranson, Young, Latane, Hanger)
Good Roads
(Column 02)
Summary: A letter from "PROGRESS", written in favor of improved roads for Augusta county. The author predicts that such roads will increase land values and make it much easier for farmers to transport their crops.
Full Text of Article:

The people of Augusta are a live people. -- They are a sagacious people. In most things they understand their interests, and they lack neither the liberality nor public spirit to pursue them with intelligent energy. But upon one point, it must be admitted, they have not shown their usual good sense. They have not given sufficient attention to the leading thoroughfare extending from Staunton to remote parts of the county.

Good roads add greatly to the value of the real estate adjacent to, or near them. If any one doubts this, he has only to look to the lands along, and near to the Valley turnpike. These lands are worth from $50 to $100 per acre, while lands quite as good, remote from good roads, will not bring half those prices. With good roads, farmers can haul twice as much to and from market as they can over bad ones, and with much less injury to their horses, gear, and wagons. They can make their trips in much shorter times, and they can haul over a McAdam road when they can not over a common road. In this way farmers can employ their teams and wagons on good roads when they would otherwise be idle.

With solid paved roads, farmers can get to Church regularly, and their families can visit among their friends, and go to town, when otherwise they would be kept at home by the impassable condition of the roads. It is hazarding little to say that a good McAdam road leading from Staunton to any part of the county will add from $10 to $20 per acre to the value of all lands bordering on, or near to it. This enhancement will be greatly more than sufficient to pay the cost of the road.

Good roads promote intercourse and trade of all kinds. Give us good roads from remote parts of the county, and you will soon see what an impetus it will give to the prosperity of the town. It brings the people nearer, in time, to town and enables them to do, in one day, and in one trip, what now requires two.

Let our people ponder this matter, and take steps to remedy the evils under which they now labor.

"Rome was not built in a day," neither can all the roads we want, be made at once. But let us make a beginning. Let us turn the matter over in our minds, and see what can be done, and how, and when, it can be done.

Our present road system is a very bad one. Roads which ought to be laid out for the public benefit, are made subordinate to the interests and often to the whims, of individuals.

A man takes it into his head that he wants the road on his line, or changed so as to throw one of his fields on the side next to his house, and forthwith he gets up a petition -- has it referred to his friend, the road commissioners, who knows little and cares less about the public convenience. The petitioner and commissioner ride over and view the proposed change, return to the petitioner's house to dinner -- take a drink -- talk it over at the dinner table, and, in due time, the report comes in, and is confirmed, and in a few weeks the neighbors find the old road fenced up, and themselves turned round Robin Hood's barn!

This is all wrong. Nobody has any security how long a road is to remain where it now is. People can't buy a farm with any assurance that the old highway, which may have been an inducement to them to buy, may remain where it is.

Roads should be permanent things. They should be located on the best and shortest routes, and when made, no changes should be allowed except on three months' notice to the public, so that everybody could be heard, and the subject fully canvassed and understood.

Competent engineers -- men skilled in their profession -- should be employed to locate the great thoroughfare, and then they should be permanently located and permanently constructed.

We now have the Greenville, the Middlebrook, the Parkersburg, the Jennings Gap, the Springhill and the Valley Turnpike, well located. The Greenville, the Parkersburg and the Valley are turnpikes and beyond the control of the county. The Waynesborough road is badly located, in may respects, but still it may do. But all the other main roads are abominably laid out. Take for example the road to Mount Meridian and to Sherando. -- They are both steep and circuitous. And so it is with many other roads of great importance.

The first step towards improvement is for the County Court to determine what roads need material changes, and then to select competent engineers to locate them. Mr. Pratt, the engineer who laid off the Fair Grounds, and who has taken up his abode in Augusta, is a skillful practical engineer. So are Major Hotchkiss and Mr. E. M. Taylor. Why cannot these gentlemen be selected by the Court to make a general reconnoisance of the County, with a view to advise the Court what changes of roads are necessary for the public interests? When their report comes in, the Court can decide intelligently what to do.

When a system has been agreed on, let the town and county unite in carrying it into effect. The town can McAdamize each road a mile out of town, and there the county authorities can take it up, and extend the mettling two or three miles each year, until they secure good roads to every neighborhood. When people look at the matter in a proper light, they will enter, with spirit, into it. They will not only claim no damages, but aid in the construction. Who will be willing to continue plunging, winter after winter and spring after spring, along our bottomless mud roads, when he sees a reasonable prospect of having a solid McAdam road on which he can drive 6 or 8 miles per hour at all seasons, and haul 24 barrels of flour instead of 5!

It is to be hoped our people will take this subject into serious consideration. The object of this article is to invite inquiry -- to stimulate the practical business men of our county to lay hold of the subject. Some may say our suggestions are crude. Granted! Now let other men more competent to deal with the subject come forward, and give us wiser and more maturely considered plans. We want action -- wise action -- energetic action. We are tired of inactivity. Let us show there is life in the old land yet. PROGRESS.

(Column 03)
Summary: Capt. John H. Woodward of Augusta and Miss Susie A. Watson of Albemarle were married at the Barterbrook residence of Dr. J. M. Watson by the Rev. James A. Latane.
(Names in announcement: Capt. John H. Woodward, Susie A. Watson, Dr. J. M. Watson, Rev. James A. Latane)
(Column 03)
Summary: Rev. William O. Ross and Mrs. Sarah A. Whitmore, both of Augusta, were married on November 12th at the residence of the bride's mother by the Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: Rev. William O. Ross, Sarah A. Whitmore, Rev. J. J. Engle)

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