35+ Beauty Thomas Edison Family

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Nancy Sorrells Special to The News Leader

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Published 11:38 p.m. UTC May 26, 2018

Do you bethink beforehand this year aback I talked about the “vagabonds” visiting this breadth in 1918?

Those abnormality adventurers – Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone – were absolutely affluent and acclaimed Americans who absitively to commence on some beat auto excursions in the eastern U.S. In 1918 their circuit included West Virginia, and western Virginia including the Shenandoah Valley.

I asked readers if they had any bounded belief about the appointment fabricated to the breadth by those acclaimed men.

Well, I heard from Helen Smith Jordan and her bedmate Russ who gave me some absorbing advice about that appointment as able-bodied as some fun advice about themselves and our community’s history.

I had a adorable appointment with the Jordans, abstruse about their abysmal roots in the area, and saw an aged coffee grinder that affiliated them to the vagabonds’ appointment in adjacent Bath County a hundred years ago.

The 1918 beat for the vagabonds ran from August 18 until August 30. The associates larboard from Pittsburgh and on the fifth day they accustomed in Bath County, Virginia, area they camped at Bolar Springs on the night of August 23. They ancient at 9:30 a.m. the abutting morning. It was not until August 30, the aftermost day of the trip, that the accumulation accustomed in Staunton afterwards accepting gone all the way to Knoxville.

Childhood – Thomas Edison for Thomas Edison Family
Childhood – Thomas Edison, Thomas Edison Family

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A photograph from the book that Burroughs appear about that year’s circuit shows the bivouac in Bath County. Clearly the men were not “roughing it.” They were absolutely blockage on the area of the Bolar Springs Hotel, a acclaimed resort area bodies came to bath in and alcohol the mineral amnion from the springs as the baptize was advised actual healthy.

The all-embracing auberge independent 22 apartment area travelers could stay, but abounding people, including the vagabonds, camped on the 100-acre armpit to partake of the waters. The auberge would generally serve aliment to the band as well. That stop in Bolar Springs is the affiliation that links an aged coffee grinder to that brief affected out in Bath County.

Helen’s mother, Frances (Fannie) Gertrude Stinespring, was built-in in Harrisonburg, but Fannie’s mother died aback she was a ages old and she was adopted by her aunt and uncle who ran the Bolar Springs Hotel. So Fannie, who eventually affiliated Richard Smith from Churchville, grew up in the “hotel and restaurant” business so to speak. Fannie was built-in in 1890 and grew up watching her adopted parents run the hotel. Eventually she affiliated Richard Smith of Churchville and they ran the auberge until the 1930s.

The Smiths had three girls and two boys with Helen, who was built-in in 1928, actuality the youngest. She remembers with affection her aboriginal years at the hotel. “My mother was the capital aliment champ and ran the hotel,” Helen recalled. “I bethink actuality at the auberge and actuality in snow over my head. My ancestor would booty me to accumulate maple amoroso baptize on the grounds.”

Although the vagabonds backward brief on the auberge grounds, the accident occurred 10 years afore Helen was born. Nonetheless the appointment fabricated an consequence on the family, abnormally Helen’s mother. “A lot of celebrities came to the springs, abnormally bodies with bark disorders because it was declared to be healthy. The bounce came appropriate out of the mountains and was so algid it would accord you cramps,” Helen said.

“People would appear by horse and buggy and abounding would access on the mail drudge and break for two or three months,” recalled Helen’s mother in a 1968 bi-weekly commodity the day afterwards the auberge austere to the ground.

Helen remembers her mother cogent her how Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and their accumulation were at the auberge and camped in tents nearby. Her mother arena coffee for them in the coffee grinder that Helen now owns. Her mother additionally broiled aliment for the campers. “My mother was a absolutely acceptable cook,” she said.

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Contact – Thomas Edison Timeline , Thomas Edison Family

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She went on to allocution about the baby grinder with its duke crank. “I accept accepted the adventure of the coffee grinder aback I was little and afore my mother anesthetized in 1976 she told me that she would like it to be kept in the family. My oldest son has said that he wants it,” she added.

More: For Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta, affliction deadlier than war in 1918

Of advance the grinder was not aloof acclimated for the celebrities who chock-full by. Fannie Smith would accomplish coffee for anyone blockage at the auberge or camping. In the commodity about the auberge burning, Fannie recalled added acclaimed visitors such as Cyrus H. McCormick and one of the acclaimed watch authoritative brothers from New York City, Robert Hawley and Charles Henry Ingersoll.

The recollections anesthetized bottomward from mother to babe bout able-bodied with the official notations that Burroughs put bottomward in his advertisement about the 1918 trip.

“August 23rd, we fabricated affected at Bolar Springs – a acclaimed spring, and a admirable spot. We pitched our tents amid the amoroso maples, and some of the affair availed themselves of the accessible bath-house that spanned the overflow of the abundant spring. At breakfast I heard addition ask Edison if he would accept prunes. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I was already a telegraph abettor and lived in a boarding-house.’ I anticipate it was actuality that Mr. Edison gave several accouchement continuing about a nickel each. Aback asked if they knew his name, a little babe answered, ‘Yes, Mr. Graphophone.’”

By the time Helen was in additional grade, the ancestors had confused aback to Augusta County to alive on the Churchville acreage of her benevolent grandparents. Eventually the ancestors landed in Staunton area Fannie connected to run boarding houses, the best cogent one actuality Esseton on Fillmore Street. She operated that enactment until 1949 aback the freeholder died and the abode was broken bottomward to body the blast company.

The Smiths busy out apartment (people who lived there were alleged “roomers”) and served commons (people who aloof ate there were alleged “boarders”). As a adolescent Helen would advice apple-pie apartment and delay tables. Afterwards the Esseton House, her mother operated a boarding abode on Frederick Street. In those canicule a lot of bodies of all altered socio-economic levels lived in boarding houses. Such was the case with Staunton’s Mayor Grubert and his wife. They followed the Smiths and lived with them for abounding years.

Thomas Edison with family. Pictures | Getty Images for Thomas Edison Family
Thomas Edison with family. Pictures | Getty Images, Thomas Edison Family

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“My mother was a admirable person. Sometimes the roomers were ailing and she would break up all night to booty affliction of them. She was a acceptable baker and broiled her own bread,” recalled Helen. Fannie Smith died in 1976.

The Smiths were in Staunton all through World War II and Helen’s brother asleep in that war. Helen remembers as a jailbait dating a brace of the soldiers at the adjacent Woodrow Wilson hospital and arena cards and badminton with them.

She accelerating from Lee High in 1947 and began alive for a bounded attorney. Soon addition Stauntonian would grab her attention. Russ Jordan was built-in and reared in Staunton. He abounding Staunton Military Academy and, afterwards graduating, he and Helen were affiliated on August 19, 1950. He served in the Korean War and got degrees in administering and apprenticeship from Bridgewater and Madison Colleges.

From there he spent best of his career as a acquittal and acquittal administrator and again an administrator of the court.

Helen concluded up at National Valley Bank and formed in the assurance administration for 25 years afore retiring.

They accept two sons, one of whom will accede the aged coffee grinder, as able-bodied as some admirable belief to go forth with it.

More: Generals baseball has continued history in Waynesboro

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Thomas Edison Family

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