Historians recognize Fluvanna’s last smithy

Historians recognize Fluvanna’s last smithy
Submitted by Tricia Johnson

The Fluvanna Historical Society presented a slate historical plaque to the descendants of Everette E. Black, a Cunningham-area blacksmith, at a June 3 ceremony recognizing the historical importance of the site of Black’s shop. The building is the last known blacksmith shop still in existence in Fluvanna County.

Henry Southworth, Black’s grandson, and his wife Judy, and Black’s granddaughter Laurie Jensen and her husband Jack, received the plaque from society president Marvin Moss. The society’s historic marker committee, led by co-chairs Judi Ruch and Juanita Steere, researched the shop, found documentary evidence of its use, and learned about the remarkable man who owned it.

Everette E. Black of Cunningham opened his blacksmith shop in 1917. A talented and industrious man, he not only shod horses and forged implements of iron, but he was also a wheelwright and an artisan carpenter. His blacksmith shop, an upright white frame building which still stands on Thomas Jefferson Parkway, was a hub of the Cunningham community, where farmers met to discuss crops and livestock and exchange local gossip while Black shod their horses or did other smithy work for them.

Black ran his shop until the 1960s. His grandson, Henry Southworth, recalled visiting his grandfather and watching him shoe horses and make wheels in the smithy yard. He pointed out depressions in the ground that indicated where a stall had once stood to confine the horse being shod, and where the heavy wheel-making equipment had rested as the iron was hammered and bent into shape around a circular wooden frame.

Palmyra author Horatio Bigelow noted in his book Gunnerman’s Gold, published in 1943: “Black is the only blacksmith hereabouts and will probably be busy in the smithy heating a piece of iron or a wheel rim in the forge so he can hammer it into proper shape.”

Tricia Johnson, director of the Fluvanna Historical Society, and Justin Sarafin, of Preservation Virginia, attended the presentation. Photo by Sharen Montgomery

Justin Sarafin, director of preservation initiatives and engagement for Preservation Virginia, visited the site, agreed to its authenticity, and said, “This extant structure representative of Fluvanna’s early 20th century history is a rare survivor for this type of utilitarian purpose.” He went on to commend the Southworth and Jensen families for being good stewards of the site, and for moving forward with ongoing preservation efforts.

Anyone who knows of a structure or site that they believe is a candidate for a historical marker is asked to email the Fluvanna Historical Society at fluvannahistory@gmail.com or to call 434-589-7910.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138