Spirits of the Past

Contributed by Evelyn Edson, president
Scottsville Museum

“Ah, good my dears; you are the strong ones; the brave, willing to come again and listen to an antiquarian’s tales. Quickly, close the door against the fretful wind; hear that rain thrown against the window panes. Put your feet up by the fire, and we’ll talk. You’re not frightened, are you? Of course, it is quite near the night when the souls of the dead revisit their homes, but we’ll placate the wandering spirits and evil imps, and enjoy a story. Well, of course, it’s all true.”

“You remember I have told you recently of the old sounds that barely linger, mere whispers, in our frantic, modern atmosphere, sounds that used to make Scottsville feel safe and children secure in their trundle beds; the old steam train coming around the Horseshoe Bend, and later, twilight games of hide and seek by the depot, someone calling, ‘all-ee, all-ee in free.” The lamplighter clattering by, bringing a warm glow to the evening streets; the rustle of water on the weeds and rocks by the ferry landing; cows on the hill, impatiently waiting to be called in for the evening milking at Valmont.

“But behind every sound of comfort and cheer, you must be aware, as well as I am, of the loss and despair of some torment or tragedy. Sad sounds, ominous sounds, sounds still echoing . . .”

These are the opening lines of a chapter in Ruth W. Klippstein’s forthcoming book, Stories of Scottsville: Tales of a Small Virginia Town. These words remind us of the Twilight Tours, which for seven years lit of the streets of Scottsville in late October with lively impersonations of spirits of the past. Alas, this year the event is cancelled, but we are waiting for better times, and hope that in 2022 these spirits will walk again. Stay in touch.

Above is a photo of Bob Talbott at the Museum as he guided friends and family of Scottsville Museum during the 2019 Twilight Tour in Scottsville.

Above T. J. Sellers and his secretary, played by Mr. Morris and his daughter, Raven Morris.  Mr. Sellers was a pioneering newspaper man, writer, editor, and champion of civil rights during the Jim Crow area.  It is 1950, and a big story is unfolding in Charlottesville, VA.


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