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A short story by Etta Belle Walker

Stephens City

Title:     Stephens City
Author: Etta Belle Walker [More Titles by Walker]

An act of the General Assembly in 1758 made Stephens City, or Stephensburg as it was then known, the second town in the Valley. The first was Winchester. Lewis Stephens the founder of this town came to Virginia with Joist Hite in 1732.

Later on this was a thriving town manufacturing the Newtown-Stephensburg wagon that was the pride of teamsters who travelled all roads leading south and west. They took merchandise into the wilderness and returned with furs, skins and other products sent back by those settlers who had pushed on farther into the wilds of Virginia. Many a covered wagon which saw the plains of the Middle West had its birth in Stephensburg.

When the Forty-Niners created companies which sent supplies to the gold fields of California they found that few wagons lasted more than six months. At last they began to order those being made in Stephensburg. These were found to be sturdier in build and could stand the strain of the rough roads and paths longer than other wagons on the market.

The stores in the town were good ones, and often covered wagons came in drawn by splendid horses. The drivers of these teams put up overnight at the old taverns and many of the citizens gathered after supper to hear the news of what was going on in Alexandria or in Tennessee. The drivers would be called personal shoppers today, for they brought lists of articles to be carried back into the far-off country for the convenience of the homesteaders there. The lists probably included sugar, tea and coffee, cloth by the bolt and household articles. You can imagine the joy with which the covered wagons would be sighted days later!

During Jackson's Valley Campaign the village was known as Newtown and mention is made in this book of fighting in the neighborhood.

Today the main industry centers around lime which is found in large quantities close by.

[The end]
Etta Belle Walker's short story: Stephens City