This area was first settled in 1732 by John Lewis and his family. The town that ultimately grew up in 1747 was named in honor of Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife to Royal Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Gooch.
The town is most noted as being the birthplace of Tommy Wilson on December 28, 1856. He did not start using his middle name, Woodrow, until college.
We visited his home and museum.
His favorite car, a pierce-arrow, was on display in the garage.
His house was actually a parsonage, as his father was a Presbyterian minister, as was his grandfather and nephew.
Woodrow became a lawyer, but found it distasteful. He then went to John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore and received a Ph.D. in History so he could become a teacher.
His run for President was unique in that it was a 3 way race: The Republican Taft, the Democratic Wilson, and Teddy Roosevelt trying to make a comeback by forming the Progressive “Bull Moose” party. The 1912 Democratic Convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland. You remember that, don’t you?
After the World War, Wilson traveled the country garnering support for his League of Nations, which had fallen in the House, and was up for a vote in the Senate. During that trip he had a stroke from which he never fully recovered. His second wife, whom he married while President, Edith Wilson, began to screen all matters of state and decided which were important enough to bring to the bedridden president. In doing so, she de facto ran the executive branch of the government for the remainder of the president’s second term. She, therefore, was really the first female President of the United States. Supposedly, Edith was a descendant of the Indian Princess Pocahontas.
An interesting part of the museum was a recreation of a World War I trench.
And you thought someone else came up with the phrase.
Traveling to within striking distance from home, we are in Staunton, Virginia. It is pouring down rain, and is expected to last most of the week, also calling for snow showers. We are 219 miles from home. We were going to stay here a few days then move one more time before arriving home on the 13th of December. But with the weather, we might stay here a week and just go home.
Our campground was a plantation in the 17 & 1800’s. It has hundreds of sites, but only 5 RV’s are here, as it is now out of season. The temperatures are in the 30’s. When the rain stops, it is predicted to go into the 20’s this week with highs in the 40’s during the day. We have been requested to disconnect our water in the evening so the exposed hose does not freeze.
Although we have the fireplace and a space heater in the Sphinx, we still must turn on our propane heat if the temperature goes below freezing so it heats our water pipes under the RV to prevent them from freezing.
No pictures, it is pouring down rain.
Wytheville, Virginia to Staunton, Virginia 141.5 miles
2 hours 50 minutes
We are now surrounded by wildfires, although they are 35 miles away, all of our routes out of here are blocked. In Gatlinburg, about 40 miles from us, there have been 4 deaths and hundreds of homes have been burned. Both Route 40 and Route 81 are blocked, some by fallen trees and smoke, but also by rescue crews entering the fire area, and people being evacuated from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and other towns that could be effected.
The weather forecast is for heavy rain starting tonight and lasting all day tomorrow. They expect the rain to help extinguish the fires, but they also expect the lightning to start new fires. They are also predicting tornadoes and are asking people to evacuate certain areas. I have emergency weather alert on my iPhone and I received a warning of the tornadoes and advised to evacuate. We flipped a coin and decided to stay. If there is no post tomorrow, you know we guessed wrong.