I enjoy reading stories of the old timers who spent time in the village of Newbern when it was the county seat of Pulaski County. One such person who had interesting stories to tell was former Governor, Hoge Tyler. The City of Radford very early took it upon themselves to claim Governor Tyler as their very own., when actually he probably spent more time at his home in Pulaski County than in Radford.
Tyler was brought to this county in a basket when he was a tiny baby, and he grew up on his farm on lower Back Creek. He told stories about Newbern, like when he was taken there by his grandfather when a child, and how it thrilled him so when the stagecoach rumbled into town. And he told human interest stories, like the one about the over-protective father, that went something like this,
“An old bachelor lived in the area who fell in love with one of the local young damsels of the community. The old fellow was very bashful, and could not get up the nerve to express to the fair one how he felt. He had a good reason for being timid, because the girls father guarded her , fearing some young man of the area might come courting.
“Well, some of the fun-loving young men in town started writing letters to the bachelor and signing the girl’s name. The letters became more ardent, giving him the great feeling that he was on the verge of capturing her heart, all the time, being assured that he was. Finally an elopement was arranged. The bachelor arrived on schedule, and he waited in the darkness of night while the sweet thing climbed down the ladder from her room, and jumped up on the rump of the horse behind him, certain that they had pulled the wool over the father’s eyes.
“Sometime later in the night the nervous and passionate old bachelor stopped to investigate his lovely passenger. Moving to the ground below, the cloak was dropped, and the veil thrown aside, the face he saw was not that of the pretty young girl, but that of her protective father. We let imagination complete the picture,” Wrote Tyler.
Tyler wrote about the militia which mustered at the county seat of Newbern.
“The soldiers had trouble distinguishing between the left foot and the right. In order to teach them, a handful of hay was tied to the left foot of each man, and a like amount of straw tied to the right. The instructor gave the following order. ‘Forward march, hay foot, straw foot, boom-aladdie-boom., performing double duty as drill instructor and drummer, said Tyler. Many of the soldiers mentioned above went on to serve in the War Between the States, and I’m sure that many carried with them memories of muster day in Newbern.
Following the war old Newbern still had almost 30 years to enjoy the prestige of being the county seat, and many stories of her glorious past left to be told by those who resided there, and those passing through.
Don’t forget, the Newbern Fall Festival of arts and crafts starts Oct. 9
- Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.