The Patrick County Genealogy Society held its organizational meeting on 6/15/1999 at the Stuart Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Stuart. It is an outgrowth of the Patrick County Heritage Book. There were 42 Charter Members including: Leslie Shelor, Betty Baliles, Betty C. Banks, Jackie Belcher, Wesley Belcher, Virginia Bingman, Virginia Burnett, Shelby C. Cochran, Donna Edwards, Dorothy Fain, Cathy Gilliam, Edward Gunter, Kathleen Heath, Alpha Hiatt, Margaret Hiatt, Lu Anne Hill, Mildred Hill, Virginia R. Hopkins, Esther Johnson, Donna Joyce, Vivian Joyce, Kenney Kirkman, Joyce Gilley Martin, Debra Nester, Lucy Nowlin, Barbara Payne, Carlton Payne, Susan Rudd, Vera Seigler, David Sheley, Wanda Shough, Hazel Smith, Sharon N. Smith, Irene Soyars, Genevieve C. Starkey, Jean Thomas, Douglas Turman, Rebecca Turman, Onie Vaughn, Raymond Vaughn, Crystal Wood Wood, and Mary Elizabeth Wood.
The first elected officers were: President - Alpha Hiatt, Vice President - Kenney Kirkman, Treasurer - Mildred Hill, Editor - Leslie Shelor Allen, Photographer/Archivist - Desmond Kendrick, Advisors - Raymond & Onie Vaughn. The position of Secretary/Reporter went unfilled so Alpha Hiatt assumed these offices as well. Current officers are: David Sheley, President/Query Columnist/Scrapbook/Guest Registry/Librarian; Alpha Hiatt, Vice President/Editor; Mildred Hill, Treasurer/Membership Chairman; Peggy Thompson/Minute Taker; Cecil and Onie Vaughn, Advisors; Photographers/Videographers - Alpha Hiatt, Joe Mulholland, Wanda Shough, Peggy Thompson, and Onie Vaughn.
Membership runs from September 1 to August 31 with quarterly newsletters published in February, May, August and November. The Patrick County Genealogy Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the preservation, publication, and quest for knowledge of Patrick County's unique family histories and heritage.
On July 28, 2001 we held the first ever Civilian Conservation Corps. Reunion at Fairystone State Park. This was a wonderful moment in history for our organization. We had 85 people to attend this event including CCC'ers Odell Cox, Ophus Agnew, Curtis Spencer, Norman Webb, Lester Mankin, and Sam Wood. CCC descendants included Brewster Powell, Camden Powell, Letitia Powell Martin, Barbara Payne, Loretta Carroll, Milton Hundley, and the granddaughter of Larry Boyd named Lindsey. This reunion focused on those involved with the building of Fairy Stone State Park of which Ophus Agnew was one of them. We have become known for our Civilian Conservation Corps. (CCC) Programming and we have made a very special effort to preserve Patrick County CCC's history since 2000 (and is an ongoing project of PCGS), especially Camp Rocky Knob at Woolwine and the CCC at Fairystone State Park through oral interviews, CCC Programs, and the First Ever CCC Reunion at Fairystone State Park. We are always happy to accept pictures, company booklets, and other historical items from either of these CCC Camps. It is our desire to document the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Fairystone State Park to the very best of our ability. If you have someone living in your family that was a CCC'er at either one of these areas, we would very much like to talk with them, or if they've passed on, please share your recollections with us of what your CCC'ers life was like for them during the construction phases of these two wonderful outdoor recreation areas in the heart of The Blue Ridge Mountains in Patrick County.
Our organization has also become known for its Native American Programming since our inception in 1999, and we strongly encourage the children to attend these programs as this is material they will not find in textbooks---we teach them about Patrick County Native Americans. Myrtle Driver of the Cherokee Indian Nation was our very special Guest Speaker for the Tuesday, November 14, 2000 program. This was our largest attendance ever and continues to be our largest to this date. Myrtle presented a wonderful program on the Cherokee Indians of Patrick County, Virginia. The Cherokee indians claimed most of the land in southwest Virginia during the 1700's. This territory was from the top of the Blue Ridge (Blew Ledge) and included Vesta, Meadows of Dan, and Tuggles Gap. In the Treaty with the Cherokee at Hard Labor, SC in October, 1768, the British government purchased most of the tribal holdings east of the New River in southwest Virginia including Vesta, Meadows of Dan, and Tuggles Gap. The Cherokee sold this area due to white squatters moving in. When the Cherokee were here in Patrick County, this area was their hunting grounds. They would hunt in the Spring, Summer, and Fall and reutrn to Cherokee in the Winter. There are many people in Patrick County whose ancestry is Cherokee. We would like to extend a special thank you also to Doug Belcher, Renae Wagoner, and Lee Pinkerson who made this a truly wonderful event for Patrick County. Our Native American programs have become our trademark, and now our Genealogical Society is being used as a model for others to go by. Chief Kenneth Branham of the Monacan Indian Nation of Lynchurg, VA was the speaker of the Tuesday, November 13, 2001 program along with Lee Pinkerson, Doug Belcher, and Renae Wagoner. Chief Branham spoke about researching your Monacan ancestry. Monacan family names in Patrick County include Hicks, Lawless, Clark, Roberts, Willis and Terry. The Monacan's were neighbors to the Saura Indians who lived on the Dan, Smith, and Mayo Rivers in Patrick County.
The Society completed its first project which is the Patrick County, Virginia, WWII Pictorial Book. It has a listing of 2,000 Patrick County Veterans who served in WWII, Honor Roll of the Norfolk & Western Railway, over 600 Patrick County Veterans Pictures with Captions, Story on the Bull Mountain Plane Crash, Hutchens B-24 Story, Bougainville Island Base Reunion Story, 26 Pages of Scenes from the War Including Ships, Planes & Trucks; Postcards; Discharge Papers & Medals; Badges & Medals; Newspapers from the Era; WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.; and the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.