Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lithia, Virginia

The Naces lived in Lithia. This picture, taken during the 1960s, is the lot is where S. Frances and William Robert Nace had their home and raised their daughters Lucy, Blanche, Annie Pearl, Cora, Ossie, and Zora.

The Nace lot

I can remember visiting the house, which had been empty a long time, when I was little. That would have been more than 60 years ago. The picture below, also taken during the 1960s, is labeled on the back "Aunt Fannie's house at Lithia. I'm not sure who Aunt Fannie was or how she was kin.

Aunt Fannie's House

Lithia is a small town—and former train stop—in Botetourt County, halfway between Nace and Buchanan.

The red spot on the map below marks Lithia, which is just across the Blue Ridge Mountains from Bedford County, on this Google Earth map:

Lithia  received its name from the lithium in the local water. Apparently this mineral water was quite desirable. (Several Naces lived well into their 90s. Did the water they drank had something to do with it?) Here are some posters advertising lithia water—and extolling its virtues— from Buffalo Lithia Springs, which was in Mecklinburg County:

I don't know whether or not the water from Lithia, Virginia, was ever marketed. However, there was a nearby springs where folks came to take the waters and it did ship its water "to all parts of the Union." From the 1877 edition of  Appleton's Illustrated Hand-Book of America Summer Resorts, which you can download free from Google Books, There's this entry

This resort was located along the railroad. The ad continues:

Chataigne's 1888-89 Virginia Directory and Business Directory for Botetourt County, Virginia, contains information about Lithia. Lithia had a distillery (owned by W.S. Hershaw, a general merchant (R.C. Noftsinger & Co.), two corn and flour mills (C.F. Fringer, David Bower), a saw mill (David Bower), and a fruit and vegetable packer (E.J. McCullough). I remember my grandmother (Blanche) telling me that when she was young, she and her sisters worked at the "canning factory." I don't know if it was McCullough's factory or another in the county.

Among Lithia's principal farmers, the directory lists James Falls, P. Kessler, L.C. Lackland, George Kelly, John Fringer, Fulton Fringer, David Bow, E. J. McCulloch,  W.J. Noftsinger, Geo. De Long, W.A. Noftsinger. C.F. Fringer, John Nace, Robt. Goode, J.W. Parr, B. Kessler, J. T. Obenshain, W.H. Kessler, Charles Kessler, and S.S. Young.

I wish I knew more about Lithia.

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