A little history at auction | State and region


The sprawling White House in the Second Creek area of ​​Monroe County is quiet.

It hasn’t always been that way.

“Just being on the property is one of those kinds of things ‘if anything could speak, the stories it would tell,’” said David Croisier. “I would like to know about some of these conversations.”

The house, of course, cannot speak. At least not in words.

But if he could, it’s not hard to imagine that he would tell stories about what he saw in the years following the American Revolution when it was all about a log cabin on the border of what was then Virginia.

Perhaps he would refer to his time as a wagon stop and a visit from former US Secretary of State Henry Clay.

Or maybe the stories would be about Union soldiers who camped in its large front yard during the Civil War.

The big house at Spring Valley Farm can’t speak, but if it could, the most important stories would probably be those of the generations of Dickson family members who tilled their land and called her home.

But those days are over now.

For nearly two months, Crosier watched workers sort, box, and ship over 200 years of home life.

And from December 3-5, the Marketing Coordinator for Greenway’s Real Estate & Auction in Covington, Virginia will listen to and view these items posted and handed over to the highest bidder.

The house, along with its more than 600 acres of land, will also be up for grabs.

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Traces of the original two-room log cabin built by John Knox in 1793 can be seen when marked.

“There are log beams in the attic above the dining room,” Crosier said, explaining that the house was built in three stages.

It wasn’t Knox who turned the cabin into the large 14-room house it is today.

It started when Knox’s brother-in-law, Richard Dickson, bought the property in 1834. Then, from 1837 to 1841, Dickson transformed the cabin into a dining room, built a kitchen, and built the “big” or “house. main ‘two-story. .

“This is one of the most amazing places I have been in all of my years,” Crosier said of the house and the property.

Over the past 187 years, four generations of Richard Dickson descendants have made Spring Valley Farm their home and their livelihood.

It was at the beginning of October when this chapter in the history of the house came to an end.

It was then that 87-year-old Page Dickson, who has lived in Spring Valley Farm for over 60 years, closed the door behind her one last time.

“Page is sort of the end of the Dickson family line,” said his brother John Myers.

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Page, who grew up in Virginia, married into the Dickson family after work brought her to Lewisburg.

“Bill (William) Dickson, came out of Korean War service,” Myers said of Page’s late husband. “He had three brothers but he was the only brother who remained.”

Myers said that Page and Bill, who served as Presidents of First National Bank in Ronceverte during the day and farmed at night, spent the first 10 or 15 years of their marriage in a smaller house near the big one. House.

When Bill’s father passed away, he and his mother inherited the farm. Eventually, Myers said, it was decided his mother would move into their smaller home and the couple would take the original home.

And although the house was officially built in three stages, Page and Bill left their own mark on the historic house.

“They renovated it and Page started decorating it with a lot of antiques,” Myers said.

The pages of the brochure announcing the farm auction are covered with photos of both original items at the house and acquired by Page.

Myers said her sister browsed auctions for antique furniture and decorations built by local artisans.

“Most of this furniture is (made) locally, maybe in an area of ​​3-4 counties,” he said.

Page, according to Myers, has become adept with his hunt.

“She put a lot of work into it,” Myers said. “She had an incredible ability to spot an antique. It got to the point that she couldn’t go to an auction and buy anything anymore. She had to make people buy it for her. If people saw that she was starting to bid, they would bid against her.

Page continued to take care of the home, both through its interior decorating and outdoor gardening, after Bill passed away in 1994 when he was 64.

Bill’s death marked the end of farming for the Dickson family, who had raised sheep, turkeys and cattle through generations.

“Page just couldn’t do that (farm),” Myers said, adding that she had instead started renting a piece of land from a local rancher.

Because Bill and Page had no children, Myers said the couple decided before his death that the land and house would eventually be sold.

In the event that Page had to move for health reasons, Myers said he and his sister had agreed that he would take a power of attorney and take responsibility for her and the property.

It was a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s that led Page in October to move to an assisted living facility near Myers’ home in Charleston, South Carolina.

“She desperately wanted to die in the house,” Myers said. “Unfortunately, that did not happen.”

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Myers said Page took a few items from the house when she moved in, donated coins to both the Monroe County Preservation Society and the Lewisburg Historical Society, and designated the rest for sale.

Those attending the auction can bid on everything from antique books to oil paintings, toys, hand-painted masonic aprons from the late 1700s, Chinese sets, Gaudy Welsh tableware. , antique fangs, rugs, furniture and other decorations.

Crosier said an early 1800s federal-style grandfather clock, similar to the one in the White House Oval Office, as well as a Chickering piano that dates from the 1860s, should get a lot of attention.

But he said he expects everything to attract attention.

“Most of the auctions will have some nice pieces, but here everything is beautiful,” he said. “This is the amazing part. It was difficult to make a paper brochure on this one. I could have done 40 pages, but I reduced it to eight.

The auction for the house and its contents will be held in the West Virginia Building at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Fairlea.

Parts of the house will be sold throughout the day of each of the three days of the sale, but the house will be auctioned on Saturday at noon.

Although Spring Valley Farm comprises over 600 acres, for sale the land has been divided into four parcels ranging from 6.02 acres to the 397.83 acre parcel, which includes, among other things, two outbuildings, a garage. and barn and the Dickson family home.

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Although the auction marks the end of an era for the Dickson family, the house is protected as it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

And with the future of the property in mind, in 2012, Page donated a conservation easement to the West Virginia Land Trust, permanently protecting 600 acres of Sweet Springs Farm.

“I want to make sure that future generations can enjoy what we were fortunate enough to inherit,” Page said in 2014 when the deal was struck.

The agreement restricts commercial development on the property and sets limits on the size of new construction.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t profit from the property,” Crosier said. “It just protects it for the future and development that would take away its natural beauty.”

Myers, who often visited his sister, said he was going to miss the farm and that time in their lives.

“There is a certain degree of sadness,” he said. ” It’s the end of an era.

And although the next chapter of stories at Spring Valley Farm does not include the Dickson family, Myers said he hopes those who buy the land and the house will fill it with their own stories and “appreciate and appreciate it. will benefit “as much as Page and Bill and previous generations.

“Page loved the house,” he said. “… I just hope someone buys it who is interested in maintaining the beauty of the farmhouse and the atmosphere therein, because I think it has been and will continue to be a place Magnificent.”

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For more information on the auction visit www.greenwaysrealestateandauction.com or dial 1-800-420-1155.

– Email: [email protected]


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