By Chester S. Davis
Winston Salem Journal & Sentinel
May 18, 1952
Courtsey Nicky Felts


DURING THE. PAST 53 YEARS Dr. J. K. Caldwell, has traveled between  Whitetop Mountain and the town of Stuart In Virginia on horseback and on foot, in buggies, automobiles and in sleds drawn by steers.

In that time add over that area Dr. Caldwell has served as 'a midwife to the future of large sections of Carroll and Grayson counties.

"1 guess I've waited on 5,000 mothers," the old doctor recalls. "It was the meanest sort of work you ever did see-never had the right equipment to work with or enough of it, either. Some of those babies were born in old-timey cabins where the sun and snow came in through cracks in the log!!. But I got 'em here and I'll bet I've buried as few- as any' of them ever did,".
Of all those births there is only one that eontinues to surprise the genial doctor. That •••. as the birth of Galax.

Dr. Caldwell chuckles when he tells how the town of Galax was conceived in a mudhole by a pair of over-enthusiastic promoters named J. P. Carico and J. B. Waugh. The town was born at the end of a railway spur located 50 miles from the nearest stretch of hard-surfaced road.
Dr. Caldwell was born on the Carroll Grayson county line in 1873. He recalls his daddy's excitement when Norfolk and Western engineers came to their farm and talked of a railway line that would run down the mountain from Virginia into North Carolina and connect the West Virginia coal fields with Piedmont townslike Mount Airy, Winston and Salem.

Unfortunately, that line was never built.

Instead, the tracks came to the siding at Blair, a couple of miles from the Caldwell farm, and stopped. From Blair the Norfolk and Western served the Gossan mine. That mine, among the oldest on the continent, was worked by the Indians for crude iron and copper. For the past 75 years or so men have mined the Gossan for pyrrhotites, an iron sulfide used In the manufacture of sulfuric acid.

The Town of 'Bonaparte'

 

to be continued

Go to top