1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Birth of James
John McCurdy

It is funny; how so many times, things that are quite important just aren’t noticed in the hurry-up, let’s go world of today. Last week, my wife Pearl, and I, while driving back from Roanoke on Route 220, noticed just before we were nearly in Clifton Forge, a small sign by the side of the road, looking as if it might have been hand-lettered, on it was, “Birth of James”, that’s it!

I recalled that the James River did, indeed start somewhere around here, where the smelly and polluted Jackson River that passed through and was used by the Westvaco Paper Mill in Covington, joined and corrupted the sweet, pure waters of the Cow pasture!

We turned and retraced our way back to the sign. A narrow dirt road led down over the bank and across the railroad tracks. Only after starting over the tracks did I see the sign that said. “Private Property-No Trespassing”!

There was not a lot I could do except continue on, it would have been very difficult and dangerous to attempt to back up, over the railroad tracks and the narrow road and then onto Route 220! Looking ahead down the long lane, I saw a wide place I where I could turn around. It was near several houses and, as luck would have it, several people were standing in the yard! Deciding to go on and take my medicine, for trespassing, like a man, I drove on.

I stopped near to the folks standing in the lane, got out and apologized for our intrusion, (my wife later said she was only a passenger), explaining that I would turn and be gone in a second. One of the people asked what we were seeking and I told him of the sign “Birth of James”, “oh, yes, it sure does” he said, “would you like to see it”?

We followed him for several hundred feet behind his house and another hundred or so upstream and there it was!

The Jackson River coming in from the left. The Cow pasture River flowing almost from directly in front of us. To the right, their offspring, “The James”!


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