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October 5, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The Buckingham Whiskey Wars: Part III


On April 21, 1903, this enthusiastic, four-column-wide advertisement for Budweiser beer ran on the same page as the very small mention of Buckingham County’s “fierce” war on temperance. The Times-Dispatch knew what lined its pockets – ads for alcohol.

Marshall District: Wet or Dry?

Following the vote in Maysville District and the triumph of the “drys,” the men (and women) of Marshall District prepared for a serious contest. On April 21, 1903, Richmond’s The Times-Dispatch, announced the coming conflict:

Drys and Wets in Arvonia.

ARVONIA, VA. April 20 – A fierce war is raging in Arvonia between the drys and the wets. The former, under the direction of Mr. A. L. Pitts, are busy with their petition seeking the signatures of the voters of Marshall District to enable them to fight for the cause of temperance, while the latter, under the leadership of Messrs. L. B. Lesueur, White and Trent, saloon-keepers in this section, are busy canvassing in opposition to the drys’ petition.

The several petitions will be presented to Judge Moss at Buckingham Courthouse Friday for his decision. The anti-saloonists have secured the services of Mr. Aubrey Strode, and a great legal battle is predicated.

Mr. A. L. Pitts was the proprietor of The Arvonia Inn. Was he a teetotaler? Or did he just want the saloons closed?

In a few years, Aubrey S. Strode would be one of the defense attorneys in the cases concerning the murders of the Stewart brothers.

Click here if you missed last summer’s true-crime story: “The 1909 Buckingham Murders”

Coming Next: A Majority of One

Need to catch up? Click here: The Whiskey Wars, Part I


Leave a Comment
  1. larry johnston / Oct 7 2015 9:32 pm

    Does anyone remember an old school house in new canton on what is now chapel rd. rt. 718,that burnt down in December 1960 or 61? Maybe called oak grove school and owned by miss Kay Keenan at that time

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 8 2015 8:00 am

      Larry, Thanks for commenting. I hope a Slate River Ramblings reader can help! Joanne

    • Diane Apperson / Oct 8 2015 8:03 pm

      I don’t have much information to share but possibly can find out more. This is what I was able to find out from some family and neighbors.

      It was called Oak Grove School, I don’t know when it opened or the year it closed. It was a 2 room frame school with 2 doors at each end of the front. It was not too far off the road (which would have been a dirt road then). After it closed, it was lived in by some different families over a period of time. It did burn down, don’t know the date though.
      Mrs. Keenan may have owned the property, she did live very close to where the school was, but I don’t know that for sure. Someone told me that one of the teachers was Marie Anderson (Mrs. Kramer Anderson). Most of us that went to Arvonia Elementary school remember Mrs. Anderson well. In fact, she was my third grade teacher.

      I hope this answers your questions. As I said, I hope to find out some dates for the school but it may take some time.

      • Joanne Yeck / Oct 9 2015 8:28 am

        Thanks, Diane!

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