Hearing Uncle Henry Preach – Newcastle, Virginia (1909)

Jennie Davis had taken a trip to Newcastle, and she was not sure how long she would stay before returning home.

Newcastle is a small town in an unpopulated area of southwest Virginia – it lies near the Jefferson National Forest.

The community is now known as “New Castle”.


In August of 1909, Jennie sent a postcard to her Mama.

Mama lived in Eagle Rock, a census-designated place about 25 miles northeast of Newcastle.

In the 19th century, Eagle Rock had been a lock on the James River Canal and shipped limestone to kilns in nearby towns.


The face of the postcard is a pleasing illustration of a young girl holding a bouquet of flowers.

On the reverse, Jennie reports that “I got here O.K.”

Jennie is “having a nice time”; she shares the news that “Uncle Henry is up hear (sic)”.

Uncle Henry seems to be a preacher, as Jennie relates, “we went to hear him preach last night”.

We must imagine the circumstances of Jennie’s visit and the composition of her extended family.

It seems that Jennie was enjoying her extended stay in Newcastle during the summer of 1909.

One hopes that Mama was relieved to receive the postcard and that Jennie returned happily to Eagle Rock at the end of the summer.


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