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Virgilina presented reproduction of history document

The Town of Virgilina commemorated a piece of its town’s history Thursday night as council members gathered prior to their regular monthly meeting and were presented a reproduction of the town’s 1900-1913 minute book.

According to history buff Hallie Owen, it was on a Halloween in the 1980s when her friend, Mary Helen Gravitt, was rummaging through an old building in the Town of Virgilina and ran across an old book.

“It was in pretty good condition,” said Owen.

No one was sure exactly what it was at the time.

“She was secretary of Virgilina school at the time. She brought it to school, and I saw it. I love old stuff, so I asked if I could bring it home,” she added.

Owen said that she was instantly energized after reading through the old ledger. She found that it was a record of all business of town council meetings from the year 1900 until 1913. 

She wrote an article to the local newspapers around the time of the anniversary and titled it “Happy Birthday Virgilina.”

The meeting book began with the charter of the town in February 1900 and continued with organization of all the meetings until the year 1913. It had the appointments of several mayors including the first mayor, W.H. Pannebaker, in 1900.

Over a hundred years have passed since the last minutes were taken in the book.

“The whole thing was laid to rest until last year. I got a call from a representative from the state library, Carl Childs. He had read a reprint of my article, when the News & Record ran it again. He asked if I had the book,” said Owen.

According to Owen, she had returned the book to Gravitt and contacted her. Gravitt then began a search in her attic where she quickly found the historic minute book.

“I called Carl Childs back and told him I had found it. He asked if he could have it, and I told him it didn’t belong to her or me. It belonged to the town. We then got added to the agenda of town council and asked permission to send it to the state library,” she added.

After immediate approval from town council, the minute book was sent to the state library, but Owen said the library representative promised there would be copies made.

“I think it’ll all be over with Thursday,” said Owen.

Thursday the Virgilina Town Council was presented a reproduction of the minute book that will be placed in a new case built specifically for the occasion by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Honeycutt.