Clara L. Snodgrass and Rural Retreat Letter Collection
AC 029

Summary Information

Repository
McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections
Title
Clara L. Snodgrass and Rural Retreat Letter Collection
ID
AC 029
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1904-1914
Date [inclusive]
1903-1940
Extent
3.0 Linear feet
Physical Description
Contains letters and corresponding envelopes.
Location
Locked in compact shelving, level 1, shelf 32D.
Language
English
Abstract
Contains approximately 450 letters and original mail envelopes of correspondence between Miss C.L. Snodgrass of New Castle, Virginia and R.L. SIzer, Neal Philips, R. H. Miller, and Della Miller from 1903-1928.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Clara L. Snodgrass and Rural Retreat Letter Collection, Appalachian Collection, McConnell Library, Radford University, Radford, VA.

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Scope and Contents

The Snodgrass and Sizer Letters

The Snodgrass and Sizer letters contain correspondence between Miss Clara L. Snodgrass of New Castle, Virginia, and Mr. Rufus Lee Sizer who spent much of his time travelling and working several jobs. Miss Snodgrass married Mr. Sizer some time between November 1914 and July 1916.

The letters from R.L. Sizer to Clara Snodgrass are mostly love letters with bits of news scattered throughout.

From 1903 to 1905, Sizer wrote from Clifton Forge and Glen Jean, both in West Virginia. He appears to have been working for the Alleghany Bottling Company, Manufacturers of Carbonated Beverages. Letters from 1903 mention a strike at the bottling plant. 1904 letters include comments about local baseball games; and the murders of Rey Bum and George Blake. 1905 letters mention an accident at the bottling factory in which Sizer was injured; and job offers that Sizer is considering.

Letters from 1907-1908 come from Clifton Forge, Va, where Sizer may have been working for Karnes and Farrier Cash Grocers.

From 1909 to 1914, Sizer travelled with the Wrought Iron Range Company, installing ranges in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The 1909 letters include notes about the possibility of Sizer being transferred to Georgia; and his impression of the people of Richlands, Va. 1911 letters speak of a possible investment opportunity with Ripley Springs; and Clara’s trip to West Virginia. Letters from 1912 mention the death of H. H. Crawford, President of the Wrought Iron Range Co.; the death of a Mr. Caldwell; and a shooting in New Castle. 1913 and 1914 letters deal mostly with plans for Clara and Rufus’ upcoming wedding.

Letters from 1916-1917 are less frequent, as Sizer appears to have travelled only a few months out of the year.

The letters that Clara Snodgrass wrote from her home in Johns Creek near New Castle are also love letters with some news of family and friends in Craig County, notes about the weather, the crops, and local happenings.

The Miller Letters

The Miller papers contain letters to Mrs. Dell C. Miller and Mrs. R. H. Miller, both of Rural Retreat, Virginia, who appear to have been applying for teaching positions.

Letters to Mrs. Dell C. Miller consist of returned applications and letters of rejection from Concord State Normal School, Allegheny Collegiate Institute, Pittsylvania County Public School, Danville Public Schools, and the Virginia Sunday School Association; and a letter about an efficiency institute.

Letters to Mrs. R. H. Miller 1924 include returned applications and letters of rejection from George Peabody College for Teachers, Roanoke County Public Schools, Farmville High School, and Dade County Florida Public Schools; and a job offer and employee Christmas letter from the Virginia Public School Association. Letters from 1925 include returned applications and letters of rejection from Norfolk City Public Schools, and Richmond Public Schools; and a job offer from Ferrum Training School. Mrs. Miller’s papers also include an empty envelope from 1940, postmarked “Red Cross Roll Call JOIN.”

The Phipps Letters

The Phipps Papers contain letters written to Mr. John Neal Phipps in Northfork, West Virginia from his friends and family in Rural Retreat, Virginia, and miscellaneous bills and receipts.

Letters from his mother, Mrs. J. M. Phipps (Cora Miller Phipps) mostly discuss Rural Retreat News such as the weather; the crops; market prices for cabbage, eggs, and other produce; trips to Wytheville, Marion, and other nearby places; illnesses among the family and neighbors; deaths in the community; church functions and faith; news about friends and family who have left Rural Retreat to find work; and words of advice. A few of the letters mention a “Dell,” possibly Mrs. Dell C. Miller, and a few mention a “Chloe.” Neal is addressed as “Pete” in many of the letters.

1927 letters also include notes about the Rural Retreat drug store; the proposed hosiery mill in Pulaski, Virginia; a rumored milk condensing plant in Rural Retreat; a Presbyterian revival and black camp meeting; the Holy Rollers; the O. K. Harris shooting; and a town rumor of Neal’s engagement to a “D.”

1928 letters include comments about Ruth Phipps getting a divorce; Rural Retreat as a “bootlegging town,” the O. K. Harris murder case; Neal’s defeat by a black candidate for a position with the Northfork Postal Office; and Cora Phipps’ indignation at the Price family “for what they did at Ma’s place.”

Two letters from Neal Phipp’s sister Ruth tell news of family and friends. Ruth also wrote post scripts in several of her mother’s letters to Neal (May 17, 1927, and March 25, 1928).

The Neal Phipps papers also include three letters from “Chloe,” who appears to be a former girlfriend of Neal’s with whom he was still corresponding. In one, she requests that he not continue to disguise his letters to her, as she didn’t mind who knew that they corresponded. In another, she chastises Neal strongly for the way he is acting, making his mother worry.

Miscellaneous papers include bills from Jess E. Baughman, D.D.S. of Rural Retreat; Gammons Inc. Department Store; City Garage, Inc.; Bluefield Floral Co.; receipts from J. N. Cassell and the Mt. Airy Lodge No. 226; a letter from B. Wade Harper; and a letter from J. N. Cassell upbraiding Neal for not answering his letter.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections

McConnell Library
PO Box 6881
Radford, Virginia
540-831-5692
archives@radford.edu

Custodial History

Purchased from Bookworm & Silverfish, Fall 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Katherine Okie, Spring 2013. Finding aid by Katherine Okie with Gene Hyde.

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Collection Inventory

Box 1: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, 1903-1908 

Folder 1: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, 1903. Letters from Clifton Forge, WV, and Glen Jean, WV. Notable topics include a strike (March 15th). 

Folder 2: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, April - August, 1904. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. Notable topics include a baseball game (July 24th) 

Folder 3: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, September 1904. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. 

Folder 4: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass,October 1904. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. 

Folder 5: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass,November - December 1904. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. Notable topics include two murders (November 6th). 

Folder 6: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, March 1905. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. 

Folder 7: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, April 1905. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. Notable topics include a bottling factory accident (April 23rd). 

Folder 8: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, May 1905. Letters from Glen Jean, WV. Notable topics include Sizer's recovery from the bottling accident (May 1st). 

Folder 9: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, June - July 1905. Letters from Glen Jean. 

Folder 10: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, 1907. Letters from Clifton Forge, VA. 

Folder 11: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, 1908. Letters from Clifton Forge, VA. 

Box 2: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass,1909-1910 

Folder 1: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, March - April 1909. Letters from Christiansburg, VA. 

Folder 2: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, May 1909. Letters from Christiansburg, VA, and Wytheville, VA. Notable topics include Clara's broken teeth (May 2nd). 

Folder 3: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, June 1909. Letters from Wytheville, Va. Notable topics include a possible transfer to Georgia (June 13th and 22nd). 

Folder 4: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, July 1909. Letters from Wytheville, Va, and Marion, Va. 

Folder 5: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, August 1909. Letters from Marion, Va. 

Folder 6: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, September 1909. Letters from Marion, Va, and Richlands, Va. Notable topics include Richlands people (September 11th). 

Folder 7: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, October 1909. Letters from Richlands, Va. 

Folder 8: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, November 1909. Letters from Richlands, Va., and Norton, Va., 

Folder 9: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, January - February 1910. Letters from Johnson City, TN. 

Folder 10: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, March 1910. Letters from Johnson City, TN. 

Folder 11: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, June - September 1910. Letters from Asheville, NC 

Folder 12: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, December 1910. Letters from Waynesville, NC. 

Box 3: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, January 1911-June 1912 

Folder 1: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, January 1911. Letters from Waynesville, NC. 

Folder 2: February - July 1911. Letters from Waynesville, NC; Marion, NC; and Morganton, NC. 

Folder 3: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, September 191. Letters from Statesville, NC. Notable topics include the Ripley Springs Investment (September 17th). 

Folder 4: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, October - November 1911. Letters from Statesville, NC. Notable topics include Clara's trip to West Virginia. 

Folder 5: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, December 1911. Letters from Wilkensboro, NC. Notable topics include the death of H. H. Crawford (January 25th). 

Folder 6: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, January 1912. Letters from Wilkensboro, NC. 

Folder 7: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, February 1912. Letters from Wilkensboro, NC. 

Folder 8: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, March 1912. Letters from Mount Airy, NC. Notable topics include Mr. Caldwell's death (March 3rd) 

Folder 9: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, April 1912. Letters from Mount Airy, NC. 

Folder 10: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, May 1912. Letters from Mount Airy, NC; and Martinsville, VA. 

Folder 11: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, June 1912. Letters from Martinsville, VA. Notable topics include a shooting in New Castle (June 21st). 

Box 4: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, July 1912 - November 1914 

Folder 1: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, July 1912. Letters from Bedford City, VA. 

Folder 2: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, August 1912. Letters from Bedford City, VA. 

Folder 3: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, September - October 1912. Letters from Bedford City, VA; and Lynchburg, VA. 

Folder 4: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass,February - April 1913. Letters from Farmville, VA; and Amelia, VA. 

Folder 5: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, May 1913. Letters from Amelia, VA; and Keysville, VA. 

Folder 6: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, June - July 1913. Letters from Lawrenceville, VA; and LaGrosse, VA. Notable topics include Clara's birthday (June 19th). 

Folder 7: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, August 10 - August 20, 1913. Letters from Lawrenceville, VA. 

Folder 8: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, August 24 - September 2, 1913. Letters from Courtland, VA. 

Folder 9: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, January - July 1914. Letters from Petersburg, VA; and Ashland, VA. 

Folder 10: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. Snodgrass, October - November 1914. Letters from Warsaw, VA. Notable topics include wedding plans for Rufus and Clara. 

Box 5: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, July 1916 - October 1917; Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1904-1913 

Folder 1: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, July, September 10-15, 1916. Letters from Covington, VA; and Pearisburg, VA. 

Folder 2: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, September 16-21, 1916. Letters from Pearisburg. 

Folder 3: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, September 22-28, 1916. Letters from Pearisburg, VA. 

Folder 4: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, October 1916. Letters from Pearisburg, VA; and Bluefield, WV. 

Folder 5: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, November - December 1916. Letters from Bluefield, WV. 

Folder 6: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, April and July 1917. Letters from Norton, VA; Appalachia, VA; and New Tazwell, TN. 

Folder 7: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, August 1917. Letters from New Tazwell, TN; and Clinchport, VA. 

Folder 8: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, September 1917. Letters from Marion, VA. 

Folder 9: Rufus Lee Sizer to Clara L. (Snodgrass) Sizer, October 1917. Letters from Marion, VA. 

Folder 10: Clara L. Snodgrass to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1904. 2 letters. 

Folder 11: Clara L. Snodgrass to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1907. 2 letters. 

Folder 12: Clara L. Snodgrass to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1908. 2 letters. 

Folder 13: Clara L. Snodgrass to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1909 (envelope only). 

Folder 14: Clara L. Snodgrass to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1911. 3 letters. 

Folder 15: Clara L. Snodgrass to Rufus Lee Sizer, 1913. 1 letter. 

Box 6: Letters to Mrs. Dell C. Miller (Mrs. A.H.M.); Letters to Mrs. R. H. Miller; Letters to J. Neal Phipps from Mrs. J.M. Phipps, "Ruth" Phipps?, and "Chloe"; J. Neal Phipps Miscellaneous Bills and Receipts 

Folder 1: Letters to Mrs. Dell C. Miller of Rural Retreat (1924). Mostly letters of rejection and returned applications from various Virginia and West Virginia schools. 

Folder 2: Letters to Mrs. R.H. Miller of Rural Retreat, 1924. Mostly letters of rejection and returned applications from various Virginia and West Virginia schools. 

Folder 3: Letters to Mrs. R. H. Miller of Rural Retreat, 1925 and 1940 (envelope only). Mostly letters of rejection and returned applications from various Virginia and West Virginia schools. 

Folder 4: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, April - July 1927 (Letter of May 17 includes post script from "Ruth"). Notable topics include: Rural Retreat Drugstore (May 13th), a hosiery mill in Pulaski (July 11th), and a rumored Milk Condensing Plant (July 26th) 

Folder 5: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, August 1927. Notable topics include: a Presbyterian revival and a black camp meeting (August 2nd) 

Folder 6: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, September 1927. Notable topics include the Holy Rollers (September 27th). 

Folder 7: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, October - December 1927. Notable topics include the O. K. Harris shooting (October 29th, November 3rd), and Neal's rumored engagement (November 28th). 

Folder 8: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, January - February 1928. Notable topics include the Whytheville court sentencing several chicken thieves. 

Folder 9: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, March 1928 (letter of March 25 includes a post script from "Ruth"). Notable topics include: Ruth's divorce, Neal's candidacy for the Northfork Post Office (March 25th), and Rural Retreat as a "bootlegging town" (March 28th). 

Folder 10: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, April 1928. Notable topics include: infantile paralysis in the Staley family (April 15th). 

Folder 11: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, June 1928. Notable topics include: the Price family's eviction. 

Folder 12: Mrs. J. M. Phipps ("Mother") to J. Neal Phipps, July 1928 

Folder 13: "Ruth" (Neal's sister) to J. Neal Phipps, January 1928 

Folder 14: "Chloe" to J. Neal Phipps, 1927 

Folder 15: J. Neal Phipps Miscellaneous Bills and Receipts, 1827. 

Folder 15: J. Neal Phipps Miscellaneous Bills and Receipts, 1828