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History of Radford Ford

     The lake area where our vineyard is located is known as Radford Ford. Click on the Google map pictures below to see a larger image.

This land first
belonged to the Browns, William & Sally. They received the land patent from the King of England for all the land on the Bedford side of the then Staunton River in this area, including a ford across the river passable by horse and even wading in dry summer months. In 1782 William Brown sold the land to Robert Radford, who gave the ford and the immediate area the name it now has.
National Archives map 1864

     In 1789 Aquilla Mitchell bought the land from Robert Radford, and in 1808 passed in onto her son, John Mitchell Sr. The Mitchell family owned over 600 acres in the Radford Ford area, including the land the vineyard is on now, and was instrumental in the creation of most of the first roads in this area of Bedford county. 

     John Mitchell Sr had at least two sons, Stephen and Eldred, who bought the property from their father in 1820 and 1821 and increased their land holdings to eventually own hundreds of acres of land and 3 mills, from what is now the SML Yacht Club down past Radford Ford to Merriman's Run in their day. The local families of Mitchell, Franklin and Lynch intermingled by marriage and the various land plots changed hands frequently.

USGS map from 1887

    In 1837 Henry W. Franklin bought the land the vineyard is on from the Mitchell's for $150, as well as a mill down from the vineyard by Radford Ford.

USGS map from 1902

     Henry Franklin held the property and increased the farm land, particularly in 1861 when James Franklin gave him power of attorney over his lands and left for the Civil War. 

     The farm property the vineyard now stands on became contested when Henry Franklin died in 1866, and after a lengthy court case between relatives John C Franklin purchased both the mill and the farm properties in 1875. He sold off the mill to Thomas Mitchell, and it was well remembered for the area's memorable social events hosted there.

USGS map from 1928

     The Lynchs, part of the same family that gave rise to Lynchburg, owned the land just to the north of Radford Ford, now known commonly as High Point. They operated a large quarry that supplied Greenstone (a form of local soapstone) to many parts of SW Bedford county. The quarry became a cove when the lake was flooded. There are stories of the mule teams that pulled wagons loaded with stone blocks up the Radford Ford Road.

     It was in the 1880s that the town of Big Lick changed it's name to Roanoke, and the Staunton River was renamed the Roanoke River. Most folks think the town changing it's name was probably a good thing.

 USGS map from 1942

     John Franklin passed away in 1888. A local character named B.F.T. (Tom) Ayers owned a great deal of property along the Radford Ford Road, and acquired the vineyard property in 1890 from the estate of the late Franklin. He in turn sold the vineyard property to the widow Edda Ayers Cundif in 1923 for the sum of $1000.

     Berry, Tom and Martha Scruggs immigrated from Germany into Franklin county in the 1700s, and gave the Scruggs name to that well known road and community near Westlake.  Berry's grandson, Tobe Scruggs, came across the river and married Edda Ayers Cundif in 1923, and she had the current farmhouse built for $500 as a wedding present.
Current GIS map

Edda passed away, and Tobe was a familiar and colorful fixture to those passing along the Radford Ford Road. When the lake was formed the dead end road was renamed from Radford Ford Road to Hickory Cove Lane, and Tobe remained in the old farmhouse until he was 97 years old. The house had a hand dug well and still lacked indoor plumbing.

Current GIS map

Roger and Judy Furrow would drive past Tobe's farmhouse to get to Roger's parents lake cabin further down, so from the 1960's on they grew familiar with Tobe sitting on his farmhouse front porch waving at passer-bys.

Current GIS map

When the Furrows began looking for additional farmland near their lake house for an expanded vineyard, the Scruggs farm was the perfect choice for them.

Current GIS map