Monday, March 20, 2017

Episode 360 (3-20-17): Who Were Smith and Philpott and What Do They Have to Do with Virginia Water?


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:29)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-17-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 20, 2017.

SOUND – ~ 4 sec


This week, we feature a series of downstream-moving mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess a southern Virginia river and reservoir that have shaped the history of three counties named for Revolutionary legends Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin.

SOUNDS - 22 sec

If you guessed the Smith River and Philpott Reservoir, you’re right!  You heard the Smith River at the Jacks Creek Covered Bridge in Patrick County; at the outflow of the Philpott Reservoir dam, located between Henry County and Franklin County; and finally, at a bridge in the Henry County town of Bassett.  Below Bassett, the river continues through Henry County, past the city of Martinsville where it is again dammed, and eventually to Eden, North Carolina, where it joins the Dan River.

Europeans first named the river the Irwin or Irvin River after a surveyor in William Byrd’s expedition in 1728.  The relevant “Smiths” are believed to have been Gideon and Daniel, settlers in the 1740s in Pittsylvania County, from which Henry County was formed in 1777.  According to Nancy Bell in her book Philpott Stories, in the early to mid-1900s the people of the “mountains and...hollows around Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties...both relied upon and feared the mighty Smith River.”  A devastating flood in 1937 helped lead to the plans and funds that eventually resulted in the Philpott Dam and Reservoir, completed in 1952 and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood control, hydroelectric power, and recreation.  Below Philpott, the Smith River offers what the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries calls one of Virginia’s “most unique fisheries,” where the dam’s coldwater releases into a relatively large stream create excellent habitat for trout.

The Philpott project was named for a Henry County family that gave up several hundred acres to the reservoir.  That family also produced one of Virginia’s most prominent politicians of the 20th Century, A.L. Philpott, who served as House of Delegates speaker from 1980-1991.   He was a powerful legislative presence during a time when the General Assembly faced many significant water-resources issues, such as a statewide moratorium on uranium mining put in place in 1982, and Virginia’s 1988 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.

In 2017, the Smith River continues as a popular fishery, scenic attraction, and resource for communities. Philpott Dam and Reservoir continue as defining regional features.  And those two surnames—one as common as any English name, and the other distinctive in southern Virginia—continue to be part of our Commonwealth’s water story.

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.   Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.   Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Smith River and Philpott Dam sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio on January 15-16, 2017.

Thanks to the following people for their help providing information or sources for this episode:
Paul Angermeier, Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation;
John Copeland, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishiers (VDGIF);
Nima Guerin, Virginia Tech Library research desk;
Shannon Ritter, Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation;
Scott Smith, VDGIF.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.   More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

PHOTOS
 Smith River at Jacks Creek Covered Bridge in Patrick County, Va., January 15, 2017.
Philpott Dam, on the border between the Virginia counties of Franklin and Henry, January 16, 2017.
Smith River just below Philpott Dam, January 16, 2017.
Smith River in Bassett, Va. (Henry County), January 15, 2017.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT THE SMITH RIVER, PHILPOTT DAM/RESERVOIR, AND A. L. PHILPOTT


*As stated in the audio, the Smith River is a tributary of the Dan River.  The Dan, in turn, is a tributary to the Staunton River portion of the Roanoke River, which it meets at the Charlotte/Halifax/Mecklenburg county line, about 10 miles east of South Boston, Va.

*From the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Smith River,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/waterbody/smith-river/:
“The Smith River in Franklin and Henry Counties is one of the state’s most unique trout fisheries. The cold water released from Philpott Dam provides miles of quality trout water and offers excellent fishing opportunities throughout the year.  Approximately 31 miles from Philpott Dam downstream to State Route 636 (Mitchell Bridge) are special regulation brown trout waters.  Two sections of the Smith are designated as put-and-take stocked waters and provide opportunities to catch rainbow trout.  Downstream of the special regulation section, anglers can expect to catch smallmouth bass, rock bass, and sunfish as the Smith makes its way into North Carolina.”

*From Tom McLaughlin and Susan Kyte, “The Project That Changed Everything,” Mecklenburg Sun, 10/24/12, online at http://www.sovanow.com/index.php?/news/article/mecklenburg_county_meets_the_government_men/:
“...[The Flood Control Act of 1944, also known as the Pick-Sloan Act...led to the construction of more than 50 dams and lakes across America, including the Buggs Island dam [on the Staunton/Roanoke River in Mecklenburg County, Va.] and a sister project, the Philpott Reservoir upstream on the Smith River.  Pick-Sloan was the heir to the landmark Flood Control Act of 1936, which authorized some 100 dams in flood-prone regions.   (Updated versions of the act were approved by Congress in 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1941.)”

*From Bruce F. Jamerson, Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Delegates 1776-1996, Commonwealth of Virginia, Richmond, 1996:
Albert Lee Philpott (A.L.) Philpott), was born in Philpott, Va. (Henry County) in 1919 and died there in 1991.  “He was described as ‘a man of absolute integrity’ and ‘a lawyer’s lawyers’ and was probably best known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the Code of Virginia and case law.” Elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1957, he became Majority Leader in 1978 and Speaker in 1980.  According to quotes (unattributed) in the article by Bruce Jamerson, Mr. Philpott had “one of the most distinguished legislative careers in the history of the Commonwealth”; and “although a tough-minded partisan, he ‘brooked no nonsense from either side of the political aisle.’”

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Forrest Altman, “Adventures in the Dan River Basin” (undated, but at least as recent as 2005 according to references cited), available via the Dan River Basin Association, online at http://www.danriver.org/our-watershed/trails-and-river-info/river-info.

Nancy Bell, Philpott Stories, Laurel Hill Publishing, Ararat, Va., 2015.

Bridgehunter.com, “Jacks Creek Covered Bridge 46-48-02,” online at https://bridgehunter.com/va/patrick/bh40570/.

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Chesapeake Bay Program History,” online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/about/how/history.

Maud Carter Clement, The History of Pittsylvania County, J.P. Bell Company, Lynchburg, Va., 1929.

Lee A. Daniels, “A. L. Philpott, Virginia Speaker and Ally of Governor, Dies at 72,” New York Times, 9/30/91.

W. B. Fiske, “Virginia's Moratorium: Is Uranium Mining on the Horizon in the Commonwealth?” William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (Vol. 37, No. 1), online (as PDF) at http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1564&context=wmelpr.

John F. Harris, “A.L. Philpott, Va. House Speaker, Dies,” Washington Post, 9/29/91.

Bruce F. Jamerson, Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Delegates 1776-1996, Commonwealth of Virginia, Richmond, 1996.

Tom McLaughlin and Susan Kyte, “The Project That Changed Everything,” Mecklenburg Sun, 10/24/12, online at http://www.sovanow.com/index.php?/news/article/mecklenburg_county_meets_the_government_men/.

Martinsville/Henry County, Va., “Smith River Trout Fishing,” online at http://www.visitmartinsville.com/smith-river-trout-fishing.

Mickey Powell, “Philpott Dam lecture draws crowd,Martinsville Bulletin, 10/1/15.

Emily Jones Salmon, Encyclopedia Virginia, “County Formation During the Colonial Period,” 8/30/12, online at http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/County_Formation_during_the_Colonial_Period.

Smith River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, online at http://www.smithrivertu.com/.

Freddie L. Spradlin, VaGenWeb.org, “Counties and Cities,” online at http://vagenweb.org/county2.htm.

TroutPro, “Smith River Virginia,” online at https://www.troutprostore.com/streams/smith_river_virginia.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wilmington District/Water Management Unit, “Philpott Lake Project,” online at http://epec.saw.usace.army.mil/roanphil.htm.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “Geographic Names Information System,” online at https://geonames.usgs.gov/; and “Smith River,” online at https://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=gnispq:3:0::NO::P3_FID:1023457.

University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation, “Time Period 1980s,” online at http://ien.arch.virginia.edu/time-period/1980s.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/ChesapeakeBay/ChesapeakeBayPreservationAct.aspx.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Smith River,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/waterbody/smith-river/.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “2016 Smith River Trout Fishery,” online (as PDF) at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016-Smith-River-Popular-Report.pdf.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Trout Fishing Guide,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/trout/.

Virginia Tourism Corporation, “Virginia is for Lovers/Martinsville Dam on Smith River,” online at https://www.virginia.org/Listings/HistoricSites/MartinsvilleDamonSmithRiver/.

Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation, “The Smith River,” online at http://www.fishwild.vt.edu/Smith_River/.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “A Look Back over 35 Years of Water News in Virginia,” Educational Report ER02-2005, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/55245.

For More Information about the Smith River, the Dan River Basin, and the Roanoke River Basin

Forrest Altman, The Dan River Book: Odyssey, Epic, Guide (5th Edition), Star Square Press, Semora N.C., 2003.  Available from the Dan River Basin Association, http://www.danriver.org/.

William Byrd, The Westover Manuscripts: Containing The History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; A Journey to the Land of Eden, A. D. 1733; and A Progress to the Mines”; (written from 1728-1736), printed by Edmund and Julian C. Ruffin, Petersburg, Va., 1841.  Electronic edition 2001, available from the University of North Carolina Library online at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/byrd/byrd.html.

W.E. Trout, III, The Dan River Atlas (1st Edition), prepared for the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society, Richmond and Lexington, Virginia; and the Dan River Basin Association, Wentworth, North Carolina, 2003.  Available from the Dan River Basin Association, http://www.danriver.org/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

For episodes on water-related geographic features in Virginia, please see the “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category.

For episodes on floods and flooding, please see the “Weather/Natural Disasters” subject category http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS
This episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.8 - community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.
LS.10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.2 – physical geography and native peoples of Virginia past and present.
VS.9 – knowledge of 20th and 21st Century Virginia, including transition from agricultural to industrial society, social and political events, historical figures.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – water features important to the early history of the United States.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.6 - past and present trends in human migration and cultural interaction as influenced by social, economic, political, and environmental factors.
WG.7 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.10 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.16 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs, which become effective in the 2017-18 school year:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – major land and water features of North America.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.4 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.18 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.