1885 – 1904
“William Worsham was born at Salt Sulphur Springs, Monroe county on June 14, 1832 and for many years was a driver on the stage line between Staunton and Lewisburg. When the stage coach went out of business after the construction of the railway, he settled in Lewisburg and was employed to run a line of hacks between Lewisburg and Ronceverte”(1). According to the 1880 census, he was living there with his wife Phoebe and their seven children.
William and Phoebe purchased lot 12 on the corner of Lafayette and Randolph Streets in 1880 from Jordan Davis (Deed 32-16) for $600, or about $18,000 today . They paid $100 when the deed was issued and $100 plus $12 interest each October 1 for the next 5 years. There was a building on the lot, undoubtedly the house shown in the above photograph. The house must have been built sometime in the preceding 10 years because Jordan Davis paid $5 for the lot in 1869 (Deed 25-680).
In 1885, they purchased the two lots down the hill at the end of Lafayette St., lots 13 and 14 (Deed 37-105) on the alley leading up to Lee St.. They built stables there, probably for the horses of the hack line. A number of deeds for adjacent properties from that period refer to that property as the “Worsham Stable Lot”.
After the Cannery closed around 1896, Wm. Worsham bought the Cannery lot from John Preston for $120 in February 1898 (Deed 51-466). He had purchased the lot the previous day from the Greenbrier Canning Company for $1. It is not known at this time if John Preston had been associated with the Canning Co.
Wm. Worsham died on December 19, 1898. “Though engaged in this unpretentious calling, Mr. Worsham was in character and conduct a gentleman, holding an enviable place in the respect and confidence of all who knew him.”1
Six years later April 14, 1904, Phoebe Worsham and her children sold the “Worsham Stable Lot” for $350 or about $11,000 today. (Deed 64-621). There must have been a market for salvaged building materials because in the deed, they “. . . hereby reserve and retain and do not convey the stable and sheds and to have said lots clean and clear thereof and ready for cultivation by the first day of May 1904. . . .”
Phoebe Worsham died in 1907 and in 1920, the Worsham heirs sold the “old William Worsham residence”, and the adjacent Cannery lot to Zora Hanson for $1700 (Deed 97-254). Wm. Worsham originally paid $665 for the two properties.
It is interesting to note that the business that employed him would face competition from another company located at Montwell Commons. Lewisburg Milling provided the first electricity to Lewisburg as described on the “Lwb Milling & Electric” tab on this website . The electric plant and equipment was sold to the Consolidated Light and Power Co in 1907. It was located on Monroe Ave. in Ronceverte where the power station was located and supplied electricity to the Lewisburg and Ronceverte Railway. Poles were erected along the right of way to power the railway engines and supply electricity to Lewisburg. With a modern electric railway, horse-drawn hacks were no longer needed. Excerpts of the Consolidated Light & Power deeds can be read here . A very interesting history of the Consolidated Light & Power Co. was published in the May 31, 2017 issue of the Mountain Messenger.
The complete deeds are on file in the County Clerk's office at the Greenbrier County Courthouse.
(1) His full obituary may be read here along with excerpts of the Worsham deeds.