New MacCallum More exhibit takes a look at Chase City’s founding years

The restored Endly portraits on display in the Museum.

To celebrate Chase City’s 150th anniversary, MacCallum More Museum and Gardens (MMMG) has put together a well researched and interesting new exhibit called Chase City: The First 100 years - A Retrospective. This exhibit showcases noteworthy events and people whose roots lie in Chase City from 1873-1973.

The exhibit opened Sunday, January 15th and will be on display Sunday afternoons from 1p.m. to 4p.m. through Sunday, February 19th. Sunday afternoons are free and open to the public.

The now restored Endly portraits—of founder George Endly and his wife Narcissa—and information on as well as a video of the restoration journey are available as part of this new exhibit. MMMG thanks the generosity of Chase City’s residents, the Endly’s heirs, museum members and patrons for their help in quickly raising the funds for the portraits’ restoration.

To go along with this exhibit, MacCallum More has provided a “whodunnit” mystery board for residents to figure out which artist likely painted the Endlys’ portraits. We won’t be sharing any spoilers.

The exhibit takes a look at Chase City’s founding and how then Christiansville grew into the town we know and love. Surprisingly, the town has several roots connected to the state of Ohio, including the name it was bequeathed in honor of famous Ohioan, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Salmon P. Chase.

Mecklenburg’s residents will recognize the names of Chase City’s founders John E. Boyd and George Endly. The brothers-in-law ran the successful real estate business, “Boyd and Endly Company” together which they ran to entice other northerners to settle in this part of Virginia following the Civil War. Their company sold hundreds of acres of land in the county.

The exhibit also features biographies on a number of notable citizens with roots in Chase City, Virginia. These individuals include:

Earle Davis Gregory, a Medal of Honor recipient for his service in the U.S. Army during World War I. Gregory received the award due to his actions a U.S. Army sergeant during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in WWI. He was the first Virginian to receive the medal.

Adelia A. Saunders who was the female registered pharmacist in Virginia.

Hilda Saunders Lewter who was the first woman to graduate from the Medical College of Virginia’s Pharmacy School.

William Carrington Finch who served as the president of Southwestern University from 1949 to 1961, Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School for four years, and president of Emory and Henry College before retiring in 1971.

Arthur R. Robinson who was a private collector and an authority on paleo-lithic Indian artifacts mostly from Mecklenburg County which are now proudly displayed at MacCallum More Museum and Gardens in Chase City.

Edward Wren Hudgins who was better known as Chief Justice Hudgins of the Virginia Supreme Court from 1947 through 1958. He has been credited with simplifying, modernizing, and speeding up Virginia’s court procedure.

Dr. Edward Hughes Pruden who was nicknamed “The President’s Pastor” due to both Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter regularly attended the First Baptist Church in Northwest Washington where he preached. Dr. Pruden was widely praised as an advocate for civil rights, ecumenical activism, and strict separation of church and state.

Lillian Moore, an American dancer and choreographer who performed with the American Ballet at Metropolitan Opera in NYC.

Emmett N. Taliaferro who became the Thyne Institute’s first African American principal in 1946.

Webb Wallace Estes, the founder of Estes Express Lines which fulfilled the U.S. military’s demand for supplies during World War II.

The exhibit also features an account detailing the development and many delays of the Roanoke Valley Railroad which finally came to Chase City, a rich history of The Mecca Theater as well as pamphlets and other memorabilia, a history of the Mecklenburg Mineral Springs, a history of the Southside Roller Mill as well as several items from and photographs of the mill, and a history of the Mecklenburg Hotel from its conception to its eventual fall to a fire

MacCallum More also has a collaborative Memory Board featuring various photos and town memorabilia. If you have a photo of Chase City prior to 1973 that you would like to share, email it to ndianathorpe@gmail.com . Please give the date of the photo known.

Stop by MacCallum More Museum and Gardens—located at 603 Hudgins Street—any Sunday between now and Sunday, February 19th from 1p.m. to 4p.m. to view this exhibit. MMMG would like to thank all who have donated items and provided information that has made this exhibit possible.

The Chase City Chamber of Commerce will have events celebrating the town’s 150th anniversary later this year.