“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Independence in Grayson County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)



—The Crooked Road — Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail —

The Crooked Road Independence Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
1. The Crooked Road Independence Marker
Inscription. Independence. Grayson County is noted for traditional music and altitude. Four of Virginia’s five highest mountains are to be found here. In 1850 Grayson County was in the midst of controversy concerning the location of the county seat. As a compromise between two rival camps, a third site was selected and named Independence, based on the fact that a group of “independents” had favored this option. One of the most famous and colorful fighting units of the Civil War was the Grayson Daredevils, 91 farmers from the Elk Creek community. They were part of the Stonewall Brigade.

Tiny places such as Rugby—too small for maps—have produced notable musicians for generations. Gold Hill is equally tiny, but has a beautiful waltz is named for it. Mill hands from historic Fries on the beautiful New River had a pivotal role in starting the commercial country music industry in the early 1920s. The museum inside the restored Historic 1908 Courthouse presents a cross section of Grayson County heritage and information on the County’s numerous communities. Independence itself is small in size, but has been the home of and setting for a wealth of musical activity. Wade Ward, perhaps the nation’s most renowned old-time clawhammer style banjoist, lived here and was visited by more than 1,000 aspiring banjoists. All
Independence Face of Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
2. Independence Face of Marker
were welcomed, inspired, and treated as a member of the Ward family. There are many musical families here who have made rich contributions to the heritage of their state and nation. These contributions continue with an array of jam sessions and local events. Collectors and scholars of the music from distant places, as well as ordinary fans, are welcomed as they have been for generations.

The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Coalfields region, southwest Virginia is blessed with historic and contemporary music venues, musicians, and fretted instrument makers. Historically isolated, the region retained its strong musical legacy by passing traditions down through musical families to an appreciative community.

Old time mountain music, bluegrass, and gospel can be enjoyed all year long and several museums are devoted to showcasing the area’s rich musical heritage.

The Crooked Road winds through the ruggedly beautiful Appalachian Mountains and leads you to the major hotspots of old time mountain music, country music, and bluegrass. Alive and kickin’ for today’s fans, these venues preserve and celebrate musical traditions passed down through generations. Annual festivals, weekly concerts, radio shows, and jam sessions ring out to large audiences and intimate gatherings. Please visit the
The Crooked Road Face of Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
3. The Crooked Road Face of Marker
Crooked Road website to plan your trip to coincide with the current entertainment events.
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail marker series.
Location. 36° 37.34′ N, 81° 8.091′ W. Marker is in Independence, Virginia, in Grayson County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street (U.S. 58) and Morton Drive, on the right when traveling west on East Main Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Independence VA 24348, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Independence (approx. 0.9 miles away); Payton Guyn Hale (approx. 5.9 miles away); Caty Sage (approx. 6.9 miles away); First Court of Grayson County (approx. 7.9 miles away); First County Seat (approx. 9.9 miles away); Wythe County / Grayson County (approx. 10 miles away); Fries (approx. 10.3 miles away); a different marker also named Fries (approx. 10.7 miles away).
More about this marker. The Independence panel shows three photographs captioned “Annual Independence Day Celebration,” “Wade Ward,” and “Confederate Veterans.” The Crooked Road panel shows The Carter Family on
The Crooked Road Independence Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
4. The Crooked Road Independence Marker
the upper right, Dr. Ralph Stanley in the center right and a map of western Virginia showing stops on The Crooked Road and “You are Here.”
Also see . . .  Leroy Troy playing a clawhammer banjo. 2013 video on Bluegrass Today website. (Submitted on March 26, 2014.) 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 301 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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