Our story starts with a married couple, John C. Spickard (b. 1832) and Mary A. Wilson Spickard (b. 1836), who came to own a plot of land once owned by Otis Woodbine. This land already had history, including serving as a camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Mary's parents, Zedekiah Wilson (1803 - July 1, 1883) and Eliza Jane Vinyard (Jan 4, 1814 - Feb 1, 1863) were married on September 4, 1831 in Botetourt County. Eliza's parents were Christian Vinyard and Elizabeth Gish. Elizabeth was the oldest of 11 children, and the Gish family were Mennonites from Pennsylvania who settled in Botetourt County sometime after Elizabeth's birth. Incidentally, Elizabeth's parents were Jacob B. Gish (1767 - 1836) and Anna Vinyard. It is unknown if Elizabeth's mother and Elizabeth's husband were related, though it wouldn't be preposterous for the time. Elizabeth and Christian stayed in Boutetort County and raised their children. Eliza likely met Zedekiah there.
Although Zedekiah and Eliza indicate their residence is in Botetourt County during the 1850 federal census, by the 1860 federal census, their residence is Blacksburg, Virginia. It is unknown where in Blacksburg they were living at the time. Interestingly, during that 1860 census, the residents of "Dwelling 1366" include Zedekiah Wilson, age 57, a "farmer"; Eliza J. Vinyard Wilson, 37; Susan Wilson, 22, Margaret E. Wilson, 20; Adam J Wilson, 15; Elkana J. Wilson, 14; Callom Spickard, 25; and Mary Spickard, 24. We are unsure if Callom and John are the same person (John's middle initial is "C."), or if perhaps Callom is a relative of John.
John lists his occupation in the 1900 census as “Saddler”. They had 3 children, but only 2 made it to adulthood: Frank May Spickard (b. May 1861) and Lula R (real name Louise Reagan, went by her middle name "Reagan") Spickard (b. 1864). On the day the 1900 census was taken, their nephew (on Mary’s side), Elkany Wilson, aged 15, also lived with the Spickards to help around the farm. The birth years of Frank and Reagan are debatable. as the 1880 federal census indicates Frank is 18 and Lula R is 11. The gravestones themselves list Frank M. Spickard May 1863 - Feb 8, 1935 and Reagan Spickard Wyatt July 10, 1866 - June 2, 1960.
The Spickard family lived at 101 Mount Tabor Road, in a home which was built in 1875 and still stands today. They lived a quiet farming life, with John's business of tack and leather to provide additional support. John does appear in the 1891 Register of U.S. Civil, Military, and Naval Service, though the extent of his military service is unknown. The white house at the corner of Mt. Tabor and North Main Street stayed in the family until Reagan sold it to Mrs. J.W. Moore, who in turn eventually sold the land for development into the Woodbine and Wyatt Farm neighborhoods. The white house remained in the family until J.W. Moore's daughter, Gretchen Miller, sold it in 2019.
The Moore family and Reagan were close, Reagan was like a grandmother, and Gretchen fondly called her "WyWy" (this part of the story provided by Gretchen Miller, daughter of J.W. Moore). J.W. Moore is listed as the informant of the death of Reagan Spickard Wyatt on Reagan's death certificate. Additionally, Reagan's death certificate lists 103 South Main Street as her residence - what is now the Blacksburg Tavern restaurant. She lived there from 1940 - 1960. This house is touted as "the oldest house on Main Street, circa 1892, within the town's original 16 squares".
So why the name “Wyatt” farm? Reagan married Frank J. Wyatt (b. 1869) on August 22 or 23, 1905. Marital bliss was not permanent, and Reagan and Frank were divorced in May 1935 after almost 30 years of marriage. There are some reports Frank became a priest and moved to England, we are researching the validity of those reports now. More details of his role are currently unknown. Reagan presumably stayed close to her brother Frank Spickard, and is the informant on his death certificate (he died in 1935, the same year as her divorce from Frank Wyatt), and the siblings are buried next to each other in the Wilson family cemetery on Birchleaf Lane. The name of the cemetery seems to indicate the land was originally owned by Mary Wilson’s family, which begs the question, who else is buried there, and why is our neighborhood not named “Wilson Farm”? We will add more to this summary as we receive additional information from the Blacksburg Cultural Foundation, Gretchen Miller, Dr. John Wilson, and other historical sources.
The Wyatt Farm neighborhood is located at the north end of Blacksburg, just off N. Main Street near the intersection with 460:
The neighborhood is made up of the following streets:
- Vinyard Avenue
- Hardwick Street
- Birch Leaf Lane (which continues into the Woodbine neighborhood)
- Reagan Road
- Spickard Street
- Court Lane
- Talheim Circle
- Flippin Circle