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At 100, Virginia Man Has Seen a Lot of Printing

May 1998

Headspeth describes his 10 years at the Westbury Times as the best of his life. The owner showed up about once a week, and Headspeth ran the place with the help of a pressman. Among his fondest memories from that time are seeing Amelia Earhart and Admiral Byrd, and flying in a Ford Tri-Motor over New York City.

It was also there that, working mostly on Sunday afternoons with a linotype and Chandler & Price press, Headspeth produced the first printing of "Halifax Volunteers" in 1939.

Consisting of 27 pages, the book was compiled from his grandfather's letters and produced for distribution to his family. The book has been expanded over the years to include lists of Halifax, VA, veterans of World War I and World War II.

In the introduction to the book, Headspeth writes: "In gathering material for this booklet, I have been privileged to live again, as it were, with those grand old veterans of the Army of Northern Virginia whom I knew in my youth.

"Even in their latter years these old soldiers were still active in the religious, business and political life of South Boston and Halifax County.

"Beloved soldiers of the Confederacy, actors in the greatest drama ever enacted on this continent... honored, revered, even envied, for they had 'touched the hand of Lee.'

"Here were men who met McClellan in the mountains of West Virginia, marched with Jackson's foot cavalry, rode with Stuart, charged with Pickett across the peach orchard at Gettysburg, fought at Seven Pines, Petersburg and a hundred other battlefields, and some as mere boys stopped the Yankees cold at Staunton River Bridge.

"These veterans were my boyhood heroes, my idols! From their lips I heard thrilling stories of the war, of battles won, of battles lost. They told of camp life, of long, exhausting marches, of daring cavalry charges, of the cold of winter and the heat of summer, of the hunger and the suffering. During the '20s there were only a few left. One by one they answered the last muster...and then, suddenly, they were all gone..."

Thomas Durand contributed to this report.


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