If these walls could talk…

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Couple takes to Facebook after finding old items during a reno

Shanna and Toby Davies were in the middle of a renovation at their home on Stafford Street near University of Lynchburg when they started making some unique discoveries in the walls—a paring knife, stockings, old newspapers and receipts, a photo of a silent film actress, several medicine bottles and a mysterious love letter.

They took to the popular “Living in Lynchburg” Facebook page to get answers back in January.

“I enjoy genealogy and between home ownership and census forms, we discovered that the author was about 17 when she wrote this,” Shanna Davies said in the post. “Either we found a rough draft or she never sent the letter. We couldn’t find any lyrics matching the song/poem on the bottom.”

The letter was dated Oct. 14, 1924 and was addressed to a man named Tom.

“My dear Tom,
As it seems that you have forgotten me altogether. I guess you have forgot I was ever living. But I have never forgot you of never will as long as I live. I think of you night and day. But if you are tired of me I have nothing more to say. I guess I will close by asking you to always remember me as a true and faithful pal of your heart.
As ever yours,
Hazel Roberts.

Remember me when this you see
And take it to your heart
Let not the love of other girls
Cause you and I to part
Are you angry with me darling?
Are you sorry that we met?
Have you learned to love another?
Has she taught you to forget
Answer
I’m not angry with you darling
I’m not sorry that we met
I’ve never learned to love another
And I never will forget

Thanks to help from users on the Facebook page, the Davies now know the song was released by two different artists two years later in 1926—The Blue Ridge Highballers and Earnest Van Stoneman accompanied by Katie Kline, Fiddler Joe, and Henry Whitter.

The song was called “Are You Angry With Me Darling?”

Or sometimes “Are You Angry?”

Shanna Davies wonders if since The Blue Ridge Highballers were from Danville, perhaps Roberts played a role in helping to write the song.

She looked up the ownership history of the home and found that after the Campbell County annexation in 1926, the first owner was CT Roberts.

Through Family Search, an ancestry website, Shanna Davies found the family who lived in Lynchburg and matched them to her street.

“So from census forms, I could see how many kids they had and their names and I saw Hazel listed as one of them,” he said. “So I was fairly confident that I had the right family.”

Those on the Living in Lynchburg page were helpful in looking up those records as well, she said, which she thought was cool. Some shared pictures of Roberts’ headstones, other people shared the lyrics of the song and somebody shared the first artist who had released it.

“It’s cool that people have taken the same interest that we have,” Toby Davies said. “I find that with Facebook you can build a community of friends pretty quick if you have similar interests.”

Shanna Davies said other people pointed out Facebook groups that were dedicated to finding old photos at Goodwill, finding their ancestors and as a group, try to track down living relatives.

“Sometimes I feel so distant to history because it didn’t happen where I was or it wasn’t people I knew but when you find a scrap of paper in your house that somebody scribbled on almost 100 years ago, it makes it feel a little bit more personal,” she said.

Toby Davies has a theory as to how all these items have made their way into the holes and walls of the 1920 four-square craftsman house, pointing primarily to a busy packrat who once inhabited the space.

“The way these houses are built, there’s really no sections,” he said. “Everything’s kind of connected if you can get through the little cracks and crevices. Modern houses are built very compartmentalized where you can’t get from one space to another without burrowing a hole if you’re an animal.”

In the end, Hazel Roberts never ended up with the man she wrote that letter to. According to Shanna Davies and the genealogy research she conducted, she actually ended up with a man named Christopher Columbus Gunter.

Finding the letter has excited the couple and they say they look forward to future discoveries within their house.

“I’m anxious to be able to look in more parts of the house and find more things. Part of what I look forward to when I do a renovation here is, ‘What am I going to find?’ and I was not let down this time,” Toby Davies said.

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