The history of Creekside begins with John Amus Bishchoff and his family
who were part of the mid-1700's German immigration to America. They were
Mennonites who passed through Pennsylvania and moved south to settle in what
is now Page County, Virginia. In 1758, the Luray settlement was attacked by a
party of 58 Indians. Among those killed was John Bischoff. His 16 year-old son,
George, was taken prisoner and lived with the Indians for three years until he
was able to make his escape and return to his home. By then his mother had taken his
surviving brother back to Pennsylvania, but George decided to stay in Virginia.
He also decided to change his name from Bishchoff to Grandstaff, a name the
Indians had given him because of his height. George received a land grant from
Lord Fairfax on Narrow Passage Creek, fought in the Revolutionary War and was
at Valley Forge. He was married in 1765 and he and his wife had four children.
Philip was born in 1765 and in 1804 bought land along Stony Creek where he
built a dam and a mill. He also owned a gun factory, a boring mill and a
carding and weaving mill across the creek from the house. He had six sons and
four daughters. "Creekside" was supposedly built in 1787, probably by Phililp.
It is probably the oldest house in Edinburg and was originally a two room cabin
with an upper loft.
Philip's son George was born in 1787. This George was an officer in the War
Of 1812, receiving the rank of Major and lived to be 91 years of age. He was
a state legislator and personal friend of President James Madison and named the
magisterial district for his friend. He was active in political and military
affairs in his town, state and nation. The brick building we refer to as "the
well house" was Major Grandstaff's law office where he did business when he was
Justice of the Peace.
In the 1890's the house was purchased by Charles Stoneburner. Our family
history says that the house was purchased by his wife, Laura, who made
payments with her egg money. It is said that the family had an opportunity to
buy the large brick house that is now the Roller house, but that Charles did not
want to raise his children on Main Street. Charles is remembered for his stone
work. He was also the town lamplighter. Charles and Laura had five daughters
and five sons. Four of the daughters were school teachers. None of the girls
had children. One of the sons, J. Lee (my grandfather) was the working partner
in the Edinburg Mill and owner of the Mt. Jackson Mill. After Charles and Laura
died, their sons deeded the house over to their sisters. The aunts spent winters
in the Edith Miller house on Main Street which Ada had inherited from Miss Edith.
As soon as the weather was tolerable, and until it was intolerable again, they
moved to Creekside, the home they loved. Ada, the last surviving sister, died
intestate, meaning that 47 people inherited the house. In 1988, Gary and I
bought out the other 46 heirs, a feat which our lawyer said would be almost
impossible. We began the restoration soon after and have been working on it ever
With the exception of the rooms added to the original two-room cabin, few
changes had been made to the house for 200 years except those of a cosmetic
nature. Electricity and water had been put in and an upstairs bathroom
installed, probably around the 1930's. A large cook-in fireplace had been
removed from the kitchen. The house was heated by a large oil stove which sat
in the dining room. Nothing was ever thrown away. If a board was not reused
in another part of the house, it was tucked away somewhere and we found many
such pieces that enable us to restore a wainscoting or floor or find a color of
paint that had been used. Gary and I had had some expeience restoring an older
home in Wytheville and we had learned from that experience to take things one
room at a time. Because of the considerable termite damage throughout the
house, one of the first things we did was to have the house tented and
completely exterminated. We also had a Mennonite man replace two sill beams
that were rotting. When the house was stabilized, we began with the upstairs
bedrooms, scraping the years of whitewash from the logs, and rechinking them
with a newer, high-tech material called Perma-Chink. The floors were
hand-sanded and varnished. Then we moved downstairs and worked on two of the
rooms there, removing wall board and old plaster and lathe, leaving some of the
original log walls uncovered and painting others. The ceiling in the parlor was
removed and the beams scraped and cleaned. Gary laid the brick sidewalk from
the patio to the wellhouse, a full summer's labor, using bricks from an old
sidewalk in Wytheville. Parts of the brick patio were taken up and replaced.
A year ago (2010) the 1930's bathroom was refinished. Wallboard was removed,
the logs cleaned and rechinked and the floors sanded and varnished. The
bathtub is the only original fixture.
There are two more tooms to go -- the dining room and kitchen.
Some of the interesting features of the house are the batten doors with the
glass transoms, the paneled doors throughout the house, the winder stairs,
and the wainscoting in the living and middle rooms, the original mantle that
had been taken out of the dining room and moved into the kitchen, and the
high ceilings, unusual for log homes of their time. These were perhaps
possible because of the saw mill across the creek.
Sometimes we have wondered about all the hours and money we have spent here.
But when the night trees are full of flickering fireflies, or the swimming
hole is full of the next generation of children, or a morning is spent on
the back porch with coffee and good conversation, or the blue heron makes
a fly-by, well....