A Guide to the Charles W. Crush Collection 1796-1978 Crush, Charles W. Papers, 1796-1978 Ms1984-180

A Guide to the Charles W. Crush Collection 1796-1978

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1984-180


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

© 2002 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: John M. Jackson Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Collection number
Charles W. Crush Collection 1796-1978
Physical Characteristics
2 containers; 1 cu. ft.
Crush, Charles W., b. abt. 1894-1970
A collection of materials related to various aspects of the history of Montgomery County, Virginia, including early county records, papers of the Altizer and Sullivan families, materials related to twentieth-century county politics and the county's role in the Civil War and World Wars I and II. Also includes writings and subject files on topics in local history and a small set of general materials.

Administrative Information


Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Charles W. Crush Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Charles W. Crush Collection, Ms1984-180 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Charles W. Crush Collection was purchased by the Special Collections in 1984.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Crush Collection commenced and was completed in November 2002.

Biographical/Historical Information

Charles Wade Crush, Montgomery County judge, historian and civic leader, was born in Christiansburg, Virginia, around 1894; he earned his degree in law from Washington and Lee University in 1913. He later attended the University of Texas and practiced law in Texas for a short time before returning to Christiansburg. During World War II, Crush served with the 314th Machine Gun Battalion. (Crush's interest in military affairs would continue throughout his life, serving as commander of the Virginia Department of the American Legion and as an officer in Company 161 of the Virginia Reserve Militia.) From 1923 to 1935, Crush served as commonwealth's attorney. He later served as Christiansburg postmaster for 10 years and as judge of the county court from 1948 until his retirement in 1963. Crush died on March 18, 1970.

Judge Crush maintained an interest in local history and civic matters throughout his career. He wrote numerous articles on Montgomery County history for the county newspaper and served as chairman of the Montgomery County Jamestown Festival Committee in 1957. As a director of the Montgomery County branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Crush was instrumental in the preservation of Smithfield Plantation. His interest in local history culminated in the publication of his book, The Montgomery County Story, 1776-1957; and is represented in the posthumous work Montgomery County, Virginia: the First Hundred Years (1982). Through the American Legion, Crush is also credited with the founding of Virginia Boys' State.

Crush's wife, Eliza Clay Allen Crush, was born in Bland County, Virginia, in 1898. She attended Virginia Tech, and later passed the Virginia bar exam. Like Judge Crush, Mrs. Crush also maintained an active interest in local affairs. She served as the Christiansburg correspondent for the Roanoke Times for 25 years and is credited with founding Girls' State at Radford College (now Radford University). She served as acting Christiansburg postmaster during World War II and as assistant Christiansburg postmaster for six years prior to her death in 1966.

Scope and Content Information

This collection contains county records, correspondence and printed materials collected by Judge Charles W. Crush relating to the history of Christiansburg and Montgomery County. The Crush collection is divided among the following series: County Records, Altizer Family Papers, Sullivan Family Papers, Politics, Military, Local History, and General Materials.

The County Records series contains tax records dating back to the late eighteenth century, a few scattered court records from the early nineteenth century, and records of the Montgomery County overseer of the poor from the late nineteenth century. The Altizer Family Papers consist of a three items of personal correspondence, while the Sullivan Family Papers contain receipts and tax records from the latter nineteenth century. The collection also contains a small file of materials relating to state and local politics during the 1920s and 1930s. Crush's involvement in recording and preserving local history is revealed in both the Military and Local History series, the former containing rosters and notes on local units, the latter including typescripts and printed materials on a variety of subjects relating to early Montgomery County history. A small set of general materials includes personal papers, ephemera and a photograph of Montgomery Male Academy.


I. Montgomery County Records, 1796-1886, n.d. This series contains early tax records, including lists of tithables, delinquencies and insolvents compiled by commissioners of revenue and deputy sheriffs James and John Hoge, Thomas Henry, James Barnett, James Rayburn and William Rutlage. The series also contains a number of early records relating to the county court's payments on accounts and claims, most notably for work done on the courthouse and jail. From the latter nineteenth century, the series contains a tax receipt book from the Blacksburg district (dated 1884) and a small set of records from the county's overseer of the poor, including recommendations for assistance signed by overseer George W. L. Kabrick and account statements from local businesses. Materials are arranged by type, then chronologically.

II. Altizer Family Papers, 1900-1937 The Altizer Family Papers consist of three letters: two written by E. Wesley Altizer from Middlecreek, Illinois to relatives in Virginia (1900), and one written by Jacob Altizer of Christiansburg to Lila Altizer of Roanoke (1937). The letters are arranged chronologically.

III. Sullivan Family Papers, 1872-1895, n.d. This series contains papers of Christiansburg's Sullivan family and consists largely of receipts and tax records. Mentioned within the papers are Arthur O., C. W., Eugenia V., Mary Maude, Thomas E. and William Sullivan. Arranged chronologically. (For more on the Sullivans, see Ms56-001 - Sullivan Family Papers.)

IV. Politics, 1921-1936, n.d. This series contains correspondence and printed materials relating to both local and statewide campaigns. Included are numerous items (correspondence and printed material) concerning Clifton A. Woodrum's 1922 congressional campaign, sample ballots and Democratic Party printed matter. Arranged chronologically.

V. Military, 1918-1946, n.d. The Military series includes materials relating mostly to local involvement in the Civil War and both world wars. The Civil War materials include typescript rosters for local units and correspondence, forms and notes relating to grave markers of Confederate veterans. World War I items include a list of Montgomery County veterans, as well as official records and rosters of Company A, 314th Machine Gun Battalion (with which Crush and many other Southwest Virginia men served). Also filed here are printed materials regarding the American Legion, founded by World War I veterans. World War II materials include a list (with accompanying materials) of Montgomery Countians killed in the war and papers of Company 161, Virginia Reserve Militia. The series is arranged sequentially by war, then chronologically.

VI. Local History, 1880-1970, n.d This series contains various materials relating to the history of Christiansburg and Montgomery County. Included are typescript and printed articles (written by Crush and others) on early Montgomery County history, a file of printed materials regarding the Lee Highway opening celebration (1926) and the roadway's historic background, and records of the steering committee for Christiansburg's 150th anniversary celebration (1957). Materials are loosely arranged by historical time period, with a file of newsclippings relating to various local history topics and periods completing the series.

VII. General Materials, 1886-1978, n.d. This small set of materials includes an invitation to an 1886 Athenaean Literary Society event at King College (Bristol, Tennessee), a photograph of Christiansburg's Montgomery Male Academy, correspondence--mostly regarding army extension courses taken by Crush--and newsclippings related to Judge and Mrs. Crush and others. Arranged chronologically.

Index Terms


  • Civil War
  • Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Contents List

  • Box-folder 1-1
    Tax records 1796
  • Box-folder 1-2
    Tax records 1799
  • Box-folder 1-3
    Tax records 1806
  • Box-folder 1-4
    Tax records 1811-1813
  • Box-folder 1-5
    Tax receipt book (Blacksburg District) 1884
  • Box-folder 1-6
    Claims and accounts paid by county 1795-1813
  • Box-folder 1-7
    Claims and accounts paid by county 1814-1860, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-8
    Overseer of the poor records 1880-1886
  • Box-folder 1-9
    Correspondence 1900-1937
Series III. SULLIVAN FAMILY PAPERS 1872-1895, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-1
    Receipts and tax records 1872-1887
  • Box-folder 2-2
    Receipts and tax records 1888-1895, n.d.
Series IV. POLITICS 1921-1936, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-3
    Correspondence, ballots, printed material 1921-1936, n.d.
Series V. MILITARY 1918-1946, n.d.

[see also Oversize Materials]

  • Box-folder 2-4
    "Montgomery in the War Between the States" n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-5 (3 folders)
    Confederate veteran grave markers 1918-1938, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-6
    "Montgomery County World War [I] Service Roll" n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-7
    Company A, 314th Machine Gun Battalion 1918, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-8
    American Legion 1933-1946, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-9
    Montgomery Countians killed in World War II 1945-1946, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-10
    Company 161, Virginia Reserve Militia (Christiansburg) 1940-1945, n.d.
Series VI. LOCAL HISTORY 1880-1970, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-11
    "Incidents of Border Life in Virginia" by Letitia Floyd (typescript copy of 1880 Richmond Standardarticle) n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-12 (2 folders)
    "History of Montgomery County" typescript (includes typescript copies of early county records) n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-13
    Lee Highway opening celebration 1926

    [see also Oversize Materials]

  • Box-folder 2-14 (2 folders)
    Christiansburg 150th anniversary celebration 1945
  • Box-folder 2-15
    Newsclippings 1940-1970, n.d.
Series VII. GENERAL MATERIALS 1886-1978, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-16
    Correspondence, newsclippings, photographs, ephemera 1886-1978, n.d.
  • Folder Oversize
    Virginia Legionnaire,Aug 1937; The Virginia Guardsman,Feb 1945; Map of the Lee Highway: a Main Street of the Nation,n.d. 1937-1945, n.d.