A Guide to the Patricia Givens Johnson Papers 1954-1986 Johnson, Patricia Givens Papers, 1920-1986 Ms1988-007

A Guide to the Patricia Givens Johnson Papers 1954-1986

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1988-007


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2003 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Collection number
Patricia Givens Johnson Papers 1920-1986
Physical Characteristics
4 containers; 2.0 cu. ft.
Papers of Patricia Givens Johnson, New River Valley local historian. Includes correspondence, subject files, printed materials and photographs. Also includes a scrapbook and a few other materials, scattered throughout the collection, which had belonged to Johnson's mother, Lula Porterfield Givens, also a local historian.

Administrative Information


Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Patricia Givens Johnson Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Patricia Givens Johnson Papers, Ms1988-007 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Patricia Givens Johnson Papers were donated to the Special Collections in 1988.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Patricia Givens Johnson Papers commenced and was completed in June 2003.

Biographical/Historical Information

Patricia Miller Givens, teacher and local historian, was born in Newport, Virginia, on March 9, 1932. Known familiarly as "Patsy," Givens was the daughter of Hugh Peck and Lula Porterfield Givens. She graduated from Christiansburg High School in 1949, later obtaining her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin (1956) and master's from the College of William and Mary (1963). In December 1953, she married Walter L. Johnson; the couple would have one son, Walter Peck Johnson. Patricia Johnson taught history and social studies in various schools as the family moved frequently--to Texas, Japan, England, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.--due to the demands of her husband's air force career. Around 1980, the Johnsons returned to the New River Valley area, where they bought and restored the former James Bain Price home in Prices Fork.

Like her mother, Johnson maintained a lifetime interest in the history of Southwest Virginia; she eventually published 15 books and numerous articles related to the subject and became one of the foremost authorities on local history. Johnson's interests were reflected by her memberships in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She was also an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Johnson died on September 3, 1996; she is buried in the Price Cemetery, Prices Fork, Virginia.

Lula Porterfield, teacher, local historian, and mother of Patricia Givens Johnson, was born in Giles County, Virginia on September 18, 1906. The youngest child of Jehu and Josephine Williams Porterfield, she began teaching in Giles County in 1925. Porterfield married Hugh Peck Givens in Roanoke on December 20, 1930. The couple had two children (Patricia M. and Hugh P. Jr.) and separated in 1939. In the meantime, Lula Givens had moved to Christiansburg and begun a 35-year teaching career in the Montgomery County school system. After her retirement in 1972, Givens was able to devote time to an interest in local history; her research resulted in two books: Highlights in the Early History of Montgomery County, Virginia (1975) and Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Virginia: in the Heart of the Alleghenies (1981). Lula P. Givens died in Christiansburg, Virginia on February 23, 1987.

Scope and Content Information

The papers of Patricia Givens Johnson, New River Valley local historian, consist primarily of materials which arose from her research for--and publication of--books on local pioneers Andrew Lewis, Jacob Miller, James Patton, William Preston, and the early settlement of the New River Valley. The papers contain such materials as correspondence, subject files, printed materials and photographs used by Johnson during her research. Interspersed throughout the collection are a few materials which had belonged to Johnson's mother and fellow local historian, Lula Porterfield Givens, including subject files on Christiansburg and Montgomery County, a scrapbook, and photographs.

Description of Series

I. Correspondence. The correspondence series contains letters relating to the research, publication and sale of Johnson's various books. Many of the letters consist of little more than book orders, while others--particularly those of Lee Pendleton--contain information on the history of Montgomery County and surrounding areas. The series also contains a few pieces of correspondence which had been addressed to Lula Porterfield Givens and apparently shared with Johnson.

II. Subject Files. This series contains research notes and other materials compiled by Johnson in preparation for her books on Andrew Lewis, Jacob Miller, James Patton, William Preston, and the early settlement of the New River Valley. The James Patton file includes a typescript of the Augusta Parish Vestry Book and galley proofs for Johnson's James Patton and the Appalachian Colonists. The series also contains files which had been assembled by Lula Givens during research on her two books. Givens' Christiansburg file includes histories of Cambria and the Montgomery County Courthouse, while her Montgomery County folder includes writings by Lee Pendleton on various aspects of Elliston-area history.

III. Printed Materials. Included in this series are articles by Johnson and Porterfield; histories of the Cox, Givens and Harless families; and various pamphlets and newsclippings relating to genealogical resources and topics in local history.

IV. Scrapbooks. This series' single scrapbook, compiled by Lula Givens, contains mostly newsclippings relating to Southwest Virginia history. It also includes clippings and ephemera of personal interest, relating to acquaintances and national celebrities.

V. Photographs and Illustrations. Most of the images in this series were collected for use in Johnson and Givens' various books, though not all of the images were published. The photographs are from a number of sources, including local newspapers and personal collections. The series is of probably greatest interest for images of the Christiansburg High School, Montgomery County Courthouse, Virginia Tech classes and campus of the 1920s, and a 1954 Palace Theatre (Christiansburg) program calendar.

Separated Material

Thirty-five books were transferred from the collection to the Special Collections' Rare Book Collection. A list of these books is available.

The following maps were transferred to Special Collections Historical Map Collection:

Index Terms


  • Blacksburg (Va.)
  • Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
  • Montgomery County (Va.)

Contents List

Series I. CORRESPONDENCE 1970-1981, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-1-8
    • A-B
    • C-E
    • F-G
    • H-J
    • K-L
    • M
    • N-R
    • S-Z, unidentified
  • Box-folder 1-9
    Outgoing 1970-1981, n.d.
Series II. SUBJECT FILES 1965-1984
  • Box-folder 1-10
    Christiansburg 1965-1968, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-11 (3 folders)
    Lewis, Andrew 1979-1981, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-12
    Miller, Jacob 1969-1971, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-1
    Montgomery County 1971-1976, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-2
    New River 1970-1981, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-3 (6 folders)
    Patton, James (includes typescript copy of the Augusta Vestry Parish Book (1746-1752) and galley proofs for James Patton and the Appalachian Colonists 1970-1984, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-4 (4 folders)
    Preston, William 1975, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-5
    Articles and book reviews 1966-1984
    • Givens, Lula Porterfield, "Mountain Lake, Gist's Early Discovery," Journal of the Roanoke Historical Society, 3(1) 1966
    • Johnson, Patricia Givens, "Tree Bottom, crossroads of the centuries," Journal of the Roanoke Valley Historical Society, 9(1) 1973
    • Johnson, Patricia Givens, "Maryland border war refugees flee to the Roanoke Valley," Journal of the Roanoke Valley Historical Society, 9(2) 1973
    • Reviews of Elder Jacob Miller (1735-1815)..., Highlights in the early history of Montgomery County, Virginia, James Patton and the Appalachian colonists, and William Preston and the Allegheny Patriots
  • Box-folder 2-6
    Cox, Robert B.
    • "Cox - Hampton" 1983
    • "Cox - Craig: PA - SWVA, 1730-1820" 1983
  • Box-folder 3-1
    Givens, Elmer, "Some Ancestors and Descendants of Floyd and Sarah (Ross) Givens" ca. 1960
  • Box-folder 3-2 (2 folders)
    Harless Family Association Bulletin 1977-1986
  • Box-folder 3-3
    Genealogy resources and bibliographies 1971-1979
    • "Bibliography of Southwest Virginia books" 1972
    • "Books in print from the Virginia State Library" n.d.
    • "Compiled service records of volunteer soldiers who served from 1784 to 1811" 1973
    • "Genealogical resources in the Washington, D. C. area" 1971
    • "Genealogy research in the Virginia State Library" 1979
    • "Resources in the field of genealogy" 1971
  • Box-folder 3-4
    General printed materials 1965-1980, n.d.
    • "Fairview Christian Church, 1905-1980: 75th anniversary" 1980
    • "A Colonial house tour" 1975
    • Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society Sep 1965
    • "History repeats: George Wythe goes to courthouse" [newsclipping] n.d.
    • "The Legend of Angels' Rest" n.d.
    • ""History of Giles County" [extracted and reprinted from Hardesty's historical and geographical encyclopedia (1884)] 1973
Series IV. SCRAPBOOKS 1962-1978
  • Box-folder 4-1
    Scrapbook 1962-1978
  • Box-folder 4-2
    Photographs A-E
    • Adams, Radford (Mrs.) [2 items] n.d.
    • Amtrack "Hilltopper" in Christiansburg 1979
    • APCO Dam on New River [2 items] n.d.
    • Bluestone Dam on New River n.d.
    • Christiansburg / Montgomery County employees n.d.
    • Christiansburg High School [2 items] n.d.
    • Christiansburg High School basketball team n.d.
    • Christiansburg passenger train station n.d.
    • Crockett, Davy n.d.
  • Box-folder 4-3
    Photographs F-M
    • Fayette Station Road Bridge on New River n.d.
    • Givens, Lula Porterfield and Christiansburg sixth-grade class (composite portrait) 1948
    • Godbey, Stanley B. 1949
    • I-77 bridge across New River at Jackson Ferry Shot Tower n.d.
    • Jackson, Thomas J. "Stonewall" n.d.
    • Lewis, Margaret Lynn [2 items] n.d.
    • Montgomery County Courthouse (new) [2 items] n.d.
    • Montgomery County Courthouse (old) [2 items] n.d.
    • Mountain Lake n.d.
  • Box-folder 4-4
    Photographs N-S
    • New River from Lovers Leap on McCoy Road 1972
    • Radford College administration building n.d.
    • Radford University legislation signing (Gov. John Dalton et. al.) 1979
    • Sandstone Falls on New River [2 items] n.d.
    • Seven Mile Tree (on Mud Pike Road, Christiansburg) n.d.
    • Smith, Smokey Joe n.d.
    • Smithfield Plantation log cabin restoration n.d.
  • Box-folder 4-5
    Photographs T-Z
    • Thomas, Ronnie ca. 1978
    • Tinker Spring 1972
    • Unidentified log structure n.d.
    • Virginia Tech campus 1921
    • Virginia Tech freshman class 1920
    • Virginia Tech sophomore class 1921
    • Waterfall at Gauley Mountain n.d.
    • Willard, Leon David n.d.
  • Box-folder 4-6
    • Confederate States 500 dollar bill [reproduction] n.d.
    • Fincastle Resolutions graphic n.d.
    • Palace Theatre (Christiansburg) program calendar 1954
    • Sketch of unidentified house (Johnson home at Prices Fork?) n.d.
  • Box-folder 4-7
    • Montgomery County Courthouse etching by Robert G. Turner, Jr. [3 copies] n.d.