History of Glen Lyn

Earlier in 1755, Mary Draper Ingles made her trek back home from captivity through here where her Dutch companion attacked her. She escaped and found a canoe, and used it to cross the river to her rescue by Adam Harmon.

John Toney built the first brick house in Giles County in 1780 on the site of a decayed cabin he found upon his arrival. Toney owned the land around his settlement for a long period of time and named the area Montreal. Toney lived in the house until he sold it to Mr. Raleigh Parris. Lilly Davis last occupied the house before the Highway Department bought it from her. The Highway Department then demolished the house for the expansion of Route 460.

Over the years a post office was established giving Montreal a new name of Mouth of East River, Virginia. Railroad workers of Norfolk and Western Railroad later gave it the name Hell’s Gate. The name changed once again to its current name, Glen Lyn, meaning lovely glen, with the railroad’s completion in 1883. The town experienced a little growth with the construction and completion of the railroad.

In the late 1860s, John T. Shumate put up a store at the mouth of the East River and continued selling goods for more than twenty years. Parkinson Shumate had a ferry in Glen Lyn, too. In 1887, Mr. W.T. Ould built a store. However, the town did not experience any substantial growth until the construction of the Appalachian Electric Power plant in 1919, which was built near the West Virginia Border. This development increased the population of Glen Lyn from 50 to 400 people.

The Art and Influence of
Fiddler Henry Reed

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Henry Reed

Josh and Henry Reed, ca. 1903. Henry Reed, age 19, plays banjo and his older brother Josh plays fiddle. Photograph from the collection of James Reed.