Miller Yard

Dungannon, Virginia

A Ride Into the Past

For most people the words, "Miller yard," probably would conjure up images of a neighbor's yard. To many older people from Scott County, Virginia, (especially Dungannon area) Miller Yard represents a trip down memory lane. To some people like Cornelia Bevins and several other families, this was a place they called home for the first years of their life.
As the industrial revolution began its ascent through America in the late 19th century and early 20th century, seemingly small communities sprang up in many rural areas. One on these neighborhoods located in a small obscure area of Southwest Virginia came to be called Miller Yard. According to Ed Wolfe in his book, The Life and Times of Miller Yard in Scott County Virginia, transfer of railway ownership, war, legal issues, depression and the passing of time delayed the railroad through this remote area until early 1909.

After the railroad passenger service began, the little known area of Southwest Virginia was opened to the world around them. Not only was this out-of-the-way area made accessible to the world around it, but the world now had a gateway to the area residents. A short trip on a train quickly replaced what would have previously taken the people from the rugged mountainous terrain near Dungannon numerous hours and sometimes days to access. Railway service clearly was beneficial for the local people.

The community around what is known as Miller yard expanded as the railroad through the area saw the need for connection with other rail companies and as the coal industry began to thrive. The area was chosen as a sidetrack for the trains. Cornelia Bevins (nearly 80 years old) shares fondly some of her memories of the area. She remembers the hotel where she and her family lived during the first years of her life. Her dad, Joe Brummett, was the railroad operator at Miller Yard. He worked at the depot 7 days a week. Her mother, Hannah, ran the post office at the hotel, the store, and cooked for the railroad men when they came into the area. At times, Cornelia's grandfather helped out in the post office and some local women were used when Hannah needed help cooking. (Picture shows Cornelia and her mother, Hannah, at the back of the hotel).

Two swinging bridges once crossed the Clinch River in the Miller Yard area. Cornelia says that she and the other children used one of the bridges as the only way to get to the Powers School (pictured at left). As the children got older, they caught the trains which took them back and forth to Dungannon for school. As Cornelia looks at pictures from the depot area, she can point out some of the different homes and railroad buildings even though she has to stop and to think about them at times.
Not only was there lots of hard work for the residents of Miller Yard, but, as seen in the accompanying pictures, there were good times, too. The picture on the left shows some of the children from the area setting off on a boat trip. The picture on the right shows the baseball field provided for recreation at Miller Yard.
Today, little is left of the once booming neighborhood known as Miller Yard. Even though trains still use some of the tracks, the homes and buildings are reduced to deteriorating foundations and the area has become very overgrown. As mentioned, the swinging bridges no longer grace the area. At this time, no families live in the immediate Miller Yard vicinity. A ride into the past of Miller Yard now comes from precious memories of people who once lived there and in the nearby area.

*Some information and pictures supplied by Cornelia Bevins, Dungannon, VA and Ed Wolfe's book, The Life and Times of Miller Yard in Scott County Virginia.


Miller Yard residents and numerous other families from the community made sure they were on hand for the yearly appearance of the Santa Train. Although Cornelia's recollections did not include the Santa Train, one can hardly discuss this rural Southwest Virginia area without mentioning this very special train. The Santa Train has become a family tradition to many people in the community.

Just like other things that are no longer at Miller Yard, the Santa Train does not stop there. At this time, the Santa Train begins in Shelby, KY and has scheduled stops in:

  • Elkhorn City, KY
  • Toms Bottom, KY
  • Haysi, VA
  • Clinchco, VA
  • Fremont, VA
  • Dante, VA
  • St. Paul, VA
  • Dungannon, VA
  • Ft. Blackmore, VA
  • Speers Ferry, VA
  • Waycross, VA
  • Kermit, VA
  • Kingsport, TN
**Picture of Santa Train Special copied from Kingsport Times News, Sunday, November 21, 2004, 88th Year, Number 319.


Ganell's Cornshuckery


This site was last updated on February 22, 2013 .

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