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Foot Prints on the Sands of Time: A History of Southwestern Virginia and Northwestern North Carolina

by Dr. A. B. Cox

Originally published by The Star Pub. Co. Print, Sparta, N.C. Aug. 1900. This electronic version prepared by Jeffrey C. Weaver, Arlington, Virginia

Introduction to the Reprint

Dr. Aras B. Cox’s Footprints on the Sands of Time, out of print for nearly a century is reissued for your consideration. This small book still circulates in photocopies and retyped versions, indicates there is still a demand for the book.

Dr. Cox’s work while called a history is not exactly that. Cox, a physician and Methodist minister, reads more like a maudlin funeral sermon than an actual history. This has much to do with the era in which he was raised–the Victorian. There is not an unkind word about anyone he wrote about contained in these pages, while a more objective historian could no doubt find many faults with the individuals discussed. Dr. Cox also fails to discuss many individuals who were not members of the Methodist Episcopal Church – South. While the Methodist church was important in the area, it never held the theological loyalty of a majority in any of the counties mentioned, except perhaps Grayson.

Despite these flaws, Cox’s book did bear fruit, as he put it, and inspired a great many researchers to try to learn more about their own families and the 19th century in Southwestern Virginia and Northwestern North Carolina. Cox’s work is also the first published “history” of any of the counties mentioned in the text. Pioneers often follow a crooked path to arrive at their destination. Cox was a pioneer historian for the area, and no doubt knew much more about these individuals than he stated. He was concerned about the length of the book, and apparently its cost.

Cox can be forgiven for much of this due to his advanced age when the book was written. His wife was dead, and he had lost his only daughter. These events put him in a reflective mood, and he wrote these pages as a memorial to them as much as anything else.

—Jeff Weaver