Getting To Know…Amissville

By Posted on Mar 10 2020 | By

If fate had shifted slightly, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer might have made his last stand just outside of Amissville on July 24, 1863, instead of 13 years later at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Custer engaged what he thought was a small force of Confederates from the side of Battle Mountain with 1,200 cavalry troops on that potentially fateful day. For the courageous but impetuous “Boy General,” it looked like easy pickings. Unfortunately, he had no idea he was attacking the entire Army of Northern Virginia, which was returning from its defeat at Gettysburg. After a brief but hot firefight, he beat a hasty retreat back to the Spindle House in Amissville.

The unincorporated community is located 12 miles west of Warrenton on U.S. Route 211 and is a quiet and pastoral village not too dissimilar to 157 years ago during the Civil War. It was first settled by French Huguenots and English.

The land it resides on was originally in Orange County and part of 5.3-million-acre Northern Neck Proprietary owned by Thomas Fairfax in the 1700s. In 1649, King Charles II of England granted the unmapped and unsettled region to seven loyal supporters.

It’s believed that individuals with the surnames Amiss and Bayse received land grants in the area from Lord Fairfax. Both families sought to have the town named in their honor so either an election or horse race was held to settle the question; history is not clear on what civic mechanism was employed. In any event, the Amiss family won, and the community became Amissville and not Bayseville. Joseph Amiss was appointed the first postmaster in 1810.

In 1829 the Bayse family donated land for the Methodist church, which still stands today. In 1833 Amissville became part of Rappahannock County. At the time it consisted of a general store, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, and the Methodist church.

The heart of today’s Amissville is Hackley’s Store. Situated on the corner of Route 211 and Viewtown Road, it opened in 1902. It burned down in 1934 and reopened across the street at its current location that same year. It’s been a family-owned business for 118 years, and the descendent Mrs. Hackley still lives next door.

“Full service” might describe the quintessential country store. In addition to groceries, it sells pizza, pork barbecue, delicious sandwiches, hand-dipped ice cream, and more. It also rents trucks and is a UPS store accepting shipments and returns. During the summer, bluegrass pickin’ parties are held once a month out front. Residents set up yard sale tables and transact business while the music plays. It’s dubbed “Rock and Shop” by the locals.

Another well-known business just west of the village is Early’s Carpet. For over 50 years, the family-owned shop has served a legion of loyal customers. The store carries an array of flooring options from carpet, hardwood, tile, luxury vinyl, natural stone, cork, area rugs, and more. It also offers carpet and upholstery cleaning services, both in-home and in-store.

And what would a Virginia village be without a nearby winery? In this case, it’s just three miles south on Viewtown Road with the delightful name of Magnolia Vineyards. Owned and operated by Glenn and Tina Marchione, they journeyed to Italy in 2006 and visited Glenn’s relatives, toured a winery, and became smitten with the idea of opening one of their own.

After six years of operating out of the lower level of their home, last year they christened an expansive new wine cellar and tasting room that serves Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Sangiovese, and Merlot. Plans are to continue expanding their vineyard acreage and wine production in the years ahead, increasing production to 2,500 cases annually.

Amissville represents the best of Old Dominion villages and towns and is celebrating its 210th anniversary this year. Next time you drive west on Route 211, drop by Hackley’s Store for some barbeque and ice cream, check out the carpeting at Early’s Carpets, and before heading home, stop by for a glass of wine at Magnolia Vineyards. Oh, and don’t forget to come back for those bluegrass jams in the summer.

Published in the February 2020 edition of Discover Fauquier.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES