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Charles W. Crush Collection

Identifier: Ms-1984-180

Scope and Content

This collection contains county records, correspondence and printed materials collected by Judge Charles W. Crush relating to the history of Christiansburg and Montgomery County. The Crush collection is divided among the following series: County Records, Altizer Family Papers, Sullivan Family Papers, Politics, Military, Local History, and General Materials.

The County Records series contains tax records dating back to the late eighteenth century, a few scattered court records from the early nineteenth century, and records of the Montgomery County overseer of the poor from the late nineteenth century. The Altizer Family Papers consist of a three items of personal correspondence, while the Sullivan Family Papers contain receipts and tax records from the latter nineteenth century. The collection also contains a small file of materials relating to state and local politics during the 1920s and 1930s. Crush's involvement in recording and preserving local history is revealed in both the Military and Local History series, the former containing rosters and notes on local units, the latter including typescripts and printed materials on a variety of subjects relating to early Montgomery County history. A small set of general materials includes personal papers, ephemera and a photograph of Montgomery Male Academy.


  • 1796 - 1978


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Charles Wade Crush, Montgomery County judge, historian and civic leader, was born in Christiansburg, Virginia, around 1894; he earned his degree in law from Washington and Lee University in 1913. He later attended the University of Texas and practiced law in Texas for a short time before returning to Christiansburg. During World War II, Crush served with the 314th Machine Gun Battalion. (Crush's interest in military affairs would continue throughout his life, serving as commander of the Virginia Department of the American Legion and as an officer in Company 161 of the Virginia Reserve Militia.) From 1923 to 1935, Crush served as commonwealth's attorney. He later served as Christiansburg postmaster for 10 years and as judge of the county court from 1948 until his retirement in 1963. Crush died on March 18, 1970.

Judge Crush maintained an interest in local history and civic matters throughout his career. He wrote numerous articles on Montgomery County history for the county newspaper and served as chairman of the Montgomery County Jamestown Festival Committee in 1957. As a director of the Montgomery County branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Crush was instrumental in the preservation of Smithfield Plantation. His interest in local history culminated in the publication of his book, The Montgomery County Story, 1776-1957; and is represented in the posthumous work Montgomery County, Virginia: the First Hundred Years (1982). Through the American Legion, Crush is also credited with the founding of Virginia Boys' State.

Crush's wife, Eliza Clay Allen Crush, was born in Bland County, Virginia, in 1898. She attended Virginia Tech, and later passed the Virginia bar exam. Like Judge Crush, Mrs. Crush also maintained an active interest in local affairs. She served as the Christiansburg correspondent for the Roanoke Times for 25 years and is credited with founding Girls' State at Radford College (now Radford University). She served as acting Christiansburg postmaster during World War II and as assistant Christiansburg postmaster for six years prior to her death in 1966.


1 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)


This is a collection of materials related to various aspects of the history of Montgomery County, Virginia, including early county records, papers of the Altizer and Sullivan families, materials related to twentieth-century county politics and the county's role in the Civil War and World Wars I and II. Also includes writings and subject files on topics in local history and a small set of general materials.


I. Montgomery County Records, 1796-1886, n.d. This series contains early tax records, including lists of tithables, delinquencies and insolvents compiled by commissioners of revenue and deputy sheriffs James and John Hoge, Thomas Henry, James Barnett, James Rayburn and William Rutlage. The series also contains a number of early records relating to the county court's payments on accounts and claims, most notably for work done on the courthouse and jail. From the latter nineteenth century, the series contains a tax receipt book from the Blacksburg district (dated 1884) and a small set of records from the county's overseer of the poor, including recommendations for assistance signed by overseer George W. L. Kabrick and account statements from local businesses. Materials are arranged by type, then chronologically.

II. Altizer Family Papers, 1900-1937 The Altizer Family Papers consist of three letters: two written by E. Wesley Altizer from Middlecreek, Illinois to relatives in Virginia (1900), and one written by Jacob Altizer of Christiansburg to Lila Altizer of Roanoke (1937). The letters are arranged chronologically.

III. Sullivan Family Papers, 1872-1895, n.d. This series contains papers of Christiansburg's Sullivan family and consists largely of receipts and tax records. Mentioned within the papers are Arthur O., C. W., Eugenia V., Mary Maude, Thomas E. and William Sullivan. Arranged chronologically. (For more on the Sullivans, see Ms56-001 - Sullivan Family Papers.)

IV. Politics, 1921-1936, n.d. This series contains correspondence and printed materials relating to both local and statewide campaigns. Included are numerous items (correspondence and printed material) concerning Clifton A. Woodrum's 1922 congressional campaign, sample ballots and Democratic Party printed matter. Arranged chronologically.

V. Military, 1918-1946, n.d. The Military series includes materials relating mostly to local involvement in the Civil War and both world wars. The Civil War materials include typescript rosters for local units and correspondence, forms and notes relating to grave markers of Confederate veterans. World War I items include a list of Montgomery County veterans, as well as official records and rosters of Company A, 314th Machine Gun Battalion (with which Crush and many other Southwest Virginia men served). Also filed here are printed materials regarding the American Legion, founded by World War I veterans. World War II materials include a list (with accompanying materials) of Montgomery Countians killed in the war and papers of Company 161, Virginia Reserve Militia. The series is arranged sequentially by war, then chronologically.

VI. Local History, 1880-1970, n.d This series contains various materials relating to the history of Christiansburg and Montgomery County. Included are typescript and printed articles (written by Crush and others) on early Montgomery County history, a file of printed materials regarding the Lee Highway opening celebration (1926) and the roadway's historic background, and records of the steering committee for Christiansburg's 150th anniversary celebration (1957). Materials are loosely arranged by historical time period, with a file of newsclippings relating to various local history topics and periods completing the series.

VII. General Materials, 1886-1978, n.d. This small set of materials includes an invitation to an 1886 Athenaean Literary Society event at King College (Bristol, Tennessee), a photograph of Christiansburg's Montgomery Male Academy, correspondence--mostly regarding army extension courses taken by Crush--and newsclippings related to Judge and Mrs. Crush and others. Arranged chronologically.

Source of Acquisition

The Charles W. Crush Collection was purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 1984.

Separated Materials

Several books were transferred from the collection to the Rare Book Collection.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Charles W. Crush Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Crush Collection commenced and was completed in November 2002.

Charles W. Crush Collection, 1796-1978
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2002 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
The original web version of the finding aid was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US