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"Red Tavern or Locust Level or 'Nickup' Tavern".

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Red Tavern or Locust Level or "Nickup" Tavern

Some of the Oldest Houses were Coach Stops Where Travelers and Celebrities were Entertained

Back when America was a young nation and inland travel was mainly by wagon, horseback or coach, taverns were located at intervals along the stagecoach roads, where rest and refreshment awaited the weary traveler, and where horses were fed and watered or a fresh team hitched up before the journey was resumed. A few of these old taverns, once famous for their hospitality, still stand in this vicinity.

One of the best examples of the early taverns nearby is an old brick house on the road from Brookneal to Long Island, not far from the Green Hill estate. Better known locally as the "Glover Epperson Place." the old house has been called at various times "Locust Level." "Red Tavern" and "Nickup." Said to be the oldest brick house in the county, this place is thought to have once belonged to Richard Stith, the first surveyor of Campbell County.

Stith was born in 1727, educated at William and Mary College when that institution was still under the English crown, and was commissioned assistant surveyor of Bedford County. When Campbell County was formed from Bedford in 1781, Stith was given the job of surveying the boundary line for the fee of 500 pounds of tobacco. He owned well over 6500 acres of land in the county in various tracts from Falling River across to Staunton. In addition to his large land holdings, he owned a still which apparently brought in a goodly share of profit. In 1792 Catherine, the daughter of Richard Stith, married James Jones, who was also from a family of large land-owners in the county. The story goes that "Jimmy" Jones, while keeping a tavern on the Island road (apparently the same old Stith house), was host to a pair of strangers who were loaded down with worthless "Continental" currency (from which the expression, "not worth a continental" originated). These gentlemen presuaded Jones that the money was redeemable at face value in their home town of "Nickup", North Carolina, but since they were traveling away from home and were having considerable difficulty exchanging the currency, they would part with it at a great loss to themselves, if he would buy it at a fraction of its "value"." Thinking he was about to discover a gold mine, Jones not only bought all the continental currency the strangers had, but also circulated around and bought up that in the possession of his neighbors. Then he set out for North Carolina and the town of "Nickup" to redeem the currency and make himself rich, but he searched in vain - there was no "Nickup," and Jones was stuck with the worthless currency. He never saw the strangers again who had so