He brought with him from Scotland parts to assemble a wool winder that's still in the family.
It was his son, the second Richard Dickson, who constructed the two-story clapboard house in 1837 on land bought from John Knox, who left the log cabin he built in 1780. The cabin was placed on logs and moved with two teams of oxen to the new house, where it is still used as a dining room. For many years, only the 80-foot-long front porch connected the kitchen and dining room.
"She said she didn't want the smell or food of flies in her house," Dickson said of great-grandmother Barbara Dickson.
In time, a kitchen and an adjacent room used to store the coal stoves in the summer were connected to the main house through the dining room. When Page Dickson and her husband moved in, they modernized the kitchen and converted the storage room to a home office and laundry room.
The "new wing" containing an upstairs and downstairs bedroom was added in 1890. Gravity-operated running water and indoor bathrooms arrived in 1916.
The only closet in the six upstairs bedrooms is in the new wing, Boards lined with pegs serve to hang clothes in the other rooms.
Because paperwork never left the house or the family, Dickson can read that the well-known woodworker Conrad Burgess charged $10 for a mantel. She also knows that certain pieces were made by furniture maker David Surbaugh, who died in 1823, by their construction and signature designs. The dovetail joints on the flat-wall cupboard in the parlor reveal that it was a Tommy Hemming piece, another early artisan in the area.
A large piano in the parlor came from the Dickson Hotel in Ronceverte. A ledger from the hotel, now in the North House Museum, bears the signature of President Grover Cleveland, who used to travel from the White House to fish in the Greenbrier River.
Before the hotel, Spring Valley itself was a stagecoach stop to change horses on the road between White Sulphur Springs and Salt Springs. The cost of breakfast was 50 cents in gold.
The house was placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1974, and the farm is in the West Virginia Land Trust.
"I have loved living here," Dickson said.
More historic homes
Also on this year's Lemonade and Lavender Tour is The Cedars, a late-19th-century Victorian farmhouse in Alderson with an interesting cast of occupants.
The first lady of the house, Mittie Point Miller, was a writer of highly profitable romance novels at the turn of the 20th century. She is credited with writing 80 novels, earning $100,000 during her career.
In 1939, the house was purchased by Ruth Bryan Owen Rhode and her husband. Ruth was the daughter of William Jennings Bryan, the progressive Democrat who twice ran unsuccessfully for president. Earlier Ruth Rhode had been elected to Congress from Florida, and appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt as a minister to Denmark.
Another occupant devoted her energies to planting of hundreds of boxwoods on the grounds.
Pamela Bergren and Border Crow are the current owners of the house, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
A log cabin on Second Creek owned by Herbert and Katy Montgomery is also new to the tour circuit. The Montgomery family is re-creating a pioneer homestead on the site.
Montgomery and his sons expanded the cabin using logs from two 1700s outbuildings, and stones from another structure on the farm were used for the fireplace.
There is now the reconstructed cabin, a barn and woodshed with plans to add a smokehouse, summer kitchen and blacksmith shop.
Also open to the public for the first time is Maple Hill, the home of James Jeter, a Charleston native. Jeter's 20th-century brick house isn't historic, but his collection of antique furnishings is. The house on a hilltop surrounded by 350 acres of farmland is "filled with fine paintings, prints, children's furniture, books, toys, unusual local furniture and rare items with unique provenances," said a news release from the historical society.
Shopping opportunities are available on the tour. Reed's Mill, which has been in operation continuously since 1791, will have ground grain for sale. In the back of the mill, the Everette Hogsett Broom Factory makes brooms using on pre-Civil War equipment and will have several styles for sale.
Want to go?
The Lemonade and Lavender historic home and garden tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 8.
Tickets are $30 each and may be purchased in advance at the North House Museum in Lewisburg or at any of the houses on the day of the tour. Fliers with maps and directions to each house will be available, as will a CD to listen to while driving. Available for $10, the CD contains information about the houses, significant sites along the route and historical background about the Greenbrier valley area.
From 5 to 7 p.m. June 7, a wine-and-cheese reception will take place beside the pond at the Jarrett House, near Blue Sulphur Springs. The collection of horse-drawn carriages owned by Raymond and Lynn Tuckwiller will be on display and carriage rides given. The 1815 house may be toured by candlelight.
Tickets for the wine-and-cheese reception are $50, and must be purchased in advance at the North House or at the Greenbrier Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ticket orders may be taken by phone by calling the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304-645-3398.
A tour of downtown historic Ronceverte will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. June 9. Shops will be open and lemonade will be served at the Edgarton Inn. Price is $10.
A weekend pass for all three days is $80.
All proceeds will go to the Greenbrier Historical Society. According to its president, Margaret Hambrick, the society operates the North House Museum, 301 W. Washington St., Lewisburg, and funds raised from the tour "are an important part of our operating budget."
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.