A Brief History of Ceres, Virginia


Ceres High School Junior Class developed most of this material in 1961


Lying in the western portion of Bland County and in the eastern portion of Rich Valley is a small rural community, Ceres, bounded by Brushy Mountain to the North and Big Walkers to the South.


About 1880 when Captain H. C. Groseclose was appointed postmaster of their newly organized community, he named the post office located at the crossroads of the Blue Grass Trail, “Ceres meaningthe goddess of grain and agriculture.”


Previous to the establishment of the post office and before white men settled here, this territory was known as Bear Garden.  Cherokee Indians came from the South to this fruitful game area to hunt their food for the winter.  The Indians resented the white men’s taking their hunting grounds.  History indicates that a Major Lewis passed through this valley on his way to Burkes Garden in 1756.  He commanded a company of soldiers marching against the Indians.


In 1749 James Burke passed through this community as he traveled to Burkes Garden, named in his honor. 


In the late 1700’s after peace was declared with the Indians, white settlers began to move into the valley, some coming up Walkers Creek from the New River settlements.  It may be assumed that a larger majority migrated up the North Fork of the Holston River.  A James Anderson settled on the North Fork of the Holston River as early as 1770.  Some of the familiar names of the earliest settlers in the Community were Sluss, Harmon, Groseclose, Foglesong, Crabtree, Cassell, Hudson, Lambert, Bruce, Umbarger, Repass, Tilson and Spangler.


About one-half mile South of Ceres on the West bank of the Holston River the early settlers built Spangler’s Fort.  The fort was located near the intersection of Routes 625 and 622. Some current residents of Ceres can remember seeing the remnants of the fort after the fort was torn down and used to build a barn nearby.


Other post offices were established at Effna, Tilson’s Mill and Olympia.  These have been discontinued and the Ceres Post Office now serves all these people.


As early as 1848 settlers boasted a turnpike that extended from Rural Retreat in Wythe County, through Ceres to Sharon Springs and across the mountains into Tazewell County.  This turnpike was used by various stage lines.


Today the Blue Grass Trail, Route 42, extends the length of the County and is a much traveled road.