Back in the early eighties the corner of First and Cary Streets was a focal point for boys of that locale. On the corner lived Frank Glasgow; and there was a beautiful fire-plug of the era, the smooth, broad top of which was a welcome seat for the first boy who got there. They'd sometimes take turns at resting.
Some of the old gang were: Louis Lyon, Emmett and Stanley Tyler (the latter was affectionately called Chris), Charlie Bidgood, Harry Wall, Withers Miller, Billy Pleasants, John Nowlin, Dill Pleasants, John Winston, Davy Chesterman, Evan Chesterman (who later on attained quite a reputation as the Idle Reporter), George Morris, and Frank Crump. We called him Frank Bumps, and he was the most beautiful skater ever. Harrison Burwell as the most accomplished shot with the gravel-shooter, and George Pegram was nearly as good, if not quite. Those two would stand facing each other, with each a magnolia leaf stuck in his hat band, count "one, two, three," and let go, each knocking the leaf from the other's bonnet. Juny Baker was the greatest marble shooter; nobody was ever known to break him.
Then there was Irving Knowles (nicknamed Rub), the handsomest and most talented of the crowd. Lee Ragland was the best runner and jumper. These two last, once came to the support of the writer when he was engaged in battle with heavy odds against him; but then he deserved to be supported, for he got in the scrap by taking up for others, to-wit: those two amusing little baby-faced imps, Monk Merrill and Howard Cottrell.
Evan Chesterman, above mentioned, was a talented personality, even as a boy, when he excelled in cutting pictures-silhouettes-with scissors out of the paper from his old school exercises.
We remember also Walter Duke, Howard Cottrell, Munford Merrill (above mentioned), Emmett Chockley, and sometimes John Nowlin, Leon Ruskell (called Dutch, he was such a comedian), and his cousin, Ves Tyler, the most sprightly little rascal, beloved by the gang because like one of Homer's heroes, he excelled in every evil strategem.
Once the gang put on a circus in Stanley Tyler's back yard. The clown used to be more admired by boys than the whole circus beside, so everybody was a clown except John Atkins, our only acrobat, who could turn handsprings and somersaults and act on the horizontal bar. Ves Tyler stood on his head in a little express wagon, with two bricks balanced on his feet, while we careered him around the ring to the tumultuous applause of the audience. That audience consisted of all the girls in the neighborhood and a good many of their beautiful mammas.
excerpt provided by "Richmond Then & Now"
Recalled by: Charles M. Wallace (A Good Ole Boy)