The Real Mayberry is in Patrick County. Up on the Blue Ridge Mountain plateau is a small community named Mayberry. The center of the area is the Mayberry Trading Post, the location of a store since 1858.
Mayberry was once the site of a general store, tannery, brickyard, barbershop, gristmill, and a post office first run by Confederate Veteran Jehu Barnard of the 50th Virginia Infantry and others from 1872 until 1922. One family story tells that Mayberry comes from a Colonel Charles Mayberry, a militia captain, who came into the area in 1809, but there were multiple Mayberrys both named George in 1791 when Virginia cut Patrick County out of its eastern neighbor Henry giving Virginia’s first governor Patrick Henry the ability to see his name on a map.
Today, the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing Mayberry Creek rolls by the Mayberry Trading Post just a few miles from Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and the famous Mabry Mill. Mayberry is also the home to one of the rock churches made famous by the Reverend Robert “Bob” Childress in the book The Man Who Moved a Mountain. It is the only Childress church in Patrick County and the first one he converted from wood to rock.
Patrick County has a claim to the “Real Mayberry.” Jerry Bledsoe’s book Blue Horizons: Faces and Places from a Bicycle Journey Along the Blue Ridge Parkway published in 1993 tells a story from the time the parkway construction began. Addie Wood of the Mayberry Trading Post said Sam Nunn brought ginseng to sell and brought his grandson, a boy named Andy Griffith. Carl Griffith, Andy’s father, was a visitor as well. Addie was sure that this Mayberry was the Mayberry on the television show. “I’m confident that he did. His mother was raised within seven miles of here, and Andy’s father I know beyond doubt came to the store here and brought him when he was just a little boy. Andy’s mother told me that.”
So, was Mayberry the inspiration many years later for the name of the town on The Andy Griffith Show? Maybe it was a good memory a boy had of his maternal grandfather. As Andy might say, “It sure sounds like it, doesn’t it?” In his papers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Andy Griffith has a copy of the section of Jerry Bledsoe’s book with a giant circle around the part about Mayberry Trading Post. That would seem to close the circle for me anyway.
Other Andy Griffith and Patrick County Connections