Will you leave a mark in the world? Realize that everything you do and everything you say affects someone. One act of love, a kind word, or a hug given in sympathy will teach those you touch something about your character and who you are. And so it was with Joseph Alfred Stegall who served as Fieldale, Virginia's police officer for 50+ years. He touched many, many lives in a positive way. To generations of children he was there to help them off the school bus J.A. Stegall in 1927 - Click to Enlargeevery morning and he was there to see them back on every afternoon - this for their entire school career whether rain or shine or snow. His strong, gentle hands and soft voice were as reliable as the sun rising and setting. But J. Alfred's life was a full one long before he entered law enforcement.

Joseph Alfred Stegall was the grandson of Civil War soldier John William Stegall. That grandfather died at age 22, on July 1, 1862 from wounds received in the Battle of Front Royal. His wife Mary was left to raise their 2 children, a boy named James Alfred and a girl named Roxey Ann. The son grew up to marry Rosa Jane "Rosie" Minter on December 28, 1882. Those were the days of large families and theirs consisted of 11 children - 7 boys and 4 girls. Our Joseph Alfred was the youngest of the 11, born in Henry County on July 26, 1905. As a young boy Alfred loved playing baseball and playing music. He had a natural ear for music and by age 12 had learned to play the guitar. When he was 22 his mother, Rosa, bought him a 1927 Gibson guitar which is still in the family. Music and work led him to meet Kelly Harrell. Kelly worked as a loom fixer for Fieldcrest Mills where Alfred and almost everyone else in Fieldale also worked. Kelly was a great ballad singer and had records to his credit already. So a group called the Virginia String Band was formed and consisted of Alfred Stegall on guitar, R.D. Hundley on banjo, Posey Rorrer on fiddle with Kelly Harrell as the lead singer. Posey Rorrer had recorded with Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers. In 1927 Kelly, Alfred, R.D. and Posey headed for Camden, NJ to record for R.C.A. Victor. Kelly said this was the best group he ever recorded with. SEE ALSO: Battle of Front Royal, Kelly Harrell Bio, Virginia String Band 1927 Music Clip, R.D. Hundley, Charlie Poole & Posey Rorrer
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