Heart of a Southern Woman

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Charles Langhorne Spangler, Congressman, Revenuer and Moonshine Still Hunter! –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #30


Spangler, Tump,Charles Langhorne

Offical state photograph taken of Mr. Spangler in the early 1930’s when he served in The Virginia General Assembly.from The Mountain Laurel as cited below.

Charles Langhorne Spangler, called “Tump” was one of six children born of Wallace Wolford Spangler and his second wife Frances (Fannie) Eunice Langhorne. Tump had a half-brother, Harry Hannibal Spangler born 1877 to Wallace Wolford Spangler and first wife Catharine (Katie) Ellen Spangler. Wallace and Fannie’s children were:

 John Watts, “Babe ” Spangler (1882-1970)

 Charles Langhorne “Tump ” Spangler (1885-1983)

 Mary Josephine Spangler (1887-1970)

 Lila Ann Spangler (1889-1973)

 Elizabeth Lucretia Spangler (1892-)

 Virginia Empress Spangler (1894-1933)


As a young man, Tump married first, Susan Bertha Shelor, 1885-1909 who unfortunately died in childbirth. Secondly, he married Kittie Clyde Cockram and they had seven amazing children!

 Samuel Maurice Spangler 1916 – 1997

 Leila Evelyn Spangler 1918 – 2002

 Thomas W Spangler 1920 – 1991

 Benjamin Leslie Spangler1923 – 1996

 Harvie Langhorne Spangler 1928 – living

 Charles Bishop Spangler 1932 – 2011

 Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD 1934 – living

Spangler brothers Pat in red cap and Harvie  enjoy a private moment

Pat, left, and Harvie Spangler , brothers.

Two sons, Harvie and Pat (Daniel Patrick) are outstanding men in their own right, as were their siblings, and I will write more about them at a later date.  When you meet the grandchildren, of whom there are many, you can have no doubt about the upstanding character of their parents and Charles and how he passed on those strong character traits.

Among other things, Tump served as a Deputy Collector for the U.S. Internal Revenue (he was a revenuer!) In that capacity he spent many lonely days searching out and destroying moon-shine stills in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, in and around Patrick County. Charles is quoted in a family heirloom as writing, “My daily diary shows some 400 miles per month, for 4 years—1917-1921.” It just so happens, Charles had a first cousin who left those ole hills in a hurry one year. Later, another cousin, Mary Stuart Houchins, who became quite famous as a soap actress on the TV show “Search for Tomorrow”, wrote in her memoirs, that she had one cousin who was a revenuer, and one who shot a revenuer! Oh my gracious! I’ll have to ask Harvie and Pat if their Dad was ever shot!

Charles is probably best remembered for being elected to serve 5 terms in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was remembered in a tribute article in The Mountain Laurel now available online at http://www.mtnlaurel.com/. John H. Yeats wrote in 1989 that “the fact that he served with so much dedication, integrity and humility, set him apart from many of his legislative associates, and endeared him to many people.”

Spangler, Shelor home,cropped picture

Former home of Charles Langghorne Spangler, Virginia Legislator, and his wife, Kitty Clyde Cockram Langhorne

Tump Spangler, his wife Kitty Cockram, and their seven children grew up on a beautiful mountainous homestead that is still the home of one of his grandchildren. Once part of a 13,000 acre plantation owned in the Meadows of Dan by his grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne, that land has belonged in the family for 200 years at least.


Tump Spangler on the fiddle!

A statesman and a revenuer, Tump was also a musician, like all the Spanglers! In his younger days he won many a fiddler convention we are told, although it was his brother John Watts, “Babe” Spangler who became the famous “Old Virginia Fiddler” on the radio in Richmond, Virginia for 30 years! His sister’s husband and his first cousin, Dudley Spangler was another incredible fiddler along with first cousin Harry Houchins on the banjo, all members of this talented Spangler/Langhorne family!

Tump was my first cousin, 2x removed!  What a treat to see his family at our reunion coming up immediately! You will hear all about it I’m sure! With best wishes for your days, Helen

MOD, lover's Leap

View from “lover’s Leap” in Patrick county, NC, very close to the home of Charles Langhorne Spangler and also formerly part of his Grandfather’s plantation.


Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler (1885 – 1983)
is your 1st cousin 2x removed
mother of Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler
father of Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse –


The Spangler Old time Fiddler Musicians, Babe, Tump, and Dudley

John Watts, “Babe” Spangler was perhaps the most famous of these old time fiddlers. He was regularly featured as “The Old Virginia Fiddler” on WRVA radio and television in Richmond, Virginia in the late 1920’s until he died in 1970. Back in those days, their music wasn’t called bluegrass, but ” old-time” or mountain music,  even “Spanglin!” Today I believe it would fit into the category of bluegrass, and those of you who enjoy bluegrass like I do will probably recognize this marvelous sound! Babe was an outstanding musician, even after losing his sight to a genetic disease, perhaps retinitis pigmentosa, which also stole the sight of his mother, his maternal grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne, and several others in the family.  

53 Jaybop writes on You Tube September 29, 2010, 

“Babe Spangler was born on November 15, 1882 in Patrick County, Virginia. His father was a widely known fiddle player in the region. Babe moved to Richmond in 1906 and worked as a guard at the state penitentiary until 1920. It was around this time that Babe began to suffer from congenital glaucoma; he then ran a grocery store, and eventually got into the lumber business. He became more and more involved with his music, and by 1926 or ’27, he was known as “The Old Virginia Fiddler” on the Corn Cob Pipe Show on Richmond’s WRVA. His music reached much of the Eastern U.S. In 1927 he won the Virginia Fiddlers Contest. In 1929 Babe Spangler and Dave Pearson, who accompanied him on guitar on his radio broadcast, recorded 4 songs at the Richmond Sessions. Two of the songs were un-released. Spangler died in 1970 Note: Babe Spangler recorded some tunes at WPAQ,Mt Airy.NC in the 1940’s, which were later issued on County Records.”

Wallace Wolford Spangler, 1851- 1926,  and his wife Frances (Fannie) Eunice Langhorne had six children together. Wallace had one child by his former marriage to Catherine Ellen Spangler, a son named Harry Hannibel Spangler.  Wallace and Fannie’s children were:

Wallace Wolford Spangler was an accomplished musician himself, well-known, well respected and admired.   He had his own special style some called “Spangling” instead of “fiddling!”  Apparently he passed on this musical talent to many in his family, but his son John Watts, called “Babe”, and his son Charles Langhorne, called “Tump” were very accomplished. Their sister Mary Josephine married her second cousin Dudley Spangler who was also a musician!

Charles Langhorne Spangler, “Tump”  loved to play with his brother Babe.  In an interview with Nancy Lindsey in  The Enterprise, the local newspaper of Stuart, Virginia, published June 19, 1974, Tump is quoted as recalling once when he and Babe were playing on WRVA radio, after it had increased its wattage to 50,000- reaching the whole country, when this Virginia legislator burst “into an impromtu rendition of a song he once played , “Black cat, yeller cat, riding on a rail, Black Cat stepped on the yeller cat’s tail…” They  had so much fun together! (Thanks to Dr. Pat Spangler, Ph.D, Tump’s son, for sharing that newspaper article with this author! )


Fiddling is just oneof many accomplishments of the Hon. Charles Langhorne Spangler, “Tump” of Meadows of Dan, Patrick County, Virginia. One of Patrick’s most distinguished state legislators, he won fiddlers conventions back in his younger days. The Enterprise, newspaper of Stuart, Virginia, June 19, 1974.

 Dudley Spangler was Tump and Babe’s second cousin as their grandfathers were brothers. This is the way it goes: John Spangler b. 1783 married Susan Susannah Hudnall, b.1788, Fauquier, Virginia, and they had six children including  Richard, b.1813, and his brother Thomas born 1819. Richard married Lucretia Laura Scott and had son  Wallace Wolford Spangler who married Fannie Langhorne then had Babe and Tump as told above. Thomas and his wife Mary Rose, had son George who married Sisley and had Dudley!

Spangler, Dudley with fiddle

Photo of Dudley Spangler from Images of America, Music Makers of the Blue Ridge Plateau, by the Music Makers Guild, p.113.  –another gift from Tump’s son, Dr. Pat Spangler, PhD. 

As you know from earlier posts, this author’s great great grandmother, Evalyna Langhorne was Fannie’s sister. Evalyna married  Thomas Houchins and their son Harry, also blind from the family disease, played the banjo and sometimes played with Tump, Babe, and Dudley. As you may remember from earlier posts, I met Charles Langhorne Spangler’s children, Harvie Langhorne Spangler and Patrick Spangler, along with many of his grandchildren and great grandchildren!   I also met Dudley Spangler’s children, Bernice, Margie, and Wallace Spangler! They are all wonderful, kind , smart and friendly people! Babe has only one living child left, Grace, age 98 at this writing, called Sweetie. In my post just referred to, there is a story Babe’s great grandson tells about Sweetie that is priceless!  Pictures of many in this family can be found on the last blog post or two about the Spangler family reunion.

Published on Jul 10, 2012, Banjerholler on You Tube writes:

“These Virginia Fiddlers are John Watts “Babe” Spangler and his cousin, Dudley Spangler from Meadows of Dan, Virginia. The two learned their fiddling style from John Watts’ father, Wallace Spangler, a regarded fiddler from the area. This recording comes from a session of private recordings made by the boys to preserve their music. Let’s help to fulfill their wish!”

I’m all for preserving our musical heritage, and so very proud to be part of preserving some of my family’s talent!