In 1912 workmen were endeavoring to improve the Warrenton Road, now U. S. Route 17, by putting a layer of gravel on it. John Hammett (1874-1946) and his brother Eppa Hammett (1879-1953) owned a farm near the junction of Poplar Road (Route 616) and the Warrenton Road and the gravel was being dug from one side of their property. A newspaper article reported:
“Difficulty Over Gravel. Much excitement was caused on the Warrenton road above Falmouth Saturday morning when a difficulty arose between Messrs. John and Eppa Hammett and Mr. Goodman foreman at the gravel pit. The Hammetts objected to their land being plowed to secure gravel for the new road. This caused a personal encounter between these gentlemen. During the melee several shots were fired by the Hammetts and a club used by Goodman. Ex-Sheriff Chas. Kennedy and several others appeared on the scene and the encounter stopped. Warrants were issued for all the parties engaged in the trouble and Sheriff Moncure, who was here, went at once to the scene of the trouble. The work on the road was suspended on account of the trouble” (Fredericksburg Daily Star, Nov. 23, 1912). This article was followed by:
“John & Eppa Hammett fined $25 each for assault of A. N. Goodman, foreman of the gravel pit on Warrenton Road. Hammetts objected to the extension of the pit on to their farm” (Free Lance, Nov. 26, 1912).