Bittersweet reflections: A century of building houses, making homes, comes to a close

Jackie Nunnery

by Jackie Nunnery



Frank Davis’s sawmill operation, circa 1910. Photo courtesy of Marian Shannon and Audrey Smith as published in Lancaster County, Virginia: Where the River Meets the Bay (2003) by Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library Inc.

Januarys are usually associated with new years and beginnings, but since it was announced that the Kilmarnock Planing Mill, 420 South Main Street, Kilmarnock, would be closing at the end of the month, owners and sisters Sherry Davis Ketner and Ann Davis Gill have been spending the month saying goodbye to long-time customers who have stopped by to wish them well and the building which has been a part of their lives for so long.

Ketner and Gill made the decision to “march on in other directions,” when age and health began having an impact on their abilities to run the business, said Ketner.

We were hoping that one of our grandchildren would want to take over, but they all had their own things going on. Nothing lasts forever,” Gill said. “It’s bittersweet.”

The Town of Kilmarnock was very different when W. Frank Davis’s business began as a planing mill sometime between 1910 and 1920. Technically, it wasn’t even a town yet since…