September - November 2007 Marion, Virginia

             

 
     
 

Laura Lu Copenhaver

 
 

2007 Virginia Woman in History

 
 

 Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver founded Rosemont Craft Industries approximately 91 years ago from her family’s mid-nineteenth century homestead “Rosemont” in Marion, Virginia.  Her father, the Reverend John Jacob Scherer, D.D., was the first President of Marion College and prior to the Depression, Laura, who was a very energetic and talented woman, had been teaching college English and writing.  In fact, her hymn “Heralds of Christ” is in the songbooks of many denominations.    Laura Copenhaver’s  mountain craft industry was born out of her effort to help mountain families during the Depression.  During the twenties she became aware of the economic plight of Virginia sheep farmers and mountain folk.  In an effort to help, she devised a scheme to combine the raw products of wool with the handicraft of the mountain people into the beautiful rugs, curtains, quilts, and canopies now found in homes throughout the world.  The proceeds of this industry provided the sorely needed funds to these impoverished country families.  Many of the same families helped by Mrs. Copenhaver’s energies during the Depression continued to sell their handicrafts through Laura Copenhaver Industries for generations.  Following in her Mother’s footsteps, Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson was the President of Rosemont Craft Industries for over ten years.  Three generations later, Tom Copenhaver (Laura’s grandson) directs the mountain craft business in Marion.