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Asa Fitz Randolph

Asa Fitz Randolph was born Feb 15, 1833, and died of ptomaine poisoning September 3, 1903 in Berea, WV.  He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Berea.  His first marriage was to Marvel Maxson, born to John and Mary (Bee) Maxson on September 4, 1832 in Greenbrier, WV.

The chance for schooling was very limited, and Asa never got more than three quarters or nine months of schooling until after he was married. He had a felon (an infected abscess deep in the palm side of his thumb tip) on his right hand which kept his arm in a sling for 18 months. Part of this time he went to school. Later he cut his leg very badly; as soon as he was able to ride, he went to school. He read much and was especially good in figures. In fact, one of his teachers said that he did not need to study arithmetic-he could make one. His interest in education is shown in the fact that of the nine children who grew up, all went to college at least a year, and five have a degree.

Marvel was as much interested in education as Asa, but she did not have as good a chance as he. She could read about like a third grader. She was a very great worker; the only request she made of Asa before they were married was that he would furnish her plenty of work. She was also an excellent manager. There is little doubt that she had much to do with his financial success.

Asa and Marvel were married in the fall of l851 at Washington, Pennsylvania. They eloped!  They lived on the waters of Bone Creek for a while, then on Middle Island until 1857, when they bought the farm on the South Branch of the Hughes River, a mile below Berea, where Alois Preston was born and reared.

Asa operated his father’s tan yard, and had one of his own also.  He was a member of the Ritchie Seventh Day Baptist Church in Berea where he served as an ordained deacon.

Marvel died December 2, 1887 in Berea, WV.  Asa married Mary Hannah Saunders in Alfred, NY on April 16, 1891.  Mary was born in Alfred July 4, 1837 and died there June 11, 1907.

Children of Asa Fitz Randolph and Marvel Maxson, born in Bone Creek, Middle Island or Berea, WV:

  • Experience “Perie” Fitz Randolph, born July 10, 1852 in Bone Creek, WV. Perie became a Seventh Day Baptist preacher. She married when she was 35 (1887)to Leon B. Burdick. Both Perie and Leon were graduates of Alfred University, Alfred, NY, and both Seventh Day Baptist ministers. Perie was a teacher as well as being a minister. They had one daughter, Genevieve Burdick, born December 10, 1892 in DeRuyter, NY. She also graduated from Alfred University and married Arthur Loland Penny of West Hampton, Long Island, New York.
  • Calphurnia “Callie” Fitz Randolph, born October 21, 1854. Callie married John Meathrell April 18,1882 and spent her life on a farm near Berea. Callie died October 26, 1948. Callie and John had four children:

1.    Julia Eliza Meathrell, born Feb 28, 1883 in New Milton, WV, died June 17, 1964 in Berea

2.    Rupert Richard Meathrell, born June 3, 1884, married Dottie Bee on April 19, 1911.  He was a foreman on the B&O Railroad.

3.    Conza, born June 17, 1886, a high school teacher, died in Salem, WV

4.    Draxie, born March 19, 1888, married Ruben Marion Brissey in 1922

  • Emza Fitz Randolph, born June 11, 1857, married Rev. A. W. Coon, Seventh Day Baptist minister in Salem, WV in 1888 and died a few years later without children
  • Virgil Fitz Randolph, born February 22, 1860 in Berea, WV. Virgil taught a few years after finishing his PhD at Alfred University, then became a farmer. He married Mary Eloise Yale on February 28, 1894 in Wellsville, NY. Mary was born October 10, 1866 in Wellsville, NY and died Janaury 25, 1930. Virgil died August 28, 1950 in Alfred, NY. Virgil and Mary had a son, Winston Yale Fitz Randolph, born December 10, 1907, who was an engineer, and who married Helen Jaunita Fanton in 1927.
  • Ellsworth Fitz Randolph, born August 12, 1862 in Berea, WV.. Ellsworth bought the Hise Davis farm from his father, married Sarah Virginia Stalnaker December 3, 1890. Sarah was born July 21, 1870. They settled down on the farm. He had a fine team of horses and did lots of logging in the winter. While logging for Zeke Bee May 17, 1905, he was accidentally killed. They had one child, Blondie, born November 17, 1900, married Joice Jones in 1927, and who was a school principal in West Virginia.
  • Andrew Core Fitz Randolph, born March 10, 1865, died May 14, 1866
  • Alva Fitz Randolph, born April 20, 1867, in Berea, WV. A graduate of Alfred University, who married Mary Caroline Hoff on May 3, 1888 in Auburn, VA. Alva graduated from Alfred University and settled down near Alfred. He organized the Allegany County Farm Bureau, was president of it for 15 years, and was also President of the Alfred Farmers’ Co-op Association . Mary died April 19, 1944 and Alva died July 17, 1949 in Alfred. They had five children:  (Is this Jerry Snyder’s farm??)

1.    Fucia, born June 18, 1889 in Berea, a graduate of Alfred University, and a teacher at the Seventh Day Baptist Mission School in Fouke, Arkansas.

2.    Elizabeth, born October 10, 1890 in Alfred, a graduate of Alfred University, a student of Theology at Alfred and Oberlin, Ohio, an ordained Seventh Day Baptist minister and a traveling evangelist.

3.    Lowell, born October 7, 1894 in Alfred and married Fanny Rane September 15, 1921 in Boston.  They worked at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and had three children: Robert, Jane and Rane.

4.    Florence, born March 4, 1899 in Alfred, married on March 15, 1920 to Eldon Lee of LeRoy, NY, and died September 20, 1927 in Aurora, Colorado

5.    Vida, born June 7, 1903 and married James T. Barrs of Cadwell, GA on September 2, 1931.  Vida received her Bachelor’s degree from Alfred University and Masters at Harvard University.  She worked in a hospital laboratory in Boston.  James received his PhD from Harvard and was the Registrar of Southern Georgia College in Douglas, Georgia.  They had two daughters and a son, names withheld as they are likely living.

  • Cleora “Cleo” Fitz Randolph, born September 27, 1869, moved to New York taught for several years, married Eugene “Gene” C. Jordan of Clarksville, NY on May 21, 1903. Eugene died April 11, 1925 and Cleo lived with one of Gene’s sons in Pennsylvania.
  • Alois Preston Fitz Randolph, born Sept 7, 1872, married Jennie Mae Sutton in 1895. They are my great-grandparents, more information is in the section below, and the autobiography of Alois is on this web site.
  • Felix Fitz Randolph, born April 30, 1875 and died two weeks later on May 13, 1875
  • Delvinus “Delvia” Fitz Randolph, born May 13, 1876 in Berea, WV. He graduated from Alfred University, married Henrietta Short of Elmira, NY in Elmira in 1904, and moved to California for her health. In 1950 he was retired and living with his second wife, first name Marie. He died November 4, 1958. Delvia and Henrietta had two children:

1.    Dorothy, born August 21, 1905 in Rochester, NY

2.    Beach, born July 5, 1908 and married in 1934

Chapter 18 – Teaching Experiences, 1936-1945

Bug Ridge School-Teaching Three Generations: I got the Bug Ridge School the fall of 1936 and had a very nice time. Brady and I used a little politics to get it. One of the board members ran for assessor and offered me the deputy job if I wanted it. He said I had been treated dirty. Brady asked the board member how he would like for him to work against him. He said “No, no.” Then Brady told him of the offer and that I would accept it if I was to get no school. He said I would get a school, and I did.

It was during the winter of 1936 that Bond [Ashby’s oldest son] stayed with us for a month and went to school to me. This meant that three generations went to school to me [Jennie, Ashby, and Bond]. I had a number of cases where a father and child and in one case where both parents and children went to me, but this was the only case where the mother, son, and grandson went to me. I also taught Johnnie [Elmo’s son] to read. Very few teachers can say that they have taught three generations, but fifty years is a long time to teach. I’ll bet I don’t teach another generation.

This was a successful school although they had had lots of trouble for two years. I had no trouble of any amount. It was a large school. I had a large class in the eighth grade, and they all got diplomas. They were Beulah Combs, Edgar Gillespie, Juanita Gillespie, Harry Dillon, and some others I have forgotten.

Edgar had been having a lot of trouble, but I found him all right except a little lazy. When he got his report card, he came to me and wanted to know why he didn’t get a better report. I tried to dodge for a little. Then I looked at him and said, “If you will go to work, study some, and try to learn, I’ll give you a better grade.” He looked at me rather sour for a minute and then smiled and said, “I’ll do it, Mr. Randolph. I’ll answer every question you ask me.” From that time he studied well. When I gave him his next report card, he looked at it and grinned. I asked him how he liked it, and he said, “That’s better.” I encouraged him all I could, and he did fine. I do like to help a pupil who tries.

1937-38Substitute Teaching and Lower Stone Creek School: The board gave the Bug Ridge School to Zana Hartley and gave me no school. The superintendent, Virgil Harris, got mad at Brady and so had it in for me. He tried to keep me from getting a school ever after, but only kept me out of a school one whole year.

The last of November I got a call to teach for a week at Baker’s Run. The teacher, a young man, went to Chicago with the 4-H club. Before I left, several of the pupils told me they intended to have me teach their school next winter.

On Friday after I got back I got a letter from Harris saying I had been given the Lower Stony Creek School to teach half time. If I would teach it, I should to be at his office Thursday and get my papers. I went right down and told them I sure would teach it.

Monday morning I headed for school. The snow was about 6 inches deep and cold as blazes. As I did not have to teach but half a day, I aimed to get there by noon. When I got there, cold and tired, I found nobody there and no fire. There was a family moving into the house right by the school house. They built a fire, and one of the children went and got four more children. So I had 7 the first day; the next day I had 11. I had over 10 on an average the first month. The average attendance for the whole term was 99 percent. Harris (the superintendent) tried to keep me from teaching full time, but the board gave me full time after the first month.

I failed to find any place to board. One place I had the children ask their parents for board, and the woman sent back word that there were 11 of them and they had four beds. I told the children I might be back and I might not. When I got to the mouth of Wolf, which was three miles from school, I was tired and it was getting dark. So I headed for Brady’s. When I got there, he wanted to know what I was doing there. I told him I was looking for a place to get out of the weather. He told me to stay there that week, and they would try to find me a place to stay after that. Alma got a camp for me to bach in about two miles from school. This made it very nice. Brady would take me part way to school of a Monday morning and bring me part way home of a Friday evening. For this I paid the rest ($150) back on the farm.

I had a very nice time as there were only 11 scholars and five grades. We had a Parent Teachers Association meeting, which was attended by several out of the district and was very good. Before school was out, they got up a petition for me to teach the next year, which was signed by everyone in the district and two or three outside who said they would send if I got the school. This would make 27 scholars to attend.

No School, 1938-39-Ashby’s Illness: When the board met, Frank Hosey (the member from Holley) told the board that he had promised the Baker’s Run School that he would send me there. However, it was a long way and they all wanted me at Stony Creek; so he would favor my going there. This was agreed to; then when all teachers were placed, Harris said they would not have any school at Stony Creek. Hosey knew this was a plan to keep me from teaching, so he asked the other members if I should have the school if it was taught. They all agreed. Brady was nominated for the board by a good majority at the primary (I worked for him at Wolf and got all the Democratic votes but nine, about 95%). At the next meeting Harris proposed another man for the school. Three of the members backed down, and I got no school.

This did not prove to be quite as bad as it seemed, for Ash took sick the last of August and sent for Mamma. Three days later Brady called me at 11 at night and told me to be ready in half an hour to go to Ash’s. Brady, Mary, and I went. Brady drove like John! When we got there, I didn’t believe he would live 24 hours. The next morning we took him to the hospital. They found he had double pneumonia, blood poison in the blood tubes, and some other troubles. Mamma stayed with the children till March, and Ruth stayed at the hospital with Ash. So you see there would have been no one to have looked after things at home if I had taught that winter. After losing one leg, Ash has been able to teach for the last ten years.

I was sure glad to see Mamma when she got home in March. I didn’t have so much to do, but it was lonely to be by myself for seven months. It was fine to have her back.

Cleveland School, 1939-40: One of the board members told me in the spring of 1939 that he intended for me to have the Cleveland School. Ed Davis got up a petition for me (I knew nothing about it), and every one in the district signed it. When Ed took the petition, they asked him if the teacher they had wasn’t all right. He said he was not complaining about their teacher but that they wanted me. Harris replied, “You had just as well understand that you won’t get him. Ed looked at Harris and said, “We will too, and you can’t help it.” I got the school, and Harris couldn’t help it,though he tried.

Stories About Mountain People

I think it will be well to tell two or three stories so everyone will get a better idea of these mountain people. These stories I take from Stories of the Elk (a number of stories written by Bill Byrne, who once had been prosecuting attorney of Braxton).

Victim of a Scam: Bill Byrne and Jake Fisher and several others (among whom was Squirley Bill Carpenter, who was noted as a hunter and fisher and as a teller of tall tales) were going down to Clay Court House. As there was a circus in town, they had to visit it before they could go. There was a doctor there, a fine fellow who lived out in the country; a man came to him and told him they made the best gate in the world and they wanted someone to handle it in Braxton. He said he had been told that the doctor was just the man they wanted and that the doctor would not have to do any selling. They would ship the gates to him; people would come and get them and pay him; and he would keep half and send them the other half. But to show his good faith, he must make a deposit of $25, which he did.

A little later he got worried and tried to find the man, but he couldn’t. Then he yelled for Byrne and wanted him to arrest the man. Byrne wanted to know where the man was and who he was, but the doctor didn’t know. So Byrne told him he couldn’t do anything about it. The doctor just raved, things were in a fine shape when an honest man could be cheated and nothing be done about it. A crowd had gathered and a boy called out, “Doctor, it ain’t a lawyer you need; it’s a guardeen.” The doctor looked at the boy a moment and then said, “Bub, I expect you are right.” That settled the whole thing.

A Big Fish Tale: They went down the river in a boat, and on the way Byrne gigged a very large Jack Pike. It began to rain as they came to an old mill, so they ran under it to get out of the rain. They began to brag on the pike. Squirley said, “I saw a lot bigger one. One day I was coming down the river just as we did today, and a rain came up just as it did today. I ran under here as we did today, and I looked down and there was a pike in the spillway. It was so long it couldn’t turn around. I ran and got my gig and gigged it. It was six feet long; I’ll swear to it on a stack of Bibles this high,” and he raised up on his toes and lifted up his arms and tipped into the spillway. The men all jumped down to help him out, but his son Squack never made a move to help. When the men got him out, nearly drowned, Squack looked at him and said, “Dad, if that fish had been one inch longer, you would have drowned in spite of Hell.”

Monk Dillon: Monk Dillon owned 200 acres on Bug Ridge, of which our farm was a part. He had a brother about 70 years old who stayed in Sutton during the summer and tended gardens and worked in livery barns or anything an old man could do. Then he would go up on Bug Ridge to his brother Monk’s, who always had corn bread, hominy, and sow belly (his neighbors said the meat didn’t all come from his own hogs). It seemed Monk rode his brother pretty hard. One winter it seemed he rode him harder than usual, but he couldn’t drive him from his corn pone and sow belly.

The next spring the old man saw Monk on the street talking to two men, so he went over to see if he could get even for the way he had been treated. Just as he got there, he heard Monk say, “I’ll leave it to you men, if being an honorable man I could do that.” This was the brother’s chance, and he said, “Honorable man, hell! Didn’t you shoot Mint Squire’s big gat sow?” The answer was, “What if I did? Didn’t you hep cad her in?”

Now Squire had lost a big sow (all hogs ran out in the woods), and he was going to have Monk indicted for stealing his hog. Monk paid for it to save himself from the law.

Monk had 10 or 12 children. The girls would run and hide when anyone came, even when they were grown. Monk raised lots of wheat. At threshing time the workers had to go inside the house and up some steps to put the wheat in a box in the loft. As a neighbor went in with a load of wheat, one of the girls took up the stairs; of course, the man followed her. Now the upper floor was laid with loose boards. As she ran across the floor, she stepped on a board that didn’t reach the joist. It tipped up; she went down right into the flour barrel. The flour rose right up and settled all over her.

The man was not immoral, but unmoral. A preacher told me that Monk said, when he was 80 years old, that he had never heard a sermon preached. So the preacher held meeting where Monk was and preached so he could say he had heard one sermon. It hardly seems possible anyone could be so ignorant in the last forty years.

Elmo and Madeline Married in 1937

In 1937 Elmo and Madeline were married and spent their honeymoon in a 4-H camp in New York. Madeline came down and stayed a while with us that fall. One Sabbath we went up to see Ozenia Bee and her sister Maggie. This was a very nice trip. We also went to the Homecoming at Salem.

My Final Years of Teaching

Back at Poplar Ridge, 1939-41: The winter of 1939-40 I taught on Poplar Ridge. This was quite a different school from what it was when I taught there in the 1920s. Then I had 59; this time I had 26. When I first taught there, they knew nothing about real study, and most of them would not talk and had no interest in going to high school. Now they were nearly all planning to go to high school; in fact, nearly half of them did go to high school. I feel that I had much to do with this happy condition. But there are still too many who will pick up things which belong to someone else. Still, I think many have changed about that.

Teachers Get Tenure: This winter the legislature passed the Tenure of Office Bill. Teachers no longer had to be appointed every year. This meant I had a school for some years to come, but I could retire at 65 (I was 67 then) and receive a pension. Retirement was optional with us until 1945, when a new law passed that a teacher must retire at 65 unless the State Board of Education agreed to his continuing.

Second Year at Poplar Ridge: The second winter I had trouble to get a place to stay. I tried to get a house of Dave Hosey. But his boy (Skip) would not move out till the last of October. So I boarded at Dave’s till the first of December. The boy did not move out, and Dave charged too much. Ed Davis was fixing a small building for me to live in till Skip moved out (I had arranged with Ed to move over there when Skip moved out). Dave found out about it and told me Ed could keep me till he got the house fixed. This proved very satisfactory, for the house was large enough and very comfortable. Ed’s were all very nice to me. In fact, it was one of the best winters that I boarded away from home. Dave was mad at me for four or five years, but one day I met him in Sutton and he came reaching out his hand to shake hands and was as friendly as ever. I was glad of this; Dave and I had been close friends, and I just don’t like to have folks mad at me.

Brady told me in the early fall that one of the board members said he intended to see I got the Bug Ridge School. I told him I didn’t want it, for I was sure it would not be pleasant. In February Brady told me again that the same member said he intended to see I got the school. By this time I had got tired of getting up by 6 a.m. and walking six miles through a foot of snow of a Monday to school and having Mamma stay by herself and do all the feeding five days a week.

This was my last winter at Poplar Ridge. These last two years, there were six eighth grade diplomas; in the six years I was there, there were 14 diplomas received. When you consider that in the 60 years before I went to Poplar Ridge there had been no diplomas and then in 6 years there were 24, I feel pretty good. The fact is that the school had been doing so poorly and the house was such a disgrace that the parents and children (though they did not know it) were ready for someone to come and teach a real school; I arrived at the opportune time. When I went up there to get votes for Brady, some of them said to me, “Of course we will vote for Brady for the work you did for our children.” All things work together for good, etc.

Mamma went to Alfred and stayed at Elmo’s for two months when Dan was born in July, 1941. I did very little while she was gone, for my ankles were hurting me badly and she told me to do nothing but the chores. The rest seemed to help me lots.

Bug Ridge School, 1941-45: In 1941 I had a large school. I had a good-sized eighth grade class to graduate this year. Among these were Thelma Combs, Gay Ellison, and a Stewart girl. There may have been others, but I don’t remember them. The Stewart girl started to school her first year at Upper Wolf and years later got her diploma at Bug Ridge. We had a fine school this winter with very little trouble.

At Christmas time we had a program. It was not extra good as we could not get the children to learn their parts well. I have always thought a good program was very valuable. In some schools I think it is of untold value. I think our programs at Poplar Ridge were of more value than several months of school. This was because the children were so timid and not willing to talk. They sure got over it before I left.

It was this winter that we got into World War II. They asked the teachers to get help and do the rationing. I got three women (Mamma and two others) to help, and we put in two days. Later we had to do a second job. The second year they asked for milkweed balls and scrap iron. We did fairly well with the weed, but we got a very fine lot of iron. In the fall of 1942 the government asked all schools to collect as much scrap iron as possible. The superintendent told all teachers to spend three days with their scholars and get all the scrap they could find. We got several tons-in fact, we were among the best in the county. We took an interest in everything the government asked us to do.

Each of the four years I taught at Bug Ridge, I had a class to graduate. The first year there were three, all girls – a Combs girl, a Stewart girl, and an Ellison girl. The third year Zeno Watts graduated. The last year I had two – Iolene Combs and the Ellison boy. Bob Combs took Iolene and me down [to the graduation ceremony]. I had not intended to go, but he asked me to go as a favor; of course, I went.

Two or three of my “friends” got sore and tried to get up a petition to get me out. When they talked to some of the others, they said I could teach their children and they were satisfied. This put a stop to the racket.

I told the superintendent that I was willing to teach to the end of the war as teachers were so scarce; he said they would like for me to do that. I told the children in the fall of 1944 if the war closed that year that I would resign at the end of the term. I decided early in 1945 that the war would end that year. Then I told Olta I was resigning so she had best look after her interests, and I wrote a letter resigning and told the children I had resigned. Olta went right down and got the school for the next winter. I was very glad of that. Although there were two or three that got out with me, I think everyone was my friend when I left. At least they have all been very friendly when we went back.

Chapter 12 – More Teaching Experiences in Ritchie County

The next summer after I taught at Auburn, I taught at Berea. My school was small and did not pay me well, but I had a very nice time. They learned well and had good success getting certificates.

I will continue with my teaching work until I left Ritchie. The fall of 1910 there was an effort made, in an underhand way, to keep me from getting the school at Berea; but I got it and taught a fairly successful school in spite of all a few dirty meddlers could do. I decided when school was out that I would not try for it again, so I got the Sunny Point school on Turtle Run. Conza asked me before the Board met if I was asking for the Berea school, and I told her “No.” Then she said she would try for it. I told her to pitch in. Ell Douglas was on the Board, and he got them to delay hiring the Berea teachers until September in hopes the girls would get schools elsewhere or he could get someone else. Two of the Board members told Conza and Draxie, after the meeting was out, that they should have the school. The opposition made a great effort to get someone else to teach it, but failed.

One night John Meredith (one of my best friends) came up to see me. This was while Jennie was in Colorado, and I was alone. We talked for some time when all at once John said, “Pressie, can’t we get you to teach our school this winter?” My reply was, “No, John, you can’t.” We talked on a while, and again John spoke up, “Pressie, isn’t there some way we can coax you to teach our school?” My reply was “No, John, there isn’t.” After talking for some time longer, John spoke up for the third time, “Pressie, isn’t there some way we can force you to teach our school?” My reply again was “No, John, there isn’t.” He soon went home, and I was happy; I knew Douglas had sent him although he had gotten mad early in the spring when one of the patrons had asked him to give me the school. So it tickled me to say, “No.” Oh, it was fun!

An Incident at Berea: I will now tell a funny incident (some might not think it very funny) that happened the last winter I taught at Berea. Barnard Bee had been using bad talk at school, and Draxie had him wash his mouth with asafetida. This raised an awful fuss, and they had Zeke summoned before the Grand Jury. He came to the school house and told us about it. He said he didn’t want to go as he had no fuss to raise about what she did to the boy. We told him to go ahead; it was all right with us.

The next day we went out to town. We went into the clerk’s office, had ourselves summoned before the jury, sworn, and then waited to be called in. When they called me in, the foreman asked me if I knew what I was summoned for. My reply was, “Maybe I do and maybe I don’t.” He then asked me what I knew. My reply was, “A little of nothing and not much of anything.” He then asked me about the trouble in school. He was smart and thought he was very smart. The first question he asked after that was, “What is your business?” My reply was, “I take the place of the parents.” I saw several old teachers on the jury, and I knew we were okay.

When he said, “Don’t you know that no one but a practicing physician has a right to give medicine?” I shot right back at him, “Yea, if you go home tonight and one of your children has the bellyache, you wouldn’t dare to give him a dose of castor oil?” “That’s different,” he said. A half dozen said, “No, that’s the same.” I knew we had won. The foreman came out a little later, and we told him we had another witness. He said they didn’t need it; for us to just go on home and teach our schools. This was all done by a bunch of trouble makers and ended as such things usually do.

Draxie and Mike Jett: Draxie also had trouble with Mike Jett. He got mad because she kept Witt in at recess. When recess came, they sent for Witt to come home and then sent him back on the playground to play. Draxie saw him out there playing, so she went and got him. I went up to the house to get a drink. While I was gone, Mike went to the school house, cursed Draxie and took Witt away. I stopped in the lower room when I came back and heard John Bee, John Waggoner and Draxie talking about it. When they said he cursed Draxie, I said I would have him arrested and proceeded to call the squire at Harrisville. He said he would be out as soon as the weather was fit and get him.

As soon as Mike heard about it, he wanted to settle it, so they agreed to meet at our house Sabbath evening. Mike and Ivy and Conza and Draxie came. I told them it was all right with me any way they settled it, if it was satisfactory with the squire; for it was in his hands. Draxie agreed if he would come to school Monday morning and apologize for what he had done, it would settle it with her. Mike thought it was all settled, so he never came about.

A few days later the squire called up and said it could not be settled out of court, but that he would try the case himself. Mike came to Draxie again, when he heard the squire was coming. He told her he couldn’t talk in public. She told him he seemed to be able to talk when he came after Witt. The weather stayed too bad for the squire to come, so Mike was indicted by the same jury we were before. He paid a fine of $25, which was more than I would like to pay for the privilege of cursing a school teacher.

Trouble for Brady and Clee Wagoner: I taught the Sunny Point school two years and had a very nice time. Conza had a hard time with her school; the children were mean and the people meddled. The next winter they got a big man by the name of Alender, who worked for Tom Jackson for a while before school, so they had a chance to tell him how mean Brady and Clee Wagoner were. The boys complained to me that they didn’t get a fair show. I knew this was so, but I told them to wait and he would find out how it was.

There got to be too much courting in school, and we told the boys some of the girls would got jealous and then there would be trouble. Some of the kids in the neighborhood would come in and say, “We are having a good school this winter,” in a hateful tone. Of course, this made us mad, but we didn’t say a word.

All at once word got around that Clee had used vile talk to John Prunty’s girl, and he had taken her out of school. Alender went to see about it, and John said it was not so. When Alender told the member of the board (Ell Douglas) that he found no basis for the charge, Douglas said it was so and he had to investigate it. The girl said it was so; Clee denied it; the girl’s seatmate said she did not hear it; and Brady, who was sitting right by, said Clee did not say it. Alender said she had not proved her case so she must apologize. She refused to do this, so he turned her out. This raised an awful stink and more charges against Clee. Alender failed to find any proof and told them so.

The next Friday noon the Board and 25 to 50 people came in. Alender took up school and went to hearing classes. Then one of the board got up and asked if he might say a word. Alender said, “Speak on.” He (the board member) said they had been sent for to come down there. Alender said he knew nothing about it, for he had received no notice. The member said he knew that was so, for they didn’t know what it was about.

After some talk it was found out that Alender was accused of being partial for not getting Clee for what they called immoral conduct. They said they intended to protect their girls (three of the accusers were the most immoral men in town) and get rid of the vipers like Clee. Alender offered if the crowd would leave that the board could inquire of the scholars and find out the truth. One of the crowd jumped up and said, “I am a taxpayer, and I came here to see that justice is done, and I am going to stay and see that it is.” The board said if that was the way they felt, there could be no trial till written charges were filed and Alender was notified of charges and date. So they fixed the date two weeks off and went home.

The crowd was mad, for they hoped to get Alender and Clee both put out of school. They were mad at Alender because he would not kick Clee and Brady out of school. If they had gotten Clee put out, they would have soon patched up some lie on Brady and kicked him out too. This crowd (not all of Berea by a good deal) was mad at Al Wagoner and me and wanted to ruin us. There was a lot of blowing done, and John Meredith told them there was nothing to it. They replied, “John, don’t you believe in protecting our girls?” John told them it was just a plot to ruin the boys and that there was nothing to it. This didn’t suit some of them very well, but John didn’t care a cent how they liked it.

When the board met, there was a big crowd there again anxious to get Clee and Alender. They had charged Alender with partiality on ten counts-nine for not investigating charges against Clee and one for expelling a girl. When the case came up, Alender proved that he had tried every case but one and had no proof and that they gave him no chance to try that one. The board ruled that the teacher was not guilty, but they reinstated the girl. If Clee was to be tried, they would have to bring charges against him and set another date. Clee told them he had to quit school and go to carrying the mail, so they dropped his case.

I may have cause to mention Clee again, but I will say right here that he graduated from Salem College with a fine name, took a course in agriculture, married a fine girl (her mother was a daughter of George Randolph). The last I knew, he was teaching in high school. In fact, he has done better than any of those that tried to ruin him back in Berea.

Some of the folks tried to get Minter Fox to whip Alender and went to see what Fred thought about their chance. Fred told them Alender would whip them both before any one could pull him off of them; so they didn’t try it. The Brakes, Jacksons, Collins and Douglases went to another school by consent of the board, which left the Berea school very small. Douglas kept his girl at home for a few days, which cost him about $12. This was the best lesson Berea ever had. Since then most anybody could teach the Berea school. So you see that good can still come out of evil.

The next spring Wagoners moved to Harrisville, which took away one of my best friends.

Experiences as Fire Insurance Agent

In the spring of 1911 I got a job of writing fire insurance for the Safe Insurance Company of Harrisville, which I followed for three summers. I was quite successful; I cleared an average of $2 a day, which at that time was good wages. I wrote in Gilmer, Tyler, Ritchie, Wood, Doddridge and Harrison counties. I enjoyed the work very much. But once in a while it looked as if some would get insurance and then cash in on it, if they got too much insurance. I tried to be careful and did not have many fires.

There was a man in Gilmer by the name of Wagoner who had a fine house. I tried hard to get him to write insurance, but he told me that he built the house himself and he knew there was no danger of its burning, so I gave him up. A few months later I passed through a village not far from his home. A friend came out and told me he had some insurance for me. He told me that Wagoner had had a fire, and he said he would write insurance with the first insurance agent who came along. I found it was in a room where ceiling paper had been used instead of lumber to seal overhead. A small boy found the fire. When the mother went up, she found the ceiling paper burned off and the paper burned about half way down all around the wall. The room was shut up tight, so there was no draft and it burned very slowly. They saved the house with very little damage. I wrote the insurance, which made me $2. No doubt a mouse or rat had carried a match to their nest, gnawed it and started the fire.

I saw a two-story house with matched oak ceiling with a hole made by fire which looked as if it had been made for a stove pipe. It was in the parlor, which had been shut up for a week. When a girl went in to sweep the room, she found ashes on the floor. She thought it had started upstairs, so she ran up there but found no way to get at the fire up there. So she came down and put the fire out down there. When they got the fire out, they found the burned remains of some stockings and old clothes which had been a nest. The house was shut up tight, so the fire had not blazed but kept live coals. These are just a few of my experiences while writing insurance.

Jennie Visited in Colorado, 1911

In the summer of 1911, Jennie went to Colorado with Watie [Sutton, her brother] to see Elzie [another brother], who could not come to West Virginia on account of his health. She had a very nice trip. She sure deserved it, for she had never been out of West Virginia except when we moved to New York. Watie and Arlie paid for her trip.

Chapter 11 – Our Children

Brady was born: It was July 28, 1896, when our first child (Brady) was born. There was no milk for him and neither of our cows’ milk was fit for him, so Watie got on a horse and swam the river to get milk for him. He was so hungry that he took two bottles of milk, then went to sleep and slept like a pig.

Pine Grove School, 1897: The spring of 1897 I taught a select school of small children in the old Pine Grove meeting house. I had a fair-sized school, which paid me well. They were a bunch of bright children and did good work. One day Jennie taught, and some of the larger girls tried to scare the little children by telling them they saw a ghost. John Bee (the doctor’s boy) just said, “All magination, all magination.” I enjoyed this school very much.

Lower Bone Creek School, 1897-1899: The next two winters I taught the Lower Bone Creek School. The winter before a girl had taught it, and she had not been able to manage it at all. They would not mind her at all and annoyed her every way they could. I had no trouble and enjoyed it very much.

February 12, 1898, was the coldest time I ever saw. It was clear as could be, but the air was full of frost-that is, the moisture in the air was frozen into snowflakes. I had a black cow in a barn by herself, and she was covered with frost until she was white. We could hear the trees cracking in every direction. I had to go one-half mile to feed my sheep, milk the cows, and feed the stock, and then go to school. It was 10 a.m. when I got to school, but there was no one there. The fire builder had stock to feed by the school house; so he had built a fire, fed the stock, and gone home for his breakfast. In one-half hour one came; in an hour three more came; and at noon Rupert and Arlie came. So we had six that afternoon-all boys. It registered 44 degrees below zero. Most of the orchards in the valleys were killed. All of the beech trees half way up the hills were killed, and nearly all of the dogwoods also were killed. Nothing like this was ever seen here before nor since. That afternoon it got much warmer, and by Monday the snow was gone and it was warm and nice.

Measles Outbreak: Erlo Sutton came to the last day of school that spring with an awful cold, felt bad all day, and in the morning he had the measles. He gave them to everyone he saw that day, which was at least 75. One girl about 15 in my school died; also, an old lady in Berea. Jennie, Brady, and I had them at the same time. Erlo had no idea where he got them. The next spring the trustees asked me to close the school a day early to avoid the danger of spreading disease.

Farming Enterprises: That spring I cut the dead trees on a field for Ellsworth and raised a fine crop of corn; it was worth only 35 cents a bushel when I husked it. Some different from what it is now!

In the fall of 1898 I bought an interest in a cane mill with Dad Sutton and made molasses until late fall. The next fall we began to make molasses the 29th of August and finished the 6th of October. After that we never made so many, for people quit raising cane. I enjoyed it, but it was hard work. We would begin before daylight and work until 9 or 10 at night.

About this time I bought an interest in a reaper and binder with Ellsworth. We did a lot of work for three years. Then people began to quit raising so much wheat; and I sold my share to Uncle Sam Stalnaker.

The Stansburry School, 1899-1900: In the school year of 1899-1900 I taught on Spruce (the Stansburry School, and may I receive forgiveness for teaching in such a place). There was just one family which was interested in an education (George Brissey’s), and they were the only ones coming at the end of the term. Mr. Brissey said he always had to furnish all the scholars the last month of school.

I had 59 in school, and 19 of them were in the first grade. Of these one was a 16-year-old boy who was almost as heavy as I was One was a girl of 6 who wasn’t larger than a pound of soap after a hard day’s washing or a minute and it half gone.

The most of these first graders had no book but a speller! I told each of them to ask their parents to get them a First Reader, for I couldn’t teach little folks in the speller. The next morning I asked the children what their parents said. Some said their mother said she would get a reader that day; others said she would get one at the end of the week. The little girl before mentioned said that her mother said whenever they learned what there was to learn in the speller, she would get them a reader. I thought, “Poor kids; they will never see a reader.” Their father was working in Ohio. When he came home, he got them a reader. Think of a country school of eight grades and 19 in the first grade!

Now this little girl I wrote about had a sister 7 and a brother 8, and the girls were too mean to live. One day I was hearing a class when they got very much amused, and I asked what was the matter. One of the class told me that Flossie was spitting on Donie; so I told Flossie to go up and sit on my seat. She began to cry and said, “Donie was spitting on me, too.” I then told Donie to go up and sit there too, which tickled her for she thought she would have a lot of fun. But when I told her I would sit between them, she said, “No.” I tried to get her to sit on the bench, but she wouldn’t so I held her on my lap. She fought and kicked and tried to bite, but I just held her while she yelled, “Let me down mister; let me down.” I held her for about a quarter of an hour; then she sat on the seat all right. They did not come back, and the mother said I was holding the girls on my lap so she had to keep them at home. When the father cane home, he sent them back.

They were liars and had little idea of honor or right. I don’t think they were as much immoral as they were unmoral. They had a very low order of intelligence; in fact, they did not want to know much. I will give one instance of lying without cause or reason. A boy got mad at a boy behind him for putting his feet under his desk and said to him, “If you don’t keep back, I’ll cut your guts out.” I whipped him. A girl got excused to go home at recess (she was 14 years old) and stopped at a house on her way home and told them we had had an awful time up there that afternoon. She said that Okey Bird had taken a knife and ripped Russell Haddox right down his belly and then cut him right across. Of course, she was bound to have known they would find out she was lying, but she just wanted to tell a lie-probably to keep in practice, but I don’t think she needed any practice.

I had trouble with a McDonald who told that I had hurt one of his boys seriously. I sent him word to show up or shut up. When I saw him, he agreed to shut up. Of course, he didn’t, because that is not the nature of such people. But it did me no harm, for I still got schools without any trouble.

Harold was born-January 1, 1900. He was a very happy little fellow who endeared himself to everyone. Of course, we did not know that he would not be with us for only two short years. (If we could only know about these things, we might be so different.)

Lower White Oak School, 1900-1901: This next summer I bought the Parker place of Aunt Polly Kelley and moved over there that fall. I taught the Lower White Oak School the winter of 1900 and 1901. This was a rather long trip, but I had a very nice school. I had a very nice First Reader class of four. They each tried very hard to be the best in the class, so I told them one day that the next day I would tell them which was the best. The next day they were all excited about who would get the honor of being the best in the class. Of course, I was likely to get in bad; but just watch what I told then. I told them that the best one in the class was the one that studied the hardest. Everyone was happy, and each one studied his best to let no one in ahead of him. One has to try many things to get the best results.

Watie and Elzie Sutton (Jennie’s brothers): Watie came home from New York with Maggie this winter. They lived in Berea for a while, and Watie got a job with Fox and Meredith. The next summer he got a chance to buy Steve Bee’s farm by the Deep Ford. I got the money for him to pay for it. He stayed here until he went to work for Flanigan. From there he went to Doddridge County to an oil pumping job, which he kept till he retired. He was a hard-working, honest, truthful man who could be depended upon every time. He and I were great friends. Every time I go to Salem, I go to see Wilma, who is his only daughter and a very nice woman with a very nice family.

While I am writing about Watie, I will also write about Elzie, who was one of the finest boys one would want to see. He went to Salem when he was a young man and went to work for Uncle Lloyd Randolph about 1902. He then went to work in Uncle James’ store. He stayed there until Uncle James broke up, when he went to work as a carpenter. In the meantime he married Ethel Lynch. He was so industrious that he exposed himself by working in the rain to finish a job and took pneumonia, which ran into tuberculosis. He went to Colorado, where he lived for ten years. Ethel and two girls are still living in Boulder, Colorado. Ethel is very industrious, saving, and a fine manager. She is a loyal worker in the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Boulder. Bobbie (the third boy) died at Berea nearly fifty years ago.

Typhoid Malaria: In the summer of 1901 Jennie was very sick for several weeks, so that we had to have a hired girl. Watie and I raised a big patch of cane, and it was very fine. A good deal of the cane was down, and it rained nearly every day. We were wet nearly all the time while we stripped it. There was lots of typhoid fever in the neighborhood, and I felt sure I was taking it. So I went to the doctor and got some dope before we got the molasses made. We had 115 gallons.

Sabbath noon, after we got through, I took a chill, went to bed and sent for the doctor. He said I had typhoid malaria. As soon as the doctor said I had the fever, the girl went home. Jennie could just walk about the house a little, and Brady was five years old. John came down that evening and gave me a sponge bath. He said he would be back the next night, but the next night he had the fever. Ellsworth had always helped, but Arley and Aunt Mat each had the fever, so they couldn’t help. The neighbors were so afraid that they would not come near. A neighbor boy (Creed Collins) came and offered to go and get me a school (I had no school), but he would not come into the house. He got me the Upper White Oak School. I was glad for that friend.

Brady gave me the medicine and water, and Mama got us something to eat. I was up in two weeks. It was in late September, and I had to stay in bed for a few days as there was no wood to warm the house until Riley Davis (our pastor) came down and cut some wood. A friend in need is a friend indeed, so I have never forgotten Creed Collins and Riley Davis.

One more I must mention. Someone (I never found out who) went to one of my trustees and told him that I had got me another school. At the same time I was in bed with the fever Tom Bee was carrying the mail in that neighborhood, so they came to the post office to ask him. He told them I had the fever, but when the time came I would be there and teach them a good school. The first chance I got, I thanked him for it; I have thought more of him ever since. Jennie’s father had the fever, and I went there and waited on them. I think there is where I got it. There were over 30 cases of fever about Berea that summer and fall, and only one death.

Whooping Cough-Harold Died, Ashby was Born: I had a fairly nice school this winter. But it was a very sad winter, for Brady and Harold got the whooping cough. When I came home at the end of the week (January 17) Harold did not come to meet me. Jennie said he was sick, that she had had the doctor and that he said it was brain fever. Just one week later (the day Ashby was born) Harold died. That was a sad day for us. We kept Brady in another room in hopes Ashby would not catch the whooping cough. It worked, and Ashby did not get it.

We had a very nice girl (Edna Campbell) working for us. Brady would get lonesome as he could not go into the room where Jennie was; so Edna would take him up and sing to him. In fact, she taught him to sing.

This winter I boarded with a Baker near the school. They had five children in school. Mrs. Baker would help them in their studies every evening after supper. There were three in the same class, and the youngest was the best of the three. They treated me very well.

Middle Fork School: The next winter I taught on Middle Fork. The winter before a girl had taught who could do nothing with the children at all. When she said anything to the big girls, they would jump up, shove up their sleeves, and tell her to look at their muscles and that she couldn’t do anything with them. They took a B-B gun to school, put a mark on the blackboard and shot at it in time of school. I soon tamed them some and had a very nice school.

I fixed up a house on Elva and Dow’s farm and lived there as it was too far to go from home and there was a river to cross. This was a very pleasant winter for us although there was some deep snow and some cold weather. We were all well and happy. We kept the house good and warm, with the best hickory wood you ever saw; and we had plenty to eat. So what more could anyone want?

Friends in Ritchie County: Yes, and we had good friends near, which made it still nicer. I wonder if we ever appreciate friends as we should. We have always had friends, but I still think of the friends back in Ritchie-Mr. Haddix, Mr. Colgate, John Meredith, Mintee Fox, Mr. Wagoner, John Bee, all the Maxsons, Jack Hudkins, Mr. Kelly, Karl Bee, Art Brissey, Maynard Brissey-yes, and so many more that I can’t begin to name them all. But I must mention Uncle Frank and Uncle Herman, Reuben and Albert Brissey, Ves Collins. Yes, and I mustn’t forget Jess Kelley, with whom we used to hunt so much.

Sun Rise School-Avis was Born, October 30, 1903: The next winter I taught at the Sun Rise School. This was a long trip, so when Marshal Ehret wanted us to move into his house and feed his cattle and let me have hay for my horse, I agreed and moved up there. Before we could move, our only girl (Avis) was born. We had a very pleasant and profitable winter there.

I will tell one thing that happened at the house while I was at school. The stove pipe went up through the roof without any flue. One day when Jennie was alone with the baby, she saw that the roof was afire. The spring was a quarter of a mile from the house. She had a pan of dish water on the table and a rung ladder set against the side of the house. She grabbed the pan, climbed the roof, threw water on the fire, and put the most of it out. Then she took her hands and scraped the coals off the shingles. She burned her hands some, but she saved the house. This took lots of grit, but she did it. The baby was only a month or six weeks old.

We did not take our cows with us as there were several there. He promised to pay for the feed for the hens if they didn’t lay enough to pay. Snow came right away, and they didn’t lay enough to amount to anything; in fact, not a dozen all winter. He did not pay me anything as he said he had left some flour and meal, which he thought would pay for the hen feed. This was no pay at all, but I didn’t say anything as I expected to stay there some more because it was handy. I fed nearly 30 head of of cattle and calves. He came out and saw his stock just before school was out and was very well pleased with them. School went very well; but, as in most of the schools, some of the children would not try to learn.

Father Died, Fall 1903: The fall of 1903 Father came to Salem for Conference, where he and many others got ptomaine poison. He got better and came out to Berea. On the train he got worse and was never out of bed after he got to Ellsworth’s. We had two doctors, but they could do nothing. As the children were all there except Virgil and Cleo, they decided to settle the estate at once. There was no will nor debts, so each would share alike. Mother Randolph said she only wanted enough to keep her while she lived; if the children would give her 4 percent of their share per year, she would be satisfied. This was very generous of her, and I feel sure the children all appreciated it.

Ashby had Scarlet Fever, 1904: We went to Commencement at Salem in 1904 and left the children at their grandpa’s. When we came back, Ashby had the scarlet fever. He was very bad for two weeks. In fact, it did not look like he could live at all. He did not cry or make any noise except when we doctored him, which was every half hour; then he would make a very peculiar noise. When he began to get better, he was too cranky to live. When we gave him a drink in a cup, if he wanted it in a glass, he would throw it as hard as he could. If he wanted it in a cup and we brought it in a glass, the same thing happened-we never knew which one he wanted.

The first day I left the house I went a half mile to hoe my corn and stayed all day. When I got home, I found Jennie scared nearly to death. Aunt Sarah Colgate had been there and told her Ashby was deaf, for he wouldn’t notice when they called to him; in fact, he wouldn’t notice anything they said or did. I told her of course he would do nothing they wanted him to do. This did not convince her, so I stepped out in the dark, picked up a board, hit the side of the house; and he nearly jumped out of the cradle. This settled the question of his hearing. He did have a lot of trouble with his ears and nose that fall and later. I think this will be enough about Ashby for the present.

Ellsworth died in 1905: Ellsworth did not have his farm all paid for. He told me in the spring of 1904 that he could pay out by selling his stock. He was killed in the spring of 1905 logging for Zeke Bee. This changed many things for me, as we had always worked together. I would help him when he needed help, and he would help me.  When Blondie was a very sick baby, we went night after night and sat up with him. Then when Ashby had scarlet fever, they came for two weeks and sat up with him. As I said before, “Never did any one have a better brother”. It was during this winter that Ashby was so very sick that he would not notice anything. We were alone for two or three days, but Ellsworth came up as soon as they heard of it and stayed all night. It was this night that he really began to improve. When something did not suit him, he cried for the first time he had made any noise for three days. Never was there a brother that stood by better than Ellsworth.

Middle Fork School: That winter I taught again at Middle Fork. A young man had taught the winter before. He had paid attention to Ada Knight, which had made the Zinn girls very angry. When school began, I found that I had a job on my hands. If I smiled at the Zinn girls, the Knight girl wanted to kill me; if I smiled at the Knight girl, the Zinn girls would try to kill me. They would not sit near each other at class. In two months they decided that Zinns and Knights were all the same to me; so we got along all okay.

One boy gave me a lot of trouble the first winter. He was easily influenced, and a big boy and girl put him up to mischief. But the second winter I got him interested. He studied hard and decided to go on to Salem, which he did and got a good education. I am always very glad when I can get a boy or girl interested in going ahead to school. I feel the school a failure if no one is inspired to go ahead along the road toward education. Every teacher should be able to fill his pupils with such a thirst for knowledge that they will never be satisfied until they have drunk deep of that fountain. I am proud of the fact that I have inspired many to go on in their studies. I am especially proud of the fact that, where no one had ever gotten a diploma from the eighth grade in one school in Braxton County, now more than a dozen have finished high school. I am proud because I know that I was directly responsible-but more of this later.

My First State Teaching Certificate, 1905: My certificate expired in 1905, and I did not try for a school. In July Mr. Mason sent me word to come up and get the Sun Rise School. He said that Port Campbell was wanting the school but that the district did not want him. Mr. Mason, Mr. Hayden, and Mr. Campbell were the trustees. Mr. Campbell could not help hire Port, so he resigned and tried to get someone else appointed who would help Mr. Hayden hire Port. Mr. Hayden said he would be glad to sign my contract. I went up to see Mr. Mason and then to Mr. Hayden. We ran him down, and he squirmed like possessed. At last he said that I could have the school, so I got a certificate. This was my first state certificate.

When Port heard I got the school, he said I could not get a certificate for I couldn’t get anything on “Grammar.” He got 65 percent on grammar, and I got 93 percent. He said the grammar didn’t suit him. It sure didn’t. Since that time Port and I have been good friends.

In spite of all handicaps, I had a fairly nice school; indeed, it was above the average, so I think.

Working in New York for Gene Jordan

Randal was Born: On February 3, 1906, our fourth son (Randal) was born. He was a delicate baby; soon after we got to New York he had a serious case of pneumonia. We were lucky to get a very fine doctor for children (Dr. Loughbead), who fixed a formula for feeding him, and he did much better on it. He was a Seventh Day Baptist at Nile, and we were very lucky that we got him.

We sold some of our household goods and left some. Very little of what we left was to be found when we got back. We took some bedding with us, but little else. The weather was fine, and we had a very nice trip. A livery man took us from Cuba (seven miles) to Gene’s. We stayed there for over a month before they could get our house ready. We had a fairly comfortable house to live in. We put in several potatoes and some corn. Gene drilled a gas well near our house, but it was not much good. Soon after this, he got a contract to drill several wells in Pennsylvania. The boys went down there with him.

He bought a new horse and came up to start harvest. When he tried to work the horse, it proved to be an awful kicker. He went back and told me to work her and they would come back and help me put the hay up when I got a lot of it cut down. They came back and put up 35 acres. He had 30 acres he wanted to get put up on the shares. I told him Brady and I could put it up (Brady was nearly 10 years old). We put the 30 acres up, for which I think Brady got about $7. This wasn’t much, but it was dear gain, and it paid Gene very well.

In the early fall Gene’s family went down to Pennsylvania. We spent the winter in their home so we would have a warmer house and be closer to the feeding and milking. We had a fine lot of winter apples. I had so much work to do and no help that I only got a start when 8 inches of snow came (the 8th of October). It only lasted a day or two, when I went on with the picking. Before I got them picked, we had hard freezing. I would just wait till they thawed out and go on picking. I finally got them all in the cellar, and we had apples till after the middle of July. Two years later the tenant did not get the apples picked till after a freeze and lost them all.

The first summer we were there, Brady caught 25 woodchucks. He would hide near their den, wait till they got away from it, then beat them to it and get them. There are a great many woodchucks in New York.

Brady had a lot of trouble in school. Some of the larger boys would beat up on him, and the teacher would just laugh at him. I, or we, got tired of this (he was having a headache all the time) and took him out of school. The teacher reported him, and the truant officer came. I was prepared for trouble, but he said that the former teacher, who lived in the district, told him the way Brady was treated and said she would not send him a day. A neighbor told him it was a shame the way he was treated and that the trustee said he told one of the boys to let Brady alone, but the boy said he would do as he pleased and he couldn’t help it. The teacher denied this, but the officer told her if she wouldn’t take care of the children he wouldn’t make them come. So he said he would get his stepson, who was a doctor, to give him an excuse. The teacher tried again, but the officer paid no attention. He told her he didn’t do his work twice.

Trading a Kicking Horse: I spoke of a horse that could kick. We called her Maud, and she could kick! She took it by spells. Sometimes she would work for several days without kicking any; then she would kick things all to pieces for a few days. Oh, she was a honey! I saw a man in Nile who wanted to trade for her. I told him she would kick some but that I had worked her at everything I tried but one and that was plowing. He wanted to know what she did. I told him she kicked, ran back, acted the fool, and did everything but plow but if we didn’t trade, I would plow her. We traded even, and he had new shoes put on the horse I got. The blacksmith where we traded told me that the man I traded with said he wouldn’t take less than $125 for her. There was a number by, and he thought he would have some fun at my expense. I just looked at him and said if she had suited me I would not have taken less than that, but she did not suit me so I let her go. The crowd roared. I never saw the man I traded with again, but I learned he was a regular horse trader so I presume he came out all right. The horse I got was a fine worker but very slow, so I came out all right, thank goodness,

Ashby and Avis: The first summer we were at Gene’s, Ashby and Avis went with me up there (Ashby was 4 and Avis was 2). When I got the team ready to go to work, I told them to run on home, which was one-fourth mile away. It was thundering, and they were afraid; so Cleo went along. Avis said, “We’s too good for thunder to hurt us, ain’t we, Auntie?” They were very good just then.

This next story was told by a doctor. He asked Cleo about her little children. She said she had no little children; they were all grown up. Then he told her that he was going by there the year before when he saw two little children playing in a swamp and he said to them, “What are you doing, little children?” The boy said, “We are catching bullfrogs.” Then the little girl piped up, “You mustn’t say that, Ippie; you must say cow frog.” Cleo knew who they were, for Avis always said “Ippie.”

Ashby had a lot of trouble with a gobbler that Cleo had. He could make it too much for Ashby. Gene had a collie pup he called Romulus which thought a lot of Ashby. Whenever the turkey would see Ashby, he would jump on him, and Ashby would say, “Come on here, Romulus, he’s coming.” Romulus would right off and run the turkey away. As soon as the turkey saw the dog was gone, back he would come; and the same talk would happen again, “Come on back here; he is coming again.” He never called for any of us to help, and the dog always ran the turkey away.

Back to West Virginia, Fall 1907

It was not a very successful year. The cows Gene bought did not prove to be fresh in the spring, as the man he bought them of said they would. We did not get much milk (which is the chief money crop in that neighborhood). Jennie was sick most of the summer and fall, and things did not look good for the future. Therefore we decided to come back to West Virginia, which we did in the fall of 1907. I sold the team and some other stuff to the renter Gene got to take our place. Gene took the man’s note for the team. For the rest of the things I got some money, a cheap railroad ticket, and a little surplus which he promised to send-but of course he never did. On the whole I made a good deal with the man, so I never worried about the unpaid balance.

Coon Hunting before We Left New York: The renter said he had a good coon dog, so Gene and the boys and I went out before we left. We got a coon in a little while, and later we treed another in a slump of trees. We decided to watch it. As it began to get daylight, we decided the coon had gotten away, so we started home. But the dog struck a track right away and in a few moments treed. Gene said he saw one and shot it out. I told him to let me have the gun, and I shot another one. This made us three coons in one night, which we thought was quite good.

We stayed in a hotel the first night in Pittsburgh. The next evening Elva met us at Pennsboro with a wagon. We lived in a house on Uncle Elisha’s farm, where he had lived for many years. I taught the Upper Otter Slide school. This was a very pleasant school with one exception. Tom Gribble got mad at me about his son Paulie and took him out of school. He raised a fuss about my being partial toward my children. I called the trustees in and demanded a hearing. They failed to get Tom to come, so they came in and told the school that there was nothing to what he was telling so I let it go. The trustees were Al Kelley, Tom Ward, and I’ve forgotten the other one. Tom Gribble objected to Ashby’s going as he wasn’t quite 6 (Tom sent his children before they were 5, and Ashby was there once).

More about Ashby and Avis: As I have already said, Ashby did not go to school the latter part of December and until January 24. One cold day Jennie got to wondering what the two were doing. She found them playing meeting. Ashby was the leader, and he told Avis to get up and speak. She said, “I don’t know what to say.” He told her to get up and say, “The Lord has gone from me, and the crows are carrying my chickens away.” How quickly children can learn to imitate older people!

Avis was very successful in getting her way with children, but Ashby had a fine way to get her to do as he wanted her to. He would say, “Avis, if you don’t do this, I won’t watch the snakes off of you.” She would always say, “I’ll do it, Ippie, if you’ll watch the snakes off of me.” She feared snakes very much and was certain that Ashby could keep them off of her. Children are so trusting, but they soon learn to doubt us for we fail to do as we say exactly all the time.

Randal Died: We were to move into Pa Sutton’s house in Berea as soon as school was out. Aunt Rachel had not moved out yet, so we had to wait a few days. I was working for Dow and had just gotten back to work after dinner when we heard Jennie calling that Randal (our baby of two years) was dying. She had carried him for about one-half mile. He was dead. Jennie thought he had choked to death, but he hadn’t. He had taken some kind of fit or spasm and died without a struggle. Had he choked, he would have struggled for breath and his face would have turned black, none of which happened. He had never been strong. We were glad he went without suffering rather than being sick and suffering for weeks. It was a terrible blow to us, especially to Jennie. Although she did not talk much about it, I doubt if she really got over it until after the birth of Elmo. Even now it is a sad thing to write about, so I will write no more about it.

A Big Bass: We moved to Berea and raised a garden down at the Polly Place as well as in Berea. One day Brady and I were down there working in the garden when Brady got tired and wanted to go down to the river. He said he heard a big fish on the riffle. I told him to go on as he had worked very well, and I thought he was tired. As soon as he got down there, he began to holler, “Come down here quick! There’s a big fish here.” I knew there was no big fish that we could catch, but I went to please the kid. When I got there, what do you suppose I found-a bass one-half as long as your arm in a hole of water 10 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 6 inches deep, with very shallow water on each side.

I told Brady to drive him up to the upper end where I had put a cross tie so he couldn’t get away, and I would kill him with a club. I didn’t think he would go below, but he seemed to be afraid of me and only came part way. All at once he went by Brady on the dead run. I yelled at him, “Now you let him get away.” The water was so shallow that he had to turn on his side and flop. Brady rushed for it and hit it on the head with all his might. That was the end of the bass! It was 18 3/4 inches and weighed 3 lbs. 14 oz. and made more than we could all eat in a meal.

A Home in Berea; Lower Room at Berea School: That fall I sold the Polly Place and bought the house and lots where we lived in Berea. I got the lower room to teach at Berea, and Ernest Campbell was principal. I did not ask for a place at Berea. When the one they gave the lower room to would not teach, I got it and had a very nice time. I had to teach the first five grades as Ernest would only teach three. He would not try to keep his boys from running over those in my room. One day at noon my room and some of the upper room were playing trim a Christmas tree when Orin Hammond came down and began to tear it up. Then Hose Brake made for him, and they had a time. Orin never bothered my kids again.

I had a bunch of girls from 8 to 10 who were said to be so badly spoiled that they could hardly be controlled. I found them as good students and as nice to get along with as one could ask. They were Guerney Brake, Jessie Hayhurst, May Douglas, Darla Bee and some others. They would do anything I wanted them to do. They each wanted to do more than the others. This winter Guerney Brake came to school the first day with the mumps. We all had them but me, and I still have not had them. Brady had them very hard, for he took a backset on them.

Auburn School, 1909: The summer of 1909 I taught a school for advanced scholars in Auburn. I had a large school, which paid me quite well. I had 40 students. I did so well with the lower room that they gave me the principal’s place the next winter. This was a much harder job, but I got along fairly well. I got the ill will of Tom Jackson and Ell Douglas, which caused me a considerable trouble.

The Grange: About 1908 they organized a Grange, which did a lot of good for a few years. Two years we had a Farmers’ Institute with fine speakers from other parts of the state. This was very fine. Then for two falls we had a Farmers’ Picnic with fine speakers. The fall of 1912 we had five or six of the best speakers in Ritchie and one (a very able speaker) from another section. There were hundreds of people there, and it was a very successful affair. I was lecturer and had charge of the program, and I think I had a small part in its success. We tried to start a Grange store. We bought a suitable building and lumber to fix it up, but we failed to find a manager. We sold the property, lumber and all so that we did not lose anything. Mr. Wagoner moved away, we went to Salem, and the Grange died.

Building onto our Home: After finishing my school at Auburn, I decided to add another story to my house as it was a one-story house. I took some of the ceiling and upper floor from the Polly House, which I still owned. This was red oak and hard maple, very fine, tongued and grooved. I also bought some fine dressed lumber at a sale very cheap. This way I was able to have a good two-story house.

Chapter 8 – Young Adulthood Memories

Before I go ahead with my married life I will relate a few other items which may be of some interest and throw a little light on some things which happened in my later life. In early life I became very much interested in history. We had a large class which would often know nothing about the lesson. Then when it came to me, I would recite it almost word for word, giving names and dates. Of course the class laughed at me, but it came in handy when I took County Exams. I was extra good in arithmetic; in fact, all my studies were fairly easy except “grammar,” in which I was rather slow.

At the last State Exam I took, I made 93 percent, which is not bad for a country bum. I took my first County Exam in 1891 and got a number two [teaching certificate], which was all I tried for. At that time you had to take a special exam if you wanted a number one. In 1892 I got a number one, with an average of 93 1/3 percent, which was one of the best in Ritchie County. I have held a First Grade [teaching certificate] ever since, which is now 59 years. I will hold it as long as I live (I don’t know how long that will be), as it is a Life Certificate.

My Early Teaching Experiences

Lower Otter Slide: I began teaching when I was 19 years old. I taught four months at Lower Otter Slide, for which I received $100 all told. I have often wondered that someone did not knock me in the head, for I was a very green boy. But I still believe that I taught school above the average.

This was a school of about 35 or 40, mostly children under 16. I had trouble with some of the children about stealing. One large girl was accused of stealing a stamped envelope. This was reported after school was out one evening. The girl’s sister said she hunted for the envelope after they got home and could not find anything of it. I told them she might have put it in her pocket. The girl’s reply was, “I don’t have any such thing, never did have; if you don’t believe it, you can examine and see.” Of course, this made the boys very much amused. The mother threatened to whip me if I touched the girl, but luckily nobody was hurt.

It was here I first became interested in the girls-or rather a girl. The next summer I began dating a girl, called Jennie, which resulted three years later in our being married. This marriage has lasted over 55 years.

As I said before, I fell for a girl in my school and began going with her in June, 1892, just before I was 20. Another fellow tried to cut me out by trickery, but I waited till he started to take her home from church one morning, and I walked up and told her to decide who was going with her. She said, “You are the only one who has asked me.” So I took her home and continued to go with her for nearly three years. Now, you can see why I stayed in West Virginia. I have never regretted it, although I do wish I had more education. But I have had a good life. My children have a better education than I have, and my grandchildren are getting a chance for an education.

After Father left, I made my home at Ellsworth’s. I paid straight board, unless I was away for a week or two at a time. I had the right to take company there any time I wanted to.

The first summer I went to school for ten weeks and worked mornings and evenings and Sundays. I went to exams that fall and got my first grade certificate with a 93 1/3 percent average. This lasted for four years. I taught at the Hall School that winter and boarded at John Lowther’s on Bone Creek. I had a very nice time and made one fine friend (Lloyd Hoff). This friendship continued until he left Bone Creek.

Working in New York in 1893

In the spring of 1893 I went to New York to work for Virgil. I only got $100 for seven months, but it was a very enjoyable summer. Cleo kept house for Virgil, and we renewed our old times together. It was as it had been in the past years when we had been at home. How we used to enjoy the evenings after supper when the others went into the other house while Delvia and I stayed in the kitchen until Cleo washed the dishes and did up the work!

A Peddler and Hot Tea: One night a peddler stayed at our house, and he complained of a pain in his stomach and wanted Cleo to make him some black pepper tea. In a little while he came back in and wanted to see that she made it good and strong. Cleo told him to go into the other house and tend to his own business and she would make the tea. Now Cleo was no hand to half do things, so she put in three times the required amount and let it boil in a tin cup. When we went into the other house, she took it off the stove, boiling, put a spoon in it, and took it to him. He just ran the spoon around it once, tipped it up and drank it down. We found the next morning that it had been so strong that it had taken the tin off the inside of the cup.

Another night we were in the kitchen when we noticed something moving the paper in a basket hanging to the wall. I took it down, thinking a mouse was in it. When I got it down, out jumped a big rat, ran up the inside of my pants leg, on up my shirt, and out at the collar. Did I holler? Did I scream? You bet I did!

Virgil would often go away at the end of the week and stay a day or two. We would be alone. Of course, I had the feeding to do and the cows to milk (there were ten of them) on Sabbath, but this left me some time to rest.

An Irish Woman and “Tae”: One Sabbath morning in April (it was cold and rainy) an old Irish woman, all wet and miserable, came in and wanted to make some “tae.” We let her sit by the fire and warm and drink her tea. When she started to leave, she began to pour out blessings. ”May the Holy Virgin and all the Saints bless you and keep you. May you have long life and happiness go with yea all yer lives, and may trouble and sorrow never come near yea.” She kept this up till she was out of the house and had shut the door. Such a life! She was tramping the roads in cold, rainy weather with no place to stay, wet and lonely, yet she still kept her Irish Blarney. She sure had kissed the Blarney Stone.

Chasing the Cows: Another time Virgil had stayed two days. When I got up that morning the cows were gone. I had to hunt them until nearly eight o’clock, milk the ten cows, and rush the milk to the factory (it had to be there by nine o’clock). While I was gone, Virgil came and wanted to know what I was doing. Cleo told him and said, “You’d better be very nice, for Pressie has been on the run since daylight, hasn’t had any breakfast, and you bet he’s mad.” Could any boy have a better sister?

Virgil was just as nice as could be and never said a cross word. The fact is, Virgil is a great guy, as honest as they come and as good a neighbor as anyone ever had. He hated to borrow so badly he would rather buy than to borrow. But he would loan anything he had, and in sickness or trouble he would be right there to help.

A Crazy Drunk Man: I will tell one incident to show what the saloon did for people who visited them (I had never seen a saloon till I went to New York). One day we were going to the hay field after dinner. Virgil was walking through the field while I went up the road with the wagon. I saw a man coming down the road in a buggy. It made me mad as soon as I saw him. He would hit the horse as hard as he could with a buggy whip; the horse would start to run; then he would jerk it down on its haunches, yell his best, and whip it again. He was just crazy drunk. As soon as he saw Virgil, he began to curse him and used such vile language before he came to where I was that I jumped up on the wagon and told him to shut his mouth or I would take him out of the buggy and beat the life out of him. He never said a word till he got past me. Then he began again and dared Virgil out in the road. Virgil told him he wouldn’t dirty his clean white hands with the likes of him. Then the fellow swore he would go into the field and get him. When he turned in, Virgil slapped his fork into the ground and told him if he came in there just what would happen. So he drove on. It still makes me mad to see a drunk man. Father sure did a good job teaching us to hate drinking.

Binding Oats: I helped bind over 30 acres of oats that fall. Virgil got a neighbor to cut part of our oats with a drop reaper, and we helped bind his. You had to use a double band in binding oats. As I had never made them, Virgil tried to teach me. Because I was slow to learn, he said I would never learn (Virgil was naturally a little impatient) and so would not be any use in oat harvest. He was just a little mistaken, for I could soon make a double band as quick as any one there and bind faster than the rest.

A Ruckus in the Night: During oats harvest we had a young lady visitor (she had been a small girl when Virgil boarded with them years before), and they sat up until late. Now, I would be very tired, so I would go to bed. One night I went to bed but could not go to sleep because of the noise down there. I got up, dressed and went down. I stayed till about twelve o’clock, when I went back to bed and right to sleep.

I was dreaming of a terrible racket when Cleo burst the door open and yelled for me to get down stairs quick. I jumped up and started down, but Cleo said it might be better under the circumstances if I put my pants on. So I proceeded to do so. When I got out there, I found our dog (a dandy collie) barking at someone in a hay barn and Virgil, with a pile of rocks ready, telling him to come out of there or he would knock the barn down on him (and he would have, too). The man began to whine. He said he was just a poor old man who had come in there to sleep. Virgil asked him where he had been while all the racket was going on. He said he hadn’t heard any noise. There had been noise enough to almost waken the dead!

Virgil told me to take Romulus (the dog) and keep him from eating the man up. He was just a pup and harmless, but he sure was acting vicious. I took the pup away and waited for Virgil’s return. He soon came, and we heard the story.

When the girls went to bed, he went out on the porch, and there stood a man on the steps. The dog was barking out by the barn. When Virgil took after the man and called the dog, four men jumped out of the shadow of a tree and ran. The dog took after them, but Virgil called him back for fear the men would shoot him. As he came back he circled the old hay barn where the last man was found. So there were six men around the house at one o’clock at night.

What was it all about? Two days before Virgil was in the bank. There a young, clean-shaven man was sitting at a desk writing on the back of blank checks. Whenever anyone drew out any money, he would put the sum down; if the man’s name was called, he put it down and put it in his pocket. If not, he would tear it up and throw it in the waste basket. Virgil drew out quite a sum of money, and he saw the man put Virgil’s name down when he heard the banker call him by name. When the old man in the hay barn jumped to the ground from the hay barn, he turned his face toward Virgil for a moment, and he saw he was the young man he had seen in the bank. So I am sure it was lucky that they sat up very late that night, for all of us. This was in the panic year of 1893.

I helped Virgil pick about 400 bushels of apples. Before we got them all picked, I got word to come home and begin teaching. We got them all picked before I left, but we didn’t get them packed because they failed to deliver the barrels.

Chapter 1 – Family Connections

My Parents: My father, Asa Fitz Randolph, was born in Salem in 1833, the son of Doctor John Fitz Randolph, being the only son by the first marriage. He had five half brothers—James, Reverend Gideon Henry (who was a Missionary to China about 1890), Joel (who was chief of police of Salem for many years), Steven and Thomas. These are all deceased. Two of the sons of Uncle Henry are Seventh Day Baptist ministers—John is pastor at Berea, West Virginia; and Wardner is missionary in Jamaica, British West Indies.

Mother, Marvel Maxson, was born on Greenbrier in 1832, the daughter of John Maxson. Her mother was one of a large family of Bees, all of whom were Seventh Day Baptists. The most famous of these were Ezekiel, (who was pastor of the Pine Grove Church at Berea for many years) and Ehriam (who went to Richmond to the state legislature before the war).

Mother had one sister, Annetta (who married Grandfather for his second wife), and two brothers, Nathan (who moved to Ohio about 1865) and Elisha John (who spent most of his married life on Otter Slide near Berea). Her father, John Maxson, was a very consecrated Christian and a local preacher. As nearly all the Randolph ministers from West Virginia were direct descendants since their mother or grandmother was a daughter of John Maxson, this, I feel, was inherited from him. Her brother Elisha lived to be past 97 in years.

Father ran a tan yard for Grandfather and had a tan yard of his own until he left West Virginia. I will mention several experiences in the tan yard later in this article.

The chance for schooling was very limited, and Father never got more than three quarters or nine months of schooling until after he was married. He had a felon on the thumb of his right hand which kept his arm in a sling for 18 months. Part of this time he went to school. Later he cut his leg very badly; as soon as he was able to ride, he went to school. He read much and was especially good in figures. In fact, one of his teachers said that he did not need to study arithmetic—he could make one. His interest in education is shown in the fact that of the nine children who grew up, all went to college at least a year, and five have a degree.

Mother was as much interested in education as Father, but she did not have as good a chance as he. I think she could read about like a third grader. She was a very great worker; in fact, I have heard her say that the only request she made of Father before they were married was that he would furnish her plenty of work. She was also an excellent manager. I believe there is no doubt but what she had much to do with his making a success financially.

Father and Mother were married in the fall of l852 at Washington, Pennsylvania. (The grandchildren and the great-grandchildren must skip this.) They eloped! Father said that Grandfather promised him if he would stay at home until he was 21 he would give him the shoemakers trade. But when he arranged to stay, Grandfather forgot the deal; so Father did too. (This should be a lesson to all parents, except me, to keep their word.)

They lived on the waters of Bone Creek for a while, then on Middle Island until 1857, when they bought the farm on the South Branch of the Hughes River, a mile below Berea, where I was born and reared.

My Siblings: There were eleven of us, of which I was the ninth. Two died as infants, but the rest of us grew up and married. There are four of us still living—Virgil, who is 90; Cleo, 80; myself, 78; and Delvia, soon to be 74. We are a long-lived family. Callie lived to be 94, and Alva was 81.

Of the nine, Perie was the most noted; she became a Seventh Day Baptist preacher. She married when she was 35 to Leon B. Burdick, whom she educated and made a preacher. They had one daughter.

Callie married John Meathrell and spent her life on a farm near Berea. They had four children—Julia, Rupert, Conza, and Draxie (who married Ruben Brissey). They are all living.

Emza married the Reverend A. W. Coon and died a few years later.

Virgil taught a few years after finishing college, then became a farmer. He married Mary Wells. They had one son, who is now an engineer.

Ellsworth bought the Hise Davis farm from Father, married Sarah Stalnaker, and settled down on the farm. He had a fine team of horses and did lots of logging in the winter. While logging for Zeke Bee in the spring of 1905, he was accidentally killed. He and I had been more than brothers—we had been companions for years. If one needed help, the other helped him. If there was sickness, the other was there to help in any way possible. Things have never been quite the same since his death. They had one child, Blondie, who is now principal of a school in West Virginia.

Alva married Mary Hoff. He finished college at Alfred with the best grades of anyone who had ever graduated there. He settled down near Alfred and became a famous farmer and leader in farm activities. They had five children—Fucia, Elizabeth, Lowell, Florence and Vida. Florence died in young womanhood, shortly after she married. Elizabeth is an ordained minister of the Seventh Day Baptist denomination. She is now a traveling evangelist.

Cleora (Cleo) went to New York, taught for some years and then married Gene Jordan. Gene died a few years ago, and she is now living in Pennsylvania with one of Gene’s boys, Leon.

Delvinus (Delvia) went through school at Alfred, married and moved to California for his wife’s health. They had two children, but I never knew anything about them. He is retired now and living with his second wife.

The last two mentioned, Cleo and Delvia, and I were inseparable from earliest childhood. Where one went, we all three went. We would go after the cows together until Cleo was almost grown. We had a deal with mother in which we were to feed and care for the chickens and gather the eggs. When we took her twelve eggs, the next one was ours. We made lots of money, for eggs were often worth 5 cents or 10 cents a dozen. We really felt we were in business. Prices are just a little different now.

Mother died when I was 15; three years later Cleo went to New York; and then in 1892 Father took Delvia to New York, which broke up this trio. Oh, that we three could be together for at least a few days! But we are separated by many miles, and none of us has the money to travel so far, I fear, and age is creeping up on us. Blessed are the memories!

Grandfather, Dr. John Randolph

Before I begin the record of my own life, I think I had best give a paragraph to my Grandfather Randolph, as I have already given a short account of Grandfather Maxson. Doctor John Randolph was the son of Jesse Randolph by his first wife, whom he married soon after coming to Salem with the church in 1792. Doctor John was much better educated than most of those of his day. He was a stone mason and helped build the Pike through Salem. He practiced medicine without any special preparation, so was called Doctor John. He had a very keen mind, but I think was very self-willed.

I will give one anecdote about him. Uncle Elisha and he went to a revival meeting down at Bristol. A girl who had worked for Grandfather for years went down the aisle shouting her best, and Grandfather called to her, “Where are you going, Bet?” She replied, “To heaven, I hope.” Just then she reached a young man who had been going with her and threw herself into his arms. Grandfather said, “You have got there now, Bet!”

Appendix B — Descendants of Ashby F. Randolph and Ruth Content Bond Randolph

Synopsis of Lives of Sons and Daughters


Ashby Bond Randolph

Bond graduated from Bristol High School in May 1944. He had begun his freshman year at Salem College before his 18th birthday, so he got a deferment from military service until he completed that year of college.

Bond was drafted into the U.S. Army in July of 1945, and he married Ruby Oldaker on December 24, 1945, on his first leave from the service. He was sent overseas to Germany; then returned and was discharged in January of 1947. Ruby continued her previous employment at the Weston Glass Plant until April of 1947, when Bond obtained his first job.

Bond’s first job was as a truck driver on a strip mining coal operation in Weston at $1 an hour; he then became oiler on a shovel for the same company at $1.20 an hour. He became a bulldozer operator in August of 1949 and earned $1.70 an hour. By this time, they had three sons and Bond’s work was not always steady; but Ruby did not work outside the home.

In August of 1950 Ruby asked Bond to return to college on the GI Bill so they could have a better future for their family. He did return to college and graduated from Salem College on May 29, 1952.

With a college degree he found work as a janitor for the Hope Natural Gas Company at $7.49 per day. He did not enjoy this inside work and quit the company in March of 1953. He sold hospital insurance for a company for about three -months, and one policy he sold was to the son of a superintendent for the Hope Natural Gas Company. The superintendent was so impressed with Bond that he offered him a position with the company again as a field worker. Bond accepted and he worked as a casual laborer for the company until December 1954, when he was hired as a regular employee. He was promoted to Utility A classification in April of 1957 and chosen as a Trainee in Safety on May 1, 1958.

Bond became a Safety Engineer November 1, 1958, and was promoted to Safety Director for the company on July 1, 1960. From this time his work was in the administrative offices in Clarksburg, W.Va. The company merged with another company and became known a s Consolidated Gas Supply Corporation; and Bond was named Manager of Safety on March 1, 1965, the position he still holds today. The company recently reorganized and is now known as Consolidated Gas Transmission Corporation.

Bond and Ruby have four sons. Because he has always worked long hours and frequently been away from home, he did not want Ruby to work outside the home. She has been a life-long homemaker, a position she has always enjoyed. She likes to call herself a “Domestic Engineer.” She has done quite a bit of volunteer work; at one time she worked one day per week as a volunteer at the local Veterans Administration Hospital for a period of five years.


Xenia Lee Randolph Wheeler

Xenia Lee graduated from Bristol High School in 1945. She and Edgar were married that summer. Edgar graduated from Salem College in 1947. They, with their new daughter, Annita Marie, spent the summer in Florida working with Pastor Elizabeth Randolph holding two-week Bible Schools and evangelistic meetings in Palatka, Carraway, and Florahome, Florida. That fall the family moved to Plainfield, N.J., where Edgar got his college debts paid off by working as linotype operator at the Seventh Day Baptist Publishing House.

In April of 1948 Edgar began his first full-time pastorate at the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Hammond, La., while he attended seminary at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Edgar has served churches in Louisiana; Athens and Paint Rock, Alabama; DeRuyter, New York; Salemville, Pa.; Ashaway, R.I.; Denver, Col.; and Nortonville, Kans.

Xenia Lee enjoyed being homemaker, wife, mother, and grandmother, supplementing Edgar’s income at home as she typed, sewed, or babysat.


Alois Edmund Randolph

Alois graduated from Bristol High School in 1947. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, 1951-1953. He was in the 4th Signal Battalion of the 10th Corps and served in Korea.

After his discharge from the Army, Louie attended Salem College three years. Then he went to Columbus, Ohio, where he worked first at Lattimer-Stevens (a factory -making gauges) and then at Buckeye Steel. Then he worked at Westinghouse for 14 years, 12 of those as foreman. While he was still working at Westinghouse, he worked during vacations and other times driving truck and moving furniture. Since he quit at Westinghouse, he has been driving trucks and doing some office work for Harvey Pugh Trucking Company.

Louie married Mary Ann Young soon after he went to Columbus, and they have lived in that area since then. They lived two years in Columbus, four years in Shadeville, and for the past 23 years in Grove City. They have two daughters and three sons.


Elsie Mae Randolph Lewis Bottoms

Mae graduated from Bristol High School in 1948 and from Salem College with a degree in Secretarial Education in May 1951. That spring she married Harry Vernon Lewis, who was a freshman at Salem. Harry had spent four years in the Navy in World War II and had driven truck across country for one year before he came to college.

After Mae graduated, she and Harry moved to Carbondale, Illinois. Harry graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Education Administration. While he was in school, Mae worked a year as secretary in the Government Department at SIU. Harry taught junior high at Edwardsville, was principal and taught eighth grade at Percy, was principal of the Greenup Elementary School for four years, and then was principal of Cumberland High School one year when he died suddenly in April 1961.

After Harry died, Mae completed a Masters degree in Business Education at Southern Illinois University. She taught for two years at Johnston City High School in Illinois. In 1965 she moved to Almond, N.Y., and has taught in the Executive Secretarial Department at SUNY Agricultural and Technical College at Alfred for the past 19 years. For five years she was chairperson of the Executive Secretarial Dept., from 1974-1979.

In 1979, Mae married George Daniel Bottoms. He had just retired from a career in park work in the Chicago area. He had been superintendent of engineering for the DuPage County Forest Preserve. As such, he had done much work in the development of park grounds and facilities.

George and Mae bought a home with 4 1/2 acres at Phillips Creek, N.Y. (about six miles from Alfred). Here George has spent many hours growing beautiful flowers and marvelous vegetables, making improvements in their home and grounds, and fishing.


Edna Ruth Randolph Richards

Edna Ruth graduated from Bristol High School in 1950 and attended Salem College for two years. At the end of her sophomore year, she married Donald Richards, who graduated from Salem that year. He was in ministerial training, and they moved to Alfred, N.Y., where he attended Alfred Univ. School of Theology and graduated in 1955.

Don (with Edna Ruth as a helpmate) has served pastorates in Berea, W.Va.; Dodge Center, Minn.; Verona, N.Y.; and Marlboro, N.J. While they were in Verona, Edna Ruth cared for two mentally handicapped children who were placed by the State–Tina and Kathy. They had to leave these children when they left New York State, but Edna Ruth did not leave her interest in helping children with special needs.

Soon after they moved to New Jersey, Edna Ruth began working at Evanoff Guidance Center, where she worked with retarded children in preschool. She completed her degree in special education at Glassboro State College in 1976. Soon after completing her degree, she began working for the Shiloh School District, teaching special educa

tion for older children. She also was certified as a family trainer and worked with the families as well as the children. About Christmas time, 1978, when she went to the hospital for gallbladder surgery, she found that she had cancer in the liver. After trying various treatments unsuccessfully, Edna Ruth died at her home on January 2, 1980.


Rex Main Randolph

Rex graduated from Bristol High School in 1952. He attended Salem College one semester; then he married a neighbor girl, Phyllis McClain, the following spring. They have lived within a mile of both his and her parents most of the time since their marriage. In 1959 Rex built a new home on property between the McClains and Dad and Mom Randolph. Phyllis cared for her parents during their last years when they were not well. Both she and Rex have also done much to look after the needs of Mom and Dad Randolph over the years.

Rex has worked at several jobs in the Clarksburg area. He worked for Montana Lumber Company (making pallets) for one year. In 1954 he began work at Pittsburgh Plate. He worked in the tank department in shipping for three years, as a clerk for two years, and then in the machine shop. Pittsburgh Plate changed its name to TPG Industries and closed its Clarksburg branch in 1974. Rex was offered the opportunity to move with the company, but he declined. After 20 years with the company, Rex had lost all benefits and was out of work.

Since that time, Rex has worked as layout man for General Machines in Clarksburg. Phyllis has worked at various times caring for sick people in their homes.

Rex and Phyllis are both active in the Lost Creek Seventh Day Baptist Church, where Rex is a Deacon.


Cleo Elizabeth Randolph Boyd

Beth graduated from Bristol High School in 1956. She attended Salem College for two years. The following summer was spent in service to the S.D.B. Women’s Board, working in Bible Schools and camps. On Aug. 4, 1958, she married Joe Boyd, and they set up housekeeping in Salemville, Pa.

Joe drove tractor trailer truck for a little while and then went to help his dad on the farm. When his dad quit farming, he went back to driving truck. A back injury caused a change in occupation again. This time he went to work as custodian at a local grade school.

During this time Beth came to the conclusion it was time she get into the money-making act if they were to successfully raise four children. Since her children were top priority in her life, she decided to get into the school system as teacher aide. From there, she began taking college courses and substituting in the grade schools.

Finally, in 1973 she went back to Salem College and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She has been teaching in the Northern Bedford County Schools ever since, except for a year and a half, which was spent with their new baby and caring for her while her hip was being rebuilt.

Joe tired of being a custodian in just a few years and went back to driving an 18-wheeler. He has worked for Smith Trucking in Roaring Spring now since 1972.

Beth and Joe are both members of the diaconate of the Bell Seventh Day Baptist Church at Salemville, Pennsylvania.

Chapter 7: Memories of Retirement Years

Ashby’s Memories — Getting My Birth Certificate and Social Security

Before I could retire, I had to furnish proof that I was born and when and where. It was a difficult job to prove those things. I finally got statements from Salem College officials of their age records and Mother and Father’s Family Bible and other school records that allowed the Ritchie County Clerk to issue me a birth certificate as Ashby F. Randolph. Apparently, the death of my older brother, Harold, on the day I was born had caused Dr. Bee to forget to register my birth.

The getting of Social Security payments took a number of visits to their office in Clarksburg. It must have taken them six months to a year to get my payments straightened out. I got some extra checks but only had to give back one check. I do not remember the exact amount of the first check, but in January 1972 my Social Security check was $155.00 and my school retirement check was $306.34. Ruth got Social Security of $69.20 and no retirement for cooking. If she outlives me, as long as she lives she will get one-half of what my teacher’s retirement would be. Now, January 1982, my Social Security is $381.50, my school retirement is $416.06, and Ruth’s Social Security is $177.20.

Living on Retirement Income

You might wonder how we could live on our income. There are reasons and I will mention some. We own our home. We get 200,000 cubic feet of natural gas per year free because of a gas well on the original farm for this house site. We have only used more than the 200,000 cubic feet three times in our 53 years here. Two of the bills were under $3, and the other was over $11.

Another reason we can live on our income is because Ruth learned from her mother and my mother what they had learned from necessity about cooking and managing a household economically. Besides, she has learned a lot on her own.

You may have noticed earlier in this story that we kept pigs (one or two), two cows, and chickens. Before I was handicapped, we raised grain and meadow to feed our stock. It wouldn’t look it now, but we raised 2 1/2 acres of such things as corn, wheat, or soybeans; and I always either cradled or cut it with a scythe. Besides that 2 1/2 acres, we raised corn and Sudan grass on a 2-acre piece at the very head of our hollow. Then, of course, there was the 3 acre meadow in front of our house that I put up with horses or tractors.

After I was handicapped, Ruth tried to keep cows and take care of the hill meadow. She stacked one of the most beautiful haystacks on the hill that I ever saw. The cows were a pain in the neck (would be one way to say it). One of them (the beautiful Jersey that one of our very best neighbors, Bill Jarvis, gave us while I was sick) kicked so fiercely that Ruth had to tie her hind feet together before she could milk her; so we got rid of her. The other one got hurt. After much raising her up each day, she fell into the creek; so I shot her.

Ruth didn’t stop helping by a long shot. She has always raised two gardens of about one acre together. It is one of the best gardens in our region. She not only raises the garden, but she cans and freezes all that we can use and gives away the rest. We used to hire the gardens plowed and disked, but now she even does that with her Troy Built rototiller.

You might wonder what I do to keep out of mischief. I can’t stand to just watch Ruth work, so I try to help her all I can. I use my tractor to furrow the rows ready for planting; and I haul in her garden crops, water, fertilizer, lime, etc., with the tractor trailer. I also mow a good acre of yard, but Ruth does the real hard work–the trimming. I also do some leather craft such as handbags, billfolds, and belts. I have done some for pay (realizing about $2 per hour) but most for love for relatives and friends.

Visiting and Fishing in Rhode Island

This is enough about making a living during retirement. Now, maybe you would like to know of our pleasure–or you might call it recreation.

Our recreation mostly consists of visiting, fishing, playing cards and Aggravation, and watching television. The visiting and fishing usually go together.

We visited our daughter and son-in-law, Xenia Lee and Edgar Wheeler, in Ashaway, Rhode Island, for about a month in November 1966. Besides visiting their family, we visited and fished with our Salem College schoolmate, Everett Harris. We also visited and fished with Elsie and Kenneth Leyton. Kenneth and Elsie lived on the beach and had one of the best fishing boats we ever fished from. The four of us caught about 30 flatfish, and they gave us all they caught.

Each of the other days that the weather was the least bit fit, Ruth and I fished for flatfish at a salt pond of about 50 acres where Edgar kept his boat. We would go for about 3 or 4 hours and sometimes catch about 20 flatfish–sometimes 2 or 3.

November 21, 1966, Esther, our granddaughter (a really grand one), was born. We went back to their place when our grandson Ernie (and a really grand one he was) was born on February 1, 1968. Our fishing and visiting was about the same as when Esther was born.

Traveling through New York City.

Our trips through New York City were a real experience for us. On the first one we followed Route 1 from the Washington Bridge to Route 95 on the east side of the city. I remember going underground quite a way once. Another time I was blocked by heavy traffic from following our Route 1, and an obliging policeman helped us. We thought we could do anything after we survived that experience.

Before we went the next time, Joe Boyd, our son-in-law, told us how to go around New York City by the Saw Mill Road. We followed it a few years; then we started going by the Hudson River Parkway and the Merritt Parkway to I-95. That was beautiful scenery. On the far side of the Hudson were the steep Palisades, and on the river were boats and ships of all kinds. The Merritt Parkway was lined with forests, flowers, and rocks.

The last time we went that way, they played a trick on us. Beth was with Ruth and me, or we might not have made it. They had been directing us to the Hudson River Parkway until we got across the George Washington Bridge; then we could find no more signs saying we were on or how to get onto the Hudson River Parkway. Finally I stopped and tried to get Beth to get directions from people in another car that had stopped. But Beth noticed that the driver and probably his wife were having an argument about the same trouble. So we went on until we came to a pay station, where the collector told us that we weren’t lost; they had changed the name to Deegan Upstate Highway, and the Merritt was just a little way ahead.

Once after that we missed the way onto the Deegan Upstate and thought we would find it again, but we got lost at a dead-end road to a big estate. After wandering through all kinds of places (some of them scary-looking), we found a telephone crew working. The crew leader walked to show us how to get on a highway that led us onto the George Washington Bridge. After that, we always followed the Garden State to the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Merritt Parkway to I-95.

Fishing in Florida

The trip to Orson’s in 1970. In 1970 we decided to try our luck fishing and visiting in Florida. Ruth’s sister Susie Williams had been fishing with us often. She seemed to enjoy it so much that we asked her to go along. She was glad to go. A cousin, Lotta Bond, had retired; so we asked her to go along (which she was glad to do). The trip went fine until we got to Daytona Beach. We went by Cleveland, Tennessee, where ,my sister, Avis Swiger, lived. We stayed over night with Avis, Archie (her husband), and their family. What a visit we had before retiring. Archie and Susie especially kept us laughing so much that my sides were sore and I could hardly get to sleep.

About 9 p.m. we got into Daytona Beach and began hunting for 110 Azalia Drive, Holly Hill (which is a suburb of Daytona Beach). That was where Ruth’s brother Orson lived, and we were to stay at his place. We must have gone through Holly Hill three or four times, each time stopping at a different place near the corner of Mason and Ridgewood to get directions. Finally, after Ruth and Susie got hysteria, a man at a newsstand told us that Azalia Drive didn’t enter Mason Street but we would have to go back of the bowling alley, where we would find Gardenia Street, which would lead us to Azalia Drive. So, about 11 p.m., we found Gardenia; and Orson was there watching for us. All were happy at last.

Orson was living by himself, so we had a great time helping him celebrate his 80th birthday on March 7. We also fished off some of the bridges. Once we went on a large boat up the Halifax River; Orson and I both caught a few nice sea trout.

A trip to Ian’s in 1973.

In January of 1973, we went to Ruth’s brother Ian’s-who-had retired from being a medical doctor in Chicago and built a home in Ormond Beach, Florida. We were so glad that we easily located his home at 386 Military Boulevard. Orson and Ian were outside the house watching for us.

The house and the whole place were a dream retirement place. Pearl and Ian had planned the house the way they wanted it–spacious and handy kitchen with both a bar and a table for eating (so you could take your choice), a large sitting room with a cozy fireplace, and three bedrooms and two baths. Back of the house and yard was an orchard and garden (which Orson had helped plan) with a strawberry patch and different citrus fruits. We sampled them, and they were delicious.

We mostly went to a pier to fish. When Ian could, he went with us. I remember once he was with us when I was especially glad. I caught a blue, and the darned thing grabbed me between the thumb and the front finger with its sharp teeth. The more I tried to get it loose, the tighter it clamped down. Ian noticed my trouble and pried its jaws open with a doctor’s instrument that he carried.

Once Ian went with us on an ocean-fishing trip. Ruth caught about as many as we did, but she put in a lot of time on a couch in the cabin because of sea sickness.

After five weeks of fishing five days each week, going to the Daytona Seventh Day Baptist Church each Sabbath, and visiting on Sundays with such people as Mary and Kenneth Hulin and Kay and Lillian Bee or going sight-seeing with Ian, Pearl (Ian’s wife), and Orson, we packed our fish that were left and joyfully went home.

We kept up our trips to Florida each year until this year (1981-1982). We are staying home to write this life history. It is not easy.

Fish We Caught in Florida–and Where

I have been thinking that you might be interested in the kinds of fish and the amounts of them we caught in Florida. Maybe you would like to know where we caught them.

One of the most common kinds of fish caught off the piers of Florida is the whiting. We caught many of them. One day we caught 58–and most of them were between two and three pounds of extremely delicious meat. Many think they are the best-tasting salt-water fish. There were two older ladies from Ohio who caught two five-gallon buckets full–about twice as many as we did–that same day.

Another special day on this Ormond-By-The-Sea Pier, the blues were hitting on Sea Hawk plugs; Ruth and I caught 42 of them. They hit savagely about every cast. If one got off, another would strike–usually before you could get the bait in to the pier. One time Ruth thought she had a monster, but she landed two of them on one plug at one cast.

Fishing trip to Lake Okeechobee. Ian only fished with us two years in Florida because he died during an operation to repair a blood vessel that was in danger of bursting. The last year he fished with us, we had a special experience. Ian, Pearl, Ruth, and I went to Lake Okeechobee to try to catch bass over 20 inches long. (I had been trying for years to do that. I had caught some between 19 and 20 inches but none over 19 3/4 inches.)

We got adjoining rooms in a hotel at Clewston and arrived Sunday afternoon. We (Ian and I) hired for Monday a guide who we thought could get us the fish we wanted. Sunday afternoon we fished from the bank and caught a few bass. That night we played Rook until bedtime.

Monday morning finally came. Our guide outfitted us with three dozen six-inch shiners, and away we went in his power boat. At noon we had two channel cats about 20 inches that Ian caught, and I had one bass 21 inches. The girls had come back from sightseeing and shopping and had our dinners ready for us. We ate it in the park, and right back on the lake we went. I got two more 21-inchers, and Ian got one 18 inches. He had one on that jumped before it got under the boat and broke off (probably on the anchor rope). It seemed larger than any of mine. What a memorable trip!

Fish on the St. John’s River.

The first year Ian fished with us (the same year he saved my hand from that bluefish), we went crappie fishing on the St. John’s River. We paid $30 for that day and caught 14 crappies, each about 15 inches long. (The guide for the Okeechobee day cost us $50 besides the bait.)

Flagler Beach, Fall 1980.

The last year we went to Florida we stayed at a motel (Topaz Motel) at Flagler Beach instead of staying at Ormond Beach with Pearl. This Flagler Beach Pier was more economical. We paid $15 for fishing rights for the seven weeks (we had to pay $3 per day at Ormond Beach).

On the pier we filleted the fish and kept them on ice until we got them to the motel, where we put them in the deep freeze. Every other week we would take them to Pearl’s big freezer.

The number and kinds of fish we caught.

During the seven or eight weeks we usually-stayed in Florida, we would accumulate about 400 fish. The last year that we stayed with Pearl, we put 417 fish in her freezer. We didn’t bring them all back with us; we gave some to Pearl and other special friends (like Mary and Kenneth Hulin, Rev. Kenneth Van Horn, and Rev. Leon Maltby).

Some of the kinds of fish we caught besides blues and whiting were Spanish mackerel, jacks, drums, sheepheads, and sea trout. Others we caught and did not keep were hammerhead sharks, sand sharks, shovelnose sharks, occasionally a stingray, and many catfish.

Card Games and Other Recreation

For breaks, we play Aggravation and Rook. In playing Aggravation, we never aggravate each other unless there is no other possible move. When we play Rook, we use a dummy–we help each other keep Dummy from setting us. Also, we pass some time by watching television. There aren’t many programs we can stomach. The horror, supernatural, and crime stories are not for us. We do like news, Gun Smoke, Chips, and Little House on the Prarie, etc.

Sometimes we have mighty welcome company–all the company we get are extremely welcome!

I expect Rex, Phyllis, Bond and Ruby come most often. Others who come fairly often are Chris Boyd and her friend Laurel Sue Smith. Chris is a senior at Salem College this year (1982). Neighborhood children come to fish or sell something. All are very much appreciated.

I think these things will get us through this winter (1981-82) until we can catch trout–then go West to visit our in-laws and fish with as many as will go with us (especially our grandchildren and great grandchildren). Then back home to our garden, yard, and West Virginia turtle- and fish-catching.

{Note (inserted by Mae as this is typed in 1984.) Mom and Dad were not able to make the trip west in the spring of 1982 because Mom had hip-replacement surgery in April. She got along marvelously, and by July she was working in her garden again. The doctor said he had never had a patient improve faster than Mom did after this type of surgery.}

Bird Watching

I left out one of our most important winter entertainments. We feed the birds grain and suet in plain sight of our kitchen and TV room. Maybe you would like to know some of these entertaining friends that eat the food we put out in our grain feeder and the onion sacks with suet.

There are always downy woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, and nuthatches at the suet. Sometimes hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and a carolina wren will eat at the suet.

More different kinds of birds eat at our grain feeder. I expect cardinals and slate-colored juncos are the most common ones. Sometimes blue jays, morning doves, red-bellied woodpeckers, song sparrows, tree sparrows, white-throated sparrows, vesper sparrows, and (about once a year) evening grossbeaks and purple finches visit our feed box. Also occasionally a fox squirrel or a ruffled grouse will visit us.

This fall one ruffled grouse came in our TV room at a north window and left by a south one. We were eating when we heard the crash. When we looked, there was glass all over the TV room, and just outside lay a grouse (which was delicious as a grouse pie).


Ruth’s Memories — A Fishing Trip to New Jersey

We took sister Susie with us to New Jersey. Her son James lived in Bridgeton, and Edna Ruth’s lived some six miles away across the road from the Marlboro Church. James was a “craft” teacher. At that time one of his former students owned a small boat. He agreed to take us fishing on the bay. James said he had a toilet on the boat so we did not need to worry about that.

Going out, the waves were quite choppy, reminding me of a short-loping horse. I thoroughly enjoyed that, for short-loping a horse was a childhood game I loved. The wind did not let up. By the time we got out a mile or so, the waves were tossing the boat about enough to make Susie and me both sick. He anchored the boat, and we tried to fish. Part of the boat had a flat bottom. The front end (where the toilet was located) was a foot or so lower than the rest of the floor. Ashby sat on the floor near the middle to help keep it balanced. I would fish a little while, then have to lean over the side to “york.” I had to take my teeth out first, for I did not want to lose them. Ashby hung onto my coattail so I would not fall overboard. I finally caught a two-foot shark.

Susie was sick, but she did not “york.” She did need to go to the restroom. The door was so low one had to almost crawl to get in. There was not room enough to turn around, so she had to crawl out and then back in. After all that, we decided to go back to shore since we could not catch fish anyway. They were preparing to send a boat out to search for us. I was fine as soon as I got on land, but Susie was sick in bed the rest of the day.

Our Last Trip to Florida, October 1983

I must tell about our last trip to Florida in 1983. Right now we do not think we will go alone again.

It took 1 1/2 days to get to Flagler Beach. We had an efficiency apartment for six weeks. We got there about noon, got the key to the apartment, unloaded the car, ate a bite, then got our permits to fish from the pier for three months for $15, and went fishing. Fish were not plentiful, but we caught enough for supper. Then we had to go 17 miles to Aunt Pearl’s to pick up a cart and some ocean-fishing equipment we had left there. On the way back we stopped and bought a supply of groceries. It was getting dark when we got back to our apartment, tired but happy.

I took a load of groceries in, unlocked the door and put the things on the table (including the keys) and went back for another load. The window had been left open; and while I was gone, a big puff of wind blew the door shut and it locked. There we were–in a strange place, knowing no one, and tired as fox hounds–locked out of our house. We both wished we were back home.

We decided to go to the pier. A restaurant was connected to it; we thought maybe they would know where the lady lived who rented the apartment to us. They were busy waiting on customers, so I waited what seemed a long time before anyone came to help me.

I noticed three men sitting at a table visiting after a late sandwich. I told the lady the predicament we were in, but she had no idea how to help us. Just then two of the men got up and came over to us. one of them said, “Did I hear you say you were locked out of your car?” I said, “Mr, it is worse than that! We are locked out of our house.” He said, “I am a locksmith, and this fellow with me works for the city. His job is unlocking doors.” The Good Lord was in control!

Our apartment.

I must tell you about our apartment. The living room, dining room, and kitchen were one big room. The refrigerator had a big freezing compartment, so we had room to take care of our fish. There was a TV, a nice couch, two comfortable chairs, dining table, stove, and nice cabinets–real cozy. There was a narrow hallway with two closets. The bedroom had a bed and chest of drawers, with just room for me to go between the foot of the bed and the chest. Daddy had to sit on the bed and scoot to the foot and get up again to go to the bathroom.

The bathroom must have been about six by six feet. The shower took up about three square feet. It was impossible to get a shower without getting your head wet. When Dad took a shower, he had to sit on a chair, then onto the floor and scoot in. When he got in, there was not enough room to get his foot in since his knee could not bend that much. I had to wash his foot.

We really enjoyed our stay there. We made a lot of new friends on the pier. One little old lady watched for us. She would always come and push the wheelchair. She had a home there and also one in Jacksonville. We missed her when she left.

Caring for the fish.

When we had the freezer about full of fish, we lined a cooler with four thicknesses of newspaper dipped in water, then put the packages of fish in as close as possible, covered them with more wet newspaper, and put the lid on. We wrapped the cooler in more wet paper and put it all in a plastic bag. We took it to Aunt Pearl’s where we could put the whole thing in her freezer and have it ready to take home. By the way, when we got back home, the paper in the cooler still had ice in it.

Maybe I should tell you that we cleaned the fish on the pier. We filleted them to save space and put them in a plastic bag in the cooler. When we got home, we washed them, put them in a large flat pan with paper towels in the bottom and on top to get them as dry as possible. Then we wrapped six pieces in a plastic strip, then in aluminum foil, and put them in the freezer.

A Trip -to North Carolina with Rex and Phyllis

We had a wonderful trip with Rex and Phyllis to Holden’s Beach Pier in North Carolina in May 1984 for a week. Fish were not too plentiful. One day we did get 28 blues, but we had a bad storm that night. The ocean was too rough to do any good fishing the next day or two. We did have some fish to bring home with us.

Conclusion

Just before Christmas ’83 Dad’s knee gave away with him after walking from the kitchen to the TV and almost back to the couch. He managed to fall on the couch, but he must have gotten his fingers caught in his crutches. Besides cracking the bone between his little finger and wrist on his right hand, all his fingers were bruised and swollen. It was weeks before he could use his crutches at all. He could manage with a little help to get from the wheelchair to the bed or into the rocking chair.

It is now July, and he still cannot walk alone with his crutches, and he can only walk a short distance with help. I can manage to help him to his tractor or to the car, into the boat and out again, when I have to. Usually some kind soul is glad to give us help.

We have two good-size gardens and a lot of mowing to do. Dad does the mowing except the hillsides–so what do we have to complain about?

Right now (July 3, 1984) we have Ed, Xenia Lee, George, and Mae with us. We are expecting Walt and Ruth and family this evening, Verne and Betsy De and girls in the morning, Beth and Betsy Jo on Thursday, David and Chris Friday evening, Mark before morning, Joe Sabbath a.m., and all of Alois’ family by noon Sabbath. We love every minute. Ann, boys, and Gary will get in sometime Sabbath. We will enjoy it all and look forward to having other members of the family whenever they can come. WE LOVE YOU ALL!!

You can surely see that we have had an interesting life with our friends, work, and recreation.

Chapter 3: Young Adults–Education, Work, and Early Teaching

Ashby’s Memories

A Year in New York — Work at the garage and taxi company in Olean.

The following fall of 1917 I went to Olean, New York, to work in a combination garage and taxi company. It belonged to my Uncle Gene Jordon, the same one who had Romulus and the gobbler. (I never went to school two consecutive years after I finished the eighth grade.)

At this garage I learned to vulcanize tires and tubes, repair carburetors, and disassemble cars for Uncle Gene to work on. I worked at night, all night, taking calls for the taxis when they came in and working between calls.

One night a driver brought his taxi to the door and got another. I was trying to start it and get it into the garage. It would start and then stop. I would crank it again (all cars had to be cranked then). I kept that up until it must have gotten mad–for it kicked me, breaking my arm. This was about 2 a.m. I went to the trolley office less than a block away and tried to get the phone lady to call a doctor for me, but she couldn’t. A conductor who was standing near enough to hear took me on his freight car to within a block of the home of a doctor. The house had a long porch. I paced back and forth on it, knocking on each door as I passed. Finally the doctor asked me into his office. We sat down, facing each other. We put our knees together, and both pulled. My fist was doubled back toward my elbow, so we had to pull a lot to get it set. He bandaged a plaster cast to my arm. This worked wonderfully so I could take calls and get half pay from Uncle Gene and half from Workmen’s Compensation.

The only trouble was that it was difficult at first to write with my left hand. I had never done that, but I had thrown lots of rocks with my left hand when my arm was in a sling after falling off Tony. I soon had lots of practice. Besides taking taxi calls, I wrote letters each week to Mom and a lady friend at Oneal, West Virginia.

This was an unusually cold winter. I liked the snow and ice; I skated to and from my rooming place right on the street. There was one place I would stop and feed the gray squirrels. Often they would climb up my overcoat and down into my pocket to get nuts. Sometimes I would skate on the Little Genesee River or the city reservoir.

You might be interested to hear about the first time I drove a car outside of the garage and parking lot. It was after midnight on a bitter cold night. They said it was 45 degrees below zero. A driver came in with his taxi stuck on a side road. I went back with him in one of our other cars. We got his car out, and I drove it back. I had to start it out down grade. When I let it into high gear, it started sliding; but I got it straightened out like I had heard the drivers explain. I came to a railroad crossing and had to get out to see whether a train was coming. My windshield was practically all frosted over. I made it to the garage, but both my feet were frozen.

Work on a farm near Friendship.

About the first of March Uncle Gene sold his garage and went back to his farm near Friendship, New York. That was the same farm where Romulus saved me from the gobbler. Here I found dairy cows to milk and a lovable pair of black horses to use. The horses reminded me of Tony (my colt that I had to leave at Berea). One special thing I remember besides how well they worked was that one of them would quiver her lips and act like she was laughing when I would harness or unharness her and rub her neck and shoulders.

I was so busy at Uncle Gene and Aunt Cleo’s that I didn’t have time for girls except to find out that my childhood sweetheart, Agnes Childs, was away in college. While there, I helped put in oats and potatoes, built fence, cut firewood for boiling maple sap into syrup, hauled the wood, then hauled the sap (after cleaning 1,500 spiles and buckets, as well as tapping the trees). Besides all that, after we milked each day, I hauled the milk to the cheese factory and brought whey back for the hogs.

It wasn’t all work. Often as Uncle Gene finished the last batch of syrup, he would boil some so hard that it would make taffy when we poured it on snow. Other times Aunt Cleo boiled it down so that when we beat it in a saucer with a spoon it would turn white as it cooled and make the smoothest, best candy you ever tasted. Another pleasure there was Aunt Cleo’s wonderful meals. She even fixed us a big mess of leeks.

Perhaps my maple syrup making at Uncle Gene’s might interest you. The winter of 1917 and 1918 had been the worst the old folks had ever seen, so they said. When I hauled the wood to the sugar house, my horses and sled rode right over fences and stumps just as though they were not there because the snow had not melted from October on. It would start to melt, then crust over.

Uncle Gene’s method of boiling the sap was different. He used a drilling boiler with a coil of pipe in an 18-inch-deep pan about 2 feet wide by 12 feet long. I drove my wonderful young black team hitched to a sled with a 75-gallon tank out through the woods, which they called a sugar bush. As I drove from tree to tree gathering the sap, I would get a cold drink from the especially good trees. When I came to the little creek with a bed of leeks beside it, I would pull a few, swish them in the water to wash off the dirt, and then chomp the best bite out of each. I located a bee tree but never got back to cut it.

Uncle Alvie’s in Alfred, New York.

When the sugar bush was finished I decided to go home. But first, I wanted to see Uncle Alvie, Aunt Mary, and especially my cousin Vida (I had written to her some, before leaving New York). I put my suitcase on my bike and rode on a hot tarry road to their farm near Alfred, which was about 35 miles.

They all seemed very glad to see me. Even Elizabeth and Lowell were there. In some queer way, Lowell was glad to see me; and Elizabeth took a genuine interest in me, as she did during my entire stay.

The next morning, as I was washing for breakfast, I saw excitement in the road. A cow was running toward Alfred. When I spied a big bull following her, I jumped out the kitchen door. Cutting across the field, I got ahead of the bull. I picked up a good rock. When he got where I couldn’t miss him, I threatened him; so he turned and went back to his stall in the barn.

When I started getting ready to go home to West Virginia, Uncle Alvie asked me to stay with him through the summer. I had supposed Lowell would help him–but not so; he was going off to school. Aunt Mary and Elizabeth also begged me to stay, so I stayed.

It was a pleasant, busy, and educational summer. Uncle Alvie was one of the best farmers in New York and was the head of their Farm Bureau. He had a registered herd of Holsteins that he had built. He also developed his own strain of potatoes and sold seed potatoes.

During the summer I plowed (with three horses and a sulky plow) about twenty acres of buckwheat and planted it. I took care of seven acres of potatoes, beginning with planting, them with three horses pulling a planter. We also put about eighty-five tons of hay in the barn. Uncle Alvie taught me to load the wagon so that practically every straw went up to the hay mow with a horse-drawn two-pronged fork that I set in the hay.

Besides all that, which I enjoyed most of the time, I drove their two-seated 1917 Ford practically everywhere it went because Aunt Mary liked my driving. Each Sabbath we went to church at Alfred. Once I went to a box supper at the Grange. Later I took the lady whose box I bought to a party about three miles back at Five Corners in a livery-rented buggy pulled by a spirited horse.

Back To Salem, West Virginia

The middle of August came. School would start soon, so back home to Salem I went. I went back to Salem College Academy for my sophomore year. It was a pretty busy year, with milking 10 to 12 cows and caring for the milk and cows. I also had some school work, besides playing basketball.

Getting Acquainted with Ruth

The commencement of 1919 was a very special one because that was when I first really got to know the queen I mentioned seeing when I was 12 years old. I remember two things quite well about our meetings. Two other couples with Ruth and me went on the hill opposite the college, where we ate a lunch. After the lunch, Ruth got up on the stump and recited a reading called, “Woodticks.” (This poem is included in the appendix of this book.) We attended many of the commencement entertainments together.

The other thing I especially remember was bringing the cows down the hill on Evander Randolph’s farm and seeing Ruth at her place on the opposite hill. We waved at each other quite a few times. Ruth was graduating from Short Normal. When the graduation was over and she was leaving on the train, she agreed to write. That made me very happy.

These letters made my life as I helped Brady run Evander Randolph’s farm for him on the halves. The summer and until late November was full of cows, hogs, fruit, corn, etc.–a very interesting year of farming. Along in the last of August, Ruth decided I was getting too serious, so she called off our writing but said we could be friends. For a long time, that seemed like the world had come to an end.

Farm and Other Work During 1919-1920

The farm, with silos to fill for us and other farmers, 85 hogs to butcher and peddle the meat, and the cows to take care of kept me so busy I did not go to school the winter of 1919-1920.

After our farming year was over in November, I got a job building railroad out of Sutton, West Virginia. We built a road up Wolf Creek to a big coal mine. When that was over, Brady and I took contracts of timber-cutting, for a chemical company. We cut out the logs, then all the hardwood. We made the limbs into chemical wood, which took a lot of splitting. Brady and I worked together until Dad finished his school term. Then Brady got a job in a store in Sutton, and Dad came to live with me in our tent (where Brady and I had lived).

While Brady and I cut timber, I lived by myself each weekend. Our tent was more than a mile back in the woods up Slide Hollow from the railroad. The first weekend I got a scare. I had barely gotten to sleep when a screaming sound awakened me. I arose hurriedly and started reviving my fire. Another scream seemed closer; I hurried the fire-making. I expected to hear or see it close any time. After getting a big fire going, I cut a nice club and laid it by the side of my cot, just where my hand would grab it. I was soon asleep. Sometime later I woke with a start. Hot breath was in my face; a rough tongue, also. When I moved, I heard a patter of feet. I threw the club at the sound; the yelp that followed made me know it was a dog. The dog didn’t make the scream. I soon learned that it was a barred owl. She would scream in the big trees near our tent. Other owls would gather and give us a concert of screaming, hooting, coarse-voiced laughing, and cracking their bills.

Another scary time was the Easter Sunday weekend. Some drunk guys from the little railroad station tried scaring me by scratching the bark of trees and making animal sounds. I kept very quiet with my shotgun handy. They went away.

During the spring while Dad was with me, we often heard wild gobblers in the mornings. I found a bee tree, and Dad helped me take two buckets of honey–that helped our eating, even if the most of it was old and black.

When I got sick during the hot summer (probably July), Dad went back home to Mom and Elmo at Salem. When I recovered, I got a job with a surveying crew setting grade stakes, etc., for the new road between Bulltown and Sutton.

Back to School in Salem

I went home in early September when I got a job delivering lumber with a Ford truck for Evander Randolph’s Lumber Supply Company. I kept that job until October, when I started my junior year at the Academy. It was a rather dull year of school. I did my school work and was on the school basketball team.

The spring of 1921, after school was out, Russell Jett and I sold books around New Castle, Pennsylvania. When the books were delivered, I got a truck-driving job hauling for the Ross and Jennings Company. We graded and built the road from Salem to the Dodridge County line on Route 50. We also built Route 23 from Salem to the county line.

This fall I went to football camp at Jackson’s trill for two weeks before school started. This was the first such camp at Jackson’s Mill. The next year West Virginia University took it over for their football camp and began building the State 4-H Camp that has become nationally and internationally known. (I guess Ruth had a 4-H club camp there the summer before our football camp.)

My senior school year was quite eventful. Our football season was very successful, especially since we beat our arch rival Wesleyan. I had the job of janitoring the whole college (which was only two buildings). Besides the football, janitoring, and regular school subjects, four couples of us had a Rook Club that met each week. The graduation of our 1922 Academy class was a special time. It was my second graduation on that stage. I missed my queen at this commencement. She had been at commencement my junior year, and she and my sister, Avis, went on a picnic with me in my 1911 Ford roadster.

My First School

After a summer of truck driving for Ross and Jennie Construction, I got a temporary certificate and taught my first school at a rural one-room school. It was the Hannah School, four miles from Wallace. My pay was $75 per month for seven months. I had 27 pupils in the first through ninth grades. One 16-year-old girl had passed the eighth grade exam three times, so I put her in freshmen high school subjects. She already knew more than I did about the eighth grade.

Because of this wonderful year of teaching, I decided to prepare to be a teacher. I went back to Salem College the fall of 1923. Because I realized the need of a good education, I made school my whole job.

More About Sports

Because of the jobs, I had very little time for some sports I loved–tennis, football, and ice skating, especially. I must tell you about one gratifying tennis match.

Tennis with Jennings Randolph.

I had played some tennis while in the Scouts when I was 12 and 13 years old. We had a court near the mouth of Pennsylvania Avenue. When I could borrow a racket, I played with Russell Jett, Squinty Bumgardner, and Jennings Randolph, among others. When I returned to Salem College Academy, I borrowed a racket and played Jennings a set of tennis.

It was a mighty hot match. We had opposite styles. I used power; and Jennings used careful, patient finesse. It was queer how my strokes came back to me, even though I had not played for over two years and Jennings had the best racket money could buy. I got the momentum with my powerful serve and kept it with my power in every stroke. As the years passed, I enjoyed that win more and more because Jennings became the junior tennis champion of West Virginia and was on the college team that was champion of West Virginia.

My First Year at Salem College

The summer of 1923 I drove truck for a cement block factory. In those days Salem College didn’t get the schedules straightened out and books ordered and received until about the middle of October, so I worked until then. My school year was the best I had ever had. My grades were practically all A’s. (Before this, my grades were mostly C’s with an occasional B on math or science.) There were not many elective courses in an education major, but I took all I could of science and math.

During my first year of college, I had two courses that were special: one was Agricultural Geology, and the other was Caesar.

A distant cousin, Miss Mildred Randolph, taught my geology class (in which I got A’s all the time). About the end of the year, she had to return home because of her father’s health. President Bond asked me to teach the class as well as make out and grade the tests. (This was especially gratifying to me because I had flunked a six-week period in geology to Ernest Sutton and had quit it after telling him he would never see me in his classroom again.)

As I said, I took Caesar to Miss Elsie Bond. I had been interested in Roman stories from the fourth grade on, but I realized that this course would be difficult since I didn’t finish my Latin course the year I left school to work on a farm. (I made mostly A’s in this course, too.)

Teaching For Avis

Avis was teaching her first school at Sycamore between Wallace and Center Point. During my vacation I gave Avis a week’s vacation by teaching for her. It was a wonderfully pleasant experience with extremely nice pupils, and the people I boarded with were so nice.

Two incidents might interest you. One evening after school two Swiger boys, Archie and his cousin, wanted to wrestle with me. It was a crazy thing for me to do, but as usual I couldn’t take a dare. Although they gave me all the competition I wanted, we came through as very good friends. Archie later married my sister, Avis. We have been special friends and still are.

The other incident involved getting Avis back to her rooming place. I walked to Wallace, about four miles, and hired two riding horses at the livery stable. I met Avis at the train, and we had an uneventful and pleasant ride to her room. They gave us a great feed for supper. Then I started back to Wallace, riding one horse and leading the other.

Everything went fine until I crossed the hill at the head of Sycamore on the Wallace side. There I found the road partly frozen and the mud deep. The horses began breaking the frozen top of the mud. I found it better for them to walk along the edge of the road. I was making it fairly nicely, even though it was pitch black dark and I had no light. All of a sudden the lead horse broke away from me; she had broken over the batik into a ravine. The horse I was riding was excited and began nickering. I went down to the other horse and found it caught under a pipeline. I couldn’t get it out, so I rode to the livery stable (about one-half mile). The owner and I came back in a buggy with tools. We got her out, and she was all right except a little stiff. It was gratifying after the scare and hard work to see the two horses enjoy being together again!

Teaching in Taylor County

In the summer of 1924, I got a job teaching the Astor two-room elementary school in Taylor County on an emergency certificate. I was the principal and taught grades 4-8.

That year was a special one for me for many reasons. I had a most wonderful place to board, although it cost me $45 a month of my $95 salary. I had a lot of great pupils. In fact, they were all great! (One is the president of the Clarksburg bank where I deal.) Besides the subjects (I helped them all I could on them), I trained them for a field meet at Flemington. They made me very proud by taking lots of ribbons.

A card from Ruth.

About Christmas time 1924 1 got a card from my Queen Ruth. I was so happy I jumped up and down a while. Mrs. Bailey, my landlady, always called Ruth my “jumping girl.” Soon we were writing every day.

Mining Jobs

When school was out, I got a job at the Blocky Pittsburgh No. 2 Mine. My first job was catching coal cars when they came down the hill to the tipple. The very first day I unloaded a railroad car of baled hay between times when I was catching the mine coal cars. At quitting time I would have been happy to quit, but the superintendent asked me to help pile the bales as high as my head and higher in the barn–so I did. The second day I thought I would do well to get through the day, but I unloaded steel rails in my spare moments.

Later I got the job of weighing the coal and dumping it into the shaker to grade it. While I was doing that job, one day I went under the tipple to start a railroad car for the loader down there. The car behind it started and caught me between it and the tipple. I yelled! My buddy, Charles Bailey, was tearing parts of the tipple off to get me out before the loader got the cars stopped.

After I recuperated a little (a day or two), my super loaned me his Ford Roadster to get Ruth at Clarksburg and take her to some of her folks at Salem (her Aunt Doc)–and I went to my home. The next day we took a trip to Elkins with another couple. My ribs healed rapidly.

Before I went back to school (late as usual), I got a job guarding the mine. (our Super had gone scab with a much bigger union mine not two miles away.) The guard job paid more money; besides I gave out the workers’ supplies as they came to the mine each morning.

This work was at night. I slept daytime (that is, some of the daytime). One day I went to Pittsburgh to get my Super. Another time I took his wife to Frostburg, Maryland, to visit. Still other times, I drove the cars for four other families who couldn’t drive their own because they were too old.

My home with Mrs. Bailey.

I must not quit the story of my life at Astor without telling of my wonderful home with Mrs. Bailey and my great mine Super, Ed Reppert. Mrs. Bailey’s home was a large two-story house. I had a room upstairs; and her other boarder, Alfred Reppert (my Super’s father), had another room up there. Mr. Reppert was a wonderful old gentleman. He had fatherly advice and played beautiful violin music much of the time. Mrs. Bailey had a son Charles and a daughter we all called Seester. Charles had a car and often took me places like Grafton with him. he treated me like a brother and was the mine clerk who got me out of my tipple accident. Seester was only there weekends, but she was extra nice.

Mrs. Bailey was such a good cook and raised such sparkly, dry, richly flavored tomatoes that she put in my lunch pail. I learned to enjoy stewed tomatoes and parsnips while I was there. These were two vegetables I had never really enjoyed before; they are both my special treats now.

Ed. Reppert, mine superintendent. My mine superintendent was losing his job. He had me take him to Pittsburgh to get money backing to buy an old mostly-worked-out mine. As I went, I saw a queer light, which I found out years later (when Clarksburg got them) was a traffic light. Ed got the money. He finally owned four big mines around Flemington and Rosemont. Mrs. Reppert was his mine clerk and business manager. Ed donated the first carillon bells that were in Clarksburg. He died fairly young, but his wife went right on with the mines. Ed had me to teach his wife to drive because he said he couldn’t.

My Second Year of College

My second year of college was a great learning year, but the main importance was that it was my marriage year. I had classes in science, math, methods, and even practice teaching. My special subject was Tests and Measurements, taught by the teacher whose classroom I had said I would never enter again. I had to have Tests and Measurements to get my Standard Normal degree and later my Bachelor of Arts degree. I entered this course determined to do my very best–and that I did. A Miss Katherine Morrison and I were at the head of the class of over 40 teachers. Neither Prof. Sutton nor I ever mentioned our former difficulty. I considered Prof. Ernest Sutton one of my very best teachers–along with Dicksen, H. O. Burdick, and Bill Price.


Ruth’s Memories

School at Salem College — I first met Ashby Randolph

The spring of 1915 was my first trip to a Salem. Orville was in school, and Lydia was teaching there. Susie must have finished her Short Normal that spring, for she taught in junior high at Salem the first year I was in school at Salem Academy. I was walking down the street in Salem and met a boy scout dressed in his uniform. He tipped his hat with a big smile. I later learned he was Ashby Randolph.

A student at Salem Academy. I enrolled at Salem College Academy in t e a 1 of 5. Orville was finishing his Bachelor of Arts degree that year. We lived in a four-room white cottage on the hill west of Pennsylvania Avenue. A long flight of steps took us safely up and down the hill.

We registered and got our class schedules. The next day we all met in the Auditorium to try to make out a class schedule that suited everyone. Sometimes that went on for two or three days before all the conflicts were ironed out. Aunt Elsie was registrar and Latin teacher (also botany). Uncle Sam was science professor. I loved his General Science class. I shall never forget one experiment. He blew up a balloon. He just kept on blowing until it was inflated. I got so excited about his not breathing I could not stand it. It amused him. He said, “You have to learn to breathe just a little as you blow.”

I took the Short Normal course so I could teach after four years. I loved to study, so schoolwork went nicely. Sometimes Lydia and Susie would have liked it better if I had done less study and more housework.

It was nice to have two of Mama’s brothers and two sisters living in Salem. Uncle Aus was city tax collector. Aunt Doc lived with Aunt Elsie. Often she had medicine to be taken to patients around town, so I had some spending money from that. Both she and Aunt Elsie found lots of ways to help out all the nieces and nephews attending school there.

Each school day at 10 a.m. was “Chapel Time.” Each student was required to attend. The faculty members took turns conducting the service, On Thursday evenings the college bell rang out announcing the “Quiet Hour” from seven to eight. This took place in a convenient classroom. Sometimes a “Thought for the Day” was written on the blackboard. Sometimes soft music was played. A few times Pastor Shaw quoted Scripture the whole hour. Students could go at any time and stay as long as they chose. It was not required.

I guess school days must have been quite normal–lots of friends and activities. I especially remember the Field Day when I was a senior. Each class was represented in each event. Our class had only eight members (two were boys), so some competed in more than one event. I was in the relay race, and I also threw the “discus.” By that time Paul had forgiven me for getting him up off the floor, so he coached me (he was the star discus thrower in college). It paid off; I threw twice as far as any other. When the scores were added up, our little class was far ahead of any other class.

It was great to finally be graduating. Best of all, that was the day we got word that Orson was back in the States after serving in World War 1.

Dating Ashby Randolph

That spring was also the first time Ashby and I dated. We joined with others taking walks on Sabbath afternoons, having wiener roasts, and attending college activities. We wrote some that summer, and he and Avis came up home for the weekend of my birthday. We decided to go our separate ways. I wanted to try my luck teaching school.

Teaching School

When I started to school, three trustees hired the teacher and looked after the needs of the school. At the time I was looking for a job, each district had a board of education. Ours was located at Walkersville.

Teaching at Roanoke

At the time the Board met, I drove a horse and buggy to the meeting and applied for a job at Roanoke. I stayed around. After their meeting, I was told I had a job as principal of the two-room school at Roanoke. That was only 1 1/2 miles from home, so I walked. My co-teacher was Mabel Teter. We worked well together and had a good year.

I had a 4-H club. That next summer, the first 4-H camp in West Virginia was opened at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County. I went with my club. As we were in Lewis County, we had the first camp held there. Any county in the state could use it for a week for 4-H camp. The buildings were ample. However, we had a hard rain one night; and we had a terrible time finding places to put the cots where they would not be leaked on. All in all, it was a real fun week!

The second year I taught at Roanoke, Ada taught the primary room. We were the only children at home that winter until Ian came home to recuperate. He had been playing football for Salem College and got a leg broken.

A fire at home.

That spring one Sunday I was cleaning upstairs while Ada was doing the washing. Some way I discovered the attic roof was on fire. We had a coal stove in the living room with a pipe running up through the roof. I ran downstairs, yelling, “The house is on fire!” I grabbed a bucket of water and ran back upstairs. In the hallway was a scuttle hole into the attic. I had to climb through the hole from a chair. I got the fire out in the attic, but it was still burning on the roof. I had a hard time getting back through the hole to the chair, but I finally managed. Then I ran back downstairs. Ian said, “Someone bring me my crutches so I can get out of here.” I obliged and ran outside.

There stood Ada at the foot of a ladder leading to the roof, holding a bucket of water and crying. She said, “Papa told me to bring a bucket of water up to him, and he knows I can’t get up this ladder.” So I took the bucket of water up the ladder and on up to Papa. He soon had the fire out. By then, some of the neighbors were there. They helped repair the roof temporarily.

A car wreck.

One fall, after we owned a Ford five-passenger car, I went to Roanoke to get Nora Helmick, who planned to spend the night with me. Harry Bee went with me. It was a dirt road, dry and dusty. I was making too much time for the conditions; and as I topped a bank on a curve, the back wheels skidded. One wheel’s wooden spokes broke and flipped the car over on its top, which had a wood frame, not even bending a fender. I crawled out first, then Nora. That let the car down on Harry. We had to lift the side of the car so Harry could crawl out. The acid from the battery had eaten some holes in his shirt, but otherwise he was not hurt. Nora had a sprained ankle, and I had a scratch or two. My, how I hated to go home and tell them I had wrecked the car. Fortunately, I had just received my school check so I could have the car repaired–a new wheel and new wood frame for the top, a little over $50. When Papa heard about it, he said, “If the road had not been so dusty, it would not have happened.” Main always thought that would not have been his reaction had he wrecked the car.

Teaching, at West Milford.

The next summer Orville persuaded me to take a job teaching seventh and eighth grades in the West Milford School, Harrison County, where he was principal of the high school and supervisor of the grade school. They were living in West Milford at the time, and I lived with them the first year I taught there.

One night after Orville and Lucille had gone to bed I was grading papers in the kitchen when a big rat came up through a hole in the floor where a gas line had been at one time. When it saw me, it ran behind the cupboard. I put an iron over the hole and called Orville to help me. He was standing in front of the cupboard with a stick, watching while I took a broom handle to scare the rat out fro-,m behind the cupboard. It ran out and tried to go back down the hole it came from, but the iron was over it. Before Orville realized what was going on, it ran up his leg under his pajamas. You never saw such jumping, and the rat could not stay there long! I about went into hysterics–eventually we did get the rat.

I enjoyed my pupils, and we got along well. If they were on the playground during school, I was there with them. One time one of the older boys had a tiny snake (not more than six inches long) on the playground and was having a big time making the girls think he was going to put it on them. I said, “Don’t do that.” He said, “Maybe you want it on you.” I said, “Just give it to me,” and held out my hand; “I will put it right down your neck.” He did not want that. I said, “All right, get rid of that snake right now and don’t ever bring another one.” He obliged.

The second year I taught at West Milford, I boarded at Charlie Holmes’. My roommate, Lillian Brandon, was from Tennessee. She taught home economics. The music teacher, Louise Myers, and English teacher, Margaret Sharer, also roomed there. We had lots of pleasant times together. Mrs. Holmes was always kidding me about being a Seventh Day Baptist (she was a Methodist). One morning I started to school and went back to get my umbrella. She said, “I would not think a Baptist would be afraid of a little water.” I said, “That is just the trouble; I am afraid of being sprinkled.” (She was a good friend as long as she lived.)

The third year I taught at West Milford, Mrs. Holmes was not able to cook for us; we had a room with Mrs. Fox. The Board of Education permitted three of us to use the Home Ec Room to do our own cooking. Lillian fixed lunch, as she was always there. Lavada and I took turns fixing supper. Each one fixed what she wanted for breakfast. We really enjoyed that. (I guess the Board of Education would not go along with that plan now.)

That spring Orville left West Milford. Lillian and Lavada were going elsewhere the next year, so I decided I would leave, too.

Teaching at Brier Point. I had been going to summer school and only had two summer terms left to get my Standard Normal. I applied for and got my home school at Brier Point.

That was a new experience. The last half of the previous year, I had taught only the eighth grade and had trouble to find enough time to teach all that I would have liked to teach. Now, I had all eight grades but not nearly as many pupils. I only had two boys in the first grade; they were easy to teach. I shall never forget them. One was small, cross-eyed, freckled, little flat nose, and the sweetest smile anyone ever had. Everyone loved him.

I had gone to school with older brothers and sisters of some of the children and knew all of the families well. One of the fathers taught me in the eighth grade. One husky boy in the sixth grade would have liked to start some trouble. He called me “Ruth” once soon after school started. I said, “You may call me Ruth anytime you wish when you are not at school; but here you call me Miss Ruth or Miss Bond, whichever you like.” I had no more trouble that way.

Another time that same boy was creating a disturbance pretending to be scared of a wasp that was running around over the window beside him. I just walked over to the window, picked up the wasp by the wings, and put it outside. He was one surprised boy.

Another time when we were eating lunch, he asked me if I could break a hard-boiled egg by placing it in my palms, locking my fingers, and squeezing it. I told him I had never tried, so I did not know. He had a hard-boiled egg in his lunch and wanted me to try. Much to his surprise, I smashed the egg. (He had been told it could not be done.) He was one of my best helpers after that. All in all, I enjoyed that school year more than any other.

I might mention that in the six years I taught school, I never missed one day due to illness.

Chapter 1: Ashby’s Childhood Memories

Birth and My First Home

I was born one mile down river (South Branch of the Hughes) from Berea, West Virginia. Our home was on the opposite side of the river from the road and the Asa Randolph home (later the Amos Brissey home). There was a ford across the river (maybe one-eighth mile above the Brissey house to our home). I was born and lived there about 3 years.

The first memories of this home I really don’t remember but have heard from my parents and Aunt Sarah, who lived on top of the hill back of our home. Aunt Sarah and my parents visited back and forth often, helping each other. There was maybe one-half mile between homes. I do not remember my Uncle Elsworth, who was my father’s youngest brother and his special buddy. Uncle Elsworth was killed in a logging accident before I could remember.

They tell me of my birth, which was at a tragic time. My brother, Harold, 2 years older than 1, died of membranous croup the same day I was born. Old Dr. Bee was at our place trying to save Harold when he brought me into the world. For some reason, probably because of Harold’s death and other business, he never recorded my birth at the courthouse. I know that because of the trouble I had getting my Social Security at the time of my retirement. Aunt Sarah was a big help at that time, they say.

Another time Aunt Sarah was such a special help was when I had diphtheria, probably in my first year. They said they almost lost me then, but Dr. Bee and Aunt Sarah brought me through. Of course, Mom and Dad did their part, too.

Aunt Sarah and Uncle Elsworth’s only son, Blondy, was a little older than I; and we were playmates and buddies from the time we were babies. After my diphtheria spell, Mother and Dad got concerned as to whether I could hear, so they decided to test me by having Blondy in the next room but out of sight. When he said my name, they knew I could hear.

There were two happenings at our first home that I heard a lot about. One was the time I was in the woodlot at the same time our cow was there, and she butted me over the woodpile. They said I didn’t even cry, and they watched me closer to keep me from playing with “Moo Cow.” The other was the time Mom heard me hollering, “Mom, Mom. Come come.” When Mom got to the river at a sand and gravel bar just above the ford, I had hold of a pole with a fish on the end of its line. The fish would pull me a while toward the water, then I would pull it. That may be why I love so much to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren pull and holler, “Help me, Paw.”

Uncle Gene’s in New York

About the summer when I was four, we moved to Uncle Gene and Aunt Cleo Elizabeth Jordan’s in New York at Friendship near Cuba. I can remember some things quite vividly. First, on our train trip we had to wait some at Wheeling. The trains sounded so near that I was expecting them to come into the waiting room. Also, I have memories of the drays and drivers, probably because Mother cut out connected strings of brownies. (Mother was a real crafter and artist.)

While we were in New York State, I went to school a little while. They took me out because I fell deeply in love with an older girl, Agnes Childs. We were together, it seems, all the time at recesses and noons. Often all of us children would go to an orchard maybe 300 yards away (maybe it was farther but seemed so short a distance because Agnes and I always walked hand in hand or arm in arm).

Another thing I remember well was Uncle Gene’s black dog (it must have been a Water Spaniel) and his big and mean gobbler. Romulus, the dog, stayed with me a lot, and he was seldom out of hearing of me. I can remember one time the gobbler spread his tail and wings mighty scarily; I had a hard time to get Romulus to save me, but he finally did.

My sister, Avis, and I had groundhog pets that my older brother, Brady, had caught for us. Brady knew where their dens were in and around a big meadow. He would hide near a den and watch until they would get far enough from their home until he could get between their den and them before they could reach safety. My pet wasn’t really a pet. He would bite and finally got away.

Avis and I played together a lot because she was two years younger than I. Sometimes I had trouble getting her to play my way or keep up when we were going to Uncle Gene’s, about one-half mile from our home. Then I would say, “”Appy won’t keep the snakes off you.” That got cooperation.

Life on Otterslide

It must have been the fall of 1907 that we went to Otterslide near Berea. I am sure that we were sorry to leave Aunt Cleo and Uncle Gene because they were mighty good to us. Our new home was small and just boarded up, but it was close to many of our relatives and friends. Probably we lived on Uncle Lashie Maxon’s place. Then there were Uncle Delvie and Uncle Elsa Maxson who lived near. They all had children who went to school to Dad and played with us what few times we could get together.

A few things are very vivid in my memory. I remember Dad chopping wood by our woodshed. Once he glanced his ax off the shed and cut his foot badly. Then I remember my mother carrying water up a ladder and into the attic to put out a fire that caught from the chimney. Another time at the supper table our oil lamp fell over, and the kerosene caught inside it. Mom grabbed an overcoat hanging near and wrapped the lamp up and put it outside.

The worst thing that happened while we lived on Otterslide was while Dad and Brady were working up the hollow (like they were when Mom put out the attic fire). My younger brother, Randall, choked. After Mom pounded his back and shook him while holding him by the heels, we ran to Uncle Lashie’s. Mother carried Randall, who must have been about 2 years old; and Avis and I tried to keep up. They could not unchoke Randall. It was such a sad time. I remember Dad and me after dark out by the woodshed crying our eyes out.

I have some hazy memories about going to school in the one room school at Otterslide. Of course, I was in the first grade, and my teacher was my father. But really, the next vivid memory was riding in a wagon and entering Berea. Just after we got through the covered bridge, what to my wondering eyes should appear but George Washington’s son sitting on steps in front of a house. His hair was cut just like the pictures of George Washington, and it was white. Later I found out he was my first cousin, Arden Bee. Probably his mother, Aunt Rachel, told him we were coming, and he was watching for us. Arden and I have always been close friends and still are.

Living in Berea

My memories of Berea are so many that I could never tell you about them all and get done in time to go fishing when the weather gets fit. Suffice it to tell about my schooling, my work, my dog, and my friends and enemies. I may make a mistake telling about the happenings with my enemies. My grandchildren and great grandchildren must realize that I was just a boy eight to almost twelve years old–so you do as your dad and mom say, not the way I did.

Maybe you will be interested in knowing what Berea looked like while we lived there. It was located in an almost round bottom of about fifty acres on the south side of the South Branch of the Hughes River. The business consisted of two stores, a post office, livery barn, and a grist mill. There was a two-room school when we arrived, with another added while we were there; and this was in Berea proper. The school was later moved to where Camp Joy is now. (The house was not moved, but a new schoolhouse was built.) The road made a loop around the bottom, with houses on both sides. There were about twenty houses along the loop and three on the road that extended down the river from where the loop joined at the covered bridge. At that junction was the post office, one store, the livery barn, and the blacksmith shop. The other store and the gristmill were about one hundred yards up the river along the loop, by the dam.

My Schooling at Berea

As for school, I remember I was a very slow reader; and I liked exciting stories like Gulliver’s Travels, Indian stories, Greek stories, poems, and wars in the histories. I once printed a big imaginary story about a character similar to Gulliver. I also often felt very sad, fearing I would never have a chance to be a hero because I feared there would never be any more wars. of course, I was wrong. There have been wars, and I am glad I didn’t have to fight in them.

These stories of Jason, Hercules, the Roman heroes and the Christian martyrs, I suppose, influenced me to try to be a martyr. My worst punishment at school came from that desire. In fact, there were two of those experiences–one in the fifth grade at Berea and the other in the ninth grade at Salem High School. After I was teaching, I realized that I needed the rubber hosing I got at Berea and being expelled from the study hall at Salem because I took the blame for other pupils’ mischief.

Play at the Berea School was real fun. We chose up and played base, both draw base and prisoner base. We also had fun playing ball with a twine-wound ball and no cover. (We had never seen a baseball or softball.) I loved to be the catcher. One noon I was catching for a strong eighth-grade pitcher. The ball was wet, which made it like a rock. A batter just snibbed the under part of the ball, causing it to hit my eye squarely. That ended my catching career. There were many other games, like “London Bridge,” “soccer ball,” and in the fall “Hull Gull, Odd or Even,” and in the spring “Lap Jack.”

Maybe you would like to know how we played “Hull Gull” and “Lap Jack.” As I said, Hull Gull was played in the fall. Chestnuts were plentiful, and we would fill our pockets with them before we went to school. Then we would hold out a hand (with some chestnuts enclosed) and say, “Hull Gull, odd or even.” If the other youngsters said “Even” or “Odd” and when we opened our hand there was what they said, they got the chestnuts. But if they were not right, we got one from them to make it odd or even.

We played lap jack in the spring because the willows along the creeks were extra limber. We took a willow switch with us to school, and we would challenge another child to lap jack with us. Whoever hollered first lost the match. Usually this only lasted one day because it caused trouble that mothers and teacher didn’t like.

There were many programs at school in those days. We had a literary meeting each month during the school term. The older people had parts in it, too. I remember being in a debate: “Resolved that water is more destructive than fire.” I don’t remember whether I won or lost. I also remember a Christmas Program with a big tree for the community and a jolly Santa Claus. On that tree was a pair of skates for me. When I got the skates, I left the program and went to the river above the dam, where there were solid ice and lots of skaters (including my older brother, Brady). I didn’t have a period of falling down because I had practiced stroking just like the big folks even without skates on for a year or so.

This is enough about schools at Berea except to say that I was noticing girls again like I did in New York State (but not quite as much). Pearl Buzzard, who later became Mrs. Curtis Simmons, was my special. Pearl’s husband left her when she became a crippled invalid. We were close friends until her death, when she willed me her wheelchair. She also left one son, who took good care of her to the end. Another girl I liked a lot was Beulah Collins, who later married my cousin, Hollie Sutton. Beulah was beautiful and had an especially beautiful voice. She didn’t notice me because she liked the older boys.

One year while we lived at Berea I went to school at the Fair View School. I walked with Dad about three miles each way. That was the last year I had Dad for my school teacher. That was a great experience. Dad was a wonderful teacher, especially in arithmetic and history and on the playground. Among many other games, we often played “Fox and Hound” at noon, which used about all the noon period and a lot of rough country.

Special Friends (and Enemies)–(Wrestling and fighting)

It was not long after we moved to Berea, the summer I was seven years old, that the boy who was to become my best friend and buddy came to see me. The thing I remember most about his visit was that he wanted to wrestle. So Dad cleared a room of furniture, and we went at it. I couldn’t seem to understand what was happening until after he had thrown me three or more times. Then I said it was my turn to yank. To the best of my knowledge, he never did throw me again.

In fact, I can’t remember our ever wrestling again except once, when we got paid to fight in front of a crowd of men at the livery barn. In the first place, the men told Lester (Lester Jackson was my friend’s name) they would give him a nickel if he would get me to fight him. We fought so fiercely that they got ashamed, I suppose, and paid us a nickel apiece to quit. We took the money and hand-in-hand went to the nearest store and bought candy to eat together. The nearest store was the Douglas one.

Lester and I were at the livery stable another time when the front big sliding door fell on Lester. It hardly hurt him any, but we were scared. Lester was a tough boy. Once he had his head smashed when his father’s combination truck and surrey automobile (the first one of any kind owned near Berea) hit a telephone pole with his head between the truck and the pole. It did put him in bed for a while, but he recovered and served in the Marines for many years.

I saw Lester only once after we left Berea at the age of eleven and almost twelve. He came to our place for a visit at Salem, and we went to Clarksburg to visit my cousin, Arden Bee (the one I thought was George Washington’s son). The three of us went above the dam at Hartland, a suburb of Clarksburg, and had a great time swimming. I went back to try to see him at a Jackson and Prunty Reunion at the old Prunty Place, three miles below Berea. They told me Lester had died in Hawaii ten years before.

I must tell you about the time Lester Jackson saved Avis’ life. We had been on the ice of the river down by Creed Collins’. We didn’t have skates, so we must have just walked on the ice across the river. Lester and I had gotten across and were waiting for Avis. She hollered, “Help!” We saw her sink to her arm pits through the ice. Lester ran to her. They broke the ice in front of her, and Lester led her to the bank. I was ashamed that I didn’t go to her, but no doubt it was meant for Lester because I was so heavy. I might have drowned both of us, or all three. Those of you who read this, beware of thawing ice. It is treacherous because it can have hidden rotten spots.

I remember one other wrestling match, and it was with Odbert Bell, a mighty husky boy my age. Our wrestling was done with one arm over the shoulder and one under for each. When one was down and couldn’t get up, the other had won. We squeezed each other’s back and thrashed around, trying to bend the other’s back in until he would fall. Finally Odbert got me. I think that was why I never cared much for wrestling.

My memories of Berea have many fights in them. Suffice it to tell you of a few. One boy I fought with was Harry Wade. His father bought our home place, and he lived in the same house where I was born. He and I were very good friends, but some of the big boys got him to start a fight after a program at school. We fought with our fists, only quite evenly and so entertainingly that the watchers cheered loudly enough to attract an older person, who stopped the fight and sent us on home (for which I was thankful because I wasn’t sure of the win).

Our next-door neighbor was the village blacksmith, Mike Jett. He had two sons and two daughters. The son Dewit was my age; and the daughters, Pearl and Judy, were older. Leo was the youngest son. There was practically a feud between our family and Mike Jett, along with the men who came to his drinking parties.

Once I was coming home on our horse at night;, and they rocked us, which almost made Nellie run off with me. Another time, I met Dewit, Pearl, and Judy in front of the school house. I got on the school house porch against the house so they couldn’t get behind me. I guess I was pretty desperate because I hit Dewit so hard that I heard a loud crack. Dewit went down. I saw some folks coming who heard it from the post office porch, so I ran home.

Good Times With Cousins and Hunting Dogs

My time at Berea was also very pleasant–especially the visits to stay all night with my cousins, Blondy Randolph at Aunt Sarah’s and Oma Sutton at Uncle Herman’s. Blondy and I played climbing and swinging in the big spreading chestnut tree that had grapevines in it. Aunt Sarah’s big barn had lots of hay and straw in it, where we did tumbling stunts. Most fun of all was training and using a pair of calves to pull a cart our Uncle John Meatheral had made for us.

The times I remember going home with Oma were in the fall during the hunting season. Uncle Herman had hounds. Most of them were foxhounds, but one was a dandy night-fur-animal hunter. He would tree opossums and hole skunks, and we would have fun shaking the possums out and digging out the skunks. We sometimes built a fire to warm ourselves and roast apples wrapped in clay mud, and once a young chicken.

Speaking of hunting dogs, I had a red short-legged dog, Rover, that was a real pal. He used to go with me all the time. Many were the times I grabbed his hind legs and helped him pull groundhogs and rabbits out of their dens. He had such short legs that he would go back in their holes and pull them out.

I remember one time down at our old home place that Rover ran a groundhog into a hole. I heard it whistle before it went in; then, as it came out a back door of its den, Rover grabbed it. They fought over and over on a smooth path; then they got off the path, so Rover just rolled over and over with it until they got to a small flat place at the edge of the river. Rover wanted to do his fighting on level ground. They fought there; but before I could help Rover without hurting him, they got into the river. I was really scared for Rover then, so I went in, too. We finally got it out and quieted, but I had an awful time finishing it off with a club.

There is a story about this hole–in fact, there are two–where Rover and I finished off the groundhog. This hole in the river was just below our ford and between our place and Grandpa Randolph’s. The story goes that another dog, Bruno (a big, ugly bulldog) got revenge on a deer for butting his friend and playmate, Ring (the tall greyhound), with a quilting party of ladies watching.

Bruno’s barking brought the women out to see the trouble just in time to see a big buck send Ring rolling with its horns. Bruno, even though he was fat and lazy, seemed to get determined to pay that buck back for hurting his playmate. He chased it to the river. While it was crossing on the ice, he caught it by the nose. He turned it a somersault and broke its neck. After quite a while, a man on a horse came along and claimed the deer, claiming his dogs had been running it. Grandpa gave it to him.

The other story also happened before I was born and while Dad was a young man. He and his brothers built a fence across the lower end of this water hole, just about where we fought the groundhog. They built it of rocks and put a room below it at the swiftest side. When the river would rise because of grinding grain and using water from the dam at Berea, they would open the door into that room. When the water went down, they would close the door and go in and catch fish with hands and clubs. Sometimes they got mighty nice ones.

Once for a few days we couldn’t find Rover. After worrying and inquiring, we heard that a teamster about 15 miles down river had him. Dad, Brady, and Clee Wagoner went down to get Rover. They walked and took turtle-prodding sticks similar to gaff hooks because it was spring before the turtles got out of the mud. They spied Rover at a house a little way from the road. Brady and Clee waited at the road, and Dad went to the house. Dad told the man he had his dog and he was going to take it home. The man said he would wade through blood before he would let that dog go. Dad said, “Start wading”; and he went back to the road, where Brady had called Rover and had him. We were a happy family when they came home with Rover and two sacks of nice snapping turtles. I think Avis and I were the happiest. Mom let me sleep with Rover in my bed for some time. That was very unusual. I never knew of her allowing a dog in our house at any other time.

My Work at Berea

Besides this fun, I did do some work while living at Berea. One year, we raised a cane patch (probably two acres) on top of the hill near Aunt Sarah’s. I remember that so well because I had to thin it. Dad was afraid the seed was poor, so he put plenty seeds in each hill. I think they all came up. I got a terrible headache.

We also had a garden au the old home place besides the big one we had at Berea. One day Brady, Dad, and I were working in this garden when we heard loud splashing in the riffles at the ford. We ran down and got a fish in a little open place among the seaweeds. Brady hit it with a club, and we had a twenty-four-inch bass. I remember we couldn’t eat it all in one day with Grandpa and Grandma Sutton visiting us.

There were a number of farmers around whose children had grown up and left home, so I got to ride their horses for cultivating, harvesting, etc. One of these farmers was John Meredith. He had a queer way of paying; he would feel in his pocket after I had worked a half day or so and find a nickel, dime, or once or twice a quarter and give it to me.

One day Mr. Meredith got me to help him drive two cows down to Wolf Pen, about 10 miles down river, in order to sell one of them. He thought they would drive easier. I rode behind him on a horse, (a rather sharp-backboned one). When we were coming to a branch road, I got off, ran ahead, and made the cows go the right way. We ate dinner there; then we drove the one cow back. It took about all day. I remember so well because I was so disappointed; he only found a nickel to pay me.

When I was ten and eleven years old, I had a regular job of driving the milk cows for our village to a pasture in the morning and to their home lot in the evening. They paid me by the month, twenty-five cents. I thought I was rich. There were deep hollows and patches of brush. Sometimes it took me until after dark to find the cows and get them home. Dad let me buy a little hand ax, similar to our Scout axes now. With that ax I never was afraid, even if a stump or bush would look like a bear.

That night hunting makes me think of the stormy night when Nell got out, and I went up the river to hunt for Nell while Dad went down river. Dad forgot to tell me how far to go. I kept going and looking in every possible place. She meant about as much to me as Rover did. It was extremely dark except when the lightning flashed, which I learned to appreciate. I must have hunted two miles where there was not a home in sight of the road before I gave up and went home discouraged. Dad had found Nellie, so I was happy; and Mom and Dad were glad to see me.

Another kind of work was hacking. That was cutting brush from one- to eight- or ten-inches in diameter and piling it. At first I wasn’t big enough to use an ax, so I piled. Once in a while when they would find a nice branchy bush, they would let me climb it before they cut it. I would get on the side up hill. When it fell, it would bounce up and down a while, giving me a thrilling ride.

When I was ten years old, Dad let me use a pole ax. I saw my first copperhead that I remember. When stepping up to a bush, I spied a copperhead all coiled up. I yelled, “Dad!” He came and made a quick end to its life.

They also let me use a scythe that same summer to cut weeds and small brush and briers. I went down to the place Dad bought from Grandpa Sutton, which was just across the river from the lower end of Berea. I was feeling big and important. No doubt that made me careless whetting my scythe. I cut my hand, which stopped my using the scythe for a while.

My Colt, Tony

Our horse Nellie finally had a colt that Dad let me call my own . Nellie and the colt pastured in the round bottom where Camp Joy is now. I loved the colt and began petting it whenever Nellie would let me. Finally I got a halter on it and would lead it around near its mother. Then I would get it into the box stall in the church barn, where I would feed it apples, etc., from my hand and put my hand on its back.

One day I led Tony down to Berea. He must have been about one year old then. I took him to drink at the watering hole in the river where the liverybarn horses drank. Tony started jumping up on his hind feet and pawing, so I started him back toward pasture. He gave me a hard time. Once he managed to scrape my back some with his front hoof. Dad (or maybe it was Mom) wouldn’t let me bother Tony for a while. As soon as I could, I got him back in the box stall, fed him, petted him, put my hand on his back, put a blanket on him, and finally would hang onto the top of the stall and sit on him.

About that time, Dad moved him to a pasture at the top of the hill toward Pullman. The Berea cows were being kept in that pasture, so sometimes I would find Tony and ride him bareback to round up the cows. One time just as I got on him he jumped a ravine. It caused me to fall, but Tony stopped and waited for me to get back on his back.

The first time Tony had a saddle on, Avis rode him (with Dad on Nellie) for a visit up Otterslide. They said he was as good as could be. The second time was when I took him back to pasture. I was at the foot of the hill when I met two young men. They had white straw hats. They threw the hats in front of Tony. He wheeled, and my saddle turned. I fell and broke my arm. I took Tony on to pasture without letting the boys know I was hurt. Then I went home and let Dad and Mr. Wagoner set my arm.

More Injuries

Surely you are getting tired of happenings at Berea. Suffice it just to say that Avis got her arm broken while riding an old buggy coasting down the road in Berea. I got one arm broken jumping over a cliff when they were turning off maple sugar at Uncle John Meatherell’s.

At still another time, a young fellow cut my shoulder; and Minter Fox, the veterinarian, sowed it up, which hurt like blue blazes. (I still have a scar on my back that looks like a lizard.)

At another time I was riding to Pullman, and Nellie jumped over the bank and a fence because she saw her first car. When cars first came around, they must have seemed like dragons to the horses. Most car drivers would stop when they met a horse, turn off the engine, and lead the horse or horses past the car.

Fishing at Berea

When the ground was too wet to work and we didn’t have other work we could do, Mom and Dad were real good about letting us have fun–like fishing.

Once we (Brady and I) went fishing in the same hole where Mom helped me catch my first fish, only this was on the road side of the river and two or three hundred yards farther up stream. We went down a steep bank from the road to a small flat where we could throw our baits into the water near an old brush pile. We began catching fish. Brady was catching them faster, probably because his pole was longer. I started stringing his fish, and he caught them as fast as I could get them strung. We had the stringer about full and decided that was all we could carry home. They were nice black and yellow sunfish and catfish. Just as we got up on the road, along came Uncle John Meatherell in his surrey pulled by two spirited horses. He took us home, and we were thankful.

Elmo’s Birth and The Last Year in Berea

August 31, 1913, was a day of many anxieties at our home. Aunt Sarah was there. So was Julia Meatherell, our cousin. Our family doctor was there. Everything was hustle and bustle, so Avis and I stayed out of the way, mostly outside of the house. I have heard the story over and over since–how Dr. Bee could not take care of Elmo when he was born because he was busy saving my mother. Aunt Sarah said she thought Julia and she could save him, and they did. They had to use a medicine dropper to feed him because he was so tiny. It was touch and go for both Mother and Elmo for quite a while. Elmo’s birth, Mom’s being sickly, and Brady’s going to Salem College caused Dad and Mom to decide to move to Salem.

Another reason for the move was our troubles with unfriendly neighbors–like the time Brady came home from school at Salem one evening. Since Dad was staying at school for a program, Brady and I decided to go to the program and come home with him.

As we went by Mike and Dinah Jett’s home, we noticed they were having company. When we got through the covered bridge, we heard loud hollering (“We’ll murder them!”) and a lot of swearing. We knew they meant us. We quickly gathered a good club and a handsized rock. As we went up the steep path (which was a short cut for walking toward Pullman), we planned to wait for these young men and have the downhill advantage. We tried that a number of times before we got to the top of the hill; but even though they were drunk, they wouldn’t fall for our trick. Our plan was for Brady to get them down and me to crack them over the head with the club.

When we started down the hill that would take us to Dad’s school, we traveled on the road. These men (there were five of them about Brady’s age, seventeen years old to twenty) came up to us, trying to shove each other against us, then backing off and rocking US. They didn’t get the fight started that way because we weren’t going to fight unless we had to.

Finally one of the largest ones of them took hold of Brady’s lantern and said he had lost his cap. (He had his cap on his head.) While they argued, two of them went past us and two stayed above. I tell you, I was scared and had my club tightly in my hand. Brady told Luther to let loose of the lantern or he would take him over the rock cliff (which was just off the road); he let loose. The two in front of us stepped aside, and they all left us. Probably Luther’s scare brought them to their senses. Anyway, we were mighty glad to get to Dad’s school.

Life at Salem: Boxing at Salem

Among my first memories at Salem are of boxing at the Pennsylvania Dormitory of Salem College. I guess we lived there while we waited to get in our home on top of the hill back of the college. Some of the boys who lived in the dormitory, including Ruben Brissey, got Otho Randolph and me into a boxing match. It was the first time I ever saw boxing gloves. Otho, my cousin and the chief of police’s son, gave me all I could handle; but I must have done fairly well.

About once a year Otho and I would have a lively boxing match until the summer we were sixteen. I remember that one extra well. We boxed in Uncle Joel’s yard at the mouth of Pennsylvania Avenue. Otho was giving me a mighty hard time, mostly because he kept stepping on my toes with the spikes on his running shoes. I got afraid he was going to get me, but Aunt Gertie came out and stopped us. We never boxed again, but I will tell you of our farming together at Uncle Al Glover’s later.

Of course, that was not all the boxing I did at Salem. Some of us boys stopped at Jennings Randolph’s home on the way back from church (probably a Junior Christian Endeavor meeting), and Jennings brought out his gloves. First Gene Lowther put them on with me. I happened to get him some pretty solid blows, so he quit, never to box with me again. (I never did see him box with anyone again.) Then Jennings boxed with me. We enjoyed many bouts for two years. We never tried to knock each other out, but he was a mighty worthy opponent.

When I started to Salem College Academy, I boxed often in the Rec Room. These were just for fun. But one with Offet Collins was for real. Offet told me he was going to stay with his father at a saw mill in Kentucky the next summer, so he wanted to practice fighting. I agreed to fight with him, even though I was fifteen and he was eighteen. He also had much longer arms than mine. Of course, we put gloves on. We sparred a little; then Offet rushed. He kept on rushing. I hit him, but he kept on. Finally he caught me an extra good one. I went sort of numb. I felt some other blows, first on one side and then the other. The next thing I knew I was wakening up on the floor. I got up and held him off for a while; then he did the same thing again. When I got up the next time, I stayed with him until he wanted to quit. Either the sting had left his blows, or I had learned how to keep them from landing.

This match with Offet probably helped me when I boxed Fay Bunnel, the carnival boxer, before a crowd at Salem. I was eighteen at that time. I only agreed to fight three rounds as a wrestling and boxing card. For some reason the wrestling didn’t happen, so they asked me to go six rounds with Fay. I agreed. About the second round Fay caught me a glancing blow in one eye. The gloves were six ounces and badly scarred. The blow almost blinded me the rest of that round. I had a hard time covering up. His blows came fast. They seemed to come from everywhere. He had a style I had never seen before; his gloves were down at his sides. I seemed to do better after that second round but was glad when the sixth was over. Fay had a good professional career.

My Twelfth Birthday

By the time I had my twelfth birthday, we had -moved into our own house on the top of the hill behind Salem College. Mom had a party for me with some ten or twelve of my friends. Gene Lowther, Jennings Randolph, Russell Jett, and Otho were among them. Among other things we tried to see who could chin himself the most. I could chin myself only once, while a lot of them could go up four times and some more. After that I developed the ability to chin-up more than eight times.

Scouting (Boy Scouts)

It wasn’t long after my twelfth birthday that Oris Stutler started a Boy Scout troop. My, but we enjoyed learning in the Scouts. Oris was a great Scout Master. Jennings saw that he got a Congressional Medal for it.

I remember two camping trips. In the summer of 1914, we camped on Ford’s Place four miles below West Union on the Middle Island Creek. It was a wonderful experience; but my buddy, Russell Jett, almost drowned while taking a swimming test. He was swimming beside me, and I saw him sink without saying a word. When I realized he wasn’t fooling, we pulled him out; and Oris brought him around.

The next summer we camped one mile below West Milford on the West Fork River. One of the things I remember most about the camping was the great food. I even learned to like rice that was cooked with water and sugar (I never liked it before). I also remember catching big frogs.

I meet Ruth Bond

.Another thing I remember about my scouting was meeting the prettiest girl I had ever seen–on the walk by the side of the College Administration Building. She had blond curls, lots of them, hanging over her shoulders. I was wearing my scout suit. I tipped my hat as nice as I knew how. It must have made some impression because I now have her as my own queen and mother of my seven children.

In the scouting I took a special interest in fire-building, cooking, and bird watching. I made many trips back up the ridge from our home, where I would watch and listen for new birds. When eating time came (I could only tell by my hunger because I had no watch), I would prepare a spot carefully and build a fire. Sometimes I had some kind of meat. More often it was a vegetable or just a sandwich to toast on a forked stick. I would wrap corn or potatoes in clay mud (we did not have aluminum foil). My birdwatching was more listening and stalking than watching. I kept listening for new songs or voices. Then I would stalk the bird that made the sound or sang the song until I could get a good look. Sometimes I found it was an old friend but just a different song. That led to my recognizing many birds by their voices.

Some Fights

During the first summer I was at Salem, I had some interesting experiences. One of them was after a ball game on top of the hill back of Jennings Randolph’s home. A gang of boys led by Tad Graham were playing, and my friends (Russell Jett and Dana Williams) and I joined them. After the game Tad and his friends grabbed me. They threw me down. I looked for help and saw Russell and Dana heading for safety and home. Tad said, “Let’s make him eat this cow manure.” (It was real dry.) I broke loose and grabbed a club that happened to be handy. I said, “The first SOB that gets near me is going to get this.” (I used the real words, which I had never done before.) They believed me and finally gave up and went home. I had a few other hard times because I was a country greenhorn.

Many times while on the Main Street I would pass a dray wagon hauling things to or from the railroad station. Mr. Davis and some of his three boys would be on it. The boys got to hollering, “Baby, Baby,” each time when they passed. It got annoying. One day I met one of them with an Ash boy. I just started swinging my fists. I backed up against the side of the Ford and Swiger store so they couldn’t get behind me. We were trading blows hard and fast, especially the Ash boy, when a man came along and parted us. That didn’t satisfy me or the Davis boys either.

Another day I met the three of them walking in front of the college. We started swinging. I remember college students gathered to watch on the lawn. I knew them, and many of them knew me because I went to the 7th grade there where they practice taught. I soon got the Davis boys separated. I would knock one into the street. Another would come; I would roll him. They soon had enough. Later they were good friends.

Tad Graham hadn’t had enough to suit him. One day Jennings brought his boxing gloves up to that same ball field for Tad and me to have it out. I beat him thoroughly because his arms were shorter than mine and he wouldn’t quit trying to clobber me. Tad was a friend from then on.

Working at Salem

I always had a job during the summer. The first summer after my 7th grade, I took office telephone calls for the Salem Block Company (they made cement blocks). Sometimes when they had train cars of sand or cement that had to be unloaded quickly, I would help with that. They had one man laborer besides the owners. I could handle more sand and as much cement bags as he did.

I did not wait until school was out to peddle bunches of onions. They were green onions from sets that Mom had brought from Denver, Colorado, when she and Uncle Waitie went there to see their brother, Uncle Elzie. These were called winter onions because they would be good eating-size by March. We put 5 or 6 onions in a bunch, and I sold them at 5 cents per bunch.

We had a hard time making a living. Dad taught mostly one-room schools and sold life insurance in the summer. His pay was not enough to keep us four children and Mother. Mother took in some washings to help. My father and I took filth jobs the summer after my 8th grade. Some of them were hacking jobs, and some were scythe jobs (like briers). I did not have to worry about copperheads. Dad could distinguish a copperhead smell as well as I could a bird song. Once when we were hacking brush on Dr. Davis’s farm on Tarkill, he said, “There’s a copperhead around.” We looked for a likely place and spied a big rotten stump. When we got it turned over, we killed two big rusty ones.

The next year was my first year away from Salem College for schooling. I went to Salem High School as a freshman. Among many exciting things, about the last of February, I took the measles. With other subjects that I did all right in, I had Latin, which kept me hustling to understand. These measles kept me out of school two weeks. Mother taught me to make flowers out of crepe paper and to tat so I could pass the time. Maybe I should have been studying Latin. When I got back, they had learned about verbs; and I was having an almost impossible job to catch up.

Along came the offer for high school boys to leave school to work on a farm to produce food for England and France during their war with Germany. I jumped at the chance. I went to Uncle Al and Aunt Martha Glover’s dairy farm on Route 23 one mile north of Salem. I had never milked a cow, and all milking was by hand then. The first morning at four o’clock Aunt Martha (she was not a real Aunt but acted like a sweet one) called, so Uncle Al and I went to the barn. While Uncle Al milked seven cows, I milked six. I was mighty proud, but my fingers were almost too tired to hold my knife and fork while I ate breakfast when we got to the house.

There was lots of good healthy work to do on the farm. We prepared the ground and planted the corn, harvested the meadows, and cut filth. If it rained, there were always things to do in the barn, like cleaning up and caring for the machinery.

One very hot evening I heard a buzzing while getting the cows out of the woods. After listening and watching a while, I located a bee tree. The entrance was about thirty feet up in the main trunk of a red oak. When I told Dad about it the next Sabbath on one of my weekly visits, he planned to come over and help me cut it. Uncle Al agreed to our cutting it. We sawed it down with a cross-cut saw (there were no power saws then). When it fell, the tree split lengthwise, leaving the honey entirely open as pretty as could be. The bees did not think we should take their honey. After burning some rags, we managed to get four water buckets of honey and a few stings.

I learned a lot about farming from Uncle Al, and Aunt Martha fed me so very well. One unusual thing I learned to eat was clabber milk from her cold spring house. The milk would be soured into a solid called clabber. When it was in my glass, I would take my knife or fork and chop it up some–then drink and smack my lips. Try this some day. You may find a drink much better than Coke.

Another drink I liked especially well was buttermilk. Often I enjoyed a supper of buttermilk and corn or light bread. Now, 1981, Grandma doesn’t churn; but she makes buttermilk by putting about four tablespoons of vinegar in a quart of milk or powdered milk (or until it starts to curd as you stir it–it might take more than the four tablespoons). I am having some buttermilk and cornbread flapjacks on this my 79th birthday for dinner or supper–or maybe both.

After school was out, my cousin Otho Randolph came to work with me. One of our biggest jobs was the harvesting. I had never done anything but help build shocks and ride the horse to haul them in. This summer I helped build the shocks and pitched it up to Uncle Al while Otho hauled it to us. It might interest you to know that my pay started at $10 for the first month and then raised to $20 per month.