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 See That my Grave is Kept Clean

Like many of you, I will be visiting West Virginia this summer.  As usual, I can’t stay as long as I would like – but I’m looking forward to the visit!

In fact, next Friday, along with my carload of “tweenagers”, I’ll be headed to Speedway for the annual Caperton Family Reunion.

Even thought I haven’t placed many postings on Pride of West Virginia lately – the site is still dear to my heart. 

Over the past year I’ve watched family members from all sides and all over the country reconnect after discovering each other on Pride of West Virginia.   It’s been very satisfying!

I also receive emails almost daily from someone visiting the site. 

The most frequent message I receive goes something like this:

 Dear Laurie, 

   My parents and aunts used to send money to someone to help with the cemetery upkeep – do you happen to know who that person is?

Keeping up a cemetery is a thankless job!   Imagine how much work it takes each year just keeping weeds and grass cut in your own yard.  The keeper of the family cemetery usually has to haul in the lawn mower, weed whacker and other tools in order to maintain the area.  It takes quite a bit of money, time, and gas.  

For a long time I didn’t know who was providing the upkeep!  But I made it a point to find out.

I do know, that almost ever one of you who attends a function at “home” this summer, or any other time, usually makes it a point to visit a cemetery.  If you’re like me, you come – you look – you leave.  There’s never time in my schedule to spend a day weeding or cleaning up. 

I don’t want to place the addresses and phone numbers of the caretakers online.  If you would like to email me (la.stone@md.metrocast.net), I’ll provide you with an address or phone number for the caretakers, and you can send them the check directly.  

The Caperton Family Cemetery , in Speedway,  is maintained by Jean and Oren Roland.  This year, at the reunion, there will be many print copies of Julia’s Story available.  I am not setting a price on them, I am only asking for a donation of $7.00 – the cover price on the book.  The entire $7.00  will go directly to Jean so they can keep up with the expense of maintaining the grounds and keep it looking as beautiful as it’s always looked.   I’ll put a donation jar right by the books.  If you don’t want a book – please try to spare a little for the donation jar anyway! Every little bit  helps.

If you are not able to come to the reunion – as my gift to the cemetery fund – all profits from Julia’s Story are going towards the Caperton Cemetery Fund.  You can purchase the book online at this link:

Julia’s Story – the online cost is $7.99

Headstone photographs of the Caperton Cemetery are at the end of this message.

The Rowland Family Cemetery, located in Gardner, is maintained by Gerald Saunders.  I spoke with Gerald yesterday, he would be very appreciative of any help that might come his way.  The once “ample” cemetery fund is now reduced to only a small amount.  In the past, a hat was passed around at the Rowland family reunions.  Since the reunions stopped – the money apparently also stopped arriving. 

Gerald is unable to maintain the grounds himself now, and has hired someone to keep it mowed and weeded.  Please email me for his address if you wish to send funds!

See That My Grave is Kept Clean

Blues Standard, written by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927.

There’s just one kind of flavor I’ll ask for you;

            You can see that my grave is kept clean.

 And there’s two white horses following me;

            Waiting on my burying ground.

 Did you ever hear that coffin sound;

            Means another poor boy is under the ground.

 Did you ever hear them church bells toll;

            Means another poor boy is dead and gone.

 And my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold;

            And I believe what the father told.

 And just one last flavor I’ll ask for you;

            You can see that my grave is kept clean.

Headstone Photographs from the Caperton Cemetery in Speedway

 

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Growing up in the 30’s and 40’s in Speedway, West Virginia

Written by: Lillian Ruth Caperton Wimmer

Happy Mother’s Day Marcheta!

When we last heard from Aunt Ruth, her grandmother Ella had just moved to Ohio to live with Ruth’s Uncle Bob.  The young Ford family moved into the Old Home Place,  Ruth and her parents moved into the Old Allie House, named after Aunt Allie, who was married to Uncle Allen Caperton.

The “Old Allie House” had a kitchen, bedroom and bedroom/parlor room.  The parlor/bedroom had a lovely old stone fireplace in it and I can remember the cheerfulness of the fire crackling in the fireplace, especially at night when it cast shadows upon the wall and ceiling.  My sister and I shared a bed in that room and many nights before going to sleep I would watch those shadows upon the wall and ceiling and in my imagination would see different forms and shapes of people, animals, trees, etc.., forming and dancing on the walls and ceiling.  It was very comforting to see the fire and hear the crackling of the wood.  I can remember sitting cozily by the fireplace, curled up in a big chair reading a book. 

Lena Rivers

I always loved to read.  One of my mother’s favorite books, which I also loved to read  titled Lena Rivers. (Footnote 1)   I wish I could find that book somewhere now so that I could read it again.

 My mother and dad later had the “Old Allie Place” torn down and built a more modern house in its place.  The new house had an upstairs which was great.  I had never lived in a house with an upstairs before and I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the new house however; I missed the fireplace and always wished that somehow we could have used the stones and built a fireplace out of them in the new house.  This house consisted of kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms downstairs, and 2 bedrooms upstairs, with several large closets.   Another smaller kitchen and bathroom were later added and the old kitchen was used s a dining room.  This house was built near the end of World War II and some problems were encountered during the construction of it as some building materials were scarce and hard to find.

Mark Ratliff Jr. 1919 – 1998

This takes me to the time of the second World War.   This war began on December 7th, 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.   I  was ten years old at the time.  My beloved brother, Mark was in the Navy when the war began and we were all worried about him and anxious concerning his well-being.  He was at the Panama Canal during much of the war, but was on a destroyer in the Pacific during part of the war.   Mark was also stationed at Midway Island in the Pacific for a time.  It was a blessed relief when the war was over and he (more…)

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My father had many gifts, oration was not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong – he could very effectively communicate using only 3 or 4 carefully chosen words.  I suppose the best way to describe my father would be to portray him as a mixture of the terse NCIS character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, combined with the understated mannerisms and athletic abilities of a Spartan warrior.  In fact my dad, like Jethro Gibbs, was a Special Agent for the Treasury Department.  Unlike Gibbs, he chased down villains armed with a calculator instead of a gun.

Bill is the nervous looking man in the middle wearing possibly the first suit he ever owned.

Before I begin writing this story, I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Patricia Smith who graciously allowed me to borrow several photographs from her website McComas Memories.  Pat has worked tirelessly for over ten years keeping the site and community of McComas, West Virginia connected online.  I am placing the photographs at the end of this post as a slide show.  I would also like to thank Elaine McMillion, producer of Hollow The Documentary,  for a couple of the still shots I’m placing in the slide show.

Located in Mercer County about a mile east of the McDowell County line, McComas was once a (more…)

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I haven’t laughed so hard since……

1920 Prototype for a Modern Day Mammogram Machine

If you’re from Appalachia then you know your kin had a saying for everything and a story to go with it.

Since  proudly passing my Jubilee year I have to confess, I was probably just a glean in my father’s eye when this event happened.  Yet, I heard my mother and Aunt Ruth tell this story so often that I can just see myself sitting in a corner somewhere tickled beyond pacification while watching the whole thing unfold. There’s an old hillbilly saying that goes ” I haven’t laughed so hard since the day grandma got her teat caught in the wringer”.  Now if you’re not quite at your half century mark, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about and I know you’re sitting there rubbing your chin and going – huh? (more…)

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Appalachian Vocabulary Test

A wonderful and funny thing happens when you run a web blog, you meet some great people along the way who are also publishing some amazing blogs! I’ve recently been corresponding with Tipper Pressley, who runs a blog called  The Blind Pig & The Acorn.  Tipper has so many wonderful articles on her site I find it impossible to pick just one category as my favorite, but I have to admit – I love the Appalachian Vocabulary Quizzes that come out about once a month.  This month she posted a quiz that is very appropriate for the Halloween season and graciously allowed me to repost it on our site.  If you want to read more about the Pressley family, click here to jump to her site.   If you would like to meet Tipper in person, she will be teaching a cooking class (more…)

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James William Rowland ..1828 – 1859

As I understand it James would be my great grand Uncle. He is the first son of Kinzie Rowland and Esther French Rowland.

James married Susanna Hare, and they had two daughters.  Mary French Rowland and Sarah Louisa Rowland.

Mary French married Creed Terry and proceeded to have a large family.

Sarah Louisa married William Henry Duncan.  She had no children and lived a long life.  She and her husband were still alive in 1930.

Recently the state of West Virginia scanned and placed many of their Will records on line.

I felt very fortunate to find a record for this elusive ancestor!

Last Will and Testament for James W. Rowland

“In the name of God, Amen. I James W. Rowland of the county of Mercer and state of Virginia being of sound mind do make this last Will and Testament.

1st 

I desire that all my personal property except such as is provided for, shall so soon as possible after my death, be sold within 12 months and out of the proceeds of the same pay all my debt and funeral expenses.

2nd 

I give to my wife, Susanna, two of my horses to be selected herself, also two cows to be selected in the same manner. 10 hogs of her choice and all of the sheep if she desires them.  Also, one feather bed and furniture, all of the grain and meat now on hand together with the growing crops as she may wish, also her side-saddle.

3rd

I desire that my executor to be hereafter named, sell all of my slaves to wit: Celia, John, (more…)

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Julia meets Boden Edward Caperton

Julia had been a widow for about two years when she met a young and handsome WWI veteran.  He was a distant cousin who lived in a log cabin built on the far edge of the farm lands.  He lived with his mother, Sarah, a younger sister and brother named Ida and Henderson.   Boden Caperton had dark curly hair, dark brown eyes and a dark swarthy complexion.  Although he wasn’t very tall, he was trim and very muscular.  He and Julia were the same age, Boden had never been married.  Boad, as they called him, had seen the dark side of the world.  During the war his tour of duty took him to France and Germany for a very long time.  During his enlistment he saw a lot of fighting and the months of trench warfare he endured left him with some horrific memories that haunted (more…)

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