Saturday, January 10, 2009

All Together Now

Two days after Christmas we traveled over the mountains,

past Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia,

past rushing waters,

abandoned schoolhouses,

and wind turbines,

to see this crowd:

my four oldest sons' grandmother from Florida, now 83 years old (and their only living grandparent),

4 of my 5 sons (our youngest had been home at Christmas, and had returned to Morgantown),

10 of our grandchildren,

and of course the WVU football bowl game (which WVU won in a cliffhanger 31-30).

Great trip? You bet!
I took these photos with my new Nikon camera. Am I happy with it? Not entirely. The USB cord doesn't work with the camera for some reason. The card reader on my computer wasn't working either. Grrrr.
So I could not retrieve these photos until I soled at least one of those problems. An hour on the phone with India determined that the card readers were defective (duh). A week later the new piece arrived. A week after that I finally had time to install it, and a week after that I remembered to get the camera out of the car and see if I could get the photos. Happy day! It worked.
I'm still thinking the camera may go back to the store; I mean, why would they sell a camera that didn't have the right USB cord packaged with it? Weird.
But still--it was a wonderful day, and a beautiful trip with rare good weather in late December.


Deborah Wilson said...


A good looking family..:) And the Seneca Rocks look cool. I have a friend a tech that climbs - I've never tried it myself.

Patty said...

Wow ten grandkids. I know you must be proud. I bet you all had a great time together. I am glad you got the camera working. We had a HP photosmart camera (which I do NOT recommend) that only worked a few months. We tired to get the company to fix it and they wanted more than the price of the camera. Needless to say we didn't take the offer and threw it away. My "good" camera is a Cannon S5IS and I have been pleased with it. Of course I want bigger and better but have to save some $$$ first.

Matthew Burns said...

The old schoolhouse is the Onego School. It is located on the old Doan Harman farm. If you go back a couple hundred years, this farm was owned by my Grandfather Emmanuel Iman. You may recognize the name Doan, he is the man we bought the bull off of, that I wrote the story about on my blog, Ole Doan (the bull that trapped me in the chickenhouse).

The creek is Seneca Creek, it comes out of White's Run, one of the most pristine places in the state, IMO. You ought to travel up White's Run road sometime when you are in that part of the state, it will bring you out in Whitmer. Very peaceful and scenic drive.

Also, hate to disappoint, that's not Spruce Knob. That is the back side of Allegheny Mountain as seen from the top of Rich Mountain. Spruce Knob is wayyyy to the right of the photo, up beyond Whitmer. On a different note, the old Tory Camps are right under the hill from where you took this photo (you'd like them), and my Aunt Big Six lives at the foot of Rich Mountain. You probably notice her barn as you go by, it is just as you get to the bottom of the mountain where Job Road intersects just before you cross the river into Harman. They own 500 or so acres there.

Glad you had a good time, and to take me home with you. The grandkids look like they just adore you, I'm sure they do.


Granny Sue said...

I meant to write "past the road to Spruce Knob", Matthew. Thank you for reminding me. Or was that the road to Rich mountain? I get those two roads confused a lot in my photos for some reason. Some time back, I think I put the story about a Rich mountain ghost (Civil War era) from Comstock's encyclopedia on my blog. Do you know anything more about that story?

I have another photo that may include your aunt's barnm because I took one at that intersection. I didn't know about the Tory camps--tell more! And I think it's very cool to know that schoolhouse is located on land your family formerly owned--I've always wondered about it, and I think it's sad to see it being let go.

Good history, Matthew. Feel free to use any of the photos I take in Pendleton County or elsewhere in your home territory if you'd like to have use them in a story.

Tiger Lady said...

Look at that Motley Crew of kids - they sure are a good looking bunch! :D

Matthew Burns said...

The road at the top of the mountain is I believe called Rich Mountain Road. It will take you off the mountain into the little town of Job (pronounced Jobe). The Tory Camps are on Job road, and were the campsite of british loyalists (known as Tory's) during the American Revolution. The Tory's came from all over the colonies to camp there.

Also, of interest, Whitmer was the site of one of the last public hangings in WV. My Granddaddy Opie was there that day. He said they strung Joe Brown up like a dog. I feel certain it had alot to do with the WV Pulp & Paper Company taking over, and Joe Brown spoke out against them. Oddly enough, the hanging was investigated on the federal level and made all of the papers nationwide. It is still a sore subject for many in the area. The weird thing, to me, is all of the men, and most of their immediate families, were relocated at the company's expense, to a little town in Idaho named Weippe. Weippe is also a little logging town, and also operated by business partners with H.G. Davis. So many of the local families moved to Weippe, Idaho at this time, that they still have an annual West Virginia Festival in Weippe. My granddaddy Burns' sister moved to Weippe with her husbands family, The White's. The White's had some family members that were in on the hanging. There were photo's of the hanging that were sold afterwards, until the federal government outlawed them from being sold. Of course, I have one and it is a guresome sight.

Whitmer & Job has some very interesting history, you should check out the book, "Goin' Up Gandy" by Don Teter. It tells all about it.

Oh, and there are 2 Rich Mountains. The Rich Mountain that you probably had the ghost story about was probably the one out by the town of Beverly, where The Battle of Rich Mountain took place. That battle was locally known as The Battle of Forks and Spoons because the Confederate Army melted down the silverware from the Confederate residents of Beverly in order to make bullets. The initials of some of the soldier are carved into the rocks up at the battle site on top of the mountain. Beverly, also used to be the county seat of Randolph County, until H.G. Davis threw a hissyfit and forced an election, which he brought in workers on his railroad to vote (even though they weren't residents of Randolph County) and got the county seat moved to Elkins (then Leadsville). Funny thing is, Elkins didn't een have a courthouse at the time, county records were kept in a vault of the WV Pulp & Paper Company. Now that wasn't a conflict of interest, was it. It really was the fox watching the henhouse!!

Yes, that'd be my Aunt's barn. It is going to appear in a new WV scenery book along with Fiddler's Green, my gr-grandparents, Alfred & Attie Kile's, old log house.

So much to tell, so little time. Just ask and you shall receive. My brain is overflowing with little tidbits like this, usually they aren't of interest to anybosy but me!!lol.


Granny Sue said...

And me! This is fascinating stuff, Matthew. You're right, it probably is the other Rich mountain. I knew about the battle being called the battle of the forks and spoons, but I've also heard that was just folklore. Was it really true? How sadly funny. Why not just eat together and forget the shooting.

Matthew Burns said...

According to the diary of a gr-gr-gr- so many-Aunt of mine (her last name was Chenoweth) who lived in Beverly at the time, she did generously donate her silverware... and her wrought iron the Confederate cause at the Battle of Forks and Spoons.

I've also heard it was just folklore, but personal accounts from that day and time would indicate otherwise. Who knows? I'm sure there must be some truth to it.

I've also heard that the real reason for the War was the thieving Yankee's were trying to steal America's (Yes, the War occurred when the North invaded America!)most treasured possession...a buttermilk biscuit recipe. I'm sort of inclined to believe that this story might not be entirely true, but thought I'd share it


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