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(A copyrighted publication of West Virginia Archives and History)

Volume 55 Book Notes

Volume 55 (1996), pp. 178-180

ARCHITECTURAL AND PICTORIAL HISTORY OF BERKELEY COUNTY. Volume III. By the Berkeley County Historical Society (Martinsburg: BCHS & Berkeley County Historic Landmarks Commission, 1995. Pp. 282. Available from BCHS, 126 East Race St. 25401.)

This third volume of Berkeley County architectural and pictorial history presents the Bedington, Nipetown, Falling Waters, and Hainesville area of the county. The publication is based on a historic resources survey conducted by the Berkeley County Historic Landmarks Commission and county historical society with funding from federal, state, and local sponsors.

The publication is heavy with the physical descriptions required in the survey process. Numerous historical photographs accompany those documenting current status to provide important details revealing change over time to many structures and a continuum for others. While sites are predominantly rural houses and farmsteads, as one would expect for this county's rich agricultural past, there are representative structures supporting industry, such as the Falling Waters mill, and commercial activities, such as those associated with the Dennis Water Cress farm, a subject worthy of extended study. Just as with the previous two volumes, this volume of Architectural and Pictorial History of Berkeley County offers much for those interested in the history of structures and sites, as well as family history.

BETTY ZANE. By Zane Grey (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1995. Pp. 291. $12.00.)

GEORGE WASHINGTON, FRONTIERSMAN. By Zane Grey (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1994. Pp. 268. $25.00.)

Zane Grey, prodigious chronicler of the rugged American West, began his literary career in 1903 with the publication of Betty Zane. Nearly one hundred years later, Grey's career has been brought to a close with an authorized reprinting of Betty Zane and the issuing of a previously unpublished novel, George Washington, Frontiersman.

Grey devoted four novels to the frontier history of his native Ohio River Valley. His ancestors, the legendary Zane family, figure prominently in these tales of heroism in the days when what lay beyond the borders of present West Virginia was largely unknown to white settlers.

This Bison Books edition of Betty Zane includes a foreword by Grey's son, Dr. Loren Grey, and George Washington, Frontiersman, is edited and introduced by Grey biographer Carlton Jackson.

THE CHILDREN'S HOME SOCIETY OF WEST VIRGINIA. CHILDREN: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW. By Stan Bumgardner (Charleston: by the society, 1996. Pp. x, 177. $25.00.)

As with many institutions, the Children's Home Society of West Virginia used the occasion of its centennial to sponsor the publication of its history. The book uses the chronological, administration-to-administration tenure to organize the historical content. It moves from "The Beginning," in 1896, to the "The Davis Child Shelter," named for benefactor Senator Henry Gassaway Davis from Elkins, through the Sowers, Smith, and Cleland periods to the final chapters, "A New Era," "A New Beginning," and "The New Davis Child Shelter," covering the post-1950s. The author has provided interest and life to this approach with the liberal use of photographs from the institution's collections, with a major percentage focusing on the children. These and the sampling of case studies of the clients and residents will arouse empathy on the part of any reader.

This publication, like the 1994 history of the Florence Crittenton Home in Wheeling by Margaret Brennan, presents much-needed research and information on the state's social history. Bumgardner has skillfully woven his way through materials which must be private to protect those served, met the needs of the institutional sponsors, and presented an informative historical treatment of the work of the Children's Home Society. This commmorative history should re-kindle many favorable memories for those whose lives were touched by the work of this benevolent organization.

THE EMBASSY GIRLS. By Julia Davis (Morgantown: West Virginia Univ. Press, 1992. Pp. xv, 186. $25.00.)

Julia Davis has left an interesting memoir of post-World War I England. After her father, John W. Davis, was appointed to represent the United States as the Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, Julia left for England accompanied by Katy Watson, her cousin by marriage. They young women arrived in July 1919, less than one year after the armistice had ended the Great War, which had devastated England and the European continent.

Davis faithfully recreates the ambassadorial life with all its regimen and attention to protocol--and as lived by the vivacious, nineteen-year-old Davis and her seventeen-year-old cousin. Published as a companion to The Ambassadorial Diary of John W. Davis, which Julia Davis edited, The Embassy Girls is an engaging and informative glimpse into English society, its attendant tradition, and the changes engendered by the war to end all wars.


This is a book of the compiled newspaper columns on the history of Mannington, published in the Fairmont Times West Virginian in 1956. Mockler was a local authority on the history of Mannington, having lived in the town for seventy-four years and served as city clerk and treasurer for forty-one of those. Mockler's is a standard chronological study, beginning with the Native American and early settlement and in some areas includes the 1950s. Topics receiving the most attention are the Civil War and the gas and oil industries, which were responsible for the growth and significance of Mannington for several decades in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Footprints at the Forks of Buffalo includes a concluding chapter by editor Eleanor Mockler Bush and photographer Albert Lynch on homes built before 1895. The short historical sketches of these homes reinforce and supplement some of Mockler's account. The book-length publication of Mockler's brief local history provides another available source to Arthur C. Prichard's An Appalachian Legacy: Mannington Life and Spirit. While this volume utilizes some of Reverend Prichard's historical photographs, those interested in Mannington's history will benefit from using both publications because Mockler's newspaper writings pre-date the 1983 publication of An Appalachian Legacy.

FRONTIER FORTS ALONG THE POTOMAC AND ITS TRIBUTARIES. By William H. Ansel, Jr. (1985; reprint, Parsons: McClain Printing Company, 1995. Pp. xi, 265.)

Some ninety forts were constructed in the Potomac River Basin by frontier settlers and the military between 1754 and 1765. Stretching from south-central Pennsylvania into the Valley of Virginia, these fortifications made up much of the western line of defense during the French and Indian War. William Ansel, Jr. combed a variety of primary and secondary sources to piece together a cogent description of the forts and the reasons for their construction. Ansel also provides information on these pioneers and the military personnel who made their homes in the disputed middle ground between the settled eastern coast and the vast western wilderness.

A PENNY FOR COMING BACK. By Jack Canfield (Charleston: by the author, 1995. Pp. 88.)

Jack Canfield, press secretary to governors Hulett Smith and John D. Rockefeller IV, broadcaster, and businessman, fondly recalls his family's West Virginia roots in A Penny for Coming Back. The title comes from his memories of going to the store for his grandfather, Thomas Conlon, who sent the boy off with "'a penny for going and a penny for coming back.'" Canfield remembers the small town of Elk Garden in Mineral County in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But he reaches farther back into his family's history to recreate the town as it was around the turn of the century and establishes the Irish immigrant community in which his grandfather was born. As well a being a warm personal remembrance, A Penny for Coming Back successfully weaves one family's history into the fabric of local, state, national, and even international events.

REACHING OUT WITH HEART AND HANDS: THE MEMORIES OF AN EXTENSION WORKER. By Tanner J. Livisay (Detroit, MI: the author, P.O. Box 23196, Detroit 58223, 1995. Pp. 150.)

Livisay presents this volume as "a personal account of the work of the West Virginia State College Extension Service for African-Americans in West Virginia during the years 1941 to 1965." It includes her personal memories and accounts of her twenty-four years of service and is supplemented with programs, brochures, and documents of the extension service during these important years. This was the period of transition from the segregated program before 1954 to the integrated program implemented in compliance with the United States Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Reaching Out With Heart and Hands reveals the love and devotion of Livisay for her work and those she worked with. While historians might wish for more from her personal memories, they will appreciate the many names associated with the work of the African-American Extension Service and the programs, such as those developed at Camp Washington-Carver, which were administered through West Virginia State College.

FLOWERDEW HUNDRED: THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF A VIRGINIA PLANTATION, 1619-1864. By James Deetz (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1993. Pp. xiv, 204. $24.95.)

University of Virginia anthropology professor James Deetz uses artifacts uncovered at eleven sites on the one thousand-acre plantation of Virginia's first governor to explore almost three centuries of the state's history. While noting major historical events in which Flowerdew Hundred figures--fifteen of the first twenty slaves to arrive in the Virginia colony were taken to the plantation, and the entire Army of the Potomac crossed the James River there in 1864 to outmaneuver the Army of Northern Virginia--Deetz focuses on the details of everyday life that can be gleaned from the archaeological record. In this way, Deetz brings to the fore those who are often absent from traditional historical accounts, such as African slaves and European indentured servants.

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