OUR MOUNT VERNONS: HISTORIC REGISTER LISTINGS OF SITES SIGNIFICANT TO THE BLACK HISTORY OF WEST VIRGINIA. Ed. by Ancella R. Bickley (by the author, 1997. Pp. 128.)
Ancella Bickley, a member of the Archives and History Commission which oversees site nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, has compiled a guide to black history sites in West Virginia. Using information from National Register nominations, Bickley lists those sites which have achieved register status, such as John Brown's Fort and Storer College in Harpers Ferry, the World War Memorial in Kimball, Camp Washington-Carver in Fayette County, and Douglass Junior-Senior High School in Huntington. Photos of each site are included, as is a brief bibliography. Bickley also includes descriptions and photographs of potential National Register nominees, such as the West Virginia Colored Orphans' Home in Huntington, the Johnsontown Church in Jefferson County, and the Mercer County Fellowship Home in Bluefield.
BLUEFIELD REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, A CENTURY OF PROGRESS: A HISTORY OF BLUEFIELD REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, BLUEFIELD COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, BLUEFIELD SANITARIUM. By Stuart McGehee (Parsons: McClain Printing Co. 1997. Pp. 89. )
This is a sponsored, institutional history published to honor the medical service provided by the Bluefield Regional Medical Center and its predecessors. Stuart McGehee reaches back to the arrival of Dr. Franke Fox in Bluefield in 1892 as the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company Surgeon for the Pocahontas Division. Bluefield was at the time only a fledgling coal and railroad community without the population base to support a hospital. It would be some ten years before Dr. Fox, Dr. Wade St. Clair, and a few other local physicians would establish the Bluefield Sanitarium. From this beginning in an eight-room frame home, it expanded to include a number of buildings and connections to other hospitals in the area. In 1977 the community entered a major capital campaign to underwrite the construction of the Bluefield Community Hospital, opened in 1979. Ten years later, with a building expansion and the addition of services, the facility was renamed the Bluefield Regional Medical Center. This brief History of Bluefield Regional Medical Center is illustrated and based primarily on the institution's records and archival collections at the Craft Memorial Library. As the author states in his introduction, brevity of space did not permit the inclusion of all those who have contributed to the history of the hospital.
FRONTIER DEFENSE OF THE GREENBRIER AND MIDDLE NEW RIVER COUNTRY. By W. Stephen McBride, Kim A. McBride, and J. David McBride. (Hinton: Summers County Historic Landmarks Commission, 1996. Pp. 118.)
Issued as Report No. 375 in the University of Kentucky archaeological program, this study covers the present-day counties of Monroe, Greenbrier, Summers, and Pocahontas. The report is based on extensive literature searches and archival collections documenting the latter half of the eighteenth century. In this systematic study, the McBrides have identified the existence of some thirty-four frontier defense posts in the study area. Frontier Defense establishes the importance of the western settlements and their defense to the expansionist policies of Virginia, land speculators, and eager settlers. The area also played a vital role as buffer to protect established settlements in the Valley of Virginia. Important to this defense were the militia, scouts, and forts. Of particular interest to many readers will be the descriptions of the thirty-six individual sites. The McBrides have classified thirty-one of these into large forts, probable stockades, and probable blockhouses. These have been mapped in approximate locations, nine by use of archeological and documentary sources and the remainder based on documentary references only. Information from some seventy pension applications is presented as it applies to the fort study. These provide much of the documentation for the various forts, their locations, descriptions, and commands. Frontier Defense is a very informative reference on the western Virginia colonial frontier defense system. It will serve as the basis for additional study of these defenses and be of interest to historians and family historians working in this period and geographical area.
"LIGHTHOUSE ON THE HILL": GLENVILLE STATE COLLEGE, 1872-1997. By Nelson L. Wells and Charles Holt (Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company, 1997. Pp. 143.)
This pictorial history was published by the Glenville State College Alumni Association to commemorate the college's one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary. The history of the college is presented in six chapters, each with a one-page overview of the span of years to be covered followed by photographs and descriptive captions. The photographs document the service of administrators and faculty, the buildings and campus expansion from Glenville to the Summersville and Weston extension sites, and student life in and out of the classroom. The descriptive captions provide dates, biographical information, the uses of buildings and rooms over time, and occasional interesting stories associated with the images.
The emphasis in this work is Glenville State College's important role in preparing teachers for the state's public school system. The authors provide an interesting balance on the advantages and disadvantages of the college's remote location. The brevity of the text permits only limited inclusion of individual students and faculty and the college's relations with the town and the overall state educational system.
This is an attractive publication designed for a specific market. Glenville alumni, especially those of more mature years, will find many images which will trigger memories of their college years. "Lighthouse on the Hill" is a very positive treatment of Glenville State College and its contributions to the state college educational system in central West Virginia.
GAULEY MOUNTAIN: A HISTORY IN VERSE, POEMS BY LOUISE MCNEILL (Dunmore: Pocahontas Communications Cooperative, 1997.)
The late poet laureate Louise McNeill had a special affininty for West Virginia's rich past. Several years ago West Virginia Public Radio broadcast "Gauley Mountain," a performance of McNeill's epic poem spanning two centuries of Mountain State history and featuring the poet herself along with a host of West Virginia musicians and writers. The broadcast is now available in a two-hour, double-CD set. A companion piece, Gauley Mountain: A History in Verse, reprints the original text of the poem and includes essays by current poet laureate Irene McKinney, former Goldenseal editor Ken Sullivan, poet Maggie Anderson, and Mountain Stage host Larry Groce. Gauley Mountain: A History in Verse ($10) and the CD set ($20) are available from Pocahontas Communications Cooperative, Dunmore, WV 24934. Include $2 for shipping and handling.
REOPENING GLEN ROGERS. By Bud Perry and Karl C. Lilly III (PAL Productions, 1997. Pp. 156. $15.00.)
Like hundreds of coal towns scattered throughout the southern Appalachians, Glen Rogers in Wyoming County has ridden high through the boom times and weathered the busts. Bud Perry and Karl Lilly, natives of this little town created in 1919 as a coal producer for the Virginian Railway, have assembled a well-illustrated and well-written history of one of the most productive mining areas in southern West Virginia.
Perry, a veteran newspaperman, and Lilly, assistant clerk of the West Virginia Senate, recount many aspects of Glen Rogers's past, from tragic mine disasters to the euphoria of bringing home the 1977 state basketball championship. The authors also devote a chapter to Glen Rogers's most famous son, William Marland, West Virginia's twenty-fourth governor.
The authors write that Reopening Glen Rogers "offers older readers a nostalgic return to an age when caring and sharing was a way of life [and] gives younger readers the opportunity to become acquainted with a time long departed from the hills of Appalachia." Anyone who remembers life in the mid-twentieth century southern coalfields will agree.
MY APPALACHIAN HERITAGE: "YES, I'M A HILLBILLY." By Dorlous Schatz Barth (Olympia, WA: PanPress, 1996. Pp. 207.)
Dorlous Schatz Barth proudly recalls her hillbilly upbringing in rural central West Virginia. Barth relates how her second career as a marriage and family therapy led her to the realization that many individuals lack a sense of connection. She and her husband Tom recorded her own family memories to use in their therapy sessions and the recordings form the basis of My Appalachian Heritage. Barth tells of a sometimes difficult home life, both as a child and during her first marriage, but she believes her heritage provided her the wherewithal to persevere.
WILLIAMSON AREA HERITAGE BOOK. By the Williamson Heritage Book Committee ([Walsworth Inc.], 1996. Pp. iv, 146.)
This book includes photographs, important events in the community's history, and numerous family histories from the "Heart of the Billion Dollar Coal Field."
HISTORY OF ROANOKE, WEST VIRGINIA. By Emma Riffle Snider and Nettie Robinson Gregory (n.p., 1996. Pp. 35.)
The authors document this Lewis County town from its first-known permanent settler John Mitchell in 1812. Various illustrations are included.
SUMMERS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA, HISTORICAL SOCIETY CEMETERY BOOK. By the Summers County, West Virginia, Historical Society (Beckley: BJW Printing, 1996. Pp. 561 + appendices. $45.00.)
This book inventories more than one hundred cemeteries in Summers County. Included are names, birth and death dates, cemetery, military service, and other available information that will prove useful to family history researchers. An appendix gives a brief history of and directions to each cemetery. A county map is provided, showing the location of each cemetery.
Burials through April 30, 1996 are included in this volume. The Summers County Historical Society plans to publish periodic supplements. Summers County, West Virginia, Historical Society Cemetery Book can be obtained from editor Barbara Keller, 112 Greenbrier Drive, Hinton, WV 25951. Cost is $45, plus $7.70 for tax and shipping and handling.
TRI-COUNTY OBITUARY COLLECTION, VOL. 2: 1894-1921; VOL. 3 : 1902-1960; VOL. 4: 1889-1939. Comp. by Linda Goddard Stout (Proctor: Tri-County Researcher, 1993-95.)
These three volumes contain alphabetized obituaries from Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel counties.
MASON COUNTY, WV, MARRIAGES, 1806-1870. Comp. by Wes Cochran (Parkersburg: by the author, 1996. Available from the author, 2515 10th Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101-5829.)
The earliest marriage records in this volume list only the couples' names and dates of marriage. Beginning in 1861, the couples' names, ages, parents' names, and dates of marriage are included. The volume is indexed.
BRAXTON COUNTY DEATHS, 1881-1900 and 1901-1920. Comp. by Wes Cochran (Parkersburg: by the author, 1996. Available from the author, 2515 10th Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101-5829.)
Both volumes of Braxton County deaths are indexed and include date of birth, place of birth, date of death, age, and parents' names.
The following indexes to West Virginia census records are now available:
THE 1840 CENSUS OF MARSHALL COUNTY, VIRGINIA, NOW WEST VIRGINIA. Comp. by Linda Goddard Stout (Proctor: Tri-County Researcher, 1991. Pp. 94.)
MASON COUNTY, WV, 1850 CENSUS. Comp. by Wes Cochran (Parkersburg: by the author, 1996. Pp. 88. Available from the author, 2515 10th Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101-5829.)
THE 1850 FEDERAL CENSUS OF TYLER COUNTY, (W) VIRGINIA. (Proctor: Tri-County Researcher, 1996. Pp. 66.)
1850 CENSUS, WETZEL COUNTY, (WEST) VIRGINIA. (Proctor: Tri-County Researcher, 1996. Pp. 49.)
PLEASANTS COUNTY, WV, 1900 CENSUS. Comp. by Wes Cochran (Parkersburg: by the author, 1996. Pp. 234. Available from the author, 2515 10th Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101-5829.)
WIRT COUNTY, WV, 1920 CENSUS. Comp. by Wes Cochran (Parkersburg: by the author, 1996. Pp. 49. Available from the author, 2515 10th Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101-5829.)
A BACK FAMILY HISTORY: THE STORY OF A MAJOR BRANCH OF THE BACK/BACH FAMILY. VOLS. 1 AND 2. By Custer, Kenneth, and Troy Back and Dexter Dixon (Paris, KY: Back/Bach Genealogical Society, 1994. Pp. 1,833.)
This two-volume history traces the family's origins to Erich Bach, born ca. 1540-50, in Freudenberg, now in Germany, and follows the descendants of Erich's son Henrich, who eventually settled in Virginia and Kentucky.
OUR WARD FAMILY. By Norris Wayne Jackson (Salt Lake City: Artistic Printing Co., 1995. Pp. 926.)
Our Ward Family traces the descendants of Daniel Ward (1732-1826) and Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward of Virginia, who eventually settled in North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia, and includes a possible link to the Ward line originating in Massachusetts.
FAMILY HISTORY OF WILLARD MOUNTS. By Willard Mounts (Denver, CO: by the author, 1994. Pp. 166.)
The author traces the Mounts surname to twelfth-century England and chronicles his own family from Mingo County, West Virginia.
THE HARRISON-MILLER FAMILY TREE OF JACKSON COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA. By Francis Miller Pfost (Largo, FL: Jots Printing, Inc., 1995. Unpaged.)
This volume traces the descendants of Reuben Harrison (1731-92) and Lewis Montgomery Miller (1812-89.)
ESTEP FAMILY TREE, 1792-1995. By Bobby Keith Lipscomb (Upper Lake, CA: by the author, . Pp. 89, appendices.)
The author traces the origins of the Estep surname to 218 BCE and the Moorish town of Astepa, now in Spain. He follows the descendants of Shadrach Estep, born in North Carolina in 1792, and Elizabeth Hunt Estep, born in Virginia in 1792. The book includes family photos and is indexed.
HISTORY OF THE CASTEEL FAMILY. By Phyllis Casteel Louden and Mary Jean Johnson Lehman (Cincinnati: by the authors, 1996. Pp. 89.)
This history traces the Casteel family of Prince Georges and Garrett counties, Maryland, and Preston County, West Virginia, beginning with the 1682 arrival in Philadelphia of Captain Edmund du Chastel de Blangerval.
THE TWENTY-FIFTH: A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE JOHNSON FAMILY. Comp. by Jean Lehman. (Cincinnati: by the author, 1996. Unpaged.)
The author reproduces copies of "The Twenty-Fifth," a Charleston newsletter compiled by the Reverend T. C. Johnson from 1912 to 1921. The newsletters were written for the desecendants of William Johnson (1789-1871), his first wife Elizabeth Taylor Johnson (1795-1828), and his second wife Elizabeth Dye Johnson (1807-69).
CLOVER/AMBROSE: TWO CENTURIES OF FAMILY HISTORY, OVER ONE CENTURY AGO, 1690-1890. By Frank and Judy Solomon (Johnstown, PA: by the authors, 1995. Pp. iv, 30, appendices.)
This history traces the descendants of Mathias Ambrose (1695-1784) of Maryland and Phillip A. Clover, Sr. (ca. 1738-1802) of Virginia.
OUR RICH FAMILY: BEING DESCENDANTS OF THE IMMIGRANT BALTHASSAR RICHI OF KYBURG, SWITZERLAND. Comp. by Duane E. Wilson (Naperville, IL: by the author, 1996. Pp. 269.)
Our Rich Family traces ancestors and descendants of James D. Rich (1826-66) of New York, Kentucky, and Illinois and includes the related maternal lines of Briles, Bussing, Jones, Maddy, Nodine, Ruddell, Rush, Truesdell, and Tyler.
ALDERTON. (n.p., . Unpaged.)
This volume traces the descendants of William Alderton and Margaret Edwards Alderton, married in 1786, of Hampshire County (West) Virginia.
HISTORY OF COMPANY G, 11TH WEST VIRGINIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY FROM COALSMOUTH TO RICHMOND, 1862-1865. By Joe Griffith (Roswell, GA: by the author, 1995. Pp. 277.)
Company G of the Eleventh West Virginia Infantry was organized in the Kanawha Valley in May 1862 and was mustered into service on May 23. Based in part on letters written between Private Fretwell G. Hensley and his wife Edicey, History of Company G also studies the war from the points of view of company commader Captain John Valley Young; his daughter Sarah Frances Young; Victoria Hansford, a Confederate supporter from Paint Creek; James D. Sedinger, a Confederate Border Ranger; Captain Michael Egan, commander of Company B, Fifteenth West Virginia Volunteers; and Lieutenant John Sharpe Cunningham, adjutant of the Thirteenth West Virginia Regiment. Company G was mustered out of service on May 15, 1865.
RICHMOND DURING THE WAR. By Sallie Brock Putnam (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1996. Pp. xxi, 389. $16.95.)
NELSON A. MILES & THE TWILIGHT OF THE FRONTIER ARMY. By Robert Wooster (idem, 1996. Pp. xvii, 391. $18.00.)
ABRAHAM LINCOLN & MEN OF WAR-TIMES. By A. K. McClure (idem, 1996. Pp. 496. $19.95.)
ABRAHAM LINCOLN DEALS WITH FOREIGN AFFAIRS: A DIPLOMAT IN CARPET SLIPPERS. By Jay Monaghan (idem, 1997. Pp. xv, 505. $22.00.)
UNION IN PERIL: THE CRISIS OVER BRITISH INTERVENTION IN THE CIVIL WAR. By Howard Jones (idem, 1997. Pp. xiii, 300. $15.95.)
THREE YEARS WITH GRANT. By Sylvanus Cadwallader (idem, 1996. Pp. xix, xxx, 362. $15.00.)
PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF U. S. GRANT. By Ulysses S. Grant (idem, 1996. Pp. xvi, 672. $25.00.)
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE CIVIL WAR. By Charles A. Dana (idem, 1996. Pp. xxiii, 296. $12.95.)
ADVANCE AND RETREAT: PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN THE UNITED STATES & CONFEDERATE STATES ARMIES. By John Bell Hood (idem, 1996. Pp. xiv, 358. $15.00.)
FROM THE CANNON'S MOUTH: THE CIVIL WAR LETTERS OF GENERAL ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS. Edited by Milo M. Quaife (idem, 1995. Pp. xviii, 405. $15.00.)
The American Civil War remains a topic of great interest for both scholars and casual readers alike. The University of Nebraska Press continues to reprint a variety of Civil War works through its Bison Books division. Published in affordable paperback editions, these titles should be available through local bookstores.
Richmond During the War by Sallie Brock Putnam recounts the story of the Confederate capitol from the first days of secession and dreams of glory through the difficult war years, the bread riots, and the eventual end of the Confederacy. Originally published in 1867, Putnam offers the perspective of a genteel Southern woman whose devotion to the Confederate cause never wavered. This work is unindexed.
In Robert Wooster's recent biography Nelson A. Miles and the Twilight of the Frontier Army, only a brief period is spent discussing his Civil War service, instead focusing on his entire career spanning a half-century. Joining the Twenty-second Massachusetts early in the war, he fought through the Virginia campaigns of the Peninsula, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. He returned to the army from his convalescence for wounds and continued fighting in Virginia. After the war, he oversaw the prison where Jefferson Davis was held before heading west. He was credited with the capture of Geronimo of the Apache and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and closed his career as commander of the army during the Spanish-American War.
In Abraham Lincoln & Men of War-Times, Alexander K. McClure focuses on Lincoln's relations with both military men and politicians, with particular emphasis on the presidential elections of 1860 and 1864. A Pennsylvanian who was involved in Lincoln's 1860 victory, McClure contended that in 1864 Lincoln desired to replace Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin with Andrew Johnson. This led to a round of angry letters in 1892, when the book was first published, between McClure and John G. Nicolay, Lincoln's secretary, who denied the claim.
Most studies of the Civil War focus on the military events but Jay Monaghan, in his 1945 work, Abraham Lincoln Deals with Foreign Affairs, chose to study Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward as they fashioned foreign policy. Although showing some anti-Confederate bias in his writings, he nonetheless presents a strong case that Lincoln was deeply involved in foreign policy rather than deferring all decisions to Seward. Lincoln's ability to compromise and balance his ideals with the realities of governing made him an effective leader abroad as well as at home.
Union in Peril: The Crisis over British Intervention in the Civil War, originally published in 1992 by Howard Jones, outlines the choices faced by the British over whether to intervene in the conflict or remain neutral. The Union government feared British recognition of the Confederacy and the Southern government desperately needed the international and financial support such recognition would bring.
Sylvanus Cadwallader covered the war as a correspondent, first for the Chicago Times and later the New York Herald. Assigned to Grant's headquarters from 1862 to 1865, his Three Years with Grant covered the general from Memphis and the Vicksburg campaign through his transfer to the east and eventual meeting with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. His account was originally edited and published in 1955.
Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, completed a week before the general's death in 1885, provides a more detailed look at the career of the man who many felt won the war. Originally published as a two-volume set, this Bison Books edition adds an index to aid the reader in quickly seeking out particular events or locations.
Recollections of the Civil War by Charles Dana draws upon the reports of the newspaperman who was sent by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to observe General Grant. Joining the general as he advanced on Vicksburg, Dana followed him throughout the rest of the war, offering assessments of the generals and the politicians in Washington.
John Bell Hood believed in the forward attack as the best way to overcome an enemy. In his Advance & Retreat, Hood wrote of his experiences in the east through his wounding at Gettysburg and then his campaigns in the west, including Chickamauga and Atlanta. Originally published in 1880 after his death from cholera, much of the work focuses on his relationship with and replacement of General Joseph E. Johnston in the Army of Tennessee. This work is unindexed.
No war has provided the sheer quantity of letters and diaries giving accounts of daily life and horrible battles as the Civil War. From the Cannon's Mouth details the role of General Alpheus Williams of Michigan through the Virginia campaigns until Gettysburg and then his transfer to the western theater. Written as letters home to his daughters and originally published in 1959, Williams provides the perspective of a non-West Point general who fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war.
FRANKSTOWN: ANATOMY OF AN AMBUSH. By Roger G. Swartz (Hockessin, DE: Blue Path Press, 1995. Pp. xii, 148. $8.95.)
Roger Swartz recounts in detail how British Rangers and their Iroquois allies ambushed Pennsylvania militia and ranger companies at Frankstown, Bedford County, on June 3, 1781. Beginning with the settlement of Frankstown, Swartz describes life on the frontier and traces the intertwined paths that eventually pitted Native Americans, colonial settlers, and British loyalists in a true clash of cultures during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Included is an in-depth discussion of the Pennsylvania rangers and militia, which, according to the author, have not always been identified as distinct military units with separate functions.
CHESAPEAKE & OHIO, COAL AND COLOR. By Eugene Huddleston, John Joseph, and Everett Young (Clifton Forge, VA: The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society, Inc., 1997. Pp. viii, 120.)
As conveyed in the title, this book is packed with color photographs of the Cheaspeake & Ohio (C&O) Railway and its coal hauling line. There are some 190 photographs depicting operations in six coalfields served by the C&O. The photographs cover the years since 1955. In the introduction, Huddleston states that some areas, such as the Hocking River field in Ohio, receive more attention than other fields, such as the area served by the Nicholas, Fayette and Greenbrier Railroad, because these have been the subject of other recent studies. Each of the six divisions contains a very detailed map and a description of the field. The text presents considerable history of these divisions and changes in the C&O transportation system at each one over the past one hundred years. While the photographs are more recent, they too document many changes in railroad rolling stock, yards, and coal handling processes.
OHIO'S RAILWAY AGE IN POSTCARDS. By H. Roger Grant (Akron: Univ. of Akron Press, 1996. Pp. x, 203. $32.95.)
Railway historian H. Roger Grant has assembled more than 150 picture postcards of Ohio's steam and electric railways from 1900 to 1915. This charming pictorial study reflects on the changes brought by electric "interurban" trains in the wake of technological improvements and a growing national economy at the turn of the century. Ohio, blessed with a gentle landscape and a large population, built almost three thousand miles of electric traction lines between 1897 and 1915. The book is divided into six sections: Depots; Motive Power and Trains; The Railroad Corridor; Ohioans and Railroads; Rolling Stock; and The Interurban Corridor.
WOMEN OF COAL. By Randall Norris and Jean-Philippe Cypres (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1996. Pp. 123. $24.95.)
Randall Norris, founder of the Appalachian Writers Center, and photographer Jean-Philippe Cypräs, whose work has appeared in Vogue and Rolling Stone magazines, give us wonderful images of women in the coalfields of southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, and eastern Kentucky. Coal miners, homemakers, healers, teachers, and community activists are among the many profiles offered. Together, the fifty-seven women whose stories appear in Women of Coal dispel stereotypes and renew hope that there are still bright days ahead for the coalfields.
A recurring theme in Women of Coal is abiding faith-in religion, tradition, family, or community. These ties that bind are sources of strength in trying times. The women are very aware of how the coalfields have shaped their perceptions of themselves and the perceptions of the outside world about Appalachia. Their collective past is not to be disparaged, rather it can guide the way toward an often uncertain future. Storyteller Lindia Gaile Fee, of Loyall, Kentucky, wants children to learn that "they have a future because they have a fantastic heritage. . . ." Patricia Musick Hatfield, director of the Buchanan County Public Library in Grundy, Virginia, sees great promise in the technology that can easily link Appalachia to the rest of the world. But she recognizes the importance of retaining a regional identity: "[W]e've got to figure out a way to balance who we are with what we want to be."
Change has been a constant in the coalfields and the survivors of shifting economic tides are searching for new ways to sustain their communities. Helen K. Carson, a retired Head Start director in Coalwood, West Virginia, believes that "women are accepting new changes and adapting to them, while men are sticking to, and stuck in, traditional political forms." Her statement echoes that of Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, who likens a woman's life to the flow of a river, "changin' a little, maybe, but goin' right on."
The women featured here tell their own stories in their own words, proving that women indeed have a voice even in a traditional, male-oriented society. Whether it is the quiet dignity of living each day with good grace and good humor, or fighting for fair treatment from an industry that has shown little consideration for its workers, the women of the Appalachian coalfields have much to say to women, and men, everywhere.
MOTHER JONES: FIERCE FIGHTER FOR WORKERS' RIGHTS. By Judith Pinkerton Josephson (Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co., 1997. Pp. 144.)
From her birth in County Cork, through personal tragedy, to her commitment to securing rights for working people, the life of fiery labor leader Mary Harris "Mother" Jones is presented in this biography for young readers. Liberally illustrated and concisely written, Mother Jones introduces its readers to the abysmal conditions which spawned a nationwide labor movement. Josephson pays particular attention to these issues as they affected families and children and devotes two chapters to child labor in the textile mills.
FAMILIES AND FARMHOUSES IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA: VERNACULAR DESIGN AND SOCIAL CHANGE. By Sally McMurry (Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1997. Pp. xxvii, 261. $23.00.)
This is the paperback edition of the original published in 1988 by Oxford University Press. The author provides a new preface summarizing scholarship on rural life and the built environment since the 1980s. The new preface cites the increasing importance of agricultural journals to this study and the preponderance of support for their role as communication tools for rural America in the nineteenth century. McMurry also discusses new scholarship's reflection on the influence class, ethnicity, local idiosyncrasies, labor, gender, type of farming, and urban society had on vernacular architecture and the rural landscape.
Families and Farmhouses is a study of the changes which occurred in the built environment in rural America during the nineteenth century. It is rich in sketches, house designs and plans, and photographs reflecting the many changes in rural architecture and the farmstead during this century. Equally impressive is the scholarship McMurry applies to the social changes which were the catalyst for or are reflected in the many architectural and housing design changes. By the end of the century, design based on farm production had been replaced by family life as the basis for spatial organization of the home. Kitchens became smaller and more isolated, while the dining room and living room, replacing the more formal parlor, became more open and bedrooms more private. With these changes came acceptance and reliance on professional plans rather than owner-designed plans, resulting in less latitude for choice.
With increasing popular interest in rural America, Families and Farmhouses provides solid explanations for a better understanding of what one finds on this landscape. Those studying nineteenth-century architecture or family life, as well as those interested in touring period houses, will gain much from McMurry's study. She uses a wide array of sources to support an understanding of interior design as a reflection of family life and social status. The study is particularly strong on the role of women and children in the process of change and on the impact of change on them. Families and Farmhouses will be of interest to historians, historic preservationists, and those who enjoy historical house tours.
West Virginia History Journal
West Virginia History Center