Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Notes On Streeter (Conversations With Vernon)

    The following are some notes taken from a recent conversation with Vernon (my notes are in bold):

     During WWII, Vernon and his sister Juanita Pack pulled spikes from the abandoned, narrow gauge railroad for the war effort.  "Uncle Andy built a wagon made from an old automobile.  They loaded it with rubber-tires, and scrape metal.  I remember hauling it to the Jumping Branch Post Office.  Of course, we weren't paid- you volunteered for it."

    "The railroad followed the bank below the road, passed the Old Mill, then up the road passed Andy Pack's [his uncle] grist mill.  His mill was for his own personal use,a means to charge his own, home built batteries for power."

    On the school house (I have an earlier post on its location):

   "It had several teachers while I was there:  Bum Pack, Basil Atkins, Beulah Tolliver, and Audrey Lilly [during the time he attended, late 30s-early 40's].  The school had 30-40 kids at any given time."

    His memories of the Old Mill:

    " Alex Pack was the third owner of the mill, after Sam Pack, who inherited from his father John R. Pack"

    "I would stand in the doorway and watch the corn be ground, and then come down the shoot.  To this day I love the smell of freshly ground corn."

  Memories of town meeting:

   "In the early days of the war, a group of men came from Charleston to speak about the Worker's Alliance of America.  I can remember about 70+ people were in attendance."



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hatcher Family

  There are several families that lived in and around Streeter that I have little information on.  The Hatcher Family is one.

   There is a website: Hatcher Family Genealogy Association.  A cursory glance didn't bring up much regarding the Hatchers of Southern WV - to be fair I looked up the few names I know.  Nevertheless, it contains a wealth of information about the origins of and connections to Hatchers who moved west.

   Charles Silas Hatcher was the son of John Edward Charles Lewis Hatcher (a sometime justice of the peace).  He wrote one of the books I referenced for some of my early research.

     His father was highly regarded in the Jumping Branch area.  He was interviewed by the Charleston Daily Mail in 1929 and this article is referenced in the Hatcher Association website.  If interested in the article (or the website), follow the link below...


Friday, July 6, 2012

Lillie Jennings Basham Halstead

I've been meaning for a long time to write a post on my grandmother (my mother's mother).  Lille Jennings Basham Halstead, or Mawmaw as I referred to her, was born in 1896.  She was the daughter of John Wesley Basham and Ida Jane Basham.

 Claude Hurt was her first husband.  She had two children by this marriage:  Johnnie (who was born with complications and later died) and my Aunt Lee.  The story goes that after Claude returned from WWI he cheated on her.  She later married my grandfather, Edgar Stanley Halstead.  According to the story, they courted at Streeter. From this marriage were born:  James (Jimmy), Dave (Davey), Ruth, and my mother Linda.

 Mawmaw died when I was 8, but I remember a lot about her.  She was kind, but even from a child's perspective I could tell that her eyes concealed years of wisdom mixed with sadness and loss.  

   After pawpaw died, I had sleepovers at her house on East Prince Street.  She would tell me stories about growing up on Chestnut Flat (near Streeter).  I especially loved hearing the one about how she and her sister Grace (Emma Grace), when returning from the meat house, were chased by a panther.  The way Mawmaw described her sister's face as "pale white" when she saw her reaction made chills run down my back.
She also told me the story of the ghost of a family member who visited him and his wife one night "standing at the foot of his bed".  

  Mawmaw loved to sing and laugh.  She also liked to pick. She would take her cane and poke me with it when I was little.  My mother likes to pick (so do my aunts and my uncle) and I can see where they acquired the trait.

   She loved poetry - one of the many things I have in common with her.  Her favorite poem was Longfellow's "Wreck of the Hesperus".  

    When she would visit our house I always wanted to play school with her: this entailed me setting up a small blackboard and playing like I was her teacher (she loved it).  Gee, I'm a teacher now... wonder how that happened?!

   She loved to travel.  The list of places she traveled to rivals that of any million miler frequent flyer.  I used to play with her airline momentos - probably one of the reasons why I chose to work for the airlines pre 911.

   Mawmaw died in 1983 almost a year after Pawpaw died.  After he died she was never the same.  My Uncle Jimmy caught her not chewing or swallowing her food.  She died at his house in Charleston, WV.

   I owe alot of my memories of Streeter to my grandmother.  She played a pivotal role in my development and I'm thankful of that.