Annie Buckland Jones and the 1939 World’s Fair

“One of the concluding acts brought to the popular Amusement Area of the 1939 New York World’s Fair was a real-life family of 17 from Monroe County, West Virginia; Grover Cleveland Jones, Sr., his wife, Annie Grace (Buckland) and their 15 sons. Their arrival at the fair in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, New York City, gave fair organizers the final push they needed to top off earnings at $48 million with a two year total of 45 million visitors. 

The Jones family seemed an unlikely group to cause such a stir in the Big Apple. Grover was a humble school teacher but an acknowledged mathematics whiz who taught for 44 years in Giles County. 

“Dad and Mom never owned a car nor drove one,” Tad Jones, the eighth son of the family said. “He would walk to school every day. We didn’t have much when we were growing up, but we were the richest people in the world. We grew up on the banks of Rich Creek.” 

Having made the trip to NYC by train, “The Joneses returned to Bluefield on Norfolk & Western Train No. 1 at 12:50 pm on October 5, 1940 with a throng of hundreds of people waiting in the old N&W passenger station on Princeton Avenue. 

Shown in the picture above… Grover Jones Sr. (second from left) and Annie Grace Buckland Jones, (second from right). From the left, James Andrew Buckland, father of Annie Jones; Grover Jones Sr., William “Punch”, Robert, Bay, Dick, Tom, John Paul, Woodrow “Monk”, Tad, Willard, Pete, Rufus, Grover Jr., Buck, Franklin Delano Roosevelt “Sam”, Leslie Howard (held by his mother) and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Buckland, Annie’s mother. 

“In 1928, as the senior Jones and his eldest son, Punch, were pitching horseshoes, they found an unusual stone. The elder Jones put it away in an old cheese box.  But in 1943 Jones took the stone to Dr. Roy Holden, a geology professor at Virginia Tech.

Holden identified the stone as a 34.48 CARAT alluvial diamond — the largest ever found in North America. Jones allowed the Smithsonian Institute to display the diamond next to the 44.5 carat Hope Diamond from 1944 until Jones brought it back to the area for display in 1968 at the West Virginia State Fair in Lewisburg. 

Grover and Annie owned the diamond jointly with Punch until his death in WW II on April 1, 1945. The Joneses gave their son’s share of the diamond to his oldest son, Bob Jones, a Chesapeake VA attorney who recently (2004) sold it to a Japanese buyer.  

The above article was featured in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph on Sunday, September 26, 2004.
Article Credit: Bill Archer Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Annie Grace Buckland Jones was my 3rd cousin, 1 removed. We share a 3rd great grandparents, Thomas Buckland & Margaret Wickline

Today, We Close the Door for the Last Time

There was something peaceful and heartwarming about sitting on our front porch while Dad taught me how to beckon a conversation with a covey of quail on the mountain. The feeding or courtship call is a whistled sound … it resembles saying bob white, bob bob white with an inflection at the end — like that sweet sounding little bird pronounces his own name. After practicing a couple of wooings, I could ohear the clear pitch of an accepting response.

Along that stretch of 460 west of Bluefield, Virginia, it used to be quiet and a little breezy — even restful most days except during Thanksgivings or large family gatherings. We shared more meals in that little frame house than I can count because that’s how Mom showed love. She didn’t dote on us kids or spoil us rotten, she fed us. Like her sister Aunt Joella, she always prepared meals from scratch that were the best you’ve ever eaten. Meat and vegetables, deviled eggs, macaroni salad, homemade yeast rolls, congealed salads and dessert; always delicious and always enough for an army.

By God’s design, we’ve said our goodbyes to our parents and now, on this day, we close the front door for the last time and transfer the deed of their home to another. I believe the new owner is just as excited to make this her home as Mom and Dad were 52 years ago. May she sit on the porch in the cool of the evening and converse with the quail, and may her home be filled with family, friends and love for many years to come. And — I hope she enjoys telling the story of a man who “bought a house and rode it home”.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14


In the fall of 1966, the railroader “bought a house and road it home“, or at least that’s how Dad described it. He and Mom, my brother Larry and I lived in a single-wide trailer on Route 460, west of Bluefield, VA when Virginia DOT upgraded the highway to accommodate 4-lanes of traffic. In doing so, the state purchased many homes/land along the south side of the old 2-lane road for their right of way. Those homes were then sold at auction to the highest bidder then each winner had to relocate the house to another location. I remember Bob Chapman from Bank of Tazewell County purchased two or three homes and relocated them just west of Bailey Switch. Three more houses, including a river rock two-story, were moved to an area west of Shawver’s store, just over the creek.

The railroader purchased his small frame house that had been built on land across from the White Kitchen Skating Rink. To the best of my memory, he paid about $400 for the home. Other expenses included moving the structure, constructing a foundation and basement on the new lot, and all the additional expense of plumbing/wiring, etc. All in all, – that was a great deal!

The area’s afternoon newspaper, the Sunset News ran a feature story on the event and published the picture above. Dad always got a kick out of saying, “I bought a house and rode it home”. He literally did. At age twelve, I remember seeing him on top of the house as they rolled down the road. He and several other men had sticks in their hands to lift the power lines out of the way. They held the lines high while walking the length of the house as the house on a big wheeled truck moved slowly down the two lane road. At last Mom was pleased to finally have a house to make her very own.

Biscuits and Gravy – what could be better!

There’s a feeling as I ascend the mountains around winding roads leading back home. An anticipation, an appreciation, a heart-warming emotion overcomes me as I draw near my childhood roots in Bluefield.

In spite of all the busy-ness currently in my life, I heeded a calling that I should head for the hills! A few weeks back I left Tallahassee, stopped a night in north Georgia to pick up my cousin Phyllis (thank you Tom) and began our girls road-trip to the foothills of East River Mountain in Tazewell County. I hadn’t been there since my Mother’s funeral seventeen months earlier, so understandably I was a bit melancholic with uncertainty that I was going home for the first time without Mom. Her house was empty, the home where I spent my teenage years wasn’t home anymore. She had been the anchor; Mom and Dad were the ones I could always count on to love me; the baby of the family.

Driving through the beautiful North Carolina mountains, Phyllis and I chatted about our children briefly, but soon found ourselves talking about our family, our history and our good times growing up back home. I’ve always found my time with Phyllis fun and full of laughter. We’ve matured; both of us since our crazy days at Claytor Lake and Myrtle Beach. But six years my younger, her wit and wisdom are still delightful. Conversation and miles clicked away and soon we pulled into the driveway at Aunt Clara’s house. I was home and it felt good and right.

Anytime I have a listening family ear, I tend to bore them to no end with genealogy trivia like William the Conqueror being our 27th great grandfather or Dad’s boyhood discovery under the seat boxes of Grandaddy Buckland’s 1924 Nash. Shhhh….

I’ve been at this roots searching thing since the 1980’s and have more recorded than I can ever bring to mind, but I’m always eager to share when I can.

Once settled in at Phyllis’s childhood home, she sent a couple of texts to cousins in search of THE Buckland Family Bible with names and dates recorded. Eureka! Every genealogist’s treasure chest of data. (photos below) Before long, a couple of cousins and my brothers arrived to share fun times as we sat on the screen porch at Aunt Clara’s. Good times!

Family connections run deep in our mountains. There’s something sweet when our conversations pick right back up where we left off years ago. It’s that bond of family ties that is unmistakably the best – the very best.

I enjoyed time with both my brothers, Ellis and Larry, sister-in-law Susie, cousin Mary Ann (Uncle Walter’s oldest) and her husband Joe. I enjoyed breakfast too! Aunt Clara’s biscuits and gravy shared with Phyllis’s long time friend, Kim Beavers. Aunt Clara’s hospitality and genuine kindness are gifts that cannot be surpassed. I know first hand that she’s always had this gift.

In the days when we (a bunch of us) used to go to the lake to spend the weekend with her and Uncle Charles and their family, and all our friends, and all their friends, and the friend’s friends, she would start her day perking coffee and cooking a full breakfast of bacon or sausage, eggs and the all time favorite – biscuits and gravy was the crowd pleaser. While we all went out on the water to ski or cruise in the boats, without missing a beat she worked tirelessly in the kitchen preparing our next meal and the next. A constant servant with a heart of love. And if you ask any one of the many young teenagers that passed by her table, they will share with you the stories of her love, her hospitality, the fun and the memories that were made along the banks of Claytor Lake.

2018-06-16 20.15.16

Thank you Aunt Clara and Phyllis (and husband Tom) for giving exactly what I needed – love.

Thank you Larry for jumping headfirst into THE LIST!

Thank you Buck for the sweet visit.

Thank you Mary Ann and Joe.

Family is extra special to me, and I want you to know that. I love that I’m from these mountains and the rich heritage we share.


Grandmother Buckland’s Bible

Some entries are in her handwriting; I recognize the same rough cursive as in her scrapbook and on the backs of pictures that I have. I suspect that the later entries of younger children were written by Aunt Bertha.
 click on the images to view larger






Discovering My Patriot Ancestors

It’s been four years since I’ve posted to this blog. Time and circumstances did not permit. Life happens. Much has changed, but I’m ready to get back at it.

Recently I attended a luncheon meeting of the Carolyn Brevard Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. A long time friend and co-worker invited me as a prospective member, and I agreed. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but discovered that the Daughters are women who are passionate about preserving history and honoring and supporting those who serve our nation. Okay – I’m all in!

Since the 1980’s when I became a mother, I found family history, handed-down stories, Appalachian folklore and genealogy quite interesting. Of course I began tthe process of discovery with Mom and Dad, but exhausted their knowledge of ancestors quickly and wanted to know more. My mother’s sister, Aunt Jo Ella Mace, didn’t like the idea that I was researching her family and expressed her dissenting opinion saying — I might turn up a horse thief.  Well, it didn’t take too much digging on my part to uncover her real secret. My great grandmother, Nancy “Nannie” Catherine Jessee (read more…) had her first child out of wedlock and subsequently married 4 times. She and my great grandfather, Doctor Caleb Davis were married 27 years and had 11 children before his death in 1899. I believe that Nannie outlived all the others as well. I don’t hold any of that against her. After all, she was only 8 when her father, Stanford Lea Jessee, was killed serving in the War Between the States.

In spite of Aunt Jo’s warning, I have stayed the course for more than 30 years, discovered a few more “secrets” and enjoyed the genealogical journey of  both of my parents family — Buckland and Davis. With more than 11,000 people in Family Tree Maker and my online Ancestry tree — The Railroader’s Daughter, I have documented English, Scottish, Irish and German roots. Patriots and pioneers galore! Name drops include General Sam Houston, Virginia’s Civil War Governor John Letcher and even William the Great Conqueror, King of England (my 27th great grandfather).

Back to DAR…. I’m proud to say that I have submitted my application for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution based on the genealogical and military records of my 4th great grandfather, Abraham Childers (1750-1849).

Although a separate application is required for each patriot in the organization and I may not register them, (that becomes costly) I have quite a rich and honorable history of those willing to give it all for the sake of freedom.
(name & DAR registration # below) (* Buckland lines)

• Allen, Hugh #A001573*
• Banner, John #A005750
• Bartley, William #A208284*
• Brooks, William #A015111
• Brown, Low*
• Childers, Abraham #A021513
• Compton, John Jr. #A024739*
• Davidson, Joseph*
• Davis, Robert #A205258
• Gregory, William #A129471*
• Harman, Hezekiah *
• Jessee, John #A062559
• Keyser, Joseph Kenton #A204441
• Patten, Henry #A088813*
• Ward, David #A120479*

Celebrating a Heritage of Railroading During the Days of J611

2014-07-10 05.37.08 With the announcement in 2014 that the Class J 611 would be restored and once again run under her own steam to return home, I anticipated that I too would be in Roanoke, Virginia for the glorious Homecoming Celebration in late spring of the following year. I sensed that I was connected to her in  a special way. Not like rail-fans or train buffs, but the way other families whose only financial resource came from the operation of steam engines during the 1950’s on Norfolk & Western’s Pocahontas division.  The connection drew me to ages-old railroad papers and books that I gathered so possessively and boxed carefully after we buried the Railroader in 1993. 2015-06-05 10.35.47 2015-06-05 10.36.37 2015-06-05 11.32.23 Coal dust had lingered on those timeworn pages and clung eerily to my fingers as I slowly traced each entry and studied them intently. I discovered a strange and surreal, yet inviting connection to a moment in time before I was born.  BUCKLAND Buddy on RR As far back as 1942, the Railroader, a young fireman then, proudly held onto his time books, meticulously recording dates, engine numbers, locations and times on duty, crew members and most importantly, wages earned for each trip. Since the average annual salary in 1942 was only $2400, his $10.85 for a day’s run was compelling enough for him to accept the risks of running a steam engine. Working conditions were difficult in those days; not just because of the long hours in the foggy or snowy weather known to the mountains of southwest Virginia, but just managing to breathe and avoiding burns in the cab of a steam engine was challenging. Railroad families describe how crewmen had to cover their bodies completely to avoid inhaling the deadly fumes or receiving burns from exhaust or injury from falling brick in the structures of those long narrow tunnels.  Stories and people of a different time and place, a different way of life, run intently through my mind as I search eagerly to find where I fit in. I remember the Railroader coming home from work, usually in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours, with black coal dirt all over his face and clothing. Overalls and cap that were freshly washed, starched and ironed only 16 hours prior, now carried ground in stains and that peculiar yet familiar smell; the same smell of our basement when the coal bin was full, and where we loaded the stoker to feed our furnace. No matter the hour, the Railroader’s wife would rise and start a fresh pot of coffee to drip while she made biscuits and fried bacon or sausage and eggs. He would eat a hardy meal, head to bed and often, in less than 8 hours, would hear from the call office to report to duty, only to do it all over again. Everyday, seven days a week, weekends and holidays – the railroad never slept. Most Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the Railroader was at the throttle on a mine run, a pusher, a time-freight or if seniority presented itself or (he would say, “as luck would have it”)  the coveted Powhatan Arrow. As the youngest of four children, I had been given plenty, but I had no concept of the sacrifice that he (and she) made for us. Strangely, it’s only now that I even begin to understand that dad and others like him endured extremely harsh conditions in providing for their families. BUCKLAND LW  & BUCKLAND  LW_jr_RR 2013-08-24 02.10.38 I indeed went to Roanoke to welcome her home to the shops where she originated. Saturday, May 30th.  Wearing the t-shirt that honored by dad,  I left Hotel Roanoke and walked across the street to meet up with Tom and Bob Gordon at the O. Winston Link Museum located in the Historic Norfolk & Western Passenger Station. 2015-05-31 12.51.54

The brothers are the sons of Neb Gordon, N&W Engineer and friend of the Railroader. Tom’s wife Karen, daughter and family joined us on that historic day around noon. Bright sunshine and a nice breeze was perfect weather to await the completion of J 611’s run from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. As I swapped stories with others, someone in the crowd called out my name. I turned around to see Wanda Hale Crawford, her husband and grandson standing above. Wanda’s father, Jim Hale also worked for N&W. Their family and ours went to the same church when we were growing up and our parents were friends. Although J611 was a bit late of her scheduled arrival, the reported  70,000 people were awe struck and emotional when she rounded the curve coming into the yard and in front of the Historic Norfolk & Western Passenger Station downtown. Folks with cameras and media reporters lined the bridges over the rail yard and sprawled over the green grassy hillside in front of Hotel Roanoke. 611’s steam and black smoke bellowed atop the shiny newly painted body of the streamlined beauty. When the Norfolk Southern engineer Darin Bridger blew the whistle making that anticipated noise, the crowds roared with excitement and pride. WATCH HERE The couple in front of me had tears running down their face, Wanda Hale’s grandson waved his hat and got so caught up in the moment that he missed videoing the train. I too, took it all in but contained my emotions, all the while thinking that dad would have been oh so happy to be the man behind the throttle. After all, he loved railroading.

If he had worked past 65 years old, his pension would have been reduced, so he complied reluctantly. He once said to me, “don’t ever let anyone tell you that the day you retire is a happy day”.

It was a day worth remembering, a train worth celebrating and a man worth honoring. And in memory of those gone and honoring those who are still with us: – the Norfolk & Western Railroad family.

L.W. Buckland, Sr.
L.W. “Buddy” Buckland, Jr.
Larry C. Buckland
Robert C. Buckland, Sr.
R. Cecil Buckland, Jr.
Charles N. Buckland
Walter Buckland
George R. Buckland
Asa C. Davis
Richard McHaffa
Neb B. Gordon
Ernie Hoback
S.O. Siple
Sandy Ball
? Wright
? Warner
Duck Ellis
Flop Quillin
Mr. Spangler
Clyde Barre
Corky Whitley
Jim Hale

BUCKLAND LW Engineers Picnic

Engineers left to right: Siple, ? Sandy Ball, LW Buckland Jr., ?, Wright, ? , Warner, ? Front – ?, Duck Ellis, Charles Buckland, Flop Quillin These men usually went by their initials, but many I have forgotten. If you know them or can identify the ?, please comment. Thank you


Duck Ellis, Neb Gordon, LW “Buddy” Buckland, Robert Buckland, ?, ?


Standing with J611 Steam Engineer, Bob Saxton at Virginia Museum of Transportation, May 31, 2015.


J611 at the Virginia Museum of Transportation

2014-05-21 22.22.09

Not sure of many of these older fellows, but Neb Gordon stands 2nd from right.

2014-05-21 22.21.59

I believe this was Mr. Spangler’s birthday celebration. I recognize only a few; please comment if you know others. Seated left with red jacket, Mr OW Siple. ? my uncle Robert Buckland next to Mr. Spangler. My cousin, Richard McHaffa, LW Buckland, Jr. ? Standing Flop Quillin in tan jacket and my brother Larry Buckland in white sweater.


The 1218 at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on May 31, 2015. I imagine that dad ran this engine as well, but have not found documentation yet.


The 2156 at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on May 31, 2015. DAD, LWB, Jr. ran this engine as documented in his time books.

DSC_0061DSC_0054 DSC_0025 DSC_0023  DSC_0058

The campaign to #FireUp611 caught my attention a little over a year ago when I began to follow the posts on Facebook and the website. I couldn’t help but wonder if my dad had actually run the great streamline steam engine back in the glory days. Pulling out his old time books gave me the documentation that I needed to prove that he not only worked J611 along with his father L.W. Sr., but he documented runs on all J Class engines, 600-613 in a 1954 time book. He also worked the 2156 (documented) that sits along side J611 at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, and likely the 1218 – but I have not confirmed that engine in his time books. No 611 was one of fourteen Class ‘J’ passenger locomotives built for the Norfolk & Western Railrway between 1941 and 1950 and the only one in existence today. Simple lines, a bullet nose and a Tuscan red stripe made the Js stand out as one of the most beautiful streamlined steam locomotives ever designed.    


Reminiscing Tree Ornaments and other Christmas Nostalgia

It’s that time of year when I usually have the house decorated for Christmas and almost all the presents purchased, wrapped and under the tree. hum -Not so this year!

Along with aging – comes a slowing, savoring of life and a choosing to use time for really important things. This year, we stayed with the season of Thanksgiving for awhile before moving on into the hustle and bustle of the commercial extravaganza America calls “the holidays”.

Like so many times before, my husband willingly put up our 9′ artificial tree on Friday. It’s not a fun chore, but this is his gift to me, and I appreciate it more than he knows. It’s an old tree that we purchased the first year we moved into this house. (2000)  Each limb has a certain slot and each row of slots has to be careful filled with just the right color-coded stem. It’s tedious work and each year as we drag the oversized, duck-taped box out of the garage, we declare that we’ll get a new, lighted tree right after Christmas when they go on sale.

But once our large round blue spruce is adorned with lights, ages-old rose garland and collected ornaments, we realize that the newer versions can’t possibly be as beautiful as “our” tree… so we never go to the tree sale. Maybe this year will be different.

Today, I turn on Michael Buble Holiday setting a mood for pilfering through many plastic storage containers of ornaments. So many deeply special ornaments are tucked securely inside their own little box with handwritten notes as to their origin. As I open the first ones, my mind slips away into fond memories of when I first put that ornament on our tree and who’s generosity and thoughtfulness brought that bauble to our home. I smile with thankfulness at each glimpse as if that was the first time I had seen the specially chosen ornament.

toKTfromGRAMMY1986  Lion from Grammy Birdhouse TenThousandVillages grammytokt  HummelfromGrammy

Precious little booties that came from Grammy on Katie’s first Christmas (1986) and more throughout the years; the lion, the carousel horse and the metal Hummel.

sherrykerry19851st 1stfrom Betty starweusedintheearlyyears

The love birds and heart I purchased for us in 1985. The wooden bride & groom from Grammy on our first Christmas and the star tree topper for a very small tree so many years ago.

nativitygail  Nativitygaileurope sarahmoscowballet

Sister’s beloved nativities – and Sarah’s remembrance of dancing with the Moscow ballet.

Kerrybefore1985 LIZ Lizwhenshewas flying

Kerry’s jumper from way before me and two ornaments from Liz – the ball from Spain when she was flying.

SuzanneConner2013 DebbieReberStainedGlass tree  TenThousandVillages

Artful and thoughtfully created gifts from Suzanne Conner, Debbie Reber & Ten Thousand Villages. So many people, such kind memories.


sheilafromkevins   NancyWaugh




A Wedgwood Blue Jasper Ornament from Susan who never really liked us – but she had great taste in expensive ornaments so we kept it on the tree! Sheila brought a fox and squirrel which I love. Nancy Waugh, a dear lady in whom I found Bluefield in common. She was from WV and me VA, but we hold them close in our heart. The Danish ornament (2002) from cousin Edith in Denmark, the train from Karen and angel from my sweet friend Anne. … and in spite of my utmost care to package all the glass ornaments carefully in molded paper apple trays from Albertson’s these many years , there is an occasional breakage.


My most favorite and  heart-warming ornament this year is from the hand of Joanna Francis ( I purchased this from her last December as she celebrated her last Christmas this side of heaven and commissioned her to paint a bird’s nest piece. She was an amazing example of how to accept the challenges life gives and how to make the most of each treasured day was are privileged to enjoy. I cherish what little I actually knew her, but recognize what a huge impact she made on me and so many others. It was her relationship with Christ that made the difference. “The joy of the Lord” was her strength.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season filled with fun, family and fond memories. Remember to let go of small stuff and embrace what it truly important as we celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Happy Birthday Jesus!



Requested Brooks Family Pics

BOYD, Andrew and Ciller Lester Boyd - parents of Nancy Boyd Brooks

BROOKS Aunt Malvie, Uncle Doc Cook, Maynard, Don, Ruth

Armalda Vernon “Malvie” Brooks Cook 1880-1973 daughter of Wm Brooks (1858-1939) & Mary Sutherland Brooks

BROOKS Benjamin  & Haley Thacker Brooks son of John & Elizabeth Brooks

BROOKS Benjamin (1864-1938) & Haley Thacker Brooks son of John (1812-1910) & Elizabeth Hill Brooks

BROOKS Betty Hill sife of John mother of Wm

Brooks, Elizabeth “Betty” Hill (1824-1914) wife of John Brooks (my 2nd great grandparents)

BROOKS Charles AND Nancy Boyd son of John & Elizabeth Brooks

Brooks, Charles (1853-1937) with wife Nancy Boyd. Charles is the son of John & Elizabeth Hill Brooks

BROOKS Charles Brooks Family

Charles Brooks Family photo

BROOKS Charles Brooks with cane

Charles Brooks

BROOKS Elizabeth Hill b. 1822 photo 1870

Elizabeth “Betty” Hill Brooks (1824-1914) photo about 1870

BROOKS Emily, Malvie, Rose Altha

Daughters of Wm Brooks & Mary Sutherland Brooks. Altha – my grandmother

BROOKS James & Elizabeth Brooks & James Brooks son of John & Elizabeth B and dau of Ransom Br brother of John Br

Brooks, James (b.1845) & wife Elizabeth. James is the son of John & Elizabeth Hill Brooks

BROOKS John 1812-1910

John Brooks (1812-1910)

BROOKS John Brooks, Jr

John Brooks, Jr. (b. 1949) married Martha Boyd

BROOKS Joseph & Alverda Kiser Brooks son of John & Elizabeth Hill Brooks dau of Fullen & Matilda Sutherland Kiser

Joseph Brooks (1862-1947) married Alverda Kiser. Joseph is the son of John & Elizabeth Hill Brooks

BROOKS May 1966 Hobert Ezekiel Brooks and Hattie Russell Bausell Br

Hobert Ezekiel Brooks (1900-1971) with wife Hattie Russell Bausell (photo 1946)

BROOKS Rosa and Ellis Jessee

Rose Belle Brooks (1888-1980) and husband Ellis Jessee. Daughter of Wm & Mary Sutherland Brooks

BROOKS Solomon Brooks & Rosa, Ezra, Ester, Swanson

Solomon Brooks (b. 1856) and wife Elizabeth Williams, with Rosa, Ezra, Ester, Swanson. (My records indicate they had 2 children, Eula and Eugene??) Solomon is the son of John & Elizabeth Brooks.

BROOKS Wm Bill Hensley

William M. “Bill” Brooks (1858-1939) my great grandfather and son of John Jeremiah Brooks & Elizabeth “Betty” Hill.

BROOKS Wm Brooks - Orpha Jessee

William Brooks (my great grandfather) and 2nd wife Orpha N. Jessee. His 1st wife Mary Sutherland (1858-1891) (my great grandmother)

BROOKS Wm Brooks, Uncle Ellis Jessee

BROOKS, Rose Brooks Gent, Lillians mother

Rose Brooks Gent (b.1898) daughter of Charles Brooks & Nancy Jane Boyd Brooks.

Many thanks  to Nancy Fields, Kathy Haynes & Becky Chafin for sharing pictures and Brooks family research.

According to family history Nancy ____ the wife of William Brooks was a full-blooded Indian but I don’t think anyone knows which tribe.  I have heard some of my uncles (Garrett line whose mother was a Brooks) talk about Constants (Constantinople , son of William) as being half Indian. Constants was the father of John who then would have been one quarter Indian, and so on. I believe there are some definite physical characteristics in the Brooks family that would indicate Indian heritage. My father had brothers and sisters with coal black straight hair (but he had red hair…Sutherland). So, 
I have pictures of Joseph, James, Solomon, and Benjamin Brooks (all sons  of John and Elizabeth Hill Brooks).

John and Elizabeth went to Buchanan
County after the Civil War from Mitchell County, NC, and then on to Russell County.

BROOKS –  The Brooks Family came from Yancy County, NC.

The Brooks Family
Yancy County, NC
Rock Creek 1850’s
Fork Mt. Area 1860’s

Constantine was in NC, his son John came to Russell County to Rock Creek 1850’s and Fork Mt. Area 1860’s. 

Altha Rudolph Brooks d/o William M. Brooks & Mary Sutherland

Mary died at the at the age of 33 due to complications from the birth of their 6th child Deward.

Mary d/o Mahala Kiser and Jessee Sutherland

Mahala d/o Joseph Kiser, Jr. & Mary Polly Childress

Jessee s/o Daniel Sutherland & Phoebe Fuller

William Brooks s/o John Brooks & Elizabeth Hill

John s/o Constantine (Constantnople) Brooks (Rutherford County, NC) * Rutha Daily

Constant s/o William Brooks  & Nancy ? (full blooded Indian)

William Brooks was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1745 and died in Rutherford County, NC or in Cleveland County, NC in 1844. He enlisted in the Army in 1776 – the year the Revolutionary War began – where he was living at the time in Fredrick County, Maryland. He enlisted for a period of one year. During this year of service, he participated in the Battles of Harlem, Long Island and White Plain, New York. In White Plain he was wounded and sent to the hospital. After his release from the hospital, his tour of duty was complete and he moved to Guilford County, North Carolina. While a resident of Guilford County, he served three additional short tours of duty including the Battle of Charleston, South Carolina.


About 1787-88, he moved westward into Rutherford County and settled on Sandy Run Creek, which in 1841 became Cleveland County, North Carolina. This is the county where he died. We actually found no record of his marriage, but did find that his wife was named Nancy and the records show they raised nine sons and one daughter on the farm they owned and run a grist mill. According to his will, their children were John 1779, David 1781, Samuel 1797, Constantanople 1783, Joseph 1785, Issac 1787, Moses 1795, Aaron 1790, Hiram 1793, Elizabeth 1802.


Constant married Ruth Daily and was the only son to remain in Cleveland County. They raised a large family of 10 or 11 and one of their sons was John Brooks that married Elizabeth Betty Hill (or Hillmaiden) who had Alfred, Martin, James, Judith, John, Mary E. (Grandpa) Charles, William, Solomon and Rebecca C.

A Railroad Short Story – Hi, Ho Silver…Away!

“Hi, Ho Silver…Away!” by G. R. “Rich” Nuckolls

Rich Nuckolls, grew up in Bluefield, WV in the shadow of our beloved East River Mountain, and worked for the Norfolk & Western Railway. Rich wrote this short story in 2002, and as he confesses, based on “mostly” true events. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Merry Christmas!

It was a cold, bleak, snowy day. One of those kind of days into which only the hardiest souls dare to venture out. In typical Appalachian winter fashion, the temperature hovered around zero and the wind had begun to pick up, howling in out of the Northwest with a promise of even colder weather to come.
I, and the rest of the transfer gang, had just finished shoveling snow, sweeping ice and debris and spreading salt on the sidewalk around the Bluefield passenger station, anticipating the arrival of No. 3, the Westbound passenger train, better known as “The Powhattan Arrow” and then later “The Pocahontas” destined for Welch, Iaeger, Williamson, Kenova, and points West to Cincinnatti. Only a few passengers had arrived, most preferring to wait in their warm homes rather than at the railway station. The interior of the station was cozy, though, warmed by steam sent through underground pipes from a coal-fired central boiler located on the other side of the rail yard.
We were not so much interested in the passengers as we were in the mail truck that was to arrive at any moment. When the truck pulled in, our otherwise slow-paced shift would then get really busy, as we would begin stacking the mail sacks and boxes on baggage wagons. Yes, baggage wagons, the wooden hand-pulled carts with steel wheels that so many folks prize today as “quaint” antiques or large decorating props. We thought of them, however, as heavy, unwieldy, outmoded, man-powered appliances that had been around since the 19th century. (I think some actually had.) When the train arrived, we would then rush to unload the inbound mail, then load wagon’s burden of outgoing mail and packages onto the mail car during the scheduled station time. It was imperative for us to do this quickly so as to not delay the passenger train from it’s very tight schedule.
That night, as the truck backed in, we broke the ice away from the handle and flung open the door. Much to our chagrin, the mail bags were stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Behind the mailbags were rows and rows of boxes. Since none were loaded on pallets, each had to be transloaded by hand. Some were filled with printed material and were very heavy. Many of the boxes and bags, though, were lightweight, packed with Christmas presents, going to far away people and places, each with a wish for a happy holiday season.
At the very front of the truck, pushed up into a corner, stood one last Christmas toy. It was a wooden broomstick horse. Not wrapped in fancy paper or decorated with ribbon, the lone adornment was an address tag that was affixed to the handle just below the head and barely visible under the mane of yellow yarn. As I carried the small item to the mail car, I couldn’t resist the urge to “saddle up”, throwing my leg over the steed’s back and proclaiming, “Hi, Ho Silver…Away!”
My fellow workers, startled at first, began to laugh as hard as I’ve ever heard anyone laugh. I found myself laughing, too, as they were laughing with me, not at me. No thought of embarrassment or apology ever entered my mind. One of my co-workers, a rather elderly gentleman (or so I thought at the time…I think he was about the same age as I am now) confided in me later, with a trace of tears in his eyes, that he had felt the urge to do the same thing, but had resisted, fearing the ridicule of his peers. “I always wanted a pony for Christmas and never got one”, he said sadly, “not even a wooden one”, he muttered as he shuffled off into the cold night.
I vowed then and there to right that injustice, the following day purchasing a stick-horse from a local hardware store and writing his name on a gift tag. I slipped it anonymously into his locker in the Railway Express office, envisioning him riding like the wind around the benches and tables there. I was working in another area when he came in to work that night, so I was unable to see his reaction to the unexpected gift. I was not surprised later, though, when, under his breath, he whispered “Hi, Ho, Silver…Away!” to me as we loaded the mail into the mail car. We exchanged knowing nods and smiles and returned to our task, each bag and box feeling a little lighter…
I was saddened some years later to learn that my fellow rider had suffered a stroke and would not be returning to work. When I went to his home for a visit, he could not speak, nor write, but his eyes shone and sparkled with understanding. A niece had moved into his home to help take care of him and as I was preparing to leave, her small son raced though the living room, riding a stick-horse and proclaiming, “Hi, Ho Silver..Away!” My friend and I exchanged those same knowing nods and smiles.

Later that year, my friend passed away. His family was puzzled over an arrangement of flowers that was delivered to the funeral home with no signature, simply endorsed with the phrase, “Hi, Ho Silver…Away!”

NW Passenger Station BLFD WV

 Pictures from Randy Galpin – Bluefield Historian

Old Depot Bluefield WV Bluefield Yard NW logo

Bluefield WV

Saluting the Heros in Our Family & Yours!

Thank you to all those who have served for our freedom. We honor you.

David Buckland Military

David Forrest Buckland

Brian Buckland

Brian Keith Buckland

Ellis Haynes Buckland

Ellis Haynes Buckland


Larry Charles Buckland

Billy Mundy

Billy Foster Mundy


Charles Nye Buckland (top right)

Copy of Walter Edward Buckland

Walter Edward Buckland

Richard McHaffa

Nathaniel Richard McHaffa


Leaman Davis

Leman Clifton Davis

If you are family and I don’t have you listed, please inbox me on . I’ll be honored to post your name and a photo if you have one.

On this day…. Larkin & Larkin!

This is a very special day as I wish my nephew, William Larkin Buckland, a  very Happy Birthday. Will, I hope your day is full of joy and celebration!

BUCKLAND Buckeye Will 10-8-98 8-14 20in BUCKLAND William Larkin Buckland

BUCKLAND Wm Larkin Buckland BUCKLAND William Larkin Buckland 4 BUCKLAND William Larkin Buckland 1  2013-04-26 06.37.48

I remember my dad, too;  the Railroader for whom Will was named, Larkin Watson Buckland, Jr.

According to, Larkin l(a)-rkin,  a boy’s name is of Irish and Gaelic origin, and the meaning of Larkin is “rough, fierce”. Larkin is not a popular first name for men but a very popular surname or last  name for all people (#1421 out of 88799). (1990 U.S. Census)


The Railroader loved his grandchildren so much and he would have delighted in having Will named after him. His grandchildren loved him too and were sad when he passed away in 1993.

One granddaughter wrote about her grandpa…

My hero is definitely my grandpa. I love him a lot! When I was little, my grandpa would take me out on a boat. I would blow a whistle and scare the fish away, but he didn’t mind. I’d spill the fish and let them go, but he just laughed.

I was very troublesome when I was little. Everyone would yell at me. I’d go to my room and talk to my toys. My grandpa would come in and tell me everything would be fine as long as I wore my smile.

In the summer, we went to visit him in the hospital. He gave me an apple and told me it would keep the hospital away. I laughed.

On November 6th I went to Mac & Bob’s with my dad. A few hours later, my dad called. My hero had died. I wasn’t laughing anymore, I was crying.

Now when I think of him, I think, “My hero”.

Christa Buckland (age 10)

BUCKLAND Christa at Joella BUCKLAND Christa 4th grade

BUCKLAND Christa -


BUCKLAND LW JR Funeral 1993