Archive | June 2008

..Oh that they could say that about us

Rev. Joseph Kiser was born in Russell Co., Va. April 1st 1832, and died at his home Sept. 3rd 1897.For upwards of 25 years he did faithful service as a minister of the gospel. He was a gospel preacher. He preached repentance to sinners. He did not preach for money. About six weeks ago his physical strength gave way under the dreaded disease of fever. Other troubles soon set in, and the clock on the mantle told the hour of his departure. During his illness he talked a great deal. His mind was good all the while. Just before he was taken too bad to talk he called all the family to hear him. He said he might live and he might die, he could not tell. He told them what to do with the land; where to bury him and named the brother he desired to preach his funeral and to finish the Mount Zion church, for he believed he was going to die and could not live long. He begged his friends to pray that he might exercise strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to carry him across the turbid waters of death to the land of the blest.
While his family and friends were standing around him weeping he told them not to weep, but to live right and they would see each other again beyond this vale of tears. A little while before he died he looked at brother Jessee Sutherland and said brother, it will not be long till life is over. He was earnestly praying for sinners nearly all the time he was sick.
The clock told the hour of his peaceful departure at 7:30 in the afternoon of Sept. 3d. 1897. No great monument of stone will spring up to keep alive his memory, but his epitaph is written by kind words and good deeds upon the hearts of many of the rescued and redeemed of the Lord. Now his noble soul freed from all the sorrows and toils of earth sweetly rests at home in the bosom of his God, with many friends and loved ones gone on before. He left his bereaved and sorrowing family and many friends to mourn their loss. He was buried as he requested in the orchard attached to his home on Sandy Ridge. The services at the grave were conducted by brother L. H. Kiser.
His burial was a solemn and interesting occasion. It was attended by a very large crowd of his neighbors and many friends who in the deep reverence and solemnity they manifested attested their love, sympathy and respect for the memory of their dead friend and religious teacher and guide.
During his life at different times he was pastor of Sulphur Spring, Cleveland, Springfield, Clintwood and Mount Zion churches in the New Lebanon Association.
The earnest labors of our brother were blessed with many conversions. During his pastoral life he added a great many souls by baptism to the churches. Into every neighborhood and into hundreds of homes in Russell and Dickenson counties he went with the word of salvation, consolation and help.
Brother Kiser was a man of stern and upright religious and moral character. He was a true and useful friend; kind and gentle in his family; a friendly and generous neighbor; a loyal and patriotic citizen and an able preacher of the gospel; a faithful and loving pastor and a man and a Christian who in all the relations and responsibilities of life earnestly and conscientiously strove to do his duty and to make himself useful and helpful to his fellow man. He was one who loved mercy, endeavored to act justly and whose piety and faith remained steadfast to the end, and supported and cheered and comforted him unto the dying hour.
As pastor he mingled freely with his people; shared their hospitality; knew their needs and sympathized with them in their trials and sorrows. He was greatly beloved by his churches and many who read these lines will drop a silent tear to his memory. Hid kindness won him friends where-ever he chanced to wonder. Kindness makes sunshine where-ever it goes.
It is the tear dropped with the companion and the children as they weep over the dead body of the husband and father; it is the word of sympathy to the bereaved ones; a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of kindness to a bereaved family is as welcome as the smile of an angel.
The loss of a parent is always felt. They are like the lonely star before us. Neither the heat nor light are anything to us in themselves.
Over the grave of a friend, brother or sister we would plant the primrose of youth; but over that of a father or mother we would let the green grass shoot up unmolested; for there is something in the covering which nature spreads upon the grass which well becomes the abiding place of decaying age. Ah! a parents grave! It is indeed a sacred spot. It may be retired from the noise of business and unnoticed by the stranger, but to our hearts, ah! how dear!
The love we should bear to a parent is not to be measured by years nor annihilated by distance nor forgotten when they are in dust.
Who has stood by the grave of a father or a mother and not remembered their pleasant smiles, kind words, earnest prayers and assurance expressed in a dying hour? Why may we not linger where rests all that was earthly of a beloved parent? For while the grass grows over their grave it may convict some poor soul and cause it to turn from its evil ways and live.
Death takes the young, full of vigor and activity when he will and spares not the old. Death, oh think of death. What is it? The king of powers, the great destroyer, before whom all the nations of the earth fall prostrate. It is death which separates the soul and body, turns the body to corruption and dust, and introduces the soul into a new, strange and invisible world, and fixes our everlasting doom. Surely then it is a solemn thing to die. Yes, we must die. The unalterable decree has gone forth. It is appointed unto men once to die. God has spoken it. Our own observation teaches us that it must be so. The infant, the youth, the vigor of manhood nor the venerable aspect of old age can stay his hand. It is certain that we must die, but when, how, where, this is wrapped up in awful mystery. We have no assurance that the next moment will find us in time. God does not want instruments to cut us down. In the twinkling of an eye death is taking one by one. The air we inhale may be tainted with his breath. The food we eat may destroy us. The lighting may smite us. The waves may swallow us up. The whirlwind may sweep us to the tomb. Fever may burn us to death, or consumption may waste us away.
But after death the judgment. The solemn decision of that day which God has appointed in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.(Acts 17:31.)Mark these words which God has appointed to all the world of mankind. All must stand before God; small and great; rich and poor; bond and free; Jew and Gentile; all must come to judgment. The grave will not hold us. Rocks and mountains will not hide us. Nothing will excuse us for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, the voice of the son of man and shall come forth. The judge is seated on his throne. All nations are gathered before him. The books are opened. The righteous rule of judgment is appointed and according to its just decisions a separation is made. He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd devideth his sheep from the goats and he shall set the sheep on the right hand the goats on the left.(Mathew 25:33.)Oh, reader what a separation that will be Neighbors and friends will be separated; husbands and fives, parents and children, brothers and sisters will be separated to meet no more, no more forever and ever.
Is the reader of these pages an impenitent sinner? Meditate seriously upon what you have read and upon what I now have to say as I am bidding you adieu. Your moments are passing away swifter than thought. The last hour may be near and if it finds you unprepared death will present you trembling to the Judge. The Judge will sentence you to ruin and eternity will measure out to you your sufferings. What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? The door of mercy is now open, but it may soon be shut. Jesus is now pleading but he will not plead forever.
Should any poor reader of these pages finally sink to hell you will find no gospel, no Savior there. Sinner what are you doing? What madness has seized you? Unconverted and yet at ease. Oh that I could speak to your slumbering conscience in a voice of thunder! As the departed brother has so often preached repentance and Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the sinner how can I cease to warn you to flee the wrath to come?
May all who read these pages prepare to meet their God and be an undivided family in Heaven.
And now commending you to God and the word of His grace, I bid you farewell.

Fond Memories

Things are not important; people are important.

I like to keep belongings of family members close at hand. I don’t keep everything out on display all the time, but I use certain items in decorating my home just to remind me of someone I have loved.

A small covered vegetable bowl is one of those little treasures. When I see this frail little piece of china I am reminded of my sweet Grandma Davis.

Altha Rudolph Davis
b. 10-15-1884
d. 12-04-1980


This page is dedicated to my mother Lucille Buckland. Born Nannie Lucille Davis on September 3, 1921 in Tazewell, Virginia, she is the daughter of the late Altha Rudolph Brooks and Asa C. Davis; Granddaughter of Mary Sutherland and William Brooks.

Her first name “Nannie” was given for her paternal grandmother, Nancy “Nannie” Jessee who married Doctor Caleb Davis.

Heartfelt thanks to Jim Jessee for sharing his research. Through this renewed interest in my mountain roots, I have discovered another family line of Brooks/Sutherland/Kiser. May generations to come find satisfaction in knowing from where they came.
All my love Mom,


Beneath the Shadow of the Mountains

The short story below was written (adapted from a child’s book) by Sherry Buckland Kelly. The names, towns, ideas were added to personalize her rememberance of her mother’s family (Davis) growing up.

Nestled in the foothills of East River Mountain, placed appropriately along narrow winding roads wrapping in and around Virginia’s rocky creek banks, are small but proud communities. They are humble little districts with names like Tazewell, Abbs Valley, Falls Mills, and Pocahontas. The people living on the hillsides and in the hollows of these Appalachian Mountains have probably been there most of their lives.
For hundreds of years, the traditions of backwoods life have remained the same. Although modern technology has found favor with the younger folk, many mountain people continue to live simply, just as their parents and grandparents before them. Generations have lived and died with their roots planted beneath the shadow of the mountains in a region known as Appalachia. Men in Appalachia are known by appointed names like Leman or Jacob or Elijah. When harvest time is over, they cloak themselves in long johns, flannel shirts, and heavy winter coats and disappear into the woods. This time of hunting bear and deer, and sometimes rabbit or squirrel, seems to be their passion. After a season, Appalachia’s rugged mountain men must go back to working serious jobs like coal mining or railroading. In spite of good wages, those who are brave enough to travel deep into the earth digging out coal deposits look forward to the day they can move on to hauling coal for the railroad company. Huge iron steam engines, spewing out clouds of white smoke, have surrendered to streamline diesel locomotives. The ever-present coal dust settles on houses and cars like freshly fallen snow. Coal mines reluctantly give of themselves, and often their shafts collapse on those within. Many workers temporarily escape death, but most eventually fall victim to the agonizing “black lung” disease. Not so different from the men, women of Appalachia are also accustomed to hard work. It seems to be their calling in life to raise children and keep the house. The kitchens where Altha or Mary Jane or Lettie or Grace live always smell good from the cooking and canning. To avoid being wasteful, the homemaker puts leftovers on a plate over the warm stove. Cold cornbread will probably be eaten later, crumbled in buttermilk. While out-of-doors is frozen, the Appalachian women sit by the fireplace in the living room to quilt. They look at family photographs hanging on the wall and take delight in them. They may even embroider family names and special dates on their patchwork quilt. Men and women of Appalachia know that family is important. In the fall, children of Appalachia climb the painted mountains amid multicolored autumn leaves and run through the woods. They get stained hands from scooping up black walnuts and gather chestnut-like chinkapins that burst forth from prickly little husks. Winter’s snow encourages the children to ride their Christmas sleds for hours on end. They seem to understand that there is no need for costly toys in Appalachia where the children love and appreciate the outdoors. They feel safe playing within the protective confines of the mountains, isolated from the unfamiliar outside world.
On Sundays, the families of Appalachia put on their best clothes. It may be a hand- me-down suit that belonged to Uncle Mace or that special print dress that Mama made. After church, whether Methodist or Pentecostal or Church of Christ, they all go to relatives houses and eat dinner and talk about nothing. They sit around the kitchen table or on the front porch glider and eat dessert and drink coffee. The children play in the yard and climb the weeping willow tree until evening when it’s time to go back to church. These mountain people are serious about God on Sunday and on every other day of the week. God created their mountains, and they know Him. When someone dies, Appalachian people gather at a wake to pay their respects. The womenfolk cook and take food to comfort and show compassion to the grieving family. The men sit along side each other with tears in their eyes, and they share stories they fondly remember. The funeral procession from the chapel to the cemetery is long and stately and somewhat presidential. Cars line up behind the hearse, following ceremoniously down winding roads to the cemetery. People gather round, and the men reverently remove their hats. The minister speaks again, and everyone stays at the graveyard until the body is at rest in the family plot. Webster defines Appalachia as the highland region of the Eastern United States extending from Northern Pennsylvania through Northern Alabama, characterized generally by poverty. Literally, this is true. Appalachia is an area of mountains and hollows scattered with dirty, rut roads leading to worn-out wooden shacks and privies. The people work long hours on hard jobs and have no glimmer of hope for relief. Nevertheless, Appalachia is much more than a region of poverty. Appalachia is an honorable way of life filled with a wealth of good moral values, contentment, and appreciation for life. Appalachia is Godly people who know who they are and what life means. Appalachia knows the blessigs of possessing a great heritage.

Love those big family shots, but where are the smiles? Click on the picture for a closer look.

This photograph was taken July 23, 1916.

I’ll tell you who I know and make a guess at a couple. Front row third child could be Bertha, but I’m not certain. She was born 9-19-1911, so she would have been almost 5 when the picture was made…and to me it really looks like her.

I’m also not certain about the lady next, it could be Eliza Greever Gregory Davidson (Mary Jane Buckland’s mother).

Following are Sarah Jane Tabor and Jacob Alexander Buckland (Larkin Watson Buckland, Sr. parents). On her lap is L.W. Buckland, Jr. aka Buddy. The first little girl on his lap is Frankie. I don’t know who the other three kids are.

Back row 4th from left is Mary Jane Davidson Buckland, wife of Larkin Watson Buckland, Sr.

On the back of the picture is the name Juanita Buckland and on the front is a slight pen mark for the lady on the back row, right end.

What kind of car is in the background?

I’ve always loved this house

I’ve always loved this house with its push button light switches, a dirt floored basement and octagonal tiles in the upstairs bathroom floor. I would take those loose tiles up and play with them like a puzzle. And the clawfoot bathtub was soooooo long. It seemed huge.

It is my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, that this land came through an inheritance from James Harrison Tabor to his daughter Sarah Jane. She and her husband Jacob Alexander Buckland lived on the site in a log home with their children. About 1924, L. W. Buckland, Sr. built the house for an estimated $6.000. After his death in 1967, the property was sold to Bernard Wallace and then to Robert and Margaret Buckland who own and live in the home until this day (2008).

Note the second picture has a brick stairway turned to the sides instead of leading straight to the front and the road. Very nicely done I would say.

The picture of family includes the following that I can identify…
  • Grandmother and Granddaddy Buckland
  • Buddy & Lucille Buckland, Ellis Gail & Larry
  • Uncle Walter Lawrence, Aunt Bertha (that could be Jimmy above and Red?
  • Aunt Frankie Graham
  • Uncle Robert & Aunt Margaret, Cecil & Janice
  • Uncle Charles Buckland and I think that could be Charles Allen in front of him.
  • Upon closer look, I think I see Aunt Francis (Uncle Walter’s wife) and also Jessee Mchaffa.
…there are others but I don’t know who they are. Do you know?
Please correct me or tell me more and I’ll make additions:)
Lera Gail wrote: “The family gathering in fron of the Buckland house: Could the child on Mary Jane’s lap be Mary Ann Buckland? I do know know the three people between Uncle Robert’s head and Francis. I must have been about 8 years old at the time. Jimmy Lawrence is about 5 years older than I. He graduated from Graham in 1953. I think that is likely to be Charles Allen in front of Uncle Charles.”