Archive | September 2013

Remembering Another Fine Railroader – Cousin Richard McHaffa

Cousin Richard was one of the most pleasant relatives that I remember. He was kind and encouraging to me and complimentary of my children. I loved his smile. Richard seemed more like an uncle, rather than a cousin since he lived many years with the Buckland boys at Falls Mills, having lost his parents at a young age.  My paternal grandmother, Mary Jane Davidson Buckland and his mother, Nannie Crockett Davidson McHaffa were sisters. Richard would have been 89 today and we still think of him often. And yes, he was a railroader, as was his father. Richard had a 42-year career as a Locomotive Engineer with the Norfolk and Western and Norfolk and Southern Railroad.2012-08-15 06.51.09

September 27, 1924 – August 13, 2012

 McHAFFA Richard 1942 GHS football McHAFFA Richard Graham Class of 1942 McHaffa Richard military MC HAFFA Richard_McHaffa

Richard played football at Graham High School and served his country in the military. He married Jessie Odom on October 4, 1950 in Falls Mills, Virginia. They had three children and for as long as I can remember, they lived out Hwy 52 in Bluefield, WV.

McHaffa Richard Bday 86 - 2010  MCHAFFA Richard 87 in 2011

MCHAFFA, NATHANIEL RICHARD – 87, passed into the arms of his Savior on Monday morning, August 13, 2012, after a short illness. He was a resident of Trinity Hills Senior Living, Knoxville TN, since November of 2011, having moved from Bluefield, WV. Awaiting him were his wife of over 50 years, Jessie Odom McHaffa; his parents Nathaniel Ezra and Nannie Crockett Davidson McHaffa; his brother, Charles Hiram McHaffa, and his sister, Mary Ruth Rutherford, as well as cousins with whom he was raised. He is survived by son, Richard and wife, Debbie of Stuarts Draft, VA; son Michael and wife Debbie of Bluefield, VA; and daughter Eva Pierce and husband, Les of Knoxville, TN; grandchildren Libbie (Tony), Steven, Kristin (Micah), Evan (Sara), and Lance; also 5 great-grandchildren, extended family and friends. Mr. McHaffa was born on September 27, 1924 in Williamson, WV. He was a football letterman and graduate of Graham High School. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, stationed in Puerto Rico and Trinidad. He worked briefly as a Surveyor for the Virginia Highway Department, before beginning a 42-year career as a Locomotive Engineer with the Norfolk and Western and Norfolk and Southern Railroad. He was a longtime member of the American Legion, Riley Vest Post. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, high school and college football. Receiving of friends will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, August 15th, at Centerpointe Baptist Church, 2909 North Broadway, Knoxville, TN, with a Celebration of Life to follow. Visitation will be held at Craven-Shires Funeral Home, Bluefield, WV, Thursday, August 16th from 6:00-8:00. A funeral service will take place Friday, August 17th at 1:00 p.m., with entombment to follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bluefield, WV. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, Mr. McHaffa requested that memorials be made to A Hand Up for Women, P.O. Box 3216, Knoxville, TN 37927.

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Granny Haley lived along the Clinch River in Russell County, VA

Daughter of Joseph Kiser Jr and Mary “Polly” Childers, my 2nd great grandmother, Mahala Kiser was born October 18, 1832 and died January 20, 1925. In those days, the Sutherlands settled on one side of the Clinch River and the Kiser’s on the other. It appears that there was a lot of Kiser-Sutherland, Sutherland-Kiser relatives in Russell County, Virginia. Granny Haley (as referred to by cousin Joe Kiser) married Jesse Sutherland on September 18, 1851 and the union resulted in 15 children. Joe could also remember that Granny Haley smoked a corncob pipe.
KISER Mahala_Kiser_Sutherland

In 1924, Mahala stated: “I married Jessee … and came here to live in September 1851. The house we are now living in was built later … Not long after we were married, I went across Clinch River to visit Daddy’s. Coming back, I started to row the canoe across the river, but the pole broke and I fell in deep water. Jesse happened to be working near and saw me fall in. He rushed in and, though I was much heavier than him, he got me in the canoe and saved me from drowning … (she could not swim; she always said that thereafter she thought Jesse was the biggest, bravest and strongest man she ever saw) … Jesse helped run a water mill. During the Civil War, Jesse was a member of Capt R. M. Hager’s Co. but was later detailed back home as blacksmith and “horse’shoer” for the community. Jesse belonged to the Mis-sionary Baptist Church, the same to which I belong. It was the old Sulphur Spring Church on Mill Creek, which was later moved to Cleveland. Jesse is buried next to Daniel in the family cemetery on the homeplace out there be-side the railroad.” E. J. Sutherland’s Some Descendants of John Counts, Sutherland Appendix C-25 pg 374, Kiser D-11, pg 334

HOUSE SUTHERLAND - Jessee Mahala

Mahala and Jesse resided in the home above. It is my understanding that there was a door on the house (similar to a sliding barn door) so that the family could bring in the horses to keep them from being stolen when the soldiers came through their land during the Civil War.

Jesse Sutherland and Mahala Kiser had the following family:

117 i. MATILDA4 was born 11 July 1854
ii. PHOEBE (#1489) was born 6 September 1856. Phoebe died 17 April 1860 at 3 years of age.
iii. MARY P. (#1490) was born 8 May 1858. Mary died 26 October 1891 at 33 years of age.
iv. EMILY JANE (#1491) was born 9 November 1859. She married JOHNSTON BAXTER KISER . (Johnston Baxter Kiser is #1880.) Johnston was born 1849. Johnston was the son of Nimrod Kiser and Martha ‘Mattie’ Childers.
118 v. SARAH ‘SALLIE’ was born 3 June 1861
vi. ALABAMA (#1493) was born 22 March 1863. She married THOMAS DAVIS . (Thomas Davis is #7411.) Thomas was the son of Jeff Davis.
vii. THOMAS A. (#1494) was born 27 October 1865. Thomas died 19 January 1956 at 90 years of age. He married TABITHA FIELDS . (Tabitha Fields is #7413.) Tabitha died 1950. In 1950, Thomas stated: “My parents lived with my grandparents, DANIEL SUTHERLAND and his wife PHOEBE. I lived there with my parents until their deaths, and then until this summer when my wife died. Afterwards I moved down here with ELIHU KISER and his wife, whom we reared. … When I was a boy … would go to the big bottom just opposite the mouth of Dumps Creek … found several Indian skeletons. Every time the Clinch got up it would wash up the Indian bones along the river bank. We would hunt along the bank and when we found a dark spot in the ground we would dig … We would always find bones, beads and pottery. The bones were old and brittle. I do not know where any of these things are now.” They had no children. SUTHERLAND D-119 pg 375
119 viii. MARGARET P. was born 14 April 1867
ix. JOSEPH (#1496) was born 16 September 1868. Joseph died 27 February 1907 at 38 years of age. He married ROSIE COMBS . (Rosie Combs is #7416.) Rosie was the daughter of William Combs and Mary.
120 x. SAMUEL PERRY was born 25 June 1870
xi. DANIEL (#1498) was born 20 April 1872.

Bluefield Newspaper, 1925
Becky Chafiin – Oct 12, 2008 View | Viewers Mrs. Sutherland left a Host of Descendants Mrs. Mahala Sutherland, aged ninety-three years, grandmother of Mrs. J. E. Anderson and Mrs. H.J. McGrain, both of Bluefield, died at Carbo, Va., last Wednesday. Mrs. Sutherland was buried on Friday with her progeny of five generations present. She was a native of Russell County and was born October 18th, 1832. Before her marriage she was Miss Mahala Kiser. She married Jesse Sutherland on September 18, 1851, who died October 10, 1913, following sixty two years of happy married life. To this union fifteen children were born, seven of whom survive. There are also surviving sixty one grandchildren, 146 great-grandchildren and sixteen great-great grandchildren. Mrs. Sutherland was a member of the Missionary Baptist church for forty-eight years and was widely known throughout south-west Virginia.

my old wrought iron cemetery fence

If you ask my children about traveling to Mimi’s in the old Volvo station wagon, they would immediately recount the time we brought cemetery fencing and a huge gate back to Florida from Virginia. From my point of view, the 100 year old wrought iron fencing was too wonderful to pass up and, after all, I had a station wagon.

Thank you girls for indulging Mama and being so patient ~

2013-09-11 08.52.07

My little ones were under 10 and every year when we went to Virginia to visit, they usually stretched out in the back of the car for the long 700 mile trek. On this trip back home, we threw blankets over the fencing for padding and hit the road. Yes, I felt slightly guilty about putting my children in that position, but I had to have it!  And – I still enjoy it after all these years.

I must say that one of my favorite adventures acquired from researching ancestors is visiting cemeteries; especially the older ones with their charm and ornate headstones and antique fencing. While visiting the grave of Altha Rudolph Brooks Davis, my maternal grandmother, I noticed by the maintenance shed that the grounds crew had removed the entire fencing and gate from an old cemetery plot. HOW COULD THEY?

When I inquired, I was told that the family wanted the fence removed, and that it would be thrown away.
THROWN AWAY? – I COULD NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN!

MAPLEWOOD - Davis Altha R. Brooks Grandma Davis 1884-1980  MAPLEWOOD CEMETERY

2013-09-11 08.52.54

For many years the old wrought iron fence had protected a family plot at the Maplewood Cemetery in Tazewell, Virginia. Made by Stewart Iron Works, Cincinnati, Ohio by the Stewart family whose roots were in blacksmithing. The emblem on my gate is difficult to read today due to the corrosion and rust over the years. …but I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

2013-09-11 08.52.25  stewardironworks-old_shield

I’ve decided to share my fence at the Sweet South French Country Flea Market on October 19th, 9-4. Yesterday, my husband was kind enough to cut (yes – that kind of gives me the heebie jeebies) one piece of fencing into sections that others may use in their own vintage home or garden. Because I needed a rusty, crusty piece of 3-pickets to hang in my house, I decided to make 7 small pieces available at the market. Two 6-picket pieces at $65 each, two 3-picket pieces at $50 each and 3 single pickets (price to be determined when I figure out how useful they are??).

2013-09-10 11.31.04 2013-09-10 11.31.47 2013-09-10 11.32.41

I can only hope that the new owners of these special pieces will enjoy them half as much as I do. Perhaps I should take applications to determine their new homes. maybe Adopt-a-fence so I can come by and check on them…. just kidding!

my thoughts on… The Railroader’s Country Music

I recently ran across these thoughts that I posted just before a trip I made “back home” to Bluefield on 4-29-2009.

Growing up in the mountains of southwest Virginia, I was forced by my daddy to listen to country music. Well, I suppose he didn’t force me. I could‘a gone outside to play, but he when he was home, I ‘spect I hung out with him a lot. He was gone so much workin’ on the railroad, and when he wasn’t gone workin’ on the railroad, he was gone drinkin’. But when he was around, he listened to country music on the only television station that we could pick up, way out there on 460. Now his music was not like what you see on the Country Music Award Show today. Daddy’s favorite was pure heart-breakin’ back woods mountain music. He would watch the Porter Wagoner Show when Porter had as much glitz as Liberace. Standing on the Grand Ole Opry stage, Porter showed off his sequined wagon-wheel jacket and sang along side the big-haired blonde, Dolly Parton. They sang that ole “cryin’ in the ye beer” type music until it would make my tender ears bleed in agony. Whispering Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens and the local guy, Cecil Surrett, were talented men to my daddy. There was even a band of young fellows that my brother sarcastically referred to as SALVATION. I think that is because they always sang that salvation song and whined the notes right through their nose. My daddy loved those twangy sounds.

Cecil Surratthillbilly musicMel+Streetporter wagoner and dolly parton

With all that said, you understand that I have very little use for my daddy’s country music. Strangely enough, when I hear those familiar instruments of mountain music, I long to go back. Back to Virginia. Back to a time when I didn’t know anything but that. I am transported to places where people put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. I am drawn to the mountains where I was born and raised. Mom always said that I ‘got above my raisin’ and maybe I did in some ways. But I am always proud of where I came from and the people that worked so hard in those mountains. That is what makes me who I am.

BUCKLAND LW JR (Buddy)

Buddy Buckland

BUCKLAND LW JrJuly 1958

Buddy Buckland 1958

GREGORY Thompson and uk Shufflebarger

Thompson Gregory & wife ? Sufflebarger

CARBAUGH Aunt Grace & Bill

Aunt Grace Davis & Bill Carbaugh

DAVIS Altha and Gilmer Jordan

Altha Davis & grandson Gilmer Jordan

DAVIS Lacy Clarence Davis, Sr.

Uncle Lacy Clarence Davis

MUNDY Lettie Russell Davis 1913-2007

Aunt Lettie Russel Davis Mundy

GRAHAM Frankie 2

Aunt Frankie Buckland Graham

BROOKS Charles AND Nancy Boyd son of John & Elizabeth Brooks

Great Grand Uncle Charles & wife Nancy Jane Boyd Brooks

DAVIS JoElla, Grandma, Grace, Lucille, Russell, Lillian