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Vintage Calling Cards from Grandmother’s Scrapbook

CALLING CARD Nannie R Gillespie

My grandmother, Mary Jane Davidson Buckland kept a scrapbook that has been a wealth of information in searching family history and is a unique and interesting piece that the Railroader had for many years and now I’m glad to have it. Among the various newspaper clippings of wedding, obituaries and railroad accidents, MJ had carefully glued these calling cards to the pages of her precious scrapbook.

DAVIDSON Mary Jane 1886-1960 2013-10-05 08.46.17 2013-10-05 08.46.26

“In the day of genteel manners and formal introductions,the exchange of calling cards was a social custom that was essential in developing    friendships. The custom of carrying calling or visiting cards began in France in the early 1800’s.  It quickly spread throughout Europe, and then became vastly popular in the United States, especially the New England area from 1840-1900.  Calling cards were carried primarily by the “well-to-do” ladies who made a point to  go calling on friends and family on a specified day of the week or month, depending on their location and proximity to neighbors. The gracious reserve of a simple calling card is a gentle reminder of one’s presence, and the care poured into a finely crafted card is a welcome courtesy.” …a history of Victorian calling cards.
Calling Card RM Baldwin

Calling Card AE Griffith

CALLING CARD Marion Knighten

Calling Card Mildred Louise Phillips

Calling Card Miss Ellen Stuart Bowen

Calling Card Miss Frances Henry Odom

Calling Card Miss Ruth Gardner

CALLING CARD Mrs Harry C. Preston

Calling Card Mrs Samuel Cecil Graham

Calling Card William Harrison

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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.

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 ~

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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

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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.

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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??).

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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!

Boys will be boys~

“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.” (Beneath the Shadow of the Mountains)

BUCKLAND Buddy,_Robert,_Cecil,_Porter_&,_Jackie_Jones,_Richard_McHaffa

Of course, that is how I described these guys in Beneath the Shadow of the Mountains. And it’s just how the boys behaved. The old shanty had a small coal stove and these boys stayed in that shanty while they were hunting. Left – Buddy Buckland, Porter Jones and Robert Buckland. On the right was Uncle Robert’s son, Cecil Buckland, Jackie Jones and ?? maybe cousin Richard McHaffa. The bear was killed by Jackie, but for some reason, Dad had it dressed and the old black bear rug lived at our house for years.

BUCKLAND Buddy, Charles, Richard, Walter, Robert

Now you know trouble when you see it and I think this photo speaks for itself. The boys were known for their “carrying on” and this looks like there was a little “carrying on” that day. All railroaders (well except for the gal I don’t know) from the left-  Buddy Buckland, his brother Charles, cousin Richard McHaffa, – unknown pretty gal – youngest brother Walter and 2nd oldest brother Robert. All these boys worked hard on the railroad; All these boys played hard, too!

BUCKLAND The boys and picture

The Buckland Boys – Charles & Walter standing
Robert, L.W. Buckland, Sr. & L.W. Jr. Buddy

 tipAlways take a good look at the pictures within pictures. From this photograph, I was able to track down the identity of my 2nd great grandparents, James Harrison Tabor and Nancy Moore Runyon. The framed picture of an unknown couple was hanging on the left back wall. It was difficult to discern and no one in the living family seemed to know who they were. I enlarged the print for a closer look and uploaded the image online.  A distant relative contacted me with the name and confirmation of their identity!

BUCKLAND LW JR Age 19 BUCKLAND Robert Cecil  Sr BUCKLAND Charles N Class of 42

L.W. “Buddy” Buckland, Jr.               Robert Cecil Buckland                    Charles Nye Buckland
10/8/1915 – 11/6/1993                      4/4/1918 – 5/29/2011                      3/16/1924 – 6/29/1978

                  BUCKLAND Walter_Edward     McHAFFA Richard Graham Class of 1942

            Walter Edward Buckland                       Nathaniel Richard McHaffa (cousin)
3/14/1926 – 4/20/2001                           9/27/1924 – 8/13/2012

BUCKLAND LW Jr - Larry on Harley      BUCKLAND Walter on motorcycle

The boys had toys. Buddy on his Harley with son, Larry Buckland and Walter on his bike. 1940’s

BUCKLAND Grandmother, Daddy, Frankie, Robert

And the boys had Mama (Mary Jane Davidson Buckland) left, then Buddy, sister Nora Francis Buckland and brother Robert.

Vintage Photo Album Music Box

Mary Jane (Davidson) Buckland was the railroader’s mother, my grandmother. I have her vintage music box – photo album full of family photographs and it has been a treasure of information to me in researching our family history. Researching ancestors is a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle. Each little bit of information is a clue to the larger picture or leads to fitting yet another piece of the puzzle into place. Between Grandmother Buckland’s SCRAPBOOK and this album of old family pictures, I’ve been able to piece together a few wonderful details.

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Just inside the family keepsake, on the first page is a picture of Mary Jane’s parents. Erastus Granger Davidson and Eliza Greever Gregory. They were married on January 20, 1880 in Tazewell County, VA. (source TC Courthouse Vol 3, pg 54 line 9)

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Page 2 is the precious baby picture Mary Jane & Watt’s 3rd born child,
my Aunt Bertha Ward (Buckland) Lawrence.     9/19/1911 – 10/06/1975

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Page 3 is a very old image of the husband of MJ’s grand aunt, Mary Clay Gregory. Mary Clay married John D. Peery on October 8, 1848
John Drew Peery 10/01/1807 – 07/29/1894
Mary Clay Gregory 04/03/1828 – 07/20/1880

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And her cousin, John Peery (picture taken April 1987)

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Her family photograph (back row l-r) Cosby Isabell, Mary Jane, Charles Lewis, Sallie Elizabeth
Samuel Patton, Granger & Eliza DAVIDSON, Nannie Crockett, Luther Hufford

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MJ’s grand uncle (her grandmother’s brother) David Allen Daugherty  (see blog post)

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Other pictures include Luther Hufford Davidson (MJ’s brother) and two GREGORY couples that I need to identify and find their place on their tree.

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Women Trapped on Rail Trestle at Wittens Mill

June 13, 1931

As I recollect the story as it has been passed down, Grandmaw Altha Davis and *Aunt Jo  were picking berries along the railway near Wittens Mill in Tazewell County, VA (just off Route 460 between Tazewell and Bluefield). It is my understanding that they were crossing the trestle to get to the other side when a train came round the curve on the mainline and over the trestle – catching the two women. Grandmaw’s big toe  was cut off and she was tossed off the trestle but landed on a bail of wire that cushioned her fall. Aunt Jo was fowled beneath the locomotive which resulted in a broken coccyx but no other serous injuries.

I remember Grandmaw showing me her big toe. It was just the top of her big toe that was cut off, but I can’t image being in that difficult and frightening predicament.

The story always amazed me because this same family of Asa Davis (Norfolk & Western Maintenance of Way Foreman) who moved their entire household in a box car from Russell County to Tazewell County obviously knew the dangers on the rails. Why anyone would walk a trestle is beyond me.

Fortunately, by God’s grace, the two recovered to pick berries another day.

trestle

Mrs. A.C. Davis and Daughter, Mrs. Forrest Mace, Seriously Injured
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Mrs. Mace is Fouled Beneath Locomotive While Mother is Tossed Bodily From Structure; Victims Are Patients In Bluefield Hospital
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Trapped by a locomotive as they were crossing the Norfork and Western railroad….

Altha

The white cabinet now sits in Mom’s house, but was originally her grandmother’s,  Nancy C. “Nannie” (Jessee) Davis.

MACE NF and Joella

* Aunt Jo Ella (Davis) Mace with Uncle Forrest Mace

Railroad Payday, the Call Office and Train Order Hoops

I’m one of those people who just can’t throw away anything with a family memory attached, and we have a garage and attic full of junk to prove it. If you’d ask my husband (CSX Engineer), he’d confirm the fact that the old primitive items, handed down or salvaged by me, are my most prized possessions.

The wooden lock box below is one such treasure. At a point in time before direct deposit, people who worked received real paper checks on “payday“. And if you were like most of us who grew up in the mountains of Virginia & West Virginia, your family lived from payday to payday. The Norfolk & Western Railroad paid-off on the 1st and 15th of each month.

The “call office” on the northside of Bluefield was where the crews were called to work, reported for work and signed off when they finished work. Inside the dusty old homemade box are slots or shelves which held the coveted paychecks in alphabetical order. Notice the letters scratched inside. The crew clerks held the checks under lock and key as the employees stopped in, a crew at a time, to pick up their checks. The railroad has been our bread & butter my whole life – even before me – and for our children too.

The box itself is probably worthless, but it meant enough to my dad that when it was replaced with a more modern system, he came home with the box and stashed it in the basement.

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Dad was known for bringing home the strangest items from the railroad, usually something that would otherwise be thrown away. The iron finial below is one such piece that he had lying around the backyard for years. So heavy that I can hardly move it, I somehow managed to get it in my van and bring it back to Florida and place it among the flowers.  As a railroader’s daughter, and as a railroad clerk operator myself, I’m familiar with many of these antiquities once used on the railroad. This particular piece is the top of a semaphore board or signal board. define 2013-07-19 19.51.15

Train Order Operators would leverage the signal board (below left) from inside the depot to signal the crew. The image (below right) is a V-shaped Train Order hoop.

I actually own such a V-hoop and still have a yellow tissue copy of the first train order that I ever wrote. I have personally set the signal, written the train orders issued by dispatcher and handed up the train orders to crews as their train flew past me. I have stood apprehensively along side the mainline and held the hoop high and still.  As the engines roared by the train order office, a crew member reached his arm out the window and through the hoop. The simple design allowed the twine loop holding the orders to easily slip away from the hoop.

Ditto for the cab crew.

Train Order

Old time railroading is fascinating. If you like it, please follow the blog and my Facebook page.

See more about Train Orders here

hooping_up3          Limon6_27_2005_019

Train orders were of two types: “31’s,” which had to be signed for by a member of the train crew, and “19’s,” which did not. The former were employed when the dispatcher needed to know that the affected train actually had the order, while the latter were used when he did not.

Train-order forms themselves came in pads printed on a thin onion skin paper, or “flimsy,” which enabled crews to read them over the light of a firebox or against a kerosene lantern.source