Antique Hand-hewn Crock from the Tabor Line

For much of my life, this old crock sat on the hillside of my family home on Tazewell Road. When I was young, I’m not sure I even noticed it filled and overflowing with succulents (hen-and-biddies)* that belonged to my Grandmother Buckland.  However, after I moved away from Bluefield, married and started a family, I became curious about my heritage and those long ago relatives from the Virginia mountains.

Many times when I visited Mom, I’d take a few biddies back to the heat of Florida and try to keep them growing. After all, they had been flourishing in that crock without a bit of help since at least October 20, 1960 when Mary Jane Davidson Buckland passed away. **

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Many times Mom has encouraged me to take the entire crock and succulents home with me. For fear I’d kill ALL the treasured flowering plants I would only take a few biddies to experiment with. And indeed, the ones I transplanted met their demise. How can a plant that has survived heat and snow for at least 53 years meet it’s death in my hands?

This May when I was home visiting Mom, for the first time, I realized that I didn’t have to take all the hen and biddies in order to take and enjoy the crock. I could hardly move the heavy crock, but carefully rolled it down the hill. Since the plant was being overtaken by ants and roly polys and had very little soil left to cover the roots, I gingerly removed them all from the crock, cleaned and separated them in a pot of water and replanted them in new potting soil. I used a different pot, large enough to allow for growth, and placed the newly planted biddies back in the exact location of the old crock on the hillside in hopes of their continued survival.

As I began scrubbing the crock, I recognized for the first time that this piece possibly had a deeper history than just that of Grandmother Buckland. The archaic treasure is one piece, hand-hewn from a very large rock. The maker carefully shaped the vessel to accommodate plants and primitively drilled a drainage hole on the side. The bottom of the pot is narrowed and had previously not been visible since it was partially buried into the hillside.  When Grandaddy Buckland*** died February 5, 1967, my dad, L.W., JR.**** brought the crock home, placed it in a hole on the hillside and it had not been moved since.

Inquiring of Mom about the history of the crock, she said that Dad had mentioned something about it coming from the TABOR side of the family. That being the case, it wasn’t actually Grandmother Buckland’s crock originally, but at the least, it would have belonged to my great-grandmother, Sarah Jane Tabor Buckland ***** who had inherited the home property from her parents ****** James Harrison Tabor & Nancy Moore Runyan. Sarah Tabor & husband Jacob Alexander Buckland lived in a log home on that land and reared 6 children. ****** including my grandfather, Larkin Watson Buckland.

Had this crock been around for at least 100 years? probably! Eureka! Now that I have this in my home and part of my personal family collection, I’ll think of my ancient folks and their simple lives every  time I look at that crock. Perhaps I’ll be reminded to live a less-cluttered life myself.  I love the utilitarian items of our ancestors far more than treasured antiques. Just crazy I suppose; just a simple Railroader’s Daughter.

*Hen and chicks (also known as Hen-and-chickens, or Hen-and-biddies in the American South) is a common name for a group of small succulent plants belonging to the flowering plant family Crassulaceae, native to Europe and northern Africa. They grow close to the ground with leaves formed around each other in a rosette, and propagating by offsets. The “hen” is the main plant, and the “chicks” are the offspring, which start as tiny buds on the main plant and soon sprout their own roots, taking up residence close to the mother plant. (Wikipedia) Here are my hen-and-biddies as of May 2013.

Let’s see if I can keep them growing with my less than green thumb. At the bottom of the image are a couple of new sprouts (biddies in the making)!!!!2013-06-08 07.51.43


BUCKLAND Mary Jane 1886-1960            Obituary Memorial/Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Funeral services for Mrs. Mary Jane Buckland 74, wife of L.W. Buckland of Falls Mills, Va., will be conducted Sunday at 2:30p.m. at Falls Mills Christian Church.  Dewey Parr, Clarence Greenleaf, and Clinton Looney will officiate, with burial in Tabor Cemetery at Falls Mills. The body will be taken from Dudley Memorial Mortuary to the home at 2p.m. Friday and to the church one hour before services. Mrs. Buckland died Thursday morning in a Bluefield hospital after being admitted two weeks ago. She was a native of Tazewell County, Va., daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Granger Davidson.  She was a member of the Falls Mills Christian Church, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Auxiliary, and the GIA. Survivors, other than her husband, include a daughter, Mrs. James W. Lawrence of the home; four sons, Robert Charles, Walter, and L.W. Buckland, Jr., of Falls Mills;  two sisters, Mrs. Crosby Stone of Orlando, Florida, and Mrs. Robert Wimmer of Falls Mills;  18 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren. Three sisters preceded her in death.



Although Watson was a retired engineer for the Norfolk and Western Railroad, he also worked as a fireman and PM section gang.  He previously worked in a rock quarry for .50 per day.

He was a member and honorary elder of Falls Mills Christian Church, a lifetime member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and a member of the Bluefield Old Guard.  He and his family moved from Bluefield, West Virginia to Falls Mills in May 1922, to the log cabin his parents had lived in.  He later built a brick home on the property, which was owned and occupied by his son and wife, Robert and Margaret Buckland until Robert’s death in 2011.


Larkin Watson Buckland, Jr.
Add Obit….


BUCKLAND Sarah Jane Tabor 1849-1922 BUCKLAND Jacob Alexander 1849-1919

Sarah Jane Tabor Buckland
2/22/1849 – 1/6/1922
Jacob Alexander Buckland
11/26/1849 – 11/1/1919
married – 3/2/1871

Nancy Jane Polly Buckland
George Robert Sylvester Buckland
Cora Belle Buckland
William Harrison Buckland
Samuel Graham Buckland
Larkin Watson Buckland


TABOR - James Harrison Tabor & Nancy Moore Runion (2) HARRY - Tabor James Harrison HARRY - Tabor Nancy M OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

James Harrison Tabor
12/14/1821 – 11/11/1891
Nancy Moore Runyan
4/12/1822 – 8/29/1888
married 12/3/1840
buried at the Harry Cemetery in Falls Mills, VA

The Tabor family, as many other ordinary rural families of that day, actually carved headstones from rock. Some of the Tabor’s are buried at the Tabor Cemetery in Mudfork, VA.


TABOR - Tabor James TABOR - Tabor Henrietta
3rd Greatgrandparents
James Tabor
1786 – 5/1859
Henrietta Blackwell Tabor
1790 –
married in Montgomery County VA about 1809

tabor line image

A visit back home …

Late this spring, KT and I took a road trip back to the mountains of Southwest Virginia where I was born nearly 60 years ago. We talked about nothing and shared pretzels & water with my adorable and ever-so-intelligent grand dog, Dribble.

We set our sites on the mountains and to Mimi’s house, where we visited with brother Buck, 2013-05-26 13.18.47wife Susie and their fabulous kids & grandkids. Awesome- perfect timing! What a blessing for cousins to re-connect. Larry arrived after lunch and chimed in on the family chatter.

Mom lives in the house that Dad moved from down the road in 1962. She does amazingly well for 91 1/2 years old and is feeling much better than when I visited her last year. She was delighted to hang with Katie, cook some of our favorite foods and spend a little time bonding with Dribble. 2013-05-29 20.12.21

Mom loves her family and is always thrilled for her children to come home.

KT and I visited the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park near Tazewell, VA so I could show her the 1805 log cabin of our ancestor, Major David Peery.

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Other landmarks were photographed on that sunny afternoon, including Falls Mills Dam, the N & W railroad yards built as a result of the Industrial Revolution and a few remaining historic buildings that witness the boom days of Bluefield, West Virginia.

The 12 story grand old West Virginian Hotel built in 1924 was the tallest building in southern West Virginia.

A stop by the old City Hall and a climb to the third floor of the beautiful building, revealed Gary Bowling’s House of Art. We chatted with Gary and found his heart’s passion immersed in local art and in the preservation of a once busy railroad town. He shared with enthusiasm about the scheduled restoration of the old Granada Theatre and I’m thrilled!

The Federal Building2013-05-29 15.49.08

Appalachian Power Company Building

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The West Virginian Hotel

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Each return to home leaves me with a bit more understanding of the culture and heritage of the Bluefields! Follow along on Facebook !

On This Day in 1922

88 Years Ago Today

Charles W. Dougherty, my 3rd cousin, 2x removed, was born to Fred Giles Dougherty and Agnes Bryan in Molalla, Oregon. My 4th great grandfather, John Dougherty (1776 Ireland) was Charles’ 2nd great grandfather.

Charles married Wanda Lucille Coover on Sept 23, 1946 and they had two children.

Generations of Pioneering and Railroading Family Gather for Reunion

The BUCKLAND-DAVIDSON-TABOR FAMILY REUNION was held Saturday, May 8th at Graham Recreation Park on 460 west of Bluefield, VA. From ten states, nearly 100 relatives of L.W.,Sr. And Mary Jane Davidson Buckland shared a beautiful spring day in celebration of their pioneer heritage and told stories from their childhood. The ancestoral couple resided in Falls Mills from the early 1920’s until 1967 when Mr. Buckland passed away. His only living child, Robert Cecil Buckland (92), owns and lives in the old foursquare brick homeplace on Mudfork Road. Larkin Watson’s father, Jacob Alexander Buckland, husband of Sarah Jane Tabor, owned land and operated a grist mill on the Bluestone River and was a horse breeder throughout the county.

The group’s ancestry is English from the Buckland line, Scotch-Irish from the Davidson, Daugherty and Ward lines and German through the Harman line. Pioneers from these families immigrated and settled these lands through violent Indian attacks. These descendants are directly related to John Goolman Davidson, original settler of Bluefield who fought Indians alongside the Bailey’s at a fort near the current day Westgate Shopping Center and Bluefield College at the state line. Ties also connect Davidson’s son Joseph, whose log home is on view near Mitchell Stadium. Pioneer David Ward of Tazewell’s Ward’s Cove and Col. Henry Harman, key officers in the establishment of Tazewell County are also connected. If first cousins, five or six times removed count, this long standing family is related to both General Samuel Houston and Virginia’s Civil War Governor, John Letcher. There is talk of this being the “first annual” Buckland-Davidson Family Reunion, but there is no future date set as of yet.

BUCKLAND Family Reunion MAY 8, 2010

PRINT a flyer and send or email to other relatives that I may have missed.

This partial list of Surnames contains our relatives and some close family friends – including, but not limited to: Allen, Baker, Bailey, Buckland, Compton, Davis, Daugherty, Davidson, Gregory, Harman, Houston, Lawrence, Letcher, McCroskey, McHaffa, Peery, Pratt, Shufflebarger, Tabor, Ward, Wickline, Wimmer… If you’re an outlaw, come along too.

Saturday, May 8th, 2010
11:00 AM

Graham City Park on 460
Near St. Clair’s Crossing, West of Bluefield, VA

• There is no charge for anything.
• Just bring two or three covered dishes and your own drinks
(no alcohol allowed at park)
• Bring a lawn chair if you like – Dress comfortably
• Bring something for show and tell!
• Bring your camera
• Bring a copy of a picture of your parents, even if you are an outlaw
• Let’s all get together for some tall tales and old, old, pictures
• Clara will bring paper supplies & napkins
• I’ll bring a genealogy chart beginning with L.W. & Mary Jane Buckland
• I’ll bring a laptop with family pictures – if you want copies, bring an 8GB or larger zip (flash) drive and I will copy them for you. No disks or printer.

If you don’t mind, drop me an email or give me a call 850-386-5974 so I’ll know how many. If the turn-out is large enough, I’ll reserve another pavilion.

BUCKLAND Family Reunion MAY 8, 2010


I reserved a pavilion at Graham City Park on 460 near St. Clair’s Crossing for May 8th. Bring a covered dish or two, dress comfortably and let’s all get together for some tall tales and old, old, pictures. Bring something for show and tell! We’ll have a grand time! I’ll send a SAVE THE DATE flyer via email. Send me your email at