Tag Archive | Bluefield

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!

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What is this blog about?

It’s a reasonable question to ask, “Who is The Railroader’s Daughter and WHAT is this blog about? If you’re following this blog, you may wonder why you started following it.

Perhaps, your interest lies in railroads or the old bustling towns of Bluefield, WV and Bluefield, VA, built around the rise of the railroad industry.

On the other hand, you may be my family and you’ve been supportive of my efforts to uncover mounds of genealogy relating to our mountain roots in Russell, Tazewell and Mercer Counties and our relatives who fought to protect their families from the Indians and who were instrumental in establishing county governments and founding towns.

You may be an antique enthusiastic who shares my love of old things, primitive utilitarian items that tell a story of the pioneer ancestors who blazed the trails down through the Shenandoah Valley and into Southwest Virginia.

You may be totally unrelated to any of the above and just like the vintage junk that I drag home and transform into something fun or functional. Whatever the case…..

what is

Evolving over a period of years, The Railroader’s Daughter is an attempt to bring together all the things I’ve learned and loved. You’ll find an array of information, images, family history and surnames as they connect to my roots. There is a page of vintage finds for sale. I also showcase a collection of hand-me-down personal family items that reveal a glimpse into a child growing up in the mountains of southwest Virginia –  a lifestyle I now treasure.

Both of my grandfathers and several great uncles, my father and three of his brothers, one of my brothers and many of our cousins, my husband and I have all worked for the railroad. There have been good times, bad times – stories of coal mines and accidents, floods and survivals, living on the rails and beautifying the railway. It’s a strange way of life to many modern families, but a wonderfully exciting life for those who have experienced the romance of a dining car breakfast with fine linens, a childhood dream of a trip in the Norfolk & Western observation car or the stories of ancestors who moved all their worldly possessions in a boxcar. It’s a plethora of adventure.

I am The Railroader’s Daughter!  I am old enough to have learned a few things and to realize that those who came before me knew a little somethin’ about life. They had it harder than I have it. I appreciate my parents because they cared enough to teach me respect for my elders and how to say, yes ma’am, no sir and thank you. Although I moved away from the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia when I was only 21,  I well up with pride when I brag about East River Mountain and Ward’s Cove and my roots in Appalachia.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’ll come back soon.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains…”

Just down the road from where I grew up, a woman named Jenny lives in the house of her childhood. She is an amazing photographer of birds, flowers, family and of our mountain. Throughout the year she posts pictures of our beautiful East River Mountain on Facebook, and I love to see those images.  Since Mom still lives about 1/4 mile away in a house facing this spectacular sight, I have Jenny’s birds-eye view (even though I’m 700 miles away) and know what the weather is like for Mom that day.
This morning Jenny posted a scripture and a message. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me. Thank you Jenny!
‘I look outside every morning to the same beautiful view my ancestors have seen before me. I say this scripture, that for generations has meant so much to my family,  from Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
This devotion really touched my heart and soul. Thank you Rev. Ray.’
Jenny Parris Akers East River Mountain 2013
The traveler app…roaches a distant mountain and all of it is in view. From a distance one might believe that it is easy to climb. The view is different at the foot of that same mountain. There all thoughts of an easy expedition vanish: it is tall, steep and deep. Step inside it’s forest door and the mountain becomes alive with character of sights, sounds and smell. It’s breeze touches you as though it was breathing an invitation to climb and explore the unsearchable ways of its creator.
The weary travelers of old would look out at the distant road they had to walk to get home. There were mountains and valleys to cross and go through. The trip would be with hot days and dark nights. They would travel together, no one should walk alone. There was no turning back; they would journey forward toward a better land; and they would find strength for the journey in a question and an answer.
The question came as they lifted their eyes to view the hilly path before them: “Where does my help come from?” The answer was (and is) always the same. “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)
Don’t give up when the way seems impossible. Ask the question and affirm the answer, then keep walking. We get to the top of each mountain by walking with God. The view is always different from the top then it was at the foot. From there you can see where you are going and where you have been. You also see something else: That God is high and lifted up, faithful, and greatly to be praised.
Grace and Peace,   Rev Ray

Rev. Raymond Amos
First United Methodist Church
Elizabethton, TN