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Communities of Wetzel County

 

Our Town

by

Judy Kimble Barrow

Growing up in a large family when work was scarce and times were hard, meant that we rarely had much, as far as material things were concerned.  But when we lived on Piney, things were a little different because then we had a whole town!  I don't mean we owned it, we just rented it, but the whole town was ours, sure enough.  We must really be something, now, I told myself, because we had an entire town.

The town was called Ross and consisted of three buildings, a school, a church and our house.  The main street was the mud road which lead in from Piney Fork, passed our house and then the sawmill, and continued to the Dick and Ethel Fluharty home.  It must have gone further, but I don't know because I never was beyond that point.  The side street was a hollow, which ran past the church and led to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Knight.

Our house sat between the church and the school, while across the road stood an outhouse, a pigsty and a garden.  A deep mountain pool (which sometimes flooded its bands and the road) completed the amenities of our town.

We didn't mind at all that the school had long since been closed, for the church was still open and that meant people.  Every Sunday, Mrs. Knight and Ethel Fluharty would come from their respective hollows and Freda Cunningham would come from way down the run;  there were also some Yost children and some other families whose names I don't recall.  The preacher was Rev. Kenneth Bonnell who drove from Cambria in Harrison County.  We sang, and put on plays, and sang, and socialized, and sang!

We had a very low crime rate for such an active town, and I only recall three murders while we lived there.  Two were the pigs we butchered one year and the third was my pet chicken, Billy!  Billy was a little rooster, which I had raised since he was a fuzzy, yellow baby and he was as tame as a dog or cat or any other pet.  My Dad named him Billy, after my boy friend he said, but I never did know who he was talking about.  But we all loved that chicken, no matter what his name was, and even my father developed a little affection for him, so long as Billy behaved.  I guess he got a little spoiled, because he got to the point where he didn't want to listen.  He wanted to be right in the center of everything!  One day, when Dad was not in a very good mood, he was sitting on the porch and Billy wouldn't leave him alone.

"Get out of here!" Dad yelled repeatedly, and Billy would squawk and flap and scramble to the edge of the porch.  In a few minutes, though, he would be right back, picking around all over my dad, trying to get some attention.  Dad was not accustomed to being disobeyed and Billy was no exception.  Finally, the yell was accompanied by a kick with the heavy work boots Dad was wearing, and Billy went flying off the porch.  This time he could not return, for his leg had been broken.  "We have no choice," said Dad.  We had to eat Billy for dinner that night.

We had a car at that time for Dad to drive to work.  I think it was a 1949 Plymouth Coupe.  I recall it was black, and the roads were muddy.  Sometimes you really couldn't tell what color it was suppose to be.  The road crossed the creek but there was no bridge to drive on, only a footbridge to get to the church.  So, to get down the road you had to drive through the creek.  Of course, after a real hard rain, the water would raise and you couldn't get across with the car.  You just had to stay where you were, and hope you were on the right side, or got out and walk!  This meant that company sometimes stayed a littler longer than they planned, and sometimes they didn't get there at all.

Since leaving Ross, I have lived all over the East Coast.  I've lived in towns as big as Atlanta and as small as a country village.  But never again have I experienced the hubbub and excitement which daily dominated the town of Ross.   Our Town!

The above story was written by Judy Kimble Barrow who lived at Ross during the late 1950's.  It was published in the "Buffalo Times", Forks of the Buffalo Genealogical Society, Mannington, WV December 2004 newsletter.  Judy wrote many stories of her travels and was in the process of putting them in a book when cancer took her life 12 October 2004.  She was well liked and respected in the genealogy world and will be remembered by all who's life she touched.  She also wrote a story about Levi Starkey and his murder.  It may be viewed here.  Starkey Murder 

Submitted by Bill Cunningham