DEHUE PAST AND PRESENT

GEORGE & FLORENCE BROWNING BACUS-EARLY

Several proud residents who once lived at Dehue placed this sign twice at the entrance to Dehue only to have it stolen.

Dehue had its beginning about 1916, and was named after D.E. Hewitt who operated a large bandmill in the vicinity. In 1923, the mine became part of Youngstown Sheet and Tube. Dehue resembleda little “United Nations,” because our community was made up of European-born, Blacks, and men from neighboring states who were seeking better lifestyles. The Blacks had their own school and church, and I had never heard the word segregation. The bosses row had two-story houses with indoor plumbing. We lived in “Kentucky Row.” It was named that because most everyone who lived in that row of houses were from Kentucky. My world was small inside the bubble where I lived . . . and I didn’t think it would ever change. Dolores Riggs Davis

THE YOUNGSTOWN MINES CORPORATION, DEHUE, WEST VIRGINIA – ca 1950′s

DEHUE BOY SCOUTS COLLECT FOOD FOR THE NEEDY AT CHRISTMAS IN 1930

Left to right: Bill Schroder Mays, Frank Mariano, Johnny Patrick, Peter Cozmyk, Woodrow Dillo, Gideon Dean, John Hatfield (son of Willis and grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield), Paul Bency, George Lewis, Tony Lepetrone, Silas Mariano, —-Patrick,Sammy Lepetrone, Clarence Bailey, Bill McCoy, Victor Vidovich, Fred Schroder, Louie Zeto, Millard “Dixie” Howell, Manuel Dillon, Jim Bency. Scoutmaster, Adam Johnson not shown.

In the background of the Boy Scout’s picture are our famous landmarks. To the left is the Dehue Grade School which went from grade one to eight. The middle building housed the post office and theater on the top level, and on the bottom level the Fountain, barber shop, and poolroom. The building on the far right housed the grocery store and payroll office, and upstairs was our Civic Club room where many get-togethers where held.

Dehue is located off Route 10 on Rum Creek, and is seven miles southeast of the city of Logan. The mining towns of Dabney, Dehue, Macbeth, Cham, Orville, Argyle, Yolyn, and Slagle on Rum Creek that once hummed with activity are all but ghost towns. The Dehue of my past is onlyfaded photos in my album. I blinked . . . and it was all gone. Only a wide spot beside the road reminds us of where our homes once stood.

NATIVITY SCENE DECEMBER 22, 1967
PHOTO BY: Lucia “Boo Boo” Ruiz Marshall

Sherla & John Peyton
Wedding picture – February 13, 1938

Sherla and John Peyton took care of the Nativity scene each year. Sherla drew the life-sizepictures on plywood and painted them. John cut them out with a jigsaw, and attached stakes to the backs of each one, so they could be displayed by driving the stakes into the ground. On Christmas eve, many of the people who lived in the community gathered around the triangle and sang Christmas carols.

“Dehue was the hub of my world. It had a school that was safe, teachers who loved their students .. . even those from other coal camps,” Ed Ward told me recently. Dabney, Macbeth, Cham, and Orville attended Dehue Grade School, and Ed lived at Macbeth. “Dehue had a movie house where I learned to love Red Ryder and the Lone Ranger for only twelve-cents a show. I could buy a milk shake at the Fountain, and get a haircut at the barber shop. Dehue was on the cutting edge of my culture. The company store always smelled so good, and at Christmas the triangle was decorated with bright lights and a nativity scene. (Ed is married to Sue Hunley also from MacBeth.)

STUDENTS AT DEHUE GRADE SCHOOL PREPARE TO LEAVE FOR THE LOGAN CHILD HEALTH CARE DAY PARADE. LATE 1930′S.

DEHUE GRADE SCHOOL – MAY 1956

top row: Birdie Ingram, Gladys McCormick, Helen Ferguson, Mary Moore, Lena Adkins
front row: Jean Steele, Helen Pence, Stella Ferguson, Gladys Riggs, Shirley Peyton, Agnes Canellas, Mrs. Hatfield, Beatrice Prichard, Maude Kitchen, Verde Gostovich, Mary Hatton

THE DEHUE EXHIBIT

The photo was taken by Jane DeMarchi at the Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley where the exhibit is now permanently housed.

Dr. Gay Bindocci of the Comer Museum at West Virginia University developed the Dehue Exhibit which made its first appearance at the tenth annual Dehue Reunion on August 12, 1995. The exhibit focuses on the social, cultural, and technical aspects of the development and demise of Dehue. Photographs, personal memorabilia, and objects are displayed on the free standing, nine-panel thirty-thousand dollar structure. The Dehue History Book was used as the focal point of the exhibit, and all the information on the exhibit was edited by Dolores Riggs Davis.

The exhibit was built in Virginia by Jonathan Jager and his wife, Kathy Guest. They have constructed many exhibits including several for the County Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. For a year the Dehue Exhibit traveled to other area colleges and libraries to educate the youth and instill a better understanding of our heritage. The exhibit was last shown at the Dehue Reunion on August 8, 1998. Due to cost and wear and tear the exhibit no longer travels.

DEHUE EXHIBIT COMES HOME FOR GOOD

The Dehue Exhibit finally found the way home on Wednesday, March 29, 2006. It had been housed at the Beckley National Mine and Health and Safety Academy. It will be permanently displayed at the Museum in the Park at Chief Logan in Logan County.

Several former Dehue residents gathered for the arrival of the exhibit. Those attending were Melissa Perovich, Kay Perovich, John Perovich, Roger Ramey, Janie Ramey, Brenda Sipple, Donna Burress, Florence Backus, John Owsley, Gay Owsley, John Zeke, Turner and Fred Hodges.

Museum in the Park board members attending were Sherriee Adams, Ginger Baker and board president Frankie Esposito. Assisting in erecting the exhibit was Adam Hodges, museum coordinator, Clarence Craigo, technical advisor for the museum and Donal Bolyard of the Royce J. & Caroline B. Watts Museum at the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at WVU. WVU funded the transport of the exhibit to Chief Logan State Park. Martha Sparks, society editor and webmaster of the Logan Banner covered the story.

DEHUE HISTORY BOOK 1916-1994

The Dehue History Book debuted in December 1994. The 152-page book depicts the rise and decline of the mining town of Dehue. Six hundred photos paint a vivid picture of the Logan County and Dehue which was once owned by the Youngstown Mining Corporation. Included in the book are 124 personal histories and 212 obituaries of people who once lived and worked there at Dehue. Vintage pictures cover the organization of the UMWA local 5869, Black history, the Dehue Reunion, clubs, sports, school, theater, company store, church, park, and Dehue and Macbeth miners in their work clothes. A special section covers the 1935 and 1936 Macbeth Mine Disasters. However, it would have been impossible to complete the project without the help of my childhood friend, Mona Moore-Miller. Betty Wagner-Pozega, and Lillian Porter-Smith helped edit the book. Dolores Riggs-Davis

Sorry, as of August 28, 2008 all the Dehue Books have been sold. There will not be another printing.

VIOLIN LESSONS

Violin lessons brought a touch of culture to Dehue students. Teacher: Adam Johnston with students (back row-left to right) Ernest Sepessy, Olga Kukshtel, Ray Gordon Ross. Front row, Elena Grinko, Johnny Black, and Tommy Lakin. Photo by Louis Grinko. ca 1940′s.

THE DEHUE FOOT BRIDGE

This bridge linked Dehue with Rum Creek Road. The Dehue Grade School was to the right of the bridge.

DEATH IN A POTATO PATCH

BY: Dolores Riggs Davis

EDWARD EVANS AND IDA B ROSE EVANS

Edward was born March 4, 1882 and died September 29, 1949

All of my life I have heard that the Lord works in mysterious ways. At age twelve I found out how that works. I lived in the mining town of Dehue, West Virginia, and had just entered Mr. Otto Tabor’s seventh grade class at Dehue Grade School. It was a warm September evening in 1949 when dad helped our neighbor, Wetzel Miller search for his father-in-law, Edward Evans. Mr. Evans was late returning from his garden which was located on the mountainside up Magazine Hollow. They found his body in his potato patch. Dad said he looked so peaceful laying there you would have thought he just sat down to rest and fell asleep.

EMMETT AND GLADYS RIGGS-1949

Mr. Evans and his wife Ida made their home with the Millers, and were the parents of Wetzel’s wife, Maggie. Rev. Henry Miller, a relative of Wetzel’s came from Lincoln County to preach the funeral. Mom and I kept the Miller children while dad went to the funeral.

When dad came home from the funeral, he said that Rev. Miller was starting a revival at the Dehue Community Church that very Sunday night. “I heard that little man can preach, and I think I’ll just go down and see for myself,” he announced. So our family went to church that night. The only time I remembered going to church was in Kentucky to hear my Grandfather Brickey. Grandpa preached one of those “hellfire and damnation sermons.” I had planned to stay with my Uncle Ira and Aunt Irene for a week. After listening to that sermon, I grabbed the paper sack out of Uncle Ira’s truck that held a few items of my clothing. And I went home with my folks.

It was a pitiful turnout with only four adults and five children in attendance. When the altar call was made, I was the first to stand up and go kneel down. Dad said he felt like the Lord shouted into his ear. “There you stand almost forty-years of age, and your daughter who hardly knows sin is up there praying for forgiveness.” He felt it would be his last call, so he rushed to the altar. Everyone else followed him with the exception of my five-year-old brother. Junior was swinging both fists at Rev. Miller. It was a funny sight watching the preacher hold on to Junior’s head and push him away to avoid his punches while he tried to help everyone pray through. Dad asked my brother as we walked home that night why he acted that way. “Well dad, he said . . . I didn’t know they’d all be drunk and a dancin’ down there.” We all laughed, but dad knew he had some explaining to do.

DOLORES AND EMMETT RIGGS, JR.

“I’m like Popeye the sailor man,” dad would say. “I just yam what I yam and I ain’t no yammer. “It was dad’s favorite line. He was one of those hard-drinking miners who nursed the bottle on the weekend, but reported for work on Monday. So, dad “gettin’ religion” was big news in our community. They actually held a lottery on just how long he could hold out without a drink.

DAD’S FAVORITE HERO . . . POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN

However, the tables turned when all the curious went to church to see if Riggs really got religion and got a dose of their own. The revival lasted for six weeks with standing room only attendance. They took them right down to the Guyandotte River at Rum Junction and baptized them after church. People pulled their cars up close to the river bank and left their headlights on to illuminate the way.

The death of Edward Evans was the direct result of many souls being saved that fall of 1949, and Dehue was a changed community. Dad went on to become a Freewill Baptist minister, youth leader, and the pastor of two churches in Logan County. I truly believe that the Lord does work in mysterious ways. Dolores Riggs Davis

NOTE: When Edward Evans granddaughter, Joan read her grandfather’s death guest book she ran across our names on one of the pages. She had seen my name on the Logan Homepage often, and sent me an e-mail asking if I could be that Dolores Riggs. And as they say . . . the rest is history. She sent me this lovely picture of her grandparents, and I wrote the story.

BUDDY FRYE’S FIFTH BIRTHDAY PARTY

He is in the middle with his hands up and doesn’t look very happy. Mona Moore is one with all the curls. She is standing second from the left.

NOTE: THE ARCHIVES SECTION OF THE CULTURAL CENTER IN CHARLESTON COPIED 184 OF MY PICTURES, AND ALL OF THEM WERE NUMBERED. YOU CAN ORDER AN 8×10 COPY FROM THEM. I HAVE A LIST OF THE NUMBERS.

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5 Responses to DEHUE PAST AND PRESENT

  1. Rose Kelly says:

    Deloris
    Enjoy the pages and pictures you have keep up, I cherish all the memories of
    Dehue and never miss a reunion. take care Think of you and Donald often

    Rose Perovich Kelly

  2. Tom Jones Jr. Logan High Class of 1965 says:

    A LITTLE HISTORY ON THE DEHUE FOOT BRIDE
    ..A PLACE TO SETTLE SCORES!

    Seeing the photo of the foot bridge at Dehue brought back so many memories. During the early and mid 60s it was the place were we settled scores. The bridge was located between Dehue and Hutchinson, so none of the parents could see us there if we had a fight, especially on the road side of the bridge.

    One afternoon while riding the school bus from Logan High School, Donald Cline knocked me out of my seat, because he wanted to set in my place. Told him, will get you back at the bridge after we get off the bus. The school bus droppped us off and we had to walk from Dehue Grade School to Hutchinson. When we got to the bridge I
    told Donald, OK lets settle this. As I was taking off my jacket he sucker punched me so hard I saw stars and he took off running. After my head stopped ringing I remember chasing him from the Dehue Foot Bridge, around the curve to the lower end of Hutchinson, darn if he didn’t out run me! I never did get him back for that sucker punch, Stanly and the family moved shortly after that, I always liked the Cline Family however…… THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.

  3. Eugene Hester, Jr. says:

    My grandparents, George & Lilly Hester, lived in Dehue in the ’40s and ’50s and I remember going there as a child…my parents, aunts & uncles would sit on the front porch overlooking the railroad tracks and chat, laugh and sing. Most have long since passed away but the sweet memories of those times remain. Thanks for the pictures and stories of Dehue! They are very much appreciated by a “native son” of Logan County.

  4. Nancy Nieves says:

    Have lot of wonderful memorys of Dehue. We raised our children there. Thank you for these memories.

  5. Maudella Berry Smith says:

    Walk down memory lane

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