General Comments

This page serves as a community discussion forum and comments not related to a specific post can be made here. (If you are seeking family information, it would be best to leave your comment on the Connect with Relatives page.) You can include a website link or a YouTube video link you wish. If you want a personal reply to your comment, you can insert your email address in the body of your message.   Please note, unless you leave your email address in the body of  your message, your email address will not be displayed.  If you are concerned about spam and do not want to use a mailto link, provide an email address like the example below: at gmail dot com

Comments with advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks are prohibited as are political and religious comments.

“We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.” — Abraham Lincoln

253 Responses to General Comments

  1. Danny Lee Elkins says:

    Thanks for your work. Missed the 22 reunion. Glad to visit this site (MEMORIES) are good. Lonnie & Nora parents, Janice sister photo 1942 1st grade pic, Thomas, Larry brothers #22 was a wonderful place to grow up at.



  3. Frank Thompson says:

    My favorite scene of the “Hatfields and McCoys” mini-series is where they showed a copy of the Logan Banner.

    • Brandon Kirk says:

      As a former employee at the Banner, I really enjoyed that part, too. However, I couldn’t help but note that the newspaper began publication in 1889 and was in those days titled the Logan County Banner. You can find the Logan Banner on microfilm all the way back to 1889 at the Cultural Center in Charleston, WV. It’s good reading!

  4. Katrina Muncy Blankenship says:

    My mother, Kathryn Curry Muncy was born and raised in Verdunville. I would love to gather any information that is available about the Curry family. My grandpa was Rev. Willie Curry, his wife, Eliza Bryant Curry and their children: Orpha (dec), Relma (dec). Lell, Lahoma, Arvis, Esmond, Irmith, Paul, Kathryn, and Estelle. All but my mom and Aunt Estelle have passed away. Thank you in advance! Katrina Blankenship

  5. Frank Thompson says:

    The History Channel will air the “Hatfields and McCoys” six-hour miniseries starting with Part 1 on May 28th. I am looking forward to watching it, but I am very pissed that it wasn’t filmed in WV. It was filmed in Romania.

    • Carla Haslam Herkner says:

      I agree, Frank. I do want to watch the series, but I am so sad to learn about this “snub.” WV should have been the location for the whole series.

  6. Frank Christlieb says:

    I am doing Logan-related research for a book I’m hoping to write on my birth parents, who were not from Logan, but lived in Logan/West Logan from about 1948 to 1951. I am trying to find old-timers still living who might have known my birth parents, Bob and Betty Workman. They lived most of their lives in Huntington — Bob was born in 1916 and died tragically when he drowned in Florida in 1962, after he and Betty had divorced in 1959 in Huntington. Betty was born in 1921 and died of lung cancer in Huntington in 1992. She gave me up for adoption at birth at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Feb. 1961.

    I have talked to a number of Logan old-timers, including Ed Eiland, Stan Maynard, Howard McNeeley, Ann Vickers, Otis Ratliff, Bruce Hobbs, Ralph Noe and a few others, but have not found anyone yet who knew my parents. My father Bob worked for Bordens in West Logan, and Bob and Betty both performed with a band in Logan, the Jerry Winters Orchestra. Bob played the bass and Betty was a vocalist, and we have some audiotapes from about 1951 when they were performing with the Winters band in a March of Dimes benefit broadcast on WLOG from the old Guyan Barbecue that used to be on Stratton Street in Logan. At the time my parents performed with the band, at least at that benefit concert, other members were Jerry Winters, Hal Bainbridge, Francis Steele and Eddie Thornbury. I also have a photo of my father Bob performing with Eddie and a fellow named Percy Kilgore, who I understand also had his own band. I have talked to Roscoe Thornbury, Eddie’s younger brother, but he did not know my parents because he was away at college when my parents and older brothers Crys and Robin Workman lived in Logan. I’ve also talked to Tom Bainbridge, Hal’s younger brother, and Tom remembers my father Bob but not my mother Betty. My oldest brother Crys, who is 17 years older than I am, attended first grade at West Logan Elementary in 1950-51.

    If you know of old-timers I can contact still living in Logan, or who have Logan roots, or with connections to the Borden’s in West Logan, the Jerry Winters band or any of the numerous other dance bands in Logan during that late ’40s/early ’50s period, please email me at If you have Logan roots, maybe we can correspond and figure out folks you may know that I can get in touch with.

    I appreciate your time and help.

    Frank Christlieb
    Arlington, TX

    • Frank Christlieb says:

      Am wondering if anyone saw my previous post looking for folks who may have known my birth parents Bob and Betty Workman when they lived in Logan/West Logan in the late ’40s and early ’50s. I’m also looking for anyone who knows anything about Jerry Winters, who had a dance band in town for a few years, and my parents performed some with him. I believe Jerry may also have worked at one of the radio stations, either WLOG or WVOW. He died about 30 years ago. Also, if you know any history of the old Guyan Barbecue that used to be on Stratton Street, I would be grateful for your help.

      If you have any ideas, please drop me a note at

      Thank you very much.
      Frank Christlieb
      Arlington, TX

  7. Shelby Burgess says:

    Subject: Logan hotels.
    Before the motels came along, there were hotels. Logan had the Pioneer, Aracoma, Justice Inn, Sidebottom hotel in Black Bottom. Chapmanville did not have any hotels back then; but there were some “tourist cabins” located at Big Creek. As far as I know, the town of Man did not have any back then I believe the Aracoma had family apartments. Theirs was the only ones for familys back then. Logan county has came a long way in providing accomodations for visitors since then.

  8. Janice Brickles Campbell says:

    Does anyone remember 2 children being shot by their mother at Macbeth in 1952? We left WVa. in 1952 and this happened right after we moved. One of the little boys name was Jimmy. Would appreciate any help.. Thanks, Janice

  9. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Shelby, I recently obtained some old pictures of Black Bottom and the “Cow Shed” is in one of the pictures. I remember the Casino Club. Was never inside, but we could hear the music on Friday & Saturday night all the way on top of City View Hill. The only Wagon Wheel I remember was on Dingess Street. I will be posting the pictures as soon as I finish the article. I am waiting to get more pictures that have been promised.

    • Shelby Burgess says:

      I know of the Wheel cafe on Dingess St. The one I referring to was in Black Bottom. I believe it was abandoned after one of the many floods that hit the area. Glad you have some old pics of the area.
      The other Cow Shed saloon I spoke of was located on the French Butcher property at Chapmanville.

  10. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Does anyone remember the Cow Shed at Black Bottom back in the 1940s or 1950s? Was it a beer garden?

    • Shelby Burgess says:

      The only beer tavern I have ever heard of in Logan Co. named the “Cow Shed” was located at Chapmanville, at the mouth of Crawley Creek.
      You may be thinking of a tavern named The Wagon Wheel located on Rt 44 at Black Bottom. It had a wagon wheel in the front, thus the name. Down the street was a night club named “The Casino Club”. They had a huge dance floor, and I have been to some of the square dances they occasionally held. That was a lot of fun. Square dancing gave way to Rock & Roll about this time.

  11. Shelby Burgess says:

    Spankem, WV
    Was one of the odd names for a community on Huff Creek, Logan Co.WV.
    When the railroad was built up Huff Creek, the train people was wondering what to call the settlement. They heard some kids crying, as their mother spanked them for gettting their clothes wet & dirty in the creek. One of the train crew yelled out loud: “spank em, lady ” The name hung on for many years, until the p.o. decided Davin was to be the Post Office.
    My uncle ( James Lewis Burgess) lived there for a while. He always called the town “Spankem “.

  12. Shelby Burgess says:

    Janet (Barker) Hager passed yesterday. Her obituary is in the Logan Banner.
    Janet was a leading family historian & genealogist of southern WV. I was on her website for several years. I admire Janet for her selection of her final resting place, in the Hager cemetery, at Hewett, WV. I too am related to the Hagers.

  13. Michelle Baranet Crestfield says:

    I saw the photo of the painting my dad did, entitled Slag Fire on the Guyandotte. That is so cool to see.

  14. Shelby Burgess says:

    Two other Logan county millionairs come to mind;
    One was Don Chafin who befriended the coal operators in their fight to disrupt unions. Another man was John ‘Johnnie” Vickers at Chapmanville. He came off the farm at Big Creek to establish a clothing store. He sold lower priced clothes to the residents, mostly on credit terms. He and his son, Tracy, started up another store at Gilbert later on. When he died his estate was worth a million.

  15. Shelby Burgess says:

    Logan county WV had a millionaire who was illiterate. His name was Standard Vanatter.He operated a used car parts business in Black Bottom. He died and left an estate worth one million dollars. His wife did all the paperwork for him.I believe he was born on Big Ugly creek.

    • Ruby Deskins says:

      When I was growing up, anytime my dad wanted another car/truck, he would just go to Stanley Vanatter’s. My Mom said he was trading off the devil to get the witch. I remember one time my brother and I went with my dad and we brought a billy goat home. Oh, did that goat stink. We had a little nanny goat and she wouldn’t even get close to that stinky goat. So, I know one illiterate millionaire who also sold used vehicles and stinky goats.

  16. Shelby Burgess says:

    Hi again,Dodie;
    Black Bottom was also known as Ellis Addition to the city of Logan. Some say its name was due to the black waste coal that covered the area. Others say its name came from the African American population in one part of the addition. Black Bottom was a mixture of retail stores, saloons, scrap dealers, horse traders, and dwellers.
    A popular song back then was called: Black Bottom Blues
    “if you go down to Black Bottom; put your money in your shoe For the women in Black Bottom, will take it away from you”. Oh, sweet mama, daddys got them Black Bottom Blues. Oh sweet Mama, daddys got them Black Bottom Blues. (Chorus)

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      I am finding more opinions about Black Bottom than “Carter had pills.” (The youngins’ won’t know what that means). I walked through Black Bottom every day when I was growing up (only way to get to post office in Logan where we got our mail). You forgot to mention that it also encompassed Deskins Addition. Where was the scrap dealer located? 🙂

      • Shelby Burgess says:

        Frank Gaylock ran a used car parts & scrap operation up near Baisden’s farm store. There was another similar operation across old rt 119, but his name doesnt come to mind. I just remembored the horse trader’s name ; it was Sam Pack. He was a shrewd operator, and got many complaints from customers. The late judge Chambers got a horse from one of the dealers, only to later discover the animal was nearly blind. He later told the story in his memoirs of Logan Co. WV.

  17. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    For several months now, I have been working on the History of Black Bottom in Logan County. Would love to have some input from people with first hand knowledge and memories about Black Bottom in the 1940s and 1950s. Do you know how Black Bottom got that name?
    (Bet you can’t say “A Booklet About Black Bottom” – 3 times really fast without laughing or getting mixed up!)

    • Brandon Kirk says:

      Dodie: When I was researching the Mamie Thurman book for Keith Davis, I came across some information in the Banner where the town council had voted to change the name of Black Bottom to White Bottom (or something like that). There was an article on it in the Banner. I may have copied it but I doubt it since I was looking for something else entirely. However, I did find it interesting. I recall discussing it with some of the other employees at the Banner. Of course, I don’t think the White name caught on. I know this sounds vague but it’s been over ten years ago that I saw it.

      • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

        Brandon, The “town council” voting to change the name of Black Bottom to White Bottom makes absolutely no sense. What Town Council? There has never been a “town council” for Black Bottom. Black Bottom was never incorporated and that was never even the official name of the area, so how could they “vote” to change the name?

        Apparently you read the article written to the Banner in the 1990s by the late Sam Rogers. The article has been on line for years. Sam was writing about a letter that had been written to the Logan Banner by K. F. Deskins in 1928. Sam opined that he wondered if White’s Addition was the outcome. I mentioned his article in the booklet that I wrote (unpublished) about the history of Black Bottom. I know the area well and worked on the booklet for a long time and combined it with my genealogical research and personal knowledge, as well as researech nthat I had previously done in primary records. I wanted to make sure all information was factual.

        Black Bottom encompasses present day Deskins Addition and present day Ellis Addition. The area that became known as “Black Bottom” (Ellis Addition section 0f “Black Bottom”) is where my ancestor (and yours), Patton Thompson and wife Judy Farley lived. I bet you didn’t know that.

        “White Bottom” had nothing to do with White’s Addition. Whites Addition is up by Cherry Tree. A Booklet About Black Bottom In Logan County WV, along with my other DOCUMENTED research will be placed (FREE) in the libraries in Logan as well as in the Dept. Of Archives and History in Charleston.

        Here are a couple of excerpts from my unpublished booklet about Black Bottom:
        “I will state categorically that White’s Addition was not the “outcome” of the attempt of Kennis Farro Deskins to change the name of Black Bottom to “White Bottom” in 1928. Sam Rogers’ statement that many people “correlate Black Bottom with the Black Americans living there during the early and middle part of the twentieth century” is true, but the premise itself is invalid. Historically there were never many black families living at Black Bottom. I suspect that K. F. Deskins was trying to get deed restrictions placed on the area, due to the fact that a high school for black students had recently been built at Coal Branch…

        “When I began researching Logan County History and genealogy, I was very surprised to learn that the deed to my parents’ house at City View revealed that the area had been deed restricted since a resurvey and redrawing of maps in October 1926 that would end in 1960.”

        Brandon, I am old but my memory is quite clear. I am also very familiar with the original research on the history of Mamie Thurman. I believe it originally sold for $2.00 (?). I have a copy of the original research. You were probably in diapers or a toddler at that time, from Lincoln County.

        • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

          What’s in a Name? Nothing about a “Town Council “voting” on name of Black Bottom being changed to White Bottom in Sam’s article. Would love to see a copy of the letter written to the Logan Banner by K. F. Deskins though. Previous “historians” not doing documented research in primary records are repeated over and over. For example, Henry Clay Ragland stated that Harts Creek was named for a man named Stephen Hart. That cannot be true. Stephen Hart was born in NC many many years after “Heart Creek and “Little Heart Creek” were shown on an 1820 map of Cabell County) . I found no record of Stephen Hart ever living in what is present day Logan County, plus the fact that he hadn’t even been born when “Heart Creek and “Little Heart Creek” were named. People just keep repeating that same mistake without actually checking in primary records.

          Sam Rogers article about place names of Logan County can be found here: (Use with caution)

  18. Shelby Burgess says:

    I believe the old Merrill coal co. at Henlawson ceased operations about 1950. One of my late wife’s in laws was employed there (Walter Grabowski). They lived at the old single men’s boarding house up Little Buffalo creek. I have a pic. of the old boarding house some where in my clutter. Little Buffalo creek was where the present park now is located.

  19. T j George Jr says:

    Hello everyone I was raised in Logan back in the 1970’s. I attended Justice Grade School and stayed with Mrs. Craddock in the evenings after school. She lived at the end of the Henlawson RR Bridge. I loved trains and was always curious as to when the last year that the rail line and bridge that went up the hollow of Chief Logan State Park was used. I would love to see any pictures or have some information on the history of that line when it was still in use and what year the railroad stopped using it.
    Love this website,
    TJ George Jr.

    • Frank Thompson says:

      I knew the Craddocks and their son, David. I remember Moss Craddock was a preacher and a mine foreman. I can remember him preaching on the radio.

  20. Ruby Deskins says:

    Can anyone tell me the name of the cemetery located on the hill in back of the college?

    • Admin says:

      It’s called the Mounts Cemetery. My great grandmother is buried there. I will be posting some photos of the cemetery soon.

  21. Shelby Burgess says:

    Hi Charlie;
    Good to hear from you again. Yes, many Logan countians had hand dug water wells back then. Water was no problem.
    The biggest problem was waste disposal.We had no waste pickups at that time. I burned & buried my waste, as I had a large piece of land. Others just dumped their waste over the creek banks ; or took them to some remote hollows. I do not use Facebook, Sorry.

  22. Shelby Burgess says:

    I was looking over the West Virginia maps of the 55 counties, and Logan city now has only one addition, (Whites Addition). It reaches from rt 10 to Monitor. No mention of any others: Deskins, Ellis, Buskirk, Midelburg. I knew there was a Whites addition alongside rt 44, where the county bus garage is. Looks like the other additions have been relegated to history.

  23. John McDonald says:

    A little postscript to the letter I left yesterday that may be of interest to Shelby, Joseph McDonald of Blacksburg IE Toms Creek had all these sons of which were Bryan where my line runs through and also Edward his brother,Now I think Bryan stayed at Toms Creek and his son John my greatgreat grandfather settled there at Crooked Creek,But this Edward was the first to leave the toms creek area and by the assistance of an english scout went into what is now west virginia,Edward settled through the negotiations of an Indian Chief the area known today as Oceana, this town was named after the daughter of the Chief. I believe if you do a little research this may be where you find the two seperate families,though distantly related.Through Edward and Bryan being brothers and probably being influenced by his uncle John chose like edward to relocate.John at crooked creek,uncle ed at oceana.

    • Shelby Burgess says:

      Thank you John, for the interesting rundown on the Logan Co. WV McDonalds. I apologise for saying in my post there were two unrelated sets of the McDonalds in Logan co. My set probably came down to Stollings from Huff creek, and like you say were remotely related,via Edward.

  24. Shelby Burgess says:

    I am a bit confused what Frank said about his ancestors living across the river from McConnell . We always called that area ‘Gore bottom’; named for the early settlers, the Gores. Perhaps both the Gores and Thompsons lived there at differnt times.
    Tell us more, Frank.

  25. Shelby Burgess says:

    I am reminded of a tale Frank Crabtree of Blair once told me ; The miners were in the mantrip cars riding out from their shift in the old Soverign mine one day. Somehow, the mule got his head into a raw electric line, and jumped back into mine car hauling the miners. It took some time to untangle the men from the bewildered animal. At that time, electricity was just coming into use. Mainly for the face cutting machines & drills.

  26. Shelby Burgess says:

    I lived in Chapmanville district for several years; I knew some of the people mentioned in the texts Johnny Adams’ mother was a Baisden and distant kin of mine.I also knew many more on Harts creek: Scott Brumfield, Earl Black, Chas. Adams, Victor Adkins, Rev. Vernon Mullins, Henry Mullins, Walter Chapman, and all the Brownings who were brothers (Warren, Ward).

  27. Homesick Hillbilly says:

    Like everyone, I enjoy vintage photos. But, let’s put things in perspective. Not everyone has a Facebook page or wants one. By only posting your old photos on Facebook you’re just making the company richer and denying non-Facebook users.

  28. Shelby Burgess says:

    Can anyone remember the burning landfill on the riverbank approaching Logan on Rt. 10 ?Motorists had to use headlights in daylight to see. The smoke was very stong. It was hardtimes, and the city had no money to haul the trash away, so over the riverbank everything went.I dont know how the people living in cityview endured all that smoke.This was back in the 1930s.

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Hi Shelby,
      1930 was before my time, but my family moved to City View in 1942 and I don’t recall Route 10 ever running close to City View. Could you possibly mean Draper Hill or those houses at the base of the backbone at Deskins Addition, across from the Triangle Service Station? If memory serves, the trash dump for the City Of Logan was at Draper and we used to sometimes get the smell of burning trash (and smoke) at Logan Central Grade School and Logan Jr. High (on the hill in back of town) in back of the old Hinchman house.

      Route 10, as you enter Logan from Aracoma, runs along the Backbone and people often confused the houses at the base of the Backbone with City View, but that wasn’t City View, it was Deskins Addition.

      • Charlie Crabtree says:

        Hello Shelby, This is Charlie Crabtree Frank Crabtrees oldest son. You lived below us in Midway. I helped you one summer on your produce route. Helped your Dad and brother dig a hand well at your house. Haven’t seen you in 50 years or better, hope your doing well. I am on Facebook under AnnCharlie Crabtree. We live in Morgantown.

    • Shelby Burgess says:

      Dodie :
      My mistake. It was’nt city view, but was Ellis Addition. I don’t recall any trash burning at Draper, which is across the river from Rt 10. There was a bowling alley, service station, and an A & P store nearby.Also an International truck dealership. All are gone now.
      Deskins Addition was farthur up Island creek than Ellis Addition.

  29. Shelby Burgess says:

    Deep Logan Co. WV Roots;

    • Shelby Burgess says:

      Deep Logan County WV Roots; My Ancestors were in the Guyandotte Islands section very early, around 1800. They were: John Dempsey, Elizabeth Baisden Deskins, John Workman, and am related to the Dingess family through the Moores.
      My Burgess ancestor was Meridith Burgess (1774) who settled in the Man area.
      George McDonald of Stollings married a daughter of his. Also related to the Hatfields through the Vances

  30. Kyle Workman says:

    Does anyone know what year the Logan Train Depo was built? You might recognize it now as Logan City Hall.

    • Shelby Burgess says:

      Since no one has replied, I will add some additional info on the Logan train station. It is near a hundred years old.The station was built prior to World War one. My dad and many others went off to war at that station. It was a beautiful station with a weather canopy along the tracks.It was the second station buildt. The first was a small building later demolished after twin tracks were built.

      • Kyle Workman says:

        Thank you Shelby, I kinda knew it was prior to WWI. I think you’re right about it being over 100 years old. There might be a build stone somewhere on the building.

  31. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Has anyone ever heard of BIG SPRING in Logan County? I have been putting some of my research into book form to donate to the State Archives in Charleston and to the Community College at Mud Fork and would like to find something to prove (or disprove) information provided by Tom C. Whited in a letter he wrote to the Logan Banner July 23, 1929 stating that the first courthouse in Logan County was at Big Spring, the first designated the first county seat of Logan County. Other than that letter, I have never heard of “Big Spring” in Logan County. Can anyone help?

    Hey Frank, What happened to the “tidbits” section?

    • Dodie;
      Big Spring branch flows into the Huff Fk at Mallory, Logan Co. WV. I believe the state erected a fire tower there, and it was called ‘Spring Mountain’. I can hardly believe that location was once the Logan County seat, since it was so isolated.


      • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

        Shelby, I knew I could count on you to find out where Big Spring was actually located. Tom C. Whited wrote a letter to the Logan Banner in I think 1929 and said that he first County seat was at Big Spring and that Big Spring is present day Peach Creek! I knew that wasn’t correct but didn’t know where Big Spring was actually located. Your info fits perfectly with the extant Petition (1824) to form Logan County which states that the commissioners met at Wm. Hinchmans house (at The Islands) and that Huff Creek was one of the places some of the residents wanted the county seat to be located. The other 2 places they considered were “John Cook’s Place” (present day Wyoming County) and The Islands (present day town of Logan). Thank Goodness there were more signatures from folks who wanted The Islands as the county seat. If they had actually gotten Huff’s Creek or John Cook’s Place, what you and I know about Logan County History would have been forever different! Not a word anywhere in the Petition about Big Spring or Peach Creek! Thanks Shelby! Always good to hear from you.

  32. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Logan County and the genealogy community has lost a very special friend. Donna Louise Brown, 55, of Bruno, passed away Monday, October 3, 2011, at her residence after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Donna was a very special lady and one of the most caring people I have ever known. Donna spent many long hours in the Logan County Courthouse doing research and copying records that are not available elsewhere. She published several books, including births, deaths and marriages of Logan County and she was the webmaster for Logan County Genweb from the time the U.S Genweb was started. She gave generously of herself and her time to anyone who ever contacted her for help. Donna taught me how to use a computer and how to design websites. I treasured her friendship and my heart is breaking, but our loss is Heaven’s gain.

    Frank, is there some way we can have a special page in honor of Donna? There must be lots of people who would want to pay tribute to her memory. Her obituary can be found in the Logan Banner:

    • Frank Thompson says:

      I was very sad to hear about her passing. She was certainly a special lady and will be missed by many. Yes, we should do a page to honor her memory.

  33. Perry Lunsford says:

    I believe that the Rev. Alexander Lunsford was the elder brother of my great grandfather Andrew Jackson Lunsford. I was wondering if there were still Lunsfords from this family in Logan County. (I live in Georgia and am not familiar with the Logan County area.) I would love to make contact. I’m at yahoo and my address is pcharles_lunsford. Thanks

  34. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    No Easy Way Out…
    It does not matter who you are or where you live, the series called “COAL” will touch your heart and you will feel a wrenching in your gut ( as I did) as you watch this documentary about coal mining in West Virginia. No matter who you are or where you live, if you were born in West Virginia, these are your people and a large part of your heritage. Most of us have never been inside a real coal mine, but this series takes you right down in the mines where you can almost taste the coal dust and feel the damp dark air, clammy on your skin.

    The series is about REAL people and survival. Michael Browning, Editor of the Logan Banner, wrote an excellent editorial about the series and he said it very eloquently here:

    Michael’s editorial prompted me to do a Google Search and here are some links that you might want to check out. In my opinion, this series should be part of the required
    curriculum for high schools and colleges all over the country.

    The series “COAL” is on Spike TV Channel
    Wednesday Nights 10 PM- 9 Central

    You can watch an episode here:

    Aron Barnhart, The Kansas City Star:
    “Coal” is a formulaic, context-free hour about hazardous duty that shuttles the viewer brilliantly from one adrenaline rush to the next.

    Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter:
    (“Coal”) immediately stands on its own as a worthy subject, not just a way to capitalize on a trend. The men who go into the coal mines in West Virginia are originals with the kind of amazing stories and backgrounds, vocal patterns and lifestyles that conjure a documentarian’s dream. Of course, “Coal” is billed as a docu-reality series and will undoubtedly, in future episodes, fall into some familiar patterns (human behavior and editing being what they are).

    Sharon Levy, executive VP of original programming at Spike TV said, “We’ve tapped into something that people are passionate about; this is a topic the world is interested in,” he said. “Everybody is afraid of being buried alive. These people risk their lives every day to make the world move, yet most of us never really think about how we get [our energy].”

    • Hello;
      I am new to this site. I know quite a bit about “Coal’, being the s/o a coal miner.
      Dad told me how he got started as a miner; back then there were only a few jobs a working man could do : either work in log jobs, or go in the mines. The wages were about the same ; the big difference was a miner could work year around ; logging jobs were seasonal, as Winter months the timber industry was mostly dormant times.
      We lived all Over Logan county, at one time or another. When a mine closed, dad would go to some other mine to work. This is the reason I know so many folks in the county

      Shelby B.

      • Frank Thompson says:

        Shelby, that’s the kind of comments I enjoy most. Thank you for sharing it.

        • You are welcome, Frank.

        • In reading the early mining days of Logan co. WV. I learned the first coal mine near Logan was the mine owned by Harry S. Gay. The railroad had been built to Logan, but no spur line was yet built up Island creek. So, Harry hired wagon teams to haul the coal to Logan. this was about 1905.
          Later, Aracoma mine started up ; then Wilson Co. on the east end of Logan. the railroads opened up Logan Co. to future prosperity. The C&O railway later started up passenger trains, and people could travel much faster than before.

          Shelby B.

  35. Frank Thompson says:

    Thanks Dodie for sending me the link to the YouTube video of “The Green Rolling Hills of WV by Tom Roush”. I liked it so much that I’ve loaded the video in the sidebar.

  36. Jane Lawry says:

    Hi Dodie, I’m researching Rev Alexander Lunsford and was in the process of trying to determine if he was a minister when I found your wonderful post, “A few of Logan County’s Earliest Ministers”. Now, I have no doubts I was on the right trail and he was indeed a minister. In the last paragraph of the story it states you have photographs of all the Logan County ministers.

    I read your reasons for withdrawing your photos from this site and completely understand. However, I’m wondering if there is any way I could get a copy of a picture of Rev. Alexander Lunsford to add to my family tree on

    Like you, I believe in crediting those who graciously allow others to post their photographs, documents, etc and will credit your name with the picture. There is so little information out there on Alexander Lunsford, I couldn’t believe it when I saw you may have a photo.

    Thank you regardless of whether or not you permit me to use a picture of Rev. Lunsford. The article was wonderful to read!

    Jane Lawry
    Galena, Ohio

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Hi Jane,
      Im glad that you enjoyed my posts. I have been hesitant about answering your posts, because I don’t want to get into any discussions about religion or “politics”. That is definitely against the policy on Frank’s website. Thank you for your honesty., Inc., is an Internet company based in Provo, Utah, US, (Home of the MORMAN Church) and, Inc., is the largest FOR-PROFIT genealogy company in the world.

      I’m sure the libraries in Logan have pictures of “Dad” Lunsford, beloved Deciples Of Christ Minister, who was alive and preaching the Gospel according to his own beliefs, at the time the Mormans were forced into moving west.
      Best Regards,

      • Jane Lawry says:

        Hi Dodie, Thanks for your reply. I will give try contacting the library to see if they have a picture of Rev. Lunsford. I appreciate your help! Please keep doing your wonderful posts! We need the stories .. memories of the past to help us understand the hard work, love, courage & building of our great country. Learning their trials & tribulations gives us a greater respect for our ancestors & sometimes even a better understanding of ourselves! Jane

        • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

          Jane, I agree with everything you said about the work, love, courage & building of our great country. As a retired family therapist, I especially agree that learning about our ancestors gives us a better understanding of our selves. John F. Kennedy (or some very intelligent person in history- my memory is not what it once was-) said that if we don’t learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it.

          • Frank Thompson says:

            Dodie, your statement “if we don’t learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it” reminded me of when I worked in D.C. and my daily commute would take me by the National Archives Building. Many times I would reflect on the quotation engraved on the building:

            What is Past is Prologue

          • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

            Frank, I had no idea that quote was on the National Archives Building. What profound words of wisdom. I suspect that the majority of folks never give it a second thought. I nearly died once due to the fact that history does repeat itself. Here is a true story that is on my old Families Of Steel(e) web site:

  37. Beulah ( Whitt ) Cremeans says:

    I an interested in finding some pictures of the Mt. Gay Grade School that I attended in the 1940,s. I know that someone in Logan has some pictures of the school. Could someone help me find pictures, please? Thanks, Beulah

    • Beulah Cremeans says:

      Just a note to let you know that I did find some pictures of the Mt. Gay Grade School with the help of a friend, Connie Kirk. She knew someone that had the pictures and she put them on facebook and I saved them. I think she still has them on her facebook page. Now, I am looking for some pictures of the coal camp at Mona Hill. If anyone has any would you please post them on facebook or my email. Thanks, Beulah

  38. Brandon Muncy says:

    I was wondering if you had any information on my great grandfather (General Bryant), great, great grandfather (Preston Bryant), or my 3x great grandfather (Corbin Bryant). I have not been able to find much information about Preston or Corbin Bryant.

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Whose son are you? Preston Bryant was my grandfather.

      • Brandon Muncy says:

        Galen Muncy is my father. Lena (Bryant) Muncy was my grandmother. Her father was General Bryant & Preston Bryant was her grandfather.

        • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

          Brandon, If you will give Frank permission to share your email with me, I will send you some pages from my book (unpublished) about Uncle General (yes, he was my mother’s brother) and a complete chapter about your Uncle Don (one of my favorite cousins). Will also send you the story of Grandpa Pres’s funeral.

          • Brandon Muncy says:

            Dodie, thanks! That would be greatly appreciated. I’ve always been interested about that side of my family.

            Frank, You have my permission to share my email with Dodie.

  39. Pam Brennan says:

    I would love to read your history of Island Creek. How would I go about finding it?

  40. Frances Pierce Hampson says:

    I am so saddened that Dodies’ work will no longer be available. I have personally known Dodie for a long, long time, she has always been honest, caring and hard working. I am especially aware of the time (YEARS) and hard work she has put forth in research. She has always been very generous sharing such research, so I understand her frustrations when it is used improperly.

    Many pictures (from a lot of people) have been shared with Dodie and she has ALWAYS given credit to the donor. I know that a picture I shared with Dodie (Peach Creek Grade School group picture) showed up on Topix (no credit given as to where it came from.)

    Sorry for our loss!

  41. Homesick Hillbilly says:

    I love the photos on this site.

  42. Linda Smith Farmer says:

    Dodie my sister told me that our dad was actually born at Ranger. Is that Harts Creek? I have gotten some info. from Hal Smith, a cousin on my dads side of the family. My dad was born in 1909, so I doubt he was younger than you, 🙂 he passed away in 1972 at the age of 62. He is related to the Gartins,Workmans and Brownings.

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Ranger is in Lincoln County and is not close to Whirlwind (Big Harts Creek in Logan County). Ranger is not Harts Creek. Your Smith’s were not related to my Smiths. Your family was pretty easy to trace though (unusual for the Smith surname). I did a very brief search of census records and death records for Lincoln County this morning and here is what I found your family:
      Granville Smith appears to be the s/o David F. Smith Jr. and wife Martha J. He was in their household, age 21 on the 1900 Lincoln County Census (Laurel Hill Magisterial District). The Census shows that “Granvil” was 21 years old, born Feb. 1879. His dad David, was age 52, born April 1848. His mom, Martha J. (Jane?) was born June 1854. David was a farmer, but “Granvil” was a day labor in the logging business.

      I found David, age 22 (Granville’s dad) in the Sheridan District of Lincoln County on the 1870 census, living with his father, and several siblings. Tolbert Smith and family lived next door.

      In 1870 (Lincoln County), I found Both David and Tolbert (brothers) in the household of Ballard Smith. Apparently Ballard’s wife had died, but David had a brother named Tolbert. I looked up Tolbert’s death record and found that his parents names were Ballad Smith and Tina Mars. (You and I might possibly be very distantly related through your Marrs ancestor).

      I then checked the 1860 Boone County Census and found that Ballard Smith (age 8 in 1860) was the s/o Henry and Cynthia Smith from Greenbriar County. There was a 75 year old Mary Smith (probably the mother of Henry) living in the household. Mary was born in Monroe County. There is some writing that is very hard to read, but I believe it says that Mary was blind.

      From the birth places of Ballard and Cynthia’s children we can determine that they had lived in Fayette Co., Cabell Co., and Boone County after they left Greenbriar County.

      Almost forgot to say that Tolbert Smith died in 1933 and is buried in the Smith Cemetery at Ranger WV. (This would be Granville’s uncle).

      Hopefully is enough to get you started and give you some direction as to where you should be searching.
      Hope this helps. Good Luck!

      • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

        I found your dad and grandparents in the Tridelphia District of Logan County in 1920. Tridelphia Dist. is up around Man, Bruno, Robinette, etc. I’m not sure where Enumeration District #37 would be, but at least this places thm in Logan County for you.
        Granville Smith Family:
        1920 LOGAN CO CENSUS – TRIADELPHIA DIST. – E. D. #37 (pg.141)
        (Compiled by Donna Brown)

        ** 275-293
        SMITH Granville 40 Head
        {Workman} Carrie 34 Wife (note by DB- doubtful she was that old)
        Linzy 16 s
        Connie 13 s
        Ray 11 s
        Carless 6 s
        Ruby 1 8/12 d
        MCKILLEN Elba 30 wd bdr
        ADKINS Gilbert 28 md bdr

  43. Linda Smith Farmer says:

    Dodie I`m sorry about the misuse of your material! My dad ‘Roy Smith “was born on Harts Creek and I don`t have a lot of information about him and his family, so I really enjoyed reading about Harts. His mother was Carrie lee Workman, his dad Granville “Dutch ” Smith. I appreciate all of the hard work you have put into this info. It`s to bad there is always someone waiting to screw up a good thing !

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Was your dad from Harts in Logan County or Little Harts in Lincoln County? Your dad and grandparents must be younger than I, but maybe someone reading this can help. We are almost certainly cousins to some degree. Be sure to print out the Whirlwind (Harts Creek) chapters for your own use and to pass on to future generations..

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Linda, One of my dearest friends is the grand neice of Carrie Workman. Carrie Wokman used to babysit my friend. My friend is the lady in the Mystery Christmas picture that I had posted and had asked people to see if they could guess who it was. If you don’t mind, have Frank send me your email address and I will put you in touch with her. I just talked to her and she has some good memories to tell you about Carrie. Carrie was the daughter of (John) Lewis Workman, born circa 1866 married to Nancy Caroline Gartin. That makes you my cousin too. She and I had been friends since 7th grade and I didn’t know until a few years ago that her mother was a Workman. It truly is a small world!
      I will send you the rest of your lineage in private email after we connect.

  44. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    It is with regret that I have asked Frank to remove most of my work from this website. Frank has spent a lot of time making this forum available for Folks with Logan County roots to share and exchange their memories and knowledge.

    Sadly, there are TROLLS (bottom feeders) out there who surf the net looking for ways to make a fast buck or to make a name for themselves, no matter how insignificant. They steal, yes, steal other people’s work and pictures and claim them as their own. For example, I have never posted a picture on “Topix” nor have I ever given anyone permission to post my pictures on Topix, but most of the pictures from my old Logan County Nostalgia site are on there, with no credit given to the actual owners of the pictures. I have always given credit to folks who so kindly shared their pictures and knowledge with me.

    I have devoted a large portion of my life (thirty plus years) to researching genealogy and the history of Logan County. I have never submitted anything to commercial enterprises nor given any commercial enterprises (companies) permission to publish (for profit) my work, nor the property of others who have trusted me with their old pictures and knowledge. My work would have been mostly dry-flat statistics if not for so many people sharing their old pictures with me so that I could tell stories with pictures as well as facts.

    I am old and tired and wanted to share some of my work that might be of interest to others. Peach Creek and Harts Creek especially have been neglected by historians, but I spent many years researching and compiling the history of those places, as well as other areas of Logan County.

    The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when a man from Logan contacted Frank Thompson recently asking for written permission to publish some pictures from some of my pages. Frank had no choice but to contact me about the request. The man who contacted Frank was not only rude, but in my opinion, underhanded and unethical, when the man knows full well who I am and how to find me. This man is well known and is strictly in business to make money.

    There are many old pictures in families that will never be shared because many folks are sick of their families being exploited for money, like Logan County people have been exploited since the beginning of the county. Most of us have ancestors who died old before their time, “working for the man” and being exploited by the money changers.

    Thanks to all of you who have participated in discussions about what I have posted and hopefully we can still continue the wonderful discussions. I just will no longer be handing my research, sources and hard work to business endeavors on a silver platter.

    Dodie (Smith) Browning

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      I forgot to mention it, but I will be donating my work to the Community College Library in Logan. as well as to the public library if they want it.

    • Jane McDonald Jamison says:

      Dodie, I am so sorry all this has happened to you. I have so enjoyed reading all that your patient research has uncovered and appreciate your letting me make some additions or corrections (as far as I know) to a couple of things. I’m sure I speak for all of us who have visited your website and who have taken a “walk back in time” with you. I hope that 2011 brings you better health. Again, thanks for all your hard work.

  45. lisa brady says:

    My dad worked at Fairmont Foods in Stollings, if anyone has any pictures or comments would you please post them, I would love to see them!! thanks!

  46. Barbara Randant Thomas says:

    I’ll be home for Christmas;
    You can count on me.

    Please have snow and mistletoe
    And presents on the tree.

    Christmas Eve will find me
    Where the love-light gleams.
    I’ll be home for Christmas
    If only in my dreams.
    I had so many wonderful christmases at Peach Creek, I love all our neighbors , speical love for the Rayburn’s and Hull familys. Merry Christmas to all,
    Barbara Randant Thomas

  47. Frank Thompson says:

    A friend sent me this link of WVU Happy Holidays eCard to share. Enjoy!

  48. Kathy Winters says:


    Where did you get that great picture of Logan circa 1875?

  49. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Just wanted to wish all of my Logan County friends a Blessed Christmas Season. I made my first Christmas web page 10 years ago, but the pictures and sentiments still hold true today. If you would like to see my special pictures and wishes for you, click here:

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Kathy, I have been doing genealogy (and history) research for 30 plus years, (long before the Internet) so I have many old pictures and post cards. I used to have lots of Logan County pictures on one of my old websites, “Logan County Nostalgia”. Many wonderful people shared generously with me over the years- others, not so much. I started putting old pictures online in 1998 but people were lifting them, (as well as my research) and posting elsewhere with no credit given to original owners, so I stopped posting them online several years ago. My LHS Class Of ’55 Memories web site is the only one I keep updated these days. My husband was an avid amatuer photographer and many of my “old” pictures were from pictures that he took of originals, often hanging on a wall in someone’s home in Va. or WV (or a library or courthouse). I believe the picure you asked about is from an old post card.

      My health is poor these days but I have posted some of my work here, to help Frank get his web site started but most of my work; microfilm, micro fische, books, old picture collection, old post cards and unpublished manuscripts will be donated to the Community College Library at Mud Fork when I die. I bet they would like to have a CD copy of your wonderful pictures of Crooked Creek cemeteries. Those pictures are excellent.

      • Barbara Randant Thomas says:

        Dodie its saddens me and lots of others that you are not going to post anymore.I have always enjoyed all you posts, at times i felt as though i was back in time.What wonderful storys and pictures,you have posted .So at this time i want to say Thanks for the memories,and god bless you and yours ,Barbara

        • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

          Thank you for your nice comments. I will still be posting under the comments section, because I enjoy sharing and exchanging our Logan County memories. For example, when Frank posted the pictures of the old railroad bridge at the edge of town, it triggered many memories of how I, along with other children used to take “shortcuts” under the bridge and under trains loaded with tons of coal so we didn’t have to wait at the crossing to get to town. That was before I moved to Peach Creek. I wouldn’t trade growing up in those “billion dollar coal fields” for all the big city lights or tropical islands that we used to see in movies at the Logan Theatre and Middleburgh Theatre when we were young. I have seen those big city lights and tropical islands and after all is said and done, there really is “no place like home.”

  50. Salina McDonald Surratt says:

    I was so happy to find this website. I have been doing some research on the McDonald family history. Any infomation you have would be appreciated.
    My Great Great Grandfather was Boliver McDonald. My Great Grandfather was John McDonald. My Grandparents were Wayne and Ollie (Hale) McDonald.
    My father is Richard McDonald.

    • Jane McDonald Jamison says:

      I am interested in everything you can find on the McDonald “clan” in Logan County. My great-grandfather was a brother to Bolivar (we always spelled it with an “a”); his name was Astynax and everyone called him Styne. My grandfather was John Bryant McDonald, who lived in Peach Creek all his life. He was a barber there. He took care of the graves on the point above the Peach Creek Post Office where my great-grandfather and great-grandmother (Martha Jane Dingess McDonald – I was named for her) were buried. There were four or five graves there, but I don’t remember who the others were. At that time, I was a child and not interested in history!
      The only Richard McDonald that I knew was the son of Alex, grandson of Charles McDonald (my great-uncle and brother to John). He was never married. Who was your John McDonald? My grandfather named my father “Orloff” and always said he did so that “someone else wouldn’t get his mail.” Maybe the overlapping names was the reason?

      • Salina McDonald Surratt says:

        My great grandfather was John Alexander McDonald and he married Annie Frye. They had Wayne (my grandfather), Woodrow and Wilson (twins), Magdalene, Samuel (killed in WWII) and Edith.
        My Grandfather was Alvin Wayne McDonald and he married Ollie (Hale). They had Juanita, Earl, Carl, Jo, Harry, Mary, Sammy, Johnny and Richard (my dad).
        I have a little family record of Bolivar and Mary McDonald if you need any info on them.

      • I have never researched the Logan co. WV McDonalds, but I’m wondering if there were two unrelated sets of McDonalds in the county
        My great aunt, Martha Burgess, b. about 1850, married George McDonald of Stollings. Any help appreciated.

        Shelby B.

        • Correction;
          In my post I mentioned my great aunt, Martha Burgess married George McDonald. She was the wife of Lewis McDonald. Sorry!

          • John McDonald says:

            I am the great grandson of Maltravers McDonald whos son was Joseph Floyd McDonald and Maltravers was the brother of Bolivar,John McDonald their father was whom I was named after,This John came to crooked creek in the early 1800s he was the son of Bryan McDonald these folks originated in Blacksburg Va, in what is considered Toms creek just north of va tech. Their father Joseph McDonald moved to this area after an attack by indians left him with a head wound, My father said he was told it was a removed ear but this attack also left his brother edward dead at what was considered to be the big spring which is located on the catawba road just south of fincastle va.the reason for the attack is sketchy there were indian attacks then and we as a nation were dealing with the tory laws of england and it is known that Edward was an outspoken lawyer and Joseph was a very devout christian and had no issues with proclaiming the gospel,which was treasonous to the english and it is mentioned that there could have been no worse profession then an evangelist for it flew in the face of the church of england ,I truthfully thought this was the reason he moved near what is now Blacksburg, look up Whisner Methodist Church in Blacksburg Va.But Joseph and his six sons faught in the revolution with his wife elizabeth making and supplying the gun powder,if you look at a detailed map of that part of va ,just east of blacksburg you will find a small town called McDonalds Mill there is an old mill that is there and that mill is actually the second mill built on that same spot,this mill belonged to Joseph and Edwards brother George,now if you continue up that road east,you will come to the catawba road on this road is where you will find Josephs father cabin it can not be seen from the road but it was built around 1745 seeing as that was the time he bought the property approx 600 acres. His name was Bryan McDonald II he came to America in 1691 at the age of 5 his brothers were john,William,James,Richard and sisters Mary and Annabelle .Bryan bought the property and settled there,across the road from his property sits another home that sits next to a cemetery ,again hidden by trees from the road this old colonial was built in 1766 and was built by Bryans son or Josephs other brother Bryan McDonald III it still stands and is beautiful,Now Bryan IIs father was named Bryan MacDonnell McDonald he came with his wife Mary Doyle and just a few small children,they settled in Mill Creek Hundred Delaware after having sailed and docked in New Castle Delaware. Bryan was a Lieutenant in the army of King James II I have not found the exact cause for their departure but was most likely as not religious persecution,The family was Presbyterian,up until Joseph. England had its Church of England and was bent on making the British Isles as well as America the same,and Ireland had it catholic faith. Plus I believe they knew the battle could not be won there that was proven the next year in 1692 when the Glencoe massacre happened as well as the Highland clearances then colloden,The torch had to be passed to a new era of people lets none of us take it for granted,Liberty comes with a price,Lest we Forget.Bryans father was Alexander MacDonnell and Icould continue just a few more generations to the Kings we are decended from but thats it for now

Leave a Reply to Barbara Randant Thomas Cancel reply