Mud Fork

Photos of the Mud Fork area of Logan County, WV

1959 Verdunville, WV

1959 Verdunville, WV.
Photo courtesy of Connie Marsh.

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Mud Fork Photo Gallery


You may also enjoy the J. B Ellis School at Verdunville.

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27 Responses to Mud Fork

  1. Douglas Dempsey says:

    In this MUD FORK thread the thirteenth photo in the Mud Fork Photo Gallery portion is a faded photo listed as: “Early 1940’s the Adams boys from Thompson Town at Mud Fork, Bruce, Bryan, Naaman, Raymond, Lee and RB. Courtesy of Mitzi Wolfe.” Seeing that photo stirred so many memories of them that I felt compelled to share some memories of events, episodes and circumstances that I experienced with them over the years at various stages of age. RB and I were the same age so most of my experiences and activities were with him.

    If that photo were taken about a dozen years later on, it is quite likely that I would have been the seventh guy in the picture. I spent more time with those stairstep-aged guys from about 1955 thru 1960 than about anybody else did. I was practically a member of the household and their mother Beatrice became a second mom to me which my mom was very comfortable with. (My Mom and “Beat” kept in touch with each other.) I lived at the upper end of Thompson Town and they at the lower end. I could run in the back alleys to their house in about a minute which I did many, many times. I came to find out we were distant cousins on my mother’s and “Beat’s”side.

    The boys were somewhat uniformly stair-stepped in age. The youngest was Roger Bernard (“RB”), Lee was a year or so older, Naaman (“Tubby”) and his twin brother Raymond (“Germie”) a year or so older, then Bryan (“Peetoh) and then Bruce, the eldest. (I never asked or heard where they got their nicknames.)

    Bruce and Bryan were working in auto plants in Michigan in the late 50’s. Tubby and Raymond had just graduated around 1957. Lee was a year or so from graduating and RB and I were sophomores in 1958 at the new high school. All the brothers eventually went north to Michigan to work in auto related jobs.

    THE EARLY DAYS
    Their father Lovell was a machinist at Island Creek’s shop at Holden. I recall that he got recognition for working around the clock over a three day period making a shaft for a large mine ventilation fan that had broken. I don’t know if Lovell was “the seventh son of a seventh son”, but, on several occasions, I saw women bring their small children to him to have them healed of “thrash” (throat infection) and chronic ear aches. I recall that Lovell would cup his hands over their mouth or ear and breathe into it. It could be that Lovell “treated” other childhood illnesses.

    With Lovell’s profession, it is needless to say that all of the boys were mechanically inclined. I recall that there was a fairly large earthen-floor basement under the house and it was jam packed with all sorts of tools, nut and bolts, mechanical parts, etc. It was a nice cool place to work on bicycles.

    Bicycles! Yep! We sold pop bottles, scrap metal, dug MayApple and yellow root to fund parts for them. Get a stash of money, head to the Western Auto store in Logan and buy parts; spokes, spoke wrenches, tires, tubes, patches, sprocket chains and links, etc. At one time RB and I developed a bicycle game which we played on the large paved parking lot of the Kroger/K-City store. This was at a time when that lot was vacant. In any case, we found out that if you ran over a marble in just the right manner, the marble would shoot out in random directions. Then you could chase the marble and “shoot” it again, a sort of polo match with bicycles.

    At that time there was a store building at the upper end of Lower Baisden Bottom close to the road across from the bridge to Baisden Bottom. There was a narrow alley between the store and a house which was also close to the road, making seeing road traffic difficult. One day Lee and I rode down to Lower Baisden Bottom where Lee visited a girl. Coming back we were riding our bikes down the alley toward the road at the store and Lee challenged me to a game of chicken to ride out of the alley and across the hard road. So, here we go, side by side at breakneck speed, out of the alley, across the road to a sliding halt on the berm next to the creek. I never played chicken again, at anything.

    The bikes gave us a “mobility” preceding our coming of age to get a drivers license.

    I suppose “Mud Fork” was associated with and synonymous with two things, one being blocking the road at Halloween, the other being flooding. Thompson Town was notorious for road blocking. Back in those days it consisted of using scrap lumber, trees, limbs and brush, old appliances and furniture, tires and such. In any case, the blockage could be removed by the “blockers” fairly quickly in case of emergency. In following years the practice of “setting the road on fire” began, usually with old tires and gasoline.

    When flooding occurred, that provided the opportunity for some recreational activities. One activity was that some more adventurous guys would ride the creek in inner tubes. They entered the creek somewhere on up the creek above Thompson Town and came down, under the driveway bridge at upper Thompson Town and on down toward Mt. Gay. I don’t recall anyone from Thompson Town riding the waves.

    Another popular flood season activity was shooting BB guns or throwing rocks to bust glass bottles and light bulbs that rushed by. Perhaps the most popular activity was “gigging” for floating pieces of wood, planks and lumber that rushed by. A “gig” could be made by driving a nail into a broom pole handle, sharpening the nail end and tying a long rope or strong string onto the pole’s other end. Take your position along the side rails of the bridge and when a target comes floating by, hurl the gig at it and spear whatever you can. Some big targets requires two or three “hunters” to team up. It was preferred to have a position on the upper side of the bridge because hitting a moving target coming out on the lower side of the bridge was pretty difficult.

    Of course, flooding of Mud Fork and every stream in southern WV provided the service of flushing the trash from the banks where it was dumped by everyone. Likewise, it provided a literal creek flushing of the sewage line discharges made into creeks, so prevalent in those days.

    Playing marbles was a big thing with some very heated games. A little known fact is that one year when he was a young teenager, Dean Curry from Thompson Town competed in the National Marbles shooting championship, an event for boys and girls 14 and under. At that time I think it was sponsored by the Scripps-Howard newspaper organization. I think Dean may have won the WV championship and went on to compete in the National Tournament. He didn’t win. It is said he had remarkable eyesight, something like 15-15 visual acuity. In the fifty-five National Tournaments from 1940 thru 1995, boys from WV won the boy’s national championship 16 times and a girl from WV won the girl’s once.

    RB’s house was just a few hundred feet from the “dummy shed”, a favorite place for us to play.
    The “dummy shed” is perhaps the only manufacturing operation that was ever on Mud Fork. Its product was clay dummies. An advertisement of the business is shown in the sixth photo in the thread “LOGAN-MAN 1947 PHONE BOOK” on this website. The advertisement reads:

    LOGAN TAMPING COMPANY
    R.L. Fugate- Owner
    Manufacturers and Distributors of CLAY DUMMIES
    for All Mining Purposes
    Mud Fork, W. Va.

    In coal mining when a hole is drilled into the coal and a “stick of dynamite” is put into the hole, something else is then tamped into the hole to keep the force of the explosion confined to the coal to break up the coal. This tamping material is shaped like a stick of dynamite and is a “dummy” stick of dynamite, hence the name. More than one dummy may be put in the hole. Typically, they were made of a clay material and are still slightly malleable when used, not completely dried out. The dummy shed was actually a flat roofed open-air shed about (as I recall) 50’x50′ in size and 10′ tall. Underneath it was a series of wooden benches with 3’x3′ box trays about 8” deep. The dry dirt from up on the hill was brought into the shed and processed by screening and other processes including adding water to make the clay. Several of the local Thompson Town women worked at the individual boxes and at other parts of the operation. Eventually, all of the useable dirt over a few acres was used up, leaving a barren rock face over a large area. As I recall, for a brief time a dummy plant operated on the hill across the creek from Thompson Town. At about those times, the big changeover from “blasting coal” to the use of continuous mining machines happened and the demand for dummies ended (except that explosives are still used in underground coal mining for construction work). Although the term “dynamite” is commonly used, dynamite is not used in coal mines. The explosives used are called “permissible explosives” with various brand names that are approved by the Bureau of Mines for use as coal mine explosives. The four-lane Logan access road goes across the upper area of the dummy shed hill at Thompson Town.

    I will note that for a brief time the Evans brothers made and sold potato chips at a Thompson Town location where Bunch’s Station is now. I think their brand name was Golden Chips. They were good potato chips but they couldn’t compete with the big companies.

    One big adventure RB and I had was walking to the top of the mountain between Dempsey Branch, Milkhouse Hollow and Coal Branch. We packed a lunch of snacks and drinks and headed out going up the Calf Hollow of Dempsey Branch. The farther we went the rougher it got. The way we went was mostly areas which had been burned over by forest fires and had turned into a jungle of thickets of briars, vines and sumac bushes. We toughed it out and got to the top of the big rocks, vowing never to make that trip again. It took most of the day for the trip.

    In the time before we got our drivers licenses, RB and I would go play miniature golf at a hang out place for girls and boys across from where Krogers is now. I think it was a sort of dairy bar place. I think it was called Tottens or Toppings (or maybe there was a pretty girl by that name that hung out there). There were sock hop dances around at schools, Holden Recreation Center and other places. As we got older, and we started going out “socially” at nights, we started to go to the teenager dance joint in Lower Baisden Bottom. We would sometimes catch a ride down the road with one of the older brothers and usually walk home. In late summer of 1957 walking up the road at night, the comet MRKOS was quite visible in the Northern sky for a few weeks. When we got to RB’s house it was ritual that we would eat salted thin-sliced raw onions that had been chilled in the refrigerator. Sometimes we fixed them ourselves or his mom already had them prepared. As others of the brothers came in from their evening’s activities, it was a competition with them for the chilled onions. Occasionally, we would “roast” some wieners on a little home-made 120-volt electric plug-in roaster that Lee had made as some sort of school project. It worked well!

    In the late 50’s there was a mass migration of laid-off Mud Fork coal miners and other Logan Countians to the uranium mines in Grants, New Mexico. Tubby and Raymond went with them. As it turns out my wife’s family (Don and Lizzy Vance and kids from 28 Camp) went too, as did Raymond “Red” Roberts and his wife. Red was the same age as Tubby and Raymond. He was the youngest of at least one other Roberts brother in upper Thompson Town. I don’t know if there was more than one older Roberts brother but if so, they were about the same age as Bruce and Bryan and they had moved north too (I don’t know where.) Red was married to Iva Jewell Baisden, the older sister of Joyce Baisden who was my age. The Baisdens lived across the creek in upper Thompson Town at Mounts Addition below 15 crossing. Their mother was Virginia “Ginny” Baisden who worked at 15 Store as did her sister, Lizzy Vance. Accordingly, Iva Jewell and Joyce are first cousins to my wife, Iva Vance. I think others from Mud Fork that went to New Mexico may have included Drewey(sp?) Meade, Alvie Thompson, a Binion family and Bobby Baisden. I believe everyone moved back to Logan shortly.

    CARS! CARS! CARS!
    All of us were into cars (an understatement). Their house had stacks of the various hot rod and custom car magazines of the time. Their family car was a 4-dr green and white 55 Chevy Bel Air which various of the brothers drove from time to time. There was an old late-1930’s Plymouth parked in the far end of their driveway that I never saw being driven. I suspect it was a car that elder brother Bruce or Bryan had before their going to Michigan. RB and I started driving in 1958. In Michigan, Bruce had a beautiful light green colored 1957 Chevy. Tubby had a blue 53 Plymouth car. At about that time, Bruce got drafted and the 57 Chevy was passed down to Tubby. That 57 Chevy was a really strong running car, several notches above other hot rod cars around town. I always suspected that since it came from Michigan, Bruce had done something special to the engine, something that a coal miner in southern WV wouldn’t be doing. (It may have had the highly touted Corvette engine put into it.)

    When Tubby entered the military, the hot rod 57 Chevy was passed down to Lee. He had some wrecks in it, the most serious rolling it into the creek at “Matt Jackson curve” near Calloway Camp at 16 Mud Fork. I don’t know what happened to it after that.

    It would be remiss to not tell some Red Roberts automobile tales. As a teenager his dad’s family car was a beautiful 55 or 56 Buick Century which Red took meticulous care of. It was a running joke among the guys that if you were standing at the Triangle thumbing home to Thompson Town and Red came by in the Buick, you stood a good chance he would not pick you up, or if he did, he required you to take your shoes off. He would take a white handkerchief and whisk off the slightest amount of dust from the car. He made a lot of teenager money by doing weekly wash and wax jobs of several fancy cars owned by local coal miners. Red set the standard on car care.

    In 1958 Red bought a new light blue colored top-of-the line 1958 Chevy Impala convertible. Now as it turned out, Chevrolet had changed from leaf spring to coil spring rear suspension that year, and, as an extra option, they offered a LEVEL AIR suspension system that allowed you to adjust the ride height by changing the air pressure in rubber air bags that were located at each wheel instead of coil springs. Red’s car had that LEVEL AIR system. Unfortunately, General Motors hadn’t perfected that system and it was not unusual to see Red driving down the road with the car’s corners jacked all out of shape, high and low, side to side, front to back and, apparently, the car would abruptly do the changes all by itself. Red took a lot of ribbing about it from all the guys but he got the dealership to remove the LEVEL AIR system and replace it with regular coil springs under his warranty.

    Numerous times I have heard another tale about Red’s 58 Chevy. While they all were in New Mexico, my wife Iva (then a 3-years old) was waiting in the Chevy as her mother was putting grocery bags into it. Iva knocked the car’s gearshift out of gear and the car rolled out of a parking lot, across a busy highway, coming to rest without having sustained any damage.

    We all kept our cars impeccably clean and we all did a lot of street racing. My Dad’s car was a gorgeous red and white 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, one of the prettiest cars around Logan County. I recall making a short losing run in Dad’s Ford against Tubby’s 57 Chevy at the “straight stretch” where the skating rink was at Peach Creek. It was over with quick. The road in front of Thompson Town is a fairly straight stretch, not nearly as straight as Hedgeview (15) straight stretch is. Nonetheless, Thompson Town was a speedway, jamming gears, spinning tires, burning rubber, sounding off the Hollywood mufflers, and, most of all, displaying all of the new cars that the former Mud Fork guys brought in from Detroit, Columbus and “Sistago”. Many times the guys would bring in new cars that weren’t even in Logan yet. The “hang-out” spot was standing out in front of Kitchen’s Grocery where having a bottle of Pepsi was mandated. Coke was virtually taboo. (I don’t know if it was called Kitchen’s Grocery at that time. It could still have been Bill Tiller’s beer joint.) The rituals of standing it front of the store watching hot rodders and the parading of hot new cars from out of state persisted for many more years after that time. It was virtually obligatory for the drivers of those cars to stop in the road there and peel out spinning their tires, showing their stuff. I did.

    In 1967 RB brought into town one of those hot cars from Michigan. It was an innocent looking Malibu Chevy Chevelle (not a flashy Super Sport). As it turned out, while he was in town he occasioned to race the hottest car in town at Melville straight stretch. RB outran him by a mile! When they returned to Morrison’s, the other guy shook his head in bewilderment at how fast RB’s car was, as did about everyone else who saw the race. Later on, RB raced that Malibu car at IHRA dragstrips in Michigan and was national record holder in the class he ran in. RB still owns that car.

    It is somewhat pleasingly appropriate that the opening picture in this MUD FORK thread is a picture listed as “1959 VERDUNVILLE WV courtesy Connie Walsh”. (It is the same photo as #5 of 46 in the photo gallery.) Connie may have labeled it generically as Verdunville but indeed, I believe it is a picture of the lower end of Thompson Town, and, it is a view that virtually could have been taken from RB’s front steps. Shown in the foreground of the picture is an early 1950’s white Chevy car. Keep that thought in mind!

    In 1959 the road up Rum Creek was narrow and winding and there were several road ridges that crossed the creek at steep angles. The bridges were made of concrete and the sides did not extend up far, maybe a couple feet. In those days Raymond was dating a girl named Carlene (whom he subsequently married) who lived somewhere in upper Rum Creek. Keep that thought in mind!

    At that time Raymond’s car was an early 1950’s Chevy car. As was typical, Raymond decided to “customize” that car and with considerable effort he made a good job of it. First off, the hoods of those cars were made of two pieces of metal joined at the center of the hood, the seam usually being hidden by a thin piece of chrome trim. With many hours of skilled welding work, Raymond eliminated the seam which was a very difficult thing for even a professional customizer to do.

    The rear fenders of that style car bulge out. Raymond decided to cut out some holes in the lower front end of each of the bulged rear fenders to simulate brake cooling air ducts like race cars have. On each side he cut holes up and down about 4” wide and 12” tall. He inserted some metal wire screens in each and blended in the sheetmetal to the normal contours of the fenders, a lot of work. Next on the job was to replace the plain looking Chevy rectangular taillights with more stylish looking round Pontiac taillights, also a popular customizing practice then. Other customizing things were done, including some “spinner” hubcaps. Now in those days, spinner hubcaps had just begun to be offered by the manufacturers as expensive deluxe trim items. (Thefts of spinner hubcaps were common). Raymond got his spinners by cutting stainless steel sheetmetal into 4-point stars in about a 10” diameter pattern and he bolted those onto his hubcaps. SPINNERS!

    It came time to paint the car and he decided to paint it a brilliant snow-white color. One day he loaded some of us up and took us to a place near the Stewart’s root beer stand in West Logan. We all lit in and did the “wetsanding” of the car, a process of using fine grit sandpaper and lots of water to smooth the car’s paint. We jumped in the car and at break-neck speed, made the absolutely fastest trip I ever made from West Logan to Thompson Town. A final wash, wax and shine finished the job. We all took great pride in the car.

    The VERY first time Raymond took the finished car out on the road was to go to Carlene’s to pick her up for their date. Coming down Rum Creek he mis-judged one of those concrete bridges and scraped the whole side of the car. It is unclear in the “1959 VERDUNVILLE” photo but it is likely the car is Raymond’s car after the accident.

    Of course, we spent countess time “circling the block” and “cutting Morrison’s and Penny’s”. Usually, some late night street racing contests were arranged at Morrison’s. Raymond enjoyed a late night practice of driving around the Courthouse backward to normal traffic flow patterns. Raymond also enjoyed making his car backfire loudly on the streets of Logan late at night. (The concrete bridge at Cherry Tree was also a favorite spot for doing this.)

    RB still has his 67 Chevelle in addition to a 66 Chevelle and a couple of Corvettes. Lee has a couple of 32 Ford hot rods and a 56 T-Bird. I own a 67 Pontiac Lemans and a 63 Tempest hot rod.

    GALS!
    With that many guys in circulation, there were plenty of girls around. Not to be dismissed is that often the older guys were dating girls that had sisters or girl friends and there were plenty of opportunities for the younger guys (like me) to double date with the older guy. At times with girls around, their house often looked like a sock hop was happening and their mom “Beat” enjoyed it all very much. RB and I started to learn to dance a little with some of those girls. I practiced a lot by holding onto a belt hung off a door knob, listening to Elvis sing Don’t Be Cruel a thousand times. There were sock hop dances around schools, Holden Recreation Center and other places. Later on we started to hang out at various teenage (no alcohol served) dance places around Logan like the GOLD & BLUE in east End, the place at Lower Baisden Bottom and at EVANS DRIVE-IN at Mt. Gay. I know at some point in time there was a dance hall in upper Cherry Tree I went to, I just don’t remember when. A time or two I went to the TIGER’S DEN in Chapmanville, where I felt a little safe because a buddy’s girlfriend (and future wife) was then head majorette at Chapmanville. When I was about 15 , I went to the RANCH HOUSE a couple times when my brother-in-law played in the band. I went there many times as an adult.

    In groups with girls, we went on swimming parties at Jones Lake (Chief Logan Park area now), Holden pool, Spruce River in Boone and in the Guyandotte above Man at Bruno. An amusing incident happened once at Bruno. The bridge at Bruno was fairly low and some swimmers dived and jumped off it. Now it turns out that at that time Tubby had a partial dental plate. When he jumped he came up out of the water yelling that his partial had come out and he had lost it. We all jumped into the water and miraculously, someone found his teeth.

    The street went uphill more steeply in front of their house. Accordingly, it was a great place where we could sleigh ride for a few hundred feet all the way to the highway. However, my best memory of sleigh riding was when we got with a bunch of girls and rode sleighs off the Mt. Gay road hill toward Mud Fork. Flying down the hill on a sleigh with a girl laying on your back and hanging onto you, again….. and again….. and again……..and again………………………………!

    GAMES!
    Roller skating was very popular then with skating rinks at various times being located around Logan at places including Lower Baisden Bottom, Peach Creek, Stollings, Switzer, Logan Armory and the old Capitol theater. I suppose there were rinks at Man and Chapmanville too. I seem to recall there was a rink over toward Clothier too. There were a lot of highly skilled skaters from Mud Fork. I never mastered more than skating backwards.

    We played sandlot soft ball, a sport which Mud Fork players came to excel. It evolved that over the years, many Mud Fork players played on teams that won many tournaments, statewide and nationwide. At one time the water company had a storage lot in an area at the curve at the lower end of Hedgeview (15 straight stretch) between the road and railroad. It was thickety, strewn with rusty pieces of pipes and hardware. We all went together and cleaned it up, placing all of the hardware neatly to the side. It made a nice ball field for a while until the water company stopped us. Some time thereafter, the water company sold the land and a church was built there.

    We played tag football and pickup basketball at dirt courts in the alleys. For a while there was a Thompson Town young man’s boxing club that was in a building behind the old Spry’s Store. It was an old wooden building full of junk that we cleaned out. We hung a boxing bag and made a boxing ring. I never boxed there. But, at RB’s urging I did box one fellow, something I quickly regretted. RB and I had a good friend and classmate named Euhl Damron who lived at Whites Addition. He often came to RB’s and RB talked it up that Euhl and I should box each other. Euhl was keen to do it but I was reluctant, mostly because Euhl was slightly smaller than I was. Finally, I said okay. So, we put on the gloves and about the second time I swung, I hit Euhl’s nose and it started bleeding heavily. We got it stopped and all three of us joked and laughed about it.

    Tubby was a highly competitive athletic and team-leader type of guy. He was a very good basketball player. I played with him some in the “industrial league” basketball games at the Holden Recreation Center. He had an un-stoppable graceful looking right hand sweeping hook shot which he could hit with deadly accuracy from the right side about the top of the key. Rebounding against him was… well, bloody nose lane. When Tubby went into the military, he had a very good career playing in what the military calls it’s “armed forces” basketball leagues.

    I once saw Tubby’s athleticism, not in a game, but in a very serious real life situation. I happened to see him running up the road in front of my house with several guys following him. I joined in. Just above where I lived a small house had caught fire just across the creek where the bridge was at Bunch’s Service Station. The fire was a cook stove fire and hadn’t spread much but it was evident it was soon going to spread. Tubby immediately took charge, went into the house and organized all the guys to form a chain and virtually everything in the house was carried out and taken to a safe location. It seemed it took only about five minutes to do it.

    DAY- TO-DAY!
    RB’s house’s driveway turned off the main street in front of their house and ran along the lower side of the house between the house and the adjacent church. As many as 3 or 4 cars could park there end to end. Their house fronted the main street with front steps and a short concrete sidewalk that ran straight out to the street. Everybody walked inside the yard from the driveway to the steps and the short sidewalk to the street was hardly ever used. But, there was something interesting about the sidewalk. As I recall, there was a pipe that ran under the sidewalk and at each end there was a small cement box pool filled with water and covered with metal grating. There were several goldfish that lived in the pools (and in the pipe). As I recall, on the uphill side of the sidewalk there was a trickle of a little stream of water that I think ran into the pools. I don’t recall any other source of water. I don’t recall if the fish stayed in the pools in winter but my impression is they did.

    I don’t know otherwise but I thought Lee was perhaps the artistic one, mainly because I seem to recall there were always model airplanes made of balsa wood being fabricated and assembled by him. I will however note that RB took lessons and learned to play their piano to some degree, with Beat’s absolute insistence that he do so.

    All of the boys were meticulously neat with their clothing. They had a shoe shine box and every shoe was spotlessly shined, the last gesture before leaving the house. I recall once when Bruce was home on leave from the military, I watched him for what seemed like several minutes stand before a mirror getting the exact precise blousing of his shirt to fit his waist before going out.

    I recall, and tell with reluctance, of an incident involving myself and RB. In one of their back rooms there was a small gun rack on the wall with maybe a couple of guns. One day when RB and I were alone in the house we got into horsing around and we got one of the guns off the rack and starting struggling to take it from each other. Well, as could be expected, the gun discharged. Here we were stunned, determining that neither was wounded. We frantically looked for the bullet hole and found that it had gone into the floor, very close to the wall in a dark space. It had gone through the linoleum rug flooring and left a tiny hole in it, such as a .22 caliber does. We sort of tamped down the edges of the hole in the linoleum. Of course the room (and house) hung heavy with the odor of gunsmoke. We opened every door and window and turned on the window fan in the kitchen. I left. I have never heard anything more, not a single word, of that incident.

    In the picture with the white car, the left side of the photo is a view of what looks like a fenced-in vacant lot. That space was actually an extension of the yard of a house just off the edge of the photo. Their grandmother “Ma Butcher” lived there and usually there was a large garden in that vacant spot which we all helped tend. Their grandmother was the personification of the image of an old time woman, especially with her full length dress and sun bonnet tied under her chin. She was quite tall and very energetic and kept her house in impeccable care.

    On occasion when she had to go shopping some one of the boys would drive her in the 4-door 55 Chevy family car and I would ride along. Of course, she would ride in the front and it was comical (to us boys) to watch her get into the car. We would open the door wide, hold her arm for her and she would stoop straight forward into the car, placing one hand on the car seat and the other on the dashboard. Then she would “squirm and waddle” herself into the seat. We would be snickering to ourselves. Now, here at age 76 and finding it awkward to get into cars, I often find myself recalling Ma Butcher and laughing at myself.

    AFTER THEN
    Their house and Ma Butcher’s house and that whole end of Thompson Town has been erased from the map by the expansion of the SWVCC College, not unlike how the several coal town communities of Rum Creek were obliterated.

    Within 3 days after RB and I graduated in 1960, I was in Washington DC looking for a job. I don’t know how long after graduation RB went north to join his brothers. It might have been some time. I worked in DC until November-1966 when I came back to Logan to work in Island Creek’s engineering department at Holden. I worked at mining engineering work, a few years at Island Creek, living at Holden, a couple years at Dehue, then to Clarksburg for a couple years, southern Ohio for a few years and back to Logan at Dehue from 1975 to 1984 living at Dehue, and then for a couple of Pittston affiliated mining companies around Logan from 85 until 99, living at Crawley Creek. I was transferred to my current location in Virginia in 1999, retiring in 2007. When I lived away from Logan during all those years, I made frequent trips back to Logan on holidays and vacations and often, one or more of the boys would be in for a visit and we would get together. One time when I was going back to Ohio I decided to stop at a car show at the capitol in Charleston and I was pleasantly surprised that Lee was at that show displaying his 1956 Thunderbird. He lived in Indiana at that time.

    Gradually I lost contact with the boys although I did talk by phone with RB in Michigan last week. He informed me that Bruce died a few years ago and Raymond died last year. Bryan splits time between Michigan and Logan with homes at each location. Lee resides in Indiana. RB also told me that Tubby has been in nursing home care the last year and is currently in very poor health.

    Considering Thompson Town as being from 15 Crossing down to Dempsey Branch, in addition to me and my brothers and RB and his brothers, there were other similarly aged sets of brothers in Thompson Town, including Adams, Adkins, Currys, Evans, Grimes, Keeners, Muncys, Roberts, Roehers, Stones, Workmans, Vances, some slightly older or younger and probably some I have forgotten. It seems that all the guys looked up to and held Tubby and all his brothers and their family in high regard and respect. I did and always will!

  2. Ron Holt (Ronnie) says:

    I remember Mrs. Stringer, don’t know the name of her orphanage, we did go to Sunday school there when I was very young. My mother knew her very well, I recall visiting her after she had stopped providing children a place to stay in the mid sixties. We lived just up the road up on the hill at Milk house holler. We moved to Cleveland in 1967. My great grand mother, Becky Sears lived there for several decades, my mother was born in the house we lived in, in 1928. I went to Mt Gay elementary school grades 1 thru 6. I wish there were more pictures of Mud Fork in more recent times. I have only been back to Logan about a half dozen times since we moved away.

  3. Darwin Justice says:

    What was odd or funny about living about living in Columbus in Columbus was the people you could meet. For many years it seem like everyone I met was from Logan or a nearby town. For instance I worked with Chester Brown at Timken Roller Bearing. Chester was a good friend of my cousin Jonny McCloud. David Bailey was from Dingess. And then a women named Linda Porter from Dingess seemed to know everyone in my family. I’m glad everyone didn’t leave. There would not have been anything to come home for.

  4. Darwin Justice says:

    Was born in Logan in 1953. left Mud Fork in 1959 for Columbus Ohio. My Grandpa Tom and Ora Aldridge lived up Milkhouse Holler for almost 50 years. My mom Edna and five siblings first lived in a four room house my grandpa built in the late 40s in that holler. My aunts Gaynell, Glenna Fey and Bonnie and my two uncles Curtis and Tommy moved out of the holler and ended up in Ohio and Michigan. But we all came back often until the passing of my Grandparents. Always enjoyed playing the penball machines at Greenway Baisten store at the bottom of the hill.

  5. PattySullins ward says:

    I was born and raised in Logan still have a cousin there.

  6. PattySullins ward says:

    My grandparents lived near there at mud Fork I remember the store.

  7. Chet says:

    Store owned by man last name smith in 1970 in mud fork looking down
    For relatives there was a pin ball machine in the store

  8. Kevin Thompson says:

    Never knew my cousin Alvie Thompson built a house in mud fork . My grandpa Woodrow Maynard built a baptist church in mud fork .

    • patty maynard says:

      I am from Logan & Holden born 1958. My dad was Walter Maynard mother Katherine . Dad was a coal miner. My mother used to talk about a relative named Woodrow but I think the last name was Skaggs. We used to visit folks in Mud Fork. My brother is Larry Joe Royston. Grandparents Drew & Betty Maynard. John Mroski grandfather all coal miners uncle Frank Mroski.

      • Kyle Workman says:

        I knew Woodrow Skaggs and his son John. I think he also had a daughter. He chewed tobacco and was always quick with a joke.

      • Leona Dingess says:

        There was a man named Woodrow Maynard,I remember that from when I was little,he lived near Godby Heights.,if I’m not mistaken he owned a gas station.

    • Mearl Kraushaar says:

      My grandma knew Woodrow and Mearle Maynard! She talked about them a lot! I think they may have been related somehow? Her name was Mearl Meade, Married to Elisha Meade? Who knows we might be related? Lol

  9. Jamie Longfellow says:

    Looking for information regarding history of the LDS (Mormon) church in Logan.

  10. Loren Tomblin Master Sergeant USA Ret says:

    I was born in the third house below #28 Just down from the boarding house. 1941.

  11. Randy Belcher says:

    My dad worked at 28 went in on the Holden side. I remember a bunch of guys in a track haulage fatality mid 60s anybody have any information about that. Dad stayed for days getting the fatalities out and getting the mines ready to run coal

  12. Kyle Workman says:

    The Cash Grocery Store was at the time of the photo owned by the Spry family. Their house is in the back ground. I don’t recognize the man but it looks like Jr. Spry. The other brother had a mustache. They raced old cars somewhere around Logan when I was a little boy. Later on it was known as the Harris Grocery Store. A small stream is to the right and if you follow the stream it goes by Lucian and Florence Baisden’s house. Of course that was back in the 50’s.

  13. william e workman says:

    my dad worked at #28 he said it was the gassest mine in wv in the 60s he told me they went in at curry holler in holden

  14. babygirl5 says:

    Was there an orphanage at the lower part of mudfork in 1960?

    • rosa kiser says:

      Ethel Stringer Orphanage. It is now an apartment building I think Adams family owned the land near there

    • Jim Salyers says:

      I am not sure about the 1960’s, but I know for sure there was one there in the late 40 and early 50′. it was called “Home Mission Child Shelter”.
      I and my sisters were residents there for a short period of time before my mom remarried and we moved to Whites Addition.

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