Purchase WCHS Books at MECC Bookstore See link below


A Tribute To Ganell Marshall


Ganell serves as the Associate Editor of the Appalachian Quarterly published by Wise County Historical Society and works tirelessly with the set-up and lay-out of the magazine. Ganell puts in many hours of hard work each month  putting material into page-maker, working with pictures and finally printing it out for final proof- reading.

Ganell was born in the Riverview section of Coeburn, Virginia.  She was married to the late Darvin Marshall,  They have two sons: Bill and John Marshall.  Ganell lives in the Sandy Ridge section where she and Darvin made their home.

Ganell has put in countless hours in building and helping maintain the Sandy Ridge Old Regular Baptist Church and the old school building.  She has taken on the responsibility of copying any old church records pertaining to the Old Regular Baptist  Church that can be found.  She has worked for about 40 years on her family history research.

Ganell has worked with crafts since 1960 making corn-shuck and apple-head dolls as well as serving as an officer in craft organizations.  She is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, past and present member  of Sandy Ridge Handicrafters; past member of Piedmont Crafts, Inc.; past member of the Blue Ridge Hearthside Crafts, as well as others.  Her work has been featured on White House Christmas trees several times; in the Smithsonian Museum; in national magazines and special exhibits across the country.  She and her husband Darvin, were active in the formation of the local community center at Fairview School on Sandy Ridge.

In addition to the Appalachian Quarterly, corn-shuck dolls, and everything else she does, Ganell enjoys helping others in  learning to  use the computer.

Counties in Virginia and How They Were Formed

  1. Orange – 1734-1738
  2. Frederick –   formed from Orange 1738-1772
  3. Augusta  – formed  from Frederick 1738-1770 – Organized in 1745
  4. Botetourt – formed from Augusta 1772
  5. Fincastle – formed from Botetourt  1772-1776
  6. Montgomery – was formed from Fincastle 1776
  7. Washington – formed from Fincastle in 1776
  8. Kentucky – from Fincastle 1776-1780
  9. Smyth – from Washington  1832
  10. Tazewell – from Washington 1799
  11. Russell – from Washington 1786
  12. Buchanan – from Washington 1758
  13. Scott – from Washington 1814
  14. Lee – from  Washington 1792
  15. Wise –  from Lee, Scott and Russell 1856
  16. Dickenson – from Wise, Buchanan & Russell  1880.

Originally, all the land belonging to Virginia west of the Blue Ridge was embraced in the County of Orange.  In 1738, Orange county west of the Blue Ridge was divided into two counties, Frederick and Augusta; and Augusta included the territory now comprising Wise.  In 1769, Augusta County was divided and all the land southwest from Lexington was called Botetourt County, named in honor of the then governor of Virginia, Lord Botetourt; and all the extreme southwestern portion of the State as well as the whole state of Kentucky was then in Botetourt County.  Later Botetourt County was divided and Fincastle County, including all the Western Portion was cut off.  In 1777, Fincastle in turn was divided into three counties, Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky.  Washington County, Virginia, is said to have been the first political unit ever named in honor of George Washington.  From Washington County were formed the following counties: Russell in 1786, Lee in 1792, and Scott in 1814.  Wise County was formed by taking parts of Russell, Lee and Scott Counties.  It had been estimated that the new county of Wise had but 3 percent of its land under cultivation; the remainder was in wilderness.

The above was taken from the book, , by Luther F. Addington.

I would like to add  that Dickenson County, “Virginia’s Baby” was taken from Wise, Russell and Buchanan Counties and named after W. J Dickenson. (F.S.)

A Tribute to Nina Mullins

Nina Counts Mullins

Nina Counts Mullins

Born in the shadows of the mountains in Dickenson County, VA on a blustery March morning, Nina Ruth Counts emerged into a family of five children.  Nina being the oldest assumed responsibility at an early age.  Nina was married at age 19 to Cossie Mullins, Jr. and they began their married life in Clinchco, VA, then moved Scott Robinson Hollow Road where she has lived since.

Over the years , after caring for four elderly members of her husband’s  and her family and then Cossie who died of ALS she has dedicated her life to different organizations of service.  She has been a member of the Home Extension for 30 years and was elected Homemaker of the Year for two straight years.  She is a charter member of the Norton Community Hospital Auxiliary and has served as President for three years and current buyer and manager of the Helping Hands Gift Shop.

She is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Pound and is involved with feeding the elderly and disabled in the church community.  She is a charter member of the Wise County Historical Society and helps in whatever capacity she is needed. She is our best sales person traveling to various community activities and helping set up tables and attending them selling books for the Historical Society to help keep  it afloat.

Nina is a great cook, very good at entertaining and has had the Historical Society to her home for dinners and has catered certain social events presented by the Historical Society.

Above all she is a dedicated  mother of one daughter, Sheryl, three grandchildren and four great-grandsons and is always there for whoever needs her.

Native American & Melungeon Museum and Gathering

Native American and Melungeon Museum at Best Friend Festival – June 1996 in Norton, VA

Phillip Trent Collection of Native American Artifacts – Trent Street in Norton was named for Phillip Trent

Phillip and Marlene Trent

Phillip and Marlene Trent with Native American man
Fannie Steele and Gray Fox
American Indian Dress and Weapons
American Indian Costumes and Weapons
Native American Artifacts
Shadow of the Mountains Canes made by Letcher Steele
Pamela S. Gilliam, Gray Fox and Chesleigh
Indian Babes in Teepee
Historical Quilt by Wanda Rose for WCHS & H.S. Books
Wanda Rose and  Quilt
Letcher Steele, Tex 2 feathers and his grandson
Native American Pottery & Baskets

A Melungeon Gathering

At Clinch Valley College where over 1000 people attended.

Melungeon People are said to be a group of people with mixed White, Indian and  Negro and perhaps Asian  ancestry in the southern Appalachians.  They are of uncertain origin, however research is being done to find more information.  Note: If anyone has photos of this event and would like to share them,for this website,

please email them to fannie_steele@comcast.net

Some of the peoples names are unknown

Wanda Rose & Unknown
Melungeon Gathering
Melungeon- Union
Melungeon Union
 Rhonda Robertson & Fannie Steele
Nina Mullins

Sands of Time

Sands of Time

Sifting through the sands of time
Finding things of yours and mine
Gathering a unique selection
Called the Crabtree-Stanley Collection.

Searching through old record books
Among the many places that we looked
Turning back through endless ages
Getting lost among faded pages.

Rolls and reels of microfilm
Until our eyes were tired and dim
Writing letters by the score
Calling cousins up galore!

To our forefather’s resting place
In solitude of dawn’s gray light
The tombstones beckon me to come
They tell their names and when they died.

In this peaceful resting place I recall
Thing’s of my mother’s recollection
When they were young on Crabtree Fork
I call it the Crabtree-Stanley Collection.

Fannie Lane Steele