Dear Ancestor

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.

It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.

Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.

I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder  if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

(Author Unknown)

Ancestor Song

Ancestor Song

I am a wandering pilgrim
A Stranger here to roam
I don’t know where I came from
And  don’t know where I’ll go.

Did my ancestors come from Ireland?
Or perhaps from Spain?
Was my great, great, grandmother
A lovely Indian maid?
Where oh where, and from whom did I descend?
I don’t know where I came from
and don’t know where I’ll end.
Oh, what blood through my veins doth flow?
Is it the blood of royalty?
Is it from friend or foe?

Did my great, great grandfather
come over from afar?
Was it England, France or Germany?
I wish I knew just where.
From what nation did I descend?
Perhaps they were great warriors,
Tell me who were my kin?

Were they leaders of nations?
Or leaders of the flock?
Did they contribute to society?
Or cast a stumbling block?
Could have been famous writers,
Who lived the way they pleased,
Or maybe bounding seamen,
Who sailed the seven seas.

I think they were rugged, brave frontiersmen,
Woodsmen who paved the way,
Into this great land of ours,
In which we live today.
What can I tell my children?
What can they tell their sons?
When they ask these same questions
The way that I have done?

Fannie L. Steele

Obituary of Dorothy Hall Witt

I Will Not Stay

I will not stay

Beneath a sun-baked mound,

Though you should plant me deep;

And tuck the dust and roses

’round my chin

For that long final sleep.

I’ll shed the flesh and bones

From off my soul

Where so long they have clung;

And Iwill be

a million clouds away

Ere the last hymn is sung.

Beloved, do not weep;

nor let one tear

Fall down to touch the roses

on the sod,

For I’ll be strolling

Through a lovely garden,

Hand in hand with God.

By Dorothy Hall Witt

Dorothy Hall Witt

A Tribute to Nancy Clark Hays

Nancy Clark Brown Hays

Nancy has an abiding and deep interest in people, particularly in Southwest Virginia, their lives and their history.  Her aim is to preserve the Appalachian heritage in such a manner that our children in future generations will know as much as possible about their origin and be proud of it.

Untold hours have been spent reading and transcribing microfilm records, digging through books and papers in courthouses and library archives.  Miles have been covered while recording names and dates in long forgotten, overgrown cemeteries. Interviews with aged men and women have yielded priceless memories and knowledge.

Nancy serves as the Special Focus Editor for the Appalachian Quarterly and assisted with The Heritage of Wise County Volume  II, from selecting photos, to lay-out to whatever needed to be done.  She has co-authored several volumes of genealogy including the famous Stallard Connection and The Descendants of William Addington.  She has also published several volumes of county records, such as census and marriages.  She was Co-Editor and Co-Publisher of The Southwest Virginian magazine of history and genealogy.

Nancy is our resident story-teller, if you’ve got a topic, she’s got a story. No story’s too big…no story’s too little.  She has published several of her stories from the unpublished manuscript, “You Can’t Get There From Here,” in the Appalachian Quarterly.

Nancy is married to Cecil Brown and they live in Longford Kansas, but she also has a home in Wise County where she comes often.  Nancy is a Wise County native, born and raised in Pound before moving to Wise where she lived until she married Cecil.  Her mother, Violet Clark still lives in Wise.  Nancy has four children, three step-children, three grandchildren, and seven step-grandchildren; and two step-great grandchildren. (Update: After the death of Cecil Brown, Nancy is now married to Hays).

Our Friend Dorothy Hall Witt

It is with much sadness and regret that we at Wise County Historical Society bring you this sad news.

Our beloved member and friend, Dorothy Hall Witt and first President of the Historical Society has passed away on January 2, 2011.  She was not only  a member of our Historical Society, but our friend as well, and will be sadly missed.

We, the members of the Wise County Historical Society, would like to take this opportunity to offer a tribute to our first president, Dorothy Hall Witt. Without  her foresight and perseverance the Historical Society of Wise County would not exist today.

Dorothy Hall Witt our distinguished first president and charter member of the    Wise County Historical Society was instrumental in  the compiling and publishing  of The Heritage of Wise County and The City of Norton, Volume 1 and 2, among  other publications.

She was also instrumental in the establishing of the Wise County Historical Society. She served as the President of the Historical  Society the first years of its establishment.

While helping on the Lee County Book Committee in the creating of the Bicentennial History of Lee County Virginia published in 1991, Dorothy felt the need for the same in Wise County, and was instrumental in forming a group of Wise County historians who published their own Heritage of Wise County and the City of Norton Volume 1 in 1993. She was Chairman of the Book Committee and was elected President of the Wise County Historical Society when it was organized.

For the past 8 years Dorothy has served as recording secretary for the Wise County Historical Society and has worked a day or two a week at the office in the courthouse. She also is the editor of the Aging Gracefully segment of the Appalachian Quarterly published by Wise County Historical Society. She along with her friend and co-worker, Wanda Rose traveled over the county working on volume 1 of Wise County and the City of Norton, and installing lifelines for disabled and the elderly, she became interested in interviewing older people, which was the birth of Aging Gracefully in Appalachia.

Dorothy’s heritage is completely Appalachian as her father was a native of Lee County and her mother was a native of Russell County. Dorothy was born in Norton, grew up in Powell Valley, graduated from East Stone Gap High School, lived in Coeburn for twenty years and has lived in Wise for the past 33 years. She completed several courses at Clinch Valley College in English, Creative writing and Appalachian culture.

Dorothy worked for 14 years for the Department of Social Services, then worked as a medical transcriptionist and secretary at Wise Appalachian Regional Hospital for 19 years, retiring in 1989 to travel and pursue all the volunteer activities in which she was interested.

She has two sons, Hal Addington of Pinckney, Michigan, and Tim Addington of Atlanta, Georgia, and one grand-daughter, April Addington, a sophomore at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Dorothy is married to Harold Witt and they reside in Wise.

Dorothy is a dedicated member, wife, mother, and grandmother. She is good company and has a great sense of humor.

Archives

The Place To Research Your Family History

Attention: wise County Historical Society has moved their Archives to the Wampler Library at Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, VA

Wampler Library- Call 276-523-7468 for information.  They are in the process of shelving the Archives now. 

Wise County Historical Society has more than 5000 items in its archives
consisting of books, manuscripts,  old marriage record ledgers from the court, pictures, and numerous other sources of help to the researcher.  We have researchers from all over the United States visiting  throughout the year.  You will find a friendly volunteer to help you get started in your family research.  Some of the of the items we have are listed in the categories below.

African American books
Area History books and manuscripts Files of area towns and communities
Genealogy books and manuscripts Books on Presidents and Generals
Melungeon books Virginia Courthouses
Native American books Area Fiction
Books to aid you in your research Books by local authors
Birth Records-Wise and other Counties Folklore and Legends
Census Records-Wise,Scott, Russell and other counties Railroad Books
Marriage Records-Wise,Scott and other Books by Napoleon Hill
Death Records-Wise,Scott, and other Books by John Fox, Jr.
Quarterlies of Wise County Historical Society Books on Apple Orchards of Wise county
Quarterlies of other Historical Societies Vital Records Application Forms
Magazines of history and genealogy Family History Charts
American Revolution books
Civil War books
World War II books
Heritage Books of Wise and other counties
Cemetery books
Photo albums
CD’s & Records
Pamphlets (various)
Collection of Emery Hamilton papers
Family History files
General Files
Melungeon files

A Tribute to Wanda May Rose

Wanda Rose is a charter member of the Historical Society and was instrumental in the compiling of the Wise County Heritage Book and The City of Norton Volume 1, and was Vice Chairman of the Book committee. She helped compile the book WISE COUNTY, VIRGINIA’S WORLD WAR II VETERANS: A Tribute,  which consists of 928 pages,  6000 stories and 3000 pictures. She is now treasurer of the Historical Society, a job which she fills with great dedication.

It can truthfully be said, “Wanda is a gift to the Historical Society.”  She can do most anything, and if we need help in solving a problem, Wanda is the one to call upon.  You name it, she does it!  She serves as our Circulation Manager and maintains our photo archives which was amply used in Heritage volume II. Wanda proof’s our Appalachian Quarterly and oversees the quarterly mailing of the issues to our many subscribers.  She takes book orders and mails them out..  She is constantly on the phone, making trips to the post office or bank, and looks out for our financial status.

Wanda was a volunteer at the Wise Appalachian Hospital and was Gift Shop Manager and buyer for 20 years.  She, along with Dorothy Witt, installed Lifelines in Wise and Dickenson counties for disabled people. She served as Director of the Arts and Photographer exhibitions for the Virginia-Kentucky Fair for several years.  She currently belongs to the Wise Quilt Group which she helped organize.

Wanda is married to Stuart Rose, formerly of Banner, and they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  They are the parents of three sons: Benjamin of Charlottesville, VA; Joe Fred of Wise and Steven, deceased, of Wise.  They have four grandchildren, Penny, Autumn, Patricia “Trish” and Wesley and 1 step-granddaughter, Kate, and five great-grandchildren, Leah, Alexandria, Grayson, Damon, Shane and a step-granddaughter, Anatasia.  Wanda and Stuart live in Wise, Virginia.

Wanda is very dependable, has a wonderful personality, and is great company.

Petition of People for Voting Place

The Petition of the undersigned citizens of Russell County, respectfully represents that you petitioners labour under great disadvantages and inconvenience in relation to the exercise of the right of Suffrate; that they or most of them live a considerable distance from any place of holding an election; in fact many of them live between thirty and forty miles from any place where an election is held, and cannot exercise rights conferred on them by the Constitution of our State from the facts as above stated, and from others that might be given. The Prayer of your petitioners is that at the Home of William Robertson Esq. at a place called the Pound Fork of Sandy River in the County of Russell and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray, etc.

TO THE LEGISLATURE OF VIRGINIA

Lebanon Russell County, Virginia October 1844

The Petition of the undersigned citizens of Russell County, respectfully represents that you petitioners labour under great disadvantages and inconvenience in relation to the exercise of the right of Suffrate; that they or most of them live a considerable distance from any place of holding an election; in fact many of them live between thirty and forty miles from any place where an election is held, and cannot exercise rights conferred on them by the Constitution of our State from the facts as above stated, and from others that might be given.  The Prayer of  your petitioners is that at the Home of William Robertson Esq. at a  place called the Pound Fork of Sandy River in the County of Russell and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray, etc.

William Roberson Esq.

James Roberson

Anthony Street

Nimrod Street

David Mullins

Elias Green

William Green

John Roberson

Wm R. Fraley

Wm H. Roberson

Alexander Hall, Jr.

Isam Hall, Jr.

John H. Morgain

James Mullins Sherds son

Hardin Hall

Joseph Briant, Jr.

James Short

William Ingle

William Hollifield

William Short

Alexander Short

Thomas Burchfield

Issac Back

Joseph Church

Lewis Black

Solomon Black

Alexander Hale, Sr.

Nathan Engle

Isham Hall, Sr.

Jonathan Bolling

William Taylor

Abner Russell

Wilson McKinney

James Mullins-Pound

Mathew S. Roberson

John Hall

James Stacey

William Hall

Eli Mullins

William Sowards

Wesley Sowards

Solomon Mullins – Pound

James Mullins

Daniel Doston

Bartly Rose

Alexander Russell

Wm Short, Sr.

Wm Church

A Tribute to William C. “Bill” Gobble – President of WCHS

A Tribute to William C. Gobble

William C. “Bill” Gobble-President of Wise County Historical Society

William "Bill" Gobble

Bill is a native of Wise County,    Virginia although he has spent considerable time living outside Virginia. Bill was born in Appalachia and grew up in Norton.  He was in the U.S. Air Force when he married Lillian Hamilton.  They spent the first three years of their marriage in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After his discharge he spent the next 33 years in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Finally in 1987, he and Lillian moved back to Wise County, winding up in Crackers Neck, near Big Stone Gap. Bill and Lil have two children, Karen and Russ.

Bill was elected as the second President of the Wise County Historical Society and has served in that position from 1996 to the present.  He maintains our PDF file of Wise County families and can generally connect anyone who visits the office back several generations.  He has thousands of surnames on his database.  He connects many to his wife Lil’s family and jokingly remarks that  she is related to everybody.

Bill and Lil have conducted seminars on tracing your family and how to locate records.  He has served as Librarian for the Family Life Center in Kingsport and still occasionally volunteers time. He serves as Treasurer for the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia.

He and Lil have copied and archived in the Historical Society office many volumes of records from the Wise County Courthouse.  He has transcribed several census and marriage records into book form for sale at the Historical Society Office.  He volunteers twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays for work in the office.

Bill makes our meetings fun and interesting with his good-humored manner and anecdotes.

A Tribute to Dorothy Hall Witt

First President of Wise County Historical Society

Dorothy at Work

We, the members of the Wise County Historical Society, would like to take this opportunity to offer a tribute to our first president, Dorothy Hall Witt. Without her foresight and perseverance the Historical Society of Wise County would not exist today.

Dorothy Hall Witt our distinguished first president and charter member of the Wise County Historical Society was instrumental in the compiling and publishing of The Heritage of Wise County and The City of Norton, Volume 1 and 2, among other publications. She was also instrumental in the establishing of the Wise County Historical Society. She served as the President of the Historical Society the first years of its establishment.

While helping on the Lee County Book Committee in the creating of the Bicentennial History of Lee County Virginia published in 1991, Dorothy felt the need for the same in Wise County, and was instrumental in forming a group of Wise County historians who published their own Heritage of Wise County and the City of Norton Volume 1 in 1993. She was Chairman of the Book Committee and was elected President of the Wise County Historical Society when it was organized.

For the past 8 years Dorothy has served as recording secretary for the Wise County Historical Society and has worked a day or two a week at the office in the courthouse. She also is the editor of the Aging Gracefully segment of the Appalachian Quarterly published by Wise County Historical Society. She along with her friend and co-worker, Wanda Rose traveled over the county working on volume 1 of Wise County and the City of Norton, and installing lifelines for disabled and the elderly, she became interested in interviewing older people, which was the birth of Aging Gracefully in Appalachia.

Dorothy’s heritage is completely Appalachian as her father was a native of Lee County and her mother was a native of Russell County. Dorothy was born in Norton, grew up in Powell Valley, graduated from East Stone Gap High School, lived in Coeburn for twenty years and has lived in Wise for the past 33 years. She completed several courses at Clinch Valley College in English, Creative writing and Appalachian culture.

Dorothy worked for 14 years for the Department of Social Services, then worked as a medical transcriptionist and secretary at Wise Appalachian Regional Hospital for 19 years, retiring in 1989 to travel and pursue all the volunteer activities in which she was interested.

She has two sons, Hal Addington of Pinckney, Michigan, and Tim Addington of Atlanta, Georgia, and one grand-daughter, April Addington, a sophomore at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Dorothy is married to Harold Witt and they reside in Wise.

Dorothy is a dedicated member, wife, mother, and grandmother. She is good company and has a great sense of humor.