Old Names of Occupations and Their Meanings

Dan Burrows provides a list of old occupation names and their meanings. This list of terms is helpful for understanding old books and wills.

Giver of charity to the  needy
Secretary or stenographer
A Soldier mechanic who does repairs
Female writer
Keeper of an Inn
One who works with brass
Beer manufacturer
Metal worker
One who filled up cracks in ships or windows
Carriage maker
Dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles; retailer of groceries
Wig maker
Clergyman, cleric
The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers
Coal miner
Peddler of Books
One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves & hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from Cordoval/Cordoba in Spain
Peddler of fruits and vegetables
One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb/One who tanned leather by oil/grease
Stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
A dealer in dry goods
One who drives a long, strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy load
A Surgeon’s assistant in a hospital
One who drives cattle or sheep
Peddler/Factor agent, commission merchant
A blacksmith, one who shoes horses
Fell monger
One who removes hair  or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
One who made bows and arrows
One who fulls cloth’ one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth
A keeper of the goal, a jailer
Window glassman
Maker of hoes
One who combed out or carded flax
Dealer in hay
Keeper of fences
Itinerant peddler
Roof tiler
A farm laborer
A groom who took care of horses, often at an inn
One who made hoops for casks and barrels
Sells small wares
A farmer who cultivated the land
Fish peddler
One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master.
A skilled carpenter
Wool comber
Keeper of the cupboard
Washer woman
Leather maker
Maker of horse gear
A Steward
One who issued local currency
Seller of goods (ale, fish)
Herds cows
Ordinary Keeper
Innkeeper with fixed prices
Pattern Maker
A maker of clog shod with an iron ring.  A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into end
Itinerant wanderer
A wig maker
A shyster lawyer
Crockery dealer
One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows.
Door keeper
Wrought Iron worker
Quarry worker (Rock quarry, etc.)
Hoist tackle worker
Seller of fish
Maker of rope or nets
One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses.
One who saws; carpenter; (runs a saw mill)
A minor or worthless author
Professional or public copyist or writer; notary Public
Election Judge
Seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop
One who repaired shoes
A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
Maker of spurs
Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
Stuff gown
Junior barrister
Stuff Gownsman
Junior barrister
Officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and commercial concerns of ship
One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
One who puts the tap in an ale cask
One who drives a team for hauling
Tide water
Customs inspector
An Itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman (watch tinker: one who repairs watches)
Toll bridge collection
Cleaner of cloth goods
A person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles
Tavern keeper, or one who provides food for military ship
Teamster not for hire
Wagon Maker
Customs officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in.
Boatman who plies for hire
Operator of looms
Owner of a wharf
One who made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages
Tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Street Sweeper
Bleach of Cloth
Workman, especially a construction worker
Farmer who owns his own land

Christened Names and Nicknames

  • Abe – Abel, Abner, Abraham, Absolom
  • AbbyAbigail
  • Al – Albert, Alec, Allen, Allensworth, Alvin
  • Alex – Alexander, Sanders
  • Armse – Armpse, Armistead
  • Bart – Barton, Bartholemew
  • Belle – Aribelle, Sybel
  • Ben – Benjamin, Benejah, Reuben
  • Bert – Albert, Burdette, Burrell, Burton
  • Ellen – Eleanor, Helen
  • Eliza – Elizabeth,Ella
  • Em – Emma, Emmie, Emeline, Emily
  • Eph – Ephraim
  • Etty – Harriett
  • Gail, Gale – Abigail, Abigale
  • Ginger – Regina, Virginia
  • Hal – Harold, Henry
  • Hetty – Harriett, Henrietta
  • Hobart – Hubert, Robert
  • Jean – Jeannie, Jenny, Eugenia,
  • Jack – John, Johnathan, Jonse (not Jones)
  • Jake – Jacob
  • Jenny – Jennifer
  • Joe – Johaner, Jones, Joseph, Josiah
  • Kager – Micajah
  • Lottie – Charlotte
  • Mattie – Martha
  • Nelly – Helen, Eleanor, Lanelle
  • Lige – Elias, Elija
  • Lish – Elisha
  • Luke – Lucus
  • Matt – Madison, Mathias, Matthew
  • Neil – Neal, Corneilous
  • Nick – Nicholas, Nichodemus
  • Nora – Eleanore, Eleanora, Lenora
  • Pats – Patsy, Martha
  • Perry – Peregiene
  • Polly – Mary
  • Rene – Rena, Serena
  • Rildy – Rilla, Rillie, Serrilda
  • Rube – Reuben
  • Sal – Sally, Salome
  • Si – Silas
  • Tillt – Matilda
  • Tish – Latita, Tab,Tabby
  • Tibbie – Tabitha
  • Tice – Matthias
  • Tobe – Tobias
  • Ty – Tyler, Tyrone, Tyson
  • Vern – Luverna
  • Zack – Zachariah
  • Zeb – Zebulon
  • Genealogy Symbols

    Genealogy Symbols

    • * born
    • (*) born illegitimate
    • 0         betrothed
    • 00 married
    • 0-0 Common Law Marriage
    • x  baptized or christened
    • 0/0  Divorced
    • +    died
    • x    died
    • buried
    • buried
    • (-) No further Issue
    • ++ No further Issue

    Abbreviated Words From Latin

    accountant accomptant -compt
    according accord
    account acct or accot
    administrator admint
    administratrix adminx
    aforesaid aforsd, forsd, afsd.
    captain captn, capt.
    church chh
    daughter dau, daur
    deceased dec d
    ditto do, or d0
    esquire esq, esqr, or esq
    executor exec r   exor
    gentleman gentl n, gent
    honorable hon ble, hon:
    improvement improv.
    inventory inventy, inv.
    Junior Jun r, Jr, Jun
    Messieurs Messrs, Mess
    namely viz, viz: vizx
    paid pd, per..pr.
    personal person l,  p’son  l
    probate prob t
    probate register p.regist r
    received recd, recvd
    receipt rec t
    record rec d
    register reg r, regist r
    said sd
    senior Sen r, Sr., Sen:
    testament testam t, testa:
    the ye, y e, yere, yen, yis

    Meaning of Letters

    b. maker breeches-maker
    b’ k. black
    b’ s blacksmith
    c. make clock maker
    d. distillery
    f. ferry, forge, furnace
    f. m fulling mill
    f. master forage master
    g. gristmill
    gr. ground rent
    h. m. hemp mill
    m. mill
    m.w. millwright
    o.m. oil mill
    p.h’d. per head
    q.m. quarter master
    s. keeper shoe keeper
    s. m. saw mills
    s. master school master
    s. m’ r shoe maker
    s. still
    s. weaver stocking weaver
    t. k. tavern keeper
    t. y. tan yard
    w. weaver


    Anno domini In the year of our Lord
    Circa/ca/circ about
    et al and others
    item also/likewise
    liber/libro book
    nepos grandson
    obit/ob he/she died
    requiescat in pace/rip rest in peace
    sic Thus so
    testes witnesses
    ultimo/ult last
    uxor/us/vx wife

    Formation of the Wise County Historical Society

    Wise County Heritage Book Committee and members in attendance

    Book Committee Meeting

    Front r l-r: Paul Kilgore, Esther Congo, Fannie Steele, Rhonda Robertson, Sue Gilliam, Nina Mullins.2nd. r, l-r: Dorothy Witt, Evelyn Slemp, Sandra Collins, Shirley Gray, Edith Hubbard, Beulah Hawk, Gladys Stallard3rd. r, l-r: Bill Gobble, Ed Blair, Denver Osborne, Blaine Sturgill, Mr. & Mrs Tilford Nourse.

    The Wise County Historical Society was organized on August 13, 1992 with the following Officers and Board of Directors elected. Dorothy Hall Witt, President; Wanda May Rose, Vice President; Rhonda Robertson, Secretary; Sue Stewart Gilliam, Treasurer; Gladys J. Stallard, Historian; Evelyn Dale Slemp, Publicity Chairman; Dollie Opal Watson, Appalachia; William C. Gobble, Big Stone Gap; Billy R. Porter, Coeburn; Gladys J. Stallard, Norton; Betty Belcher, Pound; Leroy Hilton, St. Paul, and Esther Congo, Wise.

    Other charter members include: Loretta Belcher, William Belcher, Dora Alice Blevins, Nancy Baker Brown, Dorthula Carroll, Sandra Wright Collins, Dollie W. Countiss, Don and Sandy Earls, Lillian Gobble, Beth Holding Hagan, Martin Hagy, Pauline Hagy, Charlene Hamilton, Bill Hendric, Edith Gardner Hubbard, Ben & Cornie Julian, Elsie Vandiver Kern, Paul Kilgore, Ganell Marshall, Louise Adams Minor, H. Ronnie Montgomery, Elzie D. Mullins, Nina Mullins, Rebecca K. McAmis, Violet Kilgore McDonald, Patricia K. Norris, Denver Osborne, Golda Porter, James C. Roberson, Benjamin S. Rose, Fay Sanders, Bruce & Margaret Stallard, Sgt. and Mrs. David J. Stallard, Fannie Lane Steele, Helen J. Stem, Barbara and Roy L. Sturgill, Blaine Sturgill, Phil and Shirley Sturgill, Tim L. Sturgill, William L. Sturgill, William R. Taylor, Ralph Vandiver, Nina Holding Wilson, Ernest J. Benko, Raymond Burgin, Fannie l. Hamilton, D.C. Hubbard, Robert E. Lamb, Jr., Jennifer C. and Samuel E. Rose.

    Book Committee Meeting 2

    Book Committee and Charter Members Front row. l-r: Wanda Rose, Dorothy Witt, Rhonda Robertson, Sue Gilliam. 2nd.   row, l-r: Loretta Belcher, Nina Mullins, Dolly Opal Watson, Sandra Collins, Fay Sanders, Evelyn Slemp, Gladys Stallard, .Third row, l-r: Paul Kilgore, Louise Minor, Esther Congo, Elsie Kern, Betty Belcher, Dot Carroll, Bill Porter, Ralph Vandiver, Fourth row, l-r: James Roberson, H. Ronnie Montgomery, Bill Gobble

    In The Beginning

    Dorothy Hall Witt, traveled to  Lee County, Virginia,    to sit in on their Heritage book committee meetings at the Jonesville Courthouse.  She knew that there were two volumes of the Russell  County book, and that a group was working on the Scott County history so she was in hopes of a heritage book for Wise County also. Dorothy found that to get started on a possible book for Wise County she must get together a group of people.  When this had been accomplished the first meeting was held at the Appalachian Regional Hospital, November 7, 1991 with 14 members present.  Officers were elected at that meeting.   The committee met at least once a month and sometimes more often. The membership grew in number and with much enthusiasm.

    By the summer of 1992, some of the members, especially Dorothy Witt and Wanda Rose, were traveling all over the county spreading the word about the  book at  fairs, church homecomings, class reunions, and in private homes.  The committee held meetings at every  town in Wise County with the exception of Norton, in order to reach those who could not come to our regular meetings.  Dorothy relates:  “It was such a joy seeing old friends again and making new ones.  We spent many hours listening to older people tell about how times were when they were growing up in Wise County.”

    Some of the members spent countless hours  gathering information, photographing pictures, selling ads,  proofreading and getting the book ready for the press.

    “We were pleasantly surprised to find that so great a number of those born in Wise County have become, not only locally, but nationally and internationally known.  Wise County is proud to be the birthplace of Miss America of 1993, Leanza Cornett, and also the National Easter Seal Poster person for 1993, Virgil Craft of Wise who has contributed much to this book.”

    From November 1991, our committee grew to sixty interested persons, culminating in the organization of the Wise County Historical Society in August, 1992, with 61 charter members.

    In 1993 THE HERITAGE OF WISE COUNTY AND THE CITY OF NORTON, VOL. 1  rolled off the press.

    A beautiful book, forest green with gold lettering, hardback, 9 x 12 and  contained 515 pages. We were proud to now have our own Wise County Heritage book. The Heritage of Wise County and City of Norton 1856-1993

    August,1994, a meeting was held to elect new officers and members of the Board of Directors, held at the office of the Historical Society.  They  are as follows: Chairman: William C. Gobble; Vice Chairman: Denver C. Osborne; Recording Secretary: Rhonda Robertson; Corresponding Secretary: Dorothy Witt; Treasurer: Wanda Rose; Historian: Gladys Stallard

    Members of the Board of Directors:Appalachia: Dolly Opal Watson; Big Stone Gap: Dot Carroll; Coeburn: Bill Porter; Norton: Paul Kilgore; Pound: Blaine Sturgill; St. Paul: Leroy Hilton; Wise: Fannie Steele.  Since this election, some new officers and members of the board, have been installed and others are no longer with us.

    We were  given office space in the courthouse. and In  1994 the Heritage book was reprinted.  In that same year we obtained office space in room 250 of the courthouse, which is our present location.

    One of most exciting projects of the Wise County Historical Society was spearheaded by Rhonda Robertson and Wanda Rose.  This was putting together WISE COUNTY VIRGINIA’S WORLD WAR II VETERANS: A TRIBUTE.    The book contains 929 pages, with over 6,000 veterans sketches and over 3,000 photos.   Rhonda and Wanda spent several thousand hours typing, copying photos and preparing the book for publication.  It was a momentous event when the books arrived on August 15, 1995, the 50th anniversary of V-J Day. This book was submitted to Tom Brokaw of NBC news during his series of “Home of the Brave” broadcasts about WWII. It was also placed in the Library of Virginia, and other libraries.

    In addition to the Veteran’s book, a commemorative calendar of Wise County  during World War II was  published containing pictures and historical events of the War and of the county.

    Appalachian Quarterly Volume 1, Number 1

    In June of 1996 the first issue of our historical magazine, “The Appalachian Quarterly,” debuted.  Rhonda Robertson is the editor, Ganell Marshall, associate editor. The magazine is published four times a year and contains exciting articles on our region and the southern Appalachians.  The subscription was $10.00 per year for several years, but with rising costs of postage  and paper, we had to raise the price to $12.00 per year. The subscription includes a years membership with the historical society.

    The Wise County Historical Society welcomes you to join the membership and join in our activities. It is hard work but great fun.

    The Courthouse Centennial was  approaching fast and the society got busy  planning their Courthouse Centennial (1896-1996) calendar. The  calendar contained upcoming events in Wise County in 1996 as well as several old pictures of Wise and other towns in Wise County.  That same  year, the society reprinted the Banner Community Heritage which was compiled by a  member of the Historical Society, Bill Porter.

    The next project for the Historical Society was assisting Denver “Bud” Osborne in the publishing of his famous book, WISE COUNTY’S APPLE BLOSSOMS OF YESTERYEAR.

    The Apple Orchards of Wise Countybook is a precise history of the apple industry in Wise County.  The book committee consisted of people in Wise county who owned or had interest in  apple orchards. Wise  County was once noted for its unique delicious apples. In 1945 Wise county produced 300 thousand bushels. The beautiful apple  blossom cover for this book was taken of  our  member and co-workers Fannie & Letcher Steele’s apple orchard.

    Apple Blossoms of Yesteryear

    In 1997 the historical society started planning for THE HERITAGE OF WISE COUNTY AND THE CITY OF NORTON, VOL. 2. The book was published in 2001. This book is distinct from Volume 1, but has the same forest green  coloring with gold lettering, hard back  It has 1133 pages including the  index and is 9 x 12 in size. The many hours of hard work that went into this  book  is tremendous.  This book is filled with stories and illustrations about Wise County and its people.  Another heritage book of which the Wise  County Historical Society is very proud.

    Heritage of Wise County and the City of Norton 1856-2001 Vol. 2

    The Historical Society has set headstones to mark the graves  for 37 Civil War Soldiers of Wise County who had no stones or deteriorated ones.

    Lillian Gobble and Rhonda Robertson are instrumental in locating and erecting stones for Wise County’s Civil War soldiers and spends hours documenting their service and ordering stones from the Veteran’s Administration.

    The next undertaking for the Historical Society is now in the works, thanks to Rhonda Robertson and Lillian Gobble, who is working on a Civil War book for Wise County.  The book is near completion and should be off the press sometime next spring.  This book will be a wonderful asset to the Historical Society and  to Wise County.

    Note: Between Brothers, Civil War Soldiers of Wise and Dickenson Counties, A Biographical History,  was available in June of 2004 and is a  popular item at the Historical Society office.

    In May of 2000, the Society sponsored its first Family History Days on the lawn of the courthouse, where people came to swap family information with genealogists and members of the Historical Society. The family History Days proved to be so successful, that  Family History Days, number 2 was held this year 2002, and another is planned for 2003 which will be a Civil War theme.

    The Society has worked with school students in helping them with their family histories, going back several generations for their projects in school.

    All the work of the Historical Society is strictly volunteer.   The office is open in room 250 at the  courthouse, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P. M, and on Friday from 9:00 to 12:00 noon.  The Society maintains a bookstore in its office at the courthouse in Wise, with hundreds of area and family histories, and records to choose from.  It has a database of almost 4000 books, magazines, records, and other articles in its archives. The society works cooperatively with the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and other county officials to help preserve Wise County history.

    The Historical Society has over 1000 members and subscribers to the Appalachian Quarterly. It has assisted thousands of people visiting the county from all over the United States  in searching for their roots and other historical facts.

    Help us to preserve the history of the area  and families of Wise County.

    James Taylor Adams and Luther F. Addington

    James Taylor Adams was a prolific writer, a folklorist and a preserver of Appalachian culture.  He wrote thousands of articles for magazines and newspapers of which only a few have been collected.

    James Taylor Adams

    At work on his typewriter, outside

    James Taylor Adams

    James Taylor Adams was a prolific writer, a folklorist and a preserver of Appalachian culture.  He wrote thousands of articles for magazines and newspapers of which only a few have been collected.

    James Taylor Adams was born February 3, 1892, a son of Joseph and Mary Jane (Short) Adams. He was born in Letcher County, Kentucky and lived in Alum Cove, Little Colley and other small communities in Kentucky.

    He moved to Wise County, Virginia while yet a young man. He married in 1908 to Dicy Roberts.  They had a family of eight children. Among James Taylor’s work was  at  the coke ovens in Wise County,  selling fruit trees; owned a grocery store; sold insurance, and owned and ran a print shop. He was a Notary and built houses to rent.  He also established a post office at Big Laurel where he lived and was postmaster there. His wife Dicy also worked in the post-office. He built a Church house; built and ran a library to store his many books, manuscripts, and publications, and to distribute books for people to read. He also built a museum to collect and preserve antiques and old items.

    James Taylor worked in the Works progress Association, (WPA).  While working for the WPA he collected old songs and stories of the area and wrote them down to preserve. He became interested in family history and compiled the Adams Family history among others.

    James Taylor only had a second grade education in the public schools but was a self educated man. He published several newspapers, some of which was The Vagabond Gazette, Adam’s Weekly and The Cumberland Empire. He wrote columns for several newspapers, and Detective stories for Detective magazines and wrote stories for some Canadian magazines under a pen name of Roland Rivers.

    Among the books he wrote was one  called “Death in the Dark,” which is a collection of Factual Ballads of American Mine Disasters with historical notes. He also visited cemeteries of the area and compiled a book of the names and dates on the stones, with a short history of some of the people.  The book is called, “Family Burying Grounds in Wise County, Virginia.”

    He and his wife and family moved to Arkansas to homestead land there, lived in Missouri, then back to West Virginia and finally settled  on Rocky Fork at Big Laurel on Rocky Fork. He died in 1954 and is buried at the homeplace there.

    MEMORIES by James Taylor Adams

    Wild honeysuckles twine around An old log cabin door High on a hill among some pines Above a river’s roar. A winding trail leads down a bluff That’s all aflame with flowers Tis there I wish to take myself  And spend life’s evening hours.

    A rock is at the water’s edge,  A boat is fastened there, I’d loose the chain, take up an oar and row ‘way off somewhere. Then as the sun made silvery gleams, along the crystal stream I’d drop my oar and let’r drift And dream, and dream and dream.

    And dreaming I would fail to see, The fish a’leaping high, Nor would I hear the gray-squirrel call A I went floating by. Then when the sun had sank to rest, I’d climb back up the hill, To the little house…deserted now So silent and so still.

    Again I’d wander ‘long the trails, As in glad days of yore And hear my Mother calling me… From out the kitchen door. In memory lost…I’d pause awhile Then to the churchyard roam Where I will find the friends I knew Around my childhood home.

    Some of the above was taken from: “Family Burying Grounds” by James Taylor Adams;. “About My Father,” by Simpson Randolph Adams; Newspaper article found in a scrapbook purchased at an auction in Russell Co., VA by Denver Osborne.

    Luther  F. Addington

    By Bonnie S. Ball – Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia

    Luther F. Addington

    Luther F. Addington was born near Nickelsville, Scott County, Virginia on September 3, 1899.  He was the son of James R. and Nancy (Easterling) Addington.  He attended school at Midway and Gate City, Emory and Henry College, and the University of Virginia.

    Mr.  Addington married Miss Lou Emma Keys on September 25, 1925.  He served 42 years as an educator, one year in Scott County, Va., public schools, and forty years in Wise County as a principal.  He was also employed for one term as assistant principal at West Palm Beach, Florida.  For six years he was principal of Pound High school, and for thirty four years as Principal of the high school in Wise, now known as the J. J. Kelly High School.

    He was a member of the Trinity Methodist Church of Wise, the Retired Teacher’s Association, the Appalachian Regional Library Board, and the founder of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, of which he served as President for fifteen years.  He was Wise County Citizen of the Year in 1956.

    He was a historian and writer, having published a history of Wise County, Virginia, and several juvenile books, and numerous articles on the history of Southwest Virginia.  He also served as President of Emory and Henry College Alumni Association.

    He died on Sunday, February 26, 1978 at the Wise Regional Hospital, following a brief illness.  Funeral services were conducted on February 28th at Sturgill Funeral Home Chapel in  Wise.  Burial was in Glencoe Cemetery, Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  The Rev. James Douthat officiated.  Survivors include his widow and three brothers; Olin of Kingsport, Tenn., Orville of Abingdon, Va., and Omer of Gate City, Va.

    From an Editorial of News Director, Walter Crockett, WCYB-TV, we quote in part:

    Mr. Addington was a product of the horse and buggy days, for motor transportation was scarce indeed when he started his career, and he worked with others who dedicated their lives to the education of young people in Wise County.

    “Even though a native of Scott County, no one has done more to assemble and preserve the history of Wise County than Mr. Addington. In 1960 the writer attended a conference for authors and journalist of the Southern Appalachians at Berea College in Kentucky.  While in the company of E. J. and Mrs. Sutherland we joined Mr. Addington during the lunch hour.  It was here that he suggested the idea of a historical society for the southwestern corner of Virginia, which was organized not long afterward.  He was unanimously chosen as the first president, and was followed by Judge Sutherland, who declined a second term because of ill health.  So Mr. Addington was elected repeatedly until failing health eventually prompted him to withdraw from office.  However, he continued to serve in the capacity of an advisor to the Executive Board.  While his place as historian may never be filled, his research and labor will remain to aid future historians of the Appalachians.”

    Elihu Jasper and Hetty Sutherland

    Elihu Jasper Sutherland was a man of so great achievement and versatility that he scarcely requires an introduction.  A native of Dickenson County, and son of William Beauregard and Eliza Counts Sutherland, he grew up in the Frying Pan section.

    Elihu J. Sutherland

    Elihu Jasper Sutherland was a man of so great achievement and versatility that he scarcely requires an introduction.  A native of Dickenson County, and son of William Beauregard and Eliza Counts Sutherland, he grew up in the Frying Pan section.  He attended all available public schools, after which he entered  the Chattanooga College of Law, where he graduated in 1920.

    During World War 1, he served as an infantry captain.  From 1924 to 1928 he was Commonwealth’s Attorney of Dickenson County.  In 1926, he was married to Miss Hetty Swindall, and they became the parents of two sons, James and William.  He continued his law practice, and in 1948 he was one of he first trial justices to be appointed in Virginia.  In 1956 the designation was changed to County Judge.

    Known as a genealogist and historian of he area, he spent untold hours collecting family, local, and area history.  He was also a poet and author.  During his life he published three volumes of verse, served editor-in-chief of the official county history of Dickenson County  in 1955 during the diamond jubilee celebration.  He was also compile of a historical volume entitled “Some Sandy Basin Characters,” and numerous pamphlets, including the history and minutes of Primitive Baptist Associations of he area.  His column, “Pioneer Recollections” was published over a period of years in the Dickensonian, and was read all over the nation.

    Judge Sutherland was a true sportsman and outdoor enthusiast.  He participated in inter-community baseball games.  One of his favorite hobbies was hiking.  It has been said that both he and Mrs. Sutherland have walked the entire  length of the Breaks Gorge, and possibly more than once.  Another of his goals was to walk the length of Pine Mountain from the Breaks of the Cumberlands to Pound Gap, in laps, and I understand that he accomplished that feat, also.

    He was co-founder of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, and its second president.  He was also a member of the National Genealogical Society.  Rarely has any individual collected such large store of history, fiction, genealogy, and verse as was found in his private library on Sunset Hill overlooking the town of Clintwood.

    Judge Sutherland passed away on July 1, 1964 at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, and was buried in the family cemetery near his childhood home.  He had served as Judge until January 1, 1964, when he retired because of ill health.  Surviving him were: his widow, two sons, two grandchildren, and some sisters and brothers.

    On September 30, 1972, the major portion of his historical and genealogical library had been removed to the Archives of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, and a special program of presentation was given at the John Cooke Wyllie Library building on the campus of Clinch Valley College, Wise, Virginia.

    Sources: Mrs. Hetty Sutherland,  Clintwood, Virginia, Publications of the Historical Society and personal acquaintances

    “…His interests and gifts were boundless.  Elihu Jasper Sutherland found time to work with the Clintwood Kiwanis Club, the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross, the American Legion Post # 66 of Dickenson County.  He was the county Chairman of the Office of Price Administration during World War II, a member of the Dickenson County Bar Association, the Parent-Teacher Association, the Dickenson county Mutual Fire insurance Association, attorney for local banks and the town of Clintwood.  He was historian for the Sandlick Primitive Baptist Church and the Washington District Primitive Baptist Association.  He was commonwealth’s Attorney for Dickenson County 1924-27; Judge of he Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court 1931-34; Substitute Trial Justice 1934-48 and Trial Justice 1948-56; County Court Judge 1956-63.  He served on the Clintwood town Council and was Mayor of the town 1938-40.  In 1945-46, “E J” prepared a new charter for Clintwood replacing the old one adopted in 1894.  About the same time he drew to scale a detailed map of the town, which was enlarged and made into blue prints by his son Billy while an engineering student at VPI.  He prepared the Clintwood Zoning and Building Ordinance which was adopted in 1956.

    “E J’s” gifts have long been shared with students and fellow researchers in genealogical and historical fields.  Inquiries directed to public officials of he county have been turned over to him and, since his passing, they are referred to Hetty.

    He was recognized to have a true poetic nature.  He published two books of delicate verse: “The Sunken Star” in 1917, and “In Lonesome Cove” in 1951.  The second volume was dedicated to his devoted wife, who he said, gave invaluable service as typist, research assistant, and in improving the style and contents of his published volumes.

    In Lonesome Cove

    “Lord, give me strength to move the stones From out my neighbor’s way And may I see him smile his thanks Before I pass away.

    “Lord, let me stand upon the Mount of Friendly Hope and Cheer, And hear the people softly say, “He lent me a hand while here.”

    “Lord, make me mindful of the need Of others as they cry Do let me sing a helpful song Before my time comes by.”

    From: A Sandy Basin Character by J. Hoge T. Sutherland and Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Publication No. 5, March 1970

    Hetty Swindall Sutherland

    Hetty J. Sutherland

    Southwest  Virginia’s Living Legend – Submitted by Marjorie a. Sutherland, daughter-in-law

    Southwest Virginia Historical Society’s charter member Hetty Jane (Swindall) Sutherland is from sturdy pioneer stock, and she so proudly bears the two favorite names her Grandfather Austin gave her when she was born on December 14, 1901. Hetty” was a special name to him, for both his wife’s step-grandmother and his second daughter was given this beautiful name.  The name “Jane” is special because both of our member Hetty’s grandmothers were Martha Jane.  She has lived an exemplary life and brought honor to the name and family it represents.  She is lovingly called “Miss Hetty” by her many friends, relatives, and associates.

    Miss Hetty was born in a log cabin on the old Swindall homeplace located right in the curve of the Pound River opposite the mouth of Camp creek.  She walked to Camp creek School as a child.  At that time, Dickenson County Schools lasted only five months, ending in December.  Wise County schools ran two months longer, so she was glad she could stay at Grandpa Austin’s for two months each year and attend Austin School on Bear Pen Creek.  When the first Wise County Post Office was established in Grandpa Austin’s home, it too, was given the name “Hetty.”

    after finishing Elementary School, she secured a second grade teacher’s certificate  and taught tow terms at Honey Camp and camp creek, before attending National Business College at Fort Worth, Texas.  She returned to Dickenson county in September 1921, and was greeted at the door by “Ma” (Ardella Austin Swindall), who said, “Your Pa has found you a job!”  “Pa” was Milburn Eddie Swindall, an the had found her a job as secretary to John w. Flanagan, attorney for W.M. Ritter Lumber and Clinchfield Coal Companies.  She later was employed by Cumberland Band and Trust Company, the department of social Welfare, and the Dickenson County Home Extension Service.  She also served as Court Reporter for Dickenson County, and as secretary in 1948 for the world famous Clintwood all-woman Town Council, the first in Virginia.

    Hetty Jane Swindall was married to Elihu Jasper Sutherland on September 11, 1926, in a ceremony officiated by her grandfather, Elder John Calvin Swindall.  A month later they moved into the lovely hilltop home he had built in Clintwood called “Sunset Hill.”  The raised two sons, William Hubert and James Douglas.  She and her husband were instrumental in establishing the John Counts of Glade Hollow Family Reunion in 1936.  Her husband, E. J., was its first president and was its genealogist until his death in august, 1964, when Miss Hetty took his place as Genealogist.

    Miss Hetty has always been and continues to be active in many community organizations and activities.  She was a charter member of Southwest Virginia Historical Society on March 6, 1961 and was elected its first secretary.  She was elected treasurer  in 1965 and served in that position for several years.  She was elected to life membership in recent years.  She was also a charter member of Dickenson County  Home Demonstration Club and Dickenson County Historical Society, and is a member of the Big Sandy Valley Historical Society and of Mountain People and Places.  She likes to attend Little Zion Old Regular Baptist Church, established by hr grandfather, J.C. Swindall, who preached the doctrines of the church.

    Her many honors include the establishment of the Hetty Swindall Sutherland Archives of Dickenson County historical Society at the Dickenson County Library at Clintwood, selection as Dickenson County Woman of the Year, and celebration by the town of Clintwood of her ninetieth birthday on December 14, 1991.  In thanking the townspeople, she surprised everyone by remarking that this was the very first birthday party she had ever had!

    She has always liked people and continues to be very public spirited, giving her noblest and best to the building and betterment of Southwest Virginia, even to the pick-up of litter along the route of her daily walks through the town of Clintwood in Dickenson County, Virginia.  These walks usually include stops at the post office, frequently to mail genealogical materials to correspondents and buyers of her own publications; at the library, to gather genealogical information as well as the daily news from newspapers at the Clintwood senior Center, for lunch and a visit with friends and relatives.

    Her mind is quick and her memory long, for she can name off ancestors of almost anyone in Dickenson County.  On rides along the back roads of the county, which are a particular pleasure for her, she gives a running account of who lives or once lived in home places along the route.   She especially enjoys the trips to the places of her childhood n or near the region locally known as “South o’ the mountain.”  She finds a source of strength there, for a new vitality springs from the precious memories of her past.

    Miss Hetty has accomplished much in her almost ninety-two years, and still has much more to do.  She continues to be a very active genealogist and always finds time for anyone who wants help pin finding his “roots.”  She has carried high the torch of enlightenment left to her by her late husband, Judge E. J. Sutherland. For over fifty years he collected a vast amount of Southwest Virginia history, folklore, and genealogy, from which she  draws her resources, continuing the work he started and making his dreams become reality.  She has edited and published several books from his material, including “Some  Descendants of John Counts of Glade Hollow.”  She is presently in the process of preparing a second edition of this book, adding new material and updating it to the present generation

    Miss Hetty Sutherland is truly a  living legend for Southwest Virginia

    From: Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia Publication No. 28 – 1994

    Bonnie Sage Ball and Theodosia Wells Barrett

    Bonnie Sage Ball was a charter member who has served in many capacities.  She has contributed many articles for its annual publication, has done extensive research on families and events of historical significance, and has compiled and published several family histories, including those on the Sage and Ball families.  She wrote “The Melungeons – Their Origin and Kin.”  She grew up among them in Lee County, Va. and adjoining Hancock County, Tenn.

    Bonnie S. Ball

    A Tribute to Bonnie Sage Ball by Gladys Julian Stallard

    From: Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Publication No. 31 – 1997

    The Historical Society of Southwest Virginia has lost a very valuable member who has been with the organization from its very beginning. Bonnie Sage Ball was a charter member who has served in many capacities.  She has contributed many articles for its annual publication, has done extensive research on families and events of historical significance, and has compiled and published several family histories, including those on the Sage and Ball families.  She wrote “The Melungeons – Their Origin and Kin.” She grew up among them in Lee County, Va. and adjoining Hancock County, Tenn.

    She was a retired schoolteacher, a homemaker and mother of four. … Her ancestors are from London, England. Bonnie was  born Dec. 17, 1901 on Wallen’s  Ridge near Stickleyville, Lee County, Va.  She was brought into this world by Dr. Bradley T. Young, during a blinding snow storm. Bonnie was the fourth of 13 children of Vas Sage and his wife, Mary  “Mollie” Duncan. When Bonnie was six years old her father moved off the ridge so the children would be near the Stickleyville school.

    Bonnie attended Radford Normal School for women.  She taught school during the winter and continued her education at Radford during the summer. In 1926 she went to St. Charles in Lee County to teach.  There she met Palmer Ray Ball. They were married a few months later. The next year they moved to Virginia City in Wise County, then resided in Haysi, VA. for a period of time.

    Bonnie taught school in Dickenson and Buchanan Counties. She was also News correspondent for the Bristol Herald courier, the Coalfield Progress, the Dickensonian, the Roanoke Times and the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

    Bonnie retired in 1967, after a total of 33 years in the teaching profession.  she and her husband moved to Big Stone Gap, less than a block away from the June Tolliver House and the site of the John Fox Jr. drama, “The Trail of he Lonesome Pine.”

    Bonnie Ball remained busy.  She was a member of Virginia Creative Writers, Trinity United Methodist Church, the UDC, DAR, and several historical societies.  She was a life member of the Virginia Retired Teacher’s Association.   She recorded cemeteries, researched courthouse records,  compiled a history of Methodist Churches, wrote a book of verse and a book of Appalachian Folklore.  Besides all these activities,  she published a bicentennial history, “Stickleyville – Its Schools, History and People,” and carried on a voluminous correspondence with people all over the United States.

    Bonnie Ball suffered Health problems during her later years and lived for sometime in Heritage Hall in Big Stone Gap.  She remained alert until her death.  She died after a short illness in the Lonesome Pine Hospital, Saturday, May 11, 1996, at the age of 95.  She was preceded in death by an infant son, by her husband and a daughter, Dorothy Ball Booten of Chicago Heights, Ill.

    She was survived by a son, George Ball, San Diego, Calif.; a daughter, Nancy Ball of the home; a sister, Thelma Powell, Richmond, Va.; three brothers, Carl Sage,  Orleans, Ind., Earl Sage, Stickleyville and Ralph Sage, Kingsport, Tenn.; and by four grandchildren.

    Funeral services were conducted in the Holding Funeral Home Chapel, Monday, May 13, at 8 p.m. with the Rev. Buford Hankins and the Rev. Joe Berta officiating.  Graveside services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 14 in the Cecil-Frye Cemetery, Pennington Gap in Lee County, VA.

    Bonnie Ball will be missed very much indeed, but her accomplishments and name will be familiar to people of like interests for generations to come!

    Theodosia Barrett

    Theodosia Wells Barrett, 88, died Saturday, March 23, 1991, at her home.  She was a native of Swords Creek section of Russell Co., and a former resident of Tazewell Co., and Florida.  She  was a widow of Frank Barrett.

    She was a graduate of Radford University and retired school teacher in Russell, Tazewell and Buchanan counties.  She authored several local history books and articles and chaired “The  Heritage of Russell County 1786-1986.”  Her first book , “Pioneers on the Western Waters,” is the only written history of northwestern Russell Co.  She was a member  of numerous historical and genealogical societies and the National League of American Pen Women.  She was a member of the United Methodist Church.

    From: Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Publication No. 26 -1992.

    Ann Wynn Laningham

    A native of Lee county, she was the daughter of John C. and Henrietta (Browning) Wynn of Jonesville.  She was a person of many talents and tireless energy.

    Ann Laninghan

    A native of Lee county, she was the daughter of John C. and Henrietta (Browning) Wynn of Jonesville.  She was a person of many talents and tireless energy.  The writer first remembers her as a piano teacher and director of school musical programs at Stickleyville School about 1912, prior to her marriage to James E. Laningham.

    Even though they reared four children, her long life has been of endless activity, but she was best known as the first regent of the Lovelady Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, a life member and Lee County Director of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, and co-author of “Early Settlers of Lee County,” along with Mrs. Hattie (Muncy) Bates.

    She was past president of the Lee county Garden Club, member of the Eastern Star Powell Valley Chapter #13, an active member of the First United Methodist Church and Methodist Women’s Circle, Homemakers Club, and was the principal organizer of the first Pennington Gap High School Band in the early 1930’s.

    Mrs. Ann Wynn Laningham died on Thursday, September 3, 1987 at her home in Pennington Gap, Va., at age 96.  Funeral services were conducted at the Firs Methodist Church in Pennington Gap by her pastor on Sunday, September 6, 1987.  Interment was in the Memorial Garden at Woodway, Lee County, Virginia.

    Mrs Laningham  is survived by the following children: John W. Laningham, Jonesville, Va.; Col. Wm. B. Laningham, of Orlando, Fla.; and twins Mary Ann and James E. Laningham of North Carolina.  She was proceeded in death by her husband and a grandson, John W. Laningham, Jr.

    Survivors from her family also include two brothers: Browning Wynn of Jonesville, and Richard Wynn of Knoxville.  Two sisters, Mrs. Mary Wynn Hall of Dayton, Ohio, and Mrs. Jim Wynn Litton of Jonesville, Va., and four grandsons, one granddaughter, three great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter.

    By: Mrs. Bonnie Ball

    From: Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Publication No. 21 – 1987

    The Red Fox Trail

    The Red Fox Trail near Pound, Virginia where a massacre took place.

    If you would like to read more about the story of Doc Taylor, “The Red Fox of the Cumberland” and the Massacre of  Pound  Gap, you will find it in Charles A. Johnson’s book,[intlink id=”8″ type=”page”]WISE COUNTY VIRGINIA[/intlink].  You will find it in  the Bookstore on this site or visit Wise County Historical Society Office and Bookstore at the Courthouse in Wise.

    Killing Rock In Pound, VA

    Hiking the trail

    Taking A Breather

    Railroad Station Site

    Shortcuts up the Mountain

    Drinking from the Stream

    Site of Ambush

    Pausing for Thought