This site has photographs and genealogical information about southern West Virginia families including the Vest family of White Oak Mountain, Smith family of Abraham in Richmond District, the Gadd and Cochran families, and the Biars family of West Virginia and Ohio. A whole bunch of cousins contributed to this site. Thank you! The aerial photo above, taken in 1985, is my childhood home, the Earl and Golda Smith farm on Route 3, Hinton Road, White Oak Mountain, Raleigh County, W.Va. The yellow house was built by my grandparents, Leonard and Stella Vest.

Giving credit where credit is due
If you've shared a photo or information and I haven't given you credit, please e-mail me and I'll add your name. If you use photos or information from West Virginia Memories, please make note and include this site address: http://wva.homestead.com I want more cousins to find their way here. If you have photos or information to share or corrections/suggestions or if you just want to say hello, I am always glad to get e-mail.

Cousin Katherine shared these photos with me. The photographer is James Plumley. Photo 1  Photo 2  Photo 3. (At least one visitor told me he was having problems accessing photos on this site which are linked to Photobucket. If you're having problems, e-mail me and I will try and sort it out.)

A page with links to obituaries of those with a connection to the families on West Virginia Memories. Recent entries: Martha Frances Harvey Headington of Michigan passed away surrounded by her loving family on July 15, 2014. Lyle Douglas Fox, 75, of Beckley, Raleigh County, W.Va., passed away Saturday, July 5, 2014, at his home. Clara Annette Richmond, 56, of Meadow Bridge, W.Va., died on 14 June 2014 in Bowers Hospice House in Beckley, W.Va. She  was a daughter of the late Erville Elmore and Dorothy Marie Runyan Richmond. Rachel Marie Smith Richmond, 96, of The Villages of Greystone, formerly of Russell Street, Beckley, W.Va., died Thursday, 02 Jan 2014. Dianna Lottie Harvey, 65, of White Oak Mountain, W.Va., died on 31 Dec 2013 in Hinton, W.Va.  Anna Lee Teaford Gadd, 88, went to be with the Lord on 17 Dec 2013, at Trinity Station Retirement Community, Flatwoods, Ky. Zula Gadd Patterson, 80, of the Glenwood Park Road, Princeton, W.Va., died on Dec. 16, 2013 at Cassell's Board and Care Facility in Princeton. Cathy Lynn Gadd Daniels of Huntington, W.Va., died on 30 Nov  2013 at St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington. She was a former resident of Bluefield, W.Va. Charles O. “C.O.” “Smitty” Smith Jr., 92, of Beckley, W.Va., passed away Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.  He was a son of C.O. Smith Sr. and wife Flora Arthur and a grandson of Emily Alice Vandall and George Washington Smith Jr.  Bonnie Plumley Pack Helton of Oak Hill, W.Va., died 30 June 2013. Linda Louise Smith Nugen, 62, of Shady Spring, Raleigh County, W.Va., passed away on June 12, 2013, at her home following a long illness. Ennis Elane White Gadd, 79,  Princeton, W.Va. died on April 10, 2013, at Princeton Community Hospital; Carrie Eileen Smith Mann, 88, Daniels, W.Va., died on April 8, 2013. (Go to In Memory for more information and other entries.)

Steven Biars of Ohio, a “30 year old father of an awesome little girl with rather serious special needs,” is looking for a job (https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenbiars)  and/or assistance in starting a business. A father from a small town in the Midwest has decided to pursue his passion for metal fabrication.

  • You Tube video created by Dennis Chadra about his grandfather, Frank Hadra, who survived the 1914 Eccles mine disaster. There are articles about the disaster on the Shoebox page.
  • Bonnie Sue Bennett Pishner, Swell Mountain Memories, “…documents life in the West Virginia hills from oral family histories, photographs, newspaper articles, hospital documents and personal diaries from her extended family and friends.” Bill Withers
  • Happy birthday, Mr. Cartoon! From the WSAZ page on Facebook: "Honoring WSAZ Legend Jule Huffman aka Mr. Cartoon! Jule Huffman is 90 years old & people have come to celebrate. Check out the basket of cards; it's a testament to his longevity & popularity!" (31 Mar 2014) From West Virginia Talk: Mr. Cartoon – Host of a children’s show on WSAZ-TV, Huntington. George Lewis was the original Mr. Cartoon. Jule Huffman took over the role in 1969 when Lewis left WSAZ to take a job with a Maryland television station. A 2009 update on Mr. Huffman 
  • Come Back Home To Beckley by Del Shatley. A "must listen" for anyone who grew up in the Beckley, W.Va., area. Mr. Shatley hits all the locales on memory lane: G.C. Murphy's, King Tut's Drive-In and so forth.  You Tube. Amazon.com
  • CNN: Inside Man. Hosted by Morgan Spurlock, born in Parkersburg, W.Va., and raised in Beckley, W.Va.

  • SNAPS. Photos collected by Dorothy Carroll of Ashland, Ky. Made a correction on a photo of Dorothy and her brother Harry L. Carroll (not her uncle). (12 Aug 2014)
  • Random Quotations. Quotes on various subjects, added just because I like them. Added (Attitude) the secret to confidence. (20 Jun 2014). Added (Trouble) Wake up with the shoo buddies. (14 Oct 2013)
  • George Smith Jr. page -- Added obituaries for Dorothy Runyon Richmond and husband Erville Elmore Richmond and corrected link to Smith children photo under Emma Catherine Biars section. (19 Jun 2014)
  • West Virginia Talk -- Teejus. (Added 03 Jun 2014) "Big as a skint mule" and "laid off," meaning procrastinated. Phrases shared by Joel. (Updated 29 Jan 2014)
  • Church/school page -- Added, under Churches/New Salem Missionary Baptist, a picture of Golda Vest Smith and children of the church, and under Schools/Richmond District, several pictures of Mrs. Smith and her students. (19 May 2014). Three articles from The Shady Panorama, 30 Apr 1931, Shady Spring High School, Raleigh Co., W.Va. (10 Mar 2014). Newsclips about Shady Spring High School reunions in the 1970s. (12 Feb 2014) These are from the collection of Nina Vest Bennett Worley. Shady Spring Elementary, commencement program, 1956. (10 Mar 2014)
  • Vest Page 1. Updated information for James Edward Kelly Sr. (under Martha Adeline Vest). (27 Oct 2013)
  • Smith Page 2 (George W. Smith Sr.) Adding information to the family of Mary Catherine Smith Jones and her husband Benjamin Franklin Jones under General Marion Smith.(25 Oct 2013) 
  • Kentucky In-Laws - SNAPS. Added 1913 photo of Alma Lucille Debord on her first day in school. Photo courtesy of Lisa L. The photo is under Old Family Photos/Debords. (05 Oct 2013)
  • You Tube -- Very cool video with pictures of of the Fox and Garten families. (Thanks to Katherine for the link.)
  • Passing Through Sandstone, a documentary by film-maker Jon Averill recreates the death of Samuel Richmond during the Civil War. “The main focus of the movie is a man named Samuel Richmond who came from the founding family of this area, and who was one of the large land owners around here around the time of the Civil War,” said Averill.“He was a staunch Union supporter in what became a pretty heavily Confederate-dominated area. And he was bush-whacked, assassinated during the war." (Register-Herald, Suzanne Higgins, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, 12 Jan 2012) Passing Through Sandstone YouTube trailer. Information from Billy Richmond is in a 1968 article on the deaths of Arthur Richmond and Samuel Richmond: Richmond District In A Time To Shoot Or Be Shot, Post-Herald, 14 Nov 1968, Page 11. Part 1  Part 2

Appalachian Lifestyles -- Stories, tales, lies, musings and daily life in the mountains of central Appalachia. Dedicated to the education of the American public on the unique culture of Appalachia. Site owned by Matthew Burns. A good place to browse. An entry from 2008: MURDERED I SAY -- George Bible Bennett (1831-1864) of Pendleton County, was killed by the Swamp Dragons, a Yankee unit. His father Elijah Bennett carved this on his son’s tombstone: "Here lies GBB/Killed by the Swamps/Murdered I Say."

While researching my folks, occasionally I come across an interesting, but unrelated, article, and place it on my Shoebox page. The number of articles about former slaves grew, so I created the Slave Articles page. The articles are about slaves from several states, not just from Virginia or West Virginia. (Updated 05 Apr 2014 -- Added Jack Johnson Riddle of Ga. and Ala.)

Phyllis Campbell Whitley has been reseaching and photographing old Summers County, W.Va., barns built before 1950. (Mrs. Whitley originally contacted West Virginia Memories about a site near Indian Mills with three pre Civil War barns. The present owners believe the original owners were named Via.) The book, Barns of Summers County and the 2014 calendar are available for purchase: Barn Lady site. Barn Lady e-mail.  Articles about the project: Barns of Summers County, Hinton News, 16 June 2009.  Sunday Profile: Phyllis Campbell Whitley by Sarah Plummer, Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 09 Jan 2011. Barn Lady captures memories of W.Va. barns, by Kathryn Gregory, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. Reprinted in the Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W.Va., 07 March 2011.

Smith Farm on White Oak Mountain, W.Va.