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.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES -- Because of technical difficulties, I have rebuilt the main Smith/Biars page. It is now the George Smith Jr. page. I am updating the navigation bar and links to the page on this site. If you have any problems accessing the new page or anything other page on this site, let me know.

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 

The Midnight Picker. Songs by Greg Lutz, grandson of Earl and Golda Smith.

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.

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."

A page with links to obituaries of those with a connection to the families on West Virginia Memories. Recent entries: 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.)

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.)

  • Church/school page -- 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)
  • West Virginia Talk -- "Big as a skint mule" and "laid off," meaning procrastinated. Phrases shared by Joel. (Updated 29 Jan 2014)
  • Unidentified photos. Added a photo of Raymond Vest found in a Mechanicsville, Va., antique store and shared by visitor to this site. The question is, which Raymond Vest? (16 Jan 2013)
  • 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) 
  • Random Quotations. Quotes on various subjects, added just because I like them. Added (Trouble) Wake up with the shoo buddies. (14 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)
  • Resources -- Added link to "A History of My Austin-Anderson Families in Virginia and West Virginia" by Ruth S. Widener, 1977. (21 July 2013). Added section with links to community pages online with genealogical information. If you have suggestions, please e-mail me. (04 July 2013) Added link to online family history: “The Gwinns of Round Bottom” by Leona Gwinn Brown. (04 March 2013.)
  • Gadd page 2 - Powell and Emma -- Added 2010 obituary for Clowney Gadd Jr. (17 Apr 2013) Corrected Alvie Gadd's birth year. (28 Sep 2012) NOTE: The grave of Powell and Emma's daughter Mahala "Hallie" Gadd Harvey has been found by a descendant. Find a Grave link added on Gadd page 2. (24 June 2012)
  • You Tube -- Very cool video with pictures of of the Fox and Garten families. (Thanks to Katherine for the link.)
  • Passing Through Sandstone, a new 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

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 2013 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.