Old pictures and words share our history

I have been looking at the wonderful pictures shared by Danny Green on Facebook. Many of these pictures tell the stories of our family histories as well as the history of our great community. Danny has been sharing many of the pictures taken by Howard Hiner through his many years of involvement in our community. Howard Hiner loved to share his talent as a photographer. As you look through his montage of photographs there are pictures of school events, church events, weddings, meetings, historical buildings in our community and pictures of many of our residents seen through his talent as a photographer. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Danny for sharing these wonderful pictures featuring many of the folks who lived and worked in our community. Buckhannon and Upshur County has been truly blessed with a wealth of folks who gave much of their time and talent to enrich our history.

What a joy it is to look at pictures that help us recall special events in our lives and to give us a glimpse of our parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers and folks we have had the opportunity to know over the years. I am blessed to have many of my mother’s and father’s family pictures to share. I never met my great-grandparents but I have pictures which help tell my family’s story. I found a picture of my great-great-grandparents who were Jacksons. They were the grandparents of my grandfather whose mother was a Jackson. I found out that my grandfather was related to Stonewall Jackson. I never knew this history until I researched after finding the picture. Pictures and documented written history are very important to understanding who your family is, where they came from and what they did throughout their lives.

I am a pack rat and keep much more than I need to keep. I guess I take after my mother and grandmother who passed down some great family history. I was looking through some things that mother had saved and I was so excited to find letters my grandmother’s brothers wrote back in the early 1900s. I was especially excited when I found the Scriptural Alphabet my Grandmother Curtis wrote Feb. 21, 1893. My grandmother was a beautiful writer. She wrote in Old English cursive which is unique in our world today. She also wrote all the names, births, deaths and marriages of her Strader family and what she knew of the Curtis family. I feel so blessed to have some family written history as well as all her handwork of quilts and other items she passed down over the years. I even have two paint by number pictures Grandma did when she was in her 80s. My regrets include not learning to do some of the handwork and not finding out more of what it was like living in the 1800s without phones, cars, electricity and all the conveniences we have today. I wonder sometimes if our grandparents found their lives richer when they had more time with their families. They worked hard but they communicated with each other in a special way that made families closer.

When I think of our community history through pictures, I recall Jacksons Grove where families had reunions. I remember the downtown stores where our families shopped. I remember the Grand Old Opry where I attended cooking shows, plays, festival revues, minstrels and other special gatherings in a beautiful setting with upstairs balconies. I was a young girl when the theater was destroyed by fire and watched as our local firemen did their best to try and save it. I also remember the fire that destroyed the Poundstone building. I really enjoy looking at the old pictures of the stores and offices that used to grace Main Street. Not long ago, Danny shared pictures of the many businesses that helped Buckhannon and Upshur County grow. Our history is rich when one compiles all the many men and women who loved their community enough to start a business here. Each new business is a chapter of the history of our community.

Over the years, many pictures give us a chance to see our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends as they participated in various sports, programs, organizations and special events. In one of Danny’s pictures which was taken by Howard, I saw an old picture of the firemen and women’s auxiliary. The women’s auxiliary helped the firemen provide special meals and fund raisers for the fire department. I saw a picture of my Dad and Mom that I do not remember seeing before. I grew up around most of the men and women in the pictures and it was so nice to see their faces again. I had the opportunity to see my uncle and cousin who also served in the fire department. These pictures brought back so many good memories and showcased some of the folks who served in our community’s history.

We all have a place in the history of our families and our community. Some are more visible than others; however, each person adds a chapter to our history. One of the places to find more history is our Historical Society on Main Street. If you have something special from your family that you wish to share in our history’s future, contact one of the society members and share your information and pictures with them. They also have a seasonal book that has a wealth of pictures and stories about various organizations, businesses and families who have helped to create the history of Buckhannon and Upshur County. Your information might just be the answer to something special that fills in a blank to complete a story.

When going through your family’s pictures, articles, birth and death certificates, you may learn something about your family that you will treasure. As I was reading the historical society’s book during the WVSF’s 75th anniversary, I came across an obituary of a woman named Rebecca Truby Cutright. Her obituary stated that while taking care of her grandchildren she told them to be good because she was tired and needed to take a nap. She laid down and died at the age of 106. The obituary was dated Dec. 29, 1858. Rebecca was the wife of John Cutright. As it turned out, Rebecca was the first white woman settler in Upshur County. John and Rebecca Cutright lived in a tree on the Turkey Run Road. John’s sister married one of the Pringle Brothers who lived in the Pringle tree. Rebecca Cutright was a great – great grandmother to my grandmother on my Dad’s side of the family. We all have someone that brought us to where we are in the history of our forefathers and to the richness of our community. Pictures, stories and our family trees will continue to take our families and communities into the future. Our history is exciting. Our futures are full of new adventures. The stories and pictures of your families will showcase interesting facts as you search through your family history. Who knows, you might be related to a famous person in history. You might also find out that you are related to one of your best friends or someone you work with. With the help of the internet, it is now possible to gain information on our family trees. If the total research of our families were done, we might find out how many families that we know are relatives. Pictures, stories and names are what makes our history so interesting. Those who keep records, share pictures and write history of family are to be appreciated for making our family history continue.

The folks at the Historical Society love to share their collections of history and are always excited to have donations of your family history. You can become a member and visit to see all the wonderful information showcased in the building on Main Street or visit the interesting presentations in the History Museum on West Main Street.

I leave you with this saying found in the 2016 Spring Journal of the Historical Society.

— Remember, what you may consider valueless, we may consider priceless —

More In Opinion