Henry Harris - Coal Miner and Horse Trader
By Susan M. Thigpen © 1984-2012
Issue: April, 1984
50th Wedding Anniversary photograph of Mae and Henry Harris.In a previous story, we were jokingly told that the land below Lovers Leap Mountain in Patrick County, Virginia is so steep that a man once fell out of his cornfield. Another person added more to this by saying that it was true - Around the turn of the century, William Trent had a cornfield on ground that was very steep. This land was planted by walking along with a pointed stick and boring the hole, dropping in the corn, and then covering it by pushing the dirt back with a booted foot.
The corn was left in the field until it was completely dry and then stored for livestock feed and to be ground into cornmeal. The day William Trent chose to pull his corn was in cold, late autumn and the ground was covered in ice. This day was chosen for a reason. With the ground covered with a hard layer of ice, the ears of corn could be pulled and then thrown down hill and they would slide all the way to the barnyard, saving the hard task of carrying them down. Unfortunately, William Trent slipped on the ice before finishing the task and ended sliding down the icy mountainside, breaking his leg in what must have been a complex fracture.
Henry Harris of Stuart, Virginia wrote to us that it was his grandfather, William Trent, who fell out of his cornfield and broke his leg. I called Henry about it and went by for a visit. I ended up staying five hours, as one story after another poured out. I could sit and listen to his stories all day, and he has plenty of them.