The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - July, 1990

Issue: July, 1990

Dear Editor:
Plans are made for a Virginia Highway Historical Marker honoring Mathias Harman, Sr. (1736-1792), who helped explore and settle many parts of what are now the states of VA, KY, TN and NC

This marker will be located on VA State Route 637, Dry Fork Road, which was the last home of Mathias, Sr. and Lydia Skaggs Harman.

Descendants of Mathias, Sr. and Lydia will privately fund this marker, so if anyone reads this and is interested in participating in this important project, they can contact the following persons:

G.G.G. Granddaughter Charlotte Harman Puckett, Project Coordinator, Rt. 4, Box 89, N. Tazewell, VA 24630, phone 703-988-3033 or Mrs. A.G. St. Clair, Jr., Regent, Fort Maiden Spring Chapter, DAR, 223 Church St., Tazewell, VA 24651, phone 703-988-4586.

The Fort Maiden Spring Chapter, DAR, Tazewell, Virginia and Tazewell County Historical Society are sponsoring this project.

Best Wishes,

Charlotte Harman Puckett
North Tazewell, Virginia

Dear Readers,
One of the writers of a story in this issue (Little Prodigal Lamb) dropped by the office a few days ago and asked if any of our readers might have a photograph of "Poe's Rest." It was a tower reported to have been built from pigpen boards and fence rails that may have been 15 to 30 feet high. Mr. Poe would stand on the tower on Sunday afternoons and give lectures. There was a sign on it that said "Poe's Rest" on one side and had something else written on the other. This was in the time period approximately between 1915 to 1930 at Nubbins Ridge, Mercer County, West Virginia. The exact location was between Spanishburg and Beeson. If anyone has any information on Mr. Poe, his tower, or a photograph of it, please send it to:

Ronnie E. Knight
HC 72, Box 314
Beeson, West Virginia 24714

It sounds like an interesting story, and if enough information is found, Mr. Knight will write it up and send it to The Mountain Laurel to print.

Susan Thigpen, Editor

Dear Susan Thigpen,
I enjoy The Mountain Laurel and always look forward to its arrival each month. I love reading "The Mail Box."

In answer to A.V. Wood of Crab Orchard, West Virginia, Yes, I for one well remember corn meal gravy and I guess in my 67 years I have eaten 2 or 3 wheel barrows full of corn meal gravy. I still like the stuff yet to this day and have it often on fried potatoes.

I also grew up on a poor hillside farm, only we had a little hand mill you turned a wheel by hand and ground the corn. When the meal was sifted through a hoop sifter it left a sort of bran, something like grits. This was also used. Our mother cooked this like grits or cream of wheat and we ate it with milk over it - no sugar, just milk!

Does anyone remember just having milk and corn meal mush for their evening meal? We called it supper.

Also I remember many, many evenings for supper we only had corn bread and milk. Oh, but was it ever good? People were healthier, happier back then. No one complained, they just went along with things.

I am so glad some still remember the good life. People today have missed so much, but I am thankful for all we have today.

Keep up the good work and God bless you all.

D. Ramsey
Barrett, West Virginia

Dear Mrs. Ramsey,
I, for one, certainly remember having corn bread and milk for supper. Usually lunch was cooked and served hot, but supper was eaten cold from the lunch leftovers and everyone's favorite in our family was big glass of buttermilk with corn bread broken up in it and eaten with a spoon. There was nothing to beat the taste of homemade buttermilk. Commercial buttermilk isn't even close!

Susan Thigpen, Editor

Dear Susan and Friends,
I just love The Mountain Laurel paper. It means a lot to me, because my roots are in Floyd County, Virginia. Although I was born and raised in Maryland, my ancestors lived in and around Floyd. My great-grandparents lived on a farm at Possum Hollow (right outside of the town of Floyd) which is now the Laurel Hill Farm. Their children attended the Possum Hollow school house. I would love to hear from anyone who attended or knew anyone who attended the Possum Hollow School from 1914-1920.

Thank you!

Hope Ayers
700 Biggs Highway
Rising Sun, Maryland 21911