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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Donna Price Memo

Facts about the Monument

Thursday, February 26, 2015

History of the Early Settlers Of Dry Fork, Rich Mountain and Shavers Mountain

History of the Early Settlers
Of Dry Fork, Rich Mountain and Shavers Mountain
By E.C. Wyatt, Randolph Enterprise, Elkins, WV, 1922-1923

31 Aug 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Elza]

The Elza's are a very hardy race and a hard working people, they seem to
hold their own in strength from one generation to the other more than any
other of the early settlers.  They are great lovers of music which they also
inherit from generation to generation.  They are of the Scotch Highland race
and over in their native country these people still practice walking on long
stilts and are adapted to stock raising and farming.  But they have given up
the former habit here.  Thompson Elza, of whom I will write about, learned
his boys to use stilts, but they are not used any more.  They all love
farming and stock raising as of old and enjoy their mountain homes.

These Scotch Highlanders first settled near Philadelphia but soon moved
farther west to the mountain regions.  I have heard of Bert and Jessie Elza
in Pennsylvania but that is as far as I've been able to trace them in the
late history.  There is a man named Elza mentioned in March Brothers history
of George Washington, we read of Elza being a candidate for member of the
Virginia legislature and they tell of Washington and Thomas Payne getting
into a dispute over Elza.  (The name was spelled Elsey then and later
Elzey).  This history was first written by Rev. Mason Weems, a backwoods
preacher who lived near the Washington home.  This same man wrote about The
Colt, the Cherry Tree and the Flowers that Grew by Chance, but we don't find
this in the histories written by Aaron Bancroft, Woodrow Wilson or Henry
Cabot Lodge.  Wilson and Lodge both mention Elza but they say the trouble
between Payne is to be exaggerated as is The Colt, Cherry Tree and Flower
stories and they call Weems a myth maker but Bancroft remains silent.

Then we next meet the Elza's in Preston County, West Virginia high up in the
mountains as the Scotchman in his native country.

We hear of John, Nicholas, Benjamin, Samuel, William and Frank Elza, and
down in there our Captain Thompson Elza of Dry Fork was born.  He only had
two brothers, John and Nicholas.  Thompson's parents died when he was yet in
his infancy and he partly grew to manhood over in Grant County and later
came to Kelley Mountain and made his home with a man by the name of Levi
Coberly.  Then later was married to a sister of Soldier Joe and Bill White.
He settled in Dry Fork about 1830 on the east side of Rich Mountain which is
now known as the Parsons farm.  Then bought 196 acres of land above where
Whitmer and Horton now stands and lived there the rest of his life.

He was a very large, raw-boned man, well fitted for the hardships he had to
face.  He was a great hunter, although like the other pioneers he never kept
a record of the game he killed but many were the bear, deer, turkeys and
smaller game that fell before his rifle, at first a flint lock and then
later more modern guns.  An old man related a story to me of when he was a
boy he made his home with Perry Arbogast a neighbor of Mr. Elza's and
Arbogast got sick and Mr. Elza told this boy to come up and he would send
Perry some meat.  The boy goes up expecting to get bacon but behold when he
gets there he sees some bear and deer skins laid down and bear and deer meat
piled high on these skins and then covered over with skins in the same
manner, and Mr. Elza being a strong man, also wishing to give Arbogast
plenty he hardly realizes what the boy can carry and almost breaks him down
with a load of meat.

22 Sep 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Elza]

Thompson Elza loved to go to log rollings and other gatherings that the
pioneers had in those days.

Then when all the work was finished the music and the dancing began and
they had as much fun and dancing as the French and Indians were having when
General George Rogers Clark came in on them out in the far west and captured
them all.

We often heard of him and his sons coming from his home on Gandy Creek over
to a log rolling or some other gathering on Shavers Mountain at Ellis
Wyatts, Bill Whites or Jordan Weese'.  He and his sons were very strong men
and good workers and folks thought they could not get along well without

Mr. Elza was helping saw a tree down at his home when he was about 89 years
old and the tree split before it fell and he could not run and get out of
the way and the tree fell on him and hurt him so badly that he was never
able to walk without crutches anymore.  He lived to be 91 years old when he

His sons were Solomon, Sampson, Alfred, William, Taylor, Lafayette, Adam
and Joseph.

Thompson Elza was Captain of the Militia and also Justice of the Peace, but
none of his sons ever held any political office and only one was a military
officer.  They never seemed to seek after an office of any kind.

Of his sons some of them I am well acquainted with and some I never knew
much about them.

Solomon Elza was the eldest son and lived on the old home place and
practiced farming and loved hunting, was a very strong man up to about ten
years before his death he didn't enjoy very good health he died at the age
of 82 years.

His sons are James, Alfred, Joseph and Salem.  Joseph got killed while
working on the Horton log train as these boys all worked in the lumber woods
and almost gave up farming for awhile, the other sons live close the home
place and one lives on the old home place now.

Sampson Elza was a soldier in the Confederate Army and was promoted to the
rank of Captain.  But later resigned and took the oath of neutrality and was
later shot through a mistake by some Union Soldiers and when they saw their
mistake they did everything within their power to save him as he lived
several days afterwards and then a squad of them came to give him a military
burial, but the family objected as they all held to the Confederate side.

This story was related to me by his daughter.  She is the widow of the late
Jesse Pennington.

Alfred Elza was killed down in Canaan Valley by some Union men and is
buried somewhere down there.

William Elza was nicknamed "Tip".  He got killed by a team running away
with a wagon and he was horribly mangled, one of his ears was torn off.  He
was a farmer and enjoyed hunting wild game.

Taylor Elza lives on Middle Mountain and I will write about him when I
write the Middle Mountain History.

5 Oct 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Elza, Harman, Kerns]

Lafayette Elza lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  We always knew him as
"Lafe" Elza.  He is a farmer and a violinist, has made a few violins.  He
loved hunting and fishing and all kinds of sports in his younger days.

He has one son Nicholas that is an expert workman in wood and also a good
mechanic and blacksmith and as good a banjo player as I ever heard.  He was
the first man to learn to play a banjo in Dry Fork District.  He lived in
Whitmer the last I heard of him.  He seems to have a roaming disposition and
don't stay very long at one place.  His father is about 72 years old.

Joseph Elza lives on Middle Mountain and I will write about him later on.

Adam Elza lives about a mile or perhaps more above Job.  He is a farmer,
but never enjoyed hunting like the other boys.

I heard that a merchant at Job at one time offered Adam a barrel of flour
as a gift if he would pick it up and carry it home and not rest along the
road, and to his surprise Mr. Elza lifted up the flour and started home, so
the merchant sent a man along to see that Mr. Elza didn't stop to rest, so
he landed the flour in his door.  Another man tells a story about giving him
all of the fodder he could carry and behold he looked and thought his fodder
stock was walking off and could hardly believe his eyes when he saw it was
Mr. Elza going with a load.

Adams sons are Oliver, Dee, Albert and Rockford, they are all lumbermen and
farm a little.  Dee got killed on a log train between Job and Harman.  Mr.
Elza's sons are musicians.

The Harmans come next in line, most of the history I know about them is in
Maxwell and Bosworths History and as these men went to the trouble to get a
copyright and have those histories for sale I haven't much to write about
them.  I have often heard of Rev. Asa Harman and it is said that he
performed more marriage ceremonies than any other minister in Randolph
County.  The town of Harman was named in honor of him, and his father
Solomon Harman settled near the town of Harman about 1846.  I also heard of
his brother Jesse Harman but I never had the opportunity to meet any of
these gentlemen.  They are all dead.

We next meet with John Kerns who located on the Allegheny Mountains east of
Job about 1842 and married a daughter of Thomas White (not Thomas Soldier
White).  Mr. Kerens came from Tucker County and was of English descent, and
his father was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.  His sons were Columbus,
John, Jacob, Henry, Job, George and James.

Columbus lives on Middle Mountain and I will write about him later.

John, Jacob, Henry and Job are all dead and I knew but very little about
them.  One of Job's sons makes his home with Emil Knutti.

12 Oct 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Kerns, Raines, Roy]

George Kerns lives at Job and farms and works at public works.  His sons are
William, Robert, Jeremiah, Dixon, Akum, Omar and Cody and perhaps some
smaller ones as I haven't met him for eight or nine years.  He went blind in
one eye about nine years ago.

James Kerns moved to Middle Mountain about ten or eleven years ago or
perhaps twelve years ago.  His sons are Eli and Doane.

Eli died about five years ago and Doane died over seas during the World War.

We now take up the Raines family of the early ones we have Tobias, Reuben,
William and Gabriel, they all lived on the Allegheny Mountains, and of the
later ones we have Amby, Gabriel, James, French, Lake and Cletis.

I do not know what the names of the children of Reuben, William and Gabriel
were but I have learned that Tobias had four daughters, but don't know for
sure if he had any sons or not.

The daughters of Tobias married Thomas White of Allegheny and Thomas Soldier
White, John Wyatt, first settler of Middle Mountain, and Thomas Summerfield.
I have been informed that these men settled on Allegheny about 1790 and were
soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

Amby Raines was a farmer and moved down on Flanagan Hill where he died about
twelve years ago.

James Raines lives along Cheat River not far from the C. & I. tunnel and
owns two tracts of land, both together contain about 112 acres.  After his
father died he made his home with Soldier White and worked for him for four
dollars a month.  He has been a very hard working man and is now 78 years of
age and has very poor health and has been bedfast for about a year.

French Raines is his son, he has moved to Harpertown.  Lake is also his son.
We also have in mind Howard and Kennie Raines.

The Raines are of Irish descent.  They are lumbermen, are very stout men and
hard workers and Gabriel Raines is a lumberman too, we know him as "Gabe".

We now come to the Roy family of which Joseph Roy was the first.  He was a
soldier of the Revolution and was in several battles.  He was in the battle
of Yorktown and witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis.  Then at the close of
the war he and John Wolford, Thomas Summerfield, Edmund Wyatt and the Raines
family wanted more elbow room, so they started for the Dry Fork and built a
camp on the east side of the Alleghenies and began to explore the land and
get the best site for a home in the wilderness, but before they were there
many days a band of Indians came to the top of the mountain overlooking
their camp and gave the war whoop and these men not being well fortified,
nor knowing the number of Indians they fled to the settlements and left
everything but their guns and ammunition and the Indians carried away all
their possessions.  They later returned with the determination to stay and
fight it out but were never molested again.

19 Oct 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Roy, Snyder, Smith]

I do not know the exact location of Joseph Roy's home but some where along
the Dry Fork or Red Creek.  I never learned the exact date of his death
either.  McCallisters history gives his age as 89 years if I mistake not at
the time of his death.

I wonder if any of the Roys of today know where this Revolutionary soldier
is buried.  Could they find it and decorate it with some nice flowers next
Memorial Day.

As I was never acquainted with many of the elder Roy family I never learned
much about them and I do not know if Joseph ever had more than one son or
not.  Washington Roy was his son and we imagine he was glad to have a son
and call his name Washington to honor the General he had often met with and
fought under.  Of Washington's sons we have Joseph, Felix, Isaac and
Washington Jr.   Washington Jr. was called "Little Wash".  Joseph is dead,
Felix lives in Idaho and I think "Ike" and "Little Wash" live in Tucker

Of the younger Roy family we have Earle, Yager, Star, Fred, Enos, Mack, and
Oliver.  They are all lumbermen.

Enos, Mack and Oliver grew to manhood on Middle Mountain but Oliver lives
near Kerens and Mack at Grafton, and Enos lives along Red Creek, and he and
Dr. Wyatt own a flour mill.

The other Roys all live along Red Creek.

We next come to the Snyder family of which there are two groups.  We have
the history of John Snyder in the two histories of Randolph County, and all
that I can add to that is I have been informed that the first corn that
ripened on Dry Fork was in John Snyders field where the Job school house now
stands, and this was in the year of 1846.  Previous to this time all the
farmers had to go over on the South Fork or elsewhere, for their seed corn.

The other Snyders were Jacob and William, commonly known as Jake and Bill.
It seems that they and Samuel Wyatt settled on Red Creek about the same time
as Wyatt and they were chums.

They settled there about 1833 but I never learned much about them.  We have
Benjamin Snyder and his son Henry of their descendants.  They were brothers.

We now come to the Smith family.  Andrew Smith came up from near Parsons in
1846 and married Thomas Allegheny Whites daughter and settled on the east
side of the Alleghenies but later moved a short distance below Job and lived
there the rest of his life.  He was a soldier in the Confederate army during
the Civil War.  He joined the Mennonite Church several years before he died.
He was slightly wounded during the war.

His sons are George, John, Job, Gabriel and Aaron.

George died several years ago.  His sons are Minor, Scott and Floyd.

George lived near Job, the widow and children moved to the Buffalo Hills
where Minor died and Scott and Floyd live near Onego.

16 Nov 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Summerfield]

The Summerfields, up to the second generation were very hardy people but
they didn't hold their own in strength after that as the Elza's do.

The early ones were musicians but very few of the younger ones are
musicians.  They are mostly farmers.

Washington Summerfield was a farmer and minister in the Dunkard Church.  He
lived at Gladwin and died there about 30 years ago.  His sons are Joseph and
George W.  One of his daughters was murdered it is supposed and the house
burned own over her.  This house stood on the east side of Rich Mountain on
the Parsons farm, if I mistake not.

Joseph Summerfield lives on the old home place.  He is a farmer, a stout
man.  He has one son, but I do not remember his name.

George W. lives at Gladwin and works on public works and his sons name is

Abraham Summerfield made his home with his son George, after his wife died.
He used to live along Leading Creek.  If I am not mistaken his wife died
while he lived on the Parsons farm.  He seemed to be the most active one of
the boys, he practiced jumping running and wrestling.  One time while
attending court at Beverly he jumped over a covered wagon and a show man
made him an offer of $50 per month if he would travel with him but he
refused the offer.  When he was 60 years of age he could hold his big toe on
one foot and jump back and forth with the other foot.

He was a violinist and a very jolly man and would go through with as many
antics as a monkey.  He died at the home of his son George on Red Creek in
September 1908 at the age of 89 years.  He enjoyed good health up to the day
of his death.  That day he told me of incidents of his life back to the time
he first saw a raccoons track in the sand, and in the evening I left the
home to visit a sick man but had not gone more than 300 yards, until one of
his great grandchildren called me back and said grandpa had fell dead and I
had just gotten over a hard siege of typhoid and couldn't run, the spark of
life had fled before I reached the scene.  He walked into the kitchen to get
a drink and fell backwards and was almost gone before his granddaughter Mrs.
Lottie Jones could reach him.

His sons were John, Harman and George.

John was Justice of the Peace at Harman for a while and he had an uncle
named John and he was called "Squire John" and his uncle they called "Fifer
John".  John died near Bowlesburg in Preston County.

Harman went out to Indiana awhile and later moved to Oklahoma.  I do not
know if he is living yet or not.  I don't know anything about his family.
He was a lumber dealer and farmer here but practiced farming altogether
after he settled in Oklahoma.

George used to live near the late Arch Colletts farm, then later moved to
Harman, also lived on Middle Mountain.  He was one of the most kind hearted
gentlemen I ever knew.  He was a teamster in the Union army during the Civil
War.  He was a large man and enjoyed good health up to about five years
before his death, was a farmer and also worked on public works at times.  He
died at his home on Bonner Mountain last June and his death was published in
this paper and also the Inter-Mountain.  He was 76 years old.

His sons are Lloyd and Pete.  He also had a son named French but he died
about 28 years ago.

Lloyd lives at Bowden and is a blacksmith and also works on public works and
is a violinist.

Thomas Summerville was among the first settlers of Middle Mountain and I
will write of him later.

Joseph Summerfield lived near Onego in Pendleton County, he was the champion
rail splitter of his day, he was a match for Abe Lincoln at splitting rails,
and was a farmer.  He died about four years ago at the age of 95 years.

His sons were John, Jacob and Beauregard, they are all dead.  Joseph was
cutting wood and the ax glanced and cut Beauregard in the thigh and he bled
to death.

Jacob was married and his sons are Isaac and Clay.  They live in Pendleton

26 Oct 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [White, Smith, Summerfield]

In writing of Allegheny Thomas White perhaps some readers wonder why I call
him Allegheny Tom, at that time there were two Thomas Whites, one was
sometimes called Soldier while his brother and others called him Tom so when
these men's names are mentioned in conversation they would either say
Allegheny Tom and sometimes Baker Tom.

John Smith moved to Middle Mountain and I will write of him later.

Job Smith lived near the home place and died 15 years ago.  His sons are
Denver, William and Isom, they all live near Job.

Gabriel lives near Glady, we always knew him as "Gabe", he is a farmer.  His
sons name is Calvin and he lives near Glady.

Gabe's son-in-law, Fred Louk was killed during the World War.

Aaron Smith moved to Middle Mountain, therefore his history will be written

There are some Smiths below Harman on the east side of Rich Mountain but I
never learned but little about them.  I have heard of Abraham, Job, Solomon,
Robert and Conrad.  I do not know when Abe came up there to live, but if I
mistake not, Job, Sol and Conrad were his sons.  I have met Bob several
times he used to work at Evenwood in the mill and also had a barber shop
there.  The Smiths are of German descent.

We now take up the Summerfields and give their genealogies up to the third
generation and the younger generation can trace it from there.

Thomas Summerfield is the first.  He was a Revolutionary Soldier in Captain
Peter Hulls Company and was in several battles and also witnessed the
surrender of Cornwallis.  We presume he often told his war stories to his
children and how the English soldiers threw their guns down so hard they
broke some of them when Washington gave them orders to hand them over to
Gen. Levi Lincoln.  As I mentioned in Joseph Roys history of their Indian
troubles it is not necessary to repeat that part.  I am told that Mr.
Summerfield built his first house a short distance east of Adam Roy's
boarding house at Job.  There is a huge rock at the side of the road that
goes over to Onego from Job and that rock formed part of Thomas Summerfield'
s chimney.  In 1794 the court gave this man the privilege to sell whiskey
without license.  They seemed to think this was one way to help this man
that had fought for our independence.

The Summerfields are of English descent.

Thomas Summerfield lived to the age of 93 years.  He died and was buried
somewhere along Red Creek, so we have two men in some lonely graveyard down
there that fought for our Independence.  We also say as we did about Joseph
Roy that some of his relatives or some friends will remember him next
Memorial Day.

His sons are Washington, Abraham, Thomas, Joseph, Jackson and John.

We imagine he and Edmund Wyatt, the Raines, Joseph Roy and John Wolford
often would visit each other and tell great hunting stories in their new

#7 Missing
7 Dec 1922 - Randolph Enterprise  [Summerfield, Walker, White]

Writing about Abe Summerfield's son the name was printed wrong, his name is
Haymon instead of Harman and he spelled his name Haman the way it is spelled
in the Bible.

John Summerfield was a soldier in the Confederate army and was commonly
known as "Fifer" John.  Every Fourth of July he would play the fife and his
brother Jack would beat the drum up till Jack died, then Mart would beat the
drum but about 13 years ago Fifer John passed to the great beyond and the
fife and drum have been silent ever since.

John lived near Harman, I don't know anything about his family.  He was 66
years old when he died.

We next have the Walker family.  They settled on the Alleghenies.  Mr.
Walker's name was Joseph, he moved away somewhere and I could get but little
information about him.

Joseph Walker was a Revolutionary Soldier in Captain William Janes Co.
After he came to Dry Fork I was informed that the family suffered severe
hardships the first winter as they didn't raise anything but potatoes and it
is said that they killed a fat goose and used it all winter long to cook
potatoes with.  I am not sure if this is true but many of these pioneers
suffered severe hardships, if their crops failed, as the winters were long
and very cold and very deep snows.  No corn ripened until 1846.  Many
persons suffered hardships during the Civil War but they were far better off
than these poor families in a howling wilderness.  Some folks complained
very much about Hooverism during the World War but we had no room to be
pessimistic.  If our Civil War folks could have had we had they would have
been very proud of it and if Joseph Walker, Thomas Summerfield, Edmund
Wyatt, John Wolford or Joseph Roy could have had what the Civil War folks
had they would have thought themselves as well to do as a rich Virginia
planter.  I hope I shall not write anything to cause any doubt, so if it is
not all true about the Walker family we have no doubt that a greater part of
it is true.

We now come to the White family of which a man by the name of Thomas is
first.  He was born in England and his father came to Pennsylvania and
settled near Philadelphia.  Then Thomas White settled along Dry Fork between
the Red Creek Junction and Jenningston about 1789.  He had two sons but they
were half brothers, one of their names was Thomas and the other David.

I never learned where this man was buried or how old he was.  This story was
related to me by his grandson Archibald White.

Thomas White, his son, settled on Allegheny and owned land both in Pendleton
and Randolph Counties.  His sons were Archibald and Allen.  I do not know
the exact time he located there but he and David were both born in

25 Jan 1923 - Randolph Enterprise  [White]

Thomas White lived on Allegheny Mountain east of Job.  He was a farmer and
hunter.  I never learned how old he was or what year he died.  He was often
called "Allegheny Tom".  His wife was a sister of the wives of Soldier Tom,
Thomas Summerfield and John Wyatt.

His sons were Archibald and Allen.  Arch as we always knew him, married
Emily, the eldest daughter of John Wyatt of Middle Mountain, and lived on
the old home place.  He was married three times, was a horse jockey and
farmer.  He used to be a correspondent for the Randolph Enterprise while it
was printed at Beverly.  I got a lot of information from him about the early
settlers as he seemed to be more interested about our forefathers.

In completing my history I will give a list of the names of all who aided me
in collecting this history.

Arch Whites sons are Felix, Sylvester, John T., Edmund, Jesse, Howard and

He died at the home of his son John T. on Middle Mountain in September 1912
at the age of 88 years.

He was a large rawboned man and wore a full beard ever since I knew him.
All three of his wives preceded him to the grave.  He is buried at the
graveyard on the home place.

I will write about his sons next and trace their genealogies down as far as
I can and then take up the genealogy of his brother Allen.

Felix White was a large man.  He worked on public works and was section
foreman on the Dry Fork Railroad.  I never learned much about him.  He lived
near Horton when he died.

Sylvester White lived at Laneville and worked in the lumber woods.  He died
about 12 years ago, near 51 years of age.  He was an averaged sized man and
did not have good health.

His sons were Arch, Walter, Elmer and Julius.  Arch lives some where along
the Western Maryland and I don't know where Walter is.  We used to call him
"Settler" as there was another Walter White.

Julius and Elmer were in the World War and are taking a vocational training.

John T. White lives at Bowden on Sylvanus Vandevenders farm.  He is a farmer
and works on public works, enjoys hunting and shooting matches.

Edmund lived on Middle Mountain until his wife died.  He lost one son,
Dayton, in the World War.  Edmund died in the City Hospital in Elkins about
two years ago.

His children were Dayton, Elmer and Flossie.  Dayton went over the top
several times before he got killed.  Elmer is with the marines at Hampton
Roads.  Flossie is married to Elmer Cunningham, son of John Cunningham, one
of the Rich Mountain settlers.

Jesse is single and makes his home with John T. and works on public works.
Howard lives at Clarksburg, works on public works and I have lost trace of

1 Feb 1923 - Randolph Enterprise  [White]

We now take up the history of Allen White and trace his descendants as far
as we can, but before starting I must again mention Elmer White as I later
learned he returned from the Navy and lives below the town of Harman.

I never learned much about Allen White as he enrolled in the army during the
Civil War and never was heard of again.

One story I heard related of him, was about him having a law suit in court
and when time came for trial they asked Allen where his attorney was, and he
replied in a very determined way, "I am the attorney" and behold he pleaded
his case with such forceful oratory that he won the suit.

Allen lived somewhere along Red Creek.  His sons were Joseph, Jacob and John

Joe was out in Idaho awhile but came back home and died about seven years
ago.  He was a large man and when his name was mentioned in a conversation
he was called "Joe Allen" as there were several men named Joe White and
Jacob always lived near Red Creek, also did John K.  The readers will also
notice that there are several of the White families have sons named John, so
we called him John K.

I do not know if Jake is living yet or not but John K. is dead, and I can't
get their children in line but I have a list of their names but not having
the opportunity to meet any of the boys for a great while, I can't give them
as they should be.

The younger ones are all lumbermen.

We have Frank, Amos, Henry, Kenna, Luther, Cam, John and Walter.  Frank
lived in Idaho the last I heard of him.  All the others lived in Tucker
County.  Some of them are musicians.

Banning Bullets

About Me

A local archivist who specializes in all things Pocahontas County