Archive for March, 2011

Below are some additional old pictures submitted by Bill Wellman of his family and other scenes of Fort Gay from years ago.  There is some duplication from an earlier post, but I doubt if anyone will object to seeing them again.  It was just easier to do it that way.  Descriptions of the pictures are Bill’s.  Thanks again for sending these Bill.  Anyone with pictures you would like placed on the Chronicles, just put them in a jpeg and send them along. 

#1 Old Neg Big Sandy River:  River boats tied up at the landing under the bridge, Ft. Gay side.  The lower left corner of the photo is blurred by the side rail of the bridge in the pathway.  The people in the lower center are on a river boat that is steaming up the river.  Somewhere I have a picture of the boat, prior to this moment, that shows it above the point of merger of the two rivers.  McClure hill is in the upper right of the photo.

#2  Old neg Wellman:  This picture was taken to the south of the Beamer Wellman residence along the Beamer Wellman Hill.  Note the bare hillside behind the buildings.  These boys are likely members of the Wellman and Roberts families.

#3  River under bridge WVa.  This is the same view as #1 but I can’t change sequence now.  This shows the McClure hill clearing better than the first.


#4  This is a view of the hills north of the town.  This was taken from the Ky. side of the bridge.  Note the toll house building and a pedestrian walking on the bridge.  The hills opposite the RR Depot and what would later become Water Tank Hill are both mostly denuded of mature trees, except the line at the ridge.


#5.  Scan 0002 is a picture of Ruth Hoy, later married Claude Lampert.  The hill in the background is behind the Ft. Gay Hotel.


#6.  Ft Gay Hoy Hotel 1924b:  This wasnot in the original document.  I just wanted to show the Gentry shows and wild animal Circus advertisement that was posted at the Ft. Gay Hotel.  Must have been near 1915.  I can’t identify all of the ladies in the photo but my Mom as well as at least three of her sisters and one brother posing there.


#7.  My Picture File 492:  This is the Fort Gay Hotel as it appeared in the early 1900, perhaps 1915.


#8.  My Picture File 493:  Another view of the Ft. Gay Hotel, just a different view.


#9.  My Picture File 807:  A gag shot, my father and his buddy.  Note the young growth on the hillside.


#10  My Picture File 834:  Another gag shot at the same location.  Note the siding being installed and the non-uniformity of the crossties.  The rails look good though.


#11.  On The Watch:  Buildings across the tracks opposite the RR Depot showing the nearly de-nuded hillside.



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(Mar 18, 2011)GLENNA BROOKE WILEY, of Des Moines, Iowa, formerly of Huntington, West Virginia, died on Saturday, March 5, 2011. Funeral services will be conducted 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19, 2011, at Chapman’s Mortuary with Rev. William Haynes Jr. officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens. Glenna was the youngest of five children of Eugene and Georgia Wellman of Fort Gay, W.Va. After graduating from high school, she attended St. Mary’s Nursing School in Huntington. In 1955, she married Robert H. Wiley and they settled in Petersburg, Mich., where they lived and raised their family until 1979, at which time Glenna returned to Huntington where she remained until 2007. Practicing as an RN, Glenna enjoyed a long career, specializing to some degree, in psychiatric nursing. Glenna worked at the Regional State Hospital in Huntington, was the Nursing Director for the Veteran’s Home in Huntington and returned to psychiatric nursing at HCA River Park Psychiatric Hospital in Huntington. A member of Beverly Hills United Methodist Church, a past matron and lifetime member of the Order of Eastern Star, and a volunteer for Contact, a crisis hotline, Glenna felt called to the service of those in need. Glenna is survived by a brother, Eugene Wellman of Memphis, Tenn.; three daughters, Rebecca Curley of Petersburg, Mich., Elizabeth Boyd of Highland Park, Ill., Melissa Flowers of Des Moines, Iowa, and six grandchildren, Tyler and Jessie Boyd, Bobbi and Courtney Curley and Sarah and Ben Flowers. Friends may call from 10 a.m. to service time Saturday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Glenna to Barboursville Veteran’s Home in Barboursville, W.Va.

Our sympathies go out to Gene and the remainder of Glenna Brooke’s family.


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 I received the following from Bill Wellman and it is written as a part of his Fort Gay Memories.  The picture following Ruth Hoy’s picture was not labeled and I am not sure what it is.  It appears to be of a group of Fort Gay lovely ladies visiting a carnival.  Not date is given but as you can see it is early 20th century. 

There will be some additional pictures posted that Bill sent just as soon as I figure out the “moodiness” of my computer.  I hope all enjoy and thanks Bill for sending these.

Note to Fred  Reid:  See if you can identify those ladies standing or sitting in front of the carnival poster. 

  Forestation of the Hills Around Fort Gay

During the past several months I have had an opportunity to review some very old negatives of photos that were found in some of my family belongings from closing out my parent’s home.  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking that the scenes and places that I was seeing in the photos were not really the home town that I had known for many years.  Yes, I was seeing things that I had seen for all the years that I lived there, yet there was something different from what I had seen growing up, something that was not fully disclosed by my casual review, something that I could not put my finger on immediately.  Finally it dawned on me that the scenes of the hills and around town were not the full foliage hills and surroundings to which I was accustomed to seeing, rather there was little or no full growth or adult trees on some of the hills to be seen.

I can’t put the history together that should accompany this story but there are things that I think might have contributed to this condition.  Sometime in the late 1800’s there was a devastating fire that consumed many of the businesses in town.  At the same time, there must have been a drive to harvest and market a lot of timber for building homes and other structures.  The timber flooring on the Fort Gay-Louisa bridge must have been harvested locally around 1904 and building the many bridges for the new N&W line along the turn of the century.  All of these building programs would have required a very intense harvest of local timber producing trees, trees that grew all over the hills surrounding Fort Gay.

By the time I came along and of an age that things such as the hills and fields and things around them caught my attention, there was almost a full reforestation of the countryside.  The west face of McClure hill seems to come to mind now with some timber cutting debris still lying around.  I also recall seeing a four-wheel drive hearse climb that hill to a cemetery somewhere in that area.  The weather was not the best and there was difficulty negotiating the hill.  It seems that the hearse was a de-militarized US Army four-wheel drive field ambulance, painted shiny black with the chrome or silvered wreaths on the side.  I do not recall ever seeing the cemetery up close but I believe the individual to be interred was a military man who was a fatality in WWII, or could it have been an early casualty from the Korean War?  I may have my recalled facts mixed up a bit but that is still stuck in my mind.  Much of the details of that now escape me.  I believe access to the hill was gained by going through the Fred Noe farm all to way to the hill and then up the west face of the hill just about midway or less to the top.

These are some of the scenes that started my thinking along these lines: [photos follow]

                This is a picture of Ruth Hoy before she was married.  The picture was taken in the garden area of the Fort Gay Hotel with the hill side in the background.  The trees in the garden were bare and it appears the picture was taken in the early spring.  But the hillside seems to be bare of mature trees, as if the prevailing tree growth had been harvested.  The year this picture was taken cannot be determined now but it must have been sometime in the 1920’s.


I received some additional information about the ladies in the photo above.  They have been identified

  The lady on the front row-left is Blanche Hoy, my mom.  Behind her is her sister, Mary.  Back row middle, is unknown to me.  Back row right is mom’s sister, Ruth Hoy.  Front row, second from the left is mom’s sister Clara and beside Clara is their youngest brother, James.  Far right front row is mom’s mother, Anne Catherine Hoy.  They were all working in the Ft. Gay Hotel when this picture was taken.  Grandpa Hoy was the manager of the hotel for a number of years, not sure how many.  The other lady on the front row is also unknown to me.  I am pretty sure that the picture was taken at the side entrance of the hotel facing the store across the street but I am totally blank about the exact date, perhaps between 1915 and 1920.  I thought the poster advertising the circus was interesting, but wish the date would have been visible.


Bill w.

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And the winner is!  A post was made yesterday with a picture included.  The question was, “who are the ladies in the picture and why are they pictured together”.  Well, Fred Reid submitted the answere and he was 100% correct.  His prize, a chicken.  I am not sure how I will arrange its transportation but will manage something.  To bad he didn’t ask for a pigeon.  We could just have turned it loose and let it fly itself out there.

Fred has an uncanny memory of persons and events from Fort Gay.  I have never seen him unable  identify  someone in a picture.  Good job and the chicken will soon be on its way.

Below is the newspaper clipping that goes with the picture.

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This picture was sent in by Bill Wellman.  This is an old newspaper picture.  Can you guess who they are and what the picture represents.  Tomorrow, I will post an old newspaper clipping describing the reason for the picture.  I knew two and misidentified another and didn’t know one.  If you can identify all, you will win a years free subscription to “The Chronicles”.  Feel free to cheat by looking at yearbooks or whatever means you can find.  You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it. Good luck.

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A committee from the board of directors of the Fort Gay High School Alumni Association met with officials from Marshall University.  The meeting was held with The Marshall Foundation representatives and representatives from the financial aid department.  The meeting convened to discuss ways of improving the scholarship and revising scholarship guidelines to better serve the students from Tolsia High School.

Some really great suggestions for improvement  were initiated both from the Fort Gay group and from the representatives from Marshall.  As a result, the guidelines are being revised and will be in place for the 2011-2012 school year.  The changes will be announced at this years reunion and banquet.

The really great news  announced by The Marshall Foundation was that our scholarship is no longer under water and has regained its value to the  endowed level.  The endowed scholarship fund and the expendable portion now total in excess of $250,000.  We are prepared to again award four scholarships for the 2011-2012 school year.  The scholarship  is at its healthiest point in its history. 

The FGHS Alumni Association board will begin meeting on April 15 to begin planning for this years reunion, banquet, and golf tournament.  We continue to need new and additional board members  to help conduct planning.  If you would like to join us,  just message me via this site.

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(Mar 09, 2011)

GLENNA BROOKE WILEY, 77, of Urbandale, Iowa, formerly of Huntington, died March 5 in Trinity Center, Des Moines, Iowa. She was a retired Registered Nurse from Huntington State Hospital. Funeral service will be 11 a.m. March 19, Chapman’s Mortuary, Huntington; burial will be in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, Huntington. Visitation one hour before service Saturday at the funeral home.

Glenna is the sister of Gene Wellman, class of 1947.  I believe Glenna graduated in 1951.  Our prayers and sympathies go out to Glenna’s family and to Gene, her brother.  May God Bless all.

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