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The Bible Belt

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014



There was a fiddler in our town,

Who was fiddling around.

Because he had faith,

He thought it was safe!

The Blue Grass Man

Went to bed with a fan.


In the middle of the night,

They had a fight.

The only thing within reach

To hit this peach—

The only thing around—

Was leather bound.

Without takin’ a look,

He picked up the book.

With nothing else in mind,

He  belted her behind.


While the fiddler was at large,

The lady filed a charge.

But the Judge had both empathy

And sympathy.

The aggressor got off light

For this fight.


And the moral of the story is:

  If you’re gon’na have fun

  On th’ run,

  Take along a BIBLE—

  Instead of a GUN!

© Dallas E. Boggs, 1996

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March 5th, 2011

The Family of James Curtis and Sara Elizabeth Estep Boggs by Ona Boggs Meadows

Sarah Elizabeth Estep, the second child of a family of twelve children, daughter of Cornelius Thomas and Ona Frances Turner Estep, was born March 15, 1871, at Mt. Ovis, Kanawha County.

Mt. Ovis was located on the hill near where Campbell’s Creek, Kelly’s Creek, and Blue Creek head, and the site of this community, if still in existence, would be approached by taking the Indian Creek road from the Elkview-Pinch area. She spent her childhood days there and seemed to have a happy life as I have heard her talk so much of Old Mt. Ovis and the surrounding communities.

When she was yet very young, about the year 1878 or 1879, the family moved to Wallback in Roane County, to the farm of Henry Clay and Sarah Ann Elizabeth Garee Boggs. There were six children in the family at that time, presumably, since the 1880 census of Roane County lists Cornelius and Ona Estep, with their six children, the youngest being two years old, as living in Geary District.  The census states that Cornelius works on a farm.  Mother used to talk lots about working in the fields hoeing corn and liking to work out while Aunt Lydia helped Grandmother with the housework.  At times in later years, when we would be passing through Wallback, she would point out the hillsides where she had hoed corn.  Some of these fields were located where Interstate 79 now goes through Wallback.

James Curtis Boggs, the eldest child of Henry Clay and Sarah Ann Elizabeth Garee Boggs, was born in Gassaway, Braxton County, March 9, 1866. When he was but a small child and there were only two children in the family, his parents moved to Wallback. They moved to a log cabin where 13 more children were born, and additions were made to the house from time to time. The house was located in the bottomland just below where the Pleasant Hill Cemetery is now.

His father, James Anderson Boggs, who owned a large tract of land in Roane and Clay Counties, as well as large acreage in Braxton County, deeded the farm of approximately 700 acres to Henry Clay in the late 1860’s. This farm at Wallback was always one of the leading farms of Roane County, even up to the 1970’s when it was taken for the construction of I-79.

Here at Wallback was where Sarah Elizabeth and James Curtis met. The Rev. Jonathan Smith married them April 24, 1890. They set up housekeeping on the farm, their house being situated on the second point down Sandy (Creek) toward Newton from the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.  Here is where the first four of their sons were born: Alvah Vandal, Guy Burl, Ray Emerson, and Ira Irvin.

Sometime in the 1890’s, Henry Clay sold or lost the farm. We are not sure which way it was let go, but it has been rumored that he, being a very liberal and kind hearted man, was taken advantage of by his friends and acquaintances who asked him to sign notes for them. He did sign them, too many times, as the story goes, and the notes were not paid by the men who made the debt, leaving him to pay. Therefore, he lost the farm and home. He bought a farm at Looneyville, Roane County, and moved the family there. While Ira was still a baby, presumably in the spring of 1896 — our family always moved in the spring  – our father moved the family to Looneyville to live and work on the farm.

I have heard Mother talk much about her life and that of the family on the farm at Looneyville. It was a very hard life.  The house we lived in was built on the hill where the storms hit hard at times, and water for household use had to be carried by pails, buckets, up the steep hill several hundred feet.  She talked lots about what a good friend she had in Grandmother Boggs and how kind she was.  But oh, those boys! Dad’s younger brothers, how they worried her, teasing her boys and causing them to fight one another and to do things they were not allowed to do! This caused Mother to be in despair at times.

At Looneyville, the older boys started to school at the Red Knob School. This was quite a distance for little fellows to walk along a path in the woods, but that was the way of life in those days. At Looneyville, five more children were born—Cornelius Thomas, Roy Cecil, Dennis Irl, Ona Izora, and Walter Scott.

In the spring of 1903, James Curtis took a job with Grandfather Estep, working in the woods, “logging” they called it then. They very likely hauled the logs to Elk River and floated them downstream to Charleston, for I have heard older people talk about making rafts of the logs and floating them to Charleston. Anyway, that spring of 1903 our family moved to Upper King Shoals in Kanawha County to be close to Dad’s work.  Here we lived in a one-room (a large room) house with a ladder leading to the loft where the older boys slept.  The older boys by this time were old enough to do the farming, which wasn’t done in any big or easy way. They plowed the fields with one horse and dug the rest with hoes. Most of the fields had to have the timber cut first, and new-ground was very hard to cultivate. Enough corn had to be grown to feed the horse, two or three cows, the chickens, and to fatten two or three hogs for the winter meat. We also took corn to the gristmills to have the corn ground into meal for cornbread the year around. The boys also plowed the gardens, but Mother did most of the garden work, as I remember. She loved working the garden, but I know it must have been very hard at times, although she had help from the boys. Being the only girl, naturally I didn’t have to work in the fields.  Mother would fill large stone jars with pickled beans, sauerkraut, and pickled corn. She canned lots of berries and fruits, dried apples, made apple butter and pumpkin butter, sweetening them with molasses.  Sugar was hard to come by in those days. I remember in later years eating Aunt Julia’s apple butter that was made with sugar and I thought it was so good. We always had several chickens, which were hatched by the hens setting on the eggs for three weeks to incubate them. It was fun to watch the eggs start breaking and the chickens little “biddies”, we called them, come out of the shell. We had very few eggs to eat. They had to be sold to buy the necessities, which couldn’t be raised, and to buy most of our clothes. We would have young fryers to eat in the spring sometimes and especially if we had company. Mother would fry the chicken for breakfast and make biscuits. I remember that Lee didn’t like biscuits and Mother would make him a little pone of cornbread.This was a hard life, living deep in the country where everyone had to work in the fields, fight snakes, and kill wildcats. It wasn’t anything strange to kill rattlers, and they killed some very large ones. The wildcats or bobcats were plentiful and would come within sight of the house and catch the old laying hens. I well remember a big cat being caught in a trap. When the boys went to the trap and saw him, they came running to get Dad to kill him. They brought it to the house and laid it on the front steps and Uncle George came along and saw it. I can still hear his expression, “Well-a gen-tle-men, what a cat!”, and when our old housecat saw it, he was so scared he made a wet streak across the floor as he ran through the house.We lived quite a distance from school on Upper King, about midway between the King Shoals School and the Pigeon School, which was in Roane County. The boys went to King to school mostly but did attend Pigeon some. I went but very little but do remember walking over the hill to go with Aunt Florence and over another hill and down Pigeon road a half or three fourths of a mile. I remember my first school book, a primer with colored pictures in it. “The Jones Reader” which Dad had bought for me. I was so proud of it and learned to read some at home.

Here on Upper King little Scott died when he was about 18 months old.  He was buried in the Big Pigeon Cemetery.  And here two more children were born–Clarence Lee and Bernard Waitman.

One thing that happened while living at King I do remember a little about. Don’t be shocked!  Dad and Mother separated. The only thing I can remember about it was Dad saddling the horse and taking me on the horse with him.  We went down the road a little ways, as I remember, then turned and went back.Cornelius remembers that we went over to Grandfather Esteps’ place on Lower King – which we would pass on the way to Grandfather Boggs’ at Looneyville – and that Grandfather Estep persuaded Dad to go back, using little Scott’s recent death as a point of persuasion.  So the separation was of short duration.We didn’t have many visitors in those days, but I do recall a visit from Uncle Jim Welch. I am not sure whether or not Aunt Lizzie was with him. Also Uncle Elmer and Aunt Minnie visited us when Howard and Martha were small, and I believe they also had another baby with them. Anyway, we had a lot of fun playing while they were there, but I do wonder where they slept. There always seemed to be room.  We didn’t have any close neighbors. In the spring of 1908 we moved to Wallback, Clay County. The house was in sight or the farm where Dad and Mother had lived previously but was just across the Clay

County line. We moved into Mike Underwood’s house. Mike, Mother’s first cousin, was a bachelor and wanted someone to take care of his mother, Aunt Rachel Underwood. She was a dear old lady but very stern. 

Here we had a larger house, still too small for a grow family like ours. This house can still be seen as you drive through Wallback.  It is located on the road bank near the filling station, which is near the county line.  When we lived there, the house was in the bottom almost on the bank of Sandy Creek.  It was moved in later years to make way far Route 36 and now sits where our barn stood.  Living here was such a change from our life on Upper King.  We had neighbors close by.  One or our neighboring families was that of Uncle Fillmore and Aunt Lydia Belcher. They lived just across Sandy and we were together with their girls almost constantly if we were allowed to be. Maybe this is where I learned to be a girl.

We were closer to school here at Wallback and could attend more regularly.  It really was the first chance I had to go to school on a regular basis.  The boys farmed some here at first, but it wasn’t long before the older boys went away from home for work.  Some of them were sort of “loaned out” to relatives.  I believe that Ray and Ira spent time with Grandfather Boggs and Uncle Fred and Aunt Gusta Vineyard in Looneyville, working for them. Cornelius spent some time with Uncle Charles and Aunt Julia Foreman at Porter. We attended the White Pilgrim School–we younger ones of the family.  We had good teachers, and it was too bad the older boys could not take advantage of that.

We attended Sunday School and church at the Rogers Fork schoolhouse which was located down Sandy toward Newton 2 ½ or 3 miles. We all walked except Mother.  She rode the horse with a baby in her lap and the next smallest riding behind her, clinging to her to hang on.  Everyone loved singing in those days and gathering at our home, Aunt Lydia’s, and sometimes at other homes as well, especially on Sundays. In the afternoon, after being in Sunday School and church, we would sing for hours. Some of us learned young. That was our entertainment. And how Aunt Lydia and her girls could sing alto! Later we had a very good choir in our family, with Guy singing the lead, Dad, Alvah, Cornelius, and Cecil the tenor; Ray, Ira, and Dennis singing bass.  Mother and I came in with the alto.

In the summer of 1911 the pleasant Hill Baptist Church was built at Wallback where it still stands. We were so proud of that church, and the dedication was a big affair. People came for miles, the day before the dedication, some walking, and some riding horseback, some in hacks. And where did they stop? A photograph of a large number of friends and relatives who attended the event gives some indication of the number of folk who spent the night at our house. Some in the picture are neighbors who dropped by. I recall that the men slept in the hay at the barn, but I can’t remember where the women and girls slept, but I suppose on pallets on the floor. I’m sure we didn’t have enough beds. Dad had bought a sheep from Uncle “C” Boggs, and the whole sheep was cooked outside on an open fire. That is one thing we had to feed our company and to take to the church the next day for “dinner on the ground”. Here at Wallback Ina Fay and Victor Clyde were born.  Ina was drowned in Sandy Creek when she was about 18 month old and was buried in the Big pigeon Cemetery by the side of our little brother Scott.  This was a very sad time as I was old enough to remember well.Some time during the winter of 1911, Dad bought a farm from Enos Matheney on the Left-Hand fork of Porters Creek. He moved the family there in the spring of 1912, in February. This is where Gilmer Glenn, the Youngest of the family, was born April 13, 1913. We had a much larger home here than we were accustomed to. The boys who had been working away began to realize what they had missed by being dropouts at school, although they weren’t called that in those days. They all, but Ray, returned home to go to school. He chose to keep on working, as I recall. We all went to Oak Hill School and the older boys who wanted to become teachers attended summer school. Alvah, Guy, Cornelius, and Cecil took state teachers’ examinations and earned their certificates to teach.While teaching, they attended night and weekend classes and high school classes at Clay for three months each spring after high school classes at Clay after rural schools had closed, until they graduated from high school. This being a Normal School, they also took teachers training and earned Normal Teachers’ Certificates and kept on teaching. We Younger members of the family went directly from receiving our eighth grade diploma into high school. Eight graduated from Clay County High School and seven of us taught school, compiling a total of about 145 years taught. Most of us who taught school had some college classes, but Cornelius was the only one of us to earn a degree, graduating in the summer of 1955 from Morris Harvey College in Charleston (Cum Laude). Alvah and Cecil would have graduated had they lived, for they were still attending classes at the time of their deaths.

Four of the family served in Uncle Sam’s Army during World War I—Guy, Ray, Ira, and Cornelius. Ira served the longest time and had the experience of fighting in the front lines in Germany and knew what it was like to be in the trenches much of the time. Cornelius also was sent overseas, but the war ended while he was still aboard ship. He spent about two months in France, but after the fighting had stopped. Ray developed the awful disease of influenza, which was so prevalent during World War I and was not able to follow his regiment overseas.  The disease caused his ill health for the rest of his life. He spent some thirty or more years in Veteran’s Hospitals. Ira was in France for some years, and I well remember the day he came home from the war. Transportation being as it was. we didn’t know when to expect him until we saw him coming down the hill road.  We celebrated quite a bit with neighbors and friends coming in to help us. Guy served his full time in the states, for which we were thankful.In the late teens, members of the family started getting married, others following in the 20’s, and the grandchildren began to arrive. The family started having reunions in the late 20’s, with each member of the family attending with their children, along with other relatives of both the Estep and the Boggs families and many friends as well. These were big occasions for many people as well as the family and were held annually until World War II was declared and too many sons and grandsons couldn’t be excused by Uncle Sam long enough to attend. Therefore the Boggs reunions faded until after the war. They were resumed in 1947 at which time a very large crowd gathered at the home place, with all of the children attending and all the grandchildren except Kent and Clifford who could not get away from their work. After Dad died in 1950, there were no more of the family reunions as we had known them.Waitman and Clyde served in the Second World War along with eight grandsons. Three grandsons served in the Korean War and three (Patrick, Douglas and Earl) served in the Vietnam War. One (Pat) lost his life there.

The family has grown almost beyond realization. There were born into the family 45 grandchildren, and at this time (August 1987) we have record of 125 great grandchildren, 121 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild. Phyllis June is the grandchild who is a great grandmother. Descendants, to date, number 306.And now the life of the Boggs family is very much changed, with only the four of us children living—Cornelius, Dennis, Glenn, and I—and the descendants living in 23 different states. We certainly don’t get together like we used to. I believe I can end this by speaking for most of the family by saying that we had a hard life while growing up. But we were a happy group and didn’t consider it so hard in those days. We have many happy occasions to remember! 

The Family of Henry Clay Boggs (August 16, 1987)

Henry Clay Boggs               Sarah Ann ElizabethGareeBorn: 23 Jan., 1845            Born: 6 Jan, 1848Died: 20 Feb, 1919              Died: 1 Feb., 1916Buried: Looneyville, W.Va.     Buried: Looneyville, W.Va. 

Married 18 May, 1865 


   Married               Name                                      

Sarah Elizabeth Estep  James Curtis    9 Mar, 1866

27 Dec., 1950

John P. Byne Boggs Susan Estella (Etta) 25 Jul., 1867

                                        25 Jan, 1938                               Harrison Rogers    Mary A.              1 Dec., 1868                                                1941Ann Fields         Luther Smith        28 Jul., 187027 Jan, 1952Mary Ellen Arthur  Joseph Jenkins      10 Feb., 18724 July 1956Elizabeth Cadle    Robert Edward        14 Oct, 1874                    (Little Ed)           Jun, 1937                                            Fred Vineyard      Nancy Augusta        21 Aug., 1876 28 Sep, 1959Emma Izora Ramsey  Isaac Owen           19 Aug., 1878


Robert Bonnett     Margaret Ann         4 Nov., 1879                    (twins)              30 Sept., 1972(no marriage)      Charlea Martin)      4 Nov., 1879 20 Jan, 1966


1. Zelphia Carpenter Clarence Clay       16 Mar, 18822. Elsie Daugherty                      24 Dec., 1955 Susan Maude Adams   Grover Cleveland    9 Mar, 1885                                         1 Apr., 1962 Thomas Hoyte Lowe       Myrtle May      28 Apr., 1887                                        30 Oct., 1938 Bessie Belle Carpenter  Earnest Milton   8 Jan, 1889 9 Dec., 1952Pearl Dye            John Garee         22 Sep, 1891   30 May, 1973 FAMILY OF J. CURTIS AND S. ELIZABETH ESTEP BOGGS James Curtis Boggs             Sarah Elizabeth Estep

Born: 9 March, 1866, Gassaway, W.Va. Born: l5 March, 1871

Died: 27 December, 1950        Mt. Ovis, Campbell’s CreekBuried: Sunset Memorial Park   Died: 3 Oct., 1960

So. Charleston, W.Va.  Buried: Sunset Memorial Park

Occupation: Farmer


Apr. 24, 1890 


                           Name         Born       

m, Estell Jones          Alva Vandal   4 Mar, 189130 May, 1952

m, Susan Florence Rogers Guy Burl      20 Jul., 1892   Clementine Johnson                  

 3 Mar, 1977  m, Mariba White          Ray Emerson   8 Jan., 1894 m, Nellie McCune         Ira Irvin   1  May, 1895 m, Maysel Crouder        Cornelius Thomas 3 Sep, 1896  m, Rhoda Paxton          Roy Cecil       13 Apr., 18988 July, 1950 m, Lela Mae Calhoun      Dennis Irl     9 Sept., 1899 m, David M, Meadows     Ona Izora      5 Dec., 1900                          Walter Scott   10 Feb., 1902     (no marriage)         Clarence Lee  8 May, 1904                                       18 Mar., 1935 m, l. Emma Cummings  Waitman Bernard    30 Mar, 1907          2. Ida VanceIna, Faye              11 May, 1909                                                                                                                         26 Sept., 1910

m, Marie Evans     Victor Clyde       28 Nov., 1910            

m, Lucille Ryrm     Gilmer Glenn      13 April, 1913  The Family of Ira I. and Nellie McCune Boggs  Ira Irvin Boggs                Nellie McCuneBorn: 1 May, 1895, Roane Co.   Born: 18 April, 1908 Died: 11 Nov., 1983             Died: Buried: Clendenin, W.Va.       Buried:  Occupation: Hope Natural Gas Co. Employee

Married  August 14, 1929 

  Married                    Name           Birth Date 

Joan Davis(dec.)     Norris Wayne         11 Jul., 1930

Mary McConnell Riley

Barbara Lee          Dallas Ervin         20 Apr., 1932  

Clyde Davis         Dorothy May          6 Sept., 1934 Edward Harrah        Dorcas Fay   (twins) 6 Sept., 1934                                             Joseph Rauner        Wilda Jean           23 June, 1936 Ernie Noel           Norma Lee            15 Jan, 1938 

Granville Cornelius  17 Jul., 1939

Patricia D. Mills    James Douglas       1 Aug., 1942  Sharon Young         Earl Edsel         1 Mar, 1944 Larry Dawson        Connie Kay         7 Apr., 1946  Richard CrookeAlpha Hively        Arthur Curtis       22 Apr., 1948       The Grandchildren of Ira and Nellie BoggsChildren and Norris Wayne and Joan BoggsGregory Wayne Boggs, born June 10, 1952Jeffrey Allen Boggs, born October 8, 1953Melodie Lynn Boggs, born May 2, 1957Cheryl Kaye Boggs, born March 12, 1959Children of Dallas and Barbara BoggsSusan Ann Boggs, born Jun. 15, 1957Jean Patricia Boggs, born Sept. 14, 1958Gail Elizabeth Boggs, born June 8, 1961Leta Melissa Boggs, born April 24, 1964, Mary  Boggs, born in 1967. Children of Clyde and Dorothy Boggs DavisDuane Gale Davis, born February 13, 1958Diane Carol Davis, born October 24, 1961  Lynette Mae Davis, born July   , 1968   Linda Nell Davis, born September   , 1969 
Children of Edward and Dorcas Boggs Harrah Edna Fae Harrah, born September 18, 1954Charles Edward Harrah, born August 18, 1957Robert Allen Harrah, born May 31, 1960Children of Ernie and Norma Boggs NoelTheresa Kaye Noel, born August 24, 1957Michael Keith Noel, born October 24, 1960Children of Joe and Wilda Boggs RaunerDrexel Gene Boggs, born December 12, 1955Barbara Ann Boggs, born February 2, 1957Linda Rauner, born March 17, 1959Patty Rauner, born November 23, 1960Marsha Rauner, born October 27, 1962Diane Gail Rauner, born October 26, 1964Edith Rauner, born November 24, 1965Joseph Rauner, Jr., born October 19, 1966 Children of Gravel and Marsha Boggs   James Ervin Boggs, born March 1, 1963 Christina Boggs, born April 2, 1964  Stephanie Kaye Boggs, born March 16, 1966 Children of Graville Boggs and Ora Myers Boggs Graville Cornelius, Jr.Nellie JolineLeigha Ann

Children of Douglas and Patricia Boggs

Patricia Carol Boggs, born July 9, 1969

Donna Michelle Boggs, born December 8, 1970 Jessica     Boggs, born           1973 

Children of Earl and Sharon Boggs

Victoria Leigh Boggs, born October 7, 1969

Children of Earl and Sun— Park Boggs   Audrey     Boggs    Ashley     Boggs 


Children of Larry and Connie Boggs Dawson

Larry Allan Dawson, Jr., born  May 24, 1967

Children of Richard and Connie Crooke Richard    Crooke, Jr., born

Children of Arthur and Alpha Boggs Anthony Curtis Boggs, born Nov. 25, 1975April Kay-Oma Boggs, born May 31, 1978Angel Dawn Boggs, born Sept. 22, 1981


January 16th, 2011

The War Years


Rental Cars

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Be careful about the new GM cars! Last weekend, I rented a new Chevy that I thought was on full when I picked it up. I ran out of gas about 40 miles out.  On that car, full is to the left, and empty to the right…and it’s on hieroglyphics….eclipse of sun is empty…and full sun is full. My brother, Norris (and he drives cars for an auction company), had a similar experience with a new Oldsmobile.

I distinctly remember that the check-out agent said. “Let’s do a walk-around…and then sign this to verify there are no scratches or dents..and that the tank is full” I looked at the gage, and it was almost all the way to the right (To me, that meant an almost full tank). When I returned and complained, they showed me the form I had signed. It was check on 1/8 full.

Now, I’m warning people to look out for themselves. I think it’s a trick to get you to return with a full tank. It’s $40 or $50 extra to them. Next time, I’ll read more carefully what I sign!

Cousin Boxley said “You are absolutely right. It is an underhanded way for them to end up with free gas in the tank that wasn’t there when you rented the car. Always tell them you want to leave with a full tank and come back with a full tank; then you don’t have to be careful about how much gas to put in the car so that you don’t end up giving them free gas when you turn the car in.”

Hello world!

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

“Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because symptoms often develop gradually and may seem harmless. These symptoms include fatigue, excessive thirst, frequent urination, rapid weight loss, extreme hunger, blurred vision and numbness in the hands or feet, dry or itchy skin and long-lasting infections, cuts and abrasions. Some cases of diabetes may even lack symptoms until serious complications result.” …by Mary Gaines… an excellent column in The Tennessean (Opinion Page) on Feb 5, 2011.