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Allegheny Mountains

The Allegheny Mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountain range located in the eastern United States. The Alleghenies run northeast to southwest through eastern West Virginia. Armstrong Mountain rises along the southern banks of the Kanawha River in Fayette County, attaining an elevation of 2,300 feet about 5 miles north east of Elkridge. Armstrong Mountain drains into the Elkridge and Powellton branches of Armstrong Creek these branches feed Armstrong Creek. Armstrong Creek empties into the Kanwaha River at Mount Carbon . For the purpose of this narrative Elkridge began where the Elkridge and Powellton branches of Armstrong Creek met, the Elkridge branch continued south 5 to 6 miles.

Elkridge “Our Shining City on the Hill”

William Pembrooke /Sallie Sherwood ATHA family, John F /Carolina Keller HOFFMAN, Tom REDMOND family, and the PAYNE family were living on Armstrong Creek on small subsistence farms in an area known as Elk Ridge when the coal mine started. Elk Ridge was in the Allegheny Mountains near Armstrong Mountain in Fayette County , WV . These families tilled their acreage scattered about the mountains. They were excellent hunters, self reliant and could do anything that needed to be done. They tanned leather and made shoes; they prepared the flax and wool for the loom and frequently wove the cloth. They were masters of coping with extraordinary emergencies. There were some Cherokee Indians living with White families in the mountains.

The western branch of Armstrong Creek was called the Elk Ridge branch presumably because of an abundance of Elk. In 1907 Elk Ridge became known as Elkridge (WV Division of Culture). The floor of the Elk Ridge branch at the widest place, where the coal yard was located in the 30's, was 170 yards.  The company store area was 120 yards, and the tipple area was 100 yards maximum. This valley on Armstrong Creek was an ideal place for a small subsistence farm. The farmer would clear the hills near these flat areas and grow corn, beans, squash, or sunflowers. Every available spot of ground was used to grow crops. There was plenty of clear fresh water from the creek. Wild game such as elk, opossum, squirrels and grouse was plentiful. There was an abundance of wild red and black berries, and fresh fruit from the apple and pawpaw trees.

 

Several small bands of Cherokee Indians remained in the hills of Western Virginia when the Cherokee Nation was forced to move to Oklahoma in 1838. Several of these Indians intermarried with the Immigrants and were living on Armstrong Creek in 1888. While gathering information for this web site, several families volunteered that their families believed they were related to the Cherokee's. The Cherokees' knew how to cultivate the "three sisters" (corn, beans, and squash); these crops were supplemented with hunting and the gathering of wild plants. These skills along with the skills of the Immigrants provided for a good life. In the 1880's the Hoffman, Payne, and Redmond families, were subsistence farmers, living at Elk Ridge. These families bonded together through friendship and necessity. Their friendship gave them a voluntary give-and-take with each other; they did favors that were repaid when needed. The Atha family settled here in the late 1800's and the Kincaid family in the early 1900's.

The Pocahontas Railway Company line was purchased by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company in 1902. In 1905 the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad extended the railroad from Mount Carbon southeastward 8 miles to Powellton and then another 2 miles along the Elk Ridge branch of Armstrong Creek. In 1908 the C & O completed the railroad along the Elkridge branch of Armstrong Creek and Anderson Coal Company began mining coal. In 1916 Black Betsy Consolidated Coal Company opened Elkridge mine number 3. When Elkridge mine number 3 opened men and their families migrated to Elkridge to work at the mine to provide the family with cash for consumer needs.

 

Elkridge, the coal camp, is snuggled between two hills wide enough for the creek, a rail road and mostly dirt roads with a lot of chuck holes. There was only one way in and out. It was hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter.

Logging on Armstrong Mountain

The Armstrong Creek Valley is located in the Allegheny Mountains in Fayette County , WV . This Valley begins at the bottomland of Mount Carbon and includes the drainage of Armstrong Mountain . After the Civil War several small saw mills were in operation in the mountains. A logging operation including a saw mill was located at a small settlement called Powellton. The Hoffman family tradition says that John F. HOFFMAN located near Armstrong Mountain from Virginia and sold Gensing for a living to loggers and others living on the mountain.

The Railroad on Armstrong Creek

In 1885 the Pocahontas Railway Company built a 5 mile railroad in the Armstrong Valley .  The railroad extended south from Mount Carbon along Armstrong Creek toward Armstrong Mountain to where the Powellton post office is located. The railroad carried timber and coal from several small coal mines operating along the Elkridge and Powellton branches of Armstrong Creek. Subsistence farming, bartering, and borrowing were the fabric of thousands of local economic systems in rural West Virginia . These small coal mines provided a needed income for consumer goods to the subsistence farmers.

Mount Carbon

Mount Carbon is the site of an Ancient Indian Village . This Village located in the bottomland along the Kanawha River was discovered in 1873 when the C & O Railway was being built. They found several skeletons buried facing east just below the surface, a few loose stones were piled upon each set of bones. At the same time the remains of bear, deer, elk, birds and fish, as well as charcoal and charred bone were found. Flint spear and arrow heads were found in great abundance in various sizes and shapes. Also found were many quoit-shaped stones, which had been marked. Pottery made from river mussel-shells pounded and mixed with loam was found. Excavations of the bottomlands in 1961-62, established that there had been three main tribes in this area: Hopewellian, from about A.D. 500; Woodland Era, of about A.D. 1000; and Fort Ancient a settlement circa 1500 AD. The report suggested the people occuping the area during the Woodland Era were "probably Shawnee ", but according to Cherokee traditional history, and several treaties from the 1700's, the area south of the Kanawha would have been lands claimed by the Cherokee.

Electricity came to Elkridge in the late 1920's.; it was available from 6 in the morning until 9 at night.

Ernest Price, son of George, had the first radio in Elkridge. His home was the center of curiosity. On Saturday night his home was over crowded with people who came to listen to the “Grand Old Opera”.

The rail road operated a passenger train to Montgomery; the passenger car was added to the coal train (see above, the arrow points to passenger car. Rail service was terminated after the flood of 1932. Most people did not have cars; a commercial bus line provided bus service between Elkridge and Montgomery.

The Big Flood of 1932

Mary Margaret 'Nookie' Barnhouse recalls the big flood of 1932

My memory of the flood of 1932 was that someone woke us up and told us to hurry up and get out. Our house was surrounded by water and we did not have time to save anything. My oldest brother Jimmy, who supported us after my father's death, grabbed some of his clothes and put them in the old washing machine and pushed it up on the railroad tracks. We then went up to the colored church and waited until the water went down.  When we came down our house was gone and several others were piled up against the trestle busted all to pieces.  Some of the houses on the other side of the road did not get washed away.  We moved to Powellton for awhile and  then one of the homes near our old home came available, and we moved back to Elkridge. 

Thelma PRICE Dempsey recalls the big flood of 1932

We had 2 or 3 flash floods that summer. It was in July on a Sunday night, I can't recall the date. It rained so hard and the ground was already wet. It was a little after midnight when someone knocked on the door and told Dad the water was ready to come over the bank and he had better hurry and get his car out of the garage. Before Dad could get his clothes on the water was coming over the bank, it washed out the back of the garage and came into the garden. Dad had to anchor the car to the rail road to keep it from washing away. In some places the water was from mountain to mountain. People were climbing the mountains to escape the water. My Uncle lived north of the junction of the Elkridge and Powellton branches of Armstrong Creek. He and others living north of the junction lost everything they owned. Cars were washed away, sections of the railroad were washed out, and the road was washed out. The coal company allowed my uncle to build a house next door to Grandpa Price. He lived there rent free until the new Superintendent came to Elkridge in 1936. My Aunts and Uncles lost everything.

Pete Lopez remembers the big flood of 1932

One afternoon in July 1932 it rained so hard that the water on the roof shot across the gutters of the house. It rained constantly until night came; we began to see parts of houses floating down the creek. There were three families living close together. We all went to a flat piece of ground on the hillside. Our neighbors had about 25 bee hives on that flat. We all huddled close together while the rain beat down on us. There was a lot of crying and some praying all through the night. My Mother prayed the most of all. My brother and his family lived on the other side of the creek. We were worried about them, we wondered if they had gone to the hills or got caught in the flood. The lightning was like a bright light. We could see it was flooding from one side of the hill to the other. When it got daylight the next day, we had no house and no furniture. We had nothing but the clothes on our back. Our cow washed down the creek for about a mile, but she lived. The heifer drowned. My brother's house was partly flooded. Our families stayed in this house that had been flooded through the summer. The children slept on the floor on blankets and some old mattress the neighbors gave us. Late that fall the company repaired a 4 room house and we moved in it. The roads opened up and the railroad was rebuilt and the train brought a string of railroad cars to the tipple and the mines started running coal again. I had been working shoveling mud for 35 cents an hour in the camp. I ask my father if he would allow me to go in the mines with him. I was only 15 years old and in the 6th grade. I would have started the 7th grade that fall. I told him I wanted to work so we could have some new clothes and some furniture. The coal company would not allow The Salvation Army or the Union Mission to bring clothes or furniture to the people who had been flooded. They wanted the people to shop at the company store.

Lucille REDMAN Scott recalls the big flood of 1932

When the 1932 flood happened at Elkridge it washed out about every house in Elkridge. Daddy got worried when it rained so long and so hard that he moved the furniture across the rail road tracks and covered it with a tarpaulin. We had to leave the house because the water was coming inside. We went to the colored church up on the hill below our house, most families went up there. We could see out the window and we watched the houses wash away. There were four houses in the row we lived and we watched all of them go. The next day when we down from the hill everything was gone, even the rail road track. The furniture that Daddy carried across the track was gone, the only thing left was Grandma's rocking chair, but a rail had broken one of the rockers. This broken rocking chair was the only thing we saved.  We stayed with my Uncle for about a week until we found a house. We went up and down the creek and found a few pieces of our furniture. We went to the Company store and got the things we needed. Several years later, after the kids were married, Dad bought a house in Kimberly.

Hubert Shabdue remembers the big flood of 1932

Hubert Shabdue and Buzz Harmon grew up together, attended the same schools from the first grade through high school. They enlisted in the Marine Corps fought and survived the battle of Iwo Jima together and remained friends all of their life. Hubert departed this life March 2005.  Buzz remembers his life long friend with the following eulogy.  

"A Moment Of Time"

The marching boots have halted

The breeze is now a sigh,

The tribute of the rifle is passed

and the bugle softly says

" all is well, safely rest, God is nigh"

I was a nine year old boy living in Powellton on Armstrong Creek, north of the intersection of the Powellton and Elkridge branches. My older sister Freda and I went to the movies on that Sunday afternoon. The highway bridge was closed for repairs and a “ford” had been cut in the creek bank for automobiles to cross the creek. To get to the movie we had to walk across a log that was placed across the Elkridge branch of Armstrong Creek for foot traffic. Before the movie was over we got word that our Dad wanted us to come home immediately, because the log across the creek was in danger of being washed away. When Freda and I got outside the movie house, we were having a cloud burst; the rain was coming down so hard we had difficulty seeing where to walk. When we got to the foot bridge the water was running over the top. We were scared but did muster the courage to run across the log. After we got across the creek we saw the bridge swing loose from the other side and disappear in a matter of seconds. We ran the fifty yards to our house that was at the base of the hill. Dad had me sit on the steps to our house and keep him updated when the water level got higher. I remember putting my hands over my ears to shut out the sounds of the rushing water and the crushing of buildings. When the water got close to the steps, Dad took me by the hand and we walked thru the house and the back door and we went up the hill a short distance and joined our neighbors there. The rain quit about midnight but the creek kept rising due to the run-off from hills. The rushing churning water, the crashing sounds at the trestle, the odor of decayed soil, and the utter stillness of people around me was unbelievable. One of the weirdest things I remember was the ringing of a bell. We heard it coming down the Elkridge branch, past the junction and continuing down the holler and finally out of our hearing. That ghostly “ding-dong” stayed with me for years. We found out later that the bell was in the belfry of a small church that had been located near Humphrey's store. The church slid off its foundation and washed down the creek. The sound of the church bell was heard by people as it floated down the creek to Mount Carbon when it dumped into the Kanawha River . The next morning people began to survey their damages. The sight was unbelievable, the destruction was beyond description. The worst sight was the railroad trestle at “Abbot's crossing, named for the Abbot family who operated a family grocery store nearby. Pieces of wood, roofs, side of house, and trash of every description including automobiles, toys and “outhouses” towered above the track which itself had been twisted from ninety to one hundred eighty degrees. Keep in mid this was heavy steel rails weighing over one hundred pounds each. Fortunately there was only one death; a male who lived at the boarding house was caught crossing the stream and was buried beneath rocks and debris that had been dislodged by the water. Mrs. Raymond Hill had a narrow escape; when leaving her house to escape the water she was washed off her feet and survived by clinging to the fence at the rear of her home. Mrs. O'Brien, who lived near the Methodist Church at Powellton stepped on a rusty nail and died later tetanus.

People shared clothing, cooking equipment and furniture with their neighbors and the coal company helped those in dire need with items from the company store. Looking back, the one thing that was most amazing was the attitude of the people! They took this disaster in stride, profited by what had happened, praised the Lord for deliverance and went on with their lives. Do we still make them like that?

After the flood, John Cooper, Sanford Grigsby, and George Price rebuilt the houses in Elkridge. They lived in the first 3 houses that were built. Mr. Grigsby built a house north of the coal yard.

Genesis of the population

Elkridge was populated by subsistence farmers living at Elk Ridge, other subsistence farmers, White families living with the Eastern Cherokee Indians, European immigrants, homeless families, and African American families, probably descendants of former slaves.

ADKINS, Carl

ADKINS, Earl

AKERS

ATHA William Pembroke Atha and Sally Sherwood Atha and their small child migrated to Elkridge in 1888 from Page

BARKO, Gus, Sadie

BARKO, Steve, Helen

BARNETT

BARNHOUSE, Tom Nina Tom was killed in a mining accident in 1929. His eldest son Jimmy went to work in the mines and supported the family.

BELCASTRO

BIRCHFIELD family settled in Elkridge from Armstrong Creek. Family tradition says they had integrated with the Indians.

BOBBITT, Bill migrated from Montgomery to Elkridge when his father died. He went to work as a breaker boy in the tipple at age 11 to help support his family.

BOGGS, Adeline, Norman  Came to Elkridge 1940

BRANHAM, Hayes early 1900's


CADLE, Howard lived at Equal Forks and ran a Sawmill

CHAPMAN,

CHRIST

COOPER, John

COOPER, Otis

COPEN, Josh migrated to Elkridge in mid 1930’s lived at Equal Forks

COTTREL

DAVIS,  Company Doctor was located near the company store

 

DAWSON

ELSWICK

ESTEP

 FARLEY, John early 1900's

 FARTHING, Walter came to Elkridge in 1935 from Raleigh County.

FISHER

FOSTER, Roy early 1900's

 GILL, W W early 1900's

GIVENS

GORTA

GRIGSBY, Samford came to Elkridge 1904 from Raleigh County.

Hall, Leonard

HOFFMAN, Jesse

HOFFMAN, John F family was farming in Elkridge in 1900.

HOFFMAN, Robert

HOLBROOK

HOLMES

HORNSBY

HUBBARD, Joseph Fletcher came to Elkridge in 1937 as the electrician for the mines.

HURLEY

JOYCE, Charlie a pillar in the black community, moved to Elkridge in the 1930's

KAUFF

KEENER, Slim

KIDD

KINCAID         In the early 1800's Kincaids were tree dwellers

The following anecdotal story about pioneers living in trees is from a Fayette County history book. James G Kincaid was a blood relative of the Elkridge Kincaids.

  

THE LEGEND OF THE SYCAMORE TREE from the "Fayette County History" by J T Peters, and H B Cardin.

James Gillespie Kincaid and Mary Tritt Kincaid, his wife, moved from old Virginia in the year 1807. They settled in Greenbrier county near the present Monroe county line. They lived there about five years. Not being favorably impressed with the location they decided to move further west. In the early spring of 1812 they put their belongings on pack horses, driving their cows they followed the trail that Lewis' army traveled in 1774 enroute to Point Pleasant until they reached Ansted. They discovered a beautiful bottom just below the mouth of Cane branch, and on the opposite side of the river from Gauley Junction. There were no houses, however nature provided a large sycamore tree that had decayed on the inside. The hallow of this Sycamore tree was large enough that you could turn inside of it with a rail eleven feet long. This was a nice place and they made their home in the hollow of this giant sycamore tree. They cut out a hole on the front side of the tree for a door and a small hole on the rear for ventilation. They cut poles and made one large bed. They made a trundle bed which was kept under the large one. They built an additional room from round logs and this new room together with the hollow tree gave plenty of house room. They used the tree as a part of their house as long as they lived there.

The Kincaid family tradition of the Sycamore tree legend.

In 1819 brothers James and William Kincaid were farming near Grassy Meadows, VA. They heard many glowing reports about the prosperity that the frontiersmen were enjoying in the new territories in the West. The vision of the new West fulfilled all of the hopes and dreams for the future shared by the Kincaid families. They loaded their covered wagons with all of their belongings and began their westward trek to Kentucky. They followed the trail taken by Colonel Lewis and the Augusta Regiment from Lewisburg to Point Pleasant to engage the Shawnee Indian Chief Cornstalk. They planned to spend some time visiting with their father John the Revolutionary War minuteman, their mother Elizabeth who lived near the mouth of the Gauley River. As the families passed through the present site of Ansted, William’s small daughter became very ill. They found a deserted cabin and spent the night. The next  morning Mary Ann was still too sick to travel. Days went by without any improvement in her health. Mary Ann had the dread disease Typhoid Fever, a disease that required many weeks to recover. They began looking for shelter for James and his family while they waited for Mary Ann to recover. They found a large sycamore tree that was hollow on the inside. The cavity in this sycamore tree was large enough that you could easily move about inside the tree. James established a home in the cavity of this giant sycamore tree by cutting a hole on the front side of the tree for a door, and a small hole on the rear for ventilation. He cut poles and made a large bed. Under the bed he put a trundle bed that could be pulled out at night for the children to sleep. Later James’s son, John, recalled his home in the sycamore tree, and remembered well standing nearby when his father was cutting out the opening in the tree for ventilation and a chip struck him in the eye.

The crop they planted was so abundant the Kincaid families gave up the idea of continuing their journey westward and remained at Cane Branch to be near their families. They kept the tree as a part of their house for as long as they lived there. In 1831 James moved to Kincaid, VA where he became the first merchant at Kincaid. He bought his goods in Gallipolis, Ohio. His merchandise was shipped by boat to Deep Water and wagoned from that point. On one occasion James went to Gallipolis to buy goods, he spent all of his money on merchandise, and walked the entire distance home, some one hundred miles. He supplied all of the consumer goods for residents in the area.

Mary Anne Kincaid, the young girl with typhoid fever, was married on 20 April 1825, to Hezekiah B Copeland at Gauley Bridge by Rev Edward Hughes. They lived at Big Creek where the game and fish was plentiful. They had twelve children, who remembered the ghost at Big Creek and kept the stories alive. The sycamore tree was destroyed with the destruction of the old growth forest

KINCAID, John moved to Elkridge from Falls View early 1900's

KINCAID, Peyton

KINCAID, Tom

LITTERAL,

LOCKMAN, George

LOUDERMILK, William J Sr and Louise Marie came to Elkridge as the outside mine foreman.

LOPEZ, John: John and Carmella Lopez family came to Elkridge in the 1920’s from Boomer

LOWE, Joe migrated from Powellton. The Lowe's owned and operated the local beer garden.

LUNDY, Lee

 

MANLEY

 MAYES, Shirley and Dora moved to Elkridge in the early 1900's

 

MAYES, Clarence Ethel

MCCARDLE

McCLUNG

MILES, Ross moved to Elkridge circa 1930 from St Albans , WV .

 

MILLER, Everette came to as the Assistant Superintendent of mines circa 1936.

MITCHELL, Florence PICTURE NOT AVAILABLE, Aunt Florence Mitchell testified in Church and made people feel good.

MURPHY

NORVELL, Fred

 NUTTER, Dudd and Sara moved to Elkridge when the mine opened in the early 1900"s

NUTTER, Leonard Rose

PETERS, John moved to Elkridge circa 1930 from Gallagher on Paint Creek.

 

PRICE, Clarence

PRICE, Ernest

 PRICE, George a coal company carpenter, located to Elkridge in 1914 after the Eccles mine explosion. Family tradition says that George's wife, Juliana, was a Cherokee Indian.

PRUITT

REDDEN 

REDMAN, Leslie migrated from Concord , KY in 1907

REDMOND, Tom family was farming in Elkridge in when the mine started

RILLING

SCOTT

SETTLE

SHAFFER

SIZEMORE

SLEBODA, James

THOMPSON

THURMOND

TOTTEN

TOWNSEND

TUCKER, Leonard "SHOTGUN" and Ruby

 

TURLEY

UNDERWOOD,

WARD, Tom

WEED, Frank

WILLIAMS

WRIGHT

Families in Elkridge

In 1900 Armstrong Creek was populated by small subsistence farms. The farmers and their family tilled their few acres scattered about the mountains. The families were self reliant and could do anything that needed to be done. They tanned leather and made shoes; they prepared the flax and wool for the loom and frequently wove the cloth. They were masters of coping with extraordinary emergencies. The Hoffman, Redmond and Payne families were living in what is present day Elkridge in 1888 when the Atha family arrived. There were some Cherokee Indians living with White families in the mountains.

Atha Family

In 1888 William Pembroke Atha and Sally Sherwood Atha and their small child came over the mountain from Page to McDunn, crossed the Payne farm and proceeded north along Armstrong Creek to Elk Ridge. They bought a small farm near where the company store was later located. Their farm was next to the Tom Redmond and the John F Hoffman farm. The Redmond's and Hoffman's probably were living in a log cabin similar to the one above. The Athas built a similar cabin. The Atha's lived there until 1903 when Sherwood sold the farm to a Mr. Anderson. The Atha family and their 7 children moved to what is now known as Atha town (near the intersection of the Powellton and Elkridge branches of Armstrong Creek). In 1908 Anderson Coal Company opened a coal mine in Elkridge.

 The Kincaid's from Campsie Fells, Scotland to Shenandoah Valley, Virginia to Elkridge, a small coal camp, in Fayette County, West Virginia.

 

In the late 1600’s James Kincaid was living in the Scottish Central Lowlands near the Campsie Fells near Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Stirling. James was Laird of Kincaid, being Laird meant that he had the right to solicit peasant farmers to raise crops and livestock on the land. The late 1600’s were a time of Religious intolerance. The following anecdotal story is from the book “Parish of Campsie” by John Cameron.

 

“James Kincaid and his servants were called on September 3, and again on October 10, 1696, to appear before the Kirk Session. On November 18, James appeared, and acknowledged that he had caused to carry in and thresh some bear for straw to his horse on the Sabbath. He is appointed to appear before the Congregation next Sabbath, and receive a public rebuke. ‘This was the Laird of Kincaid’, and his servants having neglected to provide straw for his horses he seems to have sent them out either to the field or the stackyard for a few sheaves of bear, which he caused them to thresh on the Sabbath day. His punishment was standing on the stool of repentance, and receiving a solemn rebuke in public, because, according to one version, on his arriving home on Sunday morning from a journey, and finding no food for his wearied horse, he sent the groom out to the next field, to cut and bring it in to him, which, by his master's orders, the groom threshed on the spot, and it was entirely owing to his own negligence.” 

 KINCAID DESCENDANCY

 James KINCAID Campsie Parish, Scotland

Thomas KINCAID 1680-1750 Margaret Lockhart

                      Thomas KINCAID 1737-1817 Hannah Tincher 1740-1818  .                            .1'st born in America  Revolutionary War Patriot 

                        John KINCAID 1760-1834 Elizabeth Galespie 1760-1829                   .     ,    Revolutionary War Patriot

 Virginia Jane KINCAID 1794-1870 William Kincaid 1787-1875

                        Gillespie KINCAID 1814-1866 1841 1st married Virginia Vance                       2nd married Rachel Harrah 1812-

John Alexander KINCAID 1844-1924 Elizabeth Rule 1840-1912

 Peyton KINCAID 1869-1931 Mary Jane Hornsby 1872-1952

 Thomas Leo KINCAID 1905-1987 Nell May Price 1908-1997

                        JAMES KINCAID                  ,      Scottish progenitor

 Thomas Kincaid

Thomas KINCAID 1680-1750, Thomas was born in Scotland. He married Margaret Lockhart and they migrated to America in the early 1700s. Children: William 1729; Thomas 1737; John 1740; Andrew; Margaret; David; Winifred; Elizabeth.

The journey to America lasted between two and three months. The trip was not easy. Generally the rations were just barely enough, the food was vermin ridden, the water was stagnant, and the ships were overloaded with people. Hunger, thirst, boredom, depression, anxiety, fear, and sickness were common. Cleanliness, hygiene, and adequate living quarters were none existent. The gross uncleanness and generally unhealthy conditions aboard the crowded vessels resulted in the outbreak of epidemic diseases, often followed by death. The great epidemics of measles, small pox and other contagious diseases, which at times spread throughout the colonies, were often the result of the disease being originated on these contaminated and unwholesome vessels.

When they arrived in America the ones who could pay full price were allowed to pay and get off the boat. Next the healthy ones were sold to their new masters for the full fee. Then the unhealthy ones were sold at auction. This process often took several weeks. If a family member died, the rest of the family members were held accountable for the passage fees of the deceased.

No matter how bad the journey, how unhealthy the conditions, when they arrived in America they thought they had found the Promised Land.

We will never know why Thomas came to America, or how he paid for his passage. Thomas may have been one of the many men who participated in the rebellion of 1715 and escaped to America to avoid prosecution. He did join his brother David in America. David had been a Jacobite and was forced to leave Scotland when the Rebellion failed. He may have been one of the many men and women who were tired of the religious turmoil and the lack of economic opportunity and simply wanted a better life for themselves and their posterity. He may have immigrated to America as an indentured servant, binding himself to work for a number of years for food, shelter and clothing, but no wages, in exchange for free transportation to the colony.

Minuteman

The Revolutionary War embraced the minuteman concept of defense. Revolutionaries who supplemented the regular army as needed were called Minutemen. The Minutemen held themselves in readiness by keeping a weapon, supply of ammunition, and a small amount of food ready for instant military service. When the village “leads” said let’s go, everyone mustered and went into battle. To not serve would have been an offense against their community.

                  Thomas Kincaid Minuteman       .           1'st born in America . . 

Thomas KINCAID 1737-1817, 1759 married Hannah Tincher 1740-1818, Children John 1760; Margaret 1761; Samuel 1765; Elizabeth 1766; Thomas Jr. 1769; Francis 1772; George C 1773; William 1777; Hannah 1775; Sarah 1781.

Thomas was a private in the Revolutionary War. He served under Captain Andrew Lockrigers, Augusta Co VA 1776-1778, also 1780. Thomas returned unencumbered in 1785. [References Vol 1 & 2, pages 249 and 170, Augusta County, VA record. G Wathneys? Virginians in the Revolution, page 448.]

In the early 1770's Thomas Kincaid owned land bordering the Natural Bridge. The Natural Bridge itself was purchased by Thomas Jefferson, who as Governor of Virginia signed the original land grant in Botetourt/Rockbridge County to Thomas Kincaid.

Based on court records of Greenbrier County, VA, Thomas and Hannah settled on Muddy Creek, present day Monroe County, WV. The country was wilderness. The mountains were covered with a growth of large timber of various kinds. There was an abundance of deer, wild turkey, pheasants, wolves, wild cats, panthers, bears, and a variety of small game.

Muddy Creek was located north of present day Alderson, WV on a well known Indian trail, originally a buffalo trail, used by settlers passing from Kanawha up Gauley river, then over Gauley mountain, through the site of Ansted, then across the branches of Meadow creek. This was the route traveled by General Lewis’s army in 1774 on his march to Point Pleasant to engage the great Shawnee Chief Cornstalk.

John Kincaid-Minuteman

John KINCAID 1760-1834, 1782 married Elizabeth Galespie 1760-1829. Children James Galespie; 1792; Mathew; William; Elizabeth (Betsy) 1793; Virginia Jane 1794;Sallie; Terry; Nancy; Magdalene; Margaret; Polly; Sarah; John; Lanty; George 1817; Galespie; Thomas.

 John's personal account of his Revolutionary War service

On the 17th day of February 1834, John Kincaid personally appeared before an open session of Fayette County, Virginia, court of record. John Kincaid was duly sworn in and made the following dossier statement in order to obtain the benefits [pension] of the provisions of the act Congress of the United States, June 7, 1832.

I am John Kincaid a resident of Fayette County, State of Virginia. To the best of my knowledge, I was age 73 years on the 10th day of March last. I entered the service of the United States and served as herein stated. I was drafted in the month of February in the year 1781 under Captain John Henderson, and Lieutenant John Woods. Major Andrew Hamilton led the command. I then lived in Greenbriar County, Virginia. I was scheduled to the plans of rendezvous on or about the 17th day of February, instead I set out to rendezvous on the 15th day of February 1781. I was drafted as a private in said Company, but if there was a stated time for the termination of my services, I do not now recall. I served more than six months, perhaps a very few days short of seven months. I do not recall what day I was discharged. I served my whole time in Western Virginia. The company was assembled in Greenbriar County, Virginia. We marched to Clifton then in Montgomery County, Virginia. After residing there for about eight weeks, I was marched back to Woods Fort across New River in Greenbriar County. There I guarded Indians and Tories. I served there under Captain Archibald Woods. I aided them in retaking several American prisoners from the Indians, after killing two Indians in the engagement. After serving the foregoing period and performed the foregoing services I was discharged by Captains Woods and Henderson both signing a written discharge. My discharge is either lost or mislaid. In the spring of 1782 I was again drafted under Captain Archibald Woods. I do not remember the month. This service was also in Greenbriar County, Virginia. As best as I can remember I served three months under this draft. I was stationed in Greenbriar County. I was frequently sent out of the county in pursuit of Indians. I was discharged from this service but not in writing. In the summer of 1783, I do not remember the month. I was again called into the service of a drafted Militia. I was mostly used by Captain Archibald Woods and served three months guarding the county from the deprecations of the Indians. My service was generally in Greenbriar County. I was verbally discharged by Captain Woods. I served as a private and never received a commission. I have no documentary evidence of my service but I can prove my services by a living witness. I have generally lived in the Counties of Greenbriar and Kanawha until the formation of Fayette County where I now reside. Major Andrew Hamilton was the highest officer in command under whom I served.

John appointed Constable of Giles County

In 1812 John was appointed Constable of the Western District of Giles County and reappointed in 1813. The Giles County records show that in 1813, while serving as Constable, John and his deputies apprehended a notorious and dangerous horse thief. John delivered him to the jail at Pearisburg and collected a fee of $17.62 from the Giles County Court.

In 1812 John acquired 300 hundred acres of land on the Gauley River through a land office warrant.  This land was adjacent to land owned by John's son Matthew who acquired 400 acres by a land office treasury warrant.  John operated a ferry across the Gauley River at Rich Creek some 10 miles north of present day Gauley Bridge.

 Kincaid’s Ferry

Lyle Blackwell in his historical accounting of Gauley Bridge writes. "Gauley Bridge, of course, was not known by that name before there was a bridge. As a matter of fact it was called Kincaid’s Ferry after a rather fiery individual who had operated a ferry across the Gauley River for some time."

The route west became heavily traveled in the mid 1820's. The James River and Kanawha Turnpike surveyed possible routes and proposed to construct a toll road along a new route, bridging the Gauley River at its mouth. A well known and influential family claimed the land where the western section of the bridge was to be anchored. John had owned that land since 1812. John went to court to protect his interest but lost in court to the wealthy family from Boston.

On the night of July 11, 1826, someone set fire to the Gauley River Bridge.  John was hailed into court and tried for arson. Based only on circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime, the jury convicted John for arson. He was sentenced to the Virginia State Penitentiary at Richmond.

 The Fayette Tribune and Free Press: Thursday September 30, 1915

 Authorities History of the Old Bridges across Gauley by Judge Miller

Judge James H Miller of Hinton contributes the following authorative account of the Gauley bridges, their building and destruction.

We have seen several accounts of the destruction of the ancient landmark, Gauley Bridge, which was originally a wooden single-track wagon bridge spanning Gauley River at it mouth, and where the Gauley and New Rivers join and form the Kanawha; but there is some ancient history connected with the affair not yet published in recent accounts.  Mrs. Margaret A Miller, now seventy seven years of age, was born and reared at Gauley Bridge and within 220 yards of the structure erected and destroyed, and is now residing with her daughter, Mrs. James H. Miller, of Hinton. She remembers distinctly the interesting instances of the going up in smoke and flame of the Gauley bridges. She says the first bridge was built of wood, without a cover, single track, and it was in use when she a child., built before she was old enough to remember; that there was an old pioneer in that region, on Gauley, John Kincaid, who claimed the western landing of the bridge where the abutment stood, and the land around about the same; that he had a law suit, possibly with the Mansers, who were ancient owners from Massachusetts, and whose antecedents were the ancestors of our former citizen, Dr. Henry Manser, well known to many Summers-co people and whose father married a Dickinson, of the Cotton Hill country, and later Miss Minnie Pack, a daughter of Anderson Pack, of the middle New river region. Later Dr. Manser moved to Kansas where he died, and where his children, Doctors Henry and John and his daughter, Mrs. Prince now reside. That when Kincaid lost to the courts he took out his revenge and satisfaction, by setting fire to the first bridge, and burned it down—or up—and for which he was convicted and served a term in the penitentiary at Richmond, Virginia.

                Historical account of James Gillespie Kincaid-John’s son.  . .              This account is from the "Fayette County History" by H G Peters

THE LEGEND OF THE SYCAMORE TREE

  Man in front of sycamore tree illustrates (between white lines) width of tree

James Galespie Kincaid and Mary Tritt Kincaid, his wife, moved from old Virginia in the year 1807. They settled in Greenbrier County near the present Monroe county line. They lived there about five years. Not being favorably impressed with the location they decided to move further west. In the early spring of 1812 they put their belongings on pack horses, driving their cows they followed the trail that Lewis' army traveled in 1774 enroute to Point Pleasant until they reached Ansted. They discovered a beautiful bottom just below the mouth of Cane branch, and on the opposite side of the river from Gauley Junction. There were no houses, however nature provided a large sycamore tree that had decayed on the inside. The hallow of this Sycamore tree was large enough that you could turn inside of it with a rail eleven feet long. This was a nice place and they made their home in the hollow of this giant sycamore tree. They cut out a hole on the front side of the tree for a door and a small hole on the rear for ventilation. They cut poles and made one large bed. They made a trundle bed which was kept under the large one. They built an additional room from round logs and this new room together with the hollow tree gave plenty of house room. They used the tree as a part of their house as long as they lived there.

The sycamore tree was destroyed with the destruction of the old growth forest.

 Virginia Jane Kincaid

Virginia Kincaid, daughter of John and Elizabeth Gillespie Kincaid, married her first cousin William Kincaid, son of Samuel Kincaid. Their children were James, Gillespie, John, William, Samuel Lewis, Elizabeth (Betty), George, and Matthew.

James born 1812 married Albina Neal of Sizemore, WV. Their children were George, Rosanna, Mary, Francanna, and Jonathan. George, the oldest son lived at Pound, Wise County, VA. Jonathan married May E Hughes, daughter of Asa Hughes. Gillespie married Virginia Vance, he second married Rachel Harrah, a widow.

John lived on Laurel Creek, Nicholas County, WV. He told Lantie Eads of the sycamore tree in which his Uncle James Gillespie Kincaid lived on Cane Branch. He said he could easily turn around with an eleven foot rail. He said it made a snug room in which they placed a large bed and a trundle bed. John was married twice. First to Olivia Walker their children were Nancy, Alfred, Margaret, Sarah, Lanis, and William. He second married Sarah Cavendish, daughter of Andrew Cavendish. Their children were twins) Augustus Floyd and Jonathan Lloyd, and Jonathan, (Joe). R M Cavendish said that Andrew was a son of William Henderson Cavendish who was in the Revolutionary War as Quartermaster General. Also he served in the Virginia General Assembly from 1792 to 1805, except for two years when he was Sheriff of Greenbrier County. He was a member of the first board of directors, or visitors as they were called, of what is now Washington and Lee University. It was Washington College in 1796. Andrew was in the War of 1812, he was aid-de-camp to the commanding officer, and was stationed as Yorktown when the war ended.

William married a Morton. Their children were Alice, Betty, Lanie, Gillespie, Millie, Rosa, Minnie, and Clarence.

Samuel married Ambrilious Odell. Their children were Samuel Masterson, Matthew, Sylvanus Galford, Jasper Armenius, George Calvin, William, and Mary Elizabeth (died at 7 months). Virginia spent her last years living with Samuel.

Betty their only daughter married Jonathan Neal. They lived in Sizemore, Clay County, WV. They had two sons, James and Marshall. Marshall lived in Charleston. There is no record of James.

George married Arrinda Neal of Sizemore, WV.  They had 4 children, two died young. Their son John L lived near Meadow Bridge. Their daughter Rosa married G W Goddard; they lived on Laurel Creek near Meadow Bridge. When George died Arrinda married James Kincaid.

Matthew married Senia Vance. They had three children Simon, Susan and one other.

 Gillespie Kincaid

Gillespie KINCAID 1814-1866 1841 married Virginia Vance; Children George W; Amanda; John A 1844; Theopolis 1849; James A 1851. 2nd married Rachel Harrah 1812- ?

 Circa 1865 L to R John A, Gillespie, James Aaron, Rachel, Margaret, Theapolis

Gillespie was born in 1814 to William and Virginia Kincaid. Family tradition says that Gillespie was named after Virginia Kincaid's Mother surname.  Virginia Kincaid was the daughter of John Kincaid and Elizabeth Galespie. Gillespie first married Virginia Vance, they had three children George, James, and Amanda Jane (McGraw). Amanda died in 1854, age 22, at Farley Creek of consumption. Gillespie second married Rachel Harrah 28 Dec 1841. They had one son John Alexander.     

Gillespie lived near the community of Gauley Bridge, Fayette County, VA. Gauley Bridge is located at the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers where they form the Kanawha River. It was the head of navigation in Fayette County. Gauley Bridge was settled in the early 1800s and known as Kincaid’s Ferry prior to 1822.  A stage coach, pulled by four horses, ran through Gauley Bridge three times per week. West bound it went to Charleston where you could catch a steamboat, or continue by land to the Ohio River at Guyandotte where big boats would take you to almost any destination. The east bound leg went to Covington, VA.  Gauley Bridge had two overnight inns.

Gillespie died of liver complications at Falls, WV in March of 1866.

      JOHN A KINCAID--ELIZABETH RULE

 

    John with grandchildren

John Alexander was born in 1844-1928 to Gillespie Kincaid and Rachel Harrah Kincaid. Elizabeth was born in 1840-1912 in Botetourt County, VA. They were married on 27 May 1868. They had two children Peyton and Emma.

Gauley Bridge became a large supply depot when Federal troops occupied the city in the fall of 1862. To facilitate stocking the supply depot General Cox built keel boats, sixty feet long and eight feet wide. The keel boats were cheaper than wagons and saved wear and tear on the horse teams. Additionally there was less exposure of the goods. The keel boats were powered by a five man crew using poles they had a capacity of eight tons.

John's older cousin, James Gillespie Kincaid Jr. was a Justice of the Peace when the war began. All Justices in sympathy with the North were expected to resign their positions for the duration of the war. James G Kincaid resigned at once and began his government service as Captain of a fleet of supply boats that carried provisions between Charleston and Point Pleasant. John A Kincaid worked as a crew member on the keel boats operated by his older cousin.

 Keel boat similar to one used by General Cox

After the war John A worked as a farm laborer near Kanawha Falls.

In the early 1900’s more coal mines were opening in the hills around Gauley Bridge. When a new coal mine opened at Elkridge, on Armstrong Creek, John A and Elizabeth Kincaid moved to Elkridge and opened a small mercantile store.

 

Kincaid general store

The store was successful. John bought several acres near the mouth of Armstrong Creek. Peyton was engineer on a dinky train between Robson and the head of Loop Creek. Circa 1910 Peyton and his sister Emma joined John A and Elizabeth at Elkridge. Elizabeth died in 1912 and was buried in the Craig cemetery.

John’s will dated 28 November 1911 in his own words follows; “I want Peyton Kincaid and his wife Jane Kincaid to have the low part of my place up to the stable fence to the back line up in the hill strate up and to have the store house as long as he wants it to sell dry goods or grocery. Then I want Emma Kincaid and her heirs to have the upper part the home place. The property is situated at Armstrong Creek in Fayette County State of West Virginia.”

John A became ill early in the 1920s. Peyton took over operation of the store. In his final years as a widower John lived in a small house behind the store. John died in 1924.

 

Peyton’s daughters Emogene and Lola claim they knew the exact moment their grandfather, John Alexander Kincaid, died. While approaching the nearby home where he stayed, the girls saw his soul hover over the roof for a few moments before shooting skyward. They ran to the house and learned he had just died.

            PEYTON KINCAID--MARY JANE HORNSBY

Peyton KINCAID 1869-1931. 1888 married Mary Jane Hornsby 1872-1952. Children Emogene 1889; John W 1892; Ethel 1894; Gertrude 1896; Carrie 1899; Helen 1903; Thomas 1905; Louise 1908; Garnett 1911; Lola 1913.

 

                                                                           Peyton                     Mary Jane

    

                        

Peyton was an engineer on a logging railroad that operated from the head of Loop Creek to Robson.

In the early 1900's Peyton moved to Elkridge to help his father John in the general store.  Upon the death of his father in 1924 Peyton inherited the general store and half of the property. The other half of the property went to John’s daughter, Emma. Emma's daughter Evelyn Tamplin moved into the home owned by John next door to the general store. Peyton operated the store until his death in 1931.

After the death of Peyton, Jane operated the company boarding house for Koppers Coal Company at Elkridge. Operating the boarding house was like managing a household for 25 separate personalities, breakfast and supper each day plus preparing a lunch for the miners to take to work.  In the late 1930’s Jane turned over the operation of the boarding house to her daughter Emogene.

 

At the home place Jane’s front yard was her pride and joy, it was the show place of Elkridge. The lawn was manicured and the front yard had a big snowball tree that made the grass a little greener. Her back yard had two big June apple trees; in the summer grand kids had apples to eat and adults to make apple pie.

                              Thomas Leo Kincaid              .   .              .         Nell Mae Price           

 

1978 50th Anniversary

Thomas Leo KINCAID 1905-1987.  1928 married Nell May Price 1908-1997. Children Virginia Lee 1928; Thomas Jr. 1931; Patricia Jeanine 1941.

Nell Price was born in Eccles, Raleigh County WV and moved to Elkridge with her father George Price. She was 8th of 10 children. She remembers as a young girl growing up in Elkridge. The minister lived out of town and once a month he would come to Elkridge and stayed at her home. The children always had to wait until the Preacher ate before they could eat, she says the kids would stand around and wonder if the Preacher would leave enough food for the children.

Tom was born in Elkridge. He enlisted in the army in the 20’s. He married Nell Price in 1928 and worked in the coal mine at Elkridge until the mine stopped producing coal in the 50’s. In the late 30’s, he built his dream house on the hill just above the Kincaid home place.

 

Tom did all of the work himself, including building his own water supply. He had a small garden and raised pigs and chickens. In the 40’s he became an ordained Minister. This became his passion in life. He continued working in the mines and he remodeled and became Pastor of the Kimberly Church of God. In Indiana he was Pastor of a church while working in the steel mill. After he retired he returned to Kimberly and became Pastor of the Kimberly Church.

In the 50’s Tom, Nell and Pat moved to Indiana to work in the steel mill.

Virginia graduated from Montgomery High School in 1946. She married in 1947 and spent her adult life in North Carolina.

Tom Jr. graduated from Montgomery High School in 1949 enlisted in the Air Force and retired from the Air Force in 1984.

Elkridge is no longer an active coal mining camp. In the mid 50’s the coal mines quit producing coal. Some miners found work in the area, mostly low paying jobs, and remained at Elkridge.

 For more information contact Tom Kincaid

   LOPEZ, John and Carmella

John and Carmella Lopez came to Elkridge in the 1920’s from Boomer

Dennie Hoffman visited with Pete Lopez in Pete’s 89th year and received the following information from Pete. Pete went to work inside the mines at an early age (15) and worked with his Dad. The Coal Company had a check weighman who was supposed to weigh the loaded cars and remove the metal checks, giving the corresponding miner credit for the coal dumped. This was not being done honestly. Sometimes the miner would be short a loaded coal car. The check weighman would mark a car as slate and indicate to the miner that the car had been dumped in the “gob” pile, when in fact it was dumped in the coal pile. Pete and his dad John got together with some other miners and hired Jesse Hoffman, the Preacher, to be their check weighman. They paid him out of their own pocket. After this the shortages stopped because Jesse Hoffman was honest and the men got credit for all their coal. Later when the miners were unionized the coal company hired Jesse Hoffman and kept him as check weighman.

 

John and Carmella were called Papa and Mama Lopez. Mama Lopez was famous for her fresh oven baked bread. Papa Lopez built the big domed oven where the bread was baked, out of brick and clay, and he didn’t use a tape measure, he used two nails and a piece of “stagen” in lieu of a tape. He also built ovens for the Belcastro family and other folks.

 

Pete only finished the eighth grade in school, but many years later while employed as a driver for the school system, took the test and received his GED Diploma. That was a happy day for it gave Pete the opportunity for a better job.

Outdoor bread oven
Baking bread in oven
Fresh bread

Price

George Price 1870-1953

Juliana Mills Price 1871-1934

Rosie 2nd married 1938

 

George          Juliana       George and Rosie

George was born in Floyd County , Virginia , his Mother died before he was one. George left home at age 11, he worked on family farms for room and board. While working on farms George learned carpenter skills. In 1891 while working in Raleigh County , WV he met and married Juliana Mills. Family tradition says Juliana was part Cherokee Indian. Many Cherokee Indians avoided the “Trail of Tears” march to Oklahoma . Those who did not make the march became known as the Eastern Band of the Cherokees, There were several (inter racial marriages) Indian and White families living in the hills of West Virginia .

Typical housing occupied by Cherokee/White families 

George found work as a carpenter at the Eccles, Raleigh County , WV coal mines. In 1914 there was a catastrophic explosion at the Eccles Number 5 mine. Many miners were killed or maimed and the mines cut back their work force. George found work as a carpenter on Armstrong Creek, Fayette County . He helped build tipple number 2 and company houses at Elkridge. Work as a carpenter slowed down. George found work in Ohio ; he moved his family by railroad box car. In the mid 20's George returned to Elkridge to work as a carpenter caring for the company houses. Returning to Elkridge they drove thru the creek 20 times. Juliana died in 1934. In the late 30's George married a widow from Milton , WV . In the early 40's George and Rosie moved to a small farm in Ohio . For the grandchildren visiting Grandpa and Rosie on their farm for a week or two during the summer was a real vacation.

 Notes from Nell PRICE Kincaid. My Mother was about 5'2" tall, black hair, brown eyes. She wore her hair in a bun on the back of her head. She never had short hair. She wore mostly black dresses and an apron. She was a very good cook; she could crochet, knit and sew beautifully. My Dad was rather tall and thin, gray eyes and very thin gray hair. He wore a moustache. He was a super good Dad to all of the children. He never said an unkind word to anyone, or said anything bad about anyone. Our minister lived out of town and visited once a month. The minister always stayed at our home. When we had company the children ate after the company ate. The children would stand around and wonder if the Preacher would leave enough food for them.

When the Kincaid family of 4 located to Elkridge during the depression they lived in this building located at George's house.

Children of George and Juliana Price

CLARENCE 1893-1971, Spouse Nellie Kelley; PEARL 1894-1920 Spouse Frank Weed; ERNEST 1897-1983; Spouse Myrtle Atha; ETHEL 1899 died young; GRACE 1901-1982 Spouse Bill Bobbitt; ESTEL 1904-1976 Spouse Harriett Hoover; Still Born 1906; NELL 1908-1997 Spouse Tom Kincaid; LILLIAN 1910-1995 Spouse Coy England; ROY 1914-1944 Spouse Mary Simmons.

Family reunion 1946: Left to right Bill Bobbitt (Grace's husband); Tom Kincaid (Nell's husband); Mildred Collins (Ernest daughter); Mabel Miles (Pearls daughter); Glenna Williams (Pearl's daughter); Thelma Dempsey (Ernest's daughter); Estel; Rosie (George's 2nd wife); Nell; George; Grace; Sue Carol (Roy's daughter); Mary (Roy's wife); Ernest; Myrtle (Ernest's wife); front row Ann Miles; Barbara Price; Jack Miles; Gary Dempsey; Pat Kincaid; Nancy Bobbitt.

 

Tipple in the early 1900’s                         Tipple in the 1950’s

In the early 1950’s the coal mine at Elkridge stopped producing coal. In the years the mine produced coal we were an important part of the awesome strength that was America . To those who grew up there; Elkridge was America at her best. We lived a simple but good life; we participated fully in the war effort; the coal produced in the mine helped win the war, some 20% of the adult males served in the military. Our town had voluntary character building actives such as scouting that gave us our core values. We did not know we were poor, we did not know you needed money to be happy, we were happy because we had each other.                                                

Elkridge was our shinning city on the hill