March, 1970



By J. Hoge T. Sutherland

    Elihu Jasper Sutherland was my teacher, my adviser, my co-worker, my close relative. Our fathers were brothers, our mothers were sisters. His early home was my home, and my home as his home. I wish to tell you about him.
     In 1962 Elihu Jasper Sutherland sketched the lives of several pioneer leaders in Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise Counties. He gave the title, "Some Sandy Basin Characters" to his book. One of his characters was his grandfather, William Sutherland, with whom he lived as a boy. The viewpoint is taken in this sketch that perhaps the most versatile character that ever lived in the Sandy Basin was Elihu Jasper Sutherland himself.
     Sandy Basin contains about six hundred square miles and covers portions of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise Counties, on the headwaters of the Russell Fork of Big Sandy River. All of its main streams, Russell Fork, Pound, Cranesnest and McClure, flow out of the basin northward through "The Breaks," a deep chasm cut through the Cumberland (Pine Mountain) on the Kentucky border.


     Elihu Jasper Sutherland was born December 22, 1885, five years after his native Dickenson County became Virginia's youngest or "Baby County." He was named for the oldest brothers of his father and mother, Jasper Sutherland and Elihu Counts. His father, William B. Sutherland, was a minister of the Primitive Baptist Church for fifty years, and was moderator of the Washington District Primitive Baptist Association 1897-1914 and 1934-1943. William B. Sutherland (1861-1897), and a member of the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors for
several terms. His father, William Sutherland, had been a member and chairman of the first County Board of Supervisors from 1880 to 1887.

     An incident illustrates how William B. Sutherland followed his convictions. As a member of the Board of Supervisors, he and a fellow board member, James Smith (also a minister of the Primitive Baptist faith), refused to accept a county court order and were sent to jail. A week later, the Circuit Court Judge, H. S. K. Morrison, released them. Soon afterward, another son was born to William B. and Eliza Sutherland and he was named (naturally) Judge Morrison Sutherland.
     The mother of Elihu Jasper Sutherland was Eliza Jane Counts (1863-1942), a daughter of Noah and Aily (Amburgey) Counts, one of a large family reared by these pioneer settlers on Lick Creek - seven miles upstream from Sandlick on Russell Fork River. His mother's memory of family lineage and traditions, coupled with the stimulation of finding out about families and pioneer days as told by his grandmother, Sylvia (Counts) Sutherland, started Elihu Jasper Sutherland on the way to becoming an authoritative genealogist and historian.
     When Elihu Jasper Sutherland died on July 9, 1963, at the age of 78 years, he was survived by his wife, Hetty, and two sons, William Hubert and James Douglas Sutherland. Five brothers and three sisters also survived -
Fitzhugh Lee of Tiny, Virginia; Daniel Ellyson of Au Gres, Michigan; Judge Morrison of St. Paul, Virginia; Troy Kilby of Lee High Acres, Florid; William Greear of Clintwood, Virginia; Phoebe Sutherland of Orlando, Florida;

Lillie Sutherland Compton of Standardsville, Virginia; and Sylvia Sutherland Dye who still lives at the old home place, Fairview, at Tiny, Virginia. He was preceded in death by two brothers, John Morgan (Cuba), and an infant,

Noah Sutherland, and a sister, Belle Sutherland Compton.

     "E. J.'s" wife, Hetty Swindall Sutherland, enthusiastically joined in all his activities - typing and helping arrange his voluminous collections, giving companionship in his happy home life and on hikes, and encouraging
him in his many accomplishments. Her parents were the late Milburn E. and Ardelia Austin Swindall. Their older son, William Hubert, is a mining engineer holding responsible positions with several companies and the rank of

major in the active reserve corps; is married to Thora (Toy) McElrath, mother of his two daughters, Sharon Leigh and Susanne Kareen. Their younger son, James Douglas, was named for the first Sutherland forbear in America, "Jamie the Scotchman," is a Phi Beta Kappa physicist now with the Naval Missle Center at Point Mugu, California.


     At the age of six, "E. J." as he came to be known by closest friends, began his educational career at Sulphur Spring School, established on the land of his grandfather a mile away on Frying Pan Creek. His teacher was Noah R. Grizzle whose father, William F. Grizzle, had been the first teacher of this school and was the first treasurer of Dickenson County. Other teachers at this school to challenge his young mind were Richard Daniel Boone Sutherland, about whom he wrote a sketch in "Some Sandy Basin Characters;" Tivis Colley Sutherland, his double first cousin and brother of this writer, who later practiced medicine for fifty years in the Sandy Basin; and the first woman teacher in Dickenson County (she married his first teacher), Mrs. Ura K. Swindall Grizzle who at age 97 now lives in the home of a daughter in Kingsport, Tennessee. Parrott Kiser was his teacher the first year this writer went to school, in 1904, at Sulphur Spring. "EJ" then became my teacher in 1906 and 1908. He taught in Buchanan County, in 1905.
     In February, 1906, "EJ" received new inspiration as he enrolled in the class of Milton William Remines at Clintwood. Mr. Remines had attended the famous National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio, and for about half of his sixty-five school years was superintendent, principal and teacher in history, "Meet Virginia's Baby," in 1955, it was dedicated to Milton William Remines.
     In the summer of 1906, "EJ" was among the Dickenson County teachers who attended the Big Stone Gap Teachers Institute. During the month of special instructions, he not only learned new skills in school methodology but, on July 4, he witnessed his first baseball game. Five years later, he was a star on a Dickenson County team that toured Wise County, playing two games at Big Stone Gap and one at Coeburn. In his opinion, one of the best baseball games ever played by Dickensonians was on this tour, July 26, 1911, at Big Stone Gap, The Dickenson All-Stars, some of whom had played on Chattanooga school teams, won 3 to 0. The Sluggers of Big Stone Gap got two hits off Corbett Senter, one of my Sulphur Spring teachers in 1909, and who later became a four-letter athlete at Georgia Tech.
     In January, 1909, a turning point in his education began when "EJ" entered Chattanooga High School. His interest in amateur journalism had already begun in 1907 while attending the Big Stone Gap Teachers' Institute, when he became a member of the Southern Amateur Journalist Association. His first amateur paper was called THE VIRGINIAN with four issues in 1908. At Chattanooga he quickly became an officer of the Chattanooga Amateur Press Club. For some years he was a member of the National Amateur Press Association. A lifetime of writing and recording historical data has been one of his greatest contributions.
     While attending Chattanooga High School, perhaps a bit older than some of his classmates, he was an excellent student and participated in every activity, including athletics, dramatics, debating, literary society and hiking club.
     He earned his way by carrying the morning paper in Chattanooga, and became aware of the world of work about him to stir his interests which continued over fifty years to his final illness.
     After graduation from high school, he became an outstanding student at the University of Chattanooga where he received his B. A. Degree on June 5, 1917. Although small in size and weight, he was a sprinter and varsity player in football. His interest in all activities challenged him. His poetic and other writings had increased, and his leadership among his fellows had been established. World War I came and he was off to Camp Jackson, South Carolina to train recruits.
     As he was mustered into Federal Service on August 15, 1917, he received his commission. His plea to be sent overseas with a fighting unit was not accepted, and he remained with the training program as first lieutenant.
He was discharged as reserve captain on April 24, 1919. As a member of the American Legion, and in other capacities, until his death, he continued to perform services to his fellow comrades.

     "EJ" returned to Chattanooga a few days after his discharge, then on May 3, 1919, he entered in his diary, "Homeward bound." That summer he worked on the farm, worked and played ball on the "Upper and Lower Diamonds," attended meetings (church, school board, good roads), weddings, dances and other events of his home community and county - ever taking advantage of contacts with older people to record genealogical and historical data. In a writing dated July 10, 1924, he described a July 4 celebration on Frying Pan in 1919 when over 500 men, women and children assembled at the Upper Ballground to welcome home nineteen World War I soldiers. There were athletic events, a period of close-order-drill and setting up exercises by the soldiers directed by Lt. Elihu
Jasper Sutherland, a big dinner on the ground, a patriotic address by William B. Sutherland, and finally a close baseball game in which the civilian team (one of whom was his brother Lee) beat out the soldiers by 5 to 4 score.

     Another highlight of this first summer back home since leaving for Chattanooga ten years earlier was a special dinner in his honor, prepared by his mother and sisters, with at least seventy-five friends and relatives attending (Diary: 9-16-19). A few days later he returned to the University of Chattanooga where he received his LLB degree on May 4, 1920.
     June 28, 1920, "EJ" again returned to Fair View to enjoy the remainder of that year in activities much the same as those of the preceding summer. One of the weddings recorded in his diary (August 5, 1920) was that of his brother Judge to Ruth Powers.
     That school term he taught again - Sulphur Spring (August-December, 1920) and "Big Seven" in Clintwood (January-April, 1921). Among his students at the home school were his younger brothers Troy and Greear and his sister Sylvia. Sylvia and Troy were also among his students in this special 7th grade group in
Clintwood preparing to take the State Teacher's Examination.

     Elihu Jasper Sutherland spent most of his life in three homes. From 1885 to 1909 his first home was Fair View, a mile above Frying Pan Creek. Excepting two years of service during World War I, Chattanooga, Tennessee, was his home wile obtaining his formal education. He began practice of law in Clintwood in 1921,
married September 11, 1926, and established his third and last earthly home, Sunset Hill, overlooking the town of Clintwood.

                  His Interests Knew No Bounds

     Most persons can be identified with one characteristic of special interest. Elihu Jasper Sutherland seemed to have been curious about everything under the sun and developed many talents. From his first known Scotch ancestor, James Sutherland, he inherited the trait of thrift and tenaciousness. From his Germanic grandfather's great grandfather, John Counts (of Glade Hollow) came the tendency to scholarship and accuracy. From his grandmother's grandmother, red-haired Irish Peggy Kelly, came his poetic flair. In the veins of his ancestors also came English blood. From all his many ancestors, "EJ" received a rich heritage.
     I shall review some of the outstanding interests of Elihu Jasper Sutherland and shall often illustrate by quotations.
     He valued schools. He was a teacher, County School Board Chairman, and counsellor. IN November, 1938, he wrote:
     "And books - being a younger child. I got the old books as my brother finished with them. I dug 'sang' to get my first new books. You can be sure they were precious to me."
     "The coming of visitors - the school superintendent riding a prancing horse, trustees often coming on foot, and patrons of the school smiling on all the scholars and bragging on the teacher. Sometimes they gave us short talks about the value of schools - the benefits of being good - making good citizens - their humble advice still helps us over rough spots in the road of life - Do your teachers take time to teach you the Golden Rule and 'memory gems?' - to warn you of the dangers of strong drink and bad company? The old teachers taught much along these lines - their labors bore choice fruits." (1)
     He was a student of politics. In 1901, "EJ" was sent for three months to Stratton School, twelve miles from home, where his cousin Thurman L. Sutherland was his teacher. In his "School Recollections," (December 12, 1937), he wrote:
     "I learned very well from my books, and my outlook on the world was considerably widened by being farther from home and meeting people from other sections. Reading the newspapers and hearing men talk about legal and political questions awakened my interest in these matters."
     Writing on party politics later in life, "EJ" gave his opinions and commented, "I have been a Young Democrat a long time - I couldn't be anything else." (2)
     He was a Genealogist. He was a member of the National Genealogical Society. His studies of the Counts and related families are recorded in more than fifty loose-leaf notebooks of original data. He traveled to many courthouses to copy exact records, interviewed relatives or neighbors and secured Bible or other written records about persons. 
     I recall his skill in getting facts from an Incident in 1944 when we were trying to find the Bedford County home of our common grandfather's grandfather, "Jamie the Scotchman" Sutherland. He had first gotten from the country court records the chain of title of the land our ancestor owned, and it was clear that it was known as the "Alexander Gray Place." When we approached the location, we asked a man pruning a tree for information. He said he had never heard of James Sutherland, and this was to be expected since "Jamie" sold the land in 1799. He also said he had never heard of Alexander Gray. Then "EJ's" skill in interviewing came to the rescue. He suggested Alexander might have been called "Alex". Then the light dawned, "Oh," said the man who did not know Alexander Gray, "I married Alex Gray's granddaughter." Now we were given exact information as to how to go and, with others helping and commenting, we were directed to "two large walnuts near a pile of stones and debris," near an old graveyard. This was the place where James Sutherland had lived some twenty years before moving to Catawba Creek and later to Carbo on the Clinch River in Russell County, Virginia. (3) 
     He kept accurate records. During his lifetime he collected fifteen picture albums and approximately 125 scrapbooks. Fifty-five of the latter contain Dr. Goodridge Wilson's "The Southwest Corner," complete from the first entry (3-31-29) to the present, which Hetty has kept up the past five years. His collection of more than a hundred loose-leaf notebooks (typed pages) include the proceedings of each Counts Reunion from the first in 1936 through 1969; "Recollections" of oldest citizens dating back to the Civil War; Family Bible Records, Church Records, County Court House Records of Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina; Tombstone Inscriptions; Genealogy; Folk Lore; "Heard on Frying Pan," Old Letters, A Bibliography of Southwest Virginia, copies of diaries (his own and some others); and his own writings including speeches, accounts of tours and hikes, and "Seen from Sunset Hill." 
     His diaries began in January, 1904, and I quote from his next to the last entry at Johnston Memorial Hospital on July 3, 1964.
     "Woke up early. Pretty good night. Breakfast: milk, toast, orange juice, 2 eggs, oatmeal. Dr. Barrow visited. Usual injections. Billy came by and stayed awhile, then went to Emory for Toy. Dinner: milk, potato, fish, tomatoes. Billy and Toy came in awhile; Maxie Mullins and Elsie, Ralph Selfe, Tim Fleming. Supper: milk, liver, lettuce, mashed potatoes, slice watermelon. Robert Lee Barrett placed in my room. Light rain in P. M. Late visitors: Gabe and Tim, Hoge and May.
     He was a close observer of events and their meaning. In 1941, he edited his old column in The Dickenson Forum entitled, "Seen from Sunset Hill," with comments on books, seasons of the year, courts, county fair, family reunions, boyhood memories, deaths of older citizens, schools, politics, etc. See "EJ's" mind in motion as he describes "Payday t the Mines" in 1938:
     "A drizzly Saturday did not dampen the ardor of the crowds that slopped through the narrow streets, gathered on porches and under the sparing shelter of sickly trees, crowded the commissary, restaurant, postoffice and drug store. All were happy, even boisterous. Cars were parked along the street as far as the eye could see, or honked and twisted and squeezed slowly through the choked thoroughfare - part and parcel of this moving drama of the coal-abounding hills - payday for the sweat and toil of two weeks underground."
     "By twelve o'clock lines began to form at the pay windows, little men, big men, old men, young men, women, children fell into line." 
     "One-thirty - the pay windows opened - the miners or members of their families began filing past. Each signed a slip of paper, and an envelope was thrust out. The recipients stepped aside, carefully opened the packet, counted the contents, smiled a little, and wandered off."
     "A crippled beggar sat hunched at the head of the steps, hand outstretched. Another beggar, blind, holding a battered banjo in one hand and a tin cup in the other. Still another blind supplicant strummed a guitar and helped his timid, sad-eyed daughter sing snatches of a plaintive song - it was payday for the beggars too."
     "Beggars were not the only ones who held out hands to these toilers - local merchants, car dealers, garage owners, lawyers, collecting officers, tax collectors, etc., waiting for the man with the pay envelope. Quietly and in great good humor, creditors met debtors, exchanged friendly greetings and some crisp bills for scrawled receipts, and passed on - laughter was predominant - there was no disorder."
     "In two hours over thirty thousand dollars had trickled out of the company's till into the hands of miners - this money would go into every corner of the county - thirty thousand dollars each two weeks - sixty thousand dollars each month - three quarters of a million in one year! If this steady stream of cash should suddenly dry up, what would the people do? I wonder - " (4)
     He loved farm life. At their Sunset Hill home in Clintwood, "EJ" and Hetty had their own garden and, until the sons went to college, kept a cow and chickens. Hear him recall his boyhood experiences in the Lower Field of his old Frying Pan farm home:
     "The old rail fence has rotted down; the hillsides and flats are covered with a tangle of briers and young trees. Gone are the corn rows, the wheat shocks, and the timothy cocks. But the old, well-beaten footpath from the Middle Bars to the Lower Barn still leads across the center of the Lower Field. Also, one can see, hidden in the full-leaved bushes, a few rock piles made years and years ago by hands that have passed on and work no more."
     "This path still intrigues me - as well as the Lower Field. It was the Way Out - a shining road over the shining fields - on which beckoned glorious adventures and gruesome dangers. It holds many happy memories for those who, as lads and lassies, tripped along in the gaiety of unworried youth to school or church at Sulphur Spring."
     "I can see Old Suz, the gray mule that helped raise the family, strain at the gears as she steadily tramps from end to end of the long corn rows pulling a bulltongued plow. Across the field below her, in rows already prepared by the plow, I can discern, moving slowly, slowly, with flashing, clinking hoes, a conglomeration of toilers - from age-bowed Grandpa to little tots useful only to step on hills of corn and beans already hoed or to carry tin buckets of cooling water to the workers. My mother and sisters often helped us in the fields. At noon Old Suz had such acute ears that she was first to hear the shrill call of the dinner horn, and she would instantly start straight toward the house wherever she happened to be." 
     "We have spent many happy hours hunting in the Lower Field - day and night. In this field we often found signs of foxes, coons, possums, polecats, minks and partridges. One night we lay out all night by a large oak by the edge of the field in which the dogs had treed a coon. At dawn, chilled to the bone but very happy, we watched Grandpa drop the coon from the tree-top with a rifle shot." (5) 
     He was a prolific writer, and helped get out many publications. In 1935, "EJ" spoke of himself to a Dickenson Memorial High School English class:
     "Sutherland began to write as soon as he could borrow a piece of chalk and root some weaker fellow pupil away from the blackboard."
     "He does not know why he began to write. His recollection does not antedate his desire to read and, when he found out that what he read was just what somebody else had written, he became smitten by the author's fever to see some of his own thoughts in print. They all get that way.* He has a small volume of poetry, 'Remembering You,' in the hands of a printer. He has the following volumes in course of preparation: "History of Dickenson County," "James Sutherland and His Descendants," "John Counts and His Descendants," "John Amburgey and His Descendants," and "Some Sandy Basin Characters."** He has planned so much and completed little." (6)
     In 1917, he published a 35 page book of poems, "The Sunken Star." In 1951, he published "In Lonesome Cove," another volume of poetry. In 1947, he had bound in one volume called "Stray Straws," seven previous publications. He helped plan and carry out the fiftieth birthday party for Virginia's "Baby County" in 1930 and, twenty-five years later, edited "Meet Virginia's Baby." This pictorial history of Dickenson County, was described by his son Jamie in these words:
     "The famous official document of the 1955 Diamond Jubilee of Dickenson County** Not just a dry 'history book' but a warm human account in words and pictures of the hardy pioneers and their off-spring who hewed out our 'Diamond in the Wilderness' from the rough ridges and meager bottomlands of the Sandy Basin." (7)
     In 1962, he published "Some Sandy Basin Characters." At the time of his death, he and the writer were collaborating on another Dickenson County history to include data on schools and some twenty pioneer families.
     He organized in 1936 the Counts Family Reunion. This reunion of one of Southwest Virginia's largest families, has been held annually at various locations, except for four years during World War II. It has produced enormous genealogical research on the descendants of John Counts of Glade Hollow, who settled in 1787 near Lebanon in Russell County, Virginia, including Amburgey, Colley, Deel, Fuller, Kelly, Kiser, Rasnick and Sutherland families. "EJ" helped other families with their reunions - as Mullins, Musick, and Smith.
     The reunions, discontinued during World War II, were renewed at Cleveland, Virginia, in 1946, with "EJ" as President. He inspired and welded the group together. Perhaps no labor of his life gave him greater satisfaction than working with this family organization. I quote from his 1946 address:
     "The greatest regret that comes to your President at this time is the absence of the faces of so many of our strongest and most beloved supporters and relatives. During the past five years the Grim Reaper has continued to thrust his scythe of death among our people, and its keen blades has found many shining marks. The long list of the Counts Dead, covering the last five years, will be read to you today. You will find that hardly a family has escaped this Death Angel. This is an inexorable law of life. Death comes and reaps - but life goes on in other bodies. When we are gone, others will grasp the flag and move forward. It is the will of God." (8)
     He was an authoritative literary critic.  The book-lined shelves of his home attest to his life-long quest for any historical data. At an early age he resolved to spend one-tenth of his income on worth-while books, writing (February 8, 1906) in his diary:
     "One of my most supreme desires has been* to collect a library of choice books* and have them arranged so that they will be a source of comfort and information to me and of interest and recreation to my friends and visitors. God willing, I will accomplish this."
     In 1952 he was invited to speak at an Institute of Literature at Radford College on "Literature in Southwest Virginia." His penetrating review of histories, poems, novels, columns and other written releases was outstanding. He said he had data on at least 2000 literary items from Southwest Virginia, and deplored the poor circulation of our literary materials outside our area.
     Hear "EJ" tell of adding a new book to his library:
     "A Narrative of Wise County" by Charles A. Johnson - It has arrived! For months I have been itching to hold it in my hands, to open it slowly, and to feast my eyes upon its satisfying contents. No other event of like kind has ever so firmly held me in its grasp of anticipation."
     "Now I have seen it - have handled it - have pored avidly over its pages - have looked with wide eyes into a past that is dead yet liveth. Out of its pages smile faces of men and women who have toiled amid our hill-country and made it a peace and comfort - have dreamed dreams and seen visions that have amazingly come true - have laughingly faced vast dangers and chilling adversities and come forth conquerors over them all, to leave to the sons and daughters thru the ages a record of honor and a land of promise and fulfillment - an engrossing chronicle ably told - an authentic cross section of the life of our own people by the facile hands of one of the actors in the picture unfolded - a story of the rich and poor, the white and the black, the saint and the sinner." (9)
     He was a master of description of facts and events. His grandparents had helped settle the Sandy Basin. He talked with many persons and secured their "Recollections" of pioneer days. He saw with his own eyes most of the changes that came to his native county on the very headwaters of the Basin. In spite of multiple responsibilities, he went to more funerals, meetings or other important events than most people do. He joined a vast throng near Carbo, on Clinch River, June 30, 1934, gathered at the home of "Aunt Rachael" Kiser, a granddaughter of "Jamie the Scotchman" Sutherland, to observe her one hundredth birthday. He thought on the changes that had come during this centenarian's lifetime and wrote:
     "In this immediate neighborhood she has lived her whole long life. She is the last of her generation. All her twelve brothers and cousins are dead. She has helped rear four later generations, and is now the only living link on the Clinch that connects the Jackson era with the Roosevelt era. Over these long years she has seen startling changes. The forests have been pushed back to the hill-tops and even they have only scrubby trees and bushes; new fields have been cleared and new houses built in every direction; gone are the wolves, the bear, the deer and other big game, leaving only a few marauding foxes and scudding rabbits; bridle paths have changed to hazardous wagon roads, and they in turn have widened and straightened into modern highways, many of them hard-surfaced and permanent; automobiles and trucks have chased the horse-drawn vehicles from the roads; water-mills are almost gone, vanquished by the gas engine; log cabins have disappeared and in their places have appeared painted bungalows, or flimsy slattern boxed hovels the railroad, built in 1890 along Clinch River in sight of Aunt Rach's door has brought transportation and wealth to farmers and stock raisers; numerous farm and home conveniences have lightened and quickened the labors of the whole family; many of the younger generations have gone out from this little community to people the whole nation. Verily she has watched the face of the country, and the lives of the inhabitants, change immeasurably during the last hundred years." (10)
     He helped gather and preserve examples of our mountain folk-lore. In his collection "Folk Games from Frying Pan Creek," published in Southern Folklore Quarterly in December 1946, "EJ" defends his heritage and contends that some of the old plays were used by the nobility of England and Scotland centuries ago, and that they were "good enough" for our American grandparents. All older Frying Pan settlers knew them.
     The Library of Congress has many recordings of folk songs gathered with "EJ's" aid in the county. One of the singers was Mrs. Hetty Austin Swindall, his wife's aunt. A duplicate of Mrs. Swindall's songs, preserved in the Library of Congress, has just been secured by his granddaughter. 
     An old song, "Needle's Eye," was also known in North Carolina and Kentucky. Jesse Stuart took a line from it as title for one of his books, "The Thread That Runs So True," the story of a Kentucky mountain school teacher: 
     "Needle's eye, you must supply
          The thread that runs so true;
     I have gained all that is in this house,
          Now I have just gained you." (11)
     He published in 1940 in the Southern Folklore Quarterly, "Vance's Song." Richard Chase depended on him in his search for folklore of the Appalachian Mountains. Dr. Arthur Kyle Davis of the University of Virginia found his folklore collection of the best.
     He helped organize the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia. As an officer, he wrote the Constitution and By-laws adopted by this society March 17, 1961. With membership of approximately one hundred, the society promotes historical studies and preservation of manuscripts. Its meetings rotate quarterly between the six counties it serves - Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise. Four publications have been released by the society. The first, containing one sketch and pertinent information about the society, was prepared and placed in the hands of the publisher by "EJ" who did not live to see it come off the press. Each of the other three contains some eight to ten sketches. His will stipulates that his historical collection "be kept together and displayed and known as the 'Elihu J. Sutherland Collection', and plans are for these to be deposited in the Archives of the Historical Society at Clinch Valley College in Wise where space has been set aside for the society's materials.
     He helped get better roads. Then other improvements were soon to follow. He participated in hearings before the Board of Supervisors and the Virginia Department of Highways. He was constantly working for highway improvement, making before and after pictures of roads, and he burst into poetic song when he saw the first snowplow on Frying Pan Creek; 
     "Long, long ago the pioneers built homes
     About this valley, hidden in the hills,
     They fought the beasts and cleared the
          virgin slopes.
     And drank clear water from its singing rills.
     They never, since the settlement began,
     Dared dream of snow-plows come to
          Frying Pan." (12)
     "EJ's" contribution to highways is shown in a letter from Lon B. Rogers, Chairman of the Breaks Interstate Park Commission:
     "With the arrival of this week's DICKENSONIAN, I learned for the first time that Mrs. Sutherland wished flowers omitted and money given for the Blowing Rock Road in his memory. I am happy to enclose a check for this purpose."
     ****Without Highway 80, it can be safely said that there would be no Interstate Breaks Park today. Judge Sutherland was one of the promoters of that Highway Association and of the Breaks Interstate Park** it was his suggestion that we compromise on the name** E. J. was one of the organizers of the Breaks Park Association, which after the compact between Kentucky and Virginia, signed in 1964, was changed to BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK ASSOCIATION.**
     "It would be most appropriate for the Blowing Rock Trail to be named in his honor** (13)
     He loved nature and the outdoors, and was constantly recording his feelings about the changing seasons. "E" often enjoyed hikes with his wife and others to Blowing Rock and Birch Knob (two highest points in Dickenson County), and other places. As a child he was fascinated when he could view from his home the 3000 foot pinnacle on the Virginia-Kentucky border. He made "A Trip to Old Baldy" in 1956 and wrote:
     "I resolved to scale its ramparts some day and view the unknown lands on the other side of that mountain wall. I had no thought then that it would be more than sixty years before I would accomplish that childish resolution** I crossed our continent and visited Mexico and Canada before I finished my homeland exploration."

     In an editorial entitled simply "EJ" (The Dickensonian, July 17, 1964), Glenn Kiser, wrote:
     "He spent a lot of time exploring the more inaccessible areas of the county, particularly Cumberland Mountain for which he formed a great affection as a boy at his ancestral home on the ridge above Frying Pan Creek. He resolved then that some day he would walk the crest of that rugged ridge from Pound Gap above Jenkins, Kentucky, to The Breaks. **EJ walked sections of it at odd intervals when he could find the time.** That task he completed at the age of 75."
     He was recognized to have a true poetic nature. He published two books of delicate verse - "The Sunken Star" in 1917, and "In Lonesome Cove" in 1951. The second volume was dedicated to his devoted wife, who, he said, gave invaluable service as typist, research assistant, and in improving the style and contents of his published volumes.
     In The Dickensonian, October 17, 1960, Glen Kiser commented on the Poetic inclinations of Elihu Jasper Sutherland: 
     "His poems, written at odd intervals in his extremely busy life, accurately reflect the gentle melancholy and loneliness of the people of the Cumberlands. In his poetry, Judge Sutherland never puts techniques ahead of heartfelt emotions and cherished values of the people and the region he celebrates. Dialect poems, poems commorating great epochs in the history of our nation - all are handled with the same easy competence of language, and all show the author's preoccupation with the basic human concerns with stir men's hearts everwhere and in all ages. His poems are reservoirs of spiritual peace and replenishment."
     In Lonesome Cove, he breathes A Prayer
          "Lord, give me strength to move the stones
               From out my neighbor's way;
          And may I see him smile his thanks
               Before I pass away.

          "Lord, let me stand upon the Mount
               Of Friendly Hope and Cheer,
          And hear the people softly say;
               "He lent me a hand while here."

          "Lord, make me mindful of the need
               Of others as they cry;
          Do let me sing a helpful song
               Before my time comes by." (15)

          "I SHARED MY GIFTS"
     His interests and gifts were boundless. Elihu Jasper Sutherland found time to work with the Clintwood Kiwanis Club, the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross, the American Legion Post #66 of Dickenson County. He was County Chairman of the Office of Price Administration during World War II, a member of the Dickenson County Bar Association, the Parent-Teacher Association, the Dickenson County Mutual Fire Insurance Association, attorney for local banks and the town of Clintwood. He was historian for the Sandlick Primitive Baptist Church and the Washington District Primitive Baptist Assocation. He was Commonwealth's Attorney for Dickenson County 1924-27; Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court 1931-34; Substitute Trial Justice 1934-48 and Trial Justice 1948-56; County Court Judge 1956-63. He served on the Clintwood Town Council and was Mayor of the town 1938-40. In 1945-46, "EJ" prepared a new charter for Clintwood replacing the old one adopted in 1894. About the same time he drew to scale a detailed map of the town, which was enlarged and made into blue prints by his son Billy while an engineering student at VPI. He prepared the Clintwood Zoning and Building Ordinance which was adopted in 1956.
     "EJ's" gifts have long been shared with students and fellow researchers in genealogical and historical fields. Inquiries directed to public officials of the county have been turned over to him and, since his passing, they are referred to Herry. A recent one, for which much information was sent from his files, was from the Research Department of Johns Hopkins regarding the "inheritance of longevity" of Mrs. Isabel Louvina (Wright) Stanley who died in this county on April 6, 1926, at the age of 98 years.
     Other examples of his shared gifts are:
     Ed Kahn of the University of California at Los Angeles, wrote: "For years I have been using his excellent scholarship as an example to my classes of how the local scholar can often get to the heart of a matter much more rapidly than the outsider - if the local person is really a first rate scholar. **Dickenson County in War Time** is of especial interest to me as the period I am treating in my dissertation is the mid 1920's until about the beginning of the second World War. This publication is one of the best pictures of the change** as a result of the first War that I have seen." (16)
     Stanley Willis of the University of Virginia, spent a couple of days in "EJ's" library the summer of 1966, and wrote:
     "My research trip to the Southwest was most successful. Not only did I get much necessary information on E. Lee Trinkle, but I also was able to get some feel of the area and the attitudes of its people." (17)
     During his unusually healthy life, "EJ" several times yielded to the demands of what he called "General Lum Bago." Then he confided:
     "Enforced bed-occupancy has had its compensations. I have had a little time to indulge my passion for reading, even to the exhaustion of my eyes. I have waded joyously through several novels, volumes of poetry, histories, biographies and magazine articles."
     "While lying flat on my domineering back, I have had some interesting adventures in mental meanderings. I am going to mention a few - length of this attack, office work piling up, clients urging speedy action, Dog Branch Community celebration, Smith Family reunion, trial day at Haysi, monthly meeting of Dickenson Mutual boys - the Giants and softball, politics, building of the Clintwood Community House, the briefness of time and life - why the earth, stars, crickets, sky, ships, sun, books, water, planets, love.**" (18)
     Holiday Sutherland, a cousin and oldest member of the Dickenson County Bar Association, commented as he presented the Association's Resolutions of Respect after "EJ's" death:
     "I have known and been intimately associated with him from infancy, and my feeling in his loss is naturally keener and deeper than those who only met him in the forum of legal contact or appeared before him in the performance of their duties as attorneys or other social amenities."
     "When he was born there was no railroad nearer than Abingdon, no electric lights, radio, television or telephone. A daily paper was unknown in the county, and a weekly was scarce. The forests were unbroken except a few small steep hillside farms, which were far apart. What the people called roads were paths from which fallen timbers and shrubs had been cut and removed. Tallow candles with occasionally a small kerosene lamp was the means of illumination at night. Surroundings like these confronted Judge Sutherland in his start on life's journey."
     "But instead of being discouraged or dismayed, undaunted, he courageously met and overcame them - his parents were of the pioneer stock that have occupied these hills since the Revolution - their heritage was of courage, honesty, frugality, hospitality, piety and virtue - while Judge Sutherland was a tireless worker and an indefatigable student of law and literature, his greatest passion was that of genealogy and history of the people of these hills. He searched the court records in counties of this and adjoining states, and could reconstruct the lives, habits and homes of the people of almost any vicinity. It was a source of amusement and delight to converse with him concerning the early settlers of this region. His paternal grandmother, who lived to be ninety years old, perhaps stimulated him to this. He was affable temper and calm in manner, but of deep convictions. He was kind both in words and action. I never heard him use a profane or unseemly word.**" (19)
     Hear what some others who knew him best had to say:
     Dr. Goodridge Wilson of Bristol, Virginia: "True friends are among the most precious possessions"" Your husband was my friend. He was a true friend. In fact he rang true in all relations of life, for truth, sincerety and honor were basic principles of his character." (20)
     Judge A. G. Lively, Lebanon, Virginia: "For the almost fifty years that I have known E. J. I have admired his fine sense of the right and he never deviated from it. I have never known a more correct lawyer and judge nor a more consistent Christian gentleman. He gave the best of his talents to every call of duty." (21)
     W. E. Rasnick, Portland, Oregon: "EJ's" life is his greatest eulogy** His work, life and writings have left a lasting impression on his county and people." (22)
     Brady Sutherland, Roanoke, Virginia: "Li was incapable of harboring a mean thought, and I say that after knowing him for a lifetime** His writings and work to help his fellow man will be a monument to his life work."

     E. Maloy Counts, Detroit, Michigan: He was probably the most moral man I ever knew; his integrity was like the solid rock." (24)
     Mrs. Ruth M. Miller, Chattanooga, Tennessee: "Many of EJ's old classmates mourn the passing of a fine friend. He was an outstanding student, loved and respected by everyone who knew him. Everything he did was done well." (25)
     Rev. Grover C. Musick, Meadowbridge, West Virginia: "I can't express in words what his friendship and fellowship has meant to me through the years, beginning at a teachers' meeting on Frying Pan Creek near his home in 1907** I was pastor of the Clintwood Baptist Church, 1920-25** This friendship and fellowship deepened through the years** I feel a deep personal loss in Elihu's home going. I feel assured he is at rest for he talked to me about his preparation to meet God one of the nights I was entertained in your lovely home." (26)
     The Family Obituary of July 1964 had this paragraph: "He attended churches of all denominations but the Primitive Baptist Church, the faith of his father and mother, has been the one most fondly cherished. His love for his fellowmen shone through all his days on earth, and his life could be summed up in two lines from one of his
own poems:

     "I shared my gifts with homeless men -
     The world was glad, and so was I." (27)
     Elihu Jasper Sutherland was laid to rest in the family cemetery atop the mountain and in sight of his boyhood home, Fairview. Here also rest his grandparents, his father and mother, two brothers, and a host of other relatives. Words from his own poetry were selected for the double tombstone.
     On EJ's side
     "I shared my gifts - The world was glad and so was I"
      On Hetty's side
     "Remembering you - Hopes long dead - Rise and beckon me ahead I live anew" (28)
(1) "Seen from Sunset Hill", November 1938; 

(2) "Seen from Sunset Hill", August 10, 1939; 

(3) "On the Trail of an Ancestor", Writings, February 7, 1945; 

(4) "Seen from Sunset Hill", June 12, 1938; (5) ; (6) Writings, April 16, 1935; 

(7) "The Dickensonian", November 27, 1964; 

(8) Counts Reunion Proceedings - 1956 (This list included the names of "EJ's" parents and his brother, "Cuba."

(9) "Seen from Sunset Hill", December 15, 1938; 

(10) "Seeing a Centenarian", Writings, June 30, 1934; 

(11) "Folk Games from Frying Pan", page 261;

(12) "In Lonesome Cove", page 53;

(13) Letter to Lundy Wright, President Dickenson County C or C, July 31, 1964; 

(14) Writings, May 8, 1956; 

(15) "In Lonesome Cove", page 58; 

(16) Letter to Mrs. Sutherland, June 18, 1968; 

(17) Letter to Mrs. Sutherland, September 9, 1966; 

(18) "Seen from Sunset Hill", June 30, 1938; 

(19) Dickenson County Common Law Order Book 19, pp 33-36; 

(20-26) Letters to Mrs. Sutherland; 

(27) "My Christmas Angel," from "The Sunken Star" page 12 - "Expressing gratitude and pleasure received from U. C. student body, while quarantined during small-pox epidemic in 1915." 

(28) "In Lonesome Cove", page 34. 

     Page 62 to 89

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