A story from
About Family and Early Norton, Virginia

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My name is William Henry Jenkins.  I was born January 9, 1892 in Wise County, Virginia at a place at that time called Princess Flats, later on named Norton from an L. & N. engineer from Louisville, Kentucky.  My mother, Mary Frazier, her mother and two sisters, Martha and Ada, and one brother, lived in Norton or Princess Flats before the railroad came to Wise County, migrating from North Carolina.  The Governor of Virginia gave to my grandmother’s brother, a retired Colonel from the Confederate Army, (Logan Henry Neal Salyer) a plat of land called Princess Flats, in Wise County, Virginia.  Logan Salyer later on gave the plat of land to my grandmother and she moved to Princess Flats with her family and built a log house near the present Connor house.  Not long after coming to Wise County, my grandfather passed away (Henry Frazier) and left Grandmother with four children to raise in the wilderness.  She was the most industrious person I have ever known.  She built a two-story wooden or frame home, the upstairs or second floor was used for living quarters, the downstairs was used for a small store.  The closest railway station was in Abingdon, Virginia.  The things that were to be sold in the store had to be hauled by wagon from Abingdon, Virginia, which took about a week, the round trip back.  One of the most interesting and exciting things that I remember grandmother telling the children, us children, was about granddad killing a bear on the south side of Old Dorchester Hill, which was visible at the time from the south side of Norton.  Near the cabin, the log house that granddad and grandmother built was a good size plot of land which was level and the soil was very rich.  On this ground they planted and raised the things that they had to survive on.  Of course they canned everything they could raise and preserved it and some of the vegetables and apples were always stored in a hole under ground.  I can still 

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remember in my days when we went to the apple hole to get apples, turnips, cabbage and things of that nature.

Not long after granddad passed, grandmother sold the most valuable part of her land which lay on the north side of the plat.  She retained the south side where the log house was built and the plot of land extended from the High Knob Road to Lost Creek on the south side of the plat.  This land was sold to Patrick Hagan who later sold it to a coal company who was to develop and dig the coal on that land that my grandmother sold to him.  On the land where Norton now stands is a city, Patrick Hagan sold to The Norton Land and Development Company to be developed for business and residences.  Soon after the railroad came into Norton, things began to boom.  Everything was on the move and it looked like we were going to have a town very soon.  Most of the building and residences were built on the west end of the plat of land known as Middle Norton, and I guess part of Middle Norton at that time was being settled.  I can remember back when I was growing up, there was a legalized still in operation just below were the laundry is today.  Near the distillery there were one or two saloons where they dispensed of the products made by the distillery.  

Back in the early days of Norton there was a lots of shootings and killings and later I will try to give you a detailed account of some of these scrapes, as well as I can remember.  

Now I have given you the information of the things that I can remember about my mother’s family and now I will try and give you some of the things that I can remember about my dad’s family.

Dad’s brother William (Bill or Billy) Jenkins, left the coal fields of Wales and came America first.  I do not know where he stopped and the different places that he stayed for a while, but I do remember he finally ended up in Wise County in Norton which looked very much like his old home mountains in Wales.  Dad came over next and stopped for a while in Roanoke, and I can remember some of the officials tried to get him to 
remain in Roanoke, but about that time they let the contract for the railroad to be built from Bluefield to Wise County.  At that time after the contract was let, Dad secured the sub-contract for building the 

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drainage on the railroad from Richlands to Norton.  Soon after Dad secured this sub-contract, Uncle George Jenkins came over and of course they all three worked in building the stone culverts on this contract.  When the road was finished to Norton, all three brothers settled in Norton, Wise County, Virginia.  I was told by my Aunt Ada Connor, my mother’s half-sister, that soon after Dad and Uncle George and Uncle Bill came to Norton, they of course had to have a place to board, so they tried and picked what they thought was the best part of town.  It turned out that grandma Frazier’s son-in law, marrying my mother Mary, who was second oldest daughter.  Then Uncle George married my mother’s first cousin.  My Dad while living in Wales, took his apprenticeship as a stone mason and no doubt laid all the stone and supervised the quarrying of the large cook and cap stone that went into culverts on the railroad.  After arriving in Norton, my Dad continued in his trade of building and no doubt built most of the brick and stone houses in Norton.  I have heard him say lots of times that he laid and supervised most of the stone building on the old hotel hill where the hospital is now located.  In latter years Mr. Fleming secured the assistance of my Dad to convert the shell of the old hotel into a residence, and Mr. Fleming lived there for several years and then the family continued to live there after his death.  This building was later on converted to a hospital and is now operated as a community hospital with several additions on to it to take care of the doctor’s offices and several other necessary rooms.  

Uncle George Jenkins secured a position as a railroad clerk in the railroad office and later was the first cashier of a bank that was organized by Mr. ??? and several of the prominent men of Norton.  He continued as a banker for the rest of his working days.  The last bank that he was in was the bank owned by Stonega  Coal and Coke Company at Appalachia, Virginia where he worked until he retired and later died. (June 13, 1942) My Uncle William (Bill) Jenkins studied law in on of the lawyer’s offices, either at Norton or at Wise.  I imagine it was Wise because most of the lawyer’s at that time were in Wise, and he, Uncle Bill Jenkins became a lawyer.  He wrote the charter for the town of Norton and was the first Mayor of the town of Norton as well as a leader.  When they wanted somebody to talk or make a speech, they always sent for Uncle Bill.  My Uncle Bill married a young lady who was 

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visiting in Norton, I cannot recall her last name, (Eugenia Smithers) but Aunt Eugie was what we called her after they were married.  She was from East Radford, Virginia.  They built themselves a home near where the Presbyterian Church now stands in Norton. 

During Uncle Bill’s practice he was hired and employed to represent some of the land owners in Wise County that was having trouble with the coal company’s trying to take over their land.  Back in those days of course, there were lots of pieces of land that the taxes were never paid and the coal company’s had a man hired to check the records at Wise, and if they found a piece of land where the taxes were delinquent, they would always build a shanty or a house on the land and hire someone to stay on the land and if this could be continued for a certain length of time, the land would belong to the coal company’s.  While this was going on, Uncle Bill and one of the land owners he was representing, threw out the squatters and burnt the shanty house to the ground.  I have always been told that that is the reason why the coal company’s hired through their land agents to destroy Uncle Bill.  He was killed near the Boise Bell building there in Norton in the year of 1900 as a young and progressive lawyer.  At that time I was a young boy, age 8, and I can very well remember we were eating our night meal and someone came running to our house over on the south side, telling Dad that his brother had been shot and was in very bad physical condition.  At that time, we did not have hospitals in Norton, so he had to be taken to his home.  He lived about three or four days after the shooting. (John Wampler shot William (Bill) Jenkins and served (1) one year in prison for the murder)  Dad and Uncle George Jenkins never did recover from this tragedy of losing their oldest brother.  

I will now give you the descendants of the three brothers.  To Uncle Bill and Aunt Eugie, four children were born.  All have passed away and the 
only living descendant is Dickie, (Richard James Jenkins) who is now in the United States Army as an officer, making it a career.


To Uncle George Jenkins and Ida Belle “Salyer” Jenkins, seven children were born.  All remain alive except one.  Two of the boys still live in the 

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southeastern part of the state of Virginia and Kentucky.  Lewis, who is one day younger then myself, lives in Cumberland, Kentucky.  Harry is a retired school teacher graduating from VPI and lives in Appalachia, Virginia.  All the other girls except Edna “Jenkins” Vance live in New Jersey or New York State.  Edna is living near Indianapolis, Indiana. (Speedway, IN)  

To my dad and my mother, Mary “Frazier” “Robbins” Jenkins seven children were born.  All have passed away except Mike and myself.  Mike was a graduate of West Point Military Academy in New York state and now lives in Pompano Beach, Florida.  In the winter time I live on a golf course that Mike owns, and in the summer time I come back to Tennessee and live in a cottage on Lake Boone.  Coming back where I can visit over into Virginia or at least to go back home once or twice a year.  My mother, Mary died when we not to old.  Dad remarried later on in years.(Alwilda “Starnes” “Baker” Jenkins) Into this marriage, six children were born.  Two of the boys, Bob and John, still live in Norton.  The other girls, with the exception of Jane who died several years ago, live in Richmond, Virginia.

The early schools around Norton were private schools, no county schools for sometime.  One of the old schools was in a two-story combination store and living quarters located above were the Holiness Church now is built.  It was taught by Miss Grace Chapman, later marrying Mr. Buchanan.  The other school, I don’t recall where the location of it was, but it was taught by Mollie Powers, who later married Bob Fink, who was quite a character, I mean Bob, I don’t mean Mrs. Fink was quite a character, around Norton in latter years.  He lived a very upstanding life and for several years, and I understand, that his wife Mollie was still alive if she has not passed on in the last one or two years.  The first school I remember going to is a country school in a little red house on the west side of Norton, just across the bridge on the bank of the road from west Norton to Dorchester.  The principal was Allen 
Snodgrass and the assistant principal was Walter Beverly, who accompanied us to school.  It was a short school, I can’t remember how 

many months, but I remember that the first months we had the chart with the big red apple on the first page.  The second few months we had 

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the primer and then the third few months, we had the first reader.  The first county or public school was built a two-story, I think it was.  The first county school building that I can remember being built in Norton was a frame two-story wooden building with classrooms on both floors was on the corner of Virginia Avenue and 10th street.  Later a three-story brick school building was built just east of the old frame building.  The two bottom stories were used for classrooms and the third floor was used for an assembly room.  Later on the assembly room also had to be used for classrooms.  Now our teacher at that time, Sam and I, my brother, were in the sixth grade, I don’t know why – he either caught up with me or I slacked back and waited on him and we continued on through school in the same class.  My teacher, our teacher I should say, in the sixth grade was Miss Lelia Bealy, a sister-in-law to Professor C. Y. Chapman, who at this time was principal of the Norton School.  At that time while I was in high school, the tenth grade was as far that was taught.  The six pupils, consisting of myself, my brother Sam, Audrey Remmer, Rebecca Kilgore and Lucy Chapman, and Ed Fraley all finished the 10th grade and were issued a diploma.  Professor J. H. Ashworth, who was principal at that time, advised us if four of us would come back, they would teach the 11th grade, making Norton High School an accredited high school.  Four of us returned, myself, brother Sam, Audrey and Rebecca.  At the time we were finished in the 10th grade, they gave us a diploma with no exercises, but when we finished the 11th grade, we were issued diplomas, therefore our class received the diploma from the same high school.  Our diplomas that were issued when we finished the 11th grade were signed by, J. N. Hillman, who was raised near Coeburn in the flatwood section, and who at that time was the county Superintendent.  It is in my belief that J. H. Hillman had more to do with the progress of Norton High School as Superintendent then any man did ever have in school work.  The class behind us consisted of four girls and one boy.  Virgie Hall who led the class, Zellie Martin, Mary Meadows and Leonora Chapman.  At the beginning of that senior class, Carl Meadows also was going to school.  He dropped 
out later and did not finish.  The four girls continued on and was the second accredited high school class to finish Norton High School.  All during high school, the latter part of my high school work, I was stuck 

on Virgie Hall.  However, we did not date during our high school work.  After I had returned from Poughkeepsie and was working at the 

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railroad station as a clerk and Vergie had gone to Roanoke College and finished her secretarial course, and working at the Norton Hardware, we began to date.  We later married and two children were born to us.  My daughter, Frances and my son, Bill.  Frances continued in high school and was the first graduate of a graduate from Norton High School.  In the third graduating class from Norton High School were the Remmer girls and my brother, Mike or Elmer, and it was tit for tat who was going to be the valedictorian, and Elmer finished first in his class.  Of course that tickled me because Audrey, who was in my class, beat me out for first place in my class.  There was also a close race in the second high school class.  Virgie Hall and Zallie Martin were the two top students and Virgie finally beat her out.  This reminds me of something that happened when Bill was going to high school in the latter years.  His mother was after him about his grades and suggested that he study a little bit and be Valedictorian of his class. Bill, right out of the clear sky told his mother that he guessed he would, if there wasn’t but just four in it.

My father’s family consisted of five boys and two girls, and I will now give you the names according to there ages.  Myself, William Henry Jenkins, my brother, Samuel J. S. Jenkins, my brother, Mike or Elmer Mike Jenkins, Josie Jenkins, Goldie Jenkins, Everett Jenkins, and Tom Jenkins.  The two girls, Josie marrying Hubert Hensley, a Norton boy, and Goldie marrying an old construction buddy of mine, Bill Gleason and both had families.  Josie having three boys and one girl, the daughter married soon after she finished high school.  The three boys, two who are living in Norton, Henry and Johnny and Buddy who lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee are still alive and have nice families.  Four of the boys developed Rheumatic Fever, Samuel died lacking one month of being twenty-two years old.  The three other boys, Tyra, Everett and 
Tom died early with Rheumatic Fever.  When Sam and I graduated from high school, our Dad told us that he could not send both of us to 

college and as I had a job, a relief job at the railroad office, I told Dad to send Sam as I had a job and could go to work at the railroad office.  So Sam decided to go to Old Richmond College.  It was his intention to become a lawyer.  In his second year at Richmond College, he became sick and had to leave school.  At that time the doctor did not know what to do, he never did tell him what was the matter, but later Sam and I 

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went to see a Heart Specialist in Louisville, Kentucky, and he told us that there was nothing we could do, that the leakage or Rheumatic Fever would finally be fatal.  The only treatment he gave us at the time was digitalis which stimulated the Heart.  After Sam had to quit school and come home, Dad told me he would send me to college.  He had been talking to Mr. F. B. Cline, who at that time was a Coka Cola man in Norton, and was a graduate of Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York.  So we decided as at that time the colleges did not give a business or bookkeeping or typing short course and also that Eastman was considered one of the foremost short course business schools in the United States, so off I went to Poughkeepsie, New York.  When I arrived at the Pennsylvania Station in New York, I had to make a transfer to the New York Central Station in order to get to Poughkeepsie.  Instead of taking a taxi, I decided to ride the street car, which would be no doubt, I felt an experience for me.  I had to make one or two transfers, I don’t remember which, but how in the world I ever made it I’ll never know.  My course consisted of bookkeeping and banking.  At that time it was a six to eight month course, so I stayed on and finished the course in about seven in a half months.  For the first two in a half to three months away from home I had the worst case of homesickness any boy ever had.  If Dad would have allowed me I would have walked from Poughkeepsie to Norton, to get back home.  After I finished the course, I returned to Norton and was told by Dad that there was an opening in the Post Office for a clerk.  I had to take an examination, which I did and passed and was appointed clerk in the Norton Post Office.  While I was working at this job we had to transfer the old building on Park Avenue to the new Mine Safety Building on Federal Street.  I worked at the Post Office for a while and later found that there was an opening for a clerk’s job at the railroad office.  At that time Mr. Murphy, Pat Murphy, W. S. or Pat, was the agent.  I made 
application for the job and was hired in as a clerk doing the same type of work that I had done all during high school as a relief clerk.  Later 

Mr. Tom Ford was appointed agent.  I worked for the railroad company long enough to be issued an annual pass, which was seven or eight years, I don’t remember just exactly which.  During World War I, my Dad approached me with the proposition to join him in construction work in and around Norton as he had to have someone to help him out.  I decided to resign from the railroad clerk’s job and entered the 

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construction game with my Dad and continued in construction work for several years.  

At the beginning I promised to give you a detail of some of the shootings and killings in early Norton history.  I remember very distinctly of a Mr. Jack Akers being killed in the Saloon next to where the Distillery was.  At that time he and his wife and son, Dewey lived as our neighbors in one of Mom and Dad’s houses.  Later on Dewey became an employee of the Old Dominion Power Company, and he worked there until he passed away.  During the early days of Norton in Wise County, most of the 4th of July Celebrations were either in Norton or Big Stone Gap.  As a general thing when the celebration was in Norton, some of the higher up men and wives would come down, get high and take over.  So the Mayor and the Council of Norton decided that they would appoint deputy town policemen to help the regular policemen keep things down.  Dad was one of the deputy policemen appointed, and also Mr. Joe Dollyhide, and probably some more but I can’t remember who.  As usual one of the Wise citizens, one of the higher up and up citizens at that, came to Norton and began to shoot up the town.  I don’t know how many times, but I have been told by Dad, that several times he and Mr. Dollyhide would take his gun away from him and place him in jail.  Each time after staying in jail a while, the Mayor Mr. John Dixon would turn him loose.  Mr. Dixon ran the livery sable just across from where the Coca Cola plant is now.  Just before dark, Dad and Mr. Joe Dollyhide was upon him again with a gun shooting, and they had a plan to take his gun away from him again.  They did not quite get to him and he began to shoot at them.  Dad and Mr. Dollyhide backed away from him to the sidewalk, which at that time were board sidewalks in Norton, and they had to step up at the end of each intersection.  Dad told me that everytime the Wise man would shoot he would shoot at the blaze of 
the pistol.  Evidently they hit him several times because he was considered in serious condition.  As soon as the shooting was over, Dad 

and Mr. Dollyhide knew that the Sheriff and his deputies from Wise would be down after both of them for shooting up one of their distinguished citizens.  He and Mr. Dollyhide went to the mountains to hide until things could settle down.  I can remember very distinctly  the night of the shooting,  the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriffs came to our home on the south side to get Dad, who was gone.  They looked under 

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the bed.  I remember them pulling the covers from off me and looked in the bed and all around the house and anywhere they figured Dad would be, but failed to find him.  After a few days or soon after the shooting, Uncle William (Bill) Jenkins, who at that time was an Attorney, advised Dad and Mr. Dollyhide to come in and he would go with them to Wise and make bond, which they did.  When the trial was set, Uncle Bill and Dad and Mr. Dollyhide had to hire, did hire some extra help, a Wise Attorney to defend them.  They were both exonerated from on account of the shooting.  However, Dad and Mr. Dollyhide were out a considerable expense as the Town Council refused to pay the Attorney fee.  I think that was the last time that Dad ever accepted an appointment as a Deputy Policeman in Norton.  However, he did spend many years as a Councilman for the Town of Norton.

My Mother’s Mother, Mrs. Drew Frazier (Lydia Drusilla Samantha Matilda “Salyer” Frazier) was a direct descendant of the Culbertson family, and according to Dr. Culbertson’s book, I give you her history of her fore parents.  William Culbertson had a son, Andrew Culbertson who married Jeanette, her maiden name is not known.  To them were born, Andrew Culbertson who married Esther, and her maiden name is not known.  To them were born Joseph Culbertson Sr., who married Agnes and her maiden name is not known.  To them were born, James Culbertson, who married Mary Kilgore.  To them were born, Tyree Culbertson, who married Mattie Vickers.  To them were born, Lydia Culbertson, who married Samuel Salyer Jr.  To them were born, Lydia Drusilla Samantha Matilda Salyer, who married Henry Frazier.  To them were born, Mary Frazier, my mother, who married my father John Jenkins, who came over from Wales as told sometime ago and helped build the railroad from Richlands to Norton.  I will not be able to give you anything on the Frazier family at this time.  However, I will 
see if I can find or trace the Frazier family back for sometime.  I have a letter from my first cousin dated April 9, 1969, written to me while I was in Florida.  He goes on to say, his letter is about some of the happenings that happened in and around the Princess Flat section during the Civil War.  The letter is as follows:  Bill, what this letter is about is this.  One time years ago, I heard you and mother talking about the raid that was made on the Salyer’s home in Princess Flats while their men were at war, at least while all of them were at war except one

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who was on furlough.  The first raid resulted in the death of one of the raiders.  Tyree Salyer shot him through a line of clothes, the bullet passed through a garment on the clothes line on the porch.  Tyree was torn up about it, because it was a fellow that he had gone to school with.  After Tyree had returned to the Army of the Confederacy, another said, these raiders as that time were called “Bushwhackers” or “Deserters”, or men that refused to either join the Confederacy or the Union Army.

Continuing with the letter from Woodrow Connor, a son of Adam Belle “Francisco” Connor and Charlie Connor, After the raid nothing was left to eat, so the women and young Frank Salyer (Ida Belle “Salyer” Jenkins father) were forced to walk across the High Knob where a man loaned them an empty house and cared for them until they could care for themselves.

I will now try to give you what little bit of information I have in regards to my Dad and his fore parents in Wales.  Beginning of the 1970, I have been corresponding with a first cousin of mine, Harold George Jenkins, a son of Uncle Thomas (Tom) Jenkins, who lives on North Vatson Farm, North Sandersfoot, Pembrokeshire, South Wales.  His telephone number is ????????  He gave me the following information in regards to Dads folks.  The Jenkins family of Sunny Hill, Jeffreyston, Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, Wales.  Lewis Jenkins and Margaret Jenkins are our Great Grandparents, lived at Sunny Hill, a small farm just a few miles from where Harold George Jenkins lives.  They had son William Jenkins, who married Mary, whose maiden name I cannot trace out.  They took over the farm and our Great Grandparents, Lewis and Margaret Jenkins went to live in a small cottage nearby.  On their death, Lewis Jenkins was 89 years old and Margaret Jenkins was 87 
years old and died in 1876 and 1875 and was buried at Cold Inn Baptist Chapel.  When Uncle Henry Jenkins, the oldest son of our Grandparents was old enough, they took over the Agency of Bonneville Coal Company.  Our Grandparents had eight children, five boys and three girls.  The boys were, Henry, William, George, John, and our Dad Thomas, who was the youngest son.  Uncle John, William and Uncle George Jenkins went to America in their early twenties, or about 1885.  The three girls, Sarah married William Morgan, Elizabeth married Joe Nichols, a carpenter, and Jane married Albert Williams who was a 

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minor and went to live in Ammonsford.  Aunt Sarah died in childbirth.  Jane’s husband Albert, had an accident in the Collaries, breaking his back in three places and died at the early age of 45.  They had one son named Clifford.  Uncle Joe Jenkins died early from cancer.  They had one son Arthur.  When our Uncle Henry married, he went to live in Pembroke and carried on business as a coal and servant.  They had one daughter.  Uncle Henry died in 1926, age 67, and was buried at St. Daniels Cemetery, about ten miles from Arthur’s home.  His wife died in 1932, age 71.  Aunt Elizabeth was buried with her husband in Nabrith Cemetery in 1920.  Our Great Grandparents were buried at Cold Inn Baptist Chapel.  Our Grandparents, William and Mary are buried at Cold Inn Baptist Chapel.  Aunt Sarah, Aunt Jane were buried at the same place, also Arthur’s Dad Thomas, was buried at Cold Inn Baptist Chapel in 1946, age 70.  Aunt Jane died in 1947.  This was the last Jenkins of Sunny Hill.  Our Dad Thomas, was a Deacon at Cold Inn Baptist Chapel for over forty years.  He was a Deacon there up until his time of death.  Our Mom, Arthur’s mother, Katherine died in 1961, age 84 and was buried at Cold Inn where Uncle Thomas was buried.  At this same Chapel, our brother Richard was youth leader when left for America.  I might state now that Uncle Tom’s two sons, Richard and Albert (Al) Jenkins, came to America about fifty year later after my Dad came over from Wales.  Richard first came to Wise County and was working with Dad and I in construction work, but he couldn’t take it.  He got homesick for some Welshmen that he went up into New Jersey, where he found a colony of Welsh, and remained there and worked for a power company until he retired.  Al Jenkins, who came over sometime later after Richard, lived in New Jersey for sometime, but eventually came to Wise County and worked with us on
construction work.  The funniest thing happened in regards to Al.  He was living at our house while he was working with us and my wife, Virgie said, Al, why don’t you set up to Katie, Dick Jenkins, Uncle Bill’s son who had a son named Dick, and you would have a ready made family.  He blushed and said, “Well, I’ve already been setting up to her”.  So he married Katie Jenkins and they now live in Norton.  In a letter from Harold George Jenkins, the son of Uncle Tom, he gave me the addresses and names of his brothers and sisters which are as follows:  Arthur Henry Jenkins, oldest in the family, now lives at Hall House, St. Florence N. R., Tenby, Pembrokeshire, South Wales, 

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Clement Bowen Jenkins now lives at North Park, Norton N. R., Sandersfoot, Pembrokeshire, South Wales, Ivor John Jenkins, now lives at Rhine Park, Norton N. R., Sandersfoot, Pembrokeshire, South Wales, sister Mary married a Stone who now lives at Tenby, New Graham School, Tenby, South Wales.  Another sister, Katherine, married a Pugh and now lives at Rigby, Fettershield, Yorkshire, Great Britain.

I would like to make a correction on the information I gave sometime ago in regard to the tract of land given to my Grandmother, Drew Frazier.  This land was given to her by her brother, Colonel Logan Salyer, by the Governor of the State of Virginia.  While we are on the subject of Grandmother Frazier, as stated before, she was one of the most industrious people I ever saw.  During her latter years she fell and broke a hip bone and was a cripple for several years.  During that time he secured the raw wool, made the yarn and wove a homemade blanket, which she later advised was for each grandchild.  Soon after Virgie and I married we went to see Grandmother and asked why she wouldn’t give me my blanket then.  She advised that she would not start giving them away until she had finished one for each grandchild.  At that time, I can very well remember that they were stacked in the corner of the room on the top of the trunk and they reached from the trunk, almost to the ceiling or roof.  Not long after that, her house burnt down, and of course along with the home went the homemade wool blankets.  I cannot remember if I gave Grandmother’s name or what she was known as, but in case I haven’t, I think it would be advisable to give it to you now.  She was known as “Alaphabet” Frazier.  This was caused by the number of names she was known as which are as follows:  Lydia 
Druscilla Samantha Matilda Frazier.  She signed all her letters and official papers a Mrs. L. D. S. M. Frazier.

I will now give you as much information that I have on Virginia’s (Virgie) father and mother.  Her Father was Henry Hall, originally I think from over around or near Whitesburg, Kentucky.  After coming into Virginia he and his sons, Charlie Hall, and Ebb Hall, went into the grocery business in Norton.  Sometime later he and his wife, Sarah Hall, operated a Hotel near the corner of where the First National Bank is on Park Avenue.  The Hotel was burned down in the big fire in the early 1900’s.  It burned from the Drugstore east to the next intersection on 

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Park Avenue, a complete burn out.  Most of Uncle Henry’s (as he was known) life was spent as an officer for the different coal company’s  in Wise County, and he had lots and lots of experiences.  It’s hard for me to understand how he ever lived to be as old as he was when he passed away.  The fact of matter is, that he was living with Virgie and I in our home in Norton and he died at the age of 93 years old.  Virgie’s Mother, Sarah “Collier” Hall, was raised somewhere around Esserville, Virginia.  She came from a large family of boys and girls and most of them lived out their lives in Wise County, the same as Sarah Hall did.

Now, these recordings were made during a visit with my son in Richmond, Virginia, during the latter part of August and the first part of September, 1973.  I would like to now give you some of the things that happened during my lifetime in and around Norton, especially the things that happened in our family.  Me being the oldest, I was given the job of looking after the milk cows and taking care of the milk.  I expect they figured that was the hardest job and the largest job I guess usually goes to the oldest in the family.  Each one of us children was given a certain thing to do before school and then after school.  In taking care of the cows, I can remember one old black cow that Dad had swapped for. Instead of going to the range to feed every morning when I turned her out of the barn, she made a beeline for the distillery at middle Norton and would drink the run off from the still.  She came home every night as high as a Georgia Pine.  You could hear her bawling from the time she got anywhere close to the house.  She also would reel and rock.  The children would look over at me and say, “Bill, there comes your drunken cow again.”  It is an evident fact that he (Dad) did not keep her very long and traded her off or gave her or sold her to someone to take car of.  No doubt, sold her to far way from the still for her to feed on the run off from the distillery.  At that time there were no dairies in Wise County and we furnished the drugstores with milk.  One morning as Samuel (Sam) was taking the milk to the drugstore, one of the girls ran up to him and said, “Sam, where do you get all that milk”.  As Sam always had an answer for any question, or a smart aleck one, he said very dryly, “we pull it.”

During the early days of our school in Norton, all of our teachers, in fact came from points each of Roanoke, Virginia, no doubt came back into 

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the mountains of Wise County to try to civilize a bunch of mountain children.  We had one teacher I remember very distinctly, I will not give you her name, but she would always be up before the class degrading us mountain kids, not as individuals, but as a total.  The fact of the matter is, she thought we all were uncivilized.  One morning she got up before the class and giving us down the road, and she paid her sister who had just came to Norton to teach that year, that her sister had never seen such ignorant, rude, uncivilized children in her life.  Brother Sam, as usual, came up with an answer.  Sam raised his hand and she gave him permission to speak.  All Sam said was, “maybe she ain’t never been no wheres else.”

I would like to give you a few of first things that happened in Norton, in our family.  I do not do this in a boastful way, but as a record of history.  Aunt Martha “Frazier” Beverly was the first white child born in the vicinity of Norton.  Uncle William Jenkins was the first Mayor of Norton and wrote the first Charter for the town.  Walter Beverly, the son of Aunt Martha Beverly, was the first college graduate to return to Norton after finishing the Old Richmond College, Richmond, Virginia.  Uncle George and Aunt Ida Belle “Salyer” Jenkins first born child passed and was the first child buried in Old Norton Cemetery (Highland Cemetery).  My brother Sam and I were in the first accredited high school class to finish the Norton School.  My daughter, Frances, was the first graduate of a graduate of the accredited high 
school in Norton.  My son, Bill, was in the class when the high school extra grade was added, making twelve grades instead of eleven.

I will now give you some of the early families that came to Norton and Wise County.  The Salyer Family, The Frazier Family.  Uncle Bill O’Neal Family came to Norton as Uncle Billy helped build the Railroad 
into Norton.  One of Uncle Billy’s sons, Dave, who is well known in Wise County, as he served the county for several years as Game Warden and later on did Police work in and around Norton and Wise County.  The Snodgrass Family came to Norton and ran the Tannery in Middle Norton.  Tommy Coleman came to Norton as an Editor of the first paper established in Norton.  The Bruce Family lived at Bruce’s Siding, as known now, and lived there before the railroad came into Wise County.  Joe Dollyhide, built a home and lived in what is now known as 

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East Norton, and lived there for several years.  The Collier Family lived up near Esserville, Virginia.  The Hilton Family came to Norton early and remained and raised large families in and around Norton.  

The coal in Wise County when converted to coke at that time rated and tested for smelting steal the highest of any coke produced anywhere.  So Wise County became the coke producing coal field.  A battery of ovens was built just after you cross the river bridge on the way to Coeburn.  Dorchester was almost covered up with coke ovens.  There was also a battery of ovens built at Sutherlin, Virginia, near Dorchester.  The Stonega Coal and Coke Company who was producing coal in and around Appalachia, Virginia, built coke ovens at practically all of their plants.  Most of the ovens were built out of the native sandstone and of course Dad as being a stone mason, it was right in line with his work.  He built or supervised building nearly all of the coke ovens in Wise County.  In early Norton, Mr. John A. Esser came into Wise County as a Coke Specialist.  He lived there for several years as a Superintendent of the coke production in different camps.  He also built a beautiful home in Norton and Dad did that for him also.  It is now owned by the widow H. H. Bolling, a contractor in Norton.

Before I run out of steam and tape, Bill, I want to thank you and you lovely wife Millie, for a most pleasant visit with you both.  I also want to 
thank you both for making it possible for me to see my two beautiful great-grandchildren.

I will now try to give you the location in cemeteries where our folks are buried.  Just as you enter the gate to the Old Norton Cemetery (Highland Cemetery) on the Dorchester Hill, on your left is Virgie’s 
Mother and Daddy. (The Hill’s)  Also, Herbert Jones, a son of Virgie’s sister, Mrs. Nora Jones.  On your right just above where Herbert Jones and Virgie’s Mother and Daddy are buried, Uncle George and Aunt Ida Belle “Salyer” Jenkins are buried.  Then just as you top the hill and made the curve around to the left, Uncle William (Bill or Billy) Jenkins, Aunt Eugie (Eugenia “Smithers” Jenkins), Dick (Richard James Jenkins), and Margaret Jenkins are buried.  Also, Uncle Bill and Eugenia’s first born child Gladys Jenkins.  Just near them, my Mother Mary “Frazier” Jenkins and half sister (Rosa “Robbins” Jenkins), my 

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brother Samuel (Sam) Jenkins, and my brother Tyra Jenkins is buried.  On around the circle and starting back west on your right, my wife, Virgie’s and an infant baby, and I will be buried.  Then on the left after you get around the circle and start west, Banner Jones and Virgie’s sister Do Do and Don Jones are buried.  Across the Jones lot near the Fleming lot, Dad, (John Jenkins) and two brothers and my step-mother (Alwilda “Starnes” “Baker” Jenkins) are buried.  My two sisters, Josie and Goldie, are buried at the Ramsey Cemetery, also their husbands, Bill Gleason, and Hubert Hensley.  

I will try now to give you some of our neighbors that lived in and around us on the south side and raised their families along with us kids.  Our nearest neighbor was Aunt Ada Belle “Francisco” Connor and Uncle Charlie Connor, and they had a big family as well as we did.  Part of the time Grandmother L. D. S. M. Salyer would visit with us and part of the time she would visit with Aunt Ada.  When she was with Aunt Ada, if I did something that I thought my mother would get me and give me a licking for, I always went to Grandmother Frazier.  If I could get to her, I never did get whipped. Then we had the Hunnicutt Family, Joe Hunnicutt and Daisy Hunnicutt with a whole raft of little Hunnicutts.  We always made the point to go to school across the railroad track.  You either had to crawl under the cars or go over the cars as there was always cars parked on the interstate, which we had to cross in order to 
get to school and most of the time on our way back home from school.  The Jenkins and the Hunnicutts had it.  Brother Sam and Mike (Elmer Mike) since I can remember were as large as I was or bigger.  Sam as usual was the one that started the racket.  He took on the Hunnicutt his age and of course I had to take on the Hunnicutt my age, which was about twice as big as I was.  I always got whipped.  Joe Hunnicutt, their 

Dad, and my Dad worked together a lot on buildings and dwelling houses.  Joe was a carpenter and my Dad looked after the concrete and brick work.  My Dad, I’ve heard him say a dozen times, that Joe Hunnicutt never did build anything plumb and level in his life.  A Mr. J. F. Hilton built a home near our old home on the south side and raised a large family.  Most of the sons settled in or around us on the south side.  One of the sons built a home just below his father’s and raised a large family there.  There was the Hicks Family who lived near Dad and one of the boys drove a team for my dad for several years.  Who could 

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forget the Peters Family?  Wyatt Peters and Dewey Peters.  Both raised large families on the south side of Kentucky Avenue near dads.  Then on the road to High Knob, turning left, you went up to Remmer Hollow where the family of Remmers, I think two families of Remmers lived.  On up a little further, instead of turning left on the High Knob road, you continue on straight on up to Chapman Hollow.  At the upper end of Chapman Hollow, the Chapman’s lived and raised grapes.  One of the Chapman’s was a concrete finisher, Ben Chapman, who also worked for my dad for several years.  Another one of the boys, Tom, was a plumber and he did lots of work in and around Norton.  The oldest Chapman was crippled.  This was caused by an explosion at a sawmill boiler, that was owned and operated by Mr. Pepper, who later on became Mayor of Norton.  It was located in East Norton near where the city shops are now located.

Mr. William Henry Jenkins

submitted by Nancy Glover

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