The following poem appeared in the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, on July 7, 1922. The author was Sally Godbey, who gave her address as the “State T.B. Sanitarium, Hopemont, Terra Alta, W.Va.”
THE HOPEMONT BLUES
When the golden sun is sinking
Behind the hills of old Hopemont,
When of home and friends I’m thinking
That “what-might-have-been” is not.
When the night birds’ soft notes falling,
Melodies sweet float on the air,
Then my thoughts go back to Logan,
And the friends that I left there.
When the sighing night-winds moaning,
Groaning through the old oak trees
and the strain of “Home Sweet Home”
Carry softly on the breeze,
Then is when my thoughts go roaming,
Filled with memories old and new
Days of gladness, days of sadness,
Nights so happy, nights so blue.
Though there’s many miles between us,
Little town I love you yet,
And I long to hurry back,
For I’m homesick and regret
That I ever left you Logan,
But I had to, so they say.
I’m lonesome for the old home town,
And I’m coming back some day,
They say that you are a dull little town,
They spell it with a capital D.
They wish that they could get away,
But you are all the world to me,
And though the world is a very big place
My home has always been with you.
And I find you quite a nice little town,
With friends both kind and true.
The Banner prefaced the poem with this: “The Logan Banner is the recipient of a constant chain of poems which would fill our columns if we even dared to publish them. People will never learn that poets are born, not made. However, we have just received one which is from a former Logan girl and now a patient at Hopemont. we are pleased to give this publicity and for genuine beauty of expression and sentiment it far excels many of those we see in the public print today. The author is Miss Sally Godbey and she calls the poem “The Hopemont Blues.” We will refrain from further comments but pass the beatufiul lines on to our readers with the request that they write Miss Godbey, care of State T.B. Sanitarium, at Hopemont, W.Va. and tell her what they think of her literary ability.”
This song was composed and sung by Elder Abner Vance, under the gallows, about 80 years ago. Given by Rev. A.M. Lunsford, October 14, 1897.
[Published by Request.]
Green are the woods where Sandy flows.
And peace it dwelleth there;
In the valley the bear they lie secure
The red buck roves the knobs.
But Vance no more shall Sandy behold,
Nor drink its crystal waves,
The partial judge pronounced his doom,
The hunter has found his grave.
The judge he said he was my friend
Though Elliott’s life he had saved.
A juryman did I become
That Elliott he might live.
That friendship I have shown to others,
Has never been shown to me;
Humanity it belongs to the brave,
And I hope it remains to me.
‘Twas by the advice of McFarlin
Judge Johnson did the call,
I was taken from my native home
Confined in a stone wall.
My persecutors have gained their request,
Their promise to make good,
For they ofttimes swore they would never rest,
Till they had gained my heart’s blood.
Daniel Horton, Bob and Bill,
A lie against me swore,
In order to take my life away,
That I might be no more.
But I and them together must meet
Where all things are unknown.
And if I’ve shed the innocent blood
I hope there’s mercy shown.
Bright shines the sun on Clinche’s hill,
And soft the west wind blows,
The valleys are covered all over with bloom,
Perfumed with the red rose.
But Vance no more shall Sandy behold,
This day his eyes are closed in death,
His body’s confined in the tomb.
Farewell my friends, my children dear,
To you I bid farewell,
The love I have for your precious souls
No mortal tongue can tell.
Farewell to you my loving wife,
To you I bid adieu,
And if I reach fair Caanan’s shore
I hope to meet with you.
Source: Logan County Banner (Logan, WV), 13 November 1897.
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this poem written by Evert W. Husk of Huntington and Three Forks titled “Life in the Railway Mail”, written on January 8, 1923 and published on January 19, 1923:
“LIFE” IN THE RAILWAY MAIL
“Put your overalls on, Buddy, and likewise your jacket blue,
For the porter soon is comin’ with four-wheelers–one and two.”
“Number one is mostly workin’, number two is all directs,”
Says the porter through the doorway but the clerk-in-charge corrects
That the two of them mean business and it proves as he suspects.
In old Forty-Three they load it, calling “workin'” one and two–
These R.P.C.’s in uniforms–their overalls of blue.
Pile it wide and straight and careful so that it will stand the shock,
When the drivers roll too swiftly and the coaches roughly rock,
And the “subbie” gets so frightened that his knees begin to knock.
When at length the car is loaded and the engine coupled-to–
First a slightly jerky motion, then it shakes you through and through,
Then you dump them on the table in an agitated way,
Grab and turn, and pitch and throw, as a tedder tosses hay,
Till you scarcely know time passes as you journey on your way.
While the clerk-in-charge sticks letters with the skill of a machine,
Striving not to make an error that his record may be clean.
Too, he has his “reds” to handle–job despised by one and all,
Signing cards for Mr. Peter, sending cards to Mr. Paul,
And the slightest little error means his very certain fall.
Then you hear the whistle sounded and the clerk-in-charge to shout,
“Here’s the package for this station, you had better lock it out.”
In the doorway next you stack ’em piled with skill and knowing care,
As you glance along the railway in a cinder flying glare,
See the pouch on crane is hanging and you “stab” it then and there.
Unlock, dump it on the table, hand the “pack” to C-in-C.
Then return unto your papers for you must not leave them be.
You are gaining headway slowly on the stalls of working mail,
And the engine ever signals as it speeds along the rail.
“Lock it out! and lock it quickly, lock it out or you will fail!”
It is thus the day unirksome speeds along to tireless noon,
And you eat a scanty dinner without knife or fork or spoon.
But there’s humor in the “Life,” boys, even fun in going stuck,
Don’t the fair ones in the doorways sometimes wave a sweet good luck?
Then the C.-in-C. grows peppy and the helper clerk shows pluck.
Piffle! Merits and demerits–five for this and ten for that.
Why the skinny one grows skinny and the fatter grows more fat.
Though we have to stick a section, pass on space and black book too,
‘Bout the first of every quarter of the bloomin’ year all through,
The “annual” and the “layoff” keeps us on and lures you.
You are not on duty, boys, in this layoff day or week.
But a few things keep you busy and of them my name must speak.
Slips to fold and cards to check up, and also correct your schemes,
Ans’wring this, explaining that often poils your sweetness dreams,
And with other things unmentioned, “lay-off” isn’t what it seems.
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this poem written by Harry Durham of Taplin titled “The Wanderer,” published November 20, 1928:
I have been in sunny Italy.
I have been in flowery France.
I have seen the silvery moonbeams
On the Alpine mountains dance.
I have been in quaint old China.
I have trod Great Britain’s land.
I have seen the heat elfs dancing
On Sahara’s burning sand.
I have rode the rattling rikas
Thru far Yokohama’s street.
I’ve eaten in snow-clad Igloos
Strips of frozen walrus meat.
I have sailed the broad Atlantic.
I have whaled in Arctic ice.
Steered a bastard thru Magellan.
Rounded bleak Cape Horn twice.
And the wanderlust keepings calling,
Mocking, just around the bend,
Leering me by empty promise
To a homeless, friendless end.
But its call is fainter growing
And its beck no longer thrills
For I’ve found a golden milestone
In the West Virginia hills.
For no matter where I’ve wandered
On a vain and empty quest,
I have left my heart behind me
In the land I love the best.
And when I sign articles
On that last and endless trip,
Let me sail thru-out the ages
On this rugged square rigged ship.
For I ask no sweeter nectar
Than to quaff its crystal rills.
For I’ve known a golden milestone
In the West Virginia hills.
From the Logan Democrat of Logan, WV, comes this poem written by three young female students of Marshall College, published May 22, 1913:
Shady tree, babbling brook
Girl in hammock, reading book;
Gold curls, tiny feet,
Girl in hammock, looks so sweet;
Man rides past, big mustache,
Girl in hammock makes a “mash”.
Mash is mutual, day is set,
Man and maiden, married get.
Married now, one year ago,
Keeping house on Baxter row;
Red hot stove, beefsteak frying,
Girl got married, cooking trying.
Cheeks all burning, eyes look red,
Girl got married, nearly dead;
Biscuits burn up, beefsteak charry,
Girl got married, awful sorry,
Man comes home, tears mustache,
Mad as blazes, got no hash,
Thinks of hammock in the lane,
Wishes maiden back again,
Maiden also thinks of swing,
Wants to go back too, poor old thing.
Hour of midnight, baby squawking,
Man in sock feet bravely walking;
Baby yells on, now the other
Twin he starts up like his brother.
Paregoric by the bottle
Emptied into baby’s throttle,
Naughty tack points in air,
Waiting some one’s foot to tear,
Man in sock feet, see him there!
Holy Moses! Hear him swear!
Raving crazy, gets his gun,
Blows his head off, dead and gone.
Pretty widow, with a book,
In a hammock by the brook,
Man rides past, big mustache;
Keeps on riding, nary “mash.”
From the Logan Democrat of Logan, WV, comes this poem written by J. Rush Cook titled “Perception,” published January 7, 1915:
I have seen the rosebuds blowing
In the springtime’s early morn;
The shining dewdrops showing
On the petals newly born.
I have heard the happy bird’s song,
Wafted from the leafy bowers;
I have felt the heart beat strong
As I gazed at bird and flower.
I have seen a grander vision
Than dewdrops on the flowers;
A sweeter song to me is given
Than was wafted from the bowers.
‘Tis a vision of the feature,
When right o’er wrong prevails;
When man, the noblest creature,
No longer each assail.
‘Tis a song of love and duty,
‘Neath a bright or frowning sky;
Like the rainbow in its beauty
And its promise, by and by!
This poem was written by O. Benton and dedicated to Don Chafin, “a true son of Logan.” The poem relates to the Mine Wars, or as it was called by the Logan Banner, the “armed march.”
There’s a land of “Love thy brother”
By the sky-blue Guyandotte
Where the folks love one another,
And I know God loves the spot.
For he built those mighty mountains
And he touched their tops with blue,
From their sides gush crystal fountains,
Just to quench the thirst of you.
Oaks and poplars, pines and hemlocks,
On the mountainsides they grew.
There’ll be no coal beneath the mountains
For a million years or two.
In this glorious land of blessings
Long before the railroad came
Lived the honest, fighting people
Who have brought the country fame.
Now there’s mines beneath those mountains
And there’s towns most everywhere,
But with all the wealth and greatness
Freedom reigns and all is fair.
Some may say, “You think there’s freedom,”
But I’m saying what I know.
I have crossed the rushing rivers,
I have tramped the mountain snow.
I have sweated ‘neath those mountains
Where the motors screech and hum.
I have worked upon the tipple
Worked with pick and shovel some.
And I swear by all above me
That a man may have his say.
He may tell of any grievance
Unmolested, go his way.
For there is no lack of freedom
When the Court-House clock looks down
On the men who love their neighbors
In the busy coal-gorged town.
When the men from New York City
Told us that they were not free,
It was something quite unheard of,
Something free men cannot see.
If our misinformed brothers
Wish to DO, and not to mock,
Let them stay within the cities
Where there’s Hell in every block.
Let them stay away from Logan,
Where a man can be a man.
Take your creeds and go to New York
Where their brothers understand.
For the famous “Logan Wildcats”
And the lads who fought the Hun,
They are tired of soap-box teachings
And have said there shall be none.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 29 June 1923
From the Logan Democrat of Logan, WV, comes this poem written by J. Rush Cook titled “Home,” published January 14, 1915:
Endearing words to us are given,
Endearing thoughts for us they hold.
All for which the heart has striven,
But none so dear to us as home.
When wearied with the cares of life,
With toil and labor, sorrows borne,
There comes a joy amidst the strife,
When e’re we think of home, sweet home.
Home replete with all its pleasure,
Be it a cot or palace grand;
Be it poor or rich in treasure,
‘Tis always home in every land.
If peace and love therein abide,
Reign supremely every hour.
In each heart in faith confides
Like a sweet, unfolding flower.
‘Tis the thought of home we cherish,
As we roam some distant land.
All else for us may perish,
But sweet home in childhood land.
Where dear mother led us gently
O’er the hills, through vale and field;
Where she sang to us so sweetly,
And in prayer so oft did kneel.
Where the songbirds ever singing,
‘Neath a blue sky with music ringing,
Where the hills with music ringing,
And the zephyrs blow at night.
This is home to us forever,
Home, with mother at our side.
Perhaps in thought when ties we sever,
And have crossed beyond the tide.
Appalachia, Ashland, author, authors, coal, Guyandotte Valley, history, Kentucky, Logan Banner, Logan County, physician, poems, poetry, Thomas Dunn English, Three Forks, Viola Ann Runyon, West Virginia, writers, writing
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Veola Ann Runyon, authoress-poet of Logan County. The story is dated January 13, 1922:
LOGAN COUNTY HAS AN AUTHORESS-POET
Mrs. Veola Ann Runyon, of Three Forks, Has Had Much of Her Work Published.
We never know in what nook or corner we may find unknown talent or beneath what bushel measure we may and a shining light unless, perchance, we may trip across a clue that may lead us to a welcome discovery. Such was the case with a representative of The Banner on a recent trip to Three Forks, when he fortunately learned of the presence there of Mrs. Veola Anne Runyon, a poet and talented writer of fact and fiction.
Mrs. Runyon was born in Ashland, Ky. Her grandfather was a French physician and author. From him she derived the gifted talent at at the early age of sixteen she began writing stories and for the past ten years she has been a regular contributor to several of the largest magazines of our country. She has in preparation at the present time a romance which will be happily connected with the coal mining industry, while she has in the hands of her publisher two other books, one dealing with scientifical and botanical work and the other on entomological facts.
The story now in preparation will be eagerly sought by all readers in Logan County, due to the fact that part of the plot will be based upon knowledge gained within this county. Mrs. Runyon was requested by her publishers to write a story closely connected with the mining industry and so not knowing the details connected with the industry she came to Three Forks, and while stopping at the Club House there she is gathering facts that will prove invaluable in her latest work.
Mrs. Runyon is a gifted writer and is filled with the love of the work. She is also deeply interested in botanical work and the study of nature. Through persuasion we were able to secure some of her poems for publication in The Banner, and we are pleased to announce that arrangements have been made with her for regular contributions to the columns of this paper.
Her presence here will recall to mind another author who came to Logan County in years gone by. Dr. Thos. Dunn English recognized the beauty of these mountains and the nearness of true nature and came here during the period between 1850 and 1860. Some of his poems deal with life in the Guyan Valley.
With her ability and fluency of language, Mrs. Runyon should find in these grand majestic mountains and wonderful natural beauty an invaluable aid to inspiration that will enable her to complete a wonderful story that should attract the favorable attention of the most critical.
Note: I cannot locate any biographical information for this writer. Three Forks, according to one source, is also known as Saunders (Buffalo Creek).