I was looking through a magazine recently and saw this story line: “I have a Story to Tell,” which brings me to this story that I am writing to you.
My name is Mary Jarrell Stephenson. I am 93 years old and live in Hickory, North Carolina, in the Pinecrest Retirement Home. I moved here four years ago from Huntington, WV to be near my daughter Susan. Two weeks ago I was having dinner at the residence. The dining room here is furnished with round tables that seat four people. You may sit wherever you choose. There was a vacant seat at our table. A lady came by and we invited her to sit with us. We introduced ourselves. She asked where I was from. I said “Huntington, but I was born in a small place in West Virginia called Bald Knob in Boone County.” Our table guest said, “So was I!” It was unbelievable-we had both gone to the same 2-room school. This is one of those times when truth is stranger than fiction. Her name is Ida Marie Adkins Chute and she is also living at Pinecrest and has a sister who lives in Hickory. She is the daughter of Ezra and Gertrude Adkins. We haven’t been able to visit a great lot. But I’m sure we will. We have been trying to remember people we used to know. At 93 years that is reaching way back!
That is my first story to tell. Here is my second story and it is about how I am related to the Coal Valley News:
I was born in Bald Knob on May 3, 1920. My parents were William and Gracie Jarrell. My Mother was the second child of Martin and Emily Jones. When I was very young my Jones Grandparents left Bald Knob and moved to Madison, the County seat for Boone but I remember them well. They were the parents of twelve children. Their first child named Stella dies at age two. The rest of the children all lived to maturity and several also made Madison their home. In 1975 my Mother died. Before she became ill that year we had a Jones family reunion at her home in Bald Knob. Eight of the Jones brothers and sisters were there. I took pictures and made a tape. The enclosed photo is a treasure.
The Jones family were involved in many endeavors including politics and education and last, but not least, Martin Jones became the founder of Coal Valley News. My Grandfather Jones’ life was well told by him in the Coal Valley News several years ago.
It has been many years since I left Boone County. So, to anyone reading this article, especially cousins and friends, please know I would love to hear from you and reminisce of times and people past and present. There were 8 children in my family. Helen died at age 2 of Whooping Cough. Paul, Douglas, Garnet, Sibyl and Laura Mae are sadly deceased. Only Gloria Jean and myself remain. Gloria Jean is 82 and lives close to Moundsville. We stay in touch.
I mentioned I have a daughter here. I also have a niece who lives in the area. Her name is Marion Grace Meckler and she is my sister Sibyl’s daughter and has helped me prepare this article. She brought her laptop and printer and editing skills so I am very grateful and thankful to her for being on my Call-If-Needed list. It’s important at 93 years to have a list.