Robert’s sister and spouse came to visit and we made several excursions out and about. We went down to Jackson’s Mill to see the Henry and Mary (Fields) McWhorter cabin, which was moved there from McWhorter, near Jane Lew (previously called West’s Fort and McWhorter’s Mill.) My 5th great-grandparents, they raised 17 children in the one room cabin, so I am one of many, many descendants. We stopped by the McWhorter Methodist Church cemetery on the way home, where Henry and Mary, their son Major Walter Fields McWhorter and wife Margaret Hurst, and Walter and Mary’s daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) and her husband Samuel Stalnaker are buried. Also buried there is Walter’s brother John, pioneer Universalist minister in West Virginia. Frank, a Unitarian Universalist minister and historian, had his picture taken with John’s monument.
One day we took a stroll on the trail along the West Fork in Veteran’s Park, just down the hill from our house. There were colts foot, early violets, spring beauties, and a few other things blooming. The river was full, as usual, of Canada geese, a few domestic geese, mallards, and wood ducks.
On Saturday, we went down to Ripley to a chocolate festival, where we picked up West Virginia blackberry wine dark chocolate bites from Country Confections (in Buckhannon, handy for repeat purchases). On the way, we passed a few of my ancestral homes – McKinney great-grandparents in Burnsville, McVaneys in Sand Fork, and so across Route 33 through Glenville, where I spent a couple of years at college.
We returned to Spencer and had lunch at George’s, where Staats Drugs used to be, next door to where our family jewelry store was (now a gift and antique shop). We toured past more ancestral homes – my great-grandparents’ on Schoolhouse Hill, which I owned and remodeled briefly in the 70s; the “little house on the hill” (it had a kitchen, a living room, and one bedroom until my father finished the attic into a second bedroom); the “new” (to us) house on Locust Avenue; and my grandparent’s house on Center Street (we just looked down from Circle Avenue – sadly neglected for years, the roof is falling in.) When Frank and Jacquie said they wanted to see Spencer, I’m not sure they had quite so many ancestral homes in mind. We went on down to Speed, past Hebron Church, where we didn’t stop to visit more graves (my Hersman great-greats), past Sugar Run, where my grandmother was born and great-grandmother died, and out Speed Road to Stringtown, where my brother lives at Stringtown Rising Farm. We had consulted on the level of the Pocatalico River ford, but on seeing it, we decided a vehicle with higher floor boards was needed, and hailed my brother to come fetch us across.
After visiting with the goats, settin’ a spell on the porch and admiring the view, Suzanne served us Grandmother Bread topped with home-canned tomatoes and homemade cheese. She sent us home with a basketful of pastel eggs (three and a half dozen when we packed them into cartons), and pints of preserves. We visited the sheep, including the new lambs my brother said had just started bouncing, on the way out. We just made it to the hard road by dark.