The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

In Memory Of My Dear Old Dad

By Josie Anderson © 1985

Issue: June, 1985

I would like to record a few things about my dad (which I thought was the best a person ever had). I am the daughter of Jacob Daniel Overby and Martha Mitchell. I was born in Patrick County, Virginia on March 17, 1902. I had two sisters, one brother and I am the only one now living.

My mother and dad were married in 1889 by the Elder E.M. Barnard. When they were married, times were hard. They wanted to buy a home, so they found a place they liked in Patrick County. It belonged to a Presbyterian minister. As they had no money to pay down, they told the minister they would give him a note. He replied, "Your word is good as a note," so they began building another room to the one room log cabin.

My dad was a very successful businessman, although he didn't have very much education. The farm had a tenant house on it and my dad had to furnish his tenant with groceries. Dad would go to Mt. Airy, North Carolina and buy meat by the strip and hundred pounds of flour and other groceries (wholesale) to furnish his tenant.

Someone reported him that he was selling groceries without a license, so he went to Stuart and bought a license and built a small store building. At that time there were no cars or trucks with which to go to Mt. Airy or Stuart, Virginia, so his business grew until he soon had to build a larger building. Then it kept increasing until he built the third building, which is still standing.

He carried a line of everything from clocks, sewing machines, plows, all kinds of hardware, groceries and feed. He would go to Baltimore, Maryland once each year to buy hats, ready made clothing and shoes for the store. I remember one time he went in February and somewhere in his trip, he contracted the measles. Since none of the family had ever had measles, we were all in bed, so he had to hire a neighbor man to operate the store. We all survived with the help of our good country doctor, Dr. J.J. Leake who rode horseback to attend his patients.

A lady who is now deceased once told me that once, near Christmas time, she had a large family and they had no money to buy toys or anything for the children. One day she saw a bunch of young hens coming out from under the house, cackling, so she got a hoe and began raking and she began to find eggs. she got a basket full of eggs and saddled up the mule (with a side saddle) and took the basket of eggs and rode to my dad's store. She got enough money for the eggs to buy candy, oranges and raisins enough for the children.

My dad always seemed to think more of me than he did of the other children, or at least they said he did.