The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Culler In A Wood Pile

By Phyllis S. Culler © 1986

Issue: October, 1986

Dewey packed his wood in a very unique way.Dewey packed his wood in a very unique way.My grandfather, Dewey Avert Culler was a man who worked hard all his life. He was born in the Laurel Fork Community in Virginia on August 2, 1898, along with a twin brother, Samuel Lewis Culler.

Dewey married Mary Elva Bowman in November of 1920 and they lived together 64 years. When they were first married, they lived with Dewey's twin brother who was married to Mary Elva's sister Edna Jane.

It wasn't long before Dewey bought six and three fourth acres which he lived on for 62 of his 64 married years. From 1930 until 1945 he farmed with a yoke of steers on land he rented. In 1945 he and his son, Elbert bought a pair of mules, but didn't keep them long. At that time, he stopped farming for a living and began a career with the Bureau of Highways.

Dewey worked for Jack Chandler Construction and helped to build what is now the Blue Ridge Parkway. For five or six years he walked from his home to Fancy Gap every Monday, which was about 12 miles, and stayed with relatives until Friday, when he would come home. After that time, he caught a ride and only had to walk two miles each way every day. He worked for the Parkway for 20 to 23 years and retired in 1963. Then he went to work, at age 65 for Groundhog Mountain for three years, helping to build his social security.

Dewey Avert Culler and his wife Mary Elva Bowman Culler.Dewey Avert Culler and his wife Mary Elva Bowman Culler.My grandfather never owned a car and never had a driver's license. He and his wife walked everywhere they went unless someone came along and gave them a ride. One of their favorite places to go was Pilot View Baptist Church. For many, many years they walked the four miles to it until they were in their early 80's. Then they caught a ride with their grand daughter, Martha R. Sutphin or their grandson, Amos Bowman.

For the last ten or so years of his life, Dewey packed his fire wood in a very unique way; he fixed this pattern in his own style. It was so the rain would run off of it and the wood wouldn't rot. He cut all of his own wood until he was 85 years old.

Dewey has three brothers and one sister still living. Dalton Culler is the oldest, 98 years old and lives alone. Byrum "By" Culler and Rob Culler are in their 90's also, but they are living in a nursing home. The sister, Della Turner is about 85 and lives alone also.

Dewey and Elva lived a long and happy life. When they died (Elva on November 20, 1984 at age 85 and Dewey on November 1, 1985 at the age of 87) they left a living legacy of three children, Elbert, Leauna and Winifred; 12 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren. They had two children to precede them in death, Melvin and Lela Verona.

This story was written in loving memory of my great-grandparents, whom I loved and I miss very much.