The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

My Great Uncle Wallace Hall

By Ivalien Hylton Belcher © 1984

Issue: March, 1984

wallace hallWallace HallMarch 18th will be a very special day for my Uncle Wallace. He will be 93 years old. His birthplace was near Langhorne’s Mill in the Mountain View Community.

Some of his earlier childhood was spent in Floyd County near the Blue Ridge Parkway. While living there, the entire family came down with smallpox. Luckily all survived this ordeal.

Still being very alert, sweet, and having a great sense of humor makes Uncle Wallace a joy to talk with. One of his early recollections of his childhood days was making a little sled out of a chair frame, to haul wood on. This was one of his chores as a little boy.

Years went by and this handsome gentleman courted and married Kitty Cruise (the prettiest girl in Mountain View) on November 25, 1911. They were married 66 years before Aunt Kitty passed away.

Four sons and one daughter made their family complete. All of them still live nearby. Uncle Wallace comments, “Times were hard, not much money, but we were happy.”

His first job paid 50 cents a day, working from daylight to dark. Most of his life Uncle Wallace was a farmer, dealt with cattle, and was a pig hauler. The latter taking him many miles into North Carolina and the valley of Virginia.

One of his first cars was a Model T without a top and didn’t have a seat. He sat on a box to drive; once Uncle Wallace drove this car from Leaksville, North Carolina in freezing rain. When he arrived home his coat was frozen stiff. Taking the coat off and placing it on the floor, he found it standing straight, because of being frozen so stiff. His daughter Christine asked, “Daddy, how did you stand that?” Uncle Wallace said simply, “I don’t know.”

By the time he was 86, it was estimated that in his travels, Uncle Wallace had driven a million miles. During this time, he never had an accident or a traffic violation. When it was time for license renewal at age 86, Uncle Wallace decided to stop driving and not renew his license. His own words were, The Lord has blessed me all these years, so I won’t try to renew.”

The years have been kind to this fine gentleman and he is still very handsome. In younger years, I’m told that he was the best “flat-footer” in these parts. I’ve heard it said that probably Uncle Wallace could dance with a cup of water on his head and never spill a drop. How many people can do that? Not many, I dare say.

This man could play “Claw-Hammer” banjo as well as Uncle Dave Macon. Their style was similar. He was a member of the old time “Ballard Band.”

The trait I admired most about him is the easy going and humble ways. Once he told me, “The way to win people over that are mean to you is, ‘Whip them with kindness.” Believe me, it works, I know from experience.

Uncle Wallace has been a member of Conner’s View Church for 50 years. Loving the Lord and clean living have added years to his life.

There are many things that can be said of this fine man and his values of life. I’m thankful to have known him and to have Uncle Wallace in my family.