The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Four Very Nice People - Telephone Reader Interviews

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1984-2012

Issue: May, 1984

Each month we call people who send us their phone number and write this column from those "chats." This way we get to meet more people and share their wonderful stories with our readers.

A.B. Williford
Hillsville, Va

When we received a subscription from A.B. and Rosa Williford of Hillsville, Virginia, I was pleased to see they had included their phone number for our reader interviews because the envelope it came in intrigued me. It said, "Rest and Be Thankful Farm".

My curiosity was answered when I talked to A.B. Williford. He said his ancestors were Scottish and he had been to Scotland during the war. Since then, he and his wife have made three trips to Scotland and enjoyed them very much. He said, "The Scotts are a kind, gracious people." While there, they visited a number of places. One place in the high steep countryside was a hiking trail. It has a mid-point called, "Rest and Be Thankful." They even put a bench there and call it the "Rest and Be Thankful" bench. The line is taken from a Wadsworth poem.

The name, "Rest and Be Thankful" struck Mr. and Mrs. Williford so much that they thought it appropriate to name their place at Hillsville, where they have retired.

A.B. Williford is a retired Presbyterian minister who was originally from Roberson County in North Carolina. He said he worked in Richland, Virginia for 20 years, as well as Bath, Virginia and in West Virginia. Even though he came from the "flat lands," he and his wife developed a love for the mountains and it is here they have retired.

Mrs. Roy Pilson
Stuart, Va.

When I called Mrs. Roy Pilson of Stuart, Virginia, I heard the story about how she, the former Dorothy Kelly and Katherine Dawson, both from Buena Vista, Virginia came to Patrick County. She met her husband, Roy, at an Evangelist Holiness Tent Meeting in Buena Vista. He had traveled there from his home in Patrick County. One thing led to another and his brother, Edward V. Pilson, started seeing a Buena Vista girl, Katherine Dawson too. This all came together in 1940 when the two couples had a double wedding. In 1980, their children planned a big anniversary celebration at the bank in Stuart. They celebrated their Ruby (40th) Anniversary double as well. Both Katherine and Dorothy had dresses made from the same pattern out of "ruby" red material for the occasion. Both men wore blue suits with "ruby" colored ties. It was a big, enjoyable success.

Mrs. Dorothy Pilson said when they were first married, they lived with Roy's parents (Mrs. Alpha Pilson, featured in our January Issue) until Roy and his father could build them their own home. They moved into the house in May of 1941 and their first child was born the last of 1941.

Charles L. Hall, Jr.
Fairfax, Va.

Charles Hall, Jr. lives in Fairfax, Virginia, but owns a piece of land adjoining Mabry's Mill. His father, C.L. Hail, Sr. now resides in Halifax, but was born in Patrick County. His family moved to an area in North Carolina between Mount Airy and Low Gap when Mr. Hall, Sr. was twelve. Charles Jr.’s wife was from the Mouth of Wilson section of Grayson County.

Although he isn't a full time resident, his roots and vacation time is in the Blue Ridge. He and his wife also hope to retire here someday.

As we talked, he voiced more than a love of the beauty of this area. He kept mentioning names of people he had met from here. He said, "They're some of the nicest people I've ever met." Thank you Mr. Hall, that's quite a compliment.

Ella Jamison
Snow Creek, Va.

David and Ella Jamison live on a 350 acre farm at Snow Creek, in Franklin County, Virginia. The farm has been passed down through David's family for generations.

David's grandfather, David Henry Davis, operated it during his lifetime. Before that, David's great-grandfather, Martin McGhee farmed it. Martin McGhee's old log home is still standing. It was a two story structure with a separate two story kitchen building connected to the main house by a porch. The old house was also plastered.

Mrs. Jamison said that her mother-in-law kept everything. The family now has a treasure of photographs, newspaper clippings and picture postcards dating back as far as 1906.

Mr. Jamison is now disabled but Mrs. Jamison is continuing to run the large farm. She said they don't have cattle anymore but she tries to keep the farm from growing up by planting crops like tobacco, corn and hay. Mrs. Jamison said she was used to driving the tractor, but it's hard to change the equipment like plows, etc. without help.

Ella Jamison said when she grew up, there were five children in the family and all shared one bicycle. She said she was 16 the first time she went to town (Martinsville, Va.) to see a movie. The streets of Martinsville were cobblestone at that time.

Ella Jamison must be a well rounded person. Her hobbies include painting and a woodworking course she is taking at present. She says she loves to paint the native animals and flowers best, but also occasionally paints old houses in what she says is, "sort of the Grandma Moses kind of painting". She has been painting for about the last 10 or 15 years and for the past three years, has done paintings for the Snow Creek School.