The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

A True Love Story

By Peggy Aldhizer © 1984

Issue: April, 1984

Isabel Vest wished Tiny Cole would walk her home from church instead of the girl he was with. She’d heard a lot about Tiny. He was called a “Rounder.” Her friends warned her against him. He rode his horse in a reckless manner; he drank too much. It seemed to her that he sure had some good times. She knew she liked him a lot.

One day, he did walk her home from church. She was so excited. As he left her at the gate, he walked on down the road singing at the top of his lungs. “Oh, Little Liza, Little Liza Jane.” Isabel climbed up on the gate so she could watch him as far as she could see. After a time, Tiny went to pay a visit to her father, George Washington Vest.

Mr. Vest and Tiny sat down and talked. Isabel was in her room. She was so excited and somewhat frightened. Her heart pounding, she listened at the door. She heard Tiny ask for her hand. Mr. Vest answered, “You know you’re getting my favorite daughter. She helps me shoe the horses.”

As Tiny left, Isabel jumped into bed and pretended to be asleep. Mr. Vest went in his daughters room and said, “Bell, I reckon you know Tiny was here and what he wanted.” The next day George Vest took his daughter to Christiansburg to buy her a pair of her first store bought shoes.

Valentine Cole was twenty-two. Isabel Vest was seventeen. They were married in her fathers home in Floyd County on December the 26th, 1893. As the years went on, they would share eight children.

(This was told to me by Edith Cole Arthur, Isabel’s daughter. Valentine Cole lived at Terry’s Fork, Virginia in Floyd County. His parents were Harvey and Cynthia Cole.)