The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - January, 1987

Issue: January, 1987

Dear Readers,
We would like to thank the many readers of The Mountain Laurel who sent us Christmas cards this year. We appreciate your warmth in reaching out to us. It confirms our opinion that our readers are more than subscribers, but a big "family" of sorts, stretching out across the country. We have only to look at the stack of Christmas cards to know it. We sat them up on the mantle above the fireplace, on our desks, and taped them to the walls where each and every one could be seen. Regardless of what we are led to believe about how impersonal the world has become, there are plenty of good, warm, loving, caring people out there, our readers are proof!

Susan Thigpen, Editor

Dear Ms. Thigpen,
I am renewing my subscription to The Mountain Laurel and also am sending in a gift subscription for my brother, Donald Scott, Jr. whose birthday is Christmas Day.

I'm sure he will enjoy it as much as I have the past two years. Somehow you manage to capture the essence of the life in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Reading it makes the years melt away and we are children again, roaming the fields and cold rocky streams near Stuart, or listening to the old folks tell of their experiences.

My favorite stories are those by John H. Yeatts, especially when he mentions that Scott family of Meadows of Dan, Va. Simon Scott, the tanner, was my father's uncle so you can imagine how I appreciated Mr. Yeatts' article in the November issue "The View From The Concord Tree."

Keep up the good work and have a blessed holiday season.


N. S. Cornwell
Fort Myers, Fl. 33901

Dear Ms. Susan Thigpen,
Recently I've received a copy of The Mountain Laurel newspaper sent by a relative (Uncle) that resides in Winston-Salem, NC. I'm impressed by the down-home, humorous, human interest stories and articles. Sure it can be said that during times as we now live "Relax With The Mountain Laurel" it's good medicine.

My status these days is that of a retired rural letter carrier with twenty eight years of Federal Service. Now that I've said that, perhaps I can go on and say that I was partly reared in the Danville, Va. area. Attended the old Stonewall Jackson Grammar School, The Epworth Orphanage School and another newer school the name has long left my memory. Those were the days (1930's) when Danville still had its electric street cars. They were romantic easy living days. No one had very much money, but we had one another and the rewards from our relationship with each other have lasted a life time.

My two sisters and I were the step children of a Mr. John Saunders Gilbert. A very delightful, considerate Christian gentlemen. My step-father had founded and chartered "The Church Of The Living God." He was a very devout, hardworking steward who contributed unselfishly of his railroad salary. An employee of the D & W Railroad. (commonly known as the "Dick and Willie") for some 40 years. To establish and build churches of that day and time required much humility on our family. Regrettably so we had our step-father for a very brief period, however because of his involvement in our lives, the period of five years appeared to be many years longer. His Christian morals and ethics have remained with me a life time.

John S. Gilbert was born 1870-71 and died 1940-41 in Danville, Va. buried on or near the old "Rose-Hill" Plantation in the family cemetery. His parents Lorenzo Dowell (Dow) and Violet Ann Handy Gilbert were of the Patrick County, Virginia area. Dow was born 3 October, 1834, Violet Ann was born June 1842. I understand they are buried within the county.

Not being blood related my sister and I came to love and appreciate our stepfather and his sons and daughters by his first wife Lemma D. Jefferson 1877- 1934 their sons and daughters are probably deceased by now but there would be lots of grand and great-grand children in the area of Patrick and Rockingham Counties. (Virginia) Lorenzo Dowell Gilbert was of the Primitive Baptist Faith.

After retirement in 1977 a long "put off" idea finally developed and came into a full-blown hobby of the search for our roots. Therefore I can appreciate your genealogy section. Hopefully this section will continue to grow and that the readers will take full advantage of the "goodies" found here. I'd welcome and respond to any and all correspondence.


W. F. Blackman
3229 Murphy Mill Rd.
Dothan, AL 36303

Dear Susan,
I wonder if any readers could send in the complete words to the song "Mountain Laurel" (a real pretty song).


Bill Dix
Blairs, VA

Dear Mr. Dix,
The song, "Mountain Laurel", was written by Randall Hylton. While we don't have the complete words to send to you, you may write to Mr. Hylton at, P.O. Box 24533, Nashville, TN 37202-4533. He sells cassette tapes. "Mountain Laurel" is on his tape, "Music from America's Heartland". It is $5.00 for the tape plus $1.50 for postage and Handling.

Susan Thigpen, Editor

My renewal check is enclosed. Right now we are "arm chair travelers," and we have traveled all your Backroads. One of the nicest "someday wishes," would be to really travel them.

Thank you for such beautiful reading material. I share my paper with several shut-in's, so it brings pleasure to quite a few. Wishing you all a Blessed Thanksgiving.

N. Jenkins
Winchester, Va.