Memories of Whitby WV

So why have a memory page about Whitby??

The history of any community is alive in the people that make up that community. As I write this, there are no rails in Whitby, no tipple, no Post Office and no schools Only the Church,houses and some mining structures remain within Whitby at this point. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong).

I will start with my own memories and I invite anybody to contribute. At the bottom of this page will be a mail link for you to send me what ever you would like. While many believe that oral traditions are not precise, they are becoming one of the few resources of history. I do not know if many will clearly recall life in a town like Whitby within the next 20 to 30 years as most of those residents will be gone. I strongly encourage those of you reading this to do the same for your community while you are able.

Recollection 1

I am the grandson of Margaret Bowling who was a Post Master in Whitby during the 70's. I clearly recall her being in the Office and asking folks about their days as they would come in to pick up their mail. I never knew why, but everyone either knew me or I was introduced immediately. I felt very included. The person whom I identify with Whitby most readily would be my grandfather Otis Bowling. His picture is below.

I recall many early mornings in the house on Fink Street while the dozers were at the Tipple, there would be my granddad walking through the house. He would look out the window on these foggy early mornings. I never knew what he saw, he would only remark that they were busy at the Tipple today...If it were cooler, he would start the stove to warm the house, he would let me light the matches if I behaved. The fire was never properly lit until he would spit Beechnut juice on the fire. Then, for some unknown reason, the whole house would be warm.

Walking within Whitby and running the tracks was THE THING to do. Most roads were at best dirt paths with large rocks that by all appearances had been shattered by a tractor. Others were a light gray silt. As I walked down Fink Street, I would pass Mrs Finks house and usually stop to play with her dachshund Missy. Eventually, I would come to the what I would call a slag lake (waste pond). Warmer days would cause the outline of your shadow to remain on the surface. Then it was off to the tracks. Mile after mile of fossils, spikes, cat tails and railroad cars filles with coal waiting to move, everything had a smell which I miss very much: the smell of tobacco, coal and exhaust all having a sweet peppery feeling in the nose. Even the houses smelled that way and I miss that too.

Recollection 2

The boarding house at Whitby was operated by my Aunt, Mary Daisy (Wilson) Warden and her husband Howard E. Warden for many many years, 40's and 50's and probably the 30's. I visited there many times as a kid. As near as I can remember, as you come into Whitby the post office and store was on the right and the boarding house was straight ahead at the end of the road. It was a large house, many rooms for the miners both upstairs and downstairs. My Dad stayed there while working at the Whitby mine as we lived west of Beckley. The kitchen was very big and the food preparation was something to behold. The miners had to be fed and lunch buckets packed. Watch the Warden forums as the Warden's may have extensive information on the boarding house. My Aunt Mary's son Clifford and family lived in a house across the street from the post office and store. I remember when TV came to Whitby. To get a signal they installed an antenna on the top of the hill opposite the post office and had open wire line coming down from the antenna. The signal was then distributed to those having TV...

Recollection 3

My Mom remembers this story:

During the 50's a man from Sterling Smokeless was speaking to kids at the school. He said that one day Whitby would become a ghost town. One of the children asked if that meant they would all be wearing sheets....

Recollection 4

In 1947 the Sisk brothers (Jack and Ray) were leaving Whitby. They recall that all of the houses in Whitby at that time were the same color: green.

Recollection 5

When I grew up in Whitby, the church basement was used for passing out "commodities" the coal mines wasn't working very good, maybe 1 or 2 days a week and these "commodities" as they were called were food that the State provided for people in need, and boy did we need them. The church brings back a lot of memories, good memories.

Recollection 6

My grandmother had fallen and got what turned out to be an injury that kept her from going back to Whitby. There was a day when she knew that too and she said "I'd be happy to see a dog from Whitby."

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