My parent’s stories

My file called Turkey Creek notes includes things my parents told me about family.

Turkey Creek Notes

* Around the year 1929 Thomas Jefferson Thornton became a partner in the operation of a store with A. Edwards near the Creed Bird farm on Trace Fork. Around the year 1931 Cecil Alford’s wife had died in childbirth and apparently the operator of a store on Turkey Creek (Madison “Matt” McCallister) made some comments about Cecil Alford being at fault for the death of his wife. Cecil Alford made some threats at the funeral and Matt McCallister and his family moved to Charleston. Matt sold the store to Thomas “Jeff” Thornton. Jeff Thornton sold his part of the Edwards store to the owner and moved his family from the ridge to Turkey Creek near the store. The store became the Thornton store and remained in operation until after Jeff’s death in September 1946. Jeff’s daughter Edith and her husband Willard kept the store in operation for a while but converted the store into her home.

* Near the post office at Burnside, West Virginia at the forks of Turkey Creek was a store that was operated by the McCallister brothers. The brothers (John and Colonel) were both blind and had been blind from childbirth. They never tried to farm only to operate the store. One brother had gone to Hurricane on a wagon to get supplies and was later found at the base of Mt. Moriah hill and was dead , apparently of a heart attack (December 26, 1929 or 1930). The wagon was found with him in the wagon and the horse still hitched and waiting for a command. The other brother in 1933 was behind his house at the pig pen and was trying to clear a downed tree with an axe. When the side limb was chopped, the tree turned onto the blind man and pinned him under the tree. Leonard Thornton had walked up to the ridge to get a horse for farm work down on Turkey Creek and was riding the horse down the creek past the Addison Bird hollow and Ed and Elva Sloan’s hollow when heard the calling of the blind man for his housekeeper. The housekeeper was on the hill picking blackberries. Leonard had no idea what the calling was for and was only concerned about getting the horse back to Turkey Creek before his father got mad. The blind man was removed later but died a few days later of internal injuries. (John McCallister died July 12, 1933)

* In the early 1930’s the road on Turkey Creek nearly always followed the creek and when the creek was high with water there was no traffic by horseback or wagon. The way to get to school was the path on the side of the hill. Near the Thornton store a large oak tree was placed across the creek as a bridge for foot travel. Another foot bridge was at McCallisters store at the Left Fork of Turkey Creek and that led to the last path to the school that was on the side of the hill.

* Melvin Bell built a windmill on top of the hill behind his father’s home. The land was given to him by his father and he built a home just below the wind mill. Melvin had hooked a car generator to the wind mill and used it for charging batteries for listening to the radio.

* Walter Bird worked for United Fuel Gas Company and most of the people on Turkey Creek thought he was rich or a wealthy man. He had a regular pay check and that seemed like a lot to the farmers on the creek. Walter rigged an engine to run on natural gas and hooked a generator to the engine. The generator charged a group of batteries that Walter used for lights in the house and to listen to the radio. Walter had lots of visitors to listen to the radio with him especially on Saturday nights when the Grand Ole Opry aired from Nashville.

* Davy Goode lived in Lincoln County on Toneys Fork near the school on the ridge from the Bowles home out the ridge from Nelson Hill. He had moved from Boone County and visited the Thornton Store many times and talked to Thomas Jeff Thornton about their relationship through Lucy Goode (mother of Thomas Jefferson Thornton).

* The hollow where Howard Thornton and Justine Johnson set up housekeeping is called the Charlie Johnson hollow and heads out near the Thornton home on the ridge.

* Lewis Thornton moved from Turkey Creek to near Dickerson near where Elwood Thornton lived, on Rt. 60 in Kanawha County. Lewis lived on Turkey Creek and visited the Thornton store many times. Lewis’ children were: Elderidge –
Jesse, Bernards age,
Wilson – Raymonds age- married Ona Pullen,
Denver – died in Colorado,
Elva -girl,
Elvin – lived in Milton and died the same time as Noah Woodson Bird,

* Fleet Thornton and Oma lived on Dry Branch in Lincoln County until he got sick and had to go to Beckley and the hospital.

* After Herman Carpenter married Betty Johnson, Asa & Hugh talked to Herman and decided they were related through their fathers. William Johnson refers to a son named Shelton and John Carpenter on Turkey Creek, he is Shelton’ son. John married one of Lewis Mose Johnson’s daughters. Herman said he was beside a road whitling and a man asked if he wanted to help herd his hogs. He said yes and that’s how he found himself in Clay County.

* The 1926 Wagon Trip. The Thorntons (Thomas, Harriet, Leonard, Buford, Edith and Howard was a baby) loaded into a wagon on the ridge and started their trip to see Harriet’s daughter Violet Oxley Carpenter. The parents sat on the bench seat in the front and the children rode in the back of the wagon. When the wagon approached the mouth of Turkey Creek they had to leave the new section of road and bypass on the old road past Henderson’s house (Verland Bird). The old section went up the hill and past Ben Birds and over the covered bridge past the bottom land at the river toward the base of Mt. Moriah hill. The White Bridge was being constructed and the road around it was also being completed. Raymond and Bernard Oxley were working on the new road at that time. The wagon followed the Trace Fork road to the John Smith farm at Nye. Willie and Violet had started housekeeping in a small cottage behind the Smith farm. After the visit at Nye, the wagon crossed Trace Fork and traveled up Clymer Creek to the Virgil and Leva Burnside farm. The Thorntons visited there and then followed the road up the hollow to the ridge and the Green farm. The wagon followed a road down from the Green farm past the John Johnson farm and back to the Henderson house and Turkey Creek. The memories of a six year old boy Leonard Thornton when asked about when the White Bridge was built.

* April the third 1939 George Wood stopped at the Turkey Creek school and got the rope from the flag pole and went to the White Bridge. He put his coat on one end of the bridge and his lunch pail on the other end. He tied the rope around his neck with a rock attached and jumped into the Trace Fork.


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