The Widow Combs

Ollie Combs was the sort of tough Appalachian woman that all of us who live here can recognize. She was born in 1904, in Knott County, deep in the Kentucky coalfields. We know little about her early life, but we can speculate. Like other women born in the Appalachian coalfields in that time, she witnessed…

Dr. Harriet B. Jones

Harriet B. Jones was born in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania in 1856. However, her family later moved to Terra Alta, West Virginia, where she was raised. At the age of 12, her father enrolled her in the Wheeling Female College. The school’s aim was to provide women with a liberal arts education, not to mimic the presumably…

Fifty-Five Strong, Part Two

This post is picking up from part one. Please go back and read it if you haven’t already. Things were not better at the end of World War II. Funding for schools, like funding for roads, remained a serious problem. West Virginia could not maintain competitive teacher salaries. Teachers began to leave the state in…

Country Roads

Harrison County Mayors Discuss Fixing West Virginia Roads[1] West Virginia Officials: Staffing Issues Slowing Road Repair[2] West Virginia’s commissioner of highways tours 50 miles of roads in Marshall County[3] Miller Brings Out Platform—Hits School Politics and Condition of Roads in Talk at Armory[4] Bad Road Conditions Trigger ‘Blockade’[5] Gov. Justice announces plans to fix secondary…

A Brief History of Coal

To understand a lot of what I will be discussing on this blog, you first need to understand coal in the United States.  Coal has dominated the narrative of West Virginia history and still tends to dominate its politics today. Its presence has also influenced the economies and history of the other states in the…