S. Thomas (Tom) Bond spent most of his life farming and teaching in the vicinity of Lost Creek, Jane Lew and West Milford. West Virginia. There were brief periods when he received an education at Salem College in West Virginia, a Master’s Degree at West Virginia University and a Doctorate at Kent State University in Ohio. He also acquired a different sort of education in the Chemical Corps of the United States Army.

Like many who live in Appalachia, his family can be traced back prior to Revolutionary War days. His ancestors moved from Maryland to what was then Western Virginia in 1799.

Teaching and farming work well together. It is a common pattern in West Virginia and in other places where landholdings are small.

The scope of this writing is extended backward by memories from two or three generations past as stories handed down to young people. It includes the authors experience with the strip mining of coal in North Central West Virginia, a land intensive business that came in and largely passed away in the author’s lifetime. It also includes discussion of the intense contact between farmers and a second rural business, production of oil and gas. This involved a popular organization to represent the landowners, CLANRO, Inc. These topics are included along with farming, because they were a very important part of rural life in North central West Virginia in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s.

The coming of the Interstate, the decline of general farming which produced a variety of products, and the ascendancy of cow-calf farming, which is called ranching in the West, is observed. The return of the deciduous forest, the population shift from town living to countryside living, changes in buying habits of those living in the country, the changes in plants and animal species, including many new pests which have arrived in this time is noted.

Appalachia has a very diverse face from place to place. Southern Appalachia with its coal fields, log cabins, fiddlers and hard life is most familiar, but there are wealthy spots like Pittsburgh and the resort area around Boon, North Carolina. Most of it lies between these extremes. This story is about one of those in-between places.

Obviously, the author is not a trained writer, but rather is an observer, recording his time and place for the benefit of his contemporaries, for the future and for people in other places who find Appalachia an interesting place.

Copyright © 1998, 2006, 2008, 2011 S. Tom Bond (stombond at hughes.net)