Odds and Ends
The Pocahontas Times
September 29, 1988
Memoir for Sherman Hammons and Maggie Hammons Parker
The Hammons family of Marlinton has been diminished by the death of Sherman Hammons during the Labor Day weekend. His friends will miss his music and tales – but even more, his presence, personality and philosophy. His music and conversation revealed a tolerant love of humankind (occasionally seasoned with a wry chuckle) and a firm sense of the importance of the natural world.
For Sherman, life was to be lived close to nature. His was not a contemporary wilderness without people, but a mountainous forest with animal, plant and person in graceful and reciprocal relation.
Like others in the family, his knowledge of the woods was nothing short of encyclopedic. Save for a handful of mysteries, every creature and plant could be named and its habits described. The mysterious sights and sounds that animated certain of Sherman’s tales served to remind us that not everything in the world could be explained.
For Sherman, history was no more distant and remote than nature. His grandfather’s and father’s time, spanning the era from before the Civil War to the end of the logging boom in this century, came alive in stories about panthers, hunting and fishing camps, and the arrival of the steam skidder and Shay railroads that signaled the final victory of modern times.
Sherman’s vision is in a real sense a family vision, and this is a good moment to pay tribute to his sister Maggie Hammons Parker, who passed away a little over a year ago. She is well remembered for her phenomenal repertory of folksongs, unrivaled among contemporary West Virginians, but her knowledge was by no means limited to music. She shared Sherman’s historical sensibility and ken of the natural worlds, adding to them a magical touch with traditional cookery. City visitors like us never expected that “bread” (biscuits), pinto beans, fried chicken, green beans, and homemade applesauce could be transformed into a symphony for the palate.
It is good to know that of Sherman and Maggie’s generation, three siblings carry on in Pocahontas County. We trust that Dasie Hammons Buzzard and Emmy Hammons Roberts, despite difficulties with their health, and Burl Hammons, this generation’s genius with a violin, will keep the family’s traditions alive for many years to come.
American Folklife Center,
Library of Congress
Washington, D. C.
Editor’s Note: To read the 2018 online version of “The Hammons Family – A Story of a West Virginia Family’s Traditions,” based on field work by Dwight Diller, Alan Jabbour and Carl Fleischhauer, go to www.loc.gov/ folklife/LP/AFSL65andL66_Hammons.pdf
December 22, 1927
In the December West Virginia Wildlife is the news that preparations are being made to have a forest tree nursery on lands of the Seneca Forest. All fall long, when not required on other work, Patrolman Brown Miller has been preparing seed beds, by putting on fertilizer, draining, grading, etc. About half an acre has been put in, proper shape for seed beds. The seeds will be planted next spring.
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At the special election held by the Town of Durbin last Saturday, the question of issuing bonds in the amount of $18,000, for the purpose of providing a municipal water supply, carried by the overwhelming vote of 152 to 16. The water will be brought from the Cromer Spring, a distance of a little more than a mile.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Bright, at Riverside, December 17, a daughter.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Morris Friel, at Woodrow, December 17, a son.
December 29, 1927
Two degrees above zero on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings of this week, with zero and near zero temperature every morning for nearly two weeks.
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The businessmen of Marlinton through a committee, sent Christmas dinners to many families in this community, whose larders were not as full as they might have been by reason of sickness, misfortune and lack of work.
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The ancient, free and disreputable order of coon hunters had their annual feed at Johnson’s Restaurant last Thursday night. Coon and fixings were served. It was a great repast for those who like that kind of bait, and thoroughly enjoyed by all present. Those who fetched up to the board were Frank Anderson, E. M. Richardson, Cliff Sharp, S. B. Wallace, Dewey Stemple, Alva Johnson, Edward Wilson, Kenny Weiford, Burton Wilson, E. H. Williams, Frank Richardson, Dr. E. G. Herold, J. L. Baxter, Teddy Moore, Fred Wilson, Jack Richardson, Curtis Moore and Calvin W. Price.
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The water back of the kitchen stove in the home of L. O. Simmons blew up Tuesday afternoon, completely wrecking the stove and doing other damage. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons had just returned from their wedding and started a fire in the stove, which had been cold for several days.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
“Dear Lord, help us to pray:
“I will start anew this morning with a higher, fairer creed;
I will cease to stand complaining of my ruthless neighbor’s greed;
I will cease to sit repining while my duty’s call is clear;
I will waste no moment whining and my heart shall know no fear.
I will look sometimes about me for the things that merit praise;
I will search for hidden beauties that elude the grumbler’s gaze.
I will try to find contentment in the paths that I must tread;
I will cease to have resentment when another moves ahead.
I will not be swayed by envy when my rival’s strength is shown;
I will not deny his merit, but I’ll try to prove my own;
I will try to see the beauty spread before me, rain or shine;
I will cease to preach your duty and be more concerned with mine.”