Friends of THE Second Creek held their 2013 Watershed Day July 27 at Gap Mills, in conjunction with the Gap Mills High School Alumni Reunion and Gap Mills UMC Homecoming. Carmel Church and picnic pavilion was the scene for the gathering. Soggy weather forced the group to take shelter in the picnic pavilion. A wonderful lunch was provided by the GMUMC Women in the basement of the Carmel Church basement, giving attendees an opportunity to mingle and catch up on individual happenings. This continuing Gap Mills tradition of sharing facilities for the common good of the people was evident once more.
An opening ceremony was led by FOTSC, encompassing the singing of patriotic songs, invocation given by Rev. Gene Fullen, Pledge of Allegiance, reading of the names of “Veterans of Gap Valley Area” and updates were presented concerning the progress of work on the “Gap Valley for National Registry” project. The new discovery of records which brought to light the Grange’s presence at Gap Mills was celebrated.
Linda Cook, president of the Gap Mills Alumni, began the morning alumni gathering with attendees participating in a choral reading of the poem, “The Oak of Carmel” by Hugh Cook. Memories from GMHS days were shared by alumni. Linda presented information and teachers names from an early school newspaper, “The Mercury.” Discussions concerning future gatherings were voiced. Gifts were presented in special recognition. Doris McPeak Whitman (1967) received the award for traveling the furthest and being the youngest. Margaret Lee Bland (1943) received the award for being the oldest graduate. Juanita Sweeney Counts (1948) received the award for having the most (nine) children. Anyone who attended Gap Mills School (even after it was no longer a high school) is encouraged to attend this gathering in 2014. If anyone has information or questions call Linda at 540-559-9799.
That afternoon the Gap Valley Gathering was entertained, bemused and educated by several speakers. Steve Capaldo spoke to the group about the life of Andrew Summers Rowan, a Gap Mills military hero. Russell Jones addressed the history and function of the first Ruritan in West Virginia, at Gap Mills. Steve Dransfield illustrated and demonstrated the use of several farm tools used by the early settler/farmers of Gap Valley, one being the flail. Frances Karnes Irwin, humorously spoke about the Lewis Family and the workings of that farm (plantation). Lastly, the Maxwell Sister’s Wreath was presented with ribbons signed by the descendants and attendees of the day’s events. The wreath is displayed at the Maxwell Sisters’ Monument in honor of these early pioneer women of Gap Valley and their families. These pioneer Maxwell Sisters were the mothers of the Neel, Steele, Crosier and Dunbar families of Monroe County. There were three descendants at this year’s gathering.
FOTSC continues to work on projects of preservation of history and water. Currently the group is asking help with putting out trees along Kitchen Creek on Oct. 19, as a part of the restoration of that stream. If interested in helping with this project call James at 304-645-4229.
FOTSC will be gathering oral histories from the Gap Valley area this fall to be a part of the “Gap Mills Remembered, Volume II” oral history book, to be published in spring 2014. This area includes Sweet Springs, Gap Mills, Waiteville, The Cove and down to Zenith. Volume I was very informative and well received. Also volume II for the Monitor, Pickaway and Sinks Grove area and volume I for the Glace, Hollywood and Second Creek area of the Second Creek Watershed will be completed over the winter. If interested in participating in this venture by being interviewed, sharing your life experiences, you may call Dixie at 304-645-4229 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a wonderful opportunity to share your life story and celebrate your family and their contribution to the life of that community of Monroe County.
FOTSC has begun a new web site at www.friendsofthesecondcreek.com.
FOTSC wishes to express special heartfelt thanks to all the persons (too many to mention) and institutions that helped make the Watershed Day 2013 at Gap Mills a super success.