History of Gap Valley topic at FOTSC quarterly meeting
Friends of THE Second Creek, Inc. met July 21, at Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church for their summer quarterly meeting. Dr. Barbara Wickline Rasmussen of Morgantown was the guest speaker. She spoke to the group concerning the work she has done on Gap Valley for National Registry of Historic Places, as well as work to be done at Sinks Grove.
The Gap Valley area is a farming area covering the area from Centennial, down Route 3 to Gap Mills, turning onto Zenith Road to the Gap Mills UMC, back to the edge of Peter’s Mountain, then along Peter’s Mountain to Centennial. Many of the farms there have been passed down from the pioneer settlers. Farming practices have continued to improve over the past 200 years through better, more productive farming techniques in this special area. Dr. Rasmussen’s most recent finding was that of the Grange Organization at Gap Mills. The first meeting of the Gap Mills Grange was held in September of 1913 with 15 members and included the following officers; Baxter L. Neel (Worthy Master), O.C. Rowan (overseer), Guy L. Neel (Steward), Joe G. Sweeney (assistant Steward), Amanda Rowan (Chaplain), L.B. Ruddell (Treasuer), Garnett Pharr (Secretary), J.L. McGuire (Gate Keeper) and Zella Neel (Lady Assistant Steward). This information was found in the Monroe Watchman, Sept. 1, 1913.
After the business meeting FOTSC released the first volume of the oral histories book titled “Monitor, Pickaway, and Sinks Grove Remembered, Volume I.” These oral history narrators shared memories of their lives along with some genealogy, clippings, memorabilia and pictures of their family. Five of the narrators/authors (Charlotte Burton Miller, Charlie Miller, Lucille Bowyer Lemons, Frances Patton Caywood Irons and Bob Pomphrey) were on hand to sign books. Other contributions to this project were made by Gill Patton of Chattanooga, TN, Clinton Moore, Campbell-Elaine Young Gilchrist, Leon “Doc” Reed, Hazel Shrader and Florence McClung. In addition, Frances O’Brien, Sue Kruger, Mayo Lemons and Nancy Medford contributed additional pictures. FOTSC dedicated this volume to Lucille Lemons for her dedicated roll as a board member of FOTSC since its inception and her interest in seeing history preserved, especially in the Second Creek Watershed.
A reception for the occasion was sponsored by Jim Heavener of Florida and formerly of Gap Mills. He was one of the narrators in the “Gap Valley Oral History Volume I” book. Board members, narrators and visitors enjoyed this social occasion.
FOTSC will continue to collect oral histories and documented histories. This is an effort to preserve the history of the complete watershed; along with the preservation of the quality of water and macro invertebrates of our Second Creek Watershed. History is only good if it is shared. If you wish to participate in any of these projects contact Dixie Lee Hoke-Webb by email (dlh43sc(@hotmail.com) or by phone at 304-645-4229,