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Dante Lives On, Inc.

A 501-(c)3 Non-Profit Organization

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2000 Visitors

Sandra Nash Rasnick, Teresa Nash Smith, Tony Boyd, Steve Honto, Larry Jordan, Delmar & Charlotte Phillips, Deborah York, Virginia Addington Ruff, Lara Ruff McCammon, Karen Jenkins Martin, Shelia Powers Hale, Cecil Ray Meade, Jr., James Dickenson, Kareen Couch, Shelburn Phillips, John Minahan, Lisa Woods, Kelly Woods Bush, Joy Meade Wilson, Joseph H. Williams, Mark C. Palmer, Billie South Hanson, Tom Roller, Shirley Harvey Clay, Sammy Roller, Harmon L. Kilgore, Sylvia Kilgore, Ronald Meade, Mike Dickenson, Robbie Whitaker, Betty Penland Amburgey, Sherry Ramsey, Buster Phillips, Sheila Breeding Ball, Sherry Hall Spires, Gail South, Alice McNeer Swann, Sam Smith, Ernest Glenn Minton, Mary Mullins Biggs, LaDonna Cable Ashcraft, Bobby Whicker, Jr., Mark Gullett, Thelmer Wallace, Jr., Patricia Dinggus Minton, Debra Keith, Carolyn Casteel Combs, Darrell Mays, Harry Everhart, Gloria Robbins, Bryce Castle, George Bailey, Jr., Roger Dishman, Timothy Minahan, Glenn Palmer, Wayne Johnson, Ralph Griffith, June Castle Quarbo, Evelyn Dixon Pickel, Geraldene Greer Richardson, Rachel Glovier Hooven, Odell Smith, Luther J. Willis, Danny Minahan, Jeanne Burkett Burgess, Johnny Hobbs, Jennifer Litton Waugh, Mina Summerton, Sharon Banner, Clarence Hobbs, Charles H. Jones, Frankie Dean, Mickey D. Meade, J. Wayne Salyer, David Chadwick Salyer, Gloria Meade Annarelli, Anna McCoy Patrick, Eric Culbertson, Patricia Campbell Garrett, George Robert Campbell, Kelley Sims, Beulah Hobbs Campbell, Charles King, Becky Domokos-Bays, Cameron Baird Sutherland, Anita R. Morris, Veita McCoy Lyle, Ronnie Barton, Orbin Sexson, Bobby Bartee, Thomas Rudder, Jerrolean Whitely, John Bolton, John Lewis, Conley Addington, Richard Addington, Viola Culbertson Smith, Virginia South Hansen, Penny Neece Mirtsching, Donna Sproles Hamblin, Joe Honto, Jr., Ron Hall, James Boyd, Bill Addington, Jack Bentley


Sandra Nash Rasnick (June 25, 2000)
Dante, VA 24237
srasnick5 AT
15 years on Hazel Mountain
Parents: Harry and Helen Nash
Sister: Teresa Nash Smith
Husband: Christopher Rasnick
Children: Luke, Kelly and Isaac Rasnick

"I haven't actually lived in Dante, but I have had a Dante address. I live on Hazel Mountain. My dad, Harry Nash, lived in Dante and graduated from the Dante High School. My aunt and uncle, Joy and Bobby Whicker, lived in Dante for many years. I still think of all of those Sundays that my dad played tennis at the Dante tennis courts and we would all go visit Bobby and Joy. It was always fun to go and see all of the people that Daddy knew and they would always call him Harry Lee. It was never quite clear to me why they called him that when his name was Harry Edward. My aunt was Joy Lee. I guess everybody thought that it should have been his name. I know Dad would love to hear from some of his old buddies. "
Sandra Nash Rasnick

Teresa Nash Smith (June 24, 2000)
Donaldsonville, GA 31745
drsmith @
Parents: Harry and Helen Nash
Sister: Sandra Nash Rasnick
Husband: Dr. Gary Smith
Daughter: Heather Smith

"I was born in Dante, but I lived in McClure, Va. until I was married. I enjoyed going with my mom and dad to visit my grandparents and aunt and uncle in Straight Hollow. My dad, Harry Nash, graduated from Dante High School, so Dante is very special to me. If you would like for me to give my dad a message, please send it e-mail to me. I know he would enjoy hearing from old friends."
Teresa Nash Smith

Tony Boyd (June 24, 2000)
Dante, VA 24237
btony34 @
14 years in Bunchtown
Parents: Paul Boyd, Sr.(deceased), Marie Boyd.
Brothers and Sisters: Paul Boyd, Jr. (Dante), Shirley Howard (Trammel), Jerry Boyd (Castlewood), Judith Vinson (Dante), James Boyd (McClure), Ray Boyd (Haysi), Phyllis Silcox (Trammel).

Steve Honto (June 24, 2000)
Lexington, KY 40515
longwalll @
20 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Joe and Beulah Honto
Brother : Joe Honto, Jr.

"Dante was the perfect place to grow up. It was always a family atmosphere. I really enjoy seeing and hearing about the Old Dante and am surprised at how much I remember. I recall growing up and standing on the railroad tracks waiting for the Santa Train to come through and throw candy out for all the kids. I also remember going to the old Hotel and seeing Santa and receiving a fruit bag from the Clinchfield Coal Company. My brother and I would go to the Movie House on Saturday to watch Cowboys movies and have a ball on $1.00. But my best memory was the people who many will remain close to my heart."
Steve Honto

Larry Jordan (June 24, 2000)
Sarasota, FL 34237
NetZeppelinY2K @
Parents: Rex I. Jordan & Gloria A. Taylor (Deceased)
Brothers : Garry & John Jordan

"Some of my fondest memories of childhood were when my mother would take me & my brothers to visit relatives in Dante. Both my parents were born there & I myself consider it "home."
Larry Jordan

Delmar and Charlotte Phillips (June 24, 2000)
Castlewood, VA 24224
booner @
17 years on Straight Road
Parents' Names: Delmar and Mary Phillips and Sara and Ezra Hartsock
Brothers and Sisters: Ron, Faye, Neda, Carter, Maggie (deceased), Pete (deceased) Phillips and Margaret, Ronald, Wade, and Helen Hartsock.

Deborah York (June 15, 2000)
Rockford, IL. 61102
deborah.york @
One year downtown
Grandparents: Nesby and Jennie York, Forest and Rittie Combs
Parents: Fred and Patsy Combs York
Brothers: Randy Kiser and Freddy York

"I was born in Dante Hospital in 1955 and lived in Dante the first few months of my life. We lived in Clinchfield and Cleveland until 1968 when we moved to Rockford, Illinois. My paternal grandparents lived in Bear Wallow. There were 12 children in the family. Fred, Lacy, Floyd, Evelyn, Hazel, Mabel, and Martha are still living. Bill, Robert, Roy (Curly), Elizabeth, and Ruth are deceased.

"My dad worked for the Clinchfield Coal Company. We have relatives living in Clinchfield, Cleveland, Lebanon, Castlewood, St. Paul, and of course, Dante!"
Deborah York

Virginia Addington Ruff (June 13, 2000)
Dante, VA 24237
mccammons @
68 years in Bear Wallow
Parents: Con D. & Bessie Addington
Brothers and Sisters: Dewey, Richard, Bill, Conley "Bug", Gene, Johnny, & Mildred .

"Great place to live."
Virginia Addington Ruff

Lara Ruff McCammon (June 13, 2000)
Dante, VA 24237
mccammons @
34 years in Bear Wallow.
Parents: Paul James & Virginia Ruff.
Brothers and Sisters: Brenda(deceased), Jim, Lavona, Nancy, Tim, Bobby(deceased) & Pat

"Still home to me and my family. Four of us still live here in Dante as well as my mother Virginia. Dante will always be home to me no matter where I may go in this world. I chose to stay here and take care of my mother and raise my twins in the same atmosphere that my mother and father raised me.

" I am married to a wonderful man named Kevin and we have a set of four year old twins, Madison and Chandler. I am thankful that we have been able to stay here around our families, as so many have moved away.

" We still take walks in the evenings during the summertime which always takes a good while 'cause all the older neighbors (which is all that is left here in Bear Wallow seems like) comes out to greet you and socialize just as they did when I was a kid. Wonderful childhood memories for me and I hope one day my children will say the same."
Lara Ruff McCammon

Karen Jenkins Martin (June 9, 2000)
St. Paul, Va. 24283
tedebear @
16 Years in Bearwallow.
Parents: Earl C. & Lois Barnette Jenkins
Brothers and Sisters: Felicia "Floss" Brooks and Michael "Squirrel" Jenkins

"Remember playing spotlight and climbing the hills with Vickie, Diane."
Karen Jenkins Martin

Sheila Powers Hale (June 5, 2000)
Castlewood, Va. 24224
sheilahale @
18 years in Bear Wallow.
Parents: Lowery & Charmie Penland Powers
Sister: Jeanette Powers Trent

"I began school at Dante Elementary in 1954. When I was in grades 1 - 3 we didn't have a cafeteria at the school. We would march in formation down the road to an old three-room house to eat lunch. We had a playground on top of the school, where they would occasionally allow us to play. That was more fun than playing on the regular playground. Sometimes my sister, a few friends, and I would walk home from school, which was about two miles, up the railroad track. Usually the bus would beat us home. Looking back, I don't know why we enjoyed carrying loads of books for two miles, but it was fun then.

" At Christmas time we would go to the Dante Hotel to meet Santa and get a bag of "treats", which was provided for the coal miner's families by Clinchfield Coal Company. The spots I remember most vividly are the old Barber Shop, Beer Garden, Dante Hotel, Clinchfield Company Store, and the Jones Dress Shop, where I remember going with my mother to buy dresses and hats, etc. Jones Dress shop later became Dante Post Office. I remember going down to the Dante Drug Store, which held a soda fountain where we usually purchased vanilla cokes. We could go there to purchase the latest 45 rmp pop records and comic books. We would go to the Dante Theatre for entertainment. For all who remember the theatre, remember the rats. . . Writing all this is bringing back more memories than I have time to write, but those really were the GOOD OLD DAYS!! "
Shelia Powers Hale

Cecil Ray Meade Jr. (June 5, 2000)
Lebanon, Va. 24266
cmeade @
23 years in Straight Hollow.
Parents: Cecil and Kathleen Meade
Brother: Mickey Meade

James "Jim" D. Dickenson (May 27, 2000)
Longwood, FL 32750
Jdicke33 @
18 years in Straight Hollow. Moved to Roanoke in 1951.
Grandparents: Robert "Bob" Jackson Dickenson & Ada Rachael Johnston and Rice C. Thomas & Della Mae Johnson lived in Dante for many years.
Parents: Thelma Thomas and Pearl G. Dickenson
Sisters and brothers: Jewell, Jannette, Jack

Johnson Family, about 1938. Adults from left: Della Mae Johnson Thomas, Mason L. Johnson,
Rice Thomas, Ellen Haney Johnson, Thelma Thomas Dickenson, Amos Johnson, Andrew F.
Stephenson, Pearl Johnson Stephenson, Jewell Stephenson Sommers. Children: Janette, Jewell,
and James Dickenson. Photo contributed by Fred South, great-grandson of Mason and Ellen.

Kareen Couch (May 25, 2000)
Dante, VA 24237
kareen @
34 years on Roanoke Hill
Parents: Fred and Clarice (Owens) Couch

"I've lived in Dante since 1966 when my parents moved into the old "Lee Long" house on Roanoke Hill. I live there now and am very interested in knowing more about the history of that house. I enjoy reading the comments in the Guest Book as well as the History Project itself - what a wonderful way to preserve and promote the history and culture of this unique place in the world."
Kareen Couch

Shelburn Phillips (May 23, 2000)
Castlewood, VA 24224
shelburn60 @
40 years on Dante Mountain, in Trammel Gap
Parents: Lundy and Mary Phillips (both deceased)
Brothers and Sisters: Betty Story (living in Florida), Flossie Neece, Delphia Williams, W.L.Phillips (all deceased)

John (Moe) Minahan (May 23, 2000)
New Providence, N.J.
Xmoework @
18 years downtown
Parents: John and Edna Minahan
Brothers and Sisters: Mike, Timothy, Dan, Pat, Edna, Ellen

"I was raised in Dante from 1953 to 1971. Dad was the owner of Clinchfield Pharmacy in most of that period. I had the pleasure of meeting just about everybody in and around Dante while working there. The memories there are most dear but mostly I remember the strong way that people looked out for each other. As a boy of 4 or 5, I remember all the ladies in Sawmill Hollow calling me "Little Doc" and being sure I was alright on the way up to the ballpark, giving me a loved feeling I can't describe.

"THE Prettiest girls in the world lived there. We lived in the house next to Dante Elementary and I sat on the porch for 2 hours just to see the Litton girls go by. When we played burn outs at the school, among other things, we ran the bases in the wrong direction. Over the rails for a home run. In the creek, always an out. But on top of the school and the game was over. And the little kids got to play, but their outs and runs didn't count.

"We were in Lick Creek everyday as was our sewage, and the boys of course filled the stoker every night. You always had more and different kinds of friends there than anywhere in the world. Where is that life now? I hope it still exists in Dante. "
John "Moe" Minahan

Lisa Woods (May 19, 2000)
Cleveland, VA. 24237
logie @
19 years in Cigarette Hollow
Grandparents: Charles (Smokey) and Sally Jennings
Parents: Bill and Helen Mullins
Husband: David Woods
Children: Kelly Bush and Deidra (DD) Woods

Kelly Woods Bush (May 18, 2000)
Castlewood, Va. 24224
loganc @
18 years in Cigarette Hollow
Parents: David and Lisa Woods
Sister: Deidra Woods

Joy Meade Wilson (May 15, 2000)
Johnson City, TN 37604
Bu2241 @
Parents: R.C. "Pete" Meade and Thelma Holbrook Meade
Sisters and Brother: Brenda Meade DeBusk (deceased), Debra Meade Wainwright, and Patty Meade Howell, Tommy Meade

" Brenda and I were born in Bunchtown at my grandparents' home (Bruce and Sallie Lewis Holbrook). We moved to St. Paul and then Castlewood when I was around 3 or 4 years old. My grandmother, Rosa Mae Meade Couch, 96, lives in GA with my Aunt Virginia Meade Marshall, and the old home place was torn down recently, but my Aunt Stella Meade Collins is now living on the property. Although I was young when we moved from Dante, I still have fond memories.....Standing in line to pick up my Christmas goody bags and going to ballgames there...I am so glad we found this web site!"
Joy Meade Wilson

Joseph H. Williams (May 10, 2000)
Port St. John, FL 32927
lovid @
3 years at Hanging Rock
Grandparents: Lundy and Mary Phillips

"I lived with my grandparents when I was a young boy. I continued to return to their home regularly. My own children looked forward to our yearly visits there. When I was a child Grandma would take me into Dante to shop. It was really a busy town for that day and age. My cousins and aunt and uncle still live in surrounding communities."
Joseph P. Williams

Mark C. Palmer (April 26, 2000)
Spring Branch, TX 78070
mcpalmer @
Parents: Glenn and Adrena Palmer
Brother: Barry

"My father grew up in Dante. I have visited Dante many times seeing my grandmother and extended family."
Mark Palmer

Billie South Hansen (April 25, 2000)
Pembroke Pines, FL 33025
20 years in Dante, first in Straight Hollow and then on Roanoke Hill
Parents: Bertha Mae and James L. South
Brothers and sisters: Virginia, Hazel, Betty, Jim, Patty June, Kitty, Jack, Mary Ann, Jean, twins David & Donald & Carolyn

"I graduated from Dante High in 1940 and was the first girl to work at the soda fountain in the drug store when it opened. Our grandfather, William Cassell, lived next door to us when we were growing up until he passed away. My mother's brother, Oakley Cassell, lived in Dante and Mother had a sister, Aunt Daisy, who lived in Kingsport, Tennessee. Almost every Sunday some of the family came to "Pappa's" (our grandfather ) and we children had wonderful times together.

"I will always remember Mrs. Mansfield, Deaconesses Booth and Brereton for the many things they did for our family and for our Sunday morning meetings at the mission house where we had services and a waffle breakfast afterwards before going to church. Those were very HAPPY TIMES for all of us.

"I was only back to Dante once when my father died. We lost our brother Jim last fall but we were all together at a family reunion in Waverly, VA in June of 1998. "
Billie South Hansen

Tom Roller (April 25, 2000)
Ashville, AL 35953
thr45 @
Lived in St. Paul

Shirley Harvey Clay (April 24, 2000)
Dover, TN 37058
clay @
Dover, TN 37058
6 years on Straight Road
Parents: Bud Homer and Nan Ella Mutter Harvey
Brothers and Sisters: Eugene, Patty, Geraldine, Brenda

"I remember my dad pitching baseball for the Dante Team. We left Dante when I was in the first grade and moved to Coeburn. My dad was a miner."
Shirley Harvey Clay

Sammy Roller (April 24, 2000)
Lebanon, TN 37087
sammyroller30 @
Lived in St. Paul
Parents: Ray and Vena Roller

"Dante was the hub of Southwest Virginia. I can recall many good times I had there. Some like visits to the Dante Clinic that at the time were not so good. I had and I am for sure I still do have some friends still there. I plan to visit in June."
Sammy Roller

Harmon L. Kilgore (April 21, 2000)
St. Paul, VA. 24283
journalist72 @
Honey Branch
Parents: Frank & Elsie Kilgore
Brothers and Sisters: Arthur, Bonnie, Lora, Mary Ann,& Eddie

" I have never lived in Dante but I know it quite well and have lived near Dante all my life. My wife, Sylvia Kilgore, was born in West Dante and grew up there."
Harmon Kilgore

Sylvia Kilgore (April 19, 2000)
St. Paul, Va. 24283
journalist72 @
12 years in West Dante
Parents: Alice Tipton & Bill Tipton
Brothers and Sisters: Harlos, Clovis, Pauline, Melvin, Mavis, Anna Ruth, & Yvonne

"My memories of West Dante, an extention of Dante, Va., where I was born and partially grew up, has changed dramatically, since the late 1940's. It was the " stamping ground " of my ancestors, friends and familiar faces. This revelation that has taken place over several decades, has changed an "eyesore" into a small modest town of modern improvement.

"Dante was a dirty coal-mining town and still is to some extent. It was about the only industry available to the working man. Probably half of its residents were poverty- stricken, in which my family was included. The coal miners' earnings were strictly meager before the union was organized. Families had to grow their own vegetables, raise hogs, and some had a milk cow, if they were lucky, just to make a living.

"Then, electricity wasn't even available. Only the elite few families had electricity and it was manufactured by gasoline generators. The poorer generation had to use oil lamps, sometimes carbide lamps, for general use after dark. There were very few homes with running water. This certainly brings the old well, at the forks of the road, back to memory. It supplied many of the residents with an ample water supply, because it was a big source of water. If I remember correctly, the well-house was trimmed in orange, and there was a roof covering the well on the porch. It was located in my aunt's and uncle's yard , but it was meant to be shared with all who needed it. All during the day and way up into the night, the well bucket could be heard being lowered into the well, rattling and clanging against the metal casing.

"Atop a hill above West Dante, over-looking the main part of the town, was where the old schoolhouse stood. Since then it has been razed and a modest dwelling house stands there. The old two-room school was separated by a partition that was raised and lowered, to share programs for the entire school. One room was called the "Little Room." It was for the primary, first, second and third grades. The "Big Room" housed the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. A pot-bellied stove stood in a corner in each room to heat them. There was a huge steel bell on a large pole, on the right side of the steps that led up to the entrance. There were two out-houses, one on each side of the school. One for the boys and one for the girls. A large play-ground separated the out-houses, and there was an old coal house, just below the school that held the coal and wood that was used for heat.

"On a hill adjacent to where the old school was located was the West Dante Community Cemetery which is very seldom used anymore. The main section of the town could be seen from the old cemetery and school site. It consisted of the church, the post office and a small grocery store, and a a few other dwellings. The Freewill Baptist Church, which was a rough-shod building to begin with, more or less a make-shift for a church, has survived, and has risen to a modest dimension. It is now a brick building with the essentials, and towering its own steeple, that the Christian community looks up to.

"An old blue, rectangular building stood apart as the post office, but no longer exists. There were two grocery stores located near and was called the "upper and lower" stores, which were maybe a quarter mile apart. These were the Phillips Groceries and they supplied most anything the small town needed. Of course, they no longer exist either.

"I moved to Wise County when I was twelve and started seventh grade at St. Paul, Va. All my brothers are deceased now and one sister. That leaves Pauline Slemp who still lives in West Dante. Anna Ruth Niner and Yvonne Johnson live in Ohio and I live on the St. Paul route. These old memories took me back to the church in West Dante and I am very satisfied with those familiar faces."
Sylvia Kilgore

Ronald E. "Snook" Meade (April 14, 2000)
Birmingham, AL
RMeade2591 @
7 years in Straight Hollow, 13 years Bunch Town
Parents: Henry Meade (deceased) and Rosa Mae Meade, who later married Ed Couch (Louisville, Ga).
Brothers and sisters: Robert C. (Pete) (deceased), Virginia Marshall (Louisville, Ga), Henry Meade Jr.(deceased), James Otis Meade (deceased), Stella Ruth Collins (Dante).

"Like most I remember the refuse dumps and the baseball field. I had good times on both. Most dumps were somewhat flat on top so you could play on them. Games were going on somewhere all the time. In my teens I remember the baseball and basketball games at Dante and Castlewood High. Diddle Dishman, who is recalled by his brother elsewhere in this guestbook, was a classmate and friend of mine at the time. I could mention many others but space is limited.

"I also remember very well J. W. Worley who is mentioned elsewhere also. Even with his handicap, from a major disease at that time, he was an excellent athlete and was always there when a game came up. He is also remembered for his healthy vocal cords. He is tops in this area. I will write more later. Maybe a GWTW volume. I would appreciate hearing from anyone."
Ronald "Snook" Meade

Stella & Ronald about 1937

Mike Dickenson (March 4, 2000)
Midlothian, Va. 23113
michael.dickenson @
11 years in Bear Wallow
Parents: Lelia Wood and Clint Dickenson
Grandparents: Sam and Ordie Hicks Wood and Clint and Nannie Suits Dickenson
Sister: Daris Dickenson Morgan

"I was born in 1952 and lived in Bear Wallow until December, 1963. At that time we moved to Bristol, Tn. I have spent the last 18 years in Houston, Tx. until last year when I was transferred to the Richmond, Va. area.

"My grandparents had a bath house beneath the coal mine. I remember the day the tipple fell. I also remember playing on the coal cars and playing baseball on the slate dump. Plus I remember the slate dump that burned for years.

"My mother had 4 sisters and 5 brothers and my father had 1 brother and 2 sisters. "
Mike Dickenson

Robbie Whitaker (March 4, 2000)
Massillon, OH 44647
robbie @
Parents: Bill and Audrey Whitaker
Sisters: Brenda Lipscomb and Trisha Pritched

Betty Penland Amburgey (April 3, 2000)
Castlewood, Va. 24224
bettyamburgey @
21 years in Bear Wallow
Parents: Clyde and Allene Buttry Penland
Sisters and Brother : Linda, Debbie and Tommy

" I have happy memories of my school days in Dante and Castlewood. I love hearing anything connected to the history of this area. "
Betty Penland Amburgey

Sherry Ramsey (March 31, 2000)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Onebadrat7 @

"I'm seeking family information on Ramseys who lived in Dante. My grandfather Ernest Ramsey was born August 20, 1918, in Dante. His parents were Dempsey Ramsey and Hallie Wright, who married about 1910. They may have come from Gant Branch near Molls Creek. Dempsey's parents were John Riley Ramsey and Polly Ferrell. If anyone knows any Ramseys from Dante, please let me know. Thanks."
Sherry Ramsey

Buster Phillips (March 31, 2000)
Humphreys, Mo. 64646
buscar @
18 years in West Dante
Parents: Tivis & Julia (Dishman) Phillips
Brothers & Sisters: Arlett, Ulyses(deceased), Ardie, Lawrence, Roxie Wallace, Audrey Whitaker (deceased), Juanita Holbrook, Jean Riner (deceased), Loretta Salyers, and Belva Hall.

"I was born Dec. 15th 1929 at Trammel Gap and went to school first three years in Straight Hollow. My teachers were Ms. Booth, Ms. Stapleton, and Ms. Banes. Then we moved to West Dante where I finished 4, 5, 6, and 7th grades. Teachers here were Owen and Belva Counts (husband & wife) and Philmore Breeding. After that I started high school at Dante, and lived with my sister and her husband (Audie & Roxie Wallace) in Straight Road. Teachers at Dante were Counts & Razor (principals), Ms. Brooks, Ms. Desmond, Ms. Ring, Ms. Little and a couple I can't remember.

"Some classmates were Elmer Osborne, J.D. McCoy, Glenn Palmer, Bobby Joe Kiser, Leon Barnett, Jack Perry, Earl Marshall. Girls were Betty Jo Steffey, Peggy Barber, Joan Stickley, Patsy Shelley, Margaret Ramsey, Juanita Lucas, Betty L. Whitaker and I am sure there are others I can't remember.

" After High School I joined the Army and spent eight years in there. From Ft. Sill, Okla., we moved to Kansas City, Mo. I spent 30 years working for the Mo. Hwy Eng. Dept. In 1986 I retired and moved to a farm in north Mo. near the small town of Trenton, about 100 miles northeast of KC where I live now.

" I can very well remember the days of owing your soul to the company store, but they were the good old days. I remember playing ball in the middle of the road in front of the Osborne and Worley houses in Straight Road. J.W. Worley was usually our best hitter (with bad leg). He would hit far enough to get to first base and slide back in to home plate on the asphalt and skin up his good leg. Our balls were made of a sock stuffed with rags and taped. Bats were broomsticks or a flat board: you used whichever one you thought you could hit the fast ball from the strong arm of Elmer & Howard Osborne. Some of the other players my age were Lawrence, Garnett, and Paul Worley, Billy Joe and Bozo Byers, Paul and Tommy Cline, Tom Milhorn, Lawrence Sproles, and Jimmy Jessee and brothers.

"Thanks a lot for the Dante web site. It means great memories for lots of us."
Buster Phillips

Shelia Ball (March 30, 2000)
Castlewood, Virginia 24224
teapot @
Parents: Stanley Breeding and Mary McCoy Breeding
Grandparents: Mitchell Brumfield McCoy and Mattie Lou Carty McCoy

"My Mamaw Mattie still lives in Bear Wallow; she is a truly special person. I remember staying the night with her and playing with my cousins Becky and Tina. I didn't get to meet my Papaw Mitchell, but they said he was a good man. He worked in the mines and died of a heart attack at the age of 61. Mamaw has always told us that when she was in school, they would get "gold pieces" for good work, and once she worked a problem and another student (teacher's daughter or pet) got the gold piece and she got some fabric and thread. Well, she showed her mom (Mattie E. Statzer Carty) on the way home that she could do it, so the next morning Mattie E. went with her to school and let her show the teacher that she did the problem right and she got her gold piece. Mamaw loves telling that story and I love hearing it.

"Mamaw also always told me that she used to go hunting with her brothers Asa and Taft and that they never once said a harsh word to her about tagging along, like so many others would have. The Santa Train is also a special memory. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, it has made many trips from Kentucky to Tennessee, with Santa on the back with his "helpers" throwing out goodies like dolls with handmade dresses, Clinchfield toboggans and mittens, stuffed toys, candy, cereal, coloring books, etc... So if you ever get the chance, come see our Santa Train! Just stop along the tracks anywhere you can get in and join in on the fun.

"My uncles Clyde and Adam used to play on the Dante baseball team. Mamaw also has pictures of her 2 favorite doctors on her wall, Dr. Cain and I forget the other one. My mother loves to tell about going up to the top of the Dante school and doing the "Maypole" dance every May. I remember my Mamaw getting her driver's license. She was maybe 60-70 years old. She bought a black Corvair and drove a little, but didn't drive very often, and finally she just didn't get her license renewed again.

I am making scrapbooks, using acid free/lignin free papers, stickers and trying to "preserve" what memories I have of my childhood, and what I can remember of my family -- the stories they tell -- for my daughters and for future generations. I encourage each and every one of you to do the same. This website is a great starting place, from what posts I have read. They have brought back memories for me that I can use in my scrapbooks. So please, please, please, write these things down, save them to disk, anything to save them and pass down to your heirs. "
Sheila Breeding Ball

Sherry Spires (March 29, 2000)
Canal Fulton, Ohio 44614
sergie @
Parents: Belva Phillips and James Hall
Brother and sister: Michael Hall and Melissa King
Grandparents: Julia and Tivis Phillips and Kathleen and Walter Hall

"I have a lot of memories while visiting my grandparents and relatives, some still living in Dante. I remember driving up West Dante and Dad blowing the horn before going around the narrow road along the mountain, warning approaching cars. I remember the spring in Mamaw's yard and the rock wall with the black snake that grew each time we told the story of my uncle Lawrence killing it. This also: the day they buried my papaw Walter Hall who was tragically killed in the coal mine.

"I remember the way Mamaw Phillips would give us a dollar and we would walk up the hollar to a little store with our cousin Diane to get a smoothie or a mallow cup (we didn't have those in Ohio.) I especially remember how Dad would say never play in the creek but not saying why,and we would be in the creek every chance we could, catching tadpoles and crawdads. I remember how my grandpa Phillips was a real bee charmer and would walk out to his hives and empty the honey, never getting stung. Come to think of it, we never got stung either. I remember the early years of going to the outhouse and the terror of balancing over that bottomless pit.

"I remember the Lyric Theater, Ma's and Pa's, and Frosty Bossies. I remember my grandpa Phillip's funeral, how all the cars pulled over and the men removed their hats as we drove by. This was so respectful and special. Never have I seen that again. I remember listening to the women on the porch breaking beans and telling stories of the past. I remember how I didn't recognize my uncle Darryl when he came home completely black from the mines.

"I have a lot of special memories of Dante. If I close my eyes I can see the sun peeking over the mountain and shining into the hollar and I can hear the water flowing down the creek. My dad passed away about eight years ago and I miss him a lot, and reading these stories feels like he's with me. If anyone remembers him and has a memory I would love to hear from you. These are some of his friends growing up: Mars Hall, Billy and Eugene Addington, Odell Gordon, Billy Buckels, Corn Keith,and Doyal Hensley. The day before my dad died he was laying on the couch with his eyes closed, telling me about hunting for berries with his sister and brothers on those mountainsides in Dante. He said that he would stand under a water tower and the ice cold water would drip into his mouth. It was so cold it would hurt his teeth. This was truly a special place, Dante. Maybe a lot like Heaven."
Sherry Hall Spires

Gail South (March 24, 2000)
Charlottesville, VA 22911
ps3v @
Parents: James and Nemo Armstrong South

"My father grew up in Dante. His father was J. L South, and he worked for Clinchfield and lived on the hill with his wife and 13 kids, including my dad. Dad recently passed away, and I am interested in talking to anyone who knew the family or Dad."
Gail South

Alice McNeer Swann (March 20, 2000)
Kingsport, Tn 37664
cswann @
13 years on Roanoke Hill
Parents: Thomas T. and Delta C. McNeer
Brother: Thomas T. McNeer, Jr.

"I was born in 1915 in Dante. My father was Dr. McNeer; my uncle was Dr. L.C. McNeer. They were doctors for the Clinchfield Coal Co. Calls to my father would ring the old wall-mounted, hand-cranked telephone. In the early years, the doctors made their calls on horseback and later, were provided with automobiles for making their rounds.

"Names of school mates include: Kathleen Booth, Goldie and Roxie LaForce, Miles "Bucky" Darst, his sister, Myra; Kathleen, Betsy, and Peggy Long, and I could go on and on!

"I remember having had my tonsils removed at the Clinchfield Hospital, a one-story building across from the "Union" Church (where several denominations worshipped).

"I would love to hear from anyone who remembers Dante during these years. Thanks for the Website! "
Alice McNeer Swann

Sam I. Smith (March 16, 2000)
Savannah, GA. 31419
SamISmith @
17 years in Bearwallow
Parents: James Monroe Smith and Sarah Holbrook Smith
Brothers and Sisters: Edith, Virginia, James, Dorothy, Mary Bell, Paul, Pauline, Betty Jane

"I would like to thank the people responsible for putting the history of Dante on the website."
Sam I. Smith

Ernest Glenn Minton (March 14, 2000)
Wanatah, IN 46390
cycle2 @
2 years in Cigarette Hollow
Parents: Ernest L. and Nova Phillips Minton
Brother and Sister: Henry Lee Minton & Shirley Minton Kelley

"I lived in Dante for about 2-3 years growing up. My dad worked at # 52 mines. I remember the old Dante theatre, the company store and they had a wonderful donut machine. They were delicious. At Christmas Clinchfield had Santa at the hotel and they handed out bags of candy and goodies to the miners' children. I remember the old Beer Garden.

"Yancy drove the local cab. Ches Stapelton had the barbershop and I remember the hospital with the old steel frame beds, especially the baby cribs. Caney Boyd was the local town law enforcement officer. Miss Nellie Kilgore taught me in first grade and she had taught my father before me. My dad's brother Uncle Emmett Minton lived in the neighborhood right before going up Hazel Mountain and my aunt Maude Kasefang lived in Bear Wallow.

"I have many wonderful memories about the good people in Dante. I spent many a Sunday at Mr. & Mrs Worleys'. I remember the old coal steam engines that bellowed up those hollows. It was a lonely sound. Thanks for the memories."
Ernest Glenn Minton

Mary Mullins Biggs (March 13, 2000)
Glen Allen, Va. 23060
mbiggs @

"I did not live in Dante. I lived in Dickenson County and my father, Worley L. Mullins, worked at Moss No. 3. He hung wiring with a man named Keith Clark for many, many years. Dad was in the Hospital at Dante & had his appendix removed there. I know about coal mining, strikes, hard times & good times. Reading on your site was like my own childhood, full of good friends & family. So different from the world of today.

"I thought this site was fantastic. It gave me the incentive to start a Yates School website. This is the 2 room school that my Great Grandfather Yates gave the land, so a school could be started on Caney Ridge. My thanks to your Dante website for this idea."
Mary Mullins Biggs

LaDonna G. Cable Ashcraft (March 13, 2000)
Lexington, Ky 40503
jerryashcraft @
11 years on Roanoke Hill
Parents: James and Thelma Maye Cable
Sisters: Jimmie Joyce Cable Wilson and Wanda Darlene Cable Ashcraft

"I remember Dante with very fond memories. The Dante school house with the playground on the roof; many afternoons spent at the drugstore; Saturdays spent at the old theater with all my friends; trips to St. Paul seemed very special to me as a young child; the long ride on the school bus to Castlewood to attend high school.

"Dante was a very special place to grow up in. I often think of old friends and where their road of life may have taken them. I have nothing but fond memories of growing up in Dante."
LaDonna G. Cable Ashcraft

Bobby "Butch" G. Whicker, Jr. (March 10, 2000)
Erwin, TN 37650
bwhicker @
23 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Bobby Gene and Joy Nash Whicker

"I was born in the Dante Hospital on April 18,1953 and lived 23 years in Straight Hollow. I lived most of the time in Wallace Hollow. It was great growing up in a small town like Dante. Everyone knew everyone else. When I was small I could go to the store and get something to eat or drink or even a small toy without any money, because the store clerks knew Mom and Dad and knew they would pay for it. People would stop along the road and give you a ride home. Everyone watched out for each other's children. If you did something wrong your parents knew about it before you got home.

"I have a lot of fond memories of growing up in Dante and will remember them for years to come."
Bobby "Butch" G. Whicker, Jr.

Mark A. Gullett (March 9, 2000)
St. Paul, Va. 24283
markagullett @
20 year in Straight Hollow
Parents: Alice and Frankie Gullett
Brother: Eddie Gullett

"I loved all the times we had when I was growing up. I remember I used to go to Homer's and Florence's, and Maw would help me with my home work and I would have supper with them. I will never forget Paw Bill and Ed Cassell. They taught me a lot about life. If I ever had a second dad, it was Paw Bill. And I will never forget Maw Sally Fields. We used to talk alot. I will never forget those days.

"I love all the people in Dante and how we used to talk to each other, but now that has changed. Seems that everybody has forgot each other. Well, I will close now, but remember us when we are gone, where we came from, and that there will never be a place as good as Dante to live."
Mark Gullett

Thelmer Wallace, Jr. (March 8, 2000)
Lebanon, Va. 24266
godsholyword @
20 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Thelmer "Peg" Wallace, Sr. and Rachel Wallace
Brothers and Sisters: Freddie, Johnny, Donald, Steve, Shirley

"I was born in Dante in 1949 at home in Wallace Hollow, Straight Road Section. I lived there until I graduated in 1969 from Castlewood High. Dante holds some of the best memories of my life. That is where I learned the meaning of a family. Not only with my brothers and sister but also my community family, about love one for another, about the love of God. Dante was a community where someone was always there when you needed them. Whether it be a hug from your Mother or Dad or a ride from town to home or maybe something to eat at one of my friends' houses, everybody knew everybody.

"Some adults may stop their car and say, 'Does Peg and Rachel know you're down here doing this or that ? Maybe you better go home before they find out or just get in and I'll take you home.' At the time I didn't realize it but that was what being a neighbor and a community family was all about. They looked out for each others' family.

"I also learned what Mother's and Dad's love was all about. I am now 50 and looking back there is no love like their love. I remember my mom always having something to eat on the table and my dad coming in from the mines and us kids looking to see if he left something for us in his dinner bucket. My brothers & sister helping each other out, but also I knew when one of them was around I was not afraid. I remember having to do my chores but there wasn't many. I learned if I was told once to do something I better do it. I also learned not to be afraid to ask for help from my sister or 4 brothers or neighbors and friends which I still do today. I learned right from wrong.

"I learned wisdom from people like Bill & Kate Castle who had a little store and I knew I could get a cold pop whether I had the money or not. I learned how to show kindness from people like Finis and Sally Dishman and Walter and Mozzell Glovier, from Paul Cline and Emory Cook and Mr. & Mrs. I.D. Keith and many more as I walked Straight Road. Mr.& Mrs. Dewey Cain, and Bob Scott and Ted Williams as I walked up to the ballpark. Glenn Litton and Pete Castle was at the Post Office and Francis Irvin who worked at the Company Store and Mr. Monahan, the pharmasist at the drugstore, and Dr. Davis and Mrs. Joe Buchanan and Nurse O'Connor with a needle of penicillin a mile long saying"This won't hurt".

"I can't leave out all the good trips from Dante to Castlewood on the school bus. I was always in a hurry to get back to Dante. There is no way I can mention all the names of my friends that I was honored to call my friends. You all know who you are. I still have family and friends in Dante in 2000.

"I will end by saying this, if this country could have a Dante coal mining community and its people about every 10 miles in this country, God would continue to bless it like he did for Dante during 1949-69. This country would be made up of people asking 'what can I do for you ' and not 'what can you do for me.' You know when I get to Heaven, I want to see my Jesus first and then I would ask him which way to the Dante people. I'd like to hear him say, That way, my son, to the people who made preparation in their life for you all to live together for eternity, and Lois and all the 69 classmates will be there with us and all the other classes who made things right with God."
Thelmer Wallace Jr.

Patricia Kathleen Dingus Minton (March 3, 2000)
Wanatah, IN 46390
cycle2 @
1 year in Straight Hollow
Grandparents: Rev. Robert and Minnie Dingus
Parents: Bascomb & Gertrude Glovier Dingus
Brothers and Sisters: Mildred Dingus Stallard, Roy F. Dingus, Denver H. Dingus, Russell F. Dingus, Donald D. Dingus

"I was born in Dante and I spent many weeks in the summer at my grandparents' home on Pigeon Hill. Many of Dad's brothers and sisters lived on Pigeon Hill. Uncle Walter Glovier and Aunt Mozelle, Uncle John Dingus, Uncle Ernest Dingus, Uncle Lewis Dingus, & Uncle Eugene Dingus lived in Dante.

"Everyone on Pigeon Hill were like family. The Hartsocks and Holbrooks were wonderful people. As a child visting and growing up there you felt the love of community. You had a large extended family. It truly was a village raising the kids. Everyone played a part in giving you Christain values and you certainly felt loved by the entire community. I feel I am who I am today because of growing up with such wonderful caring people. I could name at least a 100 people in Dante that touched my life growing up. It is good to see such a great WebPage. Thanks for the memories."
Patricia Kathleen Dingus Minton

Debra C. Keith (March 2, 2000)
Dante, Va. 24237
dkeith @
Roanoke Hill

Carolyn Casteel Combs (March 2, 2000)
Hickory, N.C.
carolyncombs69 @
Grandparents: Robert Bruce and Nola Dallas Cockran Casteel
Parents: Carroll & Martha Steffey Casteel
Sister: Kathy Casteel Allison (deceased)
My parents lived in West Dante for 20 years.

"I was hoping to find my ancestors. My ancestors came from Virginia. I remember traveling to Dante when I was little. My parents moved to Hickory, N. C. in the 60's. The coal mines were being shut down and no work was going on in the coal mines. What was people to do? I also remember going to visit my grandparents at holidays. Usually at X-mas time. My grandparents lived in Cigarette Holler. I loved to look at the mountains and daydream. "
Carolyn Casteel Combs

Darrell Mays (February 25, 2000)
Glade Spring, VA 24340
darrellm @
20 Years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Jimmy & Carol Mays
Sisters: Christine, Angie & Ashley

Harry Everhart (January 31, 2000)
Tamaqua, PA 18252
everhart @

"I never heard of Dante - but I saw your web page and looked at it. I live in a coal town called Tamaqua, Pa. At one time we considered Tamaqua the center of the world - now it is struggling to find a niche. You have done a nice job with your page and town.

"We still mine anthracite or hard coal here - but instead of deep mines - we now strip the hills. It is safer and take 1/100 of the man power. Our whole town has a honeycomb of ancient mines underneath it. Good luck with your project."
Harry Everhart

Gloria Robbins (January 31, 2000)
North Carolina
robbins @

"Looking for someone who may know of a Clarence Jessee who was in the Dante area in early 1940's. If so, please email me at the above address."
Gloria Robbins

Bryce W. Castle (January 27, 2000)
Union, S.C. 29379
brycecastle @
18 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: H.F. and Margaret Townes Castle
Brothers: Bobby and Benny

"Growing up in the 'hills' is an experience one never forgets....Dante Central Elem. School and playing on the roof of it, building a log cabin in Hospital Hollow of the Clinchfield's yellow poplars, stopping to talk to everyone as they sat on their porches as I went to the store or theatre, participating in the Boy Scout Troop #1 as a scout and eventually Asst. Scout Master (at one time we had nearly 80 boys in Troop #1), Castlewood High School and bus #40, the hotel, drug store, beer garden, powder house, swimming in the dam at the Straight Hollow Tipple.......and on and on.

"Dante was a place where the neighbors treated you like you were a part of their family, switch and all! Too bad those days are a faint part of memory and not yet reality! Dante days are the ones which one can draw from when the heaviness of the present demands a pleasant retreat....God Bless All!!! "
Bryce W. Castle

George H. Bailey, Jr. (January 25, 2000)
Norton, VA. 24273
georb @
21 years in Bunch Town
Parents: George H. Bailey, Sr. and Kade C. Bailey

"Dante was a wonderful place to grow up. Good friends and wonderful memories. I think it will always be home."
George H. Bailey, Jr.

Roger Dishman (January 24, 2000)
Castlewood, Va. 24224
tad @
26 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Everette & Ruby Dishman
Brothers: Everette, Jr (Diddle), Paul (Poochie), Finis (Tiny), Ernest (Beaver)

"I spent 26 years in Straight Hollow and have many fond memories of growing up there. As a kid I was so skinny that everyone thought I was hungry. I was fed at every table in Straight Hollow as I was growing up. We lived in the middle of the hollow which was an advantage because I had friends in the middle and at both ends. Daddy worked in the mines and helped establish the union and in later years Mommy had a beauty shop in our house. We were the first family in Dante to get a telephone.

"Remember lots of good times in those hills and on the slate dumps. I guess times were hard but we didn't know it because everyone else was in the same boat. Sure was glad to find this site and be able to hear from people from my past. I wish that more would sign the book."
Roger Dishman

Timothy R. Minahan (January 21, 2000)
Charlotte, NC 28210
golfstar @
17 years downtown
Parents: John and Edna Minahan
Brothers and Sisters: Mike, John III, Dan, Pat, Edna, Ellen

"Dante was a wonderful town in which to be a child. Plenty of woods to play in, great people in the stores and post office who really took interest in families, and last but not least, always a train whistle blowing. I think of Dante every day when I look above the mantle in my den at home here in Charlotte. My mom gave us one of the 50th anniversary pictures of "The Santa Claus Train" a few years ago which hangs there. What anticipation I had as a child waiting on that day each December to hear that whistle blow!!

"The picture is at Hospital Hollow crossing which also reminds me of our neighbors and great friends Dr. and Virginia Davis and their two sons Bill and Doug. I remember many basketball games with lots of community members in the Davis' backyard. They never had any grass, only dust or mud because of all the people who played in their backyard. Dante was really not only a great town but a lost era. People stuck together and helped each other out more in that town than I have seen since. When I went to college many thought I was a hick because I came from such a town as Dante. I wasn't very proud of where I came from then, but I am now and so should all those who spent time in that great little coal town!"
Timothy R. Minahan

Glenn A. Palmer (January 18, 2000 )
Christiansburg, Va 24073-4108
gpalmer1 @
18 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Ray Palmer and Hattie (Johnson) Palmer
Sisters: Eileen Bailey, Castlewood, Va.; Geneva Chaffin (Deceased), Jean Leedy, Johnson City, Tenn.; Annette Mabe, Castlewood, Va.
Brothers: Curtiss Palmer, Deceased; Jim Palmer, Dante, Va.; Jack Palmer, Deceased.

"Graduated from Dante Central HS in May 1947 and entered the US Army in July 1947. Spent 20 years in the military and later worked for the Army for 18 years in the Pentagon, and retired in 1983. Return to the area frequently to visit family. I have fond memories of my childhood in Dante."
Glenn A. Palmer

Wayne Johnson (January 12, 2000 )
Conyers, GA 30094
wayne_johnson @
Parents: Willard and Lillian Griffith "Sissy" Johnson
Grandparents: Raymond and Josephine Clay Griffith
Great-grandparents: Charles and Lillian Dykes Griffith & Bessie Hayden Clay

"I never lived in Dante. I was always the visitor ... to see "Granny and Papa" as well as "Big Mom" Griffith, and Bessie "Momma Clay", my great-grandmothers. My earliest memories start in the 60's; of the house near the depot (which burned down about 62 or 63); of walking along the railroad tracks to go to town and to the drugstore; of camping out in the yard and chasing fireflys.

"I've gone back several times with friends and family so that I could see the place and so that I could show my son and daughter where their roots are. We walk along the railroad tracks much as I did 40 years earlier, only, most everything is closed, falling/torn down, or gone now. (Jim Ervin's house is still there!) And we particularly like to sit on the steps of the church and watch the trains go by. The sound of these trains remind me of nights, long ago, spent visiting grandparents and sleeping in that ever-so-large bed.

"As a side benefit, your site has enable me to locate a member of the family that I have never known: Ralph Griffith. I will enjoy getting to know him and learning about Dante through his eyes. We certainly have made a good start already."
Wayne Johnson

Ralph Griffith (January 11, 2000 -- Second entry)
West Chester, OH 45069
lostream @
27+ years in Straight Hollow, Straight Road & Hospital Hollow
Parents: Lacy F. and Vena Griffith (both deceased)
Brothers and Sisters: Jack and Bill (both deceased) and Betty Faye, living in Castlewood.

"If each of us will try to influence present Dante and former Dante citizens to post their memories, an outstanding book of good and bad memories can be gathered. Each mention of someone or some incident will trigger new memories.

"The name 'Dante' was known in far away places. For example, while I was in the Marines, two friends and I were enjoying a bottle of wine at an outside cafe on the island of Crete. An elderly, bent over, grey haired gentleman approached and asked each of us where we were from. The friend from N.Y. said "New York," the gentleman nodded, the boy from Chicago said "Chicago," and he nodded that he knew where that was. I said "southwest Virginia" - he asked, "Where in SW Virginia?" I said a small mining camp - by this time he was almost yelling when he asked the name of the town. When I said Dante he jumped up and down and hugged me and swung me around.

"He then explained that he had left his home to go to the USA and had worked in the mines at Dante for 25 years, had retired and returned to his native Crete. Every morning while we were in this port he came to the dock with fresh eggs and real milk. We had told him we only had powdered eggs and powdered milk onboard ship. So you see the town of Dante was widely known even back then. I am 69 years of age now and I often think of this kind gentleman."
Ralph Griffith

June Castle Quarbo (January 7, 2000)
Greenfield, IN 46140
chyxxx49 @
Parents: Romey & Mildred Castle
Sister: Betty

"I am sorry to say that I don't remember too much about Dante because I was under 6 yrs. old. (1951) But I do know Daddy worked in the mines while we lived there and I remember him coming home covered in black dust. I wish I could remember more because I know I was happier there than I ever have been. Thank you for taking me back home again. If anyone remembers me, I'd love to hear from you."
June Castle Quarbo

Evelyn Dixon Pickel (January 5, 2000)
Bluff City, TN 37618
MyGirl42 @
13 years in Cigarette Hollow
Parents: J.D. Dixon & Venus (Chaffin) Dixon
Brothers and Sisters:Jimmy, Mildred, Dorothy, Betty, Jeffery. Half Brother: Tony Ward

"I lived in Cigarette Hollow for many years. Had a lot of good friends and days in that ole hollow. We built a swimming hole at the end of the hollow. And we would climb them old hills like they were nothing. Wish I could do that now. They used to have church in homes there in the Hollow and Dad and I would go. My dad was a coal miner and I didn't get to spend much time with him the way he worked to make a living for us. But my Mother was the Greatest Mother in the world. Bad memories of Dante is the loss of my Mother.

"I now live in Tenn. and have family still in Dante. I go back but not often to visit. But I would love to turn back the time to those days once more and know what I know now. My Grandparents Walter & Margaret Chafin lived in Dante also in the early years. My Mother attended Dante High school. That's been many years ago. I went to Dante School and remember all my teachers: Mrs.Skeens, Mrs.Kilgore, Mrs.Cline, Mrs.Couch, Mrs.Cooper.

"Mr. Linkous used to sit in the swing and when we walked home from school would give us Hershey Kisses and sing 'On The Wings Of A Dove' to us. My Aunt Evelyn Skeens had a store in the basement of her house and I used to go on Saturday and clean the whole house for a Pepsi & Reece's Cup. Then I used to meet the Terry's Potato Chip man and help him carry stuff up to the store to make a quarter. What a quarter would buy then. My Aunt Evelyn would let us have the cardboard box bread came in and we would cut them and sit down on them and Sue Edwards would swing us around on them. Hold on tight or you'd be thrown off !

"Used to get Dad's vehicle and drive it to end of the road and back up the hollow. Wonder we didn't get killed. Used to have to fight fires by hoes and shovel. Build a ring around the fire to stop it. I often wondered who set all them fires 'cause I sure helped fight them. If anyone knows I'd like to know just for a laugh now. Gabby Lewis, I remember him well. He is still there. I talk to him when I go over. He always called me Madam Queen; don't know why.

"I remember going to Company Store in Dante. The old drugstore where Johnny Minnahan worked. You know, we didn't know what good times was but now I can go back in times and recall all of them in my heart and mind. Cigarette Hollow isn't the same now. Everything there has sure changed. If anyone would like, contact me with your memories of Home."
Evelyn Dixon Pickel

Geraldine Greer Richardson (January 3, 2000)
Chesapeake, Virginia
Doodle4248 @
12 years in Bearwallow
Parents: David and Rosa Greer
Siblings: Wiley (Bud) Greer, Mildred Greer Ramey, Anna Lee Greer Ring, Shirley Greer Selfe

Rachel Glovier Hooven (November 22, 2000)
Kingsport, TN
irhoovie @
Community: Pigeon Hill and Honey Branch
Parents: Oscar and Annalee Glovier
Sisters: Lorraine Sue, Virginia (Jenny)

"I grew up on Honey Branch but spent many happy days and hours at Dante having a host of relatives living there. My great grandfather was Rev. Uncle Bob Dingus who was widely known in that area for his preaching. He rode horseback all through the country carrying the gospel to many.

"I was born on Pigeon Hill and had many relatives living in and around Dante both on my father's and mother's side. Among them were Carl and Cosby Stone, Walt and Mozelle Dingus, Rufus and Maggie Dingus, L.G. and Ella Hartsock, Bill and Louise Fields, Alex and Clara Fields, Jim and Juanita Ervin, and their families. I also had many extended relatives who grew up there in Straight Hollow, Pigeon Hill, and Bunch Town.

"One of my fondest memories was traveling with my Uncle L.G. Hartsock early in the morning as he made the trip from Honey Branch to Dante to work at the tipple. I would go to bed setting my mind to wake up by six o'clock so I could ride with him to Dante to visit my Aunt Clara and Aunt Louise. He would sing all the way making the trip so joyful! If you remember the Hartsocks, you know assuredly that they were such happy people always with a song on their hearts. That, by the way, made a lasting impression on me seeing their faith and joy in the Lord. Uncle L.G. would park at the tipple; and I would make my way up Straight Hollow for my visit for two or three days.

"I can still hear and see in my mind the hustle and bustle of Dante as a thriving community during the prosperous coal mining years. Everyone had a love for their neighbor and lived and worked closely. Hard work, raising a family and faith in God were first and foremost in their lives. Seeing this exhibited in their lives has instilled in me the importance of having the privilege of growing up and being around such wonderful people never to be forgotten!"
Rachel Glovier Hoover

Odell Smith (November 20, 2000)
Middleburg, FL
Sossrs @
20 years in West Dante
Parents: Walker Smith 1918-1983 and Lavina Smith 1922-1970
Brothers and sister: Bernard Smith, Portland, TN., Virgil Smith, West Dante, Ronnie Smith, Kinsport, TN. and Lois Tootle, St Marys, Ga.

"I am married to the former Ruth Holbrook, daughter of Mack and Tony Holbrook. Her father had many relatives living in Straight Hollow and others close by.

"While growing up in West Dante I spent a lot of time in Dante. Some of my best memories are of going to the movie theatre there. My father worked for Clinchfield Coal most of his life and I remember at Christmas they gave out bags of fruit and candy at the hotel. When I was about 4 years old I had surgery at the hospital and spent a couple of nights there. I remember the barbershop/bus station and the people who worked there.

"For people from West Dante the hub of activity was in Dante, we went to the post office there, the company store, drug store, doctors office and even a shoe shop. Many years ago my uncle, Fred Skeens, lived in Cigarette Hollow and operated a small store there. While growing up in West Dante I knew everyone in the community and many people in Dante and the surrounding area. It is so different now, I don't know some of my neighbors two doors down. That is the kind of things you miss from your hometown.

"After graduating in 1962 I enlisted in the army. I came back to West Dante in 1965 and went to work for Clinchfield Railroad. I later moved to Castlewood and in 1972 moved to Kingsport, TN and worked for Clinchfield RR there until 1990 when I was transferred to Jacksonville, FL. I am still with the Railroad, now CSXT, in Revenue Management.

"I think this Website is great and a great way to hear from old aqaintances. I have already recognized some of the people who have written in. Thanks for the opportunity."
Odell Smith

Luther J. Willis (November 20, 2000)
Coeburn, Va
Parents: James & Dona Hayes

"Worked for Clinchfield Coal Co., and shopped the company store."
Luther J. Willis

Danny Minahan (November 20, 2000)
Big Stone Gap, VA
minahan @
17 years in the head of Bearwallow Hollow
Parents: John J Minahan Jr and Edna Minahan
Brothers and Sisters: Mike, Moe, Tim, Pat, Kissy, Ellen

"I was raised in Dante, another one of the Minahan Clan. It was a great town to grow up in. Though I have not kept up with many of the folks in years, I consider that most of my best friends in life came from Dante. In Dante, I had my very first best friend, Duck Stapleton and my very first girlfiend, Pam Castle.

"There are so many great memories, its hard to know where to start. So, I will just write about a few cool things. Building Cabins in the mountains with my brother Pat, Duck Stapleton, and Roger Carter. Walking to Artee Lee after school for football practice. Moving the lunch tables after school for basketball practice. The Dante Beagles Rocked! Cake Walks with the Castle Brothers, man, that Sam could sing. I used to hitch hike to St Paul to play little league when I was nine years old. Who would let their kid do that now. But someone who knew me always picked me up. We played a ton of football without pads in the Dante Hospital Yard, along with many games of "hide and seek" and "fox and hounds". What a blast!

"Remember when Store B delivered groceries? But the coolest thing was each Christmas, the back room was cleared out and loaded up with toys for all the kids and Santa was there too. When they took out Dante International Airport and replaced it with tennis courts, I spent about two years of my life there.

"I could go on and on, but I would rather just say thanks to all the folks that made it such a great place to live. It's funny how, at the time, so many of us really wanted to get out of Dante,and now, how so many of us frequently return to that fond place in our mind's eye. Here's to: Duck, Roger, Nick, Stoney, Tom, Keith, Pam, Kim, Mary, Floss, Karen, all my brothers and sisters, Arnold, Bobby, all the Nypavers, Townses, Logans, Kinkaids, Talfords, Riners, Keiths, Castles, Houses, Dishmans, and everyone else! ....Take Care of Yourselves."
Danny "Woo" Minahan

Jeanne Burkett Burgess (November 15, 2000)
Charlottesville, VA
jbb4c @
22 years in Bear Wallow
Grandparents: Mack & Inez Adkins and Paul & Lydia Burkett
Parents: Jack and Charlotte Burkett
Sister and brother: Jan and Jack

"Dante was a wonderful place to grow up. We always had neighbors to play with and bikes to ride up and down the road. We never locked our doors during the day. Dante Central Elementery School was bustling with children and activities and Nancy D. Horne was the best teacher around. I had her in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades and she made a big difference in my life. My mom still lives in the house we grew up in and she wouldn't leave Dante for anything. I love to go back and visit and just drive around to look at all of the old familiar places and the houses where my grandparents lived. Times were simpler, friends were plentiful and life was gentler. I sure miss the good old days growing up there."
Jeanne Burkett Burgess

Johnny Hobbs (November 8, 2000)
Elizabethton, TN
kelli @
One year in Dante
Parents: James & Trula Hobbs
Brothers and Sisters: Nelson, Sharon, Marvin, Louise, Becky, Charlene

Jennifer Litton Waugh (November 6, 2000)
Farmville, VA
iainw64 @
Grandparents: Glenn and Vivian Barnett Litton
Parents: Bill and Linda Litton

"Although I never lived in Dante, I have very fond memories of visiting my grandparents, Glenn and Vivian Litton. I was very young, but I still have such vivid memories of Grandpa working in the Post Office, going to the store and getting SO MUCH CANDY for so little, and of course the smell of coal in the air! I think it is wonderful that a history be done of such a special place. I look forward to getting your publication as soon as it is ready!"
Jennifer Litton Waugh

Mina Summerton (November 6, 2000)
Ashland, OH
bearcat2 @
Parents: Clovis and Flossie McCoy Phillips
Brother and Sisters: Loretta Ruth Phillips, Joyce Phillips, Larry Phillips

"I never lived in Dante,but we always went to Dr. Davis, and I had my first child at the Clinchfield Hospital, in 1959. I grew up on Brushy Ridge and my father worked for Clinchfield in the 1930's, but I don't know which mine. Also I am a descendant of the founder of Dante (Turkey Foot at the time), through Robert Phillips who is my great grandfather."
Mina Phillips Summerton

Sharon Banner (November 6, 2000)
Elizabethton, TN 37643
coscoe @
Parents: James J. & Trula Hobbs
Brothers and Sisters: James II, Johnny, Nelson, Marvin, Louise, Becky, Charlene

"My father was born and raised in Dante by Lakie and George Hobbs."
Sharon Banner

Clarence Hobbs (November 1, 2000)
Port Richey, Florida
pagranny @
42 years in Bear Wallow
Parents: George and Lakie (Dishman) Hobbs
Brothers and sisters: Early, Bertha, Gladys, Marvin, James, Buena, Beulah, Bob, Shirley.

"I have many wonderful memories of growing up in Dante. I often think of the friends I grew up with. Life might have been hard at times, but those hard times were made easier by the friends and neighbors who stood by to lend a helping hand. I remember the love of my family, growing up with a feeling of belonging to a community, being a part of the good and the bad. It was a way of life that is lost in the fast paced, modern world we live in today.

"It isn't all bad though, we have the computer and webtv to bring us in touch with those memories, and friends we hold dear."
Clarence Hobbs

Charles H. Jones (November 1, 2000)
Ayer, MA
charliej @
Parents: Ralph Jones & Elsie Hamon
Brothers: Ralph Jr, Tom & Stanley

"Mom was born in Dante on May 22, 1916. Her parents were E. Andy Hamon b. 1881, and Martha "Mattie" Phillips b. 1886. The parents of Andy Hamon were John W. Hamon b. 1844 and his wife Elizabeth Grizzle b. 1847. The parents of Mattie Phillips were Laban Phillips b. 1863 and Rachael Grizzle b. 1868. My brother Ralph and I have visited Dante a couple of times trying to trace our roots and have found John W. Hamon's grave on Sandy Ridge. The story we have heard is that Andy Hamon was killed in a mining accident in Wheelwright, KY in 1918. Sometime after, our grandmother remarried and moved to Ashland, KY. We would really like to hear from anyone who knows more about the family and relatives still living in Dante."
Charles Jones

Frankie Dean (October 31, 2000)
Castlewood, VA
dean1 @
21 years in Bear Wallow
Parents: Pat and Lou Dean
Brother and sister: Jimmy and Helen

Mickey D. Meade

(October 31, 2000)
Castlewood (Dogtown) VA
mickeym @
17 years in Straight Hollow (3rd top)
Parents: Cecil and Kathleen

"I have more memories of Dante than the hairs on my head. I miss its memories the longer it goes on!!"
Mickey Meade

J. Wayne Salyer (October 31, 2000)
Kingsport, TN
jwsalyer @
2 years in West Dante
Grandparents: Robert Clinton & Nannie Belle Lambert; Arthur Monroe and Teddy Salyer
Parents: J. Warren and Iona M. Salyer
Sisters: D. Jean Wampler and Carolyn S. Hubbard

"I was born in West Dante and moved to Clinchco at the age of 2. From that time until I graduated from Ervinton, we spent almost every week end in West Dante. My grandparents Robert Clinton and Nannie Belle Lambert and Arthur Monroe and Teddy Salyer all lived in West Dante. My childhood left me with many wonderful memories of my grandparents, relatives, and friends at West Dante. After graduating from Va. Tech, I worked 3 years for the Atomic Energy Commission in Oak Ridge and resigned to accept employment at Eastman Kodak in Kingsport, Tn. January 1, 1997, I retired from Eastman Chemical Company and continue to live in Kingsport."
J. Wayne Salyer

David Chadwick Salyer (October 25, 2000)
Rock Hill, SC
bullseye @
21 years in West Dante
Parents: Arthur Monroe Salyer, 1896-1995, and Teddy Nannie Salyer, 1900-2000
Siblings: Hazel Bessie Salyer Culbertson, West Dante; Jeptha Warren Salyer, deceased, Weber City, Va.; Arthur Harold Salyer, Bristol, Tn.; Paul Lynville Salyer, deceased, Kingsport, Tn.; Fred Gerald Salyer, Richlands, Va.

"Growing up with great parents in the woods of West Dante was great. Attended West Dante Elementary, Dante Elementary, Castlewood High, Clinch Valley College. Graduated from Va. Tech in 1962. Recently retired from a career in engineering and management starting at Radford, Va. and ending in Nantong, China, with points in between. Now running a small pistolsmithing business and working as a contract engineer for Celanese in Rock Hill, SC. Would be glad to share true stories I wrote while living 4-1/2 years in China. My main hobby is competing in Conventional Pistol shooting. Also, write articles on the subject. Best Regards."
Dave (Chad) Salyer

Gloria Meade Annarelli (October 24, 2000)
Lawrenceville, GA
gloria @
Parents: Henry Harlin Meade, Jr. (deceased) and Emma Peak Meade
Brother: Michael Stephen Meade
Grandparents: Henry Harlin Meade (deceased) and Rosa Mae Fields Meade Couch, Straight Hollow and then Bunch Town
Uncles and Aunts: R.C. ("Pete") Meade (deceased), Virginia Meade Marshall, James Otis Meade (deceased), Stella Meade Collins (currently residing in Bunch Town), and Ronald Edward Meade

"The first thought that comes to mind is that this is an incredibly important web site in that it is helping to preserve parts of an era and all the wonderful memories of those that lived it. I was born in St. Paul, VA in 1947 and lived there until 1950 when we moved to northern VA. Dad worked at one of the processing plants (tipple) when he returned from the War, but that was during a period of many strikes, so Mom and Dad decided to make a new start outside of DC. Still, some of my fondest memories are those that take me back to my grandmother's house in Bunch Town.

"One of my first memories is of my Papaw Meade. I have memories of reading to him ...pretending to read that is. I can picture him being in the bed leaning up to hear me tell him about the tales in my books. I can see his glistening white hair...he was a great audience...he'd laugh every time I'd "recite" a part of the book.

"Then there were the night time trips to Dante by car from Alexandria. I vividly remember waking up on my Dad's shoulder as he reached for the key above Mamaw Meade's kitchen door. We'd go in and crawl into bed under what seemed to be dozens of heavy quilts to sleep for what was left of the night . I remember it was cold...but such a "good" cold. My younger brother Mike used to get up before anyone else and build a fire in the kitchen stove. I'd hear him and pounce down on the cold linoleum...didn't want to miss anything.

"I also remember the visits during the summertime. I celebrated several birthdays with parties in Mamaw's yard. My cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends from Dante, St. Paul, and Castlewood came...these were the times that were so special because we were all there at my Mamaw's house. This was also the season when we caught lightning bugs in a jar at dusk and nightcrawlers with a flashlight later that night! We had our own personal creek, too!

"I must say that I feel a little sorry for those who have not had the experience of sitting on a porch swing or glider in the mountains during a summer rain. Then there was the train. To have a train that was merely a few feet away from the unbelievably great was this for a child! Mamaw would tell me when to look and I'd go out on the porch just especially to see my Uncle R.C., a conductor, hanging off the back of the train waving at me.

" I feel so fortunate to have these memories of Dante and I thank all of those who, by providing this, are helping us recall, cherish and keep them."
Gloria Meade Annarelli

Anna McCoy Patrick (October 23, 2000)
Nashville, TN
annalpatrick @
Parents: Luther and Nola McCoy
Sister: Veita

"Growing up on of Brushy Ridge (for 17 years), my home phone number had a Dante prefix but my mailing address was "Nora".. Go figure?! So, I guess I was always a Dante-wanna be!! For those of you not familiar with my family, my father (Luther Julian McCoy) was one of the coal miners killed in the McClure Mining Explosion on June 21, 1983.

"One of my most memorable childhood experiences was going to Dante to the Santa Christmas train for a basket of treats and to see Santa Claus. Christmas will always be my favorite holiday and I attribute this to my "up-bringing" in Dante. By the standards we live in today, some would have considered us 'poor' but I certainly never saw it that way. I have lived in many cities in my adult life, all larger and more culturally diverse. I can honestly say, none have the heart of the people I grew up around, those who taught me hard work pays off and nothing compares to a community where families pull together and help their neighbors. I am proud of my roots and visit Dante at least once yearly to visit my family, many who still live on Brushy Ridge.... Yep, it's usually around my favorite holiday, Christmas."
Anna McCoy Patrick

Eric Culbertson (October 20, 2000)
Nora, Va.
yeah_buddy_79 @
17 years in West Dante
Parents: Ronald & Barbara Culbertson
Brothers: Derrick and Craig Culbertson

"I live beside the West Dante Community Cemetery."
Eric Culbertson

Patricia Campbell Garrett (October 13, 2000)
Lebanon, Va.
pgarrett @
Parents: George and Beulah Hobbs Campbell
Brothers: George and Michael Campbell

"Thank you for helping preserve the memories of this community. I can remember visiting my grandparents there, and my aunts and uncles."
Patricia Campbell Garrett

George Robert Campbell (October 6, 2000)
St. Petersburg, Fl.
campbellgeo @
Grandparents: George Robert and Lakie Hobbs
Parents: George J. and Beulah Hobbs Campbell
Brother and sister: Mike Campbell and Patricia Garrett

"I was born in Dante Hospital on March 23, 1957 and ironically helped to tear it down, along with the old company store in Dante, during the late 70's while employed with the brush crew of Clinchfield Coal Company. The old coins and match books that we found while dismantling the old company store told a story in itself.

"I was sad to see the old hospital go, but I have many a fond memory of the friendly people who worked there. The nurse on one occasion said she had to give me a shot in the "shed". My childhood imagination thought she said shot in the "head". You can imagine the outcome. Also the custodian, who was always quick to poke a little fun at a growing boy. People like these are what made Dante such a great place to be born in, and forever in the memories of all "Her" children. God Bless."
George Campbell

Kelley Sims (October 6, 2000)
West Haven, Ct.
LYRIC3839 @
Great-grandparents: Thomas Pierson and Martha Jefferson Pierson
Grandparents: Louise/Louisa Pierson Anderson and Robert Anderson

"I am doing my family tree. My family settled in Dante in the early 1900s. Thomas Pierson and Martha Jefferson-Pierson are my great-grandmother and great-grandfather. They supposedly ran a boarding house here in this town from about 1904 into the 1920s. Robert Anderson, their son-in-law, was a coal miner and died of tuberculosis. I actually came to this site to see if I would be able to obtain information on these stories that were passed down from generation to generation. I read one person’s story about coal-mining and it seemed like I was right there. I am sorry that I don't have wonderful stories to pass on but enjoyed reading all of yours. If you have any information please email me. Thank you.
Kelley Sims

Beulah Hobbs Campbell (October 5, 2000)
Castlewood, VA 24224
nanpop @
18 years in Bear Wallow
Parents: George and Lakie Dishman Hobbs
Brothers and Sisters: Earley, Bertha, Gladys, Marvin, James, Clarence, Buena, Bobby,Shirley.
Husband: George Campbell.

"We had many good friends in Bear Wallow and I miss them."
Beulah Hobbs Campbell

Charles King (October 5, 2000)
Powhatan, VA 23129
powhatanarrow @
Father: Fred King (deceased)
Grandparents: Walter Winton and Della Maude King

"I did not live in Dante, but I did spend many wonderful summers there. My dad grew up on Pigeon Hill and later his family moved to Castlewood.

"Every summer, our family would go to Dante and stay with my dad's sister, Agnes Frazier. My uncle, Ray Frazier, was an engineer for the Clinchfield and can remember the many times he would take my brother, sister, and myself down to the Dante yard. I still have pictures of us on locomotives and a caboose. What great memories! I also remember visits to the company store and my dad's old high school.

"I am sorry to say I have not visited Dante since my father's death but keep telling my wife of the great memories and plan on visiting real soon."
Charles King

Becky Domokos-Bays (October 2, 2000)
Centreville, VA 20120-1433
bdbays @

"Thank you to Kathy Shearer who found my request for information on the internet for information about the Honto/Domokos families. After just 2 days, I have been in touch via email with Steve Honto, and was able to find more about Moses Domokos. He married my grandmother, Gizella (known as Della in Dante) in 1924, and they left Dante sometime thereafter and finally ended in Comfort, WV. I plan on visiting this little town of my roots."
Becky Domokos-Bays

Cameron Baird Sutherland (October 2, 2000)
Atlanta, GA
cbsutherland @
15 years on Roanoke Hill

Anita R. Morris (September 27, 2000)
eriedearie024 @
Harrow, Ontario, Canada

"Hello, everyone. My grandfather Okla J. Ballard was born in Dante, VA in 1902. I am researching his background and wonder if anyone might know anything about his parents, Dora Keith and Mercer Ballard. Okla was an only child of this pairing.

" I have never been to Dante or the area surrounding it, but do plan to visit in October 2000. If anyone has any information on Dora or Merce, I would appreciate hearing from you. Thank you for your time."
Anita Morris

Veita McCoy Lyle (September 18, 2000)
Abingdon, VA
jpelyle @
Lived on Brushy Ridge
Parents: Luther and Nola McCoy
Sister: Anna

"I just wanted to share some comments and fond memories of living above West Dante on Brushy Ridge. I went to high school with many of West Dante's teenagers and have many fond and wonderful memories. I remember the most spending the night with one of my best friends, Sherry Burton. I spent many hours at her house below the Blackstones' and walking up the hollows to go to a little store for candy bars and a bottle of "pop". We would sit on an old drain pipe and share secrets until dark.

"Visiting the ballfield above Sawmill Hollow was always a treat, either watching our families share in a game of softball (very competitively-I might add) or just watching to spot the "cutest guys". Dante wasn't booming as it used to be from hearing of stories from my Mamaw Skeens and parents but we still considered it a "place to go" whether it be the post office or the doctor's office. "Dr. Davis" is where my not-so-fond memories were, receiving many a "shot." That was located down by the stream behind the railroad track.

"I enjoyed seeing this web page and seeing the pictures. It made me think back and bring some reality into my childhood memories of the "Company Store" as my family called it when my dad (a coal miner) would get his income tax check and go spend it on "new things and goodies" for my sister and I. I will always think fondly of Dante and hope its history remains a wonder to future generations."
Veita McCoy Lyle

Ronnie Barton (September 18, 2000)
Raiford, FL
rremt @
Lived 8 years at Hanging Rock and 4 at Castlewood.

Orbin Sexson (September 5, 2000)
Auburndale, Florida
papaw75 @
13 years on Pigeon Hill
Parents: Luther & Maudie Sexson
Sisters: Lucille & Stella

"I was born in Dante on May 23, 1924 and lived there until the family moved to Kingsport, Tennessee in 1937. My father worked for the Clinchfield Coal Corp. car shop beyond the end of Straight Hollow. In the mid 30's my father had a grist mill between the creek and railroad tracks on the west side of the bridge as you would go to West Dante. The mill was normally open on Saturday. Occasionally my father would have to work on Saturday and I would go to the mill and take in "turns" of corn and tag them with the owners name. My father would come to the mill after work and grind the corn into meal.

"I have fond memories of attending church at a little roadside church in Straight Hollow where my uncle Rev. R.A. "Bob" Dingus did much of the preaching. I remember singing by Finis and Sally Deskin, Early Hobbs and my father."
Orbin Sexson

Bobby Bartee (September 5, 2000)
Norfolk, VA
RBartee @
20 years in Dante
Parents: Elsie and Eugene Bartee
Brothers and Sisters: Ronald and Eugene

Thomas Rudder (September 5, 2000)
Carmichael, CA
srudder @
3 years in Bearwallow
Parents: Millard and Ellen (Jessee) Rudder
Brothers and Sisters: Ralph, Edgar, Skaggs, Martin, Mary, and Edna

"I was born in Dante in 1922 and we moved to Clinchco in 1925 where we lived until 1938 at which time we moved to St.Paul (on the river road to Castlewood.) I graduated from Temple Hill High in 1942. I make it a point to go through Dante every year on my way to the Clinchco Homecoming on the first Sunday of October. I will always consider both towns my home even though I have lived in California since 1945 after I was discharged from the Navy."
Thomas Rudder

Jerrolean "Jeri" Whitely (August 29, 2000)
Bristol, VA
JWhitely @
2 year in Bear Wallow
Grandparents: Henry Whitely and Margaret Jane Johnson Whitely; Harvey Browning and Ester Kelly Browning. Lived on Straight Row near the trestle.
Parents: Earl Whitely and Oma Browning Whitely.
Sister and brothers: Elizabeth Lee Whitely Gergley (deceased), Henry Harvey Whitely ( Tampa, Fla.) Roger Dale Whitely (Newport News, Va.)

"My parents lived in Bear Wallow when I was born in 1939. I believe my older brother, Henry, and my older sister, Elizabeth, were born there also. I am told by older members of my family that the house we lived in was a few doors up from the school. They seem to remember that my great grandparents, Mason and Ellen Haney Johnson, lived next door.

"My parents moved to W.Va. when I was 2 years old (about 1941 or 42) and my Dad went to work for US Steel. I grew up in Wilcoe (McDowell County) W.Va. Dante was my vacation and was always referred to as home. My Dad died in a mining accident in 1955 at Gary #2.

"My mom returned to Dante with my little brother, Roger Dale, to be close to her family. She and my brother lived in Bunch Town until Roger graduated from Castlewood HS, and she came to Newport News to live close to me and my family. My mother always came to southwest Virginia to spend the summer with her family. In 1990, while she was visiting she became ill and was treated at Russell County Medical Center. Her youngest sister, Joyce Hobson, was nursing at the Center. It was discovered she was suffering with cancer and was transferred to the hospital in Bristol. Ten days after the cancer was found in her lungs, she died. She is buried next to my dad in Temple Hill Cemetery.

"I suffered a tragedy in my life in 1988 and after my Mom died I felt this area was the place for me to find peace. I moved to Bristol in 1992. I am 62 years old and that was the best decision of my life. I often visit Castlewood, Dante, St. Paul and always know, 'Now I am home.'

"If anyone remembers my family from their days in Bear Wallow I would sure enjoy hearing from them. I have tried to find the house I was born in and although I am told, "somewhere around here," I am unable to find the actual house. I applaud all the people who have worked to create this home page and also the people who keep it updated. As I get older, my roots become more important. I am trying to discover who I am and what made me that person."
Jeri Whitely

John Bolton, MD (August 21, 2000)
Mill Valley, CA
jboltmd @
Grandparents: Harry and Anna Clyde Stallard
Mother: Margaret Stallard Bolton

"My mother's family lived in one of the railroad houses along the Spark Track before moving to St. Paul. My grandfather lost a leg while working as a brakeman for the CC&O. He fell between two coal cars after the engine bumped the string of cars. He later supported his family by selling insurance, enabling all of his children to go to college. I was born in the Clinchfield Hospital in 1937 and grew up in St. Paul."
John Bolton

John Lewis (August 18, 2000)
Elizabethton, TN
jblewis @

"Never lived in Dante but I have spent many great days visiting the Charlie Crowder family and the Ray Frazier family. I still visit Evelyn and Thelma Lee Crowder in St. Paul."
John Lewis

Conley Addington (August 15, 2000)
Maple City, MI
cleo @
20 years in Bearwallow
Parents: Con D. and Bessie Addington
Brothers and sisters:
Dewey, Richard, Virginia (Sis), Mildred, Bill, Gene, and Johnny

"I was born February, 1934 in Dante. I went to Dante School and I worked at Dante Store B for four years. I can remember playing ball on the slate dump in Bearwallow Hollow with all the boys from there. Bill Mann and I left Dante in September 1954 when we joined the Air Force. I was stationed in Empire, Michigan for three years. In 1956 I met and married my wife, Marion (Scott) Addington. I was discharged from the Air Force in 1957. In 1962, I quit working on a cherry farm and began working at The Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, Michigan in the maintenance department. I worked there for 27 years and am currently retired.

"I have four children: Mark, Dorinda (Dee), Joyce, and Cindy. From our four children we are blessed with eight grandchildren: Shawn, Chris, Tim, Kevin, Jordan, Eric, Alexa, and Forrest. February 2001 we are expecting our first great-grandchild. In the last four years, I have been back two times for family reunions. I enjoyed seeing a bunch of the old friends and family members."
Conley Addington

Richard Addington (August 14, 2000)
Hooks, TX
Mytwinoals @
15 years in Bearwallow
Parents: Con D. and Bessie James Addington
Brothers: Dewey (deceased), Conley, Bill, Gene and Johnny. Sisters: Virginia Ruff and Mildred Fields.

"Thank you for the Dante History Project. It has provided me an excellent way to show my children and grandchildren what a wonderful place I grew up in. I am a 44 year federal servant (22 military and 22 civil service). I am married to Vivian Richie Addington (48 years). We have two sons, Richard, Jr. and Michael Dee. Richard Jr. has two children, Erik (25) and Allie (17). They live in Shreveport, La. and Michael has one son , Joshua (15). They live in Germany.

" I have many fond memories of growing up in Dante and of the kids I grew up with. R. F. and Gene Castle, Tom Holloway Jr., Gerald Herndon, Charles Holbrook and James Brooks to name a few. I still remember all the names of the kids I went to school with, but there are too many to list. I remember when we dammed up the creek so we could swim in it. The fishing and hunting, and sledding down the mountain, the movie theatre, and the Company store, etc. So many wonderful childhood memories.

" My Dad worked all his life in the coal mines in and around Dante. I am sure lots of people remember him. There is so many things I could write about, but will leave some space for others. Thanks again for providing an opportunity for my family to see Dante like it used to be."
Richard Addington

Viola Culbertson Smith (July 25, 2000)
Glenwood, GA
carlsgal @
15 years in Bear Wallow in coal company house.
Parents: Robert Franklin Culbertson & Susan Blessing Culbertson.
Brothers and Sisters: Robert, John, Charles, Elbert, Willard, Arizona, Myrtle, Lola Culbertson. Myrtle married a Smith & Meade, lived at Trammel. Tyler Smith (Myrtles' first husband) was a policeman at Trammel. Lola married Sam Turner, lived Bear Wallow.)

" At age of 16 moved to West Dante. Right across from Phillips Groc Store. Wonderful memories. Wonderful childhood. Met my husband (deceased now) there when I was 16 at the ball field. We lived in the mining camp and all nationalities as men from overseas would come to dig coal and bring their families. The commissary was my special place. First coco-cola I ever drank came in a barrel and we would take a bucket to the commissary for a bucket full. Parents are buried in the cemetery at West Dante. Was there in June 2000."
Viola Culbertson Smith

Virginia South Hansen (July 17, 2000)
Herkimer, NY
grannygreenapple @
18 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: James L. and Bertha South
Brothers and sisters: Hazel, Billie, Betty, Jim, Patty, Kitty, Jean, Jack, Donald, David, and Carolyn.
Husband: Frode E. Hansen

Penny Neece Mirtsching (July 12, 2000)
Vale, NC
pmirtsching @
19 years at Trammel Gap
Parents: Elzie and Flossie Phillips Neece (deceased)
Brothers and Sisters: Imogene Neece,Larry Neece (both deceased), Andrew Neece, Ricky Neece, Eddie Neece, Janice Gordon, and Wanda Smith.

Donna Sproles Hamblin (July 12, 2000)
Bristol, Va.
DsHamblin @
21 years in Bunchtown
Parents: L. C. Sproles and Thelma Browning Sproles

"I remember the walk from Dante Elementary to the "lunch room." Also, the walk single file down to Dr. Caines's office, above the Post Office, to get school shots. I can still remember standing on the steps just inside of the door, waiting my turn, for what I didn't know, but everyone coming down had a sucker. I couldn't wait to get my sucker; boy did I get surprised. By the time I got to the office door and heard the crying coming from the room, the sucker didn't seem important any more.

"When the bus was running from Dante to St. Paul, my mother put me on it to go to my grandmother's. I thought I was something riding the bus all by myself. I didn't know till many years later that my mother followed the bus to make sure I was OK.

"I recently went back to Dante to take pictures. The old school building looked sad and lonely. I remember how big the playground was when I was small; now it looks so very little. The windows that I used to stand and look out of were broken. The fountain outside where I got many drinks of water just before going back in from recess was broken and rusty. It is sad to think of the many children that went through those doors and now only the echo of past laughter is left....Dante was a great place to grow up."
Donna Sproles Hamblin

Joe Honto, Jr. (July 11, 2000)
Pounding Mill, Va.
jphref @
19 years in Straight Hollow
Parents: Joe and Beulah Honto
Brother: Steve Honto

"My memories are of the closeness of the neighborhood. All neighbors were like an extended family. Each neighbor looked out for each other and when anyone was in need all the neighbors were right there with a helping hand. No one needed to be asked for help; each person felt it was just the right thing to do.

"My best memories were of summer time when we could climb the slate dump and play baseball everyday. There were enough young boys in Straight Hollow to field two complete baseball teams.

"Everyone should be able to grow up in a small community like Dante, Va."
Joe Honto, Jr.

Ron Hall (July 11, 2000)
Chesterton, IN
19 years in Cigarette Hollow
Parents: Roy and Rosa Hall
Brothers and Sisters: Cecle, Louise (deceased), Evelyn, Colleen, Peggy

"I lived in Dante for 19 years. Since then I've traveled a lot but there is no other place like Dante or it's people. I go back home whenever I can. It will always be home."
Ron Hall

James Boyd (July 11, 2000)
Bluefield, Va.
jboyd @
Parents: Russell and Audrey Boyd
Sister: Carol Thompson

"I didn't live in Dante, we lived in Haysi where my father was police chief. The Dante hospital was the closest to us so I was born there. If anyone has a picture of the hospital I would appreciate it if they would e-mail me a copy. Thanks. Does anyone remember Dr. James Foster who was at the hosp. in 1950? I was delivered and named after him (James Foster Boyd) and would love to have any information about him. "
James Boyd

Bill Addington (July 11,2000)
addingtonb @
19 years in Bearwallow
Parents: Con D. and Bessie Mae James Addington
Brothers and Sisters: Virginia, Dewey, Richard, Bill, Conley "Bug", Gene, Johnny, & Mildred

"We lived two houses up from the Dante school before they tore the house down that the Rings lived in. I lived in Dante the first 19 years then went in the Army in 1959 with Ray Hileman under the buddy system. After training we did not see each other again until 1962. Ray went to Germany and I went to Hawaii. In March of 1962 I met the prettiest girl in Banner, Virginia, Louise Lawson and we were married in June 1963. We have 2 sons Ron Lee and Billy Ray Jr. We have 3 wonderful grandchildren from Ron and his wife Leslie and they are Ronnie, Leigha, and Jonathan.

"My best friends growing up in Dante were Odel Gordon, Johnny Wallace, Boyd Glover, James Hall, Tommy Kasefane, and my cousin Lawrence James. I would love to be able to run those hills again as we did when we were growing up in Dante. Although we have been in Oklahoma for 21 years we still try to make a trip back home as often as we can. Would enjoy hearing from anyone that I grew up with or went to school with. Dante will always be home to me."
Bill Addington

Jack Bentley (July 11, 2000)
Pound, VA 24279
jbentley @
Parents: Ben and Martha Bentley.
Brothers and Sisters: Lloyd, Harold, Doug, Beulah, Clifford, Reabul, Jeanette, and Margie.

"My fond memories are in the middle to late '40s during my teenage years. I loved those Sundays when Mom, Dad, Reabul, Jeanette, Margie and I would load up in our 1941 Chevrolet and make the hour and a half ride to Dante to visit my sister Beulah and her husband Joe Honto. (I still think my sis could make the best cabbage rolls around.) Their two sons, Joe and Steve, were two of my best buddies growing up.

"I loved blowing the horn at the sharp left turn curve to let someone know we were coming. The big thrill was going under the huge coal chute. Then, after we parked by the church under the road, we made the trip up the long set of steps to the house. I will never forget the first time I met Joe's mother and father. I was fascinated by their accent. However, even though they were strangers to me, they were not "strangers". They were so warm I felt comfortable immediately.

"Another strong memory is Joe, all his brothers, and Frank Tompa coming to Pound to help repair our house. Frank was a friend of Joe and Beulah, but he became an immediate friend of ours. Looking at the black and white pictures also reminds me of how I remember Dante. I remember it in black and white. What a fascinating time and place. Can you imagine reliving those years? "
Jack Bentley