Heart of a Southern Woman

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Langhorne Reunion, Meadows of Dan, Virginia, 2014 -a Celebration of Family!

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Descendants of Early Settlers of the Meadows of Dan, Virginia,  Reunion

 

The first weekend in August, 2014, descendants of James Steptoe Langhorne (pronounced Lang’n) and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne gathered for their very first reunion. They came to Meadows of Dan to see the old home place, the Langhorne Mill, Langhorne School, and church founded by their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and yes even 4th great grandparents!  While some of the  50 reunioners actually live here in Patrick County and showed the others around, the large majority of the family attending were from all over the United States including California, Oklahoma, Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and of course other areas of Virginia! They filled the Woodberry Inn, visited local sites like Mabry’s Mill, Floyd’s Country Store, and the Chateau Morrisette Winery, aa well as toured the Cockram Mills Complex with Gary and Ron Cockram along with having brunch at the lovely Crooked Road Café. They shopped their cousins’ and other’s businesses like the Greenberry House, Poor Farmer’s Market, and the candy factory. Above it all, they took in the scenery of beautiful Patrick County and the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Saturday morning, the group took a tour of areas of special interest to the descendants. Thanks to permission from local land owners, and the leadership of family members Harvie and Pat Spangler, brothers, and cousin Beverly Belcher Woody who wrote up a tour guide for the family, family members got to see where the Langhornes had settled back in the 1840’s, taking over the massive 13,000 acre plantation named Langdale– inherited through their own father and grandfathers, originally part of a land grant. Grandpa Steptoe as he was called in the family, first saw the area when he was a teenager and reported it as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Because the area had some of the few flat plateaus in the geographic area on the Dan River, with beautiful meadows, James Steptoe Langhorne named the area the Meadows of Dan, according to many published articles.

 

Steptoe went completely blind, and never actually saw his beloved home site again. Nevertheless, he married, settled here, and owned slaves who worked the agricultural part of his plantation. He established a grist mill, a school, and he and his wife and his brother William Langhorne who never married, gave land and built a log church where the current Meadows of Dan Baptist Church is located. Steptoe, his wife, his brother William, and at least three of his nine children and a couple of his grandchildren are buried at that church. Some members of the family attended services at the church Sunday morning while here for the reunion.

The family was so excited, so happy to walk where their grandparents had walked, worshiped, and worked almost 175 years ago! When we ate our last meal together at The Crooked Road Café that Sunday, we were acutely aware that we were sitting on the Dan River where our grandparents’ plantation was located so long ago! We were having coffee where they might have had coffee themselves, how amazing!

The Langhorne family is known for our most famous ancestors, and first cousins to the Patrick County Langhornes:  Lady Astor, Nancy Langhorne from Danville originally, who became the first American woman to sit in England’s Parliament!  At one time, she was the wealthiest woman in the world; and her sisters became the famous Gibson Girls.

Steptoe lost most of his money after the Civil War, as did most Southerners. However, his children and grandchildren went on to do incredible things. Steptoe Langhorne’s nine children included:

1.Henry Ellis Langhorne, 1849-1865, who drowned in the mill pond at age 16.

2.Charles Putney Langhorne, a twin b. 1852 who died at birth but whose sister

  1. Viriginia Alice, twin of Charles, grew to marry Charles M. Cassell of Virginia Tech fame.
  2. Frances, Fannie married Wallace Wolford Spangler and had six children who became quite famous in their own right. There have been many interviews written of her son, the famous State Legislator Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler, and the musicians including son John Watts “Babe” who became the famous “Old Virginia Fiddler” on the radio in Richmond, Virginia. Her daughter Mary Josephine married a cousin Dudley “Babe” Spangler who was also a renowned fiddler and recording artist of the area. At the reunion, we were pleased to have Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler’s sons Harvie and Pat Spangler with us, as well as his granddaughter Betty Smith, daughter of Tump’s son Thomas, who told us some family stories. Dudley and Mary Josephine’s three children, William Wallace Spangler, Bernice Spangler Irvin, and Margie Spangler Cartwright were with us as well. We also had grandchildren of Lila Ann Spangler present. The Spanglers played music, directed our tours, recited original poetry of their own and their Mom’s, and enriched our experience beyond compare!
  3. Sarah Elizabeth Langhorne died at age eleven, 1857-1868.
  4. Mary Omohundro Langhorne, 1860-1952 married William Caldwell Shelor first, and Charles Davis DeHart second. She had nine children like her parents.
  5. Nancy Armistead Langhorne, 1863-1917 married William Pinkney Howell and they had seven children.
  6. Evaline, Evalyna, or Evelyn Langhorne married Walter Thomas Houchins and had seven children. She is this author’s great-great- grandmother and the reason this particular reunion was organized. Having started researching my family tree, I studied the Langhorne family whom I had heard of my whole life, but few of whom I had ever met. My mother knew them well it seemed, but our family never took the chance to visit the Meadows of Dan. My father was in WWII, his parents lived with us, there were four children, life was busy! Suddenly, I am in my sixties and through my research I meet the Spanglers! Last year I attended their biannual reunion, and went home buzzing with the desire to introduce the rest of my mother’s family (she was one of seven herself) to the Spanglers. Not being well myself, I decided to organize a reunion of the groups I knew, the descendants of the sisters: Fannie Langhorne Spangler and Evelyn Langhorne Houchins! The rest is now history, but we hope to expand to include descendants of all nine Langhorne children in the future.
  7. Ernest Lindsey “Jack” Langhorne, 1879-1953, was actually Steptoe’s grandson, but was adopted by him for various reasons. He married Mary Susan Blackard and they had fourteen children! One of his great- grandsons, James Callaway Langhorne has distinguished the family by writing a book that was published this year titled The Virginia Langhornes. It is a book full of history, pictures, and genealogy! His research has proven along with some others, that the Langhornes were not from Wales afterall, but originated in England, with our first ancestors reaching Virginia in the mid 1600’s, John and Rebecca Carter Langhorne. He was planning to join us and speak with us at the reunion, but a bad bout of strep throat sadly prevented his attendance.

Because the famous Langhorne/Astors, and in Patrick County the Spanglers are the family so well known, I’d like to tell you a bit about  Evelyn Langhorne Houchins’ descendants. Her six living children were born and raised in Patrick County, Virginia. Unfortunately, upon the early death of their mother in 1900, they were scattered with relatives or in boarding schools across the state. Only three of the six had children.

One of her daughters, Julia Elizabeth Houchins Nichols became an attorney and the first assistant District Attorney in the state of Virginia. She had a grandson, great-granddaughter, and great-great-grandson at the reunion! Her grandsons are also talented musicians as well as the greats! In the family are gifted and courageous firefighters and emergency personnel who can save your life!

 

One son of Evelyn’s, Guy Maurice Houchins, had two children, both of whom moved to Oklahoma, with Guy Jr. becoming a Geophysical Engineer with an attorney daughter Sarah Stuhr who was present with us at the reunion! Guy’s other child, a daughter, became the famous actress, Mary Stuart Houchins (went by Mary Stuart) who played the character “Jo” or JoAnn Tate on the Soap Opera “Search for Tomorrow” which ran on CBS for 35 years!

 

Another daughter, my grandmother kate, Katherine Steptoe Houchins Kerse (pronounced Kearse) became a nurse and raised seven children in Richmond, Virginia with her police officer husband Thomas P. Kerse. All seven of those children are now deceased, but nine of her grandchildren from all over the country attended with greats and four great-great-grandchildren present at the reunion!  She would be so proud! They included  Roger Buck, PhD geophysicist college professor at Columbia (Pat Spangler, grandson of Fannie Langhorne is a PhD Geophysicist Professor Emeritus from the University of Florida, and remember the Geophysicist Engineer son of Guy Houchins, grandson of Evelyn Langhorne.) Three geophysicists in one family, that’s amazing to me!

There are lawyers, landscapers, computer specialists, other teachers and college professors, financial planners and several tax advisors. Contractors, musicians, realtors, and generally good people abound. I believe I counted at least six PhD’s among the Spanglers and the Houchins present from these branches of the Langhorne family!  I was a family therapist by profession-every family needs one! Actually, three of us in this branch of the family taught/now teach children with emotional/behavioral disorders. There were several other teachers, and two special education supervisors in these branches. Just in case you’re wondering, just like our country, we are split politically. That might lead to lively “discussions”, but the music in our souls unites us and reminds us of our love of family.

We are thankful to our homeland of Patrick County for hosting us, to the many proprietors who were especially hospitable to us like Shep and Angie Nance and Melissa Turman at the Woodberry Inn & Restaurant and many others.

If you are interested in more pictures and stories of this family, you can find them on Helen Holshouser’s blog at heart2heartstories.com.

 

 

 

 

This gallery contains 44 photos


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New Queen and Awesome Coronation for the Royal Red Divas of the International Red Hat Society

Corronation, Royal Divas, Angie Rowe, May 12, 2014

Queen Pinkalova GaGa, Angie Rowe of the Royal Red Divas of the International Society of Red Hatters, May 12, 2014

 

On Monday, May 12, 2014 the Royal Red Divas of the International Red Hat Society, crowned their new Queen.  For the last ten years Helen Holshouser had been the Queen of the Divas as Queen of Perpetual Joy and Popcorn Peach Pie!  Many women had come and gone over the years. One member had died and chosen to be buried in her red hat regalia. The Divas had laughed, cried, and grown older together. Tonight, however, marked Helen’s retirement and a new Queen would begin her reign. The coronation was set for Angela Rowe, Queenie Pinkalova GaGa!

Excited about this special event, the Divas gathered early to decorate the room. With red, purple, and pink tablecloths, flowers in abundance from their gardens, and laughter flowing, the divas transformed an empty room into a beautiful palace throne and dining room! Diana Craig, Lady Diamond, had transported a beautiful high-back pink, winged chair around town all day while she took her mother to the doctor and shopped for the beautiful sash for our new Queen. Grand Madame Ettoufe’, Loretta Highfield, arrived with her arms full of supplies– ready to set up tables and decorate. Princess Sweet Melody, Annie Holshouser also arrived with the music, the cake, and other decorative items. We went to work as other Divas joined us in transforming our space. Joining us were Baroness Breezy Beverly Reid, Countess Regina—Jean Mitchell and her daughter Ronni,  our guest. Comtesse Caroline Carol Rafferty, Baroness Geraldine Hildebrandt, and our own Lady Hops-a-Lot- Sharon Jones O’Kelley! Our famed  Queen of Vice, Sharon Wright Kittrell tied the evening together! As usual several members had to work late, were out-of-town, or unfortunately, sick with a bug and had to miss all the fun!

At last it was time to welcome our new Queen!  As Angie entered the room, two Divas met her with rose petals which they tossed for her path and showered her with– the joyful aroma of roses filled the air! Diana Craig escorted our new Queen to her throne. Waiting for her beside the throne was the retiring Queen, myself, Queen Helen. I welcomed Angie to her special night and reminded the group of the excitement of this cherished ceremony. As we began, Angie stood and took the following pledge

“I, Angie Rowe, do solemnly swear that I, having ascended to the lofty status of Queen, will gracefully and regally fulfill the duties of the office, including, but not limited to, the following:

I will reign over my chapterettes with a kind, benevolent spirit, valuing each member for who she is.

I will promote harmony and understanding among our world-wide sisterhood.

I will wear my colors and regalia proudly.

I will wield my scepter and make grand pronouncements whenever the mood strikes.

I will honor the spirit of the little girl who lives inside myself and those of my Red Hat sisters as well.

I will promote the core values of the Red Hat Society – fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and fitness – where ever, whenever I can.

I will never call a ‘meeting’, make a  ‘motion’, or possess a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order. I will refuse to take myself – or anything else within my power – too seriously.

I will do myself and the Red Hat Society PROUD!

Then Queen Helen says, “By the power vested in me by the International Red Hat Society and the Royal Red Divas, I now pronounce you Queen Pinkalova GaGa – Queen of the Royal Red Divas! Cheers and shouting commenced!

At this point Sharon Kittrell, our Queen of Vice, transferred the Queen’s Robe, from Helen to Angie, placed the Queen Diva Pin on her  sash, crown ring on her finger, gave her the royal scepter, and last but not least– moved the crown from Helen’s head to Angie’s, and history was made! Angela Rowe became the new Queen of the Royal Red Divas of Youngsville, Wake Forest and Rolesville, North Carolina!

We were not quite finished our ceremony, however, as we had gifts to give our new Queen! We read the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph, giving our Queen the materials she would need as she grew older.

Warning!

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 

Jenny Joseph

There is a videotape accompanying this story, taken  our own Loretta Highfield, which shows the gifts of brandy and summer gloves being bestowed upon our new Queen as she vowed to break the rules and get over the sobriety of her youth. The joy of giving these gifts and celebrating our inner child, was summarized in a second poem read by our Queen of Vice Sharon Kittrell, which can also be seen in the accompanying video.

With the coronation, gift-giving and poem-reading completed, we adjourned to share our feast and special desserts made by our own member pastry chef Annie Holshouser.  She made a Queen’s cake with an exact replica of the crown placed on Angie’s head tonight.  She also made red velvet cupcakes with crowns for each of us!

The dinner went well, enjoyed by all– stories were told– music was played, and laughter and tears rang through-out the room! At one point, one of our founding members, Countess Regina, Jean Mitchell came to the front of the room and presented a gift to the outgoing Queen. While doing so, she talked of her relationship with the former Queen and how close it had grown over the years. Then she presented the Queen with an unexpected and incredible gift that the former Queen is using at this very moment to dictate this blog post. It is a voice recognition software program called ‘Dragon’. Helen is unable to use her left hand for typing at this time and is facing surgery, what a wonderful gift from the Divas to allow Helen to continue her blog posts. Helen shed tears several times during the night and this was one of those times. Tears of joy I can tell you.

What a night! What a joyful, joyful night!  The leadership of the Royal Red Divas might change, but the spirit and enthusiasm of the Divas will go on forever!  This is one of the best groups of women both current members and past, one could ever ask to be associated with. Thank you Lord for the Royal Red Divas and the blessings they have brought to our lives!

 

 

Celebrating 143 years of St. Patrick’s Day Parades! Robert Kerse -52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

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St. Patrick's Day Parade

My Irish heritage is something that I’ve always been proud of,  perhaps because my mother was proud of it also, and instilled that belief in me. She grew up an Irish Catholic, so it shouldn’t surprise me that her family was involved with the Hibernian Society. The AOH , Ancient Order of Hibernians, was an organization originating in Ireland, that started in America in 1836 and  is still active today. In Ireland, and in the early days of America, the society existed to advocate, and even protect, with violence if need be, Irish Catholics from prejudicial treatment. It is still active today, promoting Irish cultural awareness,celebrations, and charitable activities.  

I think it is so interesting, that as I studied my  ancestors, I discovered my fourth great grandparents, the Scottish Covenanters, fighting against the Catholics for the right to their personal covenant with God. Then here I discover that my Irish ancestors belonged to an organization called the Hibernian Society to fight, if need be, to support their right to be Catholic! It seems I descend  from some brave and strong-willed people.  It also reminds me that part of the reason they came to America, was to find religious freedom without persecution!

Robert Kerse arrived in America in 1850, as a 15-year-old Irish immigrant. He sailed from the Kilinaboy Parish, in County Clare, Ireland  to the Port of Boston with his brother Thady and his mother Ann. They came South and  joined another brother already living in Richmond,Virginia. By 1855 at the ripe old age of 20, Robert had married a woman named Margaret and had his first child, a son named Thomas. On the censuses we can see that he worked as a grocer, then in later years as a “turnkey”, a guard in the prison system–perhaps influencing his son James and his grandson Thomas Philip to both become police officers.  By 1863, at age 28, he was fighting in the Civil War where we can find records on Fold3.com of his horse being shot out from under him! By 1871, at 35 yeas old, the war is over, and he has buried two of the seven children he already has. (We know that  he will have three more children, with two more dying in the next couple years!)  Can you imagine?  Most of us do not have such incredible experiences in  our whole life! Yet, when I went to the newspaper archives on Geneaalogybank.com, what did I find, but a wonderful article about his attending a meeting of the Hibernian Society in 1871, where he was put in charge of organizing people in his part of town who wanted to be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! His resilience seems remarkable to me! 

I was born and raised in Richmond also, Robert’s  great great-granddaughter. One of the most fun things we did as a family was going to the parades which were abundant in Richmond! When I married and later moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, we also attended the St. Patrick’s Day parades, because they were  fun and to honor our Irish heritage. So, when I found this article, I was stunned to realize that my family had been enjoying and celebrating St.Patrick’s Day with parades for 143 years at least! Wow! Both of my daughters were in marching bands, and both marched in parades as teenagers–it must be in the genes!

Kerse, Robert, hibernian Society, p.1Kerse, Robert  hibernian, p.2Kerse, Robert, Hibernian, p.3Kerse, Robert, hibernian, p.4

Not knowing about my great, great grandfather’s involvement with the Hibernian Society, I think it is serendipitous that as the hostess for my Red Hat Society Group, I arranged for us to go to the Hibernian Irish Pub for our gathering this week! We had a great time, celebrating an early St. Patrick’s day with many o’ toasts as you n see in the picture below.  I was one of four “birthday girls” celebrating this month, and I loved some of the birthday  and friendship toasts offered: 

“May your troubles be less, And your blessings be more–And nothing but happiness come through your door!”

“Here’s to your coffin! May your coffin have six handles of finest silver, May your coffin be carried by six fair young men! And may your coffin be made of the finest wood from a 100-year-old tree, that I shall plant tomorrow!”

“May those who love us, love us. And those that don’t love us, may God turn their hearts. And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, So we’ll know them by their limping.”

“May God grant you always…A sunbeam to warm you, A moon beam to charm you,  A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you!”

These toasts and many more can be found on numerous sites on the internet by simply googling “Irish toasts and blessings”.

Royal Divas, I'll toast to that!

The Royal Red Divas toast to St. Patrick and friendship!

I’ll leave you to celebrate your St. Patrick’s Day with this Irish blessing which is very special to me as it was offered at my husband Max’s and my wedding 43 years ago! Have a wonderful day! Helen

“May the road rise to meet you.

 May the wind be always at y our back.

 May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.”-author unknown

 
 

This gallery contains 11 photos


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“On the Tweflth Day of Christmas my True Love Gave to Me, Twelve Drummers Drumming…”

On the twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming–or…maybe you could say…twelve percussionists percussing! –or your daughter playing twelve percussion instruments, including drums!  I told you we had a lively household when our girls were growing up! They sang, played several instruments each, and danced with abandon!  Our house was always filled with music, and we were blessed with it! “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord”, comes to mind! 

Today, January 6, is Epiphany! We honor today as the day the three kings found the Christ child! What a wonderful day to be full  of music! And what a day, to look back over this Christmas and its twelve days, and even  over a lifetime! Today I’m thinking about my older daughter Ali, the one who just this month had a baby, her third! We talked about Annie her younger sister dancing, but Ali was the percussionist! (Annie did play violin, cello, and alto saxophone, thank you God for their talents! )

Ali Holshouser, 16, playing percussion for Enloe High School Wind Ensemble, 1990

By high school, Ali had been playing piano for 7 years. She knew her music well, and had been playing bells (xylophone), and marching bells in the marching band for a couple of years! By sixteen, she could play marimba, of course all the drums, snare, tympani, base, blocks, chimes, triangle, –I’m sure there must have been at least 12 instruments at times! We would watch her perform in concerts both at Enloe High School here in Raleigh, NC,  and later at North Carolina State University, where she played in 3 bands and sang in 5 choral groups! LOL You could see the percussionists moving around behind the other musicians…but only us parents perhaps knew just how hard they were working…concentrating…sweating bullets to add to , not to detract from , the beautiful music! We learned a lot and enjoyed a lot! I had no idea the talents she had, and the first time I heard her play “The Flight of the Bumblebee” in concert…well, someone had to shut my mouth as it was hanging open in amazement!

Because Ali loved percussion so…she introduced us to things like drumming  circles…and the musical “Stomp!” We would never have understood this rhythm of life, this heartbeat of our souls, if we hadn’t had this player of twelve percussion instruments! Thank you Lord above for the multitude of gifts that you gave both of our daughters– talents you gave them which brought joy to us, and to many—and continue to do so!  May they praise you in Jesus’s Christ’s name.

This blog itself , this Christmas blog has been a blessing to me especially this year as I was not well, and unable to get out of the house to join in worship and celebrations. By thinking about other blessings in my life, I have been cheered. All of you who have commented here, by phone, and on facebook have warmed my heart, and brought me joy. Thank you my friends and family, you are the best and I love you dearly, Helen


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“On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…eleven pipers piping…”

Here in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, we have been blessed with a special group of pipers—bagpipers—for 45 years! I am talking about the North Carolina State University Pipes and Drums! What a group! I have seen and heard them perform many times over the years, in fact, they performed at my daughter’s wedding reception due to her husband’s Scottish ancestry which means so much to him. My daughter Ali is friends with some members of the group, and one of my friends, and my husband’s, a friend of thirty years has played with this group for many, many years! So on this eleventh day of Christmas, as we think about the amazing talent and joy shared with us by these pipers, I wanted to tell you more about them and our friend Pete Currie.

 Pete Currie

Pete and his wife Pam, and Max and I met as we strolled our children, age 2, through the same neighborhood in Raleigh! I kid you not, that’s how we met…strolling our babies…both named Annie by the way! As our children grew, we became close friends, going to the same church as well. Pete had this special talent which we were always thrilled to have the chance to witness! He played the bagpipes! I had never known a piper personally—and a nicer man, better person,  you could never meet! I learned that Pete was actually born in Scotland, near Edinburgh! Even though he is an engineer by profession, I believe he was born to pipe!  NCSU Pipes and Drums

 

To this day, I remember the very first time I heard Pete play—it was at a Sunday morning worship service at our church’s family camp, in 1984! Max and I were actually in charge of the programs for the weekend long camp that year, and we had asked Pete to play, not realizing just what an extraordinary experience we had in store for our family and our whole congregation! We worshiped beside a large lake, early on a foggy, cool August Sunday morning (cool in NC August, a gift itself!) As soon as the quiet fell, Pete started to play…from far behind us….up on a rolling green hill! It inspired me then as the memory does now! He played “Amazing Grace” , and I clearly remember how the sound of the pipes rolled down that hill , surrounded and wound right through the group of us, then drifted out onto the water….it was a magical moment! It was one of those shared experiences that brings a group closer, inspires worship, and makes friendships stronger for the memory! This was Peter Currie the piper, the friend, the husband, the father, the professional engineer, and good person.  We count his friendship a blessing.  

NCSU PIpes and Drums, 3 performing at the Highland Games

Pete plays with the NCSU Pipes and Drums as an alumnus . They perform at the Highland Games on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina every summer. Just this week they led the parade for the “First Night” celebration in Raleigh, NC. If you’d like to know more about this incredible group, support them or attend their performances you can find out more on their fan page on facebook or on their webpage at http://pipesanddrums.ncsu.edu/  

 Eleven pipers piping…will always bring our friend Pete to mind, and this incredible group of pipers and drummers with the North Carolina State University Pipes and Drums!

 We only have one more of the twelve days of Christmas to share this season, 2013-2014, but Epiphany, Twelfth Night , Kings Day…celebrating our beliefs and our friendships is always important! Thank you for strolling through these special days and memories with me, Helen


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On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true love reminded me that I could once swim like a swan!

On the Seventh Day of Christmas my true love Max encouraged me to remember one of my proudest moments…when I could swim like a swan!

Here in 2013 , the seventh day of Christmas falls on New Year’s Day! Happy New Year everyone! Besides eating black-eyed peas and collard greens today, to ensure a lucky and prosperous New Year and that I will quickly recover from this lingering pneumonia, I am using this malaise and inability to talk (!) to enjoy rambling through some memories. I wonder if any of you find it hard to believe sometimes that you have memories—whole periods of your life perhaps –that not a whole lot of people know about! Not that we tried to keep it secret, more that it was an age and place thing, developmental independence and all that…but I digress! LOL

For me, college was one of those times in my life, where I was out-of-state from my parents, and didn’t meet my husband to be until my senior year! So, there are many activities I engaged in, memories I’ve stored, that I’m the only one privy to…LOL, I find that kind of fun! However, I’m getting ready to share one of those memories with you…because…ta da…I was a swimming swan! Actually, I was part of a synchronized swimming team for my college, and we were good! LOL We were the “Aquabelles” of Greensboro College, a small Methodist college in North Carolina. I have vivid pictures in my head of our practicing the ferris wheel movement over and over, spinning around and around, feet hooked to the person below us, and hands holding the ankles of the person above! Sometimes I thought my lungs would burst before my turn came to rise above the water, only to churn back under immediately! It was demanding, the team was greater than any one of us, we were performing for a crowd, and it was quite a rush!  Swimming was a big part of the first 25 years of my life…then I married, had a child, another, worked as a teacher then family therapist, and was busy! Some years however, I swam competitively, synchronized, lifeguarded, and taught swimming classes! Surprised I didn’t grow fins! LOL I didn’t think I had any pictures of this teamwork, but was shocked to find it on ancestry.com in a GC yearbook!  I am in the front row, second from the left, withlong dark hair. Really, that’s me, LOL  Fullscreen capture 112014 55232 PM.bmp

I am also including a video of the Olympic Team performing their routine purely for the pleasure of watching it! I did those moves! It’s very hard for this sick lady of 64 to believe!  Happy New Year my friends and family, enjoy your memories as well! 

 


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The Spangler Reunion, part 2, Charles Langhorne, “Tump” Spangler

  •      The Spangler Reunion as you may remember was held at the homestead formerly owned by Charles Langhorne Spangler and his wife Kittie Cockram Spangler. You could feel their very presence at the family gathering even though both are deceased.  “Tump” as he was called, was a very special man who inspires pride in all who claim him as kin, myself included as he is my first cousin. At the reunion, in the barn, there were displayed a number of photos, portraits, video and audio recordings and other family memorabilia. It felt like stepping into a treasure chest of family memories! Today I want to share with you some about Charles Langhorne Spangler. 

    Spangler homestead, Meadows of Dan Spangler reunion, Helen meets sisters Berniece and  L age 98

    Spangler displays, Tump

    Mountain Laurel ,  mtn-logo

    http://www.mtnlaurel.com/

    Charles Langhorne Spangler, “Tump” a tribute by John Hassell Yeatts    

  • By John Hassell Yeatts © 1983

    Issue: April, 1983

    “This was the offical state photograph taken of Mr. Spangler in the early 1930’s when he served in The Virginia General Assembly.It is never too late, they say, to mourn again the loss of a great individual. The fact that two months have elapsed since the kind and genteel heart of Charles Langhorne Spangler, “Tump” to all who knew him, stopped beating, does not make his passing a less somber event to be considered.

    Many people loved him for many different reasons. Some, perhaps, simply because his greatness was measured in so many dimensions that went far beyond the five productive terms he served in the Virginia House of Delegates. However, ‘the fact that he served with so much dedication, integrity and humility, set him apart from many of his legislative associates, and endeared him to many people.

    The overwhelming political odds he overcame to be first elected to that august body might have changed the character of a more pretentious person. But Mr. Tump, being the wise and humble person he was, sought only to serve that office with distinction. Had he possessed aspirations to higher office, he could undoubtedly have been elected and would have become one of Virginia’s outstanding Governors. He had the ability and leadership capable of higher office; the ancestral bearing of the Langhornes and the acumen and wit of the Spanglers. But he wanted nothing greater than to represent the people of Patrick County with democratic and unassuming distinction during the legislative term and then to hurry back to his loving family and comely white house beside Quakerfield Creek near the Meadows of Dan Post Office. He visited that Post Office almost daily until he was in his early nineties. And he always found warm hands to shake and pleasant conversation waiting for his arrival.

    Had he chosen a lawless route when he was a youngster in Mayberry instead of a law enforcement and lawmaking route, he could have easily become the terror of the top of the mountain. He possessed the physical strength of a good horse which he once obligingly demonstrated by breaking a lifting pole during the construction of the big Ceph Scott house, built by his outstandingly talented father, Wallace Spangler. Two of Mayberry’s strongest men in tandem had failed to fracture it. His contemporaries gave him a wide berth, we are told, even though he always displayed the harmonious and sympathetic character of his gentle mother, Fanny. He was born to be a leader only for good. The number of people in Patrick County and elsewhere who have benefited from their friendship with this great statesman could not possibly be enumerated. Many have preceded him to that Great Beyond. But the example he sat for young men and women to follow should not be allowed to become forgotten. And one way to do that would be to attempt to fill the mighty void his departure created with deeds of kindness and consideration for those left behind. We believe this is bound to happen and will become another measure of his greatness.

    When we last visited him in the Blue Ridge Nursing Home, he was still concerned with the passing of another great mountain man, Reverend Lawrence Bolt. We lamented his loss together. And when his eyes filled with tears and his booming voice choked with emotion, we quickly changed the subject. It was then he informed me. “You know I must have the finest room in this home. Looking from my window to my left, I can see the lumber plant where Brother (his nephew Langhorne Webb) and I spent so many happy days. Doesn’t look like it used to, but with a little imagination I can remember it all. And to my right, I can see the top of the Rye Cove mountain and toward the folks and land I love so well.”

    Well, he’s resting now in a plot on a large ridge top in Mayberry that he helped to clear and plow along about the beginning of this century. And he’s resting among many of those same folks he loved so well. But perhaps more importantly, he’s living inside the hearts and minds of even more folks that he loved; and he’s being remembered as he wanted to be; a good father, uncle, cousin and friend. But even more than that, he’s being remembered as just plain ‘Tump.”

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         Tump was one of six children born of Wallace Wolford Spangler and his wife Frances (Fannie) Eunice Langhorne. Tump had one, half brother- Harry Hannibal Spangler born 1877 to Wallace Wolford Spangler and Catharine (Katie) Ellen Spangler.  Wallace and Fannie’s children were:  

         As a young man, Tump married first, Susan Bertha Shelor, 1885-1909 who unfortunately died in childbirth.  Second he married Kittie Clyde Cockram and they had seven amazing children !  

         Only two sons are still living and I will tell you more about these amazing men, but there were a couple more displays I want to share with you right now. First is a lovely portrait of Tump and Kittie as the young professionals they were.  Thinking of Kittie,  you may remember a post called  Leila Cockam: Age 16, Murdered While Picking Apples! Another story re. my intriguing ancestors! -see the genealogy category- about a murder in Patrick County, Tump’s wife Kittie was the one up in the apple tree who witnessed her sister being murdered! The fact that she could sucessfully raise seven children is a miracle of life’s renewal. 

    Spangler, need to identify

    Near this portrait, was an interesting display–a framed pair of spurs one would use when riding a horse. A framed story accompanied the spurs, making something interesting into a “wow” moment. Notice__

    Soangler, display of spurs, worn by Tump, see story separatelySpangler story aboutspurs

    The story reads:  “A True History of These Riding Spurs

    These spurs –were removed from a German Army Officer’s boots on the battlefield in France during World War One, by Pat Rakes. a young U.S. Army soldier from Floyd,Virginia–brought back and given to me by him.  I used them several years while riding horseback as Deputy Collector for the U.S.Internal Revenue, searching out and destroying Moon-Shine stills in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, in Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Floyd, and Carroll Counties. My daily diary shows some 400 miles per month, for 4 years–1917-1921.  signed C.L.Spangler, unsure of date

    What a remarkable man! In the next post, you will learn that he played the fiddle also, along with his famous brother and cousin!