14-year-old Daniel Lee Hall of Arnoldsburg will sing Randall Whytsell's "West Fork Valley Home" at the Whytsell Gathering, Sunday, August 4 at the Whytsell Park, located between Rocksdale
and Richardson, with a covered dish dinner being served at 1 p.m.
For more info call 304-655-8659
Folks began gathering Sunday morning in the grove ...
... to later enjoy the big reunion food spread
THE GATHERING - "Ya All Come, Ya Hear"
The Whytsell Gathering is held in the narrow grove known as the Whytsell Park, a few feet from the West Fork of the Little Kanawha River.
Through the work of the late Randall and Blanche Parrill Whytsell, the event has become one of the county's biggest with a 35 plus year history, attended by friends and acquaintances from all over.
Folks enjoy shade along the Fork, and Roy
Pursley still hunkerin' after all these years
Jim Bell's wonderful fish and horseradish
pickles (left) and all those sugary desserts
The young folks enjoyed the day, from
singin' on stage to playin' in the creek
In grand tradition, the event continues through the efforts of Peggy Whytsell Stemple and her husband Marvin.
Peggy in more recent years has called it a "gathering,"
or in other words, you don't have to be a Whytsell to attend.
The long tables have some of the finest country food spreads you'll ever experience. Randall and some of the area's mountain music makers always delivered the "Whytsell Boy's" tune, "My West Fork Valley Home," and other country and gospel favorites.
Several visitors bring their plastic jugs to fill with water from the free-flowing Hart spring, named for Civil War renegade Nancy Hart, whose family once lived nearby.
Long lines, it's always worth the wait
The Whytsell's came from the Shenandoah Valley to Lewis and Braxton counties, settling in Calhoun during the Civil War, marrying into the Lynchs, Andersons and Starchers, among other early families.
Randall's dad and mom, Edwin and Rettie Starcher Whytsell, were fixtures on the lower West Fork of the Little Kanawha for much of the last century, their home was established in 1922 above the Village of Richardson.
Charlie McKown singing Whytsell's "My West Fork Valley Home"
"MY WEST FORK VALLEY HOME" LYRICS
"In the West Fork Valley far away where people take their ease. They dance all night and sleep all day and wake up when they please. Where a man of means eats turnip greens while the common folks are fed sassafras tea, hominy, sow jowls and corn bread."
"But the robin bird keeps singing in the laurel and the spruce. The old cow bells keep ringing as the cows come home to roost. The sun goes down and the moon comes up just like it's always done. Then we'll pick old Kentucky in my West Fork Valley home."
"My West Fork girl don't use face paint She has no use for such. And in a crowd she don't curse loud or drink corn likker much. She has never smoked a cigarette She's far too nice and good. She always smokes a corn cob pipe like a proper lady should."
"Now I've got a mule on the West Fork creek who has no maw or paw. I whip him fifteen times a day to teach him gee and haw. When his feed get scarce, I go to town and spend green backs on hay. To make him think the old corn stalks I'm feeding him is hay."
"While walking with my city girl we met a big pole cat. I told her they made furs and muffs and fuzzy things like that. She said I think I'll capture him I wonder what I'll make. And I said sister my guess is you'll make a big mistake."
See related stories
THE WHYTSELL REUNION - "You Don't Have To Be A Whytsell"
BLANCHE WAS A TASTE OF HOME - Blanche Whytsell 1921-2004
"SASSAFRAS TEA, HOMINY, SOW JOWLS AND CORN BREAD" - A Big Whytsell Reunion Spread
WHYTSELL REMEMBERED FOR PRIMITIVE PAINTINGS PART I
WHYTSELL REMEMBERED FOR PRIMITIVE PAINTINGS PART II