Early photo of Victor Brannon with
fish from West Fork of Little Kanawha
Mountain Moods: An Arnoldsburg Tradition
By STRAT DOUTHAT (1978)
Brannon (1909-1980) says he's been all over North
America but hasn't found a spot that
beats his Calhoun County home.
He admits that he's prejudiced, how
"I was born here," the retired
68-year-old farmer said one afternoon
last week. "And so was my daddy, and
his daddy before him."
In fact, Victor Brannon is carrying
on a tradition that was started by his
great grandfather, Thomas Brannon,
back about 1840.
"Thomas was the son of William
Brannon" he said. "William came to
Arnoldsburg in 1804, the year my great
grandfather was born. William Brannon
later moved to Gilmer County, but Tho-
mas stayed here all his life. I figure he
built this house sometime around 1840.
This was part of Virginia in those days,
The two rooms built by Brannon's
great grandfather are constructed of
hewed poplar logs four feet in diame
ter. The logs have long since been cov
ered by paneling and succeeding gener
ations of Brannons have made other
additions to the rambling two-story
house, which sits in a wide field just a
few feet from the West Fork of the
Little Kanawha River.
"The original place was 127 acres,"
Brannon said. "It was part of a land
grant. But the farm has more than 500
acres now and there's not enough mo-
ney anywhere to buy even one acre.
Why, I've got rabbits, groundhogs, red
squirrels and gray squirrels in my side
yard and wild ducks and a beaver in
my front yard. Where else could I find
In addition to raising cattle, Brannon
has worked for the state Highway De-
partment, once serving as a district
"I first went to work on the roads
when I was 16," he recalled. "I drove a
truck hauling supplies for a prison la-
bor gang. The road in front of this
house, Route 16, was built by prison
A lot of the roads in central West
Virginia were built by prison labor."
Brannon also served a couple of
terms as the county assessor, as did his
father before him.
"I commuted between here and the
courthouse at Grantsville," he said. "So
did my father. The only difference was
that I drove a car and he made the
17-mile trip on horseback. Of course,
the office wasn't open every day back
Just then, Brannon's wife, Eleanore,
came out of the house.
"We used to carry water out of that
well when we were first married," she
said, pointing to an ancient, vine-cov
ered well house in the side yard. "That
was in 1930 and there's been a lot of
changes around here since then."
"There sure has," agreed her hus
band. Back then, there was no gas, no
electricity and no running water. I'll
bet my great grandfather wouldn't
know this place today."
See BRANNONS HAVE 200 YEAR CALHOUN HISTORY - Old Peter McCune Donated His Log Cabin
PIONEER FAMILY DESCENDENT VERE BRANNON HAS DIED