VICTOR BRANNON RECALLED WEST FORK VALLEY LIFE IN 1978

(11/07/2017)

Early photo of Victor Brannon with
fish from West Fork of Little Kanawha

Mountain Moods: An Arnoldsburg Tradition

By STRAT DOUTHAT (1978)

Victor 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 ever.

"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, you know."

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 that?"

In addition to raising cattle, Brannon has worked for the state Highway De- partment, once serving as a district superintendent.

"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 labor.

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 then."

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


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