By Bob Weaver|
I first heard the yarns about Nancy Hart when I was a boy wandering up and down the lower West Fork of the Little Kanawha or at Sunday dinners from the late Randall Whytsell.
"Nancy's Dancing Rock is right over there," Randall pointing to a location just across the West Fork. Over the years Randall would talk about "Hart Spring," where locals would get fresh water.
Randall heard the Hart tales from his grandfather and father who lived
near the Hart's homestead, which was actually in Roane County.
Years later, he would pipe the "Hart Spring" water off the mountain to a faucet at what was to become the Whytsell Park. For years folks come from far and wide to fill their water jugs, with the permission of Marvin and Peggy Whytsell Stemple.
Now, Calhoun resident Neil Grahame, an award winning cartoonist who is 85 years young, has created a wonderful cartoon book about the renegade woman's treacherous life.
The Hur Herald, for many years, has published fanciful stories about her Civil War exploits.
In discussing the project with Grahame, we concluded there are few recorded historical facts really known about Hart, one being her imprisonment and escape from prison, and her birth and death dates on her monument in Nicholas County.
We concluded that most of her story is legend, much like memorializing Jesse James. It is likely that Hart and James were treacherous characters, murderers, who in reality should not be held in high esteem. Still, they are the subjects of folk lore, driven by fiction.
We are hopeful that Herald readers will enjoy the strip to be published every Sunday.
See Grahame's 1st installment Here