CALHOUN SIERS FAMILY: FARM LIFE WAS WORK, WORK, WORK, THEN MORE WORK

(06/23/2022)

The Siers Homestead in the edge of Bear Fork Wilderness

Patrcia and Sue Siers greeting hay wagon in 1949, with help from cows

Harley Siers and his prized auto

Siers family performing canning chores

By Bob Weaver 2022

Calhoun's Siers family (sometimes called Sears) migrated westward from Virginia to Monroe County, then to Braxton and Calhoun before the Civil War, first settling in Washington District and marrying into well known southern families, including Jarvis and Arnold.

Harley and Thelma Godfry Siers

Harley (1914-1980) and Thelma Godfry (1913-1998) Siers (left) moved the edge of the Bear Fork wilderness (US 33-119) and started their working farm after they married in 1934, right in the middle of the Great Depression, then starting their family

The farm is located in a narrow valley surrounded by steep hills, a short distance from the Three Forks/Raccoon Run black community, where a number of Peregrine Hay's emancipated slaves landed after the Civil War. There was once a road house on the house site, among 35 road houses that once dotted the Calhoun landscape.

Modified Jeep used for farm use

Their daughter, Carolyn Sue Siers Collins, who married Tony Collins of Stumptown, said her most prominent memories of growing up there was work.

"Building fence, hoeing gardens, hog butchering, canning and keeping house. Mostly we worked, worked, worked, with little time to play," said Collins. "I had three sisters, Lois Jean (Sears), Betty Jo (Miller) and Patricia (Vannoy), and her brother Pastor Harry Siers, a well-known Baptist minister. With one boy in the family, the girls had to dig in."

Mother Thelma Godfry Siers, beside daughter Patricia
Siers Vannoy, Back (L o R) Jean Siers Sears, Pastor
Harry Siers, Sue Siers Collins, Betty Siers Miller

Peter Mason and Flora Belle Jarvis Siers, parents of Harley Siers

Harley Siers was the son of Peter (1870-1944) and Flora Belle Jarvis Siers (1872-1941). His grandparents, Elijah (1841-1928) and Missouri Arnold Siers (1841-), he being a soldier in the Civil War, his great-grandparents being John (1812-1904) and Rutha Meadows Siers (1813-1878).

HISTORICAL ACCOUNT: THE LIFE AND
TIMES OF SOLDIER ELIJAH M. SIERS

Elijah married Missouri about 1865, after serving in the Civil War

Back row: Peter, John, Ocie or Sarah, Albert, Amy, Charles and George. All are children of Elijah and Missouri Siers. In the front row is Flora, the wife of Peter. Next, Ned Parsons and Eliza Jarvis Parsons. Elijah and Missouri Arnold Siers are the last two in the front row.

Mr. Elijah M. Siers was born in Monroe County, Virginia, (now WV) a son of John and Rutha Siers, on March 25, 1841. In 1847 the family moved to Braxton County on the headwaters of the Left Hand Ford of the West Fork (Siers Run), where Mr. Siers spent his boyhood and early young manhood.

On November 2, 1862 he joined the Confederate army and under the leadership of Capt. Absalom Knotts, a powerful leader in that day and age, served with honor as corporal in Company E., 14th Virginia Calvary, of Gen. Albert Jenkins’ Brigade. Mr. Siers was captured by the northern enemy, and sentenced to Camp Chase for thirteen months, being released at the close of the war.

During the war, Siers saw action at Brandy Station, Droop Mountain and other important engagements, but added his comment: “I was lucky. And if I ever hit one of the enemy I never knew it,” even on the occasion of having to drag his wounded friend, Thomas Butler, from the field of battle while bullets rained on every side.

After his release from Camp Chase, Mr. Siers returned home on April 7, 1865. Shortly after he married Missouri Arnold, a daughter of one of the prominent pioneer families of Calhoun County. To this union were born nine children.

Elijah and Missouri Siers had been long term residents of Minnora, WV, where they enjoyed gardening, keeping house, and community living for at least 60 years of their marriage. Both were well known for their hospitable home, and strong interest in community affairs. Both having lived for past the 85 year mark, have enjoyed raising a fine family, and have given the impression of having been contented and happy with the long life and memories of the many years past.