A lost piece of West Virginia history found in Ohio

Thanks to everyone who signed up for my email updates. I hesitate to call this a blog, because there is a certain expectation of regularity associated with a blog. I don’t know if I’m up to that challenge. If I have something that I think you’d be interested in hearing, I’ll pass it along. It might be book related, it might not.

Since those are standards, let me start off with a non-book story.

About 15 years ago, my friend Ken Farmwald and I started a company to buy, fix-up and sell houses. On a good day, we do it for a profit. As we were cleaning and doing the demolition at a house this summer, we found a nickel wrapped in a tiny piece of paper, on which was written, “This 5¢ piece was on the eye of Susan Heflin Cooper after death. Arlie has the other 5 cent piece.” After finding the note and 1901 coin, I did an internet search for Susan and located her grave at the Gnats Run Cemetery near Pennsboro, West Virginia.

Susan was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1817. She lived to the age of 90 and died in Pennsboro on Christmas Eve, 1907. 

As a novelist, I am fascinated with the mystery of how this fell out of the hands of the family and ended up amid so much trash in a house in Columbus, Ohio. However, as a former newspaper reporter who liked his stories wrapped up tight, I find it maddening not to have those answers.

A friend did a little research on an ancestry site and believes that Arlie was her son.

I donated the items to the Ritchie County, West Virginia, Historical Society, which is located in Pennsboro. They operate the Old Stone House Museum, where hopefully the coin and note will find a new home.

Today is Oct. 6 – exactly six months until the release of my next novel, The Sacrifice of Lester Yates. Pre-order your copy through my new site here.

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