My Recollection of Ward – By Sally Drake – Part 2

{This is the 2nd of two installments – reprinting this story exactly as it appears in the 2001 Ward Community Reunion Book, in the words of Sally Drake}

Click here to see the beginning of this story

My childhood at Ward was probably better than most of the other children there. I was not really aware of that then because I was a very happy and healthy child never realizing other children might not have been that fortunate, but the ones I knew seemed happy enough.

Once, some of the towns’ men came around with a pony to let the children ride.  I got on and wouldn’t get off that pony.  My mother said she was never so embarrassed in her life.  I rode that pony everywhere.

In talking with Jack Young, formerly of Ward, now at the age of 83, living in Malden, WV, I learned many things I never knew, even about my own family.  Jack said my father, Lambert Drake, hired him in 1937, when Jack was 20 years old.  He said my father was a construction foreman and hired many men who needed work those desperate years.  According to Jack, my father, a very skilled, but not educated man, kept Ward Mines going and was a specialist in his work for there was nothing he couldn’t do.  Jack mentioned he helped my father put in the “first rubber conveyer belt in the state of WV.  He also put the last roof on the church where I sang my first solo at the age of five.  As you can see I have great sentiment for the place I cam from and this is just a tiny bit of information that I am writing here.  There is so much more.

I asked Jack to tape or write about his memories of Ward and he has already made several tapes.  His recall is unbelievable and there just aren’t that may of the old timers left to tell their stories.

For many years my memories of Ward have been very poignant and bittersweet.  I never really knew what was drawing me back there until I made several phone calls and talked to people who knew Ward as I did.  Some surprisingly, knew me and my parents, and now I know why I had this urge to contact someone from Ward. Everyone I have talked with has the same feeling I do.  There is a tie that will never be severed; a connection that will never be broken even though nothing exists as it once was.  But we have our memories; and our love for Ward and its people will forever remain.  No matter what fate befalls us or how many miles and years have separated us, we will always cherish our days of Ward.  They are the fondest memories of my life and I am very sure, also those of my parents.

Since my life began there, I’ve chosen to bury my mother’s ashes with mine in the Ward Cemetery, as it seems a part of me never left Ward and I always called it my home.

Since leaving there in December of 1943 at the age of nine and a half, I have only returned twice and it hurt to see what little remained.  My mother, father and I were so happy being there and we hated leaving the friends and life we knew.


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  1. Ross "Pepper" Harrison

    Hello Sally, Goldie Sue Buckley sent me your website via email. What a beautiful memory you brought back to me! All of us who were born and raised at Ward have the very same sense that we a part of a larger family. Ward was so very special, and we didn’t realize it at the time; and perhaps it was the loss of the wonderful town of our birth and rearing that has endeared her so greatly…..but most endearing are the wonderfull people we all knew and loved. How terrific to have read your memories. Thank you! Sue is now 74, living in Lancaster, OH since l976. I am now 71, living in Dunbar, WV Sue and Tom (Inghram) have one daughter, Terri Lynn Colbert (John) and one grandaughter, Jessica Brooke Holstine (Ryan). What a joy to have this connection with you. Every good wish to you and yours. Pepper

    • Lisa

      Hi Ross,

      Thanks for visiting the blog and I’m glad you enjoy it but please note, I’m Lisa Isbell – I reprinted Sally’s article that appeared in a Ward Community Annual Reunion book printed in 2001. I published it here exactly as she wrote it.

      I hope you’ll come back often and share the link with others. My parents and grandparents are from in and around Ward and it has always fascinated me that these reunions have continued for years after the physical remnants of Ward are mostly gone.

      I would welcome guest posts from any who would like to contribute articles about their memories of Ward.
      ~Lisa Isbell

  2. Lillian Peters Pittman

    I was born at home also in Ward, on 12/27/47. My parents were Med & Rachel Peters. My uncle Henry & his family also lived in Ward. His wife was Fanny they had 6 childern, he & my dad loved gospel music. I was told we left ward when I was 13 days old, going back to my dad’s home Bonifay, Fl.

  3. Lee Maynus

    As others have said, it is very nice to see this account of Ward. My parents, Waid and Rose Maynus lived there during the 1950s, until Dad got laid off from the mines about 1959. My two older sisters were born while they lived in Ward.

    Once the mines went completely bust, he bought the company house they had lived in from the mines for scrap. He and my uncle tore down the house, salvaging every bit of the good wood they could. With his share of the lumber, he added a good sized room to the family farmhouse in Edmond, Fayette Co. It is there today and occupied by my brother.

  4. fran gasper

    My grandparents lived in ward,west va william ray ramsey and jessie ramsey
    He was an engineer for the coal co. and also helped build the ward community church

    they raised 5 kids there aulta,shelby, olga, frank and wilma any info would be appreciated I still have relatives living in the Belle area, My aunt Wilma was married
    to C.W Hoffman highschool coach and principal of whitesville high school

    • Lisa

      Thanks for sharing your connections to Ward! If you haven’t already done it you might want to check out my group on Facebook – West Virginia Genealogy. There are also some groups that drill down even further into counties and other localities.



  1. My Recollection of Ward - by Sally Drake (1) @ Ward, West Virginia - [...] community of Ward, West Virginia - a coal mining town. « Basic Facts About Ward My Recollection of Ward…

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