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On June 2, 2004, Billy Adkins and I visited Frank Hill. Mr. Hill, a retired farmer, bus driver, and store keeper, made his home on Ellis Fork of North Fork of Big Creek in Boone County, West Virginia. Born in 1923, he was the son of Edward W. and Annie Elizabeth (Stollings) Hill. Billy and I were interested in hearing about Mr. Hill’s Fowler ancestry and anything he wanted to share about his own life. We greatly enjoyed our visit. What follows is a partial transcript of our interview:

JOHN PATRICK FOWLER (1827-1911)

Grandpap [John P.] Fowler lived at Ferrellsburg at one time. He was a timber specialist, I’d call him, because he always run a timber job and hired lots of men. He’d cut out all of the timber on a farm and then buy another one and cut it. They didn’t make much back then but they could get a little money together.

My grandmaw [Margery Ann Fowler] was born, I’d say, down there at Ferrellsburg. My mother lived there at Ferrellsburg when she was a teenage girl and she told me she’d plowed corn right there in Ferrellsburg Bottom before the highway or the railroad either one came up through there.

Grandpap bought a tract of timber on Big Ugly and he moved to where it was at. That was virgin timber up there. Hadn’t been cut for years. He just followed the work. He went through Big Ugly and over to Fork Creek. He sold out over there to a coal company and they just paid him so much a month. Then later he got over here on North Fork. He lived in a two-room log house just above our place.

Grandpap Fowler was well-liked. He was a pretty good sized man. My mother thought the world of him because he raised my mother. She lost her daddy [Charles Stollings] when she was ten. Her mother died of what they’d call cancer today. My mother had two sisters and a brother younger than her. The baby one was just two years old and that was Willie Stollings. Grandpap Fowler took in all four children.

My mother, she had a third grade education. She could sign her name. She met my dad when he come in that area saw-logging. His name was Edward Hill and he was a timberman. Cut timber all over this country. They’d have contests. They’d drive a stake out there and cut this tree and bet who could drive that stake on down with that tree when it falls. And he won a many a time. He was accurate. He could chop right-handed or he could chop left-handed. Anyway, there’s a record of their marriage in the courthouse down here at Madison. Preacher Ball married them, I believe.

Grandpap [John P. Fowler] had a boy named Jones that lived over on Big Ugly and he was digging coal with a pick, just enough to do tonight and tomorrow, and a rock fell in on him and killed him. And Grandpap had loaned him his pistol ‘cause him and this Johnson wasn’t getting along good. They was neighbors over there. But that was the first man got there to help get this rock off of him. But Grandpap Fowler sent my mother as soon as they buried him over there to get that pistol. She went right up here and crossed the hill and come down Estep Branch and told his wife that Grandpap had sent after that pistol. She give it to her and on her way back when she come off’n the hill here she knew that Grandpap and old man Dan Harmon wasn’t very good friends. And just for meanness, she shot five or six times and that fellow took her for a warrant. And Grandpap had to go over there to Madison Court House and pay a fine to get her out of it. She was nervy, I’ll tell you that.

Frank Hill Store

Hill Store at the mouth of Ellis Fork of North Fork of Big Creek near the Boone-Logan county line. 19 October 2013.

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