Henry Nunn 

Henry Nunn is interviewed on January 5, 1995 by Angela Clark


I was born here in Bland County on May 31st, 1910. My father and mother were Tommy Nunn and Louella Miller Nunn. My mother was awful good and quiet. She was really good to us. Of course I am speaking of my foster mother, because my real mother died three weeks after I was born. My father was pretty strict. My foster parents were awful good to us. They were just as good to me and my twin brother as they were to their own children. My grandparents on the Miller side were Jasper and Rhody Miller. On the Nunn side was Booker Nunn and Marthie.

I had 5 brothers and 3 sisters. My brothers were Johnny, Archie, Herschel, Henry, that's myself, and Herbert Nunn, my sisters are Roxie, Ethel and Minnie Nunn. Herbert was my twin. I was raised on what you call Pinch Creek. We had a pretty good house, up Pinch Creek. It wasn't insulated or nothing, and it was a two story house. There was a kitchen and dining room built on to the end of it or the side of it.I played games with my neighbors. We'd play crochet, pop cans and hoppie hide. We had a big time then. We had alot of chores. I know after we come in from school our chore was to get in the wood. And in the summer when it's corn thinning time we had to get out there and thin the corn out. We grew several things in our garden. Of course beans and turnips, and potatoes and all kinds of things. When I was a boy my foster parents ... we peddled to Bluefield in a wagon. It took us three days to make the trip. One day to go over there and one day to sell out, and one day to come back. Plum from here to Bluefield, in a wagon, I went with them lots of times. When they'd go there'd be alot of people. They had a campground over there in Bluefield we'd stay on.This was years before the tunnel was built. You had to go plum across the old road in a wagon.

I was born down Wilderness, I didn't know it for awhile, but that's where I was born, my daddy owned that place, then he sold it to and went to Bluefield and lived over there for a long time, then he sold out over there and went down to Wolf Creek and bought a farm. Mom died when I was 3 weeks old. She died of childbirth, taking in inflammation and just had a midwife back then. Daddy died in 1935. Children were born in houses back then. We didn't go anywhere, the doctors maybe they would be there. It would take them awhile to get here. You could get one from Bland, Dr. Wagoner. There was a auditorium named after him up in Bland. Dr. Sieball was over in Gratton. Most of the time Dr. Davidson came from Rocky Gap. He'd ride a horse out there and he came and quarantined everybody. I can't think of what we had.

It was a job to work in the garden and we raised lots of beans in the corn fields and that was my job and my brothers job to get them beans picked. We'd thrashed them beans out we'd have 2 to 300 pounds of beans. We took them to Bluefield and sold them. Of course we raised them for our own use too. That is how we made our money. Yeah we'd take back the eggs was about from 8 to 10 cents a dozen, I was buying eggs for 10 cents a dozen and selling them for 11 cents a dozen just to make a penny out of the dozen. My dad was a great hunter, well my foster dad he, he killed 7 bears. Yeah, grizzly bear and he would work all day long then hunt all night long. I never went with him too many times, but me and some other ones used to go, but my foster dad shot it with a small shot and it didn't kill it, the bear was coming right after him, and he couldn't get the shell out if his gun to shoot it and a neighbor went with him shot and killed the bear before it got to him.

Listen to Henry Nunn tell about Doc Nunn and the Bears (qt mov file 116 k)

This is how I met my wife, Ella Mae Narstar: Well my twin brother brought her from Kentucky, and he was going with her sister-in-law, she was over here with her visiting somebody. She stayed up at Ceres with a couple up there for a year or two. I went with her and then she left there and left Alexander' s people down there. I finally kept writing to her and got her back up here and we got married in 1935. We were married for 42 years. I waited until she got sick and I waited on her here at this house for 6 years and 8 months, Doctor said I couldn't do it but I did, taking care of her that long. We didn't have any children, but we did have an adopted son, Argil. I think he was born in Richmond. He was fourteen months old when we adopted him. He had red hair that hung down around his shoulders. He's dead now, but he has three children, Timmy, Tracy, and Donna. I think it is harder to raise children today because there wasn't as much for them to get into today, I wouldn't learn how to raise a family I wouldn't think now.


I went to school out here at what they call the DeHart school house where the church is now standing, same building the church is. There used to be a school there, that building, the main part of it was built in 1913, and I went to school there. I know the first teacher I had, I remember her mighty well, it was Ruth Dunn, and she lived in Bland. She was our teacher and my brother and I would get sleepy and go to sleep on the banks and she'd let us alone, she was awful good to us. But we had some teachers that were awful strict. Back then they'd either put you up and stand in front of the board or in the corner for a long time and if it weren't for that they'd give you a good whippen. Now they whipped you. Jackson Tabor taught for 2or 3 years. He had a stiff leg and he'd sit there with his leg stuck out there like that and lord he was strict. When you done something mean he'd bend your hand Iike that and whip you across your hand with a ruler. It really hurt. But, I don't remember getting a real good hit whipping. I was pretty good boy but my brother was always into something, he got it pretty rough.

We used to pack our lunches in a bucket. We carried it with us and the most would be apple-butter and hog meat we'd eat it and such stuff as that is what we'd have for our lunch. We walked three miles to school. They didn't have buses when I went to school. I started walking to school when I was seven years old. Everybody had to walk and a of a winter time we would be a walking back up there what they call Graveyard Hill, some would walk up on it and the others would bottom and we'd get into a snow ball fight with each other.


We didn't have too much celebration during back then. The 4th of July mostly was the main one we celebrated. We didn't expect nothing for Christmas because we were poor people and we'd always hang up our stockings on the mantle over the fire place, oh we'd get of the morning and rush down to see what was in our stocking. I don't remember if we put up a Christmas tree back then, I don't think we did! At Easter time especially we would have a whole lot of eggs, that was for Easter. We didn't celebrate Valentine's Day. We didn't celebrate too much I don't think back then.


I never did any courting until I was about 16 or 18 years old. If we went anywhere if we were going with a girl, if we went anywhere it would be in a buggy with team of horses pulling it. We'd have a right smart fun though. Most the time we just mainly went to church or something like that we didn't have way too much anywhere else. Not unless you went Bluefield. Carr Farlow used to have a silent movie down Hollybrook somewhere a long time ago. I went to that one, one time I believe, I went to one movie seemed like to me it was Bluefield at one time.

Old Rocky Gap

Rocky Gap didn't have too many buildings, there was a big store there for you to see the railroad come up through there over Jerkwater. And it come through there and there was a big store there it was named by Honaker a little feller named Honaker, that was about the only store there that I knew of and there wasn't too many houses. The school there wasn't built. There wasn't much to do then. I stayed around Hollybrook mostly. We didn't have radio, I reckon, until after I was married. It was probably in the thirties that I remember. Well we had some neighbors that got a radio and we would go listen to theirs when I was about 17 years old.

I remember back in 1918 I was just 8 years old, it fell out a snow, it snowed about every day and this one fell out about 3 feet of snow and they had a lumber camp over here in the Mire Branch and they still went to work and when they cut their timber they would cut it above the snow and the stumps would be about 3, 4 feet high, they lost a lot of timber. Back then it would fall out a big snow and stay on all winter.

I had a lot of neighbors when I lived upi Pinch Creek. Minnie Williams was one of them. I don't believe we were any kin. Jimmy Williams used to live there where Minnie Williams lives now. He was one of our neighbors he was a farm man, he cleaned up more land with that one hand, yes, lets see, his right hand was off, he would use his left arm with that ax just like a two handed man.

narration by Holly Smith

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