Monday, May 22, 2006

Riffle Run Elementary School

Homer Heater grew up on Riffle Run in the 1940s. Riffle Run is a neighboring community1. but the story he tells is echoed in Orlando, too. His website is rich and warm and true. Check it out at

This photo of Riffle Run Elemenary School and the following description of his first day at school are from his website.

"I proudly followed my brothers and sisters up the road to the little white building with the U.S. flag hanging by the door and the smell of oil (used to preserve the floor). Students drank water out of their individual cups filled from the little water cooler, which was kept supplied by the janitor. There was a coal stove in the center of the room. Double desks with inkwells flanked each side of the room.
In front of the room were the teacher’s desk and the recitation bench where each class was called in turn to review the lessons they had been reading and to answer questions from the teacher. There were usually about twenty or twenty-five students scattered through the eight grades. Spelling was taught all eight grades from one volume. The beginning class started with the simple words at the front of the book and by the eighth grade, the book was supposed to be finished. There were no pictures, only endless columns of words."

Homer Heater is the President of Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary in Washington D.C. Here is a recent photo of Homer and his bride of 50 years, Pat.

Pictured in the photo "Riffle Run Elementary School Around 1940"
L-R Back Row: Denzil Conrad, Wilfred Conrad, Mary Jean Heater, Alma Grace Sumpter, Lillian Brown, Thelma (Dink) Sumpter
L-R 2d Row: Myrtle Mae Brown, Charles McCauley, Bob Graff, Bill Heater, Pauline Conrad, Betty Graff, Mary McCauley
L-R 3d Row:Patty Graff, Louise Sumpter, Caree McCauleyFront seated: Jim McCauley, George McCauley, Bobby Blake, Winfred Thompson, Don McCauley, Wesley McCauley, Homer Brown, Homer Heater, Jr.

1. Riffle Run drains into the Little Kanawha just upstream from Burnsville while most of Orlando's land drains into Oil Creek, which drains into the LIttle Kanawha at Burnsville. As the crow flies, they are about 10 miles apart.


  1. Homer,
    I loved your story of the Riffle Run, for I knew most of the people that you were talking about and knew where everything was, I am Solomon Brown's daughter. Homer is my Uncle. It's always nice to hear about home and people you knew.

  2. Bonnie, It would be a great contribution to our collective memory if you would share some of your memories, and any old photos you might have. Even if you only have time to jot a few notes from time to time & send them to me at, they can be assembled for punlication later.

  3. Viewers, don't miss Rev. Heater's complete memoir at

  4. I know its been a long while since anyone has posted here, but just want to add that Homer is my cousin, his father is my great Uncle, he was brother to my Pappaw, John C. Heater. : )