Friday, March 16, 2007

The “Big” and “Small” of Orlando

Who could imagine someone going around and asking men what they weigh? Uncle Zeke, ever the curious seeker of minutiae, did just that to fill out his Buzzardtown News in November 1925.

Uncle Zeke firstly identified the heavyweights of Orlando men for all to read about. The scale topper of heavyweight men was I. G. Bennett who weighed 300 pounds.1 Jim Vankirk tipped the scales at 285 pounds. C. F. Skinner was quite a bit down the scales at 235 pounds. At a svelte 220 pounds were M. P. Tulley and P. J. Sweeney.

In the lightweight division, who Uncle Zeke said a strong wind would blow away, were H. F. Riffle at 109 pounds, W. R. Blake at 123 pounds, George Riffle who could manage 119 pounds, T. J. Godfrey at a “whopping” 125 pounds, and a trim T. A. Riffle at 115 pounds.

For more on Uncle Zeke click on "Uncle Zeke" in the index to the left. In particular see Oct '06 entry Uncle Zeke From Buzzard Town

1. In an Uncle Zeke column of October 1931, he mentioned that Isaac Bennett was up to 350 pounds. This is 50 pounds more that he weighed here, in 1925.

Comment 1 by Donna Gloff
Using addition information from David Parmer as well as the West Virginia death certificates available on line and Darrell Groves' family tree, here's more information on the fellows Uncle Zeke mentioned above.

I. G. Bennett, Isaac G. Bennett, 1872-1938, son of George and Anna Elizabeth (Barb) Bennett, a farmer, married Laura Groves. He died in retirement at Clarksburg at the age of 66.

Jim Vankirk, "Big Jim," was the son of Robert and Emma (Riffle) Vankirk of the Walkersville area. Jim lived at Orlando and later up-river from Burnsville. He died in 1942. David Parmer tells us that " I went to school with some of Jim Vankirk's grandchildren. They were all fairly large boys so I imagine that their granfather was as well."

C. F. Skinner is probably Charles F. Skinner, 1867 -1930. He married Maggie Cosner and they had nine kids. The family is at the left. The kids are, from left to right are Lee, Burt, Ethel, Wes, Necie, Wayne and Frank. Nora is on Maggie's lap. He died of nephritis.

M. P. Tulley is Martin P. Tulley 1872-1930. . He was a farmer and the son of Irish immigrants. His wife was Elizabeth. He died at the age of 58 from a cardiac arrest and is buried at St Bridget’s.

P. J. Sweeney is Peter J. Sweeney 1887-1952. He was a farmer and a lifelong bachelor. He died at the age of 65, of a heart attack while working in the field. He is also buried at St. Bridget’s.

H.F. Riffle, Hayward Freeman Riffle, 1888-1947, son of Draper and Cora Ann (McCauley) Riffle, married Addie Conrad and lived on Flesher’s Run. He died of throat cancer when he was 59.

W. R. Blake, William Rufus Blake, 1859-1937, married Bessie Cole. He was railroad track man and retired from the railroad. He was killed by a freight train when he was 78 years old. His family suspects he was killed as a result of a robbery of his gold railroad retirement watch. W.R and wife Bessie are pictured at the right.

George Riffle, 1892-1943, is one of Jacob Isaac's brood by his second wife, Matilda. He was known as "little George" or "Half Pint". He was killed in either a train or motor car accident in 1943. He married Bessie Fox.

T. J. Godfrey is Tom Godfrey, 1866 – 1950, son of David Newton and Mary Jane (Skinner) Godfrey. He was a farmer, and married to Bridget Heater. He died of a stroke at the ripe age of 83 and is buried at Orlando Cemetery. (That's him to the right.)

T. A. Riffle, Therussa Anthony Riffle, 1862-1944, known as "Russ" is another of Jacob Isaac's children, this time by his first wife Francina Blake. Russ married Lucy Skinner, daughter of Granville and Martha (Walton) Skinner. He was a farmer. He died at home, “a mile east of Orlando” of old age.

No comments:

Post a Comment