My grandparents were Eli and Esta (Blake) Riffle. My father, John Rodney Riffle, was raised on Clover Fork. My mother was from the Flemington-Simpson area, east of Clarksburg. My brothers and sisters and I moved to Clover Fork with dad after mom died in 1955. I was 6 years old at that time. There was 5 of us kids. Dad had promised Mom that he would keep us kids together before she died, and he kept his promise, though I sometimes wonder how a single man did this.
right: another of Barbara's neighbors, Hayward Skinner's father Gideon Skinner, with his mule and buggy in downtown Orlando in the 1950s.
I also remember one day we saw a fox coming down the hill towards us and It was foaming at the mouth and dad told us to get into the house because the fox was rabid. That was the first time that I had ever heard of rabies.
We didn't have a TV set. We would go to Hayward Skinner’s house and watch the Twilight Zone. It would be dark when we walked home and I would be scared to death at every noise that I heard.
I don't remember when, but we moved up the road that Aunt Phebe & Uncle Short lived on Red Lick, I think, was the name of that road.
Later we moved down towards Orlando, still on Clover Fork. We lived close to Grandma Riffle and Uncle Bill’s house. Our house only had 2 rooms and dad built 2 more rooms onto it. It did not have running water or electric. We had a well out in the yard that we got our water from. Dad tried to run an electric line from grandma's house but we had dim lights. I can remember doing my homework by lantern light. Dad was a great vegetable gardener. We always had nice big gardens. We canned our veggies outside in a large tub with a fire under it In the summer we worked in the garden.
left: pressing sorghum cane. The setup in this photo, taken at the Museum of Appalchia in Kentucky, looks very much like John and Bill Riffle's.
Right: Hattie Alkire, many years before the author knew her.
I attended grade school in a one room school on Clover Fork. I remember Mrs. Moneypenny, the school teacher at Clover Fork. My sister Mary also remembers her. Everyone liked her. She would take kids home to stay all night with her if they did good on the weekly spelling tests. We attended middle school and high school at Burnsville . We rode the bus to Brown’s store every evening (at Orlando.) I graduated from Weston, Lewis Co. High. in 1967.
George "Short" Riffle and Phoebe Posey were married in 1942. While Short was serving in World War II, Phoebe came to Orlando and picked up her mail. Among the mail Phebe received that day was a letter from her new husband. Phebe started reading the letter as she walked up the railroad tracks to her home on Clover Fork. Engrossed in the letter she was reading, Phebe did not hear the train coming behind her. The train struck Phebe. It took her arm and nearly killed her.