by David Parmer
Dan & Agnes Murphy
The song, “Red Wing,” came to mind as Ethel Doyle was reminiscing about the musicmaking in her home in the early 1930’s. “It was a nice song to dance to,” and “was very popular. Marion Blake and the Cole brothers always played it at the dances. I just loved it even though I was too young to do much dancing.”
Wayne Blake, eighty-seven years young and a son of fiddler Marion Blake, remembers going with his father Marion to Vayden’s house for square dances which lasted into the wee hours of the morning. “Jake just didn’t want to stop dancing.” Vayden’s grandson, Stanley Blake, tells us that his grandfather “didn’t want to stop dancing until he had danced with all the girls.”
Vayden and Ruth’s daughter Betty (Blake) Crites remembers “When I was growing up in Orlando I looked forward to the weekend music and dancing which took place in my home. Sometimes my mother’s sisters would come to visit. They all played the guitar. My own three sisters, Ada, Jenis, and Dove, also all played the guitar. Can you imagine all of the music!!!! The happiest time of the square dance weekends was when I got to dance,” I was very young and by far not the best dancer, but I was the happiest dancer.” [Toward the end of the evening of the dancing, as people would start going home, there would be room for youngsters like Betty Jo who then got the chance to dance.]
Betty Jo remembers that Marion Blake was one of the Saturday night musicians. Arthur Riffle would cross over the hill from his home at the head of Riffle Run and play his mandolin and guitar at the Vayden Blake square dances. Another fiddler who enlivened the dancing and played was Fred Ocheltree who was killed in action in World War II.
Right: Oscar and Bernice (Mick) Hawkins, on their honeymoon
Right:Right: Clara and Dink Skinner, Governor Bob Wise, Wayne and Jo Ann (Skinner) Blake.
Wayne ’s favorite dancing tune is “Flop Eared Mule” and a close second is “Bile That Cabbage Down.” Another popular tune for square dancers, although not so popular with Wayne, is “Golden Slippers.”
Our father was Jesse Cole, son of Henry Harrison and Mary Jane (Heater) Cole of Three Lick. When we lived on Oil Creek, our dad used to play music with the Henline brothers, James and Charles, and also with Fred McCord who played guitar. Our father also played music with his brothers, Chuck and Dane, and with cousins, Clarence and Philip Dolan. Some of the tunes we remember them playing was “The Twelfth of January,” “Soldier’s Joy,” “The Blue Danube Waltz,” “Red Wing,” and “Sally Gooden.”
Comment by John Carney, Jr.
My parents never lost the love of square dancing that they was first introduced to on Clover Fork in the early years of the 20th century. After our family moved to Clarksburg from Clover Fork in the early 1920’s, my family would enjoy square dancing at Lake Floyd in Bristol, West Virginia, on Route 50 west out of Clarksburg.
John Carney is the son of John and Mary Clare (Dolan) Carney and grandson of James and Kate (Moran) Carney
"Whiskey in the Jar"
The videos introduce or remind the listener of the kinds of tunes that were loved. None of the performances is by Orlando musicians. In part 2 of this entry all the performances will be by folks who performed in the Oil Creek watershed.
The dancing continues. About 50 yars after the events in this entry, some of the area's children formed the Lewis County Swinging Seniors. About 25 years ago, in the 1970s or 80s, the this photo was taken. The last eight of them are, left to right, Kay Miller, Clora Atchison, Shelly and Fred Movies, Ann and Wayne Blake, Melissa Skinner, Adeline Spiker.