Dumpling Run is the first creek that empties into Oil Creek just before it meets the Little Kanawha at Burnsville.
Left: Ollie (Mollithan) Vankirk
Right: The story from Clarksburg Telegram June 22, 1937. Double click on each page of the article to enlarge it. Here is an excerpt:
"A missing housewife is believed drowned and damage of more than $100,000 is reported. . . . The missing housewife is Mrs. Ollie Vankirk, 52, who was last seen in the door of the barn at the family home on Dumpling Run, near Burnsville, when the storm broke about 5 p.m.. Mrs. Vankirk, witnesses said, disappeared when the barn was washed from its foundation beside the run and collapsed as it struck a nearby tree. . .
"The railroad bridge between Burnsville and Orlando was washed out and it was said by a track foreman that trains would not run in that section for at least three days. He said the tracks had been loosened by the water.
"The county bridge across Oil Creek at Orlando was washed out against the railroad tracks and C. W. Knight reported four feet of water in his store there.
"The Posey Run school was washed from its foundation and turned completely around.
"Garages and other businesses were washed out along Dumpling Run, it was reported."
by David Parmer
Storm clouds had been building throughout the day. Even though it was daytime, it was dark as evening. Thunder was rolling with the sound of potato wagons on a hard rock road. Lightning was illuminating the sky and casting eerie shadows in the narrow Dumpling Run valley.
Livestock on the several farms located on the run were fidgeting with each roll of thunder or crack of lightning. The rain came slowly at first, cooling the hot baked ground, but soon became steady and heavy. Before long the rain was beating down on the tar paper roofs of the houses on Dumpling Run. Kerosene lamps which had been lit to cope with the dark seemed to struggle and their flickering became pronounced as the heavy rain caused drafts to flow through the cracks in the doors and the gaps in the floorboards. The normally placid Dumpling Run began to flow swiftly and water crept up the banks of the confined creek. Ollie Vankirk and her barely school-aged foster daughter Jean sat hunched at their kitchen table. Despite the smell of bread baking in the stove, unease filled the tiny house perched on the bank of the run. Forty-four year old Ollie was worried about their milk cow which was tied up in the barn by the creek. This June 21st of 1937 was dark and it was hard to see the creek although it was easy to notice the roar of the water growing louder and louder. The roar was becoming ominous. Ollie’s husband Homer was not at home. He had left on foot earlier in the day to visit a doctor in Sutton, twenty-four miles away. No one was home to help Ollie in this time of peril.
Ollie and Homer Vankirk
The melodious bell of St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Burnsville rang out to announce the funeral of Ollie Vankirk. The church was full of friends, family and curiosity-seekers, who were saddened by the death of their neighbor. She was laid to rest in the Quickle Cemetery above Burnsville. Today, the cemetery is a pleasant place to visit and has a beautiful view of the Burnsville Dam and the impounded waters of the Little Kanawha River.