Left: Plowing a hillside
Right: "Pid" Heline and horse
Dale Barnett, now aged 85, vividly remembers these horse trader reunions which occurred in Orlando during his youth. Dale’s father, Bill Barnett, always had three or four horses he was willing to trade “for a little boot,” and Dale was wide-eyed and all ears as the bargaining and boasting was taking place. Clate Wiant, a noted trader of horses was always present, dressed in white shirt and tie, with a clutch of horses that he would be “willing to sacrifice” for the benefit of any person he was trading with. Farmers from Rocky Fork, Sand Fork, Indian Fork and Clover Fork tried their best to convince the farmers from Flesher’s Run, Knawl’s Creek and Riffle’s Run that their horses would do well on the latter’s feed. Tom Zinn who operated the large livery stable in Burnsville was always on the look-out for good team or riding horses and was usually present at the Orlando horse-traders reunion. Mr. Turner of the Bendale section of Weston, a horse trader of note, also made his appearance with a load of horses which he would usually sell, and would return to Bendale with another load which he bought.
Moonshiners and Disrepute
Teamsters near Orlando
Two significant players in the Orlando Horse Traders Reunion during the 1920’s and 1930’s were George Turner of Weston and Clayton Wiant of “above” Burnsville. Dale Barnett remembers George Turner as a large man, on the portly side, who was as good a trader as there was. A resident of Bendale, George was the son of Newton and Clarissa (Montgomery) Turner and the husband of Myrtle Turner. The only work George ever did during his lifetime was centered around farm stock. He died in 1944 at age 66 and was survived by his wife Myrtle and his daughter Clara Means.
Clate Wiant lived on the Little Kanawha River above Burnsville. He also was a stockman and farmer his entire life although he did serve as deputy assessor in Braxton County in 1949 and 1950. Clate was first married to Etta Singleton and secondly to Rosa Langford. Clate is also remembered for the white shirt and tie that he hardly ever was seen without. Clate died in 1974 at age 93. He was survived by his wife Rosa, his son Letch, also a noted stockman of “above” Burnsville, a son Vaughn of Walkersville, and a daughter Iva Lou Robinson of Pittsburgh. Clate was the son of Frank and Vesta (McHenry) Wiant.
My father, Coleman Jeffries, who was born in Orlando in 1905 and lived in Orlando all of his life, was a lover of horses and always had a horse or two until his final years. He of course would have been familiar with the horse traders reunions which took place in Orlando for many years. He felt that some unscrupulous horse traders foisted broken down horses on unsuspecting buyers and that after horses became obsolete these same traders went into used car dealing.
“Would he lie?” Uncle Zeke reported in his June17, 1926 column on the activities which took place during the recent horse traders reunion in Orlando. “Red” McCormick of Weston took the prize in the fox chasers’ lying contest, with Bud Hamilton a close second. Lon Riffle of Burnsville won the honors in the horse traders’ reunion and “Tint” Henline presided with great ability and skill at the knife traders’ convention. The next excitement will be a prize fight between George Riffle and Uncle Zeke’s scarecrow.”