Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Great Expectations (Our trip to West Virginia)

     The DeHart family was my focus for many posts in April and May of 2016.  On May 2, I started a series about my aunt and uncle's trip from Oregon to West Virginia in the summer of 1988. They went by motorhome in search of the original DeHart property and DeHart cemetery near Union, West Virginia.  My aunt kept a journal of that trip, and I shared their adventure from her perspective in the following posts: A Dream Come True,  This is all DeHart Land, Civil War Country, Another Try, Success, and lastly Should I Go?
      Should I Go? asked the question if I should follow in my aunt's footsteps. After all, my husband and I were going to Ohio the third week of June for a small family reunion of his siblings.  Union, West Virginia appeared to only be about four hours away from our Ohio destination. At first we thought of going after our Ohio stay, but luckily we decided to go before. (The horrible flood in West Virginia occurred on the same day we would have arrived).
       We started our side trip in Charleston, West Virginia.  It is a beautiful city with the Capitol building topped with a gold plated dome.  We enjoyed the lovely vistas of a state billed as "Almost Heaven". I just might have to agree that it is. 
      We left our hotel early and drove on the turnpike going south until we came to Beckley, West Virginia. We were able to turn east on Interstate Highway 64 toward Lewisburg and Highway 219.  This is where our trek began to diverge from my aunt's. She says, "... the Interstate didn't open until the 15th of July so they told us the highway we should take was #3.

       The 1988 map shows Highway 64 under construction and gives a good look at the winding little highway #3. She gives a good description of this drive in A Dream Come True.  We did not have to endure those ups and downs, curves and switchbacks, and fences coming up to the road. Instead, we had a scenic drive to Lewisburg on the Interstate. Life was good.
     Lewisburg seemed like a charming little town. This quaint little burg was obviously filled with history, but we had no time to stop.  We headed south to Union.
     I was counting down the miles, (about 20 of them), enjoying the views and breathlessly anticipating the opportunity to experience Union, West Virginia where my great-grandmother was born and oldest known DeHart ancestor, 4th great-grandfather, Abraham, had obtained his deed from 1824.  Abraham's son, Samuel and his wife Sophia raised their family around Union.  At least six of their sons were confederate soldiers including our direct line from George Jackson DeHart, father of my great-grandmother, Emma Susan DeHart Borden. I actually knew my great-grandmother. To see where the DeHarts and especially my great-grandmother had lived was a dream come true just as my aunt had said.

      The first thing we saw upon entering Union on the north side of town was a memorial to the Confederate Soldiers of Monroe County. I couldn't wait to stop. My aunt's pictures and mine are almost identical.

1988- My uncle standing at the opening.

2016- It looks like more white fence has been added.

Just to prove I was there.

(to be continued) 

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