Halman Nettles still farming, in front of his
grandfather Willard Nettles homestead at Gip

By Bob Weaver 2013

80-year-old Halman Nettles of Duck (left) who really lives in the twin communities of Gip and Elmira in Braxton County in the West Fork Valley headwaters of Calhoun, has been raising livestock for 73 years, having purchased his first calf when he was only seven.

"I paid $7 for that calf," Nettles said.

"I use to raise up to 150 cattle a year," he said, admitting his activities have declined with age and health, but he still has a field of horses and a few cattle.

Nettles, a licensed minister and long-time Christian, like the generations before him lives close to the sod. A number of years ago he went into the tractor and farm equipment business.

Halman grew up in this small four-room house at Gip

The Hall store in the Gip valley at a
distance, from the Hall family cemetery

The community gathers for the funeral of
Halman's grandfather, Willard Nettles in 1939

He bought his first tractor, side mower and harrow in 1947 for $1,375.

"Tractors were long time coming to the mountains," he said. "They didn't think they could stick to these steep hillsides. Over the years I've sold tractors all over this part of the world."

He lives within eye-shot of his childhood home, his parents Donnie Calvin and Nannie Stalnaker Nettles, and up the road, the farm of his grandparents, Willard and Lula Meadows Nettles.

"I use to raise up to 150 cattle a year," he said, admitting his activities have declined with age and health.

Touring the Gip and Elmira communities, Halman reflects on a few of the old remaining structures, recalling the families that made their livelihood close to the earth.

Gip 2-room school closed in the 1950s

The original Gip Church, now replaced by a modern structure

Community of church goers in early 1900s

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