By Bob Weaver 2001

In past years The Hur Herald has published the faces of Calhoun folks who lived on the lower West Fork of the Little Kanawha and its tributaries. Their names are mostly unknown. The photos are from a collection taken in the early 1900's by Daniels Run resident Ferris Barr. Interestedly, a few have been identified and the captions have been added.

Ferris Barr, early Calhoun photographer circa 1910

Last week, Ferris' daughter Erless Barr Waldschmidt of Falls Church, Virginia stopped by with her sister, Louise Barr Pantuso of Akron, Ohio, and her two first cousins, Gretchen Barr Robertson of San Diego, California and Betty Barr Nelson of Bellevue, Washington, they being the children of Ferris' brother, Pratt Barr. The group was accompanied by their long-time friend, Joy Shaffer Starcher.

"I remember my dad and mom pulling the pictures out of a box on Sunday afternoon and talking about them," said Erless. They were extra pictures that people did not purchase.

Erless talked about the quiet life on Daniels Run, mostly pleasant memories of her childhood. Much of the visit was discussing the Calhoun history of families who are of Melungeon descent, particularly those who settled deep in the narrow hollows prior to the Civil War.

(L to R) Ferris Barr's daughters, Louise Barr Pantuso and Erless Barr Waldschmidt

(L to R) Betty Barr Nelson of Bellevue, Washington and Gretchen Barr Robertson of San Diego, California

The genetic pool known as Melungeon (Black Dutch), often outcast and persecuted, fled to the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia (West Virginia) looking for relief from prejudice and a peaceful life. Several of our early Calhoun families are linked to the Melungeon group, explaining why they stuck on isolated, hard-toil farms, rather than move a few more miles west for flatter land. (For more information regarding the Melungeons, link to the Calhoun Gen Web Page)

The visit with the Barr descendants made an enjoyable afternoon. They also reminded us of the thousands of Hur Herald readers that live around America.