The wind whistles through the old
livestock pens creating ghostly sounds

By Bob Weaver 2019

Since the Spencer Livestock Exchange closed a few years back, marking an end to the great agricultural era of this part of rural West Virginia, we have wandered through the ghostly complex a few times, the wind whistling through the building, gates eerily banging, notability absent the bustle of the farmers and livestock.

Now, the entire wooden structure is being razed and salvaged, according to owner Gary May, who will be using the property for a business enterprise.

God only knows the amount of boards, joists and timbers that will be removed to be recycled.

The sprawling structure rests on Bowers Hill along US 33-119 east of Spencer, the exchange moved to that location in the early 1930s from a site near downtown Spencer.

The market was reported to have been established in the late 1800s, at the end of the long-gone B&O railroad which hauled thousands upon thousands of animals to the greater world market.

It was a big event for farm boys and girls to accompany their parents or grandparents to the weekly livestock sale, herding pigs, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, or chickens onto the family truck, and heading toward Spencer.

During the sale's heyday, farmer's trucks would be parked up and down the main highway US 33-119 as far as the eye could see, the weekend sales lasting through the early morning hours of the next day.

Farmers would bring produce, farm equipment and odds-and-ins to sell on the side, while enjoying the social atmosphere of the event.

The late Lovell Sampson recalled herding cattle, pigs and turkeys in the 1920s across the West Fork of the Little Kanawha and out Egypt Ridge on foot to the market.

A few old-timers, for a while, will revive some memories of the busy exchange, becoming a shadowy image of a former time.