Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 13, 1972 · Page 51
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 51

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 13, 1972
Page 51
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History Lives in Old House HOUSE THAT JOHN AND PERMELIA BOWYER BUILT IN 1841 Descendants Plan Restoration Project in Spring GAZETTE-MAIL Chmlnlun, W, V** AufJ. 13 j~|OME WJA OME rlAMILY IE By Connie Shearer "That's where Aunt Nora jumped from the roof just outside her bedroom window the night she eloped. She was 17 years old then and she rode off on horseback to be married. We always loved Aunt Nora. Do you know that she played croquet right there in the yard with us when she was 94 years old?" Mrs. J. M. Woodrum was talking. She was telling us about the pre-Civil War house in Winfield and her husband's ancestors who have lived there. The house, which is now owned by Mrs. Woodrum's mother-in-law Mrs. Ruth Woodrum and her sister, Miss Kathleen Morris, was built by John and Permelia Bowyer in 1841. It has been occupied by their descendants since that time except for a period during the Civil War. * m * THE BOWYERS were Southern sympathizers and to keep the Northern sympathizers from burning the place, they agreed to let a Morris family (no relation to Miss Kathleen Morris) occupy the house. The house is made of dark red bricks which were fired on the grounds when the house was under construction. "That's Uncle Black." said Pat Woodrum. This time she was pointing over the parlor fireplace to a portrait of a stately military man. "He was Gen. Jerome Toledo Bowyer, a member of the Virginia militia and my husband's great-great uncle. I understand he was really a character. It's told that he was quite a party man and had a deep appreciation of the finer things. He even built himself a fancy mausoleum." "He was called Uncle Black because his father nicknamed each of his sons after an Indian chief. He was named for Chief Blackfoot." JOE AND PAT Woodrum have built their home on part of the old Bowyer property. They and their four sons, Joe, 16; Bob, 13; Jim, 10 and Bill, 2, say they really live in both houses. Pat says they often go over to the old house to have dinner. Although their house is as modern as today, they enjoy the old place as do Joe's brothers and their families, who often show up for weekends there. Along with the pleasant, peaceful setting, they can enjoy water from the well. Pat says it's the coldest, best water in the world. There, of course, Is a story about the well too. It seems that the water came In so fast, that the diggers had to leave their tools and run for their lives. And, as the story goes, the tools are still in the bottom of the well. There is much of the original furniture In the house. There once was at least one water bowl and pitcher in each room. But they're gone now. They were stolen and Pat Woodrum is likely never to forget the day of the robbery. She said she had taken a friend into the house and was walking through the living room when she suddenly realized they were not alone. She says she grabbed her friend's hand and started running. She almost collided with the burglar who made off with some fine old pieces. THEN THERE was'the* time some young vandals threw rocks through the windows on the front side of the house. Each window has different dimensions and it took the Woodrums an entire week just to get proper measurements. Incidents such as these aren't likely to reoccur since the new house is nearby and four watchdogs live on the premises. Pat Woodrum finds reason to be in the house every day now, but there's still anxiety in her voice when she tells about the first time she visited the house. SHE SAYS she was still a teenager and Joe took her down for a weekend with his family. When she was ready to turn in for the night, she was given a gaslight and sent upstairs. She says she lay there all night with her eyes open ' gazing up at the high headboard. In her words, "That was the ghostiest place I had ever seen." The house must be repaired if it is to continue to stand. And since the young must lake care of the old, next spring a troop of building contractors will move in to restore the old Bowyer home--and that should make an interesting story. STRIKING POSE OF GREAT-GREAT-GREAT UNCLE, GEN. JEROME TOLEDO BOWYER Joe Woodrum Wearing Faded Cut-Off Jeans, Holding Basebsll Cap I PERIOD SETTING IN OLD FASHIONED HALLWAY Tn Pre-Civil War Bowyer Home in Winfield BUT WHAT DO YOU PI T IN A DRY SINK? Two-Ycar-Old Bill Take Curious Look in Drawer J !

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