Eisenhower vs. Stevenson: Student Election

This damaged picture, from the 1950s, comes from the Preston B. Moses Collection, courtesy the Moses family. It was presumably taken in a Pittsylvania County school. One of the students has been identified as Hallam Hurt. (I love the girls’ clothing and hairstyles!)

Found Pictures

From time to time, I buy pictures on eBay, or find them about to be picked up by the garbage truck, or someone gives me a box that they don’t know what to do with but can’t bear to throw away.

The above picture is one such image — I’m fairly certain it is a European mountain, but don’t know which one. (I made the picture a bit more artsy, using various computer programs.)

Kidnapped Boy Returns to Whitmell (1905)

On July 3, 1902, Luther Walton, age 11, vanished from his home in Whitmell in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Luther was the son of William J. (or James W.) and Agnes Walton. Mr. Walton was a well-to-do farmer in Pittsylvania County.

Mr. Walton had an older son named Percy, aged 29, who had been raised by an aunt. Percy was the half-brother of Luther (other siblings included Lottie Lee, Bertha, Corry, John, Elsie, Herbert, and George). Percy was a “rambling man” or tramp. He came to visit his father and other family members, and when he left to ramble on, he took Luther along.

Percy was charged with abducting Luther, and newspapers far and wide carried the story of the missing Luther and Percy, and his grief-stricken mother.

In the summer of 1905, Luther showed up again in Pittsylvania County. The newspapers reported that,

“The pair traveled together about a year. The child had got a touch of hobo life and continued his wanderings alone.

“While tramping through Ohio this month he saved up enough money to buy a new suit of clothes and a railway ticked and utterly astonished everyone by turning up alone and well at home. . . .

“The parents of the child had given him up for dead years ago and were utterly surprised when he walked into his home.”

I have found no records that indicate whether Percy was ever found.

(References: The United States Census of 1900; The Daily Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, July 5, 1902; and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, June 9, 1905.)

Baptism in Pittsylvania County

Baptisms were often held in Pittsylvania County at the conclusion of revivals. A Rev. Mr. Lake wrote that at one baptismal held at Kentuck, Virginia in 1871, he baptized “forty-three persons — some far advanced in life — and some six or eight more will be baptized at our next meeting.” (The Christian Era, Boston, Massachusetts, August 17, 1871.) Baptisms were also often held at the conclusion of the Pentecostal Holiness camp meetings held in the summer in Dry Fork, Virginia, in the 1920s and 1930s.

Undated picture (probably mid-1900s) from the Preston B. Moses collection, courtesy the Moses family. Artistic touches added by Sarah E. Mitchell.

Bake Me a Cake, As Fast as You Can . . .


baking march 19 1954

Photograph dated March 19, 1954. Probably these men were photographed for an upcoming fundraiser; the man in the middle is holding a Calumet baking powder container, and the man on the right is holding a mixing bowl. But hopefully the shovel was not going to be used!

Preston Moses practiced an early form of Photoshop — he actually drew in details on the photographs! If one looks closely, many details of the men’s aprons and collars are drawn in. In other photographs, eyes or other features were adjusted or changed.  (One can either find that charming or somewhat aggravating, especially when details are obscured by the drawings.)

Photograph courtesy Pattie Moses Lilley.