Thursday, April 25, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: "Magnolia's Historical Past"

When I first got interested in genealogy a couple of years ago, Mom told me about the now vanished town along the Potomac River over in West Virginia called Magnolia. Pretty name, I thought. It had its best days just after 1900 on to 1910 when the population swelled to around 2,000. As the work on the C&O canal and the B&O railroad vanished, this little community did too when residents sought employment elsewhere. The final blow was a flood of the Potomac River in 1936 that wiped out much of the town.

Then after telling me a couple of stories about the ancestors who lived in Magnolia, Mom sent me a book about it called, "Magnolia's Historical Past", by Leonard H. Davis and printed in 1999. I can't tell who the publisher of this book was but by the look of things, Leonard Davis himself might have gotten all of the pages together and put it out as a collection in book form. Mom got the book from the Morgan Coubty Historical Society. I've posted about out trip to Magnolia and you can read about it here, and what Wikipedia has to say about Magnolia here.

The book has no index, and usually I'd be grousing about that, but in this case it slows me down to "Magnolia pace" and I just relax and enjoy the slow read. I'll let the book speak for itself and show you the images of cover and various pages. I hope that all of us who search in pursuit of family history find such treasures as this one! Thank you very much, Mr. Davis.

Cover (with my ubiquitous post notes.)

One of the most charming parts of the book are personal recollections of past residents. One I'm particularly fond of includes this recipe. Do you remember the jelly roll cake too?
There is quite a lot of information to be gleaned from the transcription of old newspaper reports about Magnolia and her residents. Here's the earliest from 1883.

Aren't these a treasure?
By the way, Cumberland is mentioned so often because it was a short train ride away and the closest city for a day tripping adventure.

The inclusion of the 1910 US Census for the area is brilliant and very useful for the family historian  because the geography of the area is difficult to discern to the untrained eye, if all you have to go on is the enumerator notes.

A sampling of the old photos reproduced in the book. Try as I might I can't find the picture collection mentioned as a credit! Too bad.

The above are from the Magnolia Reunions. Sad that Mom and I missed them because they are no more.

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