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Gunsmiths of Doddridge County
To say that our "Gunsmiths of Doddridge County" program was a great success would be an understatement, with a little over 100 people in attendance. Although the event was billed as an open house to permit people to come and go as they pleased, most came early and stayed late, enjoying the refreshments and an opportunity to socialize.
The Library's downstairs community room was the perfect venue. The gunsmith exhibit consisted of eighteen guns made in the 1800s by Doddridge County gunsmiths Samuel Todd Sherwood, Isaac Stutler and William H. Earnest, as well as one made by Tyler County gunsmith Ezra Engle. Exhibitors were gun collectors Jeff Sperry, Ed Rayl and Pat Heaster. Many of the visitors were direct descendants of S. T. Sherwood and were excited to see and touch the workmanship of their legendary ancestor. We were hoping that one of them might have a photograph of him, but none did. If you know where we might find a photo of Sherwood, please let us know!
While some visitors were viewing the gun exhibit itself, many others were in another part of the room exploring their ancestry with genealogist Rennie Brown of the Doddridge County Roots website, with their family tree projected on the wall for all to see. Rennie also gave an interesting presentation based on news items from the West Union newspapers of January 1917.
Both the personalized genealogy and the "100 Years Ago in Doddridge County" were well received and will be a regular part of future Heritage Guild programs. Many attendees were also pleased to have the opportunity to meet and chat with Jennifer Wilt, our local historian and columnist for The Doddridge Independent newspaper. Norma Bowyer was also on-hand to share stories, keep the refreshments replenished, and generally work behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. This was our first public program, and we were very pleased with the turnout and subsequent feedback. We intend to host similar events with varying themes based on our Doddridge County heritage. If you have an idea for a topic, or would like to share your own knowledge as our gunsmith exhibitors did, please let us know. Either way, watch for announcements of future programs of our Doddridge County Heritage Guild.
January 21, 2017