KEYSER - Growing up in a family that values history, Betty Bane Dzubba is sharing her mother's research with the world in her regular feature “The Back Page” on Mountain Streams radio.
By Ronda Wertman
KEYSER - Growing up in a family that values history, Betty Bane Dzubba is sharing her mother’s research with the world in her regular feature “The Back Page” on Mountain Streams radio.
Dzubba recalled spending Sunday afternoons, notebook in hand, as her family was looking for graves in local cemeteries.
Her mother Evelyn graduated from Keyser High School in 1942 and started collecting newspaper clippings.
Dzubba now has over 30 binders filled with information in her history room.
She said her mother was always concerned about what would happen to her history and genealogy research.
“I think she would be happy to know I’m putting it to good use,” said Dzubba, adding that Kim Rolls has always told her that this was “her legacy that her mother made possible.”
Over two years ago, Dzubba began recording her two- to four- minute segments that are broadcast round the clock at 8:30, 12:30, and 4:30 on 102.9.
There are 20 different segments in rotation at any given time, so each day has random ones broadcast.
Five new ones are added each month.
“It’s taught me a lot of things,” said Ed McDonald of the historical society, who oversees the radio station and does the editing.
“I train to write for the ear, not for the eye. I think they’ve gotten better,” he says, adding hopes that the segments can be made available as podcasts in the future.
Each segment opens up by saying, “Welcome to the back page, reflections on the history or Keyser and Mineral County.”
One piece centered on the Paddytown militia known as the Bucktails. Prominent names in 1843 included Arnold, Baker, Biser, Davis, Dawson, Ravenscroft, Rogers and Umstot.
Another focused on Ridgeville. What is considered a small area now at the intersection of Route 50 and Knobley Road was once home to two churches, a southern Methodist church and the Stone Chapel, a store with a Post Office, village blacksmith and two taverns.
The Ridgeville Inn was a stage coach stop and the VanDiver Claus house still stands and is on the National Historic Register.
Often times there are several sessions on related topics such as the orchards on Patterson Creek Mountain, which led to the Twin Mountain and Potomac Railroad.
Dzubba explained the chert soil in the Welton District was conducive for apples and peaches leading to 750 acres being established as orchards for the Russell and Leatherman families.
Getting the harvest to market was an all day trip to Keyser to the railhead so in 1912-1913 the three foot narrow gauge 26.6 mile railroad was established.
Other segments have focused on the Civil War. “People always say, ‘I had no idea there was so much going on in Keyser in the Civil War,’” said Dzubba.
Another feature was on the Davis Brothers, Col. Tom Davis and his brother, Henry Gassaway Davis.
“It takes a while to get things together,” said Dzubba, adding that she is always looking for things of historic value.
Dzubba also spoke of the historic tour of 20 points of interest in Keyser being working on by the Mineral County Genealogy Society for this summer.
The historical society’s museum on Lynmar Street is preparing to open in April with a grand opening planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 6.
‘It tells Mineral County’s story,” said McDonald.