Whitesburg KY

Blair Branch loses 7; all are family

My mother Helmer Thompson Adams’s brother Don Thompson died Sept. 25 after having cancer for several months. Don was born in the head of Blair Branch in the Thompson home on Aug. 25, 1936, to William F. and Maggie Blair Thompson.

Funeral services were held at the DenHerder Funeral Home in Paulding, Ohio and the burial was in the Blair Cemetery in Emerald Township, Paulding, County, Ohio.

Don’s father died in 1946 then in 1953 Maggie and her children moved to Ironton, Ohio. Don lived in Ironton until 1955 when he moved back to Blair Branch and lived with my family until 1959. Don worked for Hobart Cupps in his junk car business until he went back to Ironton. In 1966, Don moved to Paulding, Ohio, and worked at Johns Manville until he was forced to retire on a disability many years ago.

Don leaves his wife Janet Sitton Thompson of Cecil, Ohio, and five children that are married and live and work in Northwest Ohio.

My sister Geneva Adams died Oct. 17 at Letcher Manor Nursing Home after having cancer for two years. Geneva was born on Blair Branch in the Henry Adams homeplace on Dec. 26, 1941, to Arthur and Helmer Thompson Adams. She lived on Blair Branch all her life except her last six years, which she spent in Letcher Manor.

Geneva was the widow of Norman Eugene Adams. She leaves three sons, Dennis Gene, Darold Keith and Douglas Arthur Adams, five granddaughters, four greatgrandchildren. She has five living sisters and six brothers. Her parents, a sister, a brother, and a grandchild have died.

Funeral services were held at the Old Regular Baptist Church and burial was in the Fred Adams Cemetery.

Geneva and I were less than a year apart in age so we grew up as close friends as well as brother and sister. As children we went everywhere together. like to Grandma Thompson’s home, Grandma Adams’s home and Aunt Frances’s home. We walked to and from school together many years. Later as teenagers we went to Begie Breeding’s Rainbow Thearter to the movies. On Sundays we would walk to Isom and back just to see the people at the stock sale.

Our mother was a hardworking woman. In the summer she cooked breakfast for everyone then got everyone ready to go to the fields to work. Everyone that was big enough to keep a hoe in front of them and between two rows had to hoe with her. Geneva, along with two great snake dogs, had to watch the small children that our mother placed on a quilt at the edge of the field and she did a great job.

When I left home my sister Geneva was young and beautiful and full of life at 19 years of age. She worked at housecleaning in Whitesburg along with Minnie Adams, Lizzie Blair Campbell, Esteva Blair and Una Blair Stickel. They all rode to work with Steve Adams and Clyde Adams, who were truck drivers that drove trucks from Whitesburg. Geneva from time to time would have parties for her girlfriends at the weekends.

As a young girl Geneva wrote poems and some were about baby Jesus, her Savior. Geneva had a nervous breakdown many years ago and was very sick many times through her life. I strongly believe those early doctors may have done more damage than good to her. We will miss Geneva so very much, but we will always have the beautiful memories of her and we will always love her.

My father Arthur Adams’s nephew James Truman Blair died Nov. 29 after being diagnosed with cancer on Nov. 24. Truman was born in the very head of Still House Branch on Arthur Loop off Blair Branch Road on Sept. 20, 1945. Truman died at his home on his mountain where he lived all his life except a short time that he lived in Somerset. Funeral services were held at the Old Regular Baptist Church and burial was in the Henry Adams and Johnny Blair Cemetery.

Truman loved to hunt squirrels both in Kentucky and in Ohio with his family. He loved going to the memorial services at the William Adams Cemetery each year. He always enjoyed attending the Blair Branch School reunion that’s held each year. Each year he loved to attend the Adams, Thompson and Blair Reunion so he could talk to everyone and play in the washer tournament.

He always attended Lovell Blair’s memorial service and played in the washer tournament held there. Lovell was probably Truman’s best friend. Truman rode back and forth to Paulding, Ohio, many times with Judy and me to visit with his family that lives there. He was a little man with a few words and had no problem making friends that all loved him. He is greatly missed!

Evolena Back Adams died Dec. 17 at Letcher Manor Nursing Home. Evolena was born on Aug. 21, 1934, at Perkins Branch to the late Green and Celia Blair Back. Evolena and Robert lived on Blair Branch all their married life. Evolena leaves her husband Robert E. Adams and a son, Kirk Adams. Funeral services were held at the Letcher Funeral Home chapel and the burial was at the Adams Cemetery on Blair Branch.

Evolena loved everyone that she met and they loved her and she loved coming and helping out at the reunion. Evolena once asked me to write a friend of hers that was near death about salvation. Evolena was concerned that she may die not knowing the Lord as her Savior. I wrote her friend a letter explaining what she had to do to be saved and I also wrote a prayer for help to guide her to pray for salvation. Evolena nor I ever heard what the friend did about her salvation.

We all loved Evolena very much. Evolena’s husband Robert is related to my father Arthur Adams, who is a first cousin to Robert’s mother.

My sister Geneva Adams’s son Darold Keith Adams died Dec. 20, at his brother Doug’s home on Blair Branch with a heart attack. Darold was born June 30, 1964, and lived on Blair Branch most of his life. Darold’s mother Geneva Adams died two months earlier. He leaves two brothers, Dennis Gene and Douglas Arthur, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held at the Old Regular Baptist Church and burial was in the Fred Adams Cemetery.

Darold was liked by everyone very much. He always stayed close to home and never bothered anyone. Ellis Adams told me he saw Darold drive out and back into the hollow once a day. Martha Sue Blair said about Darold, “He was my buddy. I would check on him each day by looking to see if his lights were on or if I could see him outside.” I’m sure that he would have been proud had he known that.

We appreciate those words from Martha Sue about our loved one. I will never forget them, it meant a lot to me to hear that. We will never forget him and we will always love him. Darold was a man of few words but he would walk out by the road and if you would stop he would talk with you. We will miss him.

Mack Blair, a distant cousin died Jan. 8 at his home on Tooters Branch off Blair Branch Road after his home caught fire and was destroyed. Mack was the son of the late Fred and Callie Blair. Mack leaves his wife, Sandra Lyn Murphy Blair; three sons, three daughters and two brothers; and five grandchildren. Funeral services were held at the Old Regular Baptist Church and burial was in the Fred Blair Cemetery.

I hadn’t seen Mack since I left home in 1961 until last year at a reunion at the Blair Branch Church and I didn’t recognize him. Mack lived in Ohio for years then moved back to Kentucky some time ago and became self-employed painting cars. When we were young boys, Mack Blair, Allen Whitaker, Lyle Blair, myself and others that I can’t remember would work our family horses or mules every day through the week then on Sunday we would ride them all over. We loved to run them as soon as we got away from our fathers. We would run the horses because that was more fun. Our generation was the last one on Blair Branch that every family had a cow and a horse and they were a must.

Mack’s family, friends and neighbors will miss him. We love him and will remember all the good memories of Mack.

My father Arthur Adams’s nephew Hobart Blair died Jan. 16 after he suffered a heart attack. Hobart was born June 12, 1937, on Blair Branch and lived there all his life. Hobart leaves his wife, Kathy, two brothers and three sisters. Three brothers and three sisters have died along with his parents. Funeral services were held at the Old Regular Baptist Church and burial was in the Dewey Blair Cemetery. Hobart was a quiet man and didn’t say much when we were growing up on Blair Branch. His wife Kathy and his family and all of us will miss him.

I left Blair Branch in 1961 and went to Ohio looking for work. I met and married Judy Commers from Paulding, Ohio, and we raised a family of three children. Around the same time many other people from eastern Kentucky felt they had to migrate north for work so they left and never returned to Kentucky to live there. After all these years I still miss my family and friends in and around Jeremiah and Blair Branch where I was born and raised. My wife and I have attended a lot of the funerals over the years back in this area, but some are impossible to attend because of sickness or other personal obligations. We have so many memories of these seven people that have slipped away into eternity.

Leave a Reply