Looky Looky, What a find!

It has been 34 years since Volume II of the Wilkes Heritage Book was published.

Some of the WGS board members and I were in the Genealogy Room the other day, shipping out the Wilkes Heritage Volume I and Volume II Sets of books. On a side note, we thank all of you who have purchased this set of books. It cleared out our vault and puts history in the hands of those connected to Wilkes County. You all got a heck of a deal and this greatly helps us to continue our mission to preserve Wilkes History. It costs money to keep the society going. We have been fortunate to have such a strong, caring, membership and help from our county commissioners to keep us afloat.

We took a break from shipping out the Wilkes Heritage sets as we were beginning to get hungry. These books are heavy, and it was quite a workout. WGS El Presidente, Roger Wingler, saw that we were getting weak and treated us to pizza. I may be embellishing this story a bit, but I’m older now, and this is the gist of what my synapses are firing off as I type. Basically, this is my story, and I’m sticking to it.

As we were eating our pizza, we began entertaining the idea of producing a Wilkes Heritage Volume III. Thinking about how many influential people and families that are from Wilkes County, it makes my head spin. The world and Wilkes County demographics have changed since our last Heritage Volume was released in 1990. It would be great if we, the Wilkes County community, could put together a Wilkes Heritage Volume III which would pay homage to our newer generations. We have nothing set in stone and are just kicking around a few ideas over some pizza and soda. Carbs tend to do that. We have a few more pizzas to eat before we make any kind of real decision.

I am not from Wilkes County, but it has always intrigued me when I travel the world and find that some people outside the United States know of Wilkes County. Some think it is only three hours away from New York City. I have no intention of describing the size of the US to Europeans. I remember a Canadian I met got all giddy and treated me like a celebrity because I reside in Wilkes. This Canadian knew more of the history of Wilkes racing and NASCAR than I did.

Other folks I’ve run into know of Wilkes County due to more recent history such as the stories of Tom Dooley, Lowes, they bought windows from Window World, moonshiners, Carolina Mirror, MerleFest, Doc Watson, Holly Farms, and on and on. I always tell people that Wilkes County has more cultural history and diversity packed into it than some of the larger cities I’ve visited. I’m proud to say that Wilkes County residents are well-known for their hard work, humility, and pride. Despite living in rural areas, you all manage to make ends meet and maintain a strong sense of community. I am convinced that there is a vast amount of newer family history that could easily be included in a new Wilkes Heritage Book.

During our pizza roundtable discussion, there was an old used Volume I Heritage Book sitting on the table. It was one that someone brought in and donated to us so we could find a new home for it. Christy Harrold Dancy was thumbing through it and found within its pages the original call to action from some of our originators asking for stories to publish in the first Wilkes Heritage Volume I book. This is pure gold. Was this a sign? I’m not much into the idea of ‘haints’ or superstations, but I must say the timing was impeccable in relation to what we were discussing. The pages have been scanned and included at the end of this blog.

Christy was mulling over the idea of having a genealogy swap meet. This is a brilliant idea. Now that Millennials are having children and beginning their own families, we are beginning to see a newer, younger generation(s) of folks becoming interested in genealogy and wanting to preserve their family history for their children. We would bring in photo/document scanners and offer to digitize old photos and family documents for those who have not already done so. It is our goal to get younger people addicted, um, I mean interested, in the world of genealogy. That’s how the current WGS roll.

More to come…