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A Cape Becomes a Coffin

Now, along about this time everywhere you would look there were posters and advertisements, every one just alike, "Go west, young man, go west." After Jim having talked it over with some of the older men in Pounding Mill, he decided this was the thing for him to do....

A Cape Becomes a Coffin

Now, along about this time everywhere you would look there were posters and advertisements, every one just alike, "Go west, young man, go west." After Jim having talked it over with some of the older men in Pounding Mill, he decided this was the thing for him to do.

Second Cousin Jim Pack left on the No. 5 train headed west on April 30, 1905, taking his ring with him and leaving Grandma and the rest of the families weeping. They all felt sure they were never see him again. They prayed for many years - Grandma prayed on 'til the very day she died, but they never heard from young Jim again, at least not that we know of. The woman writing this was his second cousin born the next day after Jim left. Her real name is Maudie Georgia Quesenberry, but it was changed later to Georgia Maude Quesenberry. She married a Scotch-Irishman named Robert Nathan Maxfield. At this writing she is still living.

Liza Pack lived to be in her 70's. She stayed in what we know as Baptist Valley. She had a room or two added to the house, and raised a garden and corn for her hogs and cow. She also had a giant dog. He was a bloodhound, though we don't know how she came by it. Duke is what she called it.

Now, it was known that a wealthy farmer in the upper end of the valley tried to buy an acre of her land. They made the deal and he planted his corn on it, but he never paid her for it. When the corn got ripe, she politely took a sack and shocked it full of corn. Now, somebody told the gentleman, and he came running. He said she'd better not use his corn, and she told him that while that was the truth, he had never paid her for the land. He looked at her and departed, and that was the last of that.

Now in that valley there was a lot of young boys who passed her house a lot going fishing and other things. They would rock her house, break out her windows, tear down her gates, and a number of other things that weren't right. In time, Liza grew tired of this, and trained big Duke to really put them on the move. He'd bite them if he could, and tore their pockets off, and their sleeves, and Liza would just laugh. "Severs them right," she'd say. So Duke broke up the rocking.

Liza had plenty of clothes, but none like the beautiful blank velvet cape lined with red satin. What made it more interesting is, clothes back then were usually made from gingham, percale, linen, calico, and flannelette. That cape certainly was not the thing a poor person would wear. As time went along, old Duke grew old and died. It was in the winter and the ground was frozen, so Liza dug a long, deep grave in an old shed where it was sheltered. She wrapped Duke carefully in the velvet and satin cape and buried him. This was much to the disgrace and shame of the family. They raised a row that could be heard that could be heard all around. My daddy (George M. Quesenberry) solved the problem by saying to Uncle Jim (Quesenberry) and Uncle Isom (Quesenberry) that it was Liza's cape, and he guessed she could do with it whatever she wanted.

*Note: Georgia Maude Quesenberry Maxfield, an 80 year old Tazewell resident (deceased), has written these recollections of early Tazewell County life as told to her by her great-grandmother and her grandmother. Her Recollections appeared in the Tazewell Newspaper sometime in the early 1980's. Georgia was the daughter of George & Mary Frances Burress Quesenberry.


Owner/SourceClinch Valley News, Newspaper, Tazewell County, VA
Linked toElizabeth Louisa "Eliza" Pack

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