So going into this project, my partner and I developed a plan of what we both wanted to initially research. The focuses we decided upon will probably change in the future as we progress farther, and get more documents, but for now they are a jumping off point.
My side of the research is two fold– I will be looking into the local organizations that developed or expanded during the Great War and the local soldiers who served. For the local organizations, I want to look into how many members they had, what kinds of activities they sponsored, how prominent they were in the local media, and whither they had any formal documents backing their activities. The organizations are to include the Red Cross, the Boy Scots and the local churches. For the soldiers, I want to see who was called up by the draft, who volunteered, who earned medals and honors, and who died.
My research partner, Dakota will be looking into the economy and agriculture of our county and the towns within it during the war. Specifically how the towns operated on a boom and bust economic cycle that lifted and lowered the standard of living and population for short periods of time. He wants to see how that cycle and the dependence on coal worked during World War One and its aftermath.
To fulfill my part, I went to the Wise Public library and the UVA-Wise library. I also set up meetings with prominent people and businesses within the coming week.
The Wise public library was helpful in some ways and lacking in others. When I went to visit there on Wednesday, I was able to pick up three books.
Looking Back: Wise County In the Early Years
The Heritage of Wise County and The City of Norton 1856-1993 Volume One
The Heritage of Wise County and The City of Norton 1856-1993 Volume Two
The first book had pictures in it. Ones that I hope to make use if they are found to be relevant. The other two had some articles that could be of help. Most of the articles had a subscript telling where the Wise Historical Society copied them from. So the books were helpful.
However, when I visited the archives this weekend, I was sadly disappointed. The archives in the Public Library were a flop. The documents and magazines that I found were either not in the years needed or not based in my local community. The newspapers on microfilm were also not helpful as they only dated back to 1923.
Feeling a little bit sad, but hopeful I moved on to the UVA-Wise library. As it was now Sunday, I had the place to myself and the peace and quiet to spend hours searching through microfilm.
Those hours paid off as I was able to find a newspaper called the Big Stone Gap Post. A newspaper that had various detailed segments about organizations such as the Red Cross and The Boy Scots of Big Stone Gap.
Wise, called Gladeville at the time was also mentioned several times, as my town joined the Red Cross and helped other towns of Wise County in their efforts to help the troops.
Besides organizations, I was able to find multiple lists of soldiers that signed up during the draft and what town they originated from.
So I plan to call my initial researching into my research agenda a success.
I have a long way to go, but at least I have a start.
Multiple Newspaper Articles. (From UVA-Wise Library microfilm).
Mount Empire and the Wise Historical Society artifacts located there.
UVA-Wise special collections
Napoleon Hill Foundation
Dickenson Historical Society
Big Stone Gap Public Library