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The life and times of Elihu Levi Pigg including his memories of McComas, WV - written by him and
supplied to this website by his great great niece
Beverly Underwood of Princeton, WV
May 25, 2002
Note from Pat Smith - after reading this story I'm curious where Elihu's store house was located at McComas. Does anyone know?
Elihu was the son of Thomas William Pigg and Susan (Yates) Pigg. He had the following brothers and sisters:
  • Robert Lee Pigg
  • Luther Pigg
  • Melvin Pigg
  • Floria Pigg
  • Liddia Pigg
  • Rosie Pigg
Elihu Pigg moved from Virginia to McComas, West Virginia in January 1904.
Elihu Levi Pigg was born February 9, 1878 in Bateman, Virginia Patrick County under the Blue Ridge Mountains on the headwaters of Little Dan River. The poorest farm I most ever saw. I was raised by very poor parents and they could hardly live at all.
A few months after I was born, my father lost his mind. My mother left with six small children to raise and did not have any help. My father turned real bad (in) that he tried to to kill my mother. Finally he was sent to the Insane Hospital and stayed two years. When he came back he was worse than when he was, so at the age of two years old we moved to Floyd County, Virginia. My mother's people lived there in 1881.
This was the year that was known as the driest in the history of Virginia. After that was hardships. We moved back to Patrick County Virginia. We went back to the old home. I can't recall what happened in the few years after our journey.
The time had come when I had to go and work, for my parents were very poor. With their consent in 1895, I went to Atlas, where my Uncle Bill Pigg was staying; which was about 18 miles from Danville, Virginia. In 1896 I stayed and worked on the farm with my brother-in-law, J. Fletcher Mills, which was five miles from my home. The next year, 1897, I went to the Pocahontas Coal Field; to work on a farm, but things did not work out. I went back home again. In 1898, I went and tried again with my brother-in-law, but things (still) did not work out. In 1899 I worked and made a crop on the farm with Mr. Mills, which was just a short distance from home. Again things did not turn out to my advantage.
The following year I felt my fortune was going to happen so I decided to travel West. I did not go alone, for seven adults and several children came along. We got on the train at Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, and would be arriving (at) Rocky Ford, Colorado. This was the year 1900.
June of 1903 I left Colorado for my native home.
In January of 1904, I started for the coal fields. I went to McComas, West Virginia. On January 18, 1904, I got a job working on building coke ovens. The weather was treacherous and rough, so I had to quit. In a few days I got another job working on a rock dam, but then the cold took that job away. Again I was out of work. In a few days I got a job in the mines loading coal, so therefore I was pleased with myself. I was sure of keeping this job, for the weather didn't bother me because I worked inside.
I had trouble getting the coal down, but I didn't have any trouble loading it after I got it down. Everything was going good until March of 1906. In this period I received a message from home. It contained news of my sister Rosie. It said that if I wished to see my sister I must be home at once because my sister was dying. I got on the next train that left for home. I had found my sister very sick. She had begun to lose her mind. We did everything we could for her but eventually she had to be taken to the hospital in Marion, VA. Later at my station at the mines when I received a message that my father was not expected to live. When I got home, my father was very sick and he died on April 6, 1906. Three days later my sister died.
On the date of April 24, 1906, I went back to the coalfields. On December 23, 1906 I was married to Miss Lena Gillenwater, in North Tazewell. We bought a little home in McComas. We remained there until my wife passed away.
In 1912, I hurt my hip in the coal mines and was laid up for awhile. I became ill with rheumatism as a result of the accident. When I got a little better, D. H. Conner and I bought out a stock of goods from W.M. Smith near Giatto. I moved there in the fall of 1913 and stayed until January 1, 1915.
I knew that our business was heading for a downfall. We decided the best thing to do was to dissolve our partnership. I then decided to move to Matoaka. I sold my goods and groceries for a few months before moving back to McComas. After moving back to McComas I still sold groceries and other merchandise.
The following year I built a small store house and everything went along well. We had twin boys that got along very well until the babies were about five months old. One of the twins took spinal meningitis and he didn't live but a short time. Everything went very well until November 9, 1919, my wife died. My home was really torn up as my wife had given birth to nine children; two dead, seven living that were all very small. The oldest only being ten years old.
On December 1, 1920 I married Miss Jennie East.

Elihu Pigg