September 2007

Grandpa's Life in West Virginia

Yvonne Haines

Yvonne talks about her grandfather, Felix Zinn, and her great-grandfather, Granville Preston Zinn

I am not a Spiker, but I am a ZINN. My great grandfather was Granville Preston Zinn and my grandpa was Felix Brigham Wood Zinn. Felix was born July 5, 1878 in Ritchie County, West Virginia When he was 29, he married Cora Alice Husk, who was born February 28, 1882, in Doddridge Co., West Virginia. They had six sons and one daughter, losing one of the sons at birth. All of the children were raised in Ritchie County. When the daughter, Peg was 25, she married T. K. Richter, of Indiana. That was in November of 1932. On January 1 of 1933, they moved to Hammond, Indiana, where T. K. worked at a service station he owned.

Life was hard for Felix, Cora, and the boys, back in West Virginia. Grandpa earned a living working in the oil fields and grandma took in boarders and others laundry to supplement their income.

In early 1939. T. K. went back to West Virginia to get grandpa and bring him to Indiana to see the farm T. K. wanted to buy. It had 165 acres, a two-story house, a large barn and was located in Plymouth, Indiana. Grandpa liked it, so in March or April of 1939, the entire family moved North to Marshall County, Indiana.

In the Fall of 1940, T. K. had the house wired for electricity. On February 3, 1941. a fire started in the walls of the second floor. Being daylight, they were able to get some of their belongings out of the house, but it was a total loss. The family lived with neighbors until two rooms could be added to the two-room well-house. Felix, Cora, Ted, Rex, and Bob lived there until the new house was completed in November. It was a ranch house with two large bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, back porch, and full basement.

I was told by my Mom that Felix had wanted to make enough money in Indiana to go back to West Virginia and buy a farm and live there again. Grandma Cora didn’t miss the hard work and life she had in West Virginia and didn’t want to go back. As it turned out, they went back, but only to visit their families. They and all but two sons and their wives are buried at New Oak Hill Cemetery in Plymouth. Glenn is buried at Oxford Baptist Cemetery, Doddridge County and Rex is in a Florida cemetery.

Their life in West Virginia was never forgotten and grandpa made sure to tell the stories of the hills of West Virginia and his love for it.