AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF EDGAR LEE VEST
PART 1 OF 3
ANCESTORS and DESCENDANTS Of
Edgar Lee Vest - Of Floyd County VA
Born on March 29, 1927 on Mattocks Mountain
in The Locust Grove District of Floyd County.
Using “Mattocks” for the proper way of spelling
is taken from one Survey for James and Wm.
McNeil 494 acres, 26th August 1851. This survey
make statement that this surveyed land connects
with my Ancestor “Littleberry Vest”.
I was the tenth and last child born to James Noah
Vest and Lottie Ellen Light who were married
February 22, 1899 in Floyd County VA.
There are a few things that happened in 1930 that
I can remember a few details pertaining to such events.
One was being in Town of Floyd with my parents,
when a motorcycle came by our 1929 Chevrolet 2dr
car and the motorcycle noise scared me very much.
Another was when we visited my brother-in-law
Ollie Hall and sister Calma living in Glenvar,
Roanoke County VA. (Have a copy of the family
group made that day).
We lived about a half mile from the nearest
neighbor, Jesse Jones, his wife Doris Collins
and three sons. Most all the mountain and
small “hollows” valleys were used to raise
food for the people, their domestic animals
and fowls. Some owned horses, while others
owned oxen. There were mules in Floyd County,
but to my knowledge, not on Mattocks Mountain.
Life was quite simple the way we lived. Not
always ample food supplies, but very good
spring water. As my dad said, our spring was
freestone water and that was the best kind.
The house we lived in was a weatherboard siding
(unpainted), but inside the walls were tongue
and grooved wood boards that were papered.
Paper used was newspapers or catalogs received
from Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward,
National Bella Hess or whatever for wallpaper.
Oh, maybe the kitchen was painted and the front
room or as more wealthy families, called it a parlor.
The floors were some of the finest oak that was
cut for timber. When moped, it was white looking.
Yes it did produce some mean splinters for feet
and finger nails After removing these splinters
with needles or maybe a pocket knife, the area
was saturated with turpentine or kerosene. It
usually did the job of killing the germs, even if it was painful.
Everyone had chores to do. Sometimes being
ill with a stomach ache, bad cold and etc.made
someone else take your jobs. In return it usually
got the sick person a good dose of castor oil,
mustered plaster or some available remedy.
The treatment could be as bad as the illness.
We had apple trees, Ben Davis, Early June,
Yankee Sweet, Smokehouse, Stark and etc.
Cherry trees, red sweet and sour, plus black
heart and a few neighbors had other types that
we didn’t have. Also wild strawberries, plums,
peaches, huckleberries, teaberries, black-berries,
raspberries, dewberries and the like.
There were black walnuts, white walnuts, hickory
nuts and etc. The sassafras tree bark and roots
for tea, wild cherry bark, spice wood and other
bark and roots from various plants were used
as medicine tonic or for flavoring.
Some leafs of plants was used for food or
medicine purpose for human and animals.
Most of the food was raised that we used for
humans and animals. Scraps from the table
was fed dogs, cats and helped feed the hogs.
Fat from cooking was saved to make lye soap
as my mother used wood ashes mixed with the
fat or sometimes we could afford Red Devil Lye
from the store to mix with the fat and boil the
mixture and then cool and cut it in blocks of soap
for washing clothing. White clothes were boiled to
make them white in the big cast iron pot that the
lye soap was made in. This pot was located near
the spring and we had a springhouse that the
spring water ran through a race that held back
water for sitting crocks of milk, butter and etc.
to keep cool in warm weather and from freezing
in real cold times.
Apples, potatoes, cabbage and etc. was buried
in straw underground to store through very cold
times. We took eggs, butter, chickens, corn,
wheat, oats, apples and etc. to barter at country
stores and mills. If products were sold the merchant
usually gave you a due bill “IOU” after buying
coffee, sugar and the likes. If there was several
bushels of grain taken to mill, then the flour or
corn meal was returned home for use and the miller
took a toll for his pay. There was very little money used.
My mother has a small spinning wheel and did
some spinning of yarn as we did have a few
sheep in my very young years. She sewed or
darned socks, made some of our clothing on a
treadle sewing machine, if it was working and
by hand using a needle. Also rag knitted rugs
was very useful and about the only way to get
rugs for the house.
We used wood for cookstove and heating. Cut
trees and used our horse named Mollie to drag
the logs to the woodpile. A two-man crosscut
saw and the ax was used to cut and split fire-
There were no mattresses, only straw tic or
feather tic and homemade quilts, sheets,
pillows and etc. were found. It was quite a
chore to fill the tic with new straw each year.
Wheat was preferred over, oats, buckwheat or
rye straw. After the threshing was done, most
of the straw was stacked around a pole like we
stacked the hay. Stacks of wheat, oats and
other grain was cut mostly by hand cradle and shocked.
Then also stacked until it was threshed.
When cutting grain, a watchful eye was kept on
the nests of quail, as my dad liked to hear them
call out their “Bob White” sound, more than
eating them. But in hunting grouse, that was a
different story, as he loved to hunt grouse and
if he ever went fishing and thought an eel was
taking his bait, he stayed as long as possible
trying to catch that eel.
There are so many things that seems worthy to
write and yet it would be about impossible to
put it all in writing. The chestnut trees had
been killed by a blight and the huge dead trees
made rails for fencing, lumber and firewood. Oh
the rich pine used for kindling was stumps from
the original yellow pine trees in this area. A ax
or hatchet was used to chop pieces from the
stump and just strike a match to it and it
burned as if it was oil. Fat from cattle and
sheep was used to make candles and as a
lubricant to use on leather shoes, harness and
When about seven years old I became ill with
spinal meningitis and was so ill I could not be
turned by being touched by anyone. Was turned
by them pulling my sheet. The doctor said if
there was no change, he was going to have
taken to a hospital. This was about impossible
as the rough ride would have killed me.
So I was looking out the front of the room sometime
later and saw a angle in white, standing next
to the corncrib. Later as I started to improve it
made me realize that being in the balance and
the Lord chose for me to live my allotted time.
Will follow-up more on what this has done in my
Life in the mountain was a way of understanding the
simple or more natural than being in more populated
places where others lived. Some will say that’s not
correct! But this is still the way I believe it was. On the
mountain there was the closeness of the sounds of
birds, animals and the voices of people even across the
hills and valleys of neighbors. The distant voice sounds
of parents and children may not have been audible to
being understood, they were being realized by your
mind of what was taking place. Some calls were
needing help to do chores around the house, to fetch
firewood, water to drink, find a younger member of the
family and etc. While some would be the gee or haw in
talking to a horse or oxen while plowing. Gee was to
the right and haw was to the left. The dog or dogs
would bark with the children playing or to scare away
any seen or unseen they thought should not be around
their place. Birds calling or singing, and around the
house and barnyard was the presence of chickens or
other fowls. There may have been more than one
rooster in the flock, but there had almost always been
one that showed he was ruler by fighting and
overcoming the others. The setting hens and their
hatched little chicks out feeding bugs, grasshoppers
and the like. If hawk, buzzard or any large object
was in the air near the fowls a sound went out from
roosters and some of the others to take cover.
This also applied if they sighted a snake crawling
or the like. They also watched for table scraps
or feed to be thrown to them. So even the creatures
had to utilize their time as did the
people. Even the crows had to keep a look-out
posted while the others searched for food. One
place the crow look-out could be found was on a
high dead tree standing on a hill and most of the
trees were blighted chestnuts. As dark approached
the chickens went to roost in the chicken house,
barn or tree. The birds to a safe barn loft or in
a thick pine or other covered leaf spot. People
tried to get the outside work done and the women
and children felt a bit unsafe outside in the dark.
The hoot owls, screech owls and the like could be
heard at night. Barking dogs made you wonder if
there was a huge bear approaching, most likely it
was a fox, neighbor’s dog or even wanting someone
to come out and talk to it. Cats were around most
every house. They usually had plenty of mice and
even rats if they would hunt or watch for them.
Feeding the pigs, cattle and other stock was at
least twice a day. Milking the cow or cows was
also twice a day. The milk had to be taken to the
spring house and the soured milk was saved until it
clabbered and then churned for butter and the buttermilk.
There was a financial world depression in the last 1920’s
and early 1930’s. My dad was not like many head of households.
He didn’t run to the welfare people for assistance.
He was of the belief that there were good times and there
lean times. He had maybe $300 in the Bank of Check
and of course the bank failed and he lost all the money.
The election of FDR and VP Garner was the beginning
of a very sad part of history from 1933 to the present.
The dollar was devalued and a so called Federal Reserve
System took the place of gold and silver. The tax and
spend of a political party in control for almost seventy
years has a debt of trillions of dollars with no end in sight.
But they disillusioned the people
and was in power at the same level as any dictator government
for several years and the depression was still on. Then to copy
other dictators in other parts of the world, they launched a large
military build-up. A project called the CCC or three C’s was put
together in the pretense of doing conservation type work.
In reality it was a military program. Sure they built some roads
and bridges. But this training was needed for military training
for the upcoming conflicts of war.
I can remember my mother cried and said both of her boys
would be in the war. Well she never lived to see this happen,
but my brother was drafted in the army and I enlisted at my
coming to age seventeen. My brother was in the CCC’s when
she died and was buried on my thirteenth birthday.
The Lord took care of both of us and we were overseas and
made it back home from WWII.
I was given the opportunity to contact some people to get involved
and interested in the true plan of salvation from the only true God.
Now I knew a little about religions. My parents went on a
few occasions each year to the Primitive Baptist gatherings and
I also went to a few Sunday Schools meetings at Methodist churches.
One of my sisters was a member of a Holiness Church group at
Piedmont, in Montgomery County VA. This was a group that had
bush arbor and a saw dust camp meeting place.
They were a very noisy happy singing, shouting and loud
preaching group. While the Baptist and Methodist seemed to be a
quieter and more routine in their singing and preaching. We are
compelled to worship in Spirit and Truth: See John 4:23-24, 14:17, 15:26, 16:13,
Ephesians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians. 2:13, 1John 4:6
But in later years as I found how most every church group that
contact was made with, just went back to the belief of a form of
baptism that was made the official Roman Catholic church religion
in about AD 325. The most of them call themselves as being
Protestant or not of the Catholic or Orthodox church.
Well as in earnest searching, the Lord revealed that his church
was established in the first chapters of the Book of Acts and
that the Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and etc. churches
had never been in His Church and never will be. The correct and
only mode of baptism is using immersing a person in water in The
Name of Jesus Christ as stated in Acts chapter
two and verse thirty-eight. So there is no other way the first
members of the New Testament Church baptized and there will
never be a change made in this world to this mode.
Now to consider the research of my Ancestors and Descendants.
The reason I feel some comfort in the time spent on this project is
because the Holy Bible gives us the Generations of the
Lord Jesus Christ in the first chapter of the book of Matthew.
So the gathering of my family line of information might help
to enlighten some of where we came from and help them set
their sights on where they are going.
One of the first books I got concerning my family tree came
from a cousin Saunders Vest. He was a son of Uncle Lem Vest
and published in 1968 and titled Floyd VEST Family. Saunders
is buried at Iddings Cemetery FCVA. Information he recorded
not only was our Grandfather Floyd Vest, but went back into
history to about 900’s AD. Some information covered where
Ancestors were located as Surnames began to be used and
also a copy of Coat of Arms was listed for our Vest family tree.
According to the provided information, they “Ancestors” were
Descendants of the Burgundians, a former Teutonic tribe and
in later years were settled in Basel Switzerland and were
considered German Descendants.
After noting my accumulated history of the “VEST’S”, it is
apparent that we became aligned with the Romans in early
years and to the present day the effects are still obvious.
Most of the Vest generations in the United States of America
are of the so called Protestant faith or some are still members
of the Roman Catholic church.
This is a sad undesirable choice compared to my belief in the
right or true religion for salvation of our souls.
The KJV “King James Version of the WORD of GOD or Bible
is what I consider the scriptures to be infallible to study and live by.
While the Protestant and Catholic teach there are three persons
that make up GOD, I only find “ONE” and many manifestations
in appearing at different times and places. Many are confused
about the verse of Matthew 28:19. This verse is speaking about
titles compared to the real name of GOD that Peter spoke about
in verse Acts 2:38. There is nothing hid except to the lost. This is
what Paul is saying in 2Corithians 4:3.
I dare not boast, but give praise and thanks to Jesus Christ and by
his name only, that there was a opening of understanding to the
TRUTH. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be
free indeed, John 8:36 states this. So others that seek another
to set them free are not able to be saved.
The title Son has to be Jesus Christ and if we then go and trace
the title Father it leads us to Jesus Christ as does the Holy Ghost.
I can only wonder what people think the Messiah, Saviour, Redeemer,
and other Titles used to describe who and how the final plan to save the
human race would be. Certainly it would not be by a compromise with
Satan or the Devil to be able to continue sinning and live the detested
life lost in Eden by Eve and Adam that caused them to be driven out
No any common sense helps us to realize that GOD manifested in the
flesh and lived here about thirty-three years in perfection was distinct
proof for us. People just can’t ignore the fact that this was a example
to Christian living and is a must for assurance of soul saving. There is
also a simple fact that unbelief will cut you off from GOD as well as
believing in his commandants will save your soul. As James 1:23 says
we must be a doer and not only a hearer.
Signed: Edgar Lee Vest
PART 2 OF 3ANCESTORS and DESCANDANTS OfEdgar Lee Vest - Of Floyd County VA
Part - 2
The first part was about my surname Vest and will continue with the paternal side going back to my grandmother Mary Jane Angle.
Mary Jane Angle born October 26, 1854 and was born in FCVA. The 1850 Floyd County, Virginia Census - Western District No. 15 - July 25, 1850 #311 -#311
Samuel Angle 23 Farmer Pittsylvania
Elizabeth 22 Floyd
Since no children was listed, there is another record showing they were married December 21, 1847 in FCVA.
The 1860 Census on June 16, 1860, Page 33 - #234 - #217 showed four children and Mary J. was listed as the second and was 5.
The 1870 Census - October 4, 1870, Page 50 - #391 - # 374 showed Samuel not listed and Elizabeth was 44 and is assumed she is head-of-household. There were seven children listed and Mary J. was listed as the fourth listed as compared to 1860. In 1860 Jacob R. was 9 and in 1870 Jacob Riley was 19. There was listed after Jacob a Elizabeth and was 25 and then a Lydia M. and she was 14, then Mary J. was listed as 15, John H. as 10, Virginia K. as 8 and last Sara E. was 5. “Note” the 1860 showed Lydy M. as being 3. As compared to 1870, it seems a small difference between the age of Mary J. and her sister Lydy or Lydia.
The 1890 Census showing John H. Angle household as he was 30 and wife Octavia was 32 and the had three children and also listed was Elizabeth and she was 64. The 1900 Census did not show Elizabeth in John’s household.
Maybe more details will help clarify parts of the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1890 and 1900 Census Reports.
Mary Jane Angle married Floyd Vest b. April 14, 1853, d. October 28, 1937.
Mary Jane d. April 23, 1939 and both Floyd and Mary Jane are buried at the Iddings Cemetery at Terry’s Fork FCVA.
To return to the time period of 1860 and 1870 where we find Samuel Angle in the 1860 Census and not listed in the 1870 Census. Now this Samuel Angle was one of my parental paternal great-grandfathers, being my paternal grandmother’s parent. So in searching records it seemed that Samuel Angle was the ending as a search for his parents produced no Angle connection. Why? There had to be a reason for this abrupt ending to our ancestry of the Angle Family Tree!
So the answer was found by another researcher
that I found had done the task of placing together
the missing links that seemed to stop at Samuel Angle. I was like so many relatives, friends and acquaintances in our family thought we were from the same Angles of Franklin County VA and/or other
counties that so many Angle families were found.
Since this research was made by someone else I will
try to be as brief as possible to let them have the credit of all this information. Certainly they, not I deserve this.
Well we see in the 1870 Census that Samuel Angle’s
wife Elizabeth had assumed the head-of-household status. So in history we know the Civil War had taken
place and many men had been involved by taking part. Some FCVA men were fighting with the South and some were with the North.
As it turns out my great-grandfather Samuel Angle was in “I” Company of 54th Virginia Regiment Infantry
as he enlisted in Lynchburg VA. Seems he was 41 years old, five feet and six inches tall, light complexion, blue eyes, light hair unruly and listed his occupation as farmer and stated he was born in Pittsylvania county VA. Enlisted as a private on March 14th 1862 to serve 3 years. Was issued a discharge February 11th 1862 at Dalton GA because of death. He died at Gilmore Hospital Marietta GA of disease November 4th 1863. He is buried in Confederate Cemetery in Cobb County GA an plot ID 16685 under name ANGLE, Sam.
This seems to account where Samuel Angle lived his last months and where he died and is buried.
However I have read in another book where Samuel and Elizabeth Walters Angle are buried in a cemetery
on their old home place that was owned by Herman Walters in 1994. Since the book states there are no stone markers is allows the doubt that Samuel is buried there. But this is speculation only by me. For there may be many family and other people also buried on this location.
To set the links from my side of the Vest and Angle back into history take us to Pittsylvania Court Records, Court Order Book 33 Page 186 19Sept1836.
This states that: “ It is ord: that the overseers of the poor do bind, Samuel Anglin son of Dan’l Anglin, to James Bozwell acdg to law.”
(Note: It is believed that Daniel and Edey Abbott Anglin was so poor and had so many children that the court binded Samuel to James Bozwell to help in the upkeep of the Daniel Anglin family.)
As the 1850 FCVA Census lists Samuel Angle age 23, and James Boswell age 53 with son Bird Boswell age 20, who was born in Pittsylvania County VA.
Now Samuel Angle married Elizabeth Walters December 21, 1848 and Elizabeth’s sister, Christien Walters married Byrd Boswell a son of James Boswell.
If Samuel is not indeed really Samuel Anglin who was bound out to James Boswell in Pittsylvania County in 1836, then how could their lives become so intertwined?
I also noted in a document where my grandmother Mary Jane’s sister married a Eli Lovern 19 and she listed her name as Lydia Anglin age 15.
So it appears my great-grandfather Samuel Anglin changed his surname from Anglin to Angle about time he came to FCVA. Also note that the Bozwells spelling was changed to Boswell about this same time.
Then we find Daniel Anglin b. 1787 - 1793? Pittsylvania County VA and married Edey Abbott April 22, 1813 and Edey was also born in Pittsylvania County VA date unknown.
Daniel was a son of John Anglin born July 30, 1734 where unknown? Died 1796 and wife Elizabeth UMN
John was a son of Adrian/Adrion Anglin born 1693 in France and Immigrated bef. 1723 to VA and died April 25, 1777 in Buckingham County VA and wife was Elizabeth W.
PART 3 OF 3
ANCESTORS and DESCANDANTS Of
Edgar Lee Vest - Of Floyd County VA
Part - 2 - 2
The second part was about my paternal grandmother
Mary Jane Angle back to great-grandfather Samuel Angle/Anglin, great-great-grandfather Daniel Anglin, great-great-great-grandfather John Anglin and great- great-great-great-grandfather Adrin/Adrion Anglin that was born in 1693.
Part - 2 - 2 takes up with great-grandmother Elizabeth “Betsy” Walters was born in Montgomery County VA abt 1828 and is believed to be the second child born to
my great-great-grandfather Jacob S. Walters born abt 1804 in MCVA and died abt 1886 in FCVA and great-great-grandmother Hannah Iddings born 1805 in FCVA
and died of Dropsy, on November 10, 1858, 56 yrs 9mos old.
Jacob S. Walters second marriage January 20, 1859 to Elizabeth Aliff born bet. 1802-1805 in FCVA and died November 10, 1858. Jacob S. Walters was son of great- great-great-grandfather William C. Walter and great-great-great-grandmother Mary Martin. William C. Walter is believed to be son of great-great-great-great-grandfather Rev. Martin Walter born 1776 Shenandoah County VA and died 1834 and married 1796 great-great-great-great-grandmother Christina Clem/Kelmm born 1775.
Christina Clem/Klemm was daughter of great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Teter Klemm.
Christina was living in FCVA 1860 Census with Moses Blackwell Family, Christina’s daughter Rebecca married Moses Blackwell, Jr.