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During the early 1930's, my father, Roy L. Cook was the Chief of Police of the Town of Matoaka.  This town had the distinct honor of being the only town through which both the Norfolk & Western and the Virginian Railroads had tracks through and both had their own depot.  At one point in the Hog Cholera Addition, so named, part of the town, the Norfolk & Western tracks went under the Virginian tracks and the Virginian ran over these tracks on a trestle.  Both railroads were there mainly to move the huge volume of bituminous coal being mined in the area.

Now to have coal to move, you had to have miners, whose work was hard and dangerous.  On pay day Saturday, they would come to town to get a haircut, grocery shop and have a few drinks, depending on their temperament.  There were times when they got a little out of hand and had to be reined in or even jailed until they sobered up.

On one occasion, this huge African American caused some kind of trouble and when father attempted to catch him, he took off running with dad in hot pursuit.   Dad was getting a little tired out and thought he might not catch the man so he fired a warning shot in the air.  (Dad carried a .45 automatic).  He said he finally got up the strength to catch up with him and he was still running.  He brought the barrel down on the top of the man's head and the gun went off, not hitting anyone. The man was taken into custody.

Now there is not always a sad ending to such a tale because after that, the man never caused any more trouble, changed his ways and became preacher and a religious leader in the community.

P.S. Those train whistles in that enclosed valley scared the dickens out of my children when we visited our parents when on leave and they blew at 2:00 A. M.

Musings of Henry T. Cook, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.)