Evenwood history sleuths find village's missing link in the US
LOCAL history sleuths are to host an exhibition celebrating a recently discovered link between their village and a former lumber town in West Virginia, US.
Members of Evenwood History Society began looking into the history of their American namesake after stumbling across its existence. They found a direct link between Evenwood in West Virgina and Evenwood in County Durham.
West Virginia’s Evenwood was once a thriving logging town but now only a handful of properties remain in the area. The business ran from 1904 to 1922.
Brian Carter, a member of the history society, said: “We have found that two brothers, Thomas and John Raine, who founded a lumber company in West Virginia built the town and named it after their mother’s birthplace – Evenwood, in County Durham. We were really surprised to find this out.”
Their parents, Joseph and Ruth Raine (nee Willan) emigrated to Ohio, in the US, in 1849.
Mr Carter said: “Using our research we are putting on an exhibition of our findings about the Raines and the founding of Evenwood, West Virgina.
“To complement this we have also, with the help of the family, assembled an exhibition about the Firby family who are long-term residents of Evenwood and Ramshaw. This was brought about by us being given a copy of an autobiography written by Stan Firby about his childhood and early working life.
“The third part of our exhibition is of photographs, documents and memorabilia relating to trips and excursions from the villages over the years which we hope will bring back happy memories and cause a few smiles.”
America’s Evenwood lies in Randolph County, which was founded in 1787 and now has a population of about 30,000 people.
There was once a Randolph Colliery in Evenwood and the village hall and sports field were named after it.
Mr Carter described this link as“pure coincidence”.
The Raine brothers went on to found another town in West Virgina as well as another lumber company which is still in operation.
The exhibition in Evenwood Parish Hall will run on Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, from 11am to 3pm, and Sunday, June 17, between 2pm and 4pm.
Entry is free but donations to help the history society continue its work will be gratefully received. Refreshments will be available.