Arrington-Thomas Family

Middle Row Left to Right: Sarah Jenkins (Henry’s mother), Henry Wise,
his new wife Alva and baby daughter Arizona (Alva’s lap). The remaining
children (Front-Back Rows) are from Henry’s first marriage to Elizabeth.

Henry Wise Arrington (b: 2-9-1860, d: 4-18-1949) and Alva Mae Thomas (b: 8-24-1881, d:7-24-1969) were married 3-8-1900 in Bland Co., VA, and had nine children: Susan “Zona”, Lizzie, Lila, Mary, Joe, Gracie, Henry Wise, Jr, Ellen, and Frances.

Wise was the son of Charles and Sarah E. (Jenkins) Arrington of Franklin Co., VA. He was born from his father’s second marriage. Wise was also married twice. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Craft on 12-1-1881, they lived around Rocky Mount, VA. They later moved to Mechanicsburg, VA, with their nine children on the north side of Big Walker Mountain at Arrington Knob. Elizabeth died there in 1889. Wise and Elizabeth’s children: Luther, Jim, Kate, Ora, Vic, Sallie, Henry, John, and Robert.

Alva was the daughter of Rice Graham and Susan Virginia (Woodyard) Thomas of Mechanicsburg in Bland Co., VA. Alva was one of a half dozen children (mostly boys). Wise met Alva through her relationship with his eldest son Luther. A year after Elizabeth’s death Wise and Alva married.

Wise and Alva moved to Duhring, WV, by wagon where Alva’s father had sold real estate. Wise’s mother Sarah moved with them to help with the children. During the long trip north the family camped along the Wilderness Road Trail. Many tales were told about the adventure across the mountains into West Virginia.

Wise settled his family in Owens Hollow. Around 1920 they moved into a house at Duhring built by Wise’s nephews around 1916-17. He leased the property prior to buying it on February 24, 1924, from Pocahontas Coal & Coke Company. It was a common practice for the coal companies to lease, or sell, property while retaining the mineral rights. So there was a possibility the property could be mined right out from under the house, so sometimes leasing was a smarter option than buying.

Henry Wise Arrington in front of Montcalm School

Wise farmed, delivered coal by wagon and was custodian at Montcalm Grade School. Each of his kids had certain rooms they helped to clean. In 1917, Wise and son Joe would leave at daylight with a team of horses and a wagon to bring back a load of bricks from Mataoka, that had arrived by train for the grade school’s construction. Each load took a full day to deliver. Time could be saved if the Bluestone River was frozen over and they could drive the load across.

Alva and son Joe, and a team of horses were terrified when they saw and heard the first noisy automobile in the area on a trip up Goodwill Hollow.

Wise and Alva lived in Duhring until their deaths. The old home place sat abandoned for years and quickly became uninhabitable. After Alva’s death the property was sold, the house torn down and another family started a life with a new house built in it’s place.