A Pineville woman has been named a West Virginia History Hero.
Betsy Ross, treasurer of the Wyoming County Historical Museum, will be honored by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History on Feb. 21 in Charleston.
“I thought it was cute that Betsy Ross was a History Hero,” she quipped.
“I felt really honored,” Ross went on. “I know some of the people who have won it before here in the county and it’s an honor to be in their company.”
She mentioned the late Paul Ray Blankenship, Epp Cline, Jesse Womack and Jim Cook among the previous honorees from Wyoming County.
Ross has been interested in history since her high school years.
“Lee Goode taught history in the county, and I guess that was the first time I had a history teacher who wasn’t a coach,” she recalled. “She was very articulate and taught American History as a young teacher when I was in high school.”
She was also inspired by Dr. Louise McNeill Pease, who taught West Virginia history at Concord and was a West Virginia poet laureate.
“Her class was full of local history,” commented Ross. “Growing up, I don’t think I appreciated what R.D.Bailey did with being a judge during the trials related to the labor wars. You don’t realize how much history there is around here.”
Her father, Orville Ross, also sparked her excitement about the past.
“My dad was quite a history buff from the time he was at Mark Twain High School,” she said. “Dad had all kinds of stories from his mother.”
Her involvement with the musuem began when she was contacted by Blankenship and Womack.
She and Blankenship had been friends at Concord. “He was real involved in the West Virginia Centennial in 1963 and then the American Bicentennial (in 1976).
“He called me and told me what he and Jesse had gotten started and I went over to check it out, and the next thing you knew I was treasurer.”
It was the museum board which nominated her as a History Hero.
“I do some of the newsletters and support it when we are doing other activities,” remarked Ross. “I worked with the Board of Eduction on Education Day at the Civil War event (in Oceana) last year, and I understand Jim Cook wants me to do that again this year and get the guides for Education Day.”
History provides a perspective on events taking place currently, she believes.
“It helps you understand things happening in the world and that this isn’t the first time it has happened,” said Ross. “The economic conditions, the political things—if people knew their history, they would not be amazed by it. We think we’re seeing new things, but we’re not. It’s just that the technology is different.”