Thanks to the kindness of Mabel Bolen,Vadine Monroe and JR Vied; we now have a more complete picture of one of the towns near Whitby. Certainly, folks can recall Jonben, Fireco and Battleship rather clearly, however Willabet has proven to be a bit more difficult. Any person who wants to contribute to the information on this town or page is more than welcome to do so. The picture of the one room school below was one of the prettiest pictures I have seen. To date, I had yet to find someone who had any pictures of Willabet.
Vadine was a student at the School in Willabet and provides this excellent recollection:
My teachers were Charles McKinney and Verlin Walker. I know Charles is
desceased, and I believe I heard that Verlin was also deceased.
if I am wrong.
What was Willabet like? Well, it had a tipple, and the company build a
house for us to live in not too far from the tipple and across the
railroad track from the school. There were a number of other houses
the curve from the school and I am not sure of the names of all the
who lived there when we did, but I will try. There was a family of
that lived about, I'd say, a mile down towards Fireco, but most of the
others lived "around the curve" towards Odd. There was: Osborne
Hooper family, Altice family for a brief while, and there was a Bolen
that lived on up from the tipple. I believe it was Owen Bolen and his
That is all I remember. I will ask my mother this week (she is still
at 103 and her long term memory is excellent).
My dad run/drove the "dinky", (the shay engine) that hauled the coal
the mine to the tipple. I don't know what else he did other than he
as an electrician. When we moved to Odd in March 1937, he walked to
work. I remember a high bridge, called a trussel, that ran over the road at
the curve between our house and the Logan house, and once a cow was on the
trussle and the dinky hit her and pushed her to the other side. As I
remember, she was not hurt too bad, got up and walked away. I will ask
Mom about this also. I don't know when the hamlet of Willabet was torn down, but I know dad
bought one or more of the old houses for the lumber that he used to
build the house that is still there. The old farm house that was on the farm
when my parents bought it burned in 1944, so I know Willabet must have
disappeared as a community sometime in the early '40s.
JR Vied also mailed in some excellent further information on Willabet:
There were two saw mills in Willabet Ed Roark owned one Crouse Lumber co the other one Leckie owned the Coal Co. I remember Tommy Roark lived across from that school..
Thanks to Bob and Patti Duncan for their help and support! Bob and I drove down Willabet Hollow. What we could find of Willabet in 2003 appears to be dated 1924 (date nail). We were not able to locate the foundation for the school. The nice thing about railroad ties is that they do last a while.