My Morning Reading

My morning reading from old Goldenseal magazines goes back to the Winter 1985 edition. The article, by Martha Lewis Manning, was about the 200th birthday celebration of the three West Virginia cities of Morgantown, Clarksburg and Parkersburg, all founded in 1785. I am always surprised to read such as this at the end of the article:

But as we look to the future it is time to reflect upon the whole picture, to focus on past errors and make an effort to see that they are not repeated. There was growth but there was blood and tears. Peculiar politics, poor working conditions in mines and factories, child labor in the glass plants, and lack of concern for the environment and the limits of underground resources are all part of our heritage. George Washington’s “highways of communication and commerce” were built, but too often they seemed to run only one way, taking our natural wealth out and bringing little in return.

My other morning reading is from The Annotated Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The notes are by Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. born and raised in Piedmont, West Virginia and Hollis Robbins. This note popped out: “…in 1848, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States acquired Texas, New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and parts of Colorado and Wyoming”

It appears that the Mexicans are taking back their country. I once read
that two-thirds of Mexico was in the United States.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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