Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meet Valerie Goad

My grandmother, Tressie Goad Burnette, lived to be 97 and I loved nothing more than to listen to her tell stories about family members and ancestors.  Grandma kept me when I was younger while my parents were working. I also lived with her for quite a few years as an adult.  I was 36 years old when she died, so I had the pure joy of knowing her all of those years.  I would like to share some of the stories that she told me over the years.

Here is one about Sarah Ann Florence Valerie Nester Goad.  (My great, great grandmother)

Sarah Ann Florence Valerie Nester Goad

A baby girl named Valerie (pronounced "Va-LEER-ee") was born in April 1853 to Squire Nester & Sarah S. Mabry.  She was one of 10 children.     Her brothers and sisters were:  George, Elizabeth, Susanna, William F., Shadrach S., Emmett T., Louisa Catherine, Artminsa, and Venetta.   They lived in the Dugspur area of Carroll County, Virginia. 

When she grew up, she married Floyd Goad on January 28, 1869 in Carroll County.  Floyd and Valerie were second cousins.  They had 14 children:  Evelyn, L.E., Sarenate Elva, Morrison B., Marion Beth, Dinah Frances, Joseph A., Luisa C., Louisa Clementine, Stephen Columbus, James Willey, Martha Elizabeth "Lizzie", Covelia E., Dorzena "Zenie (Covy & Zenie were twins.)

Floyd was "A good, peaceful man that would do anything for you."  He mended and patched shoes and bottomed chairs.  He was a farmer, but did not particularly like it.  He preferred to do other things.  Tressie remembers him patching her shoes when she was young.  He had short, white hair (when he was older) and blue eyes.  He died in 1915 and was buried in the Goad Cemetery in Floyd County, Virginia.    

Valerie did much spinning and weaving. Tressie can remember that one of her chores when she visited was to turn the great wheel while Valerie manipulated the wool into yarn.  She also had to help card the wool to clean and straighten the fibers. (Tressie was always amazed that I loved to spin and work with wool because she thought that it was so stinky and disgusting!)  Floyd and Valerie also grew flax and processed it into linen.  Valerie had long dark hair and blue eyes.  She wore hankerchiefs on her head and smoked a long-stemmed, corncob pipe. Her favorite brand of tobacco was "Stud" brand.  The tobacco pack had a horse on the front.  She always told lots of "big tales" and "dirty jokes" and she never seemed like an old woman.

Valerie loved to stay out dancing all night at parties.  One night, she danced for hours and when she got tired she decided to sit down. One problem.  She was wearing hoops and when she sat down, she didn't notice that the chair had arms on it.  Her hoops hit the chair arms and her skirt flew up over her head!  Then she was stuck in the chair until one of her friends helped her get the hoops loose from the chair.

Tressie also tells a tale of her "dancing off a jig."  One day when Valerie was an old lady, she was getting ready to go visit kinfolks at Crooked Oak.  When she was leaving, Delpha Goad (Tressie's sister) said "you look good enough to dance!"  Valerie then hiked up her skirts and started dancing.  She was considered the best dancer in Carroll County!

Valerie died in 1937 and was buried in the Goad cemetery in Floyd County, Virginia. 

(Source:  Interview with Tressie Goad Burnette (granddaughter of Valerie), 1997.


  1. So interesting-love the photo! And you are so so lucky to have gotten to spend so much time with her-and been smart enough to listen to those stories!!

  2. I feel very blessed and fortunate that I knew both sets of my grandparents and three of my great grandmothers. My Grandpa & Grandma Burnette both loved to tell stories and, luckily, I did listen and remember the stories. I formally interviewed my grandma on several different topics while I was in Appalachian Studies in college, so I have those to refer to also. Family means so much and you really don't realize how much until they are all gone. Listen, remember, and share!

  3. Your story made me wistful...I wish I knew that much about my ancestors. My grandfather was 1/2 Native American or American Indian (I have heard that this is what they like to be called) and my aunt knew what tribe, but she passed away and I can't remember it. I have regreted not asking her before she passed, because no one else knows. One day I'll ask some genealogy genius like yourself to investigate...but I really wish that I had paid more attention.

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