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 Verna Veatrice <I>Vest</I> Bennett

Verna Veatrice Vest Bennett

Terry, Raleigh County, West Virginia, USA
Death 27 Jan 1980 (aged 71)
Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, USA
Burial Abraham, Raleigh County, West Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 21382764 · View Source
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Verna Veatrice Vest was born on 06 Jul 1908 in Terry, Raleigh County, W.Va. She was the oldest daughter of Leonard Haliburton Vest and wife Emma Stella Gadd.

Verna had seven siblings: two half-brothers, Dewey Abshire Anderson Via, son of Stella and first husband James Anderson Elmer Via, and Claude (Claudie) Raymond Vest, son of Leonard and first wife Clara Alice Plumley; and five sisters, Golda Mae, Sylvia Gladys, Nina Arabelle, Josephine and Ola Pearl Vest.

Her parents built a home on Vest property on White Oak Mountain in Raleigh County near the Summers County line. Since Hinton Road could be especially bad in winter, Verna and her sister Golda boarded away from home with the William and Opal Gross family so they could attend Shady Spring High School. Verna, the older sister, had delayed her entry into Shady so they could go together. In her senior year, Verna wrote the class poem and was editor of the school paper, The Panorama. Her senior motto was "Health and Happiness."

Verna and Golda also attended Concord College (now Concord University) in Mercer County, W.Va. They both began teaching careers while still in their teens and later earned their bachelor's degrees from Concord.

In 1931 in Summers County, Verna married Fred Bennett of Abraham, W.Va., son of Samuel Adams Bennett and wife Nancy Victoria Plumley.

Three of the White Oak Mountain sisters – Verna, Nina and Golda -- married men from Abraham in Richmond District. Verna married Fred Bennett and Nina married Fred's brother Percy Bennett. Golda married Earl George Smith. Percy and Earl were close friends and because of their relative heights -- Percy tall and Earl short -- were called "Mutt and Jeff."

Fred and Verna had two children, Hazel Jeanette Bennett, who died at birth in 1932, and Dewey Ralston Bennett, born in 1934. Ralston, unarmed and on his mother's property, was shot and killed in 1974 by a man known to him.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett lived most of their married life on a farm in Abraham. Fred was a farmer. Verna was an elementary school teacher who spent most of her career teaching in Richmond District, Raleigh County.

According to "A History of Shady Spring District," published in 1979 by the Woman's Club, "Verna Vest started teaching school at 18 in 1927 at the Panther Knob one-room school. The following year she taught at the Hoye School which was located on the Calvin C. Hoye (1834-1893) farm. The farm is now owned by Mrs. Lee (Anna) Wood." Mrs. Bennett, the last teacher at Hoye, taught there during the 1927-28 term. According to "Memories of Richmond District" by Roscoe K. Plumley, she was the last teacher at Smith School in Abraham. The school, located a quarter mile below the Abraham Post Office, closed in 1960. Mrs. Bennett and her students transferred to Richmond District School where she taught until retirement.

Mrs. Bennett was a devout Christian. She served as pianist at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Abraham for many years. She always said a prayer at mealtime. When her son Ralston was shot and lay dying on the ground next to her home, Verna prayed with her son and heard his confession of faith in Jesus Christ before his death. Verna was grazed by a bullet during the incident.

In retirement, Fred and Verna had moved to the community of White Oak in Raleigh County. Fred died in 1972.

Mrs. Bennett died on 27 Jan 1980 in a Charleston, W.Va., hospital after a long illness.

In addition to her parents, husband and her children, she was preceded in death by sisters Sylvia and Josephine Vest, who died of diphtheria in childhood within a few hours of each other in 1921; brother Dewey Via, who died in 1936. and brother Claude Vest, who died in 1961.

She was survived by daughter-in-law Janice Woehler Bennett; five grandchildren; and sisters Golda Vest Smith, Ola Vest Riffle and Nina Vest Bennett Worley.

Funeral services were held in the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery at Abraham with burial in the church cemetery. Arrangements were by Rose and Quesenberry Funeral Home, Beckley, W.Va.

(More about her parents' families, the Vests and Gadds, is online at

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  • Maintained by: E.M. Smith
  • Originally Created by: Barb
  • Added: 6 Sep 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21382764
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Verna Veatrice Vest Bennett (6 Jul 1908–27 Jan 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 21382764, citing New Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, Abraham, Raleigh County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by E.M. Smith (contributor 47134804) .