“Use what you have to the best of your ability. Take advantage of situations you know are opportunities and the good Lord will take of the rest.”

— Paul Ray Blankenship

Paul Ray Blankenship’s “From Cabins to Coal Mines: A Bicentennial History of Oceana, West Virginia, and Surrounding Areas, 1799-1999, Volume II” is being reprinted by the Wyoming County Historical Museum board of directors.

Only 200 copies will be printed, according to Jesse Womack, board president.

“This printing will most likely be a one-time effort on our part,” added Betsy Ross, board treasurer.

Advance copies are $50, plus $2.50 for shipping and handling, to have the book mailed.

After the books are printed and available — estimated to be mid September, the cost will go up to $55, Ross explained. Those who order in advance will be notified when the books become available.

Blankenship passed away Sept. 30, 2010 after a long illness. He was a retired teacher and college professor, who wrote several books about the history of Oceana and surrounding areas.

His work on three mammoth area history books began with the centennial celebration of 1976.

He’d already written several church histories for anniversaries and other celebrations.

With the centennial information in hand, he began to collect and borrow additional data in earnest.

“I begged and pleaded for people to loan me this and that and the first book just kind of pulled itself together,” Blankenship said of the books.

“I almost felt like if I didn’t do something with it, a lot of history would just not be written down anymore.”

Much of his collection was included in the first volume, “From Cabins to Coal Mines: A Bicentennial History of Oceana, West Virginia, and Surrounding Areas, 1799-1999.”

The huge number of photos and other items, along with historical accounts, however, could not have been published in the 473-page first volume.

Thus, the second volume, with 680 pages, was completed.

Only a few copies of “From Cabins To Coal Mines, 1799-1999, Volume I”  remain.

Cost is $45, which includes tax, at the Wyoming County Historical Museum in Oceana, open Saturday from 12 until 4 p.m. To have this book mailed, add $11.35 for postage.

To order Volume I or to place an advance order for Volume II, contact Betsy Ross, board treasurer, at 304-732-6995; or write her at P.O. Box 411, Pineville, WV 24874; or by e-mail at brross311@yahoo.com.

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