Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Matheson Cove: In the Shadow of the Devil's Post Office Earns Prestigious Award

Through this column more than a year ago, I introduced you to author, Dr. Eva Nell Mull Wike and her book on local and family history entitled The Matheson Cove…in the Shadow of the Devil’s Post Office. With beginnings in Union County, the book moves to nearby Clay County, North Carolina and beyond to trace the family lineage, the struggles and triumphs of a stalwart mountain family, the author's parents, Joseph David Mull and Martha Jane Wimpey Mull and related families.

On Saturday, October 13, 2007, Dr. Eva Nell Mull Wike and her husband, James Wike, artist and illustrator of the book, went to near Asheville, N.C., (at the Carolina Trace Country Club, Sanford, N.C.) where they were awarded the prestigious 2007 "Robert Bruce Cooke Family History Award" for The Matheson Cove.

Awarded by the North Carolina Society of Historians, Inc., the annual award comes after judges examine carefully numerous books of history published the previous year. Several notations from judges are worthy of note about The Matheson Cove:

"We found the book to be very appealing to a wide range of people. It is the genealogy of a family written in 'story' form, which is 100% reader-friendly, and downright entertaining."
James Wike, illustrator, received praise for his part in making the book appealing:
"Adding to a delightful text are some wonderful sketches housing original artwork appropriate to the current story being told. We can actually 'see' the scenes the author wants to relay through these pictures. Also included are some very colorful, clear photographs and family portraits."
The book is a composite of "poetry, ghost stories, letters, … family hardships…successes…emotions." Included as well is the author's frustration that an industrialized society bent on development of mountain areas is "wanting to erase all traces of an area's past so quickly and so willingly."

Since I first recommended The Matheson Cove for your reading pleasure over a year ago, I have had the privilege of meeting Dr. Wike and her husband. I welcomed them to our Dyer-Souther Family Association Annual Reunion at Choestoe in July. In person, both are warm and personable, as I knew they would be. We frequently exchange e-mails on various subjects, and especially pertaining to our common love for writing.

I rejoice with Dr. Wike (Eva Nell to me) that copies of her book have been placed in seven North Carolina High Schools and in the Towns County Middle School, Hiawassee, Ga., for the schools' local history and Appalachian culture studies. We mutually hope that Union County Schools at Blairsville and Fannin County Schools will recognize the book as a valuable resource and add copies for student use.

I shared this poem with Eva Nell and James Wike at the Dyer-Souther Reunion in July. Eva Nell, being the kind and accommodating person she is, wrote a letter to the Clay County Progress and commended the value of family reunions, including my poem.

I congratulate Eva Nell Mull Wike on the deserved honors she has received on her excellent book. She appreciates heritage and ancestors' struggles, as do I. To her, her husband, and to me, indeed:

These Are My People
Ethelene Dyer Jones

These are my people
Whom we honor today.
Born to hard times,
Nurtured by solid stock,
Dislocated from England, Scotland,
Ireland, Germany- seeking freedom
To worship and to work,
Pressing toward far frontiers.

In my veins runs their blood,
The same as they shed
On far-flung battlefields;
No enemy too formidable
To face for freedom's costs,
No shore too distant
To traverse and claim as home.

These are my people.
Their lives are high beacons,
Their deaths strong testimonies
Of the price they gladly paid for liberty.
Look to the mountains of home,
Majestic, like God, our help and shield.
My people, many long gone,
Are one with each other and with God.
Dr. Eva Nell Wike's book honors "our people." We are happy that it is so widely distributed. If you haven't a copy yet, check at the Tennessee Valley Publisher's website, www.tvp1. com, or "The Book Nook" in Blairsville or at Phillips and Lloyd Bookstore on the Square in Hayesville, NC. Or you may order from the author and illustrator at

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Oct. 18, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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