A Letter to the Friends of Barboursville
from Tamika Carey
January 20, 2002
Dear Friends of Barboursville,
I feel compelled to write concerning the proposed mining of
General Shale Brick Company in the Barboursville area of the county.
As an Orange County native, Orange County High School
graduate, and member of the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church, I have
immense pride in my upbringing and I attribute many of my core goals,
beliefs, and values to the things I've learned and experienced here.
One of the first lessons I learned is that, in Orange County,
we don't sacrifice the livelihood and way of life of our residents for
the allure of commercialism. A major source of pride has been, and
continues to be, our distinct and enduring rural heritage. According
to the 20-year Comprehensive Plan for Orange County, however, one of
the County's goals is to "shield the rural character of the county
from the undesirable effects of uncontrolled growth." While the
proposed mining may not produce uncontrolled growth, it will certainly
produce undesired traffic, reduce vital resources for residents,
impair the aesthetic beauty of the area, and impact the life of
The same sense of rural heritage is what prompts me to speak
against the proposed mining of General Shale. Steeped in my earliest
memories are the long summer days I spent at my Grandparents'
house. Free to play and explore, no area was off limits to us and we
immersed ourselves in this paradise we knew as Careytown.
When I was five years old, and my parents and I moved to
Careytown, I still knew of it as the community where my family lived.
I knew that if a car drove too fast down the road, dust would
emerge. I knew that my cousins and I would gather every morning at the
tree to catch the bus together. I knew of the small creek down the
road where my father and his brothers used to go fishing and my aunt
fell in when it froze over. I knew that if I smelled charcoal during
the summer, someone, an aunt, uncle, or cousin was having barbecue and
I was invited. I knew that if I stood on my front porch and yelled out
someone's name, I could listen to it echo for at least ten
seconds. These images and memories are my Americana, my very own
Norman Rockwell paintings.
In addition to such images, Careytown has had an even greater
impact on my life. As a child, I considered it an honor to be a Carey
and to live in Careytown. I knew of few other children that had the
distinction of living somewhere that bore their name, and it wasn't
until later that I learned why my sense of pride is so
significant. Careytown is one of the few remaining African-American
communities started by freed slaves that have persevered over time.
Began by my great-great-great grandparents, Careytown is a testament
to the essence of family and the endurance of generations.
That same endurance is why I now write. While time and seasons
have changed within Orange County, Careytown has remained a constant
presence, not only in the lives of its residents, but in the history
and legacy of the entire Barboursville area. Careytown still
represents a quality of undisturbed and peaceful life that best
embodies the rural heritage that Orange County seeks to maintain.
What will happen to Careytown if General Shale is allowed to
mine in our area? Will our residents be able to live free of the
commercial noise that such mining will produce? Will our natural
resources, like water, be maintained? Will the aesthetic attributes
and value of Careytown continue? Will our children be able to play in
Some things should not be allowed to change and the quality of
life in Careytown is one of them. While I am no longer a resident of
Careytown, I yearn for the quiet simplicity of life there. It is, and
always will be, my home, and I hope that one day my children will be
able to consider Careytown their home as well. We must protect
Careytown, not only because of the present dangers of allowing General
Shale to mine there, but because it is represents the spirit of our
past and the hope of our future.
Tamika L. Carey