Ruth Cooper Allman, 97, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at her home in Canaan Valley.
She was born Aug. 28, 1915, at her home place in Canaan Valley, the daughter of George F. and Charlotte Roby Cooper. She was born and raised in the original Cooper homestead where her grandparents, Henry Jackson and Mary Margaret Rudolph Cooper, settled after their arrival in Canaan Valley in 1882. Although her given first name was Roberta, she was known as Ruth to family and friends and always used it as her legal first name. She lived her entire life in Canaan Valley.
Ruth shared her childhood years with her only sibling and sister, Elsie, who preceded her in death in 1976. She also had a half brother John, 13 years her senior, who died in 1978. When Ruth was only 10 years old, her mother died, leaving Ruth to shoulder more responsibilities for housekeeping, cooking and looking after farm chores. She recalls standing on a wood box to do the cooking for her dad’s meals. In the decade that followed, these responsibilities along with her determination to finish school shaped her moral principles and code of conduct that would characterize her all the years of her life.
As a youngster, Ruth attended Mt. Hebron Church in Canaan Valley and finished all eight years at the one-room Cortland School. She attended Davis High School, rooming in town during the week in the wintertime, riding part way on horseback on Monday and often walking the seven miles home on Friday. She was a graduate of Davis High School, class of 1934.
Ruth married Ira “Pete” Allman in 1936, a union from which three sons were born, Frank, Tom and Richard. As the mother and wife of a farm family, Ruth was active in the Canaan Valley community, including serving as the primary class Sunday school teacher at Buena United Brethren Church for many years. Pete and Ruth bought the Mt. Hebron Church building at auction in the late 1940s and together with local carpenters, tore it down, moved the materials to a home site along Route 32 and built the home where Ruth lived the rest of her life.
The marriage to Pete Allman ended in 1955, and by the early 1960s, keeping up with the work of a dairy herd and selling milk on the milk route became too much for her. Ruth’s lifelong love of cattle and farm work convinced her to convert her dairy herd to beef cattle, an enterprise she continued for many years with the help of her family. The herd was finally reduced to just one pet cow. In another business undertaking, Ruth and her sons surveyed a tract of her farmland into building lots along Cortland Road in the 1960s and named the new subdivision Cortland Village. Today it’s grown into a large community of homes.
By the early 1970s, Ruth’s interests turned to writing. Inspired by her friend, Pearle Mott, who had recently completed a book on the history of Davis and Canaan Valley, Ruth undertook writing a book about her view of Canaan Valley’s history as she experienced it or was told about it by her father. The outcome was her first book, “Canaan Valley and the Black Bear,” published in 1976. Encouraged by the success of that book, she wrote “Roots in Tucker County” which appeared in 1979, then “Fifty Years of Seniors and Historical Facts” which came out in 1981. Ruth’s books made her well known as Canaan Valley’s historian in her later years and in the past decade she had been consulted by a number of local history writers as part of their research. One outcome of the recently renewed interest in the Valley’s history was the restoration of the original Cooper Homestead built by Henry Jackson Cooper in 1882. Ruth often said it was one of her greatest joys to see it standing proudly again as she had known it in her youth.
In the years that followed, Ruth enjoyed an active life although in the past decade, she was forced to curtail her activities due to failing eyesight and impaired mobility left over from a childhood bout with polio. It was only in the past year that her advancing age required having more help at home from her family.
Ruth will be greatly missed by her family and the many friends she made over the long years of her life. She always welcomed old friends and new into her home, people who enjoyed her wit and charm and dogged determination to live independently just as long as she possibly could.
Ruth is survived by her sons, Frank of Arlington, Va, Tom (Ann) of Elkview and Richard (Carol) of Cumberland, Md.; former brother-in-law, Olyn Teter; nephew, Bill Teter; and seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Friends will be received at Hinkle Funeral Home in Davis Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon, the funeral hour. The Rev. Mark Joseph will officiate. Interment will follow in Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Canaan Valley.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to either Canaan Valley Baptist Church, Cortland Road, Davis, WV 26260 or Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Appalachian Highway, Davis, WV 26260. Condolences can be made to the family at www.hinklefuneralhome.com.