The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

December 26, 2012

Area native pens Civil War-era novel


— Mary Lu (Pennock) Warstler, sister of Theodora Pennock and Nila Smith of Oak Hill and Eleanor Hamilton of Maryland, has completed her historical novel based on family history of the Civil War. “Escape from Richmond” can be purchased at Tamarack in Beckley.

The Dooley, Coleman and Pennock families have lived in the area for many years as a result of the courage of one woman who was willing to withstand the unknown in leading her family across the mountain and settling in the area while waiting for her husband, a minister and physician, to get out of Libby Prison and find them. He was blind, or nearly so, when he found them.

The story, based on stories told by Eleanor Coleman, Emmet Coleman and Mary Pennock, is about women and children who traveled by wagon train from Richmond to the Kanawha Valley area. While the story is fiction, it is based on a true story of Warstler’s great-great-grandmother who took that wagon train of women and children north from Richmond. This is a story that will be enjoyed by men, women and children. The book is large print.

Mary Lu is a 1956 graduate of Collins High School, and holds degrees from The University of Akron and Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She is married to Rodney J. Warstler, also a United Methodist pastor.

They have four children (Elizabeth, Timothy, Martha and James), nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She and her husband of 55 years are retired and live in Copeland Oaks Retirement Village in Sebring, Ohio. However, she returns to Oak Hill several times a year to visit family and friends.