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Picture of the day - September 27, 2006

"Uncle Doug" Cook's Jubilee Singers

The Jubilee Singers from Widener Valley, Va.
Click photo to enlarge

Today's picture is of a 1931 vintage poster advertising an upcoming gospel singing featuring the Jubilee Singers, a group of wonderful folks from the Widener Valley, Virginia area. This poster is very special to my wife Cheria because several of the Jubilee Singers were members of her musical Cook Family.

Most of the Jubilee Singers attended Pleasant View Baptist Church. Cheria's "Uncle Doug" (J.D. Cook) served as the song leader there for many years, and Mrs. Edith Widener faithfully did her part to help spread the Lord's message of love, forgiveness and salvation until she went to be with her beloved Saviour at the age of 105. The great men and women who performed together as the Jubilee Singers were without a doubt some of the finest folks you would ever want to meet.

Uncle Doug's grandson Merle McVey provided the following information about the various members of the Jubilee Singers:
"For those who are not familiar with some of these names, I will attempt to identify them. Most of them are close relatives of mine as J. D. Cook was my grandfather, his full name was John Douglas. He was known as "Doug", "Mr. Doug", "Uncle Doug" or "Grandpa". Mrs. J.D.Cook was his wife, Alice Shuler Cook - or "Grandmother".

J.S. Cook was the father of Doug and his full name was Joseph Sands Cook.

Mrs. R. F. Blevins was a sister to Doug and her name was Nona Caroline, better known as "Carrie". Her husband was Robert F. "Rob" Blevins.

Mrs. Edith Widener was also a sister to Doug. Edith's husband was Monroe F. Widener. (Aunt Edith was born on July 17, 1897 and died on Feb. 24, 2003).

W. H. Barker was Horton Barker, the renowned blind ballad singer of the area. He and Doug were the best of friends and many of the family affectionately called him "Uncle Hortie".

Miss May DeBusk was a sister to Ike, Walker, Delmar and Abner DeBusk. May married Paul Widener.

Mrs. Lucy Steffey was Lucy Widener, sister to Ora and Viola. They were daughters of John & Elsie Blevins Widener. Lucy married Hyden Steffey. Viola married Gale Widener, son of Minerva and Joe Widener (by tforge support allender). Ora married Edgar Widener, son of Andrew Buchanan "BucK" and Elizabeth Widener.

S. H. Widener was the son of Samuel Henry and Amanda "Mandy" E. Widener. He was a brother to Edna Widener Thomas who recently passed away at the age of 98 or 99 in Bristol, Va.

Eula Widener was the daughter of Arrie Mae Widener. Eula married Claude Sullivan, probably in West Virginia, but in recent years they had moved to the Chilhowie, Va. area. According to information provided by my sister Billie Jean Thomas, Claude is believed to have died but Eula is possibly still living. Eula was the Granddaughter of John McClellan "John Red" and Nancy Margaret Widener."

Of course Cheria and I weren't around in 1931, but we did have the honor of getting to know a few members of the Jubilee Singers before they went to be with the Lord. We both wish we could have heard them sing together, just once. I'm sure their wonderful music was a mighty blessing to many souls.

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