A beautiful story about Bramwell in pictures and words went on sale this week, written by two women who have lived their lives in the community and have special stories to tell - the mother/daughter team, Louise (Lou) Dawson Stoker and Dana Stoker Cochran. "Bramwell, A Town of Millionaires" is selling fast and will be the subject of an author's signing today from 3 to 6 p.m. at Hearthside Books on Bland Street in Bluefield. Elizabeth Osborne of Princeton had several copies with her during a meeting Wednesday evening and sold all.
Lou is delighted. She said the closing of Bramwell School in 2004 prompted her and Dana to begin the book which took only about six weeks for the two women to write, select pictures and edit.
"The school was always a part of the living history of the community and its closing meant the silencing of Bramwell," Lou said. "It was the thread of continuity that connected families in different neighborhoods, both inside and outside the town limits. This is a critical time to create a written record of the people of Bramwell, as opposed to its architectural features and to shift the focus from inanimate structures to those who created them."
Lou said, "We enjoyed a renewed sense of the importance of time and place in the history of a group of people and were surprised at the intense feeling of obligation to the people of the past we were introducing to readers. The obligation was also to produce a meaningful, accurate record of all aspects of life and people who pioneered in the development and continuation of our hometown."
As Lou turned the pages of one of the books delivered by Elizabeth, she talked about the historic personalities from years gone by in the millionaire's town like they are friends ... which they have become through the years she has worked on historical events and promoted the community.
"We wanted to preserve the people and events that made this small town special in a form that can be used by future generations," Lou said.
Some of the pictures have never been published and others reflect historical events. It's a treasure of memories, stories and facts about five generations in the Mercer County town compiled by a mother and daughter who know Bramwell best through years of study and collections.