Joseph W. Dumire
Dorothy Pauline Dillon Shoemaker Losh lived on Brown Street in the Tucker County Town of Thomas, in one of the former Davis Coal & Coke Co. superintendent houses on Brown Street. She was born on February 24, 1925 – not far away at her family home on Railroad Hill. She was delivered by Dr. Joseph J. Miller, who had also delivered Eva Dillon, Dorothy’s mother, who grew up in the same house.
Originally there were 3 duplex houses on Railroad Hill that were owned by the West Virginia & Central Railway, a division of Davis Coal & Coke Co., and rented to their employees. Only 2 of the 3 original houses now remain, and they are now privately owned. Dorothy’s grandfather, John Robert Yeager, and his wife Cora Mabel Ulrich, lived in one of the houses; her Uncle Louis G. Yeager and his wife Susan from Glasgow, Scotland lived in another of the houses and Dorothy and her family lived in the middle house. The six households on Railroad Hill formed a close-knit community.
Dorothy was the daughter of Samuel Edward Dillon, who was an engineer for the Western Maryland Railway and drove an engine between Thomas, Hendricks and Elkins. The Hendricks to Thomas grade was the steepest railroad grade east of the Rocky Mountains. Dorothy’s mother was Eva Theresa Yeager; her grandfather, John R. Yeager was a shop foreman for the Railway, served on the Tucker County Board of Education, and belonged to the Masons and Order of Eastern Star. Here’s Dorothy in her later years.
From her childhood, Dorothy remembers a great deal: her mother teaching Sunday School, picking blackberries on Railroad Hill, walking across the tipple of the Thomas coal mine to get to school, dancing and socializing with others her age at the Roma Restaurant (where no alcohol was served), the baseball field where Cortland Acres now stands, Whipple’s Bakery, Topper’s barber shop, Nick DiMaio’s Confectionery, The Varsity, the Christmas tree not being set up until Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners together as a family, sled riding, ice for homemade ice cream coming from the pond near their house, and collecting metal in the woods to sell to the junk man for spending money.
Dorothy remembers Mr. J. H. Patterson who taught Latin and was also principal, Lil Schilansky who taught first and second grades, and Miss Topper who taught third and fourth grades. Mr. Patterson was strict but well respected. He also wrote a book, “Of Me I Sing or Me and Education,” which sold for $2.00 which was a lot at the time.
Dorothy’s grandfather John’s brother, Dr. George H. Yeager was director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and saved the life of Tojo (prime Minister & General of the Imperial Japanese Army) when he tried to commit suicide at the ending of WW II.
Even though the Yeager side of the family were Lutherans, and Dorothy was baptized a Lutheran, she was raised a Presbyterian, and was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. Her first husband, Harold Shoemaker was a career man in the Air Force, and they raised their 3 sons, Harold, Tim and Sam during Harold’s military career. In later years Dorothy married Howard Losh.
Dorothy was first and foremost a loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister. She worked as a payroll Clerk for Davis Coal & Coke Co., and Housekeeping Manager at Cortland Acres Nursing Home. She was kind and forgiving to others, a great friend to all, and was community minded. Dorothy passed January 25, 2022, just shy of her 97th birthday. What a rich history for this Tucker County railroader’s daughter!
The Davis Coal & Coke Co. building in Thomas in the 1960s
This article appeared in the October 2023 edition of the Tucker County Historical Society newsletter. The TCHS is a tax-exempt non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Membership is open to anyone, which includes receipt of newsletters by mail, for annual dues of $10 mailed to PO Box 13, Hambleton, WV 26269.