Whitley traveled to Summers County in early March to take some of the final pictures she needs for her book. She met up with Stanley and Peggy Gwinn, who pointed her in the direction of two barns that Stanley's relatives built in the 1930s.
Both barns are in the Elton Mountain and Lane areas of Summers County. The first log barn was made of chestnut trees and built in the early '30s by Stanley's grandfather, Clarence Hill Gwinn, and his father, David Gwinn. David hewed the logs with a broad ax, Stanley said.
In 1954, the barn was moved back on the farm property to the place where it still stands today.
"They moved the barn, log by log, on an old wooden sled pulled by horse to the location it's at now," he said.
Now, the barn sits on an acre of land owned by Stanley's sister. The farm, which was more than 100 acres in its heyday, was split up and sold off over the years.
The second barn, located just minutes from the first one, was built between 1937 and 1938, by Clarence and his sons, Nathan and Marlin. It was put together one year before the sons had to go off to war.
Both barns were used to store hay, and the second one had fencing where the family could feed cattle.
Stanley Gwinn said what Whitley is doing is a "great" thing. "She's taking care to remember my memories."
Gwinn's wife, Peggy, is connected to the project with a barn of her own that belonged to her father, Joe, in the Lockbridge area.
It seems everyone Whitley meets has plenty of stories and connections to farming in the county.
"I've learned so much history just talking to people," she said.
Whitley recently was named a history hero by the West Virginia History Hero Project, and she was honored in Charleston in February.
She will send her work to a publisher in the next few months. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Summers County Public Library.
Reach Kathryn Gregory at kathr...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.