Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 13, 2014

Marriage of the two Bluefields: The knot is ready for 90 more years

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Five months of planning, work, cheers, fears and tears came together Saturday night and was sealed with a kiss. The 90-year-old marriage of the Bluefields has a new couple to carry on a nine-decade tradition with the ceremonial tying of the knot by Stephanie (Muncy) and Cody Woodall.

“I think it was really nice,” Bluefield, Va., Mayor Don Harris said. “It’s nice any time that a lot of people can get together and enjoy themselves. I was threw here a few times during the day and I didn’t see this many people here. It’s starting to cool off, and apparently, they’re all coming out now.”

Bluefield, W.Va., Vice Mayor Barbara Smith attended the nuptials with her husband, Dennis, and seemed to enjoy the experience. “I thought it was very nice ... Very sweet,” she said. “It’s a nice showing of people here. I was excited to see the lady here who attended the ceremony in 1924, and she walked in here on her own. That was sweet.

“I also think that the two communities pulled this off by working on it together,” Smith said. “I think everyone involved with the committee did a great job.” The 90th Anniversary Committee started work on the joint Bluefield project in February. The committee members wore blue shirts and big smiles when the ceremony came to a close.

Mildred (Lester) Cregger, 92, was 2 and one-half years old when her mother brought her to the  ceremony on July 12, 1924 , when Wingo Yost of Graham, Va., married Emma Smith of Bluefield, Va. She was told by her mother that she was in the official photograph of the ceremony, but that her image was cropped out from the photo Kyle McCormick used in his book, “The Story of Mercer County.”

“I was the little baby who was cropped out of that picture,” Cregger said. “I don’t remember anything about it.” She said that her family lived near the old Bluefield Fairgrounds at the time of the 1924 wedding.

There was a crowd of about 10,000 people surrounding Cregger in 1924. There weren’t that many people surrounding Stephanie and Cody, but when Minister Shawn Boone started the wedding ceremony, Stephanie and Cody seemed like the only two people on earth.

“This is nice,” Marie Blackwell said. “So nice.”

To open the ceremony, Blackwell read the story of how the idea for the marriage of the two Bluefields came together in 1924. Blackwell said that Sue Jackson did a lot of the research on her presentation, but they also worked on it together.

She said that 1924 was part of an era of “Ballyhoo,” when spin doctors used their talents to excite a public that was eager to be excited. She said that local people decided to woo the Ballyhoo, and citizens of Graham decided to rename their town, Bluefield, “in a unified nod to the rapidly growing development in both communities.” She pointed out that the marriage of Wingo and Emma Yost lasted 60 years until Wingo’s death.

“It is the fond hope of the greater Bluefield communities that (Stephanie and Cody’s) union is as successful as that of the Yost’s and the two communities whom they represent. It’s not just for Ballyhoo. It’s forever.”

After they cut the cake and before they shared their first date as man and wife, Stephanie said simply: “It feels great!” while Cody, smiled and nodded his head in agreement.

The Woodalls will be headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina today for a honeymoon, but they plan to be back at the end of the week so they can get to work writing the next chapter for the next 90 years of Greater Bluefield history.

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