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The People Behind the Project at Cockayne

March 28, 2013
By DANIEL DORSCH - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

GLEN DALE - The Cockayne Farmstead stands along W.Va. 2 in Glen Dale as a relic of the past, offering residents and visitors alike a look into the way life was more than 150 years ago.

It takes the dedication of many volunteers to keep the old building standing. Nila Chaddock, Tom Tarowsky and Eddie Grose are some of the people involved in the Cockayne Farmstead Historic Preservation project.

After graduating from Cameron High School in 1963, Nila Chaddock worked as a secretary for a while and then as a stay-at-home mother until her sons were 8 years old. She began working for the law firm Gold, Khourey and Turak in 1982, where she said she was given all kinds of opportunities, including certification as a legal assistant. She took over as office manager of the Moundsville office in 1996.

Article Photos

Work continues to preserve the historic Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale.

Photo by Daniel Dorsch

She was a member of the Marshall County Historical Society in 2002 when Samuel Cockayne died and left his property to the city of Glen Dale. After it was agreed that the society would oversee preservation efforts on the farmhouse, Chaddock was asked to chair the preservation committee. She said she was happy to oblige.

"I come from a farming background," Chaddock said. "I can well-appreciate the hard work that goes into that lifestyle. That should be honored."

Eddie Grose volunteers his time to the Cockayne project, providing assistance Chaddock said has been invaluable. He said he knew the building needed a lot of work from his first tour with a friend who was already involved. As he worked, Grose was impressed by the vast collection of unique historical artifacts in the farmhouse.

"My goodness, what are we going to find next?" Grose said.

Having worked an industrial job before retirement, he was able to assist both in the heavy labor of moving furniture and large artifacts and the sorting of said artifacts for cleaning and storage while work continues on the building. One of Grose's favorite artifacts at the homestead was a tax receipt from 1835 with spaces to list how many clocks and slaves residents of the area might own. He quickly added that the Cockaynes did not own slaves.

"It's been fun," Grose said. He said he also discovered that while Samuel Cockayne may have been the last Cockayne to live in the farmhouse, there had been at least one Samuel Cockayne in every generation of the family while they lived in America.

Tom Tarowsky grew up in Weirton and received his undergraduate degree in secondary education, hoping to become a history teacher. However the Vietnam War intervened and Tarowsky said he ended up in the U.S. Army Reserves instead.

After serving, Tarowsky said he worked for the state government until he returned to school and got his master's degree in counseling at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He worked as a counselor at Belmont Technical College, now Belmont College, from 1980 to 2005, when he retired as dean of students. Tarowsky found an opportunity to work for the historical society in a 2008 newspaper advertisement asking for an educator for the Cockayne project. He said he was happy to apply. He is now the program director.

"My job is to act as a liaison between the Cockayne Farmstead and the schools," Tarowsky said, listing Sherrard Middle School, John Marshall High School and Wheeling Jesuit University as institutions with which he often interacts.

"I am very aware that I am the luckiest man in three states," Tarowsky said. "I've got the best job out there. It's a labor of love."

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