1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Curt Shawver

After a poll on the Aldersonian about Curt Shawver, I never thought there would be anyone who would not know who Curt was, but on a whim, I listed it as a third option. As it turned there are some people who didn't know him. Hopefully this will rectify this for Curt was a person worthy of knowing. An extremely colorful individual and I think most would remember his occupation was County Sheriff. With his uniform and broad brim hat he was a striking figure, especially when he had a serious look on his face.

I lived beside Curt and his lovely wife Oretha for about five years. Oretha was the 1st grade teacher for many years at Alderson Elementary and also, like many of us, my first grade teacher. Curt and I hit it off pretty good and I hung around him a good bit, partly because he was always recruiting me to help him on one of his projects, which were many. Now that doesn't mean I was that talented, just available. Of course, there was that old Jeep he had. He was always working on that and since I had an interest in automobiles I was more than willing to hand him tools and do some running.

Curt could keep me laughing with his tall tales, trying to make me believe they were true. I know now he told those stories to me because I was a pair of fresh ears. My favorite story he told was when we were out in the yard between our houses, fiddling with that Jeep. He look at me, with a serious expression on his face and said, "You know, I couldn't sleep last night". Not thinking too much about someone saying that, I just said "Oh?".  "Yeah" he said, "So I got up and took a walk up to Keeney's Knob". I look at him, expecting a grin and said "All the way up to Keeney's Knob?" "Yeah", he said, still serious. Now, I didn't really believe him. No one would in Alderson would walk all the way up Keeney's Knob at night, by themselves. He said, "If you don't believe me, ask my brother Cletis, I met him on the way back". And there was that grin.

Just as much as he was a funny person, he could be very serious when it came to his job. He had just pulled up in front of his house one afternoon and we were talking. A car came up Maple Ave, doing about 50. Curt stepped toward the speeding car, and in a very loud voice he yelled. "Slow that son of a **** down!", which the driver did immediately.

Oretha Shawver must have been greatly influenced by Curt and I have to tell this story because it's about her. Bob Saunders use to live almost directly behind Curt and Oretha. He had just purchased a new Ford Fairlane 500 from Charlie Miller and it was parked in the alley between Bob and Curt. Bob was at my house and when he walked over to his, he notice his new Ford was gone. After talking for about 15 minutes to whoever was in site about seeing his car, up drives Oretha in his new Ford. Bob's mouth almost hit the ground and he said very nicely, "Oretha, what are you doing with my car". She explained she came over to get Bob to drive he up to Reds, but Bob wasn't there at the moment. She noticed the keys in the car and helped herself. - Barry Worrell

Wow, it seems that Curt Shawver was a deputy sheriff in Greenbrier country as long as I can remember. Curt was very funny when he was off duty and when he was in his uniform he was very policeman. He was always at the Alderson home football games in uniform and was always walking the side lines. I can remember him taking Tree Galloway off more than once for going over to the visitors bleachers during a game and verbally abusing the visitors as they rooted on their team.

Once late one summer evening, Curt came by the Snack Shack in civilian clothes. He was looking for Big Red his dog. it seems that the dog had a likening of running through the Greenbrier side of Alderson. Curt got out of his car and came over to where we were standing around the front of the Snack Shack and ask if anyone had seen Big Red. No one had seen him and when Curt turned to leave he turned back around and said, "well he borrowed the jeep about an hour ago and had promised to have it back in twenty minutes."  - Dan Duff

Curt returned to camp after a days hunting, He couldn't wait to tell all assembled about the squirrel he had shot at and missed just up Devils Holler. The squirrel he swore was probably 3 feet tall with a tail just as long . Curt said he had just finished his sandwich of a fried egg on pumpernickel as he walked along a little stream. He spied the squirrel sitting on a stump eating a walnut. He was so excited he shot and, of all things missed the squirrel and it got away.. When some doubting Thomas in the crown expressed a little doubt about the size of the animal. Curt held out his hand and said, "I knew somebody wouldn't believe me, Well, by dang to prove it, here's the walnut he was eating!

Do any of the readers remember the article that was in the paper about the time Brother Cletis Shawver killed 4 or 10, (depending on who and when in what condition he was telling the tale), Bobcats while he was turkey hunting? According to the newspaper Cletis was leaning against a tree near a large outcropping of rock. He sensed something behind him, Turning just in time he was able to shoot, in mid-air, a bobcat that had all the intentions in the world, of jumping on Cletis's back! Wonder of wonders, following the first bobcat out of rocks, and leaping was another and another for a total of, I think, it was four bobcats that attacked him and four that he killed. The forest rangers reported the incident and said they had never heard of a bobcat attacking a person, let alone four in a row. I am inclined to believe the story, just because it is unbelievable.

Curtis Shawver once related to me an incident that had occurred to him. Now, for those of the readers who knew Curt, occasionally he veered from the exact facts of a situation, I don't have any idea he would intentionally twist the truth, I think likely he just didn't remember "exactly rite" sometimes! Be that as it may be this night it seems that J. E. had considerably more than he should have had to drink. Curt was called to do something about the situation. He ordered J. E. to "get in the car", and J. E., of course, complied, as he always did, for he was an agreeable drunk, he only wanted to be friends with whoever came around. However his size and manner scared most people out of their wits! Those of you who may remember J .E.  and his brothers will recall they were each about five feet tall and five feet wide, and every square inch was muscle!

Curt drove a few mile up-river and stopped, telling the prisoner to get out, he then led him over the riverbank and told him to kneel in prayer because he was tired of fooling with him and he intended to just shoot him and get rid of a problem, once and for all! Curt said, "I figured I'd just scare him in staying sober for a few days"!

"Oh, thank you, Shurp Shobber, I don't deserve to lib. I done shamed my momma and my church for too long, just let me say my prayers and then you jus do dat".

Curtis said, "do you know I spent over an hour sitting on a rock trying to convince him that he really wasn't the worst person that had ever lived and that he didn't deserve to be
killed right then. Fact is I at last convinced him he was about as good a friend as I had ever had"!. He finally drove the young man home, and said he then had a hard time getting to sleep that night for worrying about the incident, and only the next night when he saw that the booze was again at work on J. E. did he really begin to feel like everything was going to be OK.
 - John McCurdy


Curt was a deputy sheriff for many years. He was a small man in stature, but a big presence. Curt was the only LEO who could go in a certain area near Alderson and get his man. Other officers were never able to find whoever they were looking for. The one time I saw Curt break up a fight between two guys almost twice his size, he just walked up to them and said, "OK, boys, let's go to Lewisburg", and that was all there was to it. Curt was a fine marksman with rifle or pistol, an avid hunter and not above showing off his expertise at any time. There is a tale about a buzzard sitting on a tree about 200 yards distant, and that old skinny barreled .38 he carried, but as that would have been illegal at the time, I won't tell that story.......Curt was also a great stand-up story-teller, in demand at local functions as well as the surrounding area. He could keep an audience laughing for an hour at his stories, which were a mixture of truth and imagination, and you never quite knew which part was what! He would never go to Charleston and enter the Liars Contest, because in his words, "why would I want to tell a lie?". He would go out of his way to give a kid a ride if he passed you walking, and that was pretty good if you lived 5 miles out of town. - Ward Parker