A Family Story That Keeps Love Alive

by Monica Hoel

Davis Ward came by the WEHC studios recently with his granddaughter Melany – and they told a story that has been passed down for almost 200 years.

Davis Ward and Nancy Ball Ward Davis Ward and Nancy Ball WardDavis was at Emory & Henry from 1949-1952 – until the Korean Conflict and the draft interrupted his education plans. But he was at Emory & Henry long enough to meet Nancy Ball (E&H ’54, deceased). The two were married for more than 70 years.

Nancy’s family history is very closely connected to Emory & Henry’s history. Her great-grandfather was James A. Davis. The E&H Alumni Association annually gives out an award that bears his name because he was the first E&H man in military uniform Davis Ward served in the Marines for four years.graduate to become a member of the faculty at the college. He also built a house in the Emory community that many alumni lived at during their student days. Known as the Davis House or the Ball House or the Rowland House, this old brick home is a well-known dwelling in Emory.

The family story that has perhaps been most often repeated is about how there came to be a concrete pony in the Emory & Henry cemetery.

The cemetery as we now know it actually began with a small family plot – it was the Davis family plot and can still be seen surrounded by a little iron fence with a “D” on the side. Davis Ward says when the burial plot was established, the land was still working farm and the fence was put up to keep the cattle out.

During an outbreak of Scarlet Fever, James A. Davis’s children were stricken with the awful disease, but they balked at taking the medicine they hoped would make them better. Davis Ward says it was understandable. “They were probably taking quinine, and you can imagine how awful that tasted.” So James A. Davis did some bargaining: he promised the children if they would take their medicine he would buy them a pony.

The children took their medicine but it was not enough to save them, and 4 of his 6 children died from the disease. They were buried in the tiny Davis family plot.

The little concrete pony found in the Emory Cemetery The little concrete pony found in the Emory CemeteryJames A. Davis added the little concrete pony to the children’s graves as a way of making good on a father’s promise. The little pony has survived weather and seen a lot of history, and miraculously it is approaching a 200th anniversary of keeping watch over the Davis children.

Generations of the family have watched over the pony, adding flowers, repairing a leg that was damaged by a mower, offering paint touch-ups. And now a new generation is taking up the responsibility of keeping the story alive. Davis Ward’s granddaughter Melany recently introduced the pony story to her fellow elementary school students as a class project and got great reviews on how interesting story was and on the great job she did telling it. So, for one more generation, this legacy of love lives on.

You can enjoy a conversation with Davis Ward and Melany on the Duck Pond Wall podcast – and you’ll also hear about the famous Loch Lowman Band!

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/579-an-opera-about-locusts"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/731,0,1659,927/5662_Christin_Colvin.rev.1542301199.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/731,0,1659,927/5662_Christin_Colvin.rev.1542301199.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/731,0,1659,927/5662_Christin_Colvin.rev.1542301199.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/731,0,1659,927/5662_Christin_Colvin.rev.1542301199.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/731,0,1659,927/5662_Christin_Colvin.rev.1542301199.jpg" alt="Cristin Colvin (E&H '09) performing in the opera Locust." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/731,0,1659,927/5662_Christin_Colvin.rev.1542301199.jpg 2x" data-max-w="928" data-max-h="927" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/579-an-opera-about-locusts">An Opera about Locusts?</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Cristin Colvin can even make insects glamorous. <a href="/live/news/579-an-opera-about-locusts" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2430-town-of-saltville-eyes-big-plans"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 3x"/> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG" alt="This beautiful bird is the latest visitor to the well fields in Saltville, and bird enthusiasts are having fun figuring him out. There is..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/11805_gwh_all.rev.1660772634.JPG 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2430-town-of-saltville-eyes-big-plans">Town of Saltville Eyes Big Plans</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> There’s a Labor Day party coming up in Saltville, Virginia, but town leaders are looking at much more than just a big weekend. <a href="/live/news/2430-town-of-saltville-eyes-big-plans" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1535-say-adios-to-your-old-spanish-textbook-chris"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,52,360,412/9022_chris.rev.1606245017.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,52,360,412/9022_chris.rev.1606245017.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,52,360,412/9022_chris.rev.1606245017.jpg" alt="Chris Anama-Green, Emory & Henry Class of 2008" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="360" data-max-h="360" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1535-say-adios-to-your-old-spanish-textbook-chris">Say Adios to Your Old Spanish Textbook: Chris Anama-Green Has Written a Brand New One</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Don’t like the textbook you’re using in class? Write your own!</p><p> That’s what Dr. Chris Anama-Green did.</p><a href="/live/news/1535-say-adios-to-your-old-spanish-textbook-chris" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>