History of the BDR
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Joseph T. Bailey, a descendent of Richard Bailey (one of the original settlers of Bluefield) married Ruth Webb on August 26, 1939. After living in a coal camp at Monitor Holler for a year, the farm was purchased by the young couple in July of 1941. In order to make the down payment, Joe sold their only means of transportation, a Chevy truck and borrowed money from various relatives including his mother-in-law Ella Stone Webb; he then proceeded to work eight shifts a week to pay off the mortgage all the while walking to Ashland Mine and back each day before beginning his farm chores.

Joe and Ruth raised eight children on the farm. To feed their brood they raised dairy and beef cattle, hogs, chickens and a large vegetable garden. Their eldest son Jerry was lost in a mining accident in 1964; however, the remaining four sons and three daughters along with numerous grandchildren reside from Maryland to Texas and still return to the family farm for the annual apple butter making.

In the early seventies Joe, an avid hunter,  acquired Snoopy, a small black and white feist that would prove to be the first of the “black dogs”. Snoopy was bred to a shorter stocky bobbed-tail dog. From this litter his most prized squirrel hunting dog and companion, Sparky, was born.  Sparky was bred to a small black feist. This litter produced five black pups, two of which were sold to a fellow hunter while the remaining three pups and their mother remained on the farm. Joe was never alone on the farm, as the pack of black feist accompanied him everywhere. In the fall of the year, Joe and his “black dogs”( along with various grandchildren) could be found in the mountains of southern West Virginia to the steep ridges of Pocahontas County in hot pursuit of gray squirrels.

Joe and Ruth both passed at the beginning of the new millennium, and the last of the “black dogs”, Kate, passed shortly there after.  It seemed only fitting that "Black Dog Ranch" would serve as the new moniker for the farm where Joe and Ruth had spent nearly sixty years of their life, over 25 of which were accompanied by one or more of the well-loved line of "black dogs."

The Black Dog Ranch (BDR) is a working farm that invites you to come and enjoy the many natural amenities. Among these are peace and quiet, fresh air, and copious numbers of wild flowers, songbirds and game.  Gorgeous sunsets and starlit skies unchallenged by city lights free the mind of the stress of the urban life-style. The fall foliage is brilliant and is followed by a blanket of snow which covers the mountaintop farm much of the winter.  Whether you're looking for a quiet place to hike, observe nature & wildlife, or rest comfortably after a day of ATV action, the BDR is the vacation destination.