Book Review in Valley Banner

Book Review by:
Ted Hayes
The Valley Banner
Elkton, Virginia
March 8, 2007

Half lost in Rockingham County; most found alive

Book title: Children Lost in the Mountains
Author: Timothy A. Hupp

            Getting lost in the woods or mountains is a terrifying experience - but it can also be a subject for a very interesting book, as local author Tim Hupp has recently demonstrated.
            Hupp has just completed a paperback pre-publication edition of "Children Lost In The Mountains," an account of 15 children and two adults, of whom seven were lost on the Blue Ridge, three on Massanutten, six in distant states, and one in western Rockingham County on Church Mountain.
The first disappearance Hupp describes occurred in 1870 in West Virginia, and the most recent in July of 2006.
            The book includes over a dozen maps showing the exact location of the lost people and of search party paths. It also has numerous photographs and portraits, six illustrations by Mary Carr, and a full index.
            "All but three of my subjects were found alive,"Hupp recounted. "Some of the cases are pretty well remembered even today around Elkton." 
            Hupp himself has been lost and participated in one of the hunts he details in his book. "The idea for the book came from my own bad experience and from a hike I took in 1993 to the top of Bluff Mount near Buena Vista," Hupp said. "At the top of the mountain is a marker to a child, Emmet ("Odie") "Ottie" Cline Powell, whose body was found there in 1892.
            "Later I read a story in the Daily News Record about little Doris Dean of Elkton. I also knew about the case of a boy lost near Mountain Valley and found alive at the top of Massanutten Mountain.
            "In all three cases, the lost child was much higher than the searchers had gone. I decided at first to write a book about just these cases," Hupp explained.  But as he dug for details Hupp learned about other cases in the area and expanded his files to 16. Seven of these took place in Rockingham County.
"The Emmet Powell case is one of the sad ones," Hupp said. "The boy, just four years old, disappeared from school on Nov. 9, 1891, after the school teacher had let the class out for recess, having asked them to come back with kindling wood," Hupp said. "When the teacher noticed he did not return, she, and then the family and friends, began scouring the neighborhood."
            On the first night the searchers made a fatal mistake. "One of the neighbors had a good idea - bringing the boy's pet dog to the trail," Hupp explained. "When they did, the dog took off howling, running up the trail toward the top of the mountain - a 2,000 foot peak climb," he continued. "The search party knew there were bears and other wild animals near the peak, and did not believe a four-year-old could go that high."
            But in fact, the boy had gone that way, and the dog had been right. "Five years months later, they found the body at the top of the mountain," Hupp said. "The autopsy
suggested the boy had died on the first night."

Doris Dean
            Another story with a happier ending is that of Doris Dean.
            "This happened in 1943, during World War II," Hupp said. "Doris Dean, then four years old, was with her brothers near the Shenandoah National Park south of Elkton. They were looking for stray cows, and her brothers told her to go back to the Dean house. When she didn't show up, family and neighbors, including Conscientious Objectors from the Grottoes federal government camp, started to look.
            "They looked for days," Hupp said. "They pretty well covered the western face of Rocky Mount, the mountain east of Coors.
            "She went missing on Monday," he continued. "On the fifth day the searchers decided on a new plan. Henry Swartzengtruber, from the Grottoes camp, would walk up the Rocky Mount Trail to the summit of the mountain, a distance of about 3.4 miles; Paul Coffman would walk, searching, some yards to his right; and Luther Lerch would walk on the left side.
            "Coffman found her, on a rock-bed, very dehydrated - but alive," Hupp continued.
            "She had been missing five days; the only water she had to drink was rainwater."
            Hupp's book also includes material on persons lost in other states, literature on finding lost people, recommended procedures for hunting (with Hupp's evaluation of these), and facts and figures about the 16 cases he reports on -including why his subjects got lost, what the searchers missed or didn't consider, how the survivors survived, and how well particular search-aids worked, including dogs, horses, airplanes/helicopters, and heat-sensing equipment, and the "grid-search" technique.
            Two of the missing were found by people searching outside the official search area. Several were found well above the area designated for search. 

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