Oral History

Joe and Nadine Rutrough Interview

Interviewee: Joseph Cleveland Rutrough
Interviewee: Nadine Bussey Rutrough
Interviewer: Anna Marie Meador
Interviewer: Josh Klemmer
Interviewer: Kathleen Ingoldsby
Associated Person: Dr. Joseph C. Rutrough
Willis, Virginia

Oral history interview documentation materials

  • Digital audio files (2) MP3s from audio cassette recordings; duration: 53 minutes
  • Photos from day of interview: 6 TIFs of 12 print photos
  • Transcript: 22 pages, PDF, docx
  • Descriptive summary

October 28, 1999, Josh Klemmer and Anna Marie Meador, accompanied by Kathleen Ingoldsby, interviewed Joe and Nadine Rutrough at their home in the village of Willis, Floyd County, Virginia. This interview was one of a series of Floyd County Traditions, Buffalo Mountain Place-based interviews conducted by Radford University Anthropology classes of Dr. Melinda Wagner.

The couple relate stories of local history, early medical practice, rural, recreational, and home life in the Buffalo Mt. area, Willis, Floyd County, Virginia.  Mr. Rutrough’s father, Dr. J.C. Rutrough, graduated from Baltimore City College and Johns Hopkins University, returning to Willis around 1910 to work as a general practitioner for fifty-two years. Dr. Rutrough was his own pharmacist, mixing medicines bought in bulk. Early on, he went to his patients’ homes on horseback, but later bought a Model-T for patient rounds. Dr. Rutrough had no office hours; people visited him at any time, especially during epidemics such as measles and diptheria. Since many of his patients lacked money, they often paid him in food goods, such as eggs or butter, for instance. Joe said, “He’d take hams, or side meats, or butter, or eggs, or chickens.”

mud holes, horse, Model-T Ford, phone, wagons, buggies, doctor, pharmacist, drugstores, ham, side meats, chickens, fish, quail, pheasant, apprentice, basketball, smallpox, diptheria, measles, Baltimore City College, Johns Hopkins University, Radford, Indian Ridge, Horse Ridge, Jefferson Hospital, Indian Valley Post Office, Mountain Normal School, Milligan College, Walmart, Bowers Drive-In, Little Flock, Buffalo Mountain, Radford College, Oceania Naval Air Station
Bio Sketch

Joe Rutrough was born Joseph Cleveland Rutrough, Jr., in the Willis area of Floyd County in 1923,  where he enjoyed an idyllic upbringing with his parents and two brothers. He noted that the Rutroughs have been in Floyd for at least four or five generations. Mr. Rutrough and his wife, the former Elizabeth Nadine Bussey, have been married for fifty years.


The Buffalo Mountain Series was directed by the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery, where the complete archives are held. The project was guided by a collaborative community-university partnership with Radford University anthropology professors Dr. Melinda Bollar Wagner and Dr. Mary LaLone. The interview with Mr. and Mrs. Rutrough was conducted by Radford University students Anna Marie Meador and Josh Klemmer, with assistance from Kathleen Ingoldsby, staff, Old Church Gallery.  All of the students in Anthropology 411: Appalachian Cultures, and Anthropology 121: Honors Cultural Anthropology teamed with senior anthropology major, Adam Sowder to collect a wealth of place-based stories. Generations will be enriched by the recordings of all who shared their memories. Thank you all.