Ernest Whilst
Collector of Abandoned Words



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The Poca Post is pleased to announce a new issue commemorating Ernest Whilst.

Ernest Whilst was born in Poca, West Virginia in 1887. In 1991 his family moved to Pocatelico. Ernest’s father, Emory Whilst, was very successful in the lumber business. As a result, his only child, Ernest, was able to live a life free of financial concerns.

Early in his life Ernest took an interest in words. He was particularly fond of some of the words that his grandparents used. He noticed that members of his generation did not use many of the words spoken by his grandparents. By the time Whilst was 22 years old he had begun an avocation that lasted the rest of his life. Whilst began to collect abandoned words.

By the time of his death at age 67, Ernest Whilst had collected more than 2,000 abandoned words. He had carefully penned each of his words on beautiful paper, and had them each placed in a small frame. These decorated his modest home. He took great pleasure in having guests, where he would give tours and talks on his collection.

Whilst was partial to several words in his collection. Among his favorite abandoned words were ”fallal,” “gambol,” “gloze,” “trow,” and “swart.”

At his death in 1954, Ernest Whilst’s collection was given to the Pocatelico Public Library. The words were proudly displayed there until the Great Poca River Flood of 1961 when the collection was washed away.

The Poca River Post issues this stamp in recognition of Mr. Ernest Whilst’s lifelong love of words that had been abandoned. The stamp was issued in a plate of - 20 stamps in the denomination of 66 poca units.

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