Tale of the Elk

Tale of the Elk

by W. E. R. Byrne

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Overview

Tale of the Elk is a compilation of articles written by full-time fisherman and part-time lawyer Bill Byrne; his articles first appeared between 1927 and 1931 in West Virginia Wildlife Magazine. The articles were compiled and published as a book in 1940. Byrne's stories chronicle rural life in West Virginia in the 1920s from the perspective of men who lived to fish and tell fish tales.

Author Bill Byrne was born in 1862 in Fort Defiance, Virginia. His father was a Confederate officer in the Civil War; after the war his family moved to West Virginia. Byrne attended school in Wheeling and Charleston, worked as a civil engineer, and studied law with his uncle, Supreme Court Justice Homer A. Holt. Byrne was admitted to the bar in 1884 at the age of 22.

Byrne's love of the Elk and his book have cast a wide net over many devoted fans. Ken Sullivan, Director of the WV Humanities Council, writes:

"Tale of the Elk is a classic--West Virginia's answer to Norman MacLean's A River Runs Through It. Byrne was an old-time sportsman, who took it seriously. He practiced law in Charleston when he had to, and fished the Elk when he could. He looked dubiously upon a lawyer if he didn't fish. He speaks with great respect of the families native to the river, the Carpenters and others. The names of his fishing buddies read like a Who's Who of prominent West Virginians of the era--Senator John Kenna, industrialist Johnson N. Camden, and others. You may learn more about them here, overheard in camp and canoe, than in most history books."


Byrne's passion for fishing and friends, his humor and warmth, and his love of life are immediately evident. Byrne began his chronicles of his adventures on the Elk in 1927; his book follows its namesake river from its headwaters to its mouth in forty-nine chapters. Tale of the Elk captures the physical beauty and political climate of the times, usually with Byrne's signature sense of humor. W.E.R. Byrne was stricken with pneumonia at his beloved "Camp at the End of the World" on the Elk, and died December 11, 1937, at the age of 75.

Editorial Reviews

Charleston Gazette - Mack Samples

"I grew up on the banks of the lower Elk River . . . When I first read Tale of the Elk I was so taken with Byrne's description of the headwaters of the magnificent river that I had to go see it for myself. During the course of the past thirty years I have returned to its pages again and again. Whether you grew up on the Elk or have never heard of it, this book is a great read."

Product Details

BN ID: 2940151449151
Publisher: Quarrier Press
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 879,375
File size: 8 MB

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