In 2015, Mark Hager III visited the Bland County, Virginia, Historical Society in hopes of gaining more family information. In the course of the discussion, he told Ann Beardshall he would really like to collect and publish the numerous stories that his grandfather had written and sold over the years.
Over the past few years, Beardshall has worked with the family, investigated several avenues to collect the stories and has finally published the collection.
The late Mark Hager (1889-1960) was a native of Bland County, Virginia, and a prolific short story writer who wrote all of his stories while living in Williamson. He was a railway clerk at first for N&W and then manager for the local railyard. In his spare time, Hager wrote more than 250 short stories that appeared in a wide range of publications, including Collier's, Progressive Farmer, Household, The American Legion Magazine and Woman's Day. Many of his stories were also published in short story collections.
Hager was fondly known in the area as "The Sage of the Tug." A reprise of his accomplishments appeared in this newspaper on Aug. 31, 2008, titled "Sage of the Tug: Local Man Well Known in Literary Circles."
Hager's stories were written on a used typewriter (originally bought for his children) on his dining room table at his home on Reservation Hill in Williamson. The stories were published across the United States, with one being adapted for television and shown on "Fireside Theatre."
To purchase the book ($35.00 + $5.00 for shipping and handling), send a check to the Bland County Historical Society, PO Box 416, Bland, VA 24315 or visit http://blandcountyhistsoc.org/Store/SIBooks.html.