By Eric Taylor
For the Daily News
The year was 1946. World War II was officially over. And all across America, the Baby Boom was underway. Some notable baby boomers from 1946 include former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, and celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, Sally Field, Danny Glover, Cher, and Dolly Parton, to name a few.
That same year, one coal-mining family, nestled in the West Virginia hills, experienced a baby boom of their own and produced their own set of local celebrities. On August 31, the John and Vada Pinson family of Nolan doubled. Suddenly, the family grew from three girls to include a set of three boys. According to the older sisters, John Pinson, known as Tom Dick to many, said he didn’t want to make any differences among his three daughters so he got them each a baby brother. Moses Dean, Otis Dean, and Thomas Dean Pinson were the first triplets born in Mingo County, and from the day they were born, they were the talk of the town.
The Williamson Daily News regularly featured photos and articles about the boys throughout their childhood, marking such milestones as getting their vaccinations and their first day of school. Until they graduated from Williamson High School in 1964, the Pinson triplets were well known in Mingo County.
After graduation, the young men went their separate ways, quite literally going out to conquer the world. Moses joined the Air Force, where he served in Vietnam; Otis joined the Army, serving in Korea; and Thomas joined the Air Force to serve in Panama. One can only imagine the stress this must have caused their mother. In fact, with the Pinson family’s oldest daughter, Joyce, living in Germany, Tom Dick and Vada had half of their children spread around the globe at the same time.
Thankfully, the Pinson triplets returned home safely. For some time, all three Pinson boys lived and worked in the Williamson area, prompting one unaware citizen to comment after running errands around town “that is the hardest working man I’ve ever seen.” Over time, these men eventually settled into their own lives, marrying local women and raising families of their own in different parts of the country.
Moses Dean Pinson married Lucy Sammons. He is the father of two children, Cindy and Jeffrey Dean, and he has five grandchildren. Moses lives in Chattaroy, and many people know him locally from his years of service at Community Trust Bank of Williamson.
Otis Dean Pinson married Phyllis Lowe. Many years later, after the death of his first wife, Otis is now married to Margaret Spano. He is the father of six children, Ronald Dean, Michael Dean, Lori, Randall Dean, Brian Dean, and Timothy Dean, and he has eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. After living in several locations around the country, Otis now lives in Chattaroy, just a few houses down the street from his brother, Moses.
Thomas Dean Pinson married Judy Boyce. He is the father of one daughter, Stephanie, and the grandfather of two children. Tom lives in Grand Prairie, Texas, where he has lived for more than forty years.
(In case you are curious: among the fifteen grandchildren born to the Pinson triplets, several carry on the tradition of the Dean middle name, even including a DeeAnne and a Denae.)
Over the past 70 years, each of these men has earned the highest respect of both their family and our community. From their humble beginnings growing up along the Tug River in Nolan, West Virginia, through their young adulthood serving their country, to today, Moses, Otis, and Thomas Pinson are still the pride of Mingo County, but one day someone needs to ask them which one really started the fire that burned down the family outhouse.
(Editor’s Note: The family had a surprise birthday party for the three brothers this past weekend at Chattaroy Missionary Baptist Church. Today, August 31, is their birthdays.)