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History’s been a lifelong passion for Earl Soles

History has always been a passion for Mathews County native Earl Soles. A 37-year career at Colonial Williamsburg, steeped in the stories and lifestyles of the nation’s founding fathers, was not enough for him.

After retirement, he continued to immerse himself in history as a member of two historical societies—Mathews and Middlesex—and today, at age 80, in spite of the constraints of health and mobility issues, he is still pursuing projects that shed light on historical topics he finds interesting.

Earl’s personal experiences encompass the better part of the 20th century. He was born at Cobbs Creek in 1936, delivered by Dr. John R. Gill in a downstairs bedroom. The house where he was born still stands on Route 198, next door to the Cobbs Creek Diner.

That diner was once the E.L. Soles general store, built and operated by Earl’s father, Lumpkin Soles. It was the place where Earl spent much of his childhood, sweeping floors, putting up stock, and eventual...

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