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Wednesday, October 13, 2021


Photo provided
Dotty and Bob Webber

“Mountain Souls" is a documentary film that tells the story of Dorothy and Robert Webber who lived in a log cabin without electricity, running water or indoor plumbing for more than 50 years, she from 1961 until her death in 2012 at the age of 89 and he until his death in 2015 at the age of 80.

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, “Mountain Souls” will be shown at the Coolidge Theatre at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro.

Jeffrey Swingholm, who first met the Webbers in 1969 when he was 16, produced the documentary. "I am very proud of the individuals that helped me. They include my sister Cathy Heffner from Harrisburg and two Wellsboro residents, Mark Polonia and Linda Sampson. Linda and Cathy helped write the film and Mark edited it," Swingholm said.

The purpose of the documentary is to preserve and promote the Webbers' legacy. Their lifestyle was simple and sacred, inspiring generations of family, friends and colleagues.

It motivates viewers to consider the benefits of a simple life, one that can be fully enjoyed, despite few material possessions.

Bob and Dotty cherished the blessings of deep and lasting friendships, the joys of nature and living from the land and the satisfaction of hard work.

They were well-read and deeply devoted to God and their fellow man. The hearts of those who encountered them were forever changed.

The Webbers believed that it is “the journey, not the destination,“ that brings true meaning and satisfaction to life.

Their story began in the summer of 1961 when Bob's father purchased a 539-acre tract of land on the west side of Pine Creek. He allowed Bob and Dotty to build their crude, one-room log cabin on the property in an area known as “Gas Line Ridge,” which was about 2½ miles from Route 44 and the same distance from the village of Slate Run, Pa.

To construct it, the husband and wife, joined by Dotty's brother Gayle Tomb, cut trees that were near the building site, primarily oaks and some maples, and dragged and lifted them by hand.

In 1974, Bob's father Burt sold the land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but retained ten acres as a “life tenancy area." Those ten acres included Bob and Dotty's cabin and a small cabin Burt had built that he and his family used for hunting and vacationing.

Stories of faith and friendship are central to the documentary's narrative, as well as details about the reconstruction of the Webbers' cabin at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum. Visitors to the museum can witness firsthand the lifestyle of these modern-day pioneers.

Mountain Souls also provides a glimpse into the history and infrastructure of the Pine Creek area, including the famous trails and vistas enjoyed by generations of hikers and outdoorsman.

Admission to see the documentary is Pay-What-You-Can. Donations are appreciated.

Proceeds from the documentary will fund scholarships for young adults who are interested in forestry careers. Additional donations can be made directly to Mountain Souls LLC, PO Box 607, Wellsboro, PA 16901.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what simple life-style enabled Bob's father to afford the 539 acre tract where they settled?

Anonymous said...

Land was cheaper then, I guess.