OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES - 1925
Scanned By Howard Osburn
Presented by The Wayne County Genealogical & Historical Society
(WCN - 1/15/1925) EARLY NEWSPAPERS REVEAL FACTS OF VITAL INTEREST TO OUR READERS OF TODAY;
HASN'T BEEN SO LONG SINCE VALUABLE LANDS SOLD FOR FROM $1.00 TO $3.00 AN ACRE.
HIGEST SALARIED COUNTY OFFICER GOT $350 A YEAR.
LUMBERING WAS BIG BUSINESS OF OLDEN DAYS.
DEMOCRATIC COUNTY CONVENTION OF 1884 LED BY MEN WHO ARE NOW REPUBLICANS.
769 CASES ON COURT DOCKET IN 1885.
Wayne County is not what she used to be—say, forty years ago!
This truth was bought vividly to mind this week when the writer spent a few hours rambling through issues of Wayne county newspapers that were published back In 1584, 1885 and 1886.
We found a lot of Interesting things about the Wayne County of forty year ago and its people. A recital of a few of the outstanding facts that these early issues of Wayne County newspapers should be of immense human interest and historical value to our readers today, and so we have prepared this story which we hope you will enjoy.
Our Early Newspapers
By way of introductory explanation, we should say that the first newspaper ever published in Wayne County was "The Ceredo Cresant" which began in December 1857, before the Civil War. W. B. Wilson was proprietor and C. B. Webb editor of this paper. This Paper expired in 1861. The second venture in journalism in Wayne county was the publication of "The Wayne Advocate" at Trouts Hill (now the town of Wayne), in August 1874 by P. B. Lewis who came to this county from Western Reserve, Ohio. This paper was the forerunner of the present "Wayne County News" which you now hold in your hands. This paper was later moved to Cassville (now Fort Gay) and again moved back to Trouts Hill (or Wayne) in 1880, where it has been published continuously ever since. Among those who have from time to time since its birth been conected with this paper as owners or editors are the following: Byron C. Howell, Dr. A. Workman, C. R. Enslow, McFarland Booton, C. W. Hutchinson, H. R. Shumate, W. M. Workman, B. J. Prichard, W. L. Mansfield, C. L. Deane, Boyd Jarrell, C. G. Fry, O. J. and J. W. Rife and the present management. "The Ceredo Enterprise" was begun in Ceredo in September 1881 by W. M. Workman and Lee C. Salyes. A year later T. T. McDougal (present editor and owner of the Ceredo Advance) purchased the interest of Salyes and continued the publication of "The Enterprise" and later the publication of "The Ceredo Advance" and "The Kenova Reporter."
Mr. McDougal had formerly been associated with P. C. Morris in the publication of the "West Virginia Star," later "The Ritchie Gazette," and still later founded "The Lincoln Clipper." Wayne County News was first known as "The Wayne Advocate," then as "The Wayne News" under the managements of Mansfield, Jarrell, Rife and Fry. The name was changed to "Wayne County News" in September 1919 when the paper was assumed by the present management.
With the foregoing historical setting in our minds, we turn to the old issues of the "Advocate" and "Enterprise" published back in the eighties:
Happenings In 1884
In 1884 The Advocate did not carry a single line of Wayne County news on either the front or back pages. It was a four-page paper, eight columns to the page, and the local happenings were largely confined to the first three columns on page three.
Among the items of interest in the "Advocate" in 1884 are the following:
The county was being "pestered" with lightning rod agents. and a good many of the leading citizens were buying rods.
An educational column was begun in the Advocate in 1884 by Professor T. B. McClure, who still lives in Wayne. The following paragraph appeared in Professor McClure's column:
"We used the following words in our school Friday, January 25th:
Mulberry, pacify, rarely, camonulo, baiting, brooch, briuse, brews, clause, fossil, fete, gorgeous, calamus, freeze, gait, persuade, guest, corrode, Hugh, thirteen, ode, owing, wrestle, libeling.
The following are the highest percentages;
Jennie E. Ratcliff 96
M. J. Ferguson 88
W. B. Spurlock 80
Zara E. Hutchinson 72
Julia Burke 72
A. G. Wilkinson 72
C. E. Walker 72
T. B. McCLURE."
Coal in 1884 in the town of Wayne was selling at 17 to 20 cents a bushel--and was scarce.
Hogs were reported as being "terribly high due to the prevalence of cholera, causing hogs to sell as high as 6 and 7 cents a pound."
One of the big questions of the day was whether the railroad would be built up the right fork or left fork of Twelve Pole; the interest in that issue seemed quite as lively as the interest taken in the county seat removal questions in recent years.
An item is found in the issue of May 1, 1884 which reads: "Married by the Rev. J. D. Garrett on April 24, 1884, Mr. John W. Mitchell and Miss Mary Bloss." Mr. Mitchell is now postmaster at Wayne.
Land Is Cheap
Advertisement of land for sale was carried by the H. K. Shumate Real Estate Agency, of Wayne, offering for sale valuable land in Wayne, Logan and Lincoln counties at prices ranging from $1.00 to $3.00 an acre. This included both mineral and surface. Much of the land in the famous Logan coal field was bought and sold in those days for one dollar to three dollars an acre, $1.50 being the average price. A 350 acre farm in Wayne county, with all kinds of good buildings and orchards, including residence, is offered for sale for $1,000 with one-fourth down and balance in three years.
By order of the town council all persons living in the town of Wayne were ordered to take their hogs off the streets and "confine them in suitable pens."
A rise in Twelve Pole took down at least eight thousand fine logs and a vast quantity of staves." Most of the timber was oak. Timbering was one of the chief industries in Wayne county in that day.
"Bull Durham Tobacco" and "Tutt's Pills" were the only two commodities advertised In the Advocate in 1884 that can still be found on the market today.
County Court Expenses
One of the most interesting things found in the ramble through files of old Wayne county newspapers was a copy of "The Ceredo Enterprise" of August 5, 1884, which published the Financial Statement of the expendtures of Wayne county for the year ending May 31, 1884. In 1884 the highest salaried officer In Wayne county was the prosecuting attorney and he received only $350 a year. The names of the officers of 1884 and their yearly salaries were:
John S. Marcum, pros. atty. $350
Wm. E. Wilkinson, sheriff $175
Jas. P. Wellman, cir. clerk $175
P. H. Napier, county clerk $200
Alderson Walker, jailor $85
G. L. Wheeler, assessor 1st dist $250
Jas. Queen, assessor 2nd dist $250
The three commissioners of the county court each received a salary of $54 a year.
The total election expense in the county for the year 1884 was $11.35, which was paid to S. J. Ferguson, Abraham Vaughan and J. W. Merrick, who served as election commissioners.
1884 County Recapitulations
Following is the recapitulation or summary of all county government expenses for the year ending May 1884, including the total county expenses and total road expenses. These should be interesting to taxpayers of this present day as a matter of comparison with our present government, which has necessarily grown more complex as the county has grown and developed. The 1884 recapitulations are as follows:
General County Expense
Salary of officers $1485.30
County court expense 166.00
Election expense 11.35
Stationery and books 264.15
Witness and jury fund 1699.70
Incidental expenses 2332.38
Pauper fund 1936.89
Total expense 7595.57
County levy of 1883 9986.51
Bal. in sherif's hands 2090.94
County Road Expense
General county $3800.00
1st district 6000.00
2nd district 9500.00
3rd district 12000.00
6th district 500.00
Total road expense $31,800,001
Old-time Democratic Convention
"The Wayne Advocate", in its issue of June 5, 1884, publishes a lengthy news story of a rousing Democratic convention that was held at Wayne on Monday of that week. W. L. Mansfield was Democratic County Chairman, Chapman Adkins was Secretary of the County Committee. Among those who took a prominent part in the proceedings of the convention were John S. Marcum and Z. T. Vinson, who were active Democrats in those days but both of whom have since joined the ranks of the Republican party.
Typical News Item
Typical of the news items that appeared in the "Advocate" we quote the following paragraph relative to James FrIzzell, a resident of Wayne in those days:
"James Frizzell one day last week went to the country in the capacity of Deputy Sheriff to attach a witness. He found him and did the necessary "attaching," and gave him permission to change his clothes for something better, as he was coming on visit to the Hotel tie Walker, (namely, the jail) situated very near our courthouse. While James was enjoying the scenery from the front porch, the witness was seeking the secluded shades of the mountain forests to the rear. James came home a sadder and wiser man, and has handed in his resignation.
Prices Of Groceries
An advertisement for Ferguson & a Watts' store, at Wayne, quoted the following prices on groceries: Sugar 12 1-2; Arbuckle coffee five pounds for one dollar; breakfast bacon 15c a pound; Lard 14c; shoulder 11c; flour $6 to $8.50 per barrell.
Sunday School Founded
A meeting was called of citizens of the town of Wayne in January 1885 for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Sunday school. The M. E. church already had a Sunday school here at that time. The "Latter Day Saints" were holding preaching here then.
Circuit Court Docket
The circuit court docket for the January term of 1885 was quite as crowded as is the present-day docket, according to the following paragraph from the "Advocate:"
The circuit court docket of our of court is reaching beyond control of any Judge. There are 769 cases on the Docket, arranged as follows: State appearance 247; State issue 245; appeal 52; office judgment 20, and Chancery cases 205. It would take one-half of the term to call the Docket if an enquiry was to be made as to the Status of each case. We need relief and need it badly. We must either have more time or an Intermediate Court."
Ads On First Page
Newspapers in those days had no scruples against carrying advertisements on the first Pages. Even as late as 1906 we find most of the front pages of "The Wayne County News" taken up by display advertising. The advertisements of liquor houses in Williamson, Huntington and Catlettsburg made up a considerable part of the display advertising that was carried. "A. Goodman" of Williamson and "Ziegler & Behrend" are the names of two famous saloons were regular advertising patrons of "The Wayne News" for a great many years.
From Local Column
The following paragraphs are taken from the "Local News Column" of the "Advocate" dated April 8th, 1886:
The martins have come again.
Fresh fish are quite plentiful in Huntington we understand.
Be courteous to Strangers that are among us.
The season is coming when cows try to climb trees.
To cure dull times; apply an advertisement to the afflicted parts.
Onions, greens and hogs jowl make up the favorite dish at this season.
The farmers of Wayne county should form an Association for the raising of thoroughbred stock, It will pay.
Its a strange thing that a man who knows exactly how to run a newspaper is always engaged in some other kind of business!
The small boy trots out his agate and his glass-eye, draws a ring on the pavement where men most do congregate, and bids business give way to pleasure. Sweet child, lovely flower, what would the Spring be without you?
The time of year is drawing near when the wives and mothers of America will attire themselves in a faded, ragged, calico mother-hubbard, encase their heads in a tattered remnant shawl, and tear up the carpets, pile up the furniture in the back yard, scold everybody, slop water all over the floor between the roof and ground, set out cold dinners, and then call the operation "house cleaning."
The front gate party for this season is approaching.
High water caused the missing of the mail last week. The Huntington carrier failed on both trips.
The tide waters of Twelve Pole last week swept away quite a number of small bridges, and slips in the road are numerous, thus almost stopping the usual travel. Wagons cannot get in any direction from our town owing to these difficulties. It is estimated that from 30,000 to 50,000 logs in Twelve Pole went out it the rise last week, and in addition a great many staves were drifted. The old excuse we often hear "wait till I get my timber out" can avail no longer in Wayne county. Times certainly should get better now.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week there fell about six inches of snow here, which is rather late for snow.
Messrs. C. W. Ferguson, W. S. Napier, G. G. Burgess, Burwell Spurlock and a number of ethers in our vicinity are down the river looking after timber interests.
J. M. Tiernan was recently thrown out of his buggy on rough roads returning from Ceredo and has been kept closely about home for several clays.
The Editor wants twenty nice hens, and some potato onion sets, which he will take on subscription, or pay market price in cash.
The ubiquitous drummer is moving around as usual.
The following story, which reminds the editor of The Advocate of the cat who weighed the cheese for two monkeys, is now going the rounds in this community: A prosperous farmer of Owingsville, Kentucky, a widower of over 50 years of age, has two sons, who were both in love with the same girl. The young lady found it very difficult to decide which to take, and the old man solved the problem by sending the boys off on business and marrying the girl himself while they were away.
Times Have Changed
From 1885 to 1925 is a good span of years—and times have changed since the days of The Wayne Advocate. Railroads have since been built in the county; the timber has largely been cut down and sold; automobiles have replaced horses and buggies; mineral wealth has been developed; business enterprises, unknown in 1885 have grown to places of power and influence in the commonwealth; the population of the county has increased from a scant scattering of people to nearly thirty thousand; agricultural development has been noteworthy; the business of the county government has developed from simple organization to a complex business machine. Property valuations have increased from less than five million dollars to nearly forty million dollars.
Some folks have a tendency to look upon the olden days as the "good old days" and say that crime and hatred and all other evils were less in evidence than in modern times; others disagree with this view and regard this present day as far surpassing any period of history.
But however that may be, it has been worth your while, we hope, to view Wayne county as it was forty years ago as has been pictured in the foregoing descriptive touches of life in the eighties. In 1965 possibly this newspaper will draw a comparison with that age and our present 1925 that will show even more remarkable changes in Wayne county forty years hence than has taken place in the same period that has Just past.
(WCN - 2/12/1925) Thriving City Of Williamson Is Located On Farm Of Man Who Read The Future
Many Wayne county people know Wallace J. Williamson, founder of the Mingo county metropolis which bears his name. The following interesting story of the founding of the city of Williamson is written by Phil M. Conley, editor of "The West Virginia Review." of Charleston, the State magazine. Already a near neighbor to Wayne county, the city of Williamson (and all Mingo county for that matter) is drawn closer to us by the Tug River Highway, now nearing completion, which traverses both Wayne and Mingo counties. So Wayne countians will be particularly interested in the following story of the man who is recognized as the father of the booming little city to the South of us, Williamson. — Editor's Note.
BY PHIL M. CONLEY
Some thirty-five years ago a man and a boy were riding across the mountains from Tug River toward Catlettsburg, Kentucky. There was no railroad in those days in that section of West Virginia, and the wagon roads were for the most part creek beds and bridle paths.
The man said to his son as they stopped at the mountain stream for a drink: "Ben, I think I will buy the old homestead from your uncle."
"Do you want to move back?" asked the boy.
"Well, I think there will be a town on that farm some day. You know that is the only level spot of any size between Bluefield and Huntington. The old home place is about half way between those two cities."
"Do you think you ought to give up your timber business and move where nobody lives?' asked the boy.
"People will live there in a few years, possibly more than now live in Catlettsburg."
Thus was made the decision on the part of Wallace J. Williamson to purchase the thousand acre farm that had belonged to his father and the farmhouse where the future founder of Williamson was born. Here he learned the lessons taught by hard work on a farm where machinery was practically unknown.
When he grew to manhood, he decided to go where he would have more opportunities for success. Consequently he moved to Catlettsburg in 1880 where he engaged in the timber business.
In talking with the writer, this man, who has solved many intricate business and commercial problems, said: "A great many men who entered the timber business in the early days, failed. I am proud of the fact that by hard and persistent work, I was able to succeed in my efforts."
In 1890, after the conversation reported above with his son, Mr. Williamson organized a company consisting of himself as president, Col. John Q. Dickinson, Judge T. H. Harvey, R. H. Prichard and Taylor Vincent. Incorporation papers were secured in the name of the Williamson Mining and Manufacturing Company. Soon after the company purchased the Williamson farm from Mr. Williamson's younger brother for thirty thousand dollars.
Mr. Williamson was made president and manager of the company, and has continued active head of the concern to this date. At eighty years of age he continues to spend part of each day in the office back of the bank of which he is president. The day I talked with him he remained at his office until six o'clock, and was there when I passed in the evening at ten o'clock.
I asked this veteran business man if he anticipated a town would be built where Williamson now stands, and he replied: "Yes sir I knew it would. I knew the railroad was going to be built along the Tug river, and this is the only site suitable for a town. Today the largest railroad yards in West Virginia are located here."
He told about the panic of 1893 and how he saw some dark days in the business he had set out to develop, but through it all his judgment told him that the venture was bound to succeed. Ten years after the town site was purchased, 1900, the census taker passed by without giving a report on the town. Ten years later the population was reported 3,561, and the last census reports 6,819.
Mingo county was a part of Logan County until 1895. Mr. Williamson and his associates worked strenuously to have that section cut off by the Legislature. The company of which Mr. Williamson was manager paid all of the expenses for the suveys made by the engineers to make a separate county.
Today the city he founded is larger, and a great deal more commercial importance than the city of Catlettsburg where he first located.
"No man ever lost any money in real estate in Williamson," proudly declared the man who at one time owned the land on which the city is built.
(WCN - 2/26/1925) DOUBLE-TRACKING OF BIG SANDY LINE THROUGH WAYNE COUNTY IS STUPENDOUS WORK
"What is the biggest commercial or business enterprise underway in Wayne County at the present time?"
This question was asked the writer his week.
Our reply was: The double-tracking the Norfolk & Western Railroad over the old line between Kenova and Naugatuck.
To which our questioner said: well, why don't you tell the readers of Wayne County News about that very significant development, for everybody in Wayne County must be more or less directly affected by a business enterprise of such proportions."
We agreed and so, with the co-operation of Mr. Holcombe Parkes, editor of The N. & W. magazine, we have prepared the story.
The double-tracking of the Big Sandy line means, for one thing, the expenditure of thousands of dollars on the improvement of the county road which lie alongside the railroad. Dangerous overhead railroad crossings have been eliminated. It is estimated that the county road changes incident to the double tracking project is costing the railroad approximately $ 108,000.00 on the section between Kenova and Prichard. No estimate is available as to the probable cost of road changes from Prichard up.
The need for a double track between Kenova and Naugatuck has been apparent to the railroad company for a long time, or nearly ever since the first track was laid along this line 20 years ago.
Actual work was started in the summer of 1923 and when completed it will greatly relieve that intermittent congestion that has appeared on that line in the last few years because of the ever increasing volume of traffic.
Double tracking this line does not present the difficulties that were experienced in the building of the original line, when the engineering forces were hampered by the problem of getting supplies and materials to the right-of-way and when all grading, bridges, etc., had to be built thru practically virgin forest in a mountainous country. On the other hand, maintaining the heaviest traffic known on that line while building the second track nearby offsets the original problems. And this traffic has and is being moved with comparatively little delay.
Superintendent D. F. Peters, Scioto Division, states that during one month, when probably the maximum amount of construction work was being done over almost the entire length of Big Sandy Line, an average of 33 trains, including freight and passenger, was handled daily. The freight trains averaged 4,820 tons each, an average of more than 1,500 cars daily. This is nothing short of remarkable when it is known that from seven to ten work trains have been in service daily and much of their work, such as hauling material for fills, handling pile drivers, derricks in reconstructing bridges, steam shovels making cuts, and similar operations, must be done from the main or original track. And with it all the construction work has moved forward rapidly.
The first work on the second track started at Naugatuck at a point just east of the station. Since this is the Junction joint for the Old Line and Big Sandy Line, some added facilities were necessary. Three or four hundred yards west of the station is a high mountain. As one approaches from the east, Big Sandy line goes around it to the left while the Old Line goes to the right. By making a considerable cut at the end of this mountain, room was made for a connecting track between the two lines, thus completing a wye. The interlocking tower was moved from just east of the station to a suitable point within this wye so that the operator can handle traffic in all three directions. A complete new interlocking plant was installed. Now a train can come east on Big Sandy, head around this mountain and go west on the Old Line or vice versa. Heavy Westbound trains made up on Lenore Branch or the Old Line can move with the current of traffic by going to Naugatuck, then via the connecting track to Big Sandy.
It has been the practice for many years, and is at the time this is written, for eastbound slow freight trains to move over the Old Line. There are also two passenger trains, Nos. 27 and 28, which operate between Kenova and Williamson on this line. West-bound freight trains, time freights and passenger trains in both directions, move over Big Sandy Line. From this it will be seen that Big Sandy has been operated much the same as a single track railroad and so the second track will make for much better operating conditions.
The first three miles of double track was completed and put into operation in March, 1924. This extends from Naugatuck to a point near Tunnel No. 1, where a temporary telegraph office called "Panco" has been opened. The next work commenced at Kenova and at the time this is written the second track is completed and in operation to Fort Gay, a distance of about 26 miles. The work from Tunnel No. 1 to Tunnel No. 4 beyond Crum is nearly completed and the second track between Webb and Fort Gay will probably be completed about June 1. This will end the track work with the exception of about five miles in the tunnel section.
The building of the second track, proper, might be dismissed with the simple statement that this work consists of the necessary grading to provide a standard roadbed for an additional track paralleling the present widths for middle passing tracks, added masonry and pipe for bridge and culvert extensions and the widening of a few cuts. But that is not all. More and better facilities are required for a double track railroad, and particularly one over which so much traffic is handled and which seems to increase constantly.
In addition to the other improvements mentioned at Naugatuck, a new modern type all-steel 100,000 gallon capacity water supply tank was erected here. An additional assembly track was built at Kermit. At Stonecoal about nine miles west of Naugatuck, an assembly yard was constructed, consisting of two passing sidings and two full train length assembly tracks. Here, also, new water facilities will be constructed, including a modern water softener plant with a 200,000 gallon storage tank and two 100,000 gallon steel supply tanks with the necessary standpipes. Full train length middle passing sidings are also provided at Webb, Glenhayes, mile 31 (between Salt Peter and Fort Gay) Hewlett, Prichard, Cyrus an Neal.
An elaborate track layout with the most modern coal tipple, water softener plant, storage and supply tanks are some of the new facilities being provided at Prichard.
There are seven tunnels on Big Sandy Line, numbered consecutively, beginning with No. 1, which is nearest Naugatuck. These tunnels range in length from 250 to 2,600 feet. The construction of new tunnels for this second track would mean quite a large expenditure of money, and for the present it has been decided to gauntlet Nos. 1, 2, and 4, and to run the second track around No. 2.
The entire Big Sandy Line is also being equipped with a modern signal system.
Much could be said about the various things that had to be done in connection with this double tracking and the improvements that were made incident to it. It was necessary to rebuild four bridges, fill one large viaduct, construct three underground crossings, change the county roads in numerous places to eliminate hazardous grade crossings, and many other things. A great deal of the work is not visible to the average traveler, and the layman on a motor car would pass some of it unnoticed unless his attention be directed to it. The largest fill is at Cyrus where some trouble was experienced due to "break-down" making it necessary to "borrow much material to build up the fill.
(WCN - 4/30/1925) Death Ends Useful Career Of Wayne County Woman Who Taught 52 Years
When death claimed MRS. ARABELLA COPLEY, of Butler district, a few days ago, the Wayne County school system lost one of its most useful builders, one who had been a teacher in the schools of this county for more than half a century.
The deceased, who was the widow of the late D. D. Copley, had been ill for sometime. She died April 3, 1925, at the home of her daughter Mrs. Lizzie Toney, at the age of 73 years. She had been ill with cancer for about two years.
Although she herself never had the opportunity of going to school but very little, Mrs. Copley studied at home, took advantage of every chance to improve herself and became a teacher in the Wayne county schools. She taught school here for 52 years and was regarded as one of the most competent instructors in the county school system.
Mrs. Copley attended one term of school to Frank Chapman, now of Huntington, and a part of a term at Prof. T. B. McClure's school in Wayne but her education was interrupted by the Civil War, after which her mother died, leaving her with the care and responsibility of the family.
Mrs. Copley taught her first school when she was sixteen years old at the mouth of Dragg Creek in the old log M. E. church which used to stand there That was fifty-eight years ago. The seats of her pupils in this school were rough hewn logs. There were no black-boards, pencils or tablets and very few slates or books. In her early schools Mrs. Copley did not have a bell, but called the children in by rapping on the door of the building with a switch. The term of the schools in this county then was only four months.
When Mrs. Copley began teaching school, and for several years afterwards, there were no uniform examinations. The county superintendent would visit her school and ask her a few questions on spelling, arithmetic, grammar and geography and if he regarded her as good enough to teach he would sit down right on the spot and write her out a certificate. While Mrs. Copley was teaching her first school at Dragg the county superintendent visited her school, briefly tested her knowledge and before leaving gave her a second-grade certificate. In later years she attended the uniform examination and always made good grades, notwithstanding that practically all of her knowledge of text-books had been gained by home-study. She only attended the two schools before mentioned and this was before she was ten years old.
In writing to the editor of Wayne County News sometime ago Mrs. Copley made the following statement in reply to our question about what outstanding changes and improvements she saw in the modern schools over the schools of the olden days:
"Some of the noteworthy developments since I first began teaching are the uniform examinations, which gives teachers equal justice; free text books and uniform text books, which gives the poor child a chance to get an education; the graded schools which do so much to encourage the pupils to climb higher educationally; the well equipped and comfortable school houses; but the best of all advancements are our efficient, enthusiastic and well-trained teachers. I hope the young teachers as well as the old will always remember they are going out to train the rising generation for good citizenship, and that they will always set an example of truth, honesty and industry before their pupils, for it is only by example that we can teach those virtues."
Mrs. Copley lived her teachings, and for that reason she will long live in the loving remembrance of her former pupils and all those who were fortunate enough to know her. She was a good Christian woman and was a teacher of the Bible class at her home Sunday school at Bartram Chapel for many years.
Her death is sad news to hundreds of Wayne county people who knew her and loved her for the unselfish service she had given to the boys and girls who were under her charge during her teaching experience of over half a century.
She leaves one brother, Jollin Beaire, of Fort Gay; two sisters, Mrs. Joe Damron of Maybe, Michigan, and Mrs. Olive Wilson of Iowa; and two children, Mrs. Fanny Wellman and Mrs. Lizzie Toney, both of Fort Gay.
Her funeral was conducted by Bro. L. D. Bryan at the M. E. Church in Fort Gay and she was laid to rest in the Beaire cemetery.
(WCN - 5/14/1925) PIONEER SCHOOL DAYS DESCRIBED BY LOCAL TEACHER
Columbus Harris, veteran school teacher of Wayne county, and well known citizen of Crum, this county, graphically described the old-fashioned spelling bee in an interesting article which appeared in a recent issue of The Christian Science Monitor, a prominent national daily newspaper. Harris is still a teacher in the county schools and is at present also secretary of the Board of education of Lincoln district. Following is the story as carried by the Monitor___Editor's Note.
Crum, W. Va.— In two generations of progress the old log cabins of West Virginia have been swept away and a transformation has been worked impressive even in the United States where many a frontier post has grown almost overnight into a populous city.
Columbus F. Harris, school teacher of Crum, has taught school in West Virginia for 40 years and has seen the transformation which it is difficult for newcomers to realize. Mr. Harris has "boarded out" with the parents of his scholars in the backwoods settlement; has gone to school in a log cabin where light was admitted only through small apertures left in the logs, and has attended and presided over good old fashioned "spellin" bees."
Many Noted Pupils
At this time Mr. Harris has been what he still is—a teacher, sending out the sturdy stock of the pioneer into every activity of the rapidly growing state, leaving his impress on whole families of students that sent their own children to him in turn, until in his own community, in some cases three generations have come to him for instruction, within school out out.
Dr. H. D. Hatfield, now of Huntington and formerly Governor of the state was one of Mr Harris' pupils and a legion of other former students have taken high places In the professions and organizations of West Virginia
Mr. Harris began to teach school in the fall of 1886. He received $22 a month for his work, and there were "three months of schooling in the School Year." Besides this salary, he was boarded at the homes of the scholars, where the school teacher is always welcomed for his social prestige.
Teacher Supply Inadequate
Back in those early days there were not enough teachers to go round, consequently villages and communities alternated their three months school terms, so that when a teacher had finished imparting a "years" instruction to the youth of one community he was eagerly received by the next one. Even under this arrangement some towns were unable to get teachers, and then the pupils went for a year with no school training.
Nothing better illustrates the gigantic awakening that West Virginia has experienced than to compare the conditions of those days with the present, Mr. Harris said. Critics of West Virginia are the first to forget, Mr. Harris said, that this recently wild and mountainous state has been brought forward into one of the most powerful commercial entities of the nation, almost within a generation and that the fine school and road systems of today are comparatively recent in relation to the progress of other eastern states.
Rode Horseback to School
Pupils came riding to school astride one of the family horses in the early days of Mr. Harris' career, he said. Good roads in the modern sense were unknown in the school districts and great hardships were experienced by the pupils to get to school. But there was a "passion for learning" in the thought of the pioneer stock and they were determined their children should have whatever advantages of schooling there were.
In those three months of study Mr. Harris found an intensity and earnestness on the part of pupils that is not to be found today, he said. Even though the curriculum was cramped and narrow, there was a thoroughness that constituted a liberal lesson in itself.
The whole village assembled for the "'spellin' bee." The teacher was there at the head of things, and probably the neighboring minister as well. The spelling book was "Webster." Noah Webster, the great American lexicographer, probably has never had the full honor paid to him which is his due as one of the strongest influences in American history to bring civilization into the wilderness and literacy to a frontier.
Community Joins In
The "spellin' bee: was an Friday afternoons, beginning at 1 o'clock, and lasting often to 4." Mr. Harris continued. "On ordinary occasions everyone joined in the contest save the pupils, but once or twice a term there would be a grand gathering. most of the community would be there. They joined in the fun and received their school day memories. A good speller was held in the highest esteem by the whole backwoods community. The winner of the "spellin' bee" was a marked man. In the primitive community there was even then this American honor paid to the "scholar" and pathetic as this condition might seem to some in the present day, Mr. Harris feels that there was something fine in this striving to keep the light of knowledge burning despite all handicaps.
The "Bee" was conducted, Mr. Harris said, in this wise;
The school teacher named two of the best spellers, and these, in turn, chose sides." Sometimes the teacher was chosen, and then the exciting possibility of "spellin’ down" the teacher arose. Usually, however, the teacher officiated at the formalities.
Pronounce And Spell
Beginning at the well-thumbed first table of easiest words in Webster’s "Blue Book Speller," the teacher announced each word. The leader of one side spelled out the first word, pronouncing each syllable after spelling it, and then the whole word at the conclusion. The next word was taken by the leader of the rival side. The minute there was a misspelling the pupil at fault dropped out, and the one whose turn it was on the other side took up the word.
Sometimes one unfamiliar work would "mow down" a number of pupils. But more often the pupils and villagers, who had practically memorized the book in the keen competitions of the past, would rattle through the words in question at a great speed, and if someone on the opposite side faltered or misspelled, the adversary would take the word out of his mouth in an instant and finish it correctly.
Mr. Harris still recalls the thrill he got when he, then a pupil, "spelled down" a recently ordained minister visiting the community. Mr. Harris remembers the word - it was "apprise," and the young minister spelled it with a "z" - a variation which ;the abridged Webster did not recognize.
(WCN - 6/11/1925) MEDALS HERE FOR MEN WHO WERE IN WAR
Every Wayne county man who saw service in the Army, Navy or Marine corps during the World War has waiting for him at Wayne a beautiful medal, especially designed and made for the purpose of commemorating the services performed by Wayne county men in the late war.
The medals have already been received by Lieut. Monroe T. Frye, of the Officers Reserve Corps U. S. A., who will distribute them to the ex-service men from the office of the County Clerk, at Wayne, where Mr. Frye is employed as office deputy.
A few years ago the War Memorial monument was placed on the court house square in Wayne. The money for this was raised by a special levy, as authorized by an act of the legislature. After the monument was built and paid for it was found that there still remained a substantial surplus in the monument fund. By an order of the county court a few months ago this money was directed to be used toward buying a medal for every Wayne county man who was in service during the World War and in the court order Monroe T. Frye was designated to have charge of the purchasing and distribution of the medals.
The medals arrived this week, and they are beautiful in their design and workmanship. A silver medal is awarded to the men who saw service over-seas and a bronze medal for those who were not transferred overseas. On the face or the medal is a striking likeness of General Anthony Wayne, in relief, the man for whom Wayne County was named. The medal is attached to a bar pin fastener and hangs from a blue ribbon. On the reverse side of the medal is this wording: "Presented by Wayne County, West Virginia For Service In The World War, 1917-1918."
How To Get Medals
Lieut. Frye announced that a medal will be issued to every Wayne County nan who presents his discharge from service. It is necessary that the discharge be presented in order that it can be properly stamped, showing that the medal has been issued, thus avoiding duplication. If possible every Wayne County ex-service man should appear in person at the county clerk's office and bring his discharge, but if it is absolutely impossible to come in person the discharge may be mailed to Lieut. Frye, and in this event five cents postage should be included to cover mailing charges on the Medal. A total of 545 medals have been received. Wayne County had between 500 and 550 men in service in the World War.
(WCN - 6/18/1925) TRAINS TAKEN FROM OLD LINE TO BIG SANDY
With the completion of the double- tracking of the Norfolk & Western along Big Bandy and Tug Rivera from Kenova to Naugatuck, practically all freight trains which formerly operated over the old line by way of Wayne and Dunlow have been transferred to the Big Sandy line.
The main traffic on the old line at present consists of passenger trains number 27 and 28, the East Lynn and Williamson locals and one other freight train each day.
The transfer of traffic from the old line to the new line has already resulted in a number of N. & W. employees on the old line losing their jobs, since it will not require the usual number of men to maintain this division with the lessened traffic. Section crews and coal and water tenders on this division are being cut down by recent orders from the company.
Contrary to reports which have gained some currency, the discontinuance of the usual volume of freight traffic on the old line has not indicated bad business conditions, according to B. Mosser, veteran agent of the N. & W. at Wayne. In fact the N. & W. is handling a heavier freight traffic than formerly, but trains are being routed up the Big Sandy line, Mr. Mogser explains. However, the passenger traffic has been reduced somewhat during the past two months and a chief factor in this is believed to be the fact that many people who formerly depended on passenger trains now avail themselves of the opportunity of traveling in automobiles over improved roads.
The transfer of traffic from the old line to the new line will result in an immense saving to the company, according to Mr. Mosser. On the Big Sandy line the distance between Kenova and Naugatuck is twenty-five miles shorter than it is by way of Wayne and Dunlow. Then, also, eastbound freight trains pull 110 cars on the new line while 86 ears was the maximum load on the old line.
There is no foundation to the report which some have circulated to the fact that the company will probably try to abandon the old line altogetler later on, Mr. Mosser said. This division will handle the usual local freight and passenger traffic and will be used in emergencies when traffic is interrupted by wrecks or other causes on the Big Sandy division.
(WCN - 6/25/1925) TUG HIGHWAY NOW OPEN TO TRAFFIC
Automobile traffic between Williamson and Huntington is now being routed over the Tug River Highway through Wayne, although a small section of the road is still under construction. In dry weather the trip can be made without difficulty. Markers reading "State Route No. 8" have e been placed along most of this road to guide motorists.
Work is now going forward rapidly on the unfinished portions of the Highway which in its entirety extends from Huntington, through Lavalette, Wayne, Dunlow, Williamson and Welch to Bluefield.
Following is an official announcement of the present conditions of the various sections of road which comprise the Tug River Highway which was received this week from the State Road Commission by Wayne County News:
Huntington to Lavalette paved 7 miles; thence to Wayne good earth road 11 miles; Wayne Town brick 2 miles; Wayne-Echo good earth road 4 miles: Echo-Dunlow good earth road 17 miles; Dunlow to top of Bull Creek Mountain 8 miles earth road under construction passable in dry weather; Bull Creek Mountain-Marrowbone Creek good earth road 11 miles; Marrowbone Creek-Kermit under construction detour passable but rough 2 miles; Kermit-Naugatuck good earth road 8 miles; Naugatuck-Williamson 2 miles paved, 14 miles good earth road; Williamson-Mary Taylor good earth road 8 miles; Mary Taylor-Horsepen 20 miles gravel; Horsepen-Gilbert good earth road 3 miles; Gilbert-Justice good earth road 5 miles, ford at Justice at low water; Justice-Iaeger 14 miles, 12 miles under construction impassable for motor vehicles; Iaeger-Roderfield fair earth road 10 miles; Roderfield-Claren poor macadam 3 miles; Claren-Davy fair macadam 4 miles; Davy-Welch paved 8 miles; Welch-Maybeury paved 18 miles; Maybeury-Simmons paved 7 miles; Simmons-Bluefield paved 9 miles.
(WCN - 6/25/1925) TO DEDICATE NEW ORPHANAGE 28TH
The Wayne County Orphanage, which was recently organized and established as told in this paper in our issue of June 11th, will be formally opened and dedicated on Sunday, June 28th, according to announcement Tuesday by the secretary of the Orphanage Mrs. A. E. Evans.
A very interesting program has been prepared for the occasion which will be held at three o'clock in the afternoon at the County Infirmary building. A portion of the Infirmary building has been set aside for the exclusive use of the Orphanage and this part of the building has just been re-arranged and beautified. A number of welfare workers of State prominence are expected to attend the dedicatory services and people from all over the county have announced their intentions of being there. A general invitation is extended to the public.
The Orphanage will be maintained for the homeless and needy children of Wayne county. There are already six children who will be cared for as soon as the orphanage is opened. Some person will be appointed as a representative of the Orphanage in each of the seven districts in the county.
(WCN - 6/25/1925) TWO MEN SHOT ON STONECOAL CREEK IN RAID
Two Wayne county men, Sheridan Marcum and Harlin Williams, of Crum, are in a hospital at Williamson where they are recovering from gunshot wounds which were sustained last Thursday night when prohibition officers were making a raid on a moon shine still on Stone Coal Creek, about two and a half miles below Kermit. The shooting is said to have taken place in Wayne county not far the Mingo county line.
Sheridan Marcum had the fourth finger of his right hand blown away and his right leg was fractured below the knee. Williams had his right leg fractured above the knee.
There seems to be several versions of just how the shooting occurred, but it seems that George W. Damron, Mingo county deputy sheriff and prohibition officer, had located a moonshine still on the head of Stone Coal Creek. Damron is said to have deputized several men to watch the still while he went for the State Police as he anticipated trouble. Williams and Marcum are said to have walked up the creek and encountered the officers near the still. They were ordered to submit to arrest, but according to the officers they started to run and the deputies fired, two bullets striking Marcum and one striking Williams. Damron, the prohibition agent, was not present when the shooting occurred.
The two injured men were immediately rushed to the Williamson hospital where they will be confined for several days from the result of the wounds from the shots.
Marcum and Williams claimed that they were ordered to submit to arrest by the Officer and that Marcum started to run. The officers then opened fire and both of them were injured. Williams is about 30 years of age and Marcum is 22 years old.
(WCN - 7/2/1925) KENOVA TO CYRUS ROAD COMPLETED
One of the recent outstanding road improvements in Wayne County that is perhaps not generally known to everyone is the new road from Kenova up to Cyrus, along the Big Sandy. The most interesting fact about this road is that it has been constructed by the N. & W. railroad without cost to the county, since the double-tracking of the Big Sandy division made necessary certain changes in the county road which paralleled the track.
Other road improvements are also being made above Cyrus, but the county road work done by the railroad between Cyrus and Kenova alone cost over one hundred thousand dollars.
County Engineer H. O. Wiles and the county court are to be congratulated upon their successful negotiations with the railroad company which made possible this important road improvement without cost to the county. One important feature of the improvement is that fifteen grade crossings have been eliminated by the changing of the road and the construction of three underpasses.
The grade work on the county road by the railroad company from Kenova to Cyrus is practically completed with the exception of the removal of some rock and repair work on a slide or two. The county road machines are being put on this road this week for the purpose of dressing it up. This road was traveled by the writer last Sunday. The improvements will be a revelation to anyone making the trip who has not been in constant touch with the changes which have been made.
(WCN - 7/2/1925) NEW KENOVA PAPER ISSUED LAST WEEK
The Kenova Press, Kenova's new weekly newspaper, began publication with it first issue last week under date of June 26th.
The new paper is eight pages, seven columns to the page and neatly printed, well arranged and carries a good number of advertisements. The Kenova Press was founded by John M. Curtis, editor and manager, and Roy Barber, both formerly connected with the Huntington newspapers.
It is understood that the new paper will be Republican in its political affiliations, but no announcement of policy in this regard is made in the initial issue. The paper will be published every Friday from its publication office at 613 Fifteenth Street, Kenova. The subscription rate is $2.00 a year.
The Press begins its existence with the announcement of a subscription campaign in which $2,500.00 in prizes are to be given away, including a Buick Six automobile as first prize. The other two papers published in Kenova and Ceredo, The Reporter and Advance, also have a subscription campaign underway in which $2,000 in prizes are offered, the major prize being an Overland sedan.
(WCN - 8/6/1925) HOARD TRACT IS SOLD IN CEREDO FOR $100,000.00
Through a cash transaction involving, it is said, approximately $100,000, Philadelphia interests have contracted for the purchase of between 50 end 60 acres on the Ohio river front in Kenova and Ceredo. Most of the land involved has been held for more than half a century by the Hoard interests at Ceredo, though portion of the lower tract was held jointly by the Hoard and Miller interests.
The deal is known to have been fully agreed upon and to await only the delivery of the deeds, before the money, which is now held in escrow by the First National Bank of Ceredo formally changes hands.
The deal involves three tracts, two of which, however, are adjacent, extending eastward to give a lineal frontage along the river front of 3,600 feet east from Twelfth street, Kenova. These two tracts contain approximately 45 acres. The second tract is near Bridge street, Ceredo, and contains about 11 acres and provides a river frontage of 800 feet. The deal was negotiated by S. Floyd Hoard of Ceredo and S. M. Wolfe of having involved a 15 acre tract on phis interests.
While there have been no announcements of any character in relation to the transaction, and the identity of the purchasers is left entirely to conjecture, important industrial development is believed by business men to be forecast by the sale.
This is the second important sale of industrial property made recently from the Hoard holdings, the first order of the county court on Tuesday which the new plant of the Union Concrete Pipe Company is now operating. (Obviously some mix up in the printing of the paper)
(WCN - 8/27/1925) WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT TWELVE POLE ?
"Ninety percent of the people who live on Twelve Pole Creek in Wayne County do not know that both forks of Twelve Pole rise in Mingo county and flow through Lincoln county before they reach Wayne."
That statement was made to Wayne County News this week by a Wayne County man who cited us to the West Virginia Geological survey reports to confirm his statement that both forks of Twelve Pole do rise in Mingo and flow through Lincoln.
In this connection a statement of facts concerning Twelve Pole should be interesting to readers of Wayne County News.
This stream takes its source at the base of the Guyan Mountain in Mingo county and flows in a general north-west direction and empties into the Ohio river near Ceredo.
How 12-Pole Was Named
The creek gets its name from the fact that the surveyors when locating the Savage land grant at its mouth in 1784, found its width to be twelve poles, or rods. Twelve Pole is said to have been named by George Washington, or at least by surveyors employed by Washington in making the Savage land grant survey.
It is the only large stream in the whole State of West Virginia having its source in the Ohio river section. The main Twelve Pole is formed by the junction of the East, or left Fork, with the West, or the Right Fork, at a point less than one mile south of the town of Wayne. The length of the creek from the junction of the two forks to the mouth is 31 miles. The principal tributaries to Twelve Pole from the junction of the two forks down to the mouth are: Toms Creek, Garretts Creek, Big Creek, Lynn Creek, Beech Fork, Camp Creek, Newcomb Creek, Plymale Branch, Haynies Branch, Buffalo Creek, Bobs Branch and Walkers Branch.
Source Of Left Fork
The East Fork, better known as the Left Fork of Twelve Pole has its source in the northern part of Mingo county and flows in a northwestern direction 11 1-2 miles through Mingo county, 1 1-2 miles through Lincoln county and 22 miles in Wayne county to the junction with Right fork. The length of this fork is thirty-five miles. The chief tributary streams to this fork are: Two Mile, Newcomb, Peter Cave, Little Lynn, Camp Creek, Laurel, Brush Creek, Lick Creek, Rich Creek, Beechy Branch, Cove Creek, Bluelick Branch, Kiahs Creek, Milam, McComas, Crane Nest Branch and Cowpen Fork.
Source Of Right Fork
The West, or Right Fork of Twelve Pole also rises in the Northern part of Mingo county and flows through Mingo for a distance of 15 miles, passing through the corner of Lincoln county and then through Wayne county for a distance of a little over 36 miles where it joins the Left Fork. The entire length of the Right Fork is 52 miles, which added the 31 miles from the Forks to the mouth of main Twelve Pole makes the length of the entire stream from farthest source 83 miles. The principal streams flowing into the Right Fork are: Patrick, Trace, Joels Branch, Billies Branch, Ferguson Branch, Big Branch, Missouri Branch, Moses Creek, Long Branch and Turkey Creek.
Is Scenic Stream
Twelve Pole is a historical and scenic stream. Its valleys provide some of the best farming land in the county. It is the sole means of transportation for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of timber which was floated in the pioneer days of this county. And the scenic beauty and splendor along Twelve Pole compares most favorably with that found in any other county in the State.
(WCN - 10/1/1925) Fire Destroys Old Big Lynn Church
The Old Comfort United Baptist church on Big Lynn Creek, near East Lynn, was destroyed by fire on Thursday night of last week. The fire is said to have been of incendiary origin and members of the church are making an effort to locate the parties responsible for the fire. No motive is known which would have led to this act by anyone.
Thursday night's fire recalls the fact that the Missionary Baptist church on the same creek, less than half a mile from the Old Comfort church, was burned last year.
The Old Comfort church is said to be the oldest church congregation in Wayne County. It was organized 80 years ago by Rev. Thos. Wooton and Rev. Patrick Napier, father of the late Judge P. H. Napier of Wayne.
(WCN - 11/19/1925) Fire Destroys Store And Threatens Office Of This Paper And Residences
(This store was located in Wayne, where Gino's Pizza is now located - Howard Osburn)
Fire completely destroyed the building and all of the contents of Sansom's Cash store in Wayne early Tuesday morning of this week. The loss sustained by the fire was approximately eighteen thousand dollars, only four thousand of which was covered by insurance, making a net loss of about fourteen thousand dollars. Part of the store records were in an iron safe and were thus saved.
The store was awned by R. S. Sansom and his son Elmer Sansom. The blaze is supposed to have originated from a gas stove which had been left burning in the store. This is only presumed as the cause of the fire, since the blaze was under such headway when discovered that it was impossible to determine the exact spot where it had started. The fire happened shortly after midnight Tuesday morning of this week.
It was first discovered by Elba Adkins, linotype operator for Wayne County News, who was aroused by the yelping cries of a dog tied at the rear of the News building, the second story of which is occupied as a residence by the Adkins family. When discovered, an alarm was spread thruout town and it was only a matter of a few minutes until a bucket-brigade was in action and it required heroic work to prevent the spread of the flames.
The office of Wayne County News, is located only two doors from the burned store building and was threatened by the flames to the extent that it seemed impossible to save this property and desks, office files and equipment, light machinery etc., were removed from the building. The Justice of the Peace office of R. S. Sansom and the Christian church are located between the burned store building and the office of Wayne County News. For a time it seemed inevitable that the flames would spread East on Keyser Street and endanger numerous residences.
Just as the fire was approaching its climax a change in the direction of the wind from East to West is believed to have prevented the further spread of the flames. The residences of Mrs. Barbara Burgess and Professor T. B. McClure, North and West of the fire were endangered by the change of the wind, but no damage was done to these properties except the slight scorching of paint on the houses.
Fortunately there was good water pressure in the reservoir of the local water-works, which provided water to combat the flames. A small hose attached to a hydrant at the home of Mrs. Barbara Burgess was also of material assistance. The J. P. office of Mr. Sansom, between the store and the Christian church, caught five several times but was saved by men who used hundreds of buckets of water effectively.
That this paper is able to reach its subscribers this week can be accredited to good work on the part of the volunteer fire-fighters and the change in the direction of the wind.
(WCN - 12/31/1925) A Trip Through Old McGuffy's Readers Brings Back Memories Of Other Days
"O, were you never a schoolboy,
And did you never train.
And feel that swelling of the heart,
You never can feel again,"
The opening stanzas of the old poem in the little green-backed McGuffey reader sends the thoughts of the older readers flying through the years. One's eyes dim and the throat grows tight with the memories that it invokes. To open one of these little volumes for the first time in forty years, is like stepping back into the past. From the yellow pages arise the scent of other days. On the fly leaf you read your name, written by your teacher, dead these many years. Each page recalls incidents of childhood, long, long forgotten scenes and faces.
Here are the old familiar wood-cuts, with the quaintly dressed figures, the strange scenes of land and sea, the oddly shaped houses, the men with luxuriant sideburns, stock collars and beaver hats, that puzzled you as a child, for you had never seen anything like them.
A spirit of high romance seems to cling to the very pages of the old McGuffy readers. This spirit is renewed in the hearts of everyone who studied the Old McGuffy readers by this interesting story of reminiscence from The Charleston Gazette, of which Hon. W. E. Chilton, known to many Wayne County folks, is the owner.
William and Alexander McGuffy, the authors of these books, were born in Pennsylvania, of pioneer parents and their education was begun in the log schoolhouses of the day. The text-books they used were of English origin, containing subject matter that was distinctly British. No school books were printed in America. As they grew older, the McGuffys realized the need of an American textbook and set to work to compile a substitute.
In the late fifties the work was completed and McGuffy's Eclectic readers were introduced to the American public. They met with instant success and were used in the schools of this country for more than fifty years. But in spite of their efforts, they could not entirely divorce the British influence. The illustrations and woodcuts had been made in England. This explains such strange clothes, the funny-shaped long trousers queer caps and seersucker coats. The scenes were English, and here and there in the stories a British touch is revealed. But the material was wholesome and American.
There are some who claim that they are the best textbooks ever used in the public schools. Be that as it may, the fact is that more great men arose from humble circumstances during this period than at any other time since. The quality of the works can best be judged by the quality of the citizenship turned out.
Competition of rival publishing companies, who often used unfair methods to introduce their own books, gradually forced the McGuffy Reader of the schools.
On the back cover of the readers was printed the West Virginia retail price list. Compare it with the prices charged for school books today. And consider that we now have the most modern printing appliances!
McGuffy's New Eclectic Speller, 15 cents; First Reader, 15 cents; Second Reader, 20 cents; Third Reader, 35 cents; Harvey's Grammar, 35 cents.
Somehow with the passing of the old readers, some say began the decline of the old youthful virtues, respect for age, for parents, kindness to dumb animals; and love of home life. Gone are the games and innocent pleasures, the simple joys of yesterday. Perhaps the changing of school books had something to do with it, perhaps not. Anyhow, the boys and girls who conned their lessons from these old books forty years ago will always remember them with a keen pleasure, mingled with sadness, for they were a part of that glorious period of their lives—youth!
Let us thumb through the little green third reader. Note how virtue is always rewarded. Observe the frequent references to God and His goodness, things that would arouse the ire of the modern Stokes and Darrows.
Here is the old woodcut, showing the truants lying under the tree and jering at the bright faced boy on his way to school.
"Haste thee, schoolboy, haste away,
Far too long has been thy stay."
Turning a page, we find the story of the boy who relieved the monotony of sheep tending by calling, "Wolf! Wolf!" and how help was denied him when the wolf really came. It ends with the old rhyme: The truth itself is not believed, from one who often was deceived."
Here is the touching story of "Walter Grey," who was carried away on a cake of floating ice. The one about the man who had spent a term in prison—a French war prison—and why he released the birds from their cages.
"The race for the mitten." Above the poem is the woodcut of little Ellen watching the kitten, just as she was forty years ago.
"The fable of the wind and the Sun." Another poem which begins:
"Remember, child, remember,
That God is in the sky,
That He looks down on all we do,
With an ever watchful eye."
Here is the pleasant little story of Edward, who gave his New Years present - two bright silver dollars - to the poor immigrants.
" The Cruel Boy Punished." "The Echo." "The Sluggards." "The Spring Walk." "The insolent Boy." "The Little Lord And The Farewell."
The poem "Mary Dow," that was sometimes sung to music. What a pathetic wail it was:
"My father was lost in the deep,
His ship never got to the shore,
And mother is sad and will weep,
To hear the wind blow and sea roar"
Who does not remember "Harry and the Guide Post"?
"The night was dark, and the sun was hid,
Behind the mountain grey.
And not a single star appeared,
To shoot a silver ray."
"Beware of the first drink," the sad story of Tom Smith, told by Uncle Philip. Remember how he said: "Oh, my dear boys, when old Uncle Philip is laid in his grave, remember that he told you the story of Tom Smith, and said to you: "Beware of the first drink. The man who does this will never become a drunkard!"
How pleasantly flows that old poem of Wadsworth's "We are Seven," and how familiar appears that cut, showing the man in beaver hat, frocktail coat and boots, talking with the little "cottage girl."
"I met a little cottage girl,
She was eight years old she said,
Her hair was curled with many a curl,
That clustered 'round her head."
"The Contented Boy," a snappy dialogue between Mr. Lenox and polite little Peter. And here is the "Young Soldiers."
"It seems to me but yesterday,
Or scarce so long ago—"
But yesterday! The hand that holds the little book trembles. The room grows dark. Up whirls a cloud, a vapor. It obscures the vision. The years seem suddenly to fall away, Worries, wrinkles, bodily ills, all disappear. Wife and family are not. Business, politics, sins and sorrows—all go up in whiff. And lo! you are a boy once more and you are reciting from that little book in a sing-song voice, back in the old schoolhouse.
Around you arises the faces of boyhood companions, now dead or scattered to the four corners of the earth. You hear the mutered hum, like the drone of bees, that fill the room. The warm afternoon sun, entering the schoolroom, casts yellow splotches upon the floor. A drowsy, sleepy summer with its myriad voices for the boys to come forth and play.
Still holding the book, you turn away, and the vision fades. . . . There is a lump in your throat and a great emptiness comes into your heart, a gavue, intagible regret. A sense of futility, and a great lapse of time, and many other emotions that cannot be put into words.
The boy life of yesterday, where is it? Dead ! And in it’s death you feel that a part of you has died and gone away, never to return. Yet the ghost of it lives in the little book and in your memories.
Small wonder that a tear falls upon the yellowed pages.
The contents of this file are the property of The Wayne County Genealogical & Historical Society