OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES - 1931
Scanned By Howard Osburn
Presented by The Wayne County Genealogical & Historical
(WCN - 1/1/1931) Wayne County Man Thot Dead 27 Years Is Found In South
A letter has just been received from a Wayne County man who left his home here twenty-seven years ago and had been given up
for dead until he wrote his brother a letter a few days ago.
Jasper Robinson lived near Dunlow in this county twenty-seven years ago when his wife died. After his mother's death Jasper's two-year old son, James, was taken by his grandfather, Buck Robinson, who gave him a home. A few days after this Jasper left for parts unknown and was never heard from again by any of his relatives here until a letter from him came in a few days ago.
The letter from Jasper revealed that he now lives in the state of Louisiana. It was addressed to his brothers Willard Robinson or Noah Robinson, Dunlow Route 1, although Willard Robinson has been dead for many years.
The letter inquired about Jasper's son James, who is now a man twenty-nine years old and who lives in New York. On Monday of this week Jasper left Louisiana for New York to visit with his son, who is now married and has one child.
Since Jasper left Wayne County 27 years ago all of his family have died with the exception of one brother, Noah Robinson. Jasper's son James was given a good home by his grandfather, he finished high school and went through college and from the time he was a boy he spent a good portion of his earnings trying to locate his long-lost father.
When Noah received the letter from his brother Jasper recently he immediately got in touch with Jasper's son, James in New York
and it was in this way that the father and son were brought together after a
separation of 27 years. Jasper is due to arrive in New York about Wednesday or
Thursday of this week to see boy who has grown from a two-year old tot to a man
of twenty-nine years during his father's absence.
(wcn - 1/1/1931) SCAGGS BROTHERS GIVE BOND IN J. P. COURT AT WAYNE
Charged in warrants with larceny of $750 from the now closed People's State Bank of Wayne, Fisher F. Scaggs, president of the bank and his brother, Clyde Scaggs, cashier, were held for action of the March Wayne Count grand jury following a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon of last week before Justice of the Peace Boyd Adkins at Wayne. They were released on $5,000 bond each.
The warrants were issued by Magistrate Adkins on complaint of John J. Nash, an assistant state banking examiner, who has been in charge of the closed bank, and served on the two bankers by T. J. Maynard, a deputy sheriff.
The preliminary hearing was brief. The only evidence being offered were statements addressed to the squire by Prosecuting Attorney Jess Hammock for the state, and the bank president in behalf of himself and brother.
Declares Money Borrowed
Mr. Nash, the bank examiner, took the witness stand to corroborate the prosecutor's statement.
In his statement to the examining court, Prosecuting Attorney Hammock said that while Clyde Scaggs was a general receiver for the Wayne County circuit court, he issued a check to his brother for $750 from court funds placed in his care, without first obtaining an order from the court.
Fisher F. Scaggs in reply to the prosecutor's statement in court said that he had borrowed this sum of money from the receiver, giving a note for the loan, in anticipation of a settlement in a condemnation suit instituted by the C. & 0. railroad against a tract of land he owned. Mr. Scaggs produced the note in court.
"The C. & O. Railroad brought a suit in circuit court to condemn several pieces of property in Westmoreland for a right-of-way, and although I had a tax-deed on one piece, I was not made a party to the action," Mr. Scaggs said in explaining the loan.
"A jury in circuit court last July fixed the amount of damages to the different parcels of property, which included the sum of $800 for the land that I owned. My brother, as general receiver for the court, received some $3,400 or $4,000 the total amount of the damages, and posted a $10,000 bond.
"Under the regular rule of procedure in such cases, the receiver keeps the money until a commissioner in chancery is appointed to take proof as to whom this money is to be paid. Although I was not a party to the original suit, I intended to press my claim for my share of the damages and planned to offer proof in support of this claim.
"My brother, as receiver, obtained the condemnation money on July 11. On July 21 I asked him to loan me $750 of that money, which represented what would have been my share, less $50 as a fee to the receiver. I gave my note to indemnify him as receiver.
Case Still Pending
"They are wrong when they charged my brother and me with taking this money from the bank. The bank had nothing to do with it whatsoever. This money was in the keeping of my brother, as court receiver and having posted a sufficient bond that he would supply the money whenever called upon to do so, he had a perfect right to do what he did with it.
"When I made the loan, it was in anticipation of being paid the $800 which the jury fixed as damages to my land, which would mean that all the receiver would have to do then would be to give me back my note.
"There is absolutely nothing to these charges, and I doubt if they will go any further."
Because of some difficulty in locating the former owner of Mr. Scaggs' land, which the bank president bought at a tax sale, no commissioner in chancery has yet been named by the court to take proof as to how the condemnation money should be distributed, and the matter is still pending.
Mr. Scaggs further said that an examination of the bank was made by the state
banking department on September 15, two months after the transaction which
resulted in the warrants, and everything was found in perfect order.
(WCN - 1/1/1931) Wayne County's Part In Civil War Is Described
Prior to 1860, the only semblance of military organization maintained in Wayne County, was the state militia. The militia system of Virginia was never very efficient and just before the war had fallen into decay and disorganization for the lack of proper nurture and support on the part of the state. Cabell county had allowed her militia organization to become entirely extinct but Wayne continued to keep up some interest through the personal efforts of a few men of military inclination. The militia roll included all able-bodied citizens between certain age limits but as the county was sparsely settled this did not comprise a large body of men. The entire training consisted of one "general muster" in each year at which the militia was put through a few simple field movements but there was no drill in the manual of arms. In fact the state furnished no arms and little else save a commission to some man who would accept the colonelcy. As the commission was valued more as an ornament than as a utility, it was as liable to be drawn by a blacksmith in the political raffle as by a man of military taste or training. Usually, the colonel of the Virginia militia who could deliver the old "yankee-doodle" maneuver of "down-outside-up-the-middle", was regarded as a military prodigy. The "general muster" amounted to little more than an outing for the citizens where they could regale each other with their hunting exploits, swap imaginary bear stories, sample each they others long green tobacco and drink hard cider.
For some years before the war Joseph J. Mansfield had been colonel of the Wayne militia. Prior to his locating in Wayne he had resided in Cabell and held a like commission there. He had received the some military training, kept a library of books devoted to military tactics, was equipped with a sword and uniform at his own expense and took more than a passing interest in military affairs. In the latter part of 1857 he had reached the age limit and had retired. He was succeeded by M. J. Ferguson, a sprightly young attorney who was his neighbor and to whom he gave his support and the benefit of his experience. Young Ferguson was inducted into the office of colonel of the militia by John McCausland, of Mason county, a graduate of West Point, but acting under a commission of the Governor of Virginia. He afterward served through the war in the Confederate army and attained the rank of brigadier general. General McCausland was from Mason County, and was one of the most extensive farmers in the Kanawha Valley as well as one of the best specimens of vigorous manhood for his age and resolute character of any age to be found anywhere.
Some time in the year 1860, when the faint mutterings of the thunders of war were just audible in the distance, two Wayne men of local prominence organized a company of Virginia state guards. These men were James M. Corns and Joseph M. Ferguson and it was a happy combination of two talents necessary to the success of the project. Corns was an Englishman who had been over the waters long enough to have seen service in the war with Mexico. He came into Wayne county by way of Pennsylvania where he had married and he purchased a farm and located five miles below Wayne C. H. The station of Ardel, on the Norfolk & Western railroad is located on the Corns farm and the home, part of which is extant, stood and stands near where the trains stop for that station. He was a brick and stone mason by trade and a good mechanic. In the few years he resided there before the war he erected several of the best country homes to be found in that county to this day. The brick house on the C. W. Ferguson farm, the stone residence on the James Ferguson farm near the forks of Twelve Pole and the stone house of Adolph Ostler, the Dutch tanner, at Centerville, are products of his handicraft.
Joseph M. Ferguson was the leading merchant of Wayne C. H.; a younger brother of M. J. Ferguson, vigorous and alert with especial strong qualities for organization. He was prominently connected and popular and through his personal influence the company was soon recruited. With Ferguson directing the organization of the company and Corns imparting the military instruction, the Fairview Rifle Guards was a popular institution with the young scions of the best families and the strong personnel of its membership was an earnest of the illustrious career it achieved later on. Corns was captain, Ferguson first lieutenant and Joseph Workman, another prominent young Wayne county farmer, second lieutenant.
The Fairview Rifle Guards were drilled at stated intervals for several months and as Captain Corns' was an accomplished drill master, became very proficient. The uniform consisting of scarlet jacket and a chapeau mounted with glittering insignia of arms and encircled with gold cord, was calculated to add zest to the enthusiasm always aroused by martial music. The flash of color, the sparkle of tinsel, the pomp and circumstance and the inspiring glamour incident to a drill day, made a lasting impression on the mind of the boy.
The fateful order came at last to go to the front and the Fairview Rifle Guards were ordered to move at once to a point on the Kanawha river below the mouth of Coal, designated as Camp Tomkins. On the 28th of May,1861, the young men passed out through the principal street of Wayne C. H. which was lined with sad friends and sorrowing relatives and proudly keeping in step to the brisk music of "The Girl I Left Behind Me," took up the march for Camp Tomkins.
In 1862 the company was transferred to the Confederate service, was organized into the Eighth Virginia Cavalry and afterward known as the Sandy Rangers. Corns was then made colonel of the regiment and lieutenant Ferguson succeeded him as captain of the company, offices each of them held throughout the war. About the same time Colonel M. J. Ferguson of the Wayne militia was commissioned colonel of the newly organized Sixteenth Regiment which he commanded during the war.
At the close of the war Colonel Ferguson returned to his home but finding himself interdicted by the Test Oath from practicing law in West Virginia, removed across into Kentucky at Louisa and resided there until his death in April, 1882. Colonel Corns also returned to Wayne C. H. where he found himself stranded as a tradesman without a patronage. Through the influence of Masonic friends he secured the contract to build a combined lodge and school building in the town of Louisa, and he likewise removed to that town. This contract also enabled him to furnish employment to a number of the young men who had followed him through the misfortunes of the war for four years, and like himself, had become destitute.
Thus, by a singular coincidence and strange vicissitude of the war, these two Confederate colonels, who at the beginning of the war lived neighbors in the town of Wayne C. H., Virginia, found themselves, when peace was made, again neighbors in the town of
Louisa, Ky., not as a matter of choice but by compulsion, that they might have the opportunity of earning a livelihood, a privilege
denied them in their own state. After completing the Masonic building at Louisa, Colonel Corns went South and some years afterward was drowned in the Red River in Louisiana.
Captain J. M. Ferguson moved to Ashland, Ky., where he died several years ago.
As all of the officials of Wayne county went with the South, the county organization was entirely suspended in June, 1861 for four years. No courts were held, no taxes were assessed or collected, for lack of legal authority to issue licenses, no marriages were solemnized and no register was made of births. The tentative "Restored government of Virginia," which was effected at Washington City by influences in the Northern part of the state and outside of the state came at a fortunate junction to obviate the ordeal of having the children born over again that would otherwise been born out of the Union. Even after the new state of West Virginia, by some new process of incubation, was formed in 1863, there was no movement to reorganize the government of Wayne county. The county records were removed from the county-seat to the town of Ceredo and a few orders bearing on the war were entered but not to this day has any one been able to identify the persons whose names are signed to the records. It is said that they were soldiers and belonged to an Ohio regiment. Under the "Restored government" of Virginia, K. V. Whaley, of Wayne county, a captain in the Ninth Va., represented this district in Congress. He received less than a dozen votes in the district, all of which were cast by soldiers at Buffalo Shoals, in Wayne County.
Because of the soldier and marauders neither cattle nor horses could he kept by the farmers and even the crops which were limited to home consumption, had to be secreted in order to save them for the use of the family. In the absence of law and order, the moral conditions also drifted. Assimilating the tendencies of the times, churches slackened their efforts and abated their solicitude for the work in their vineyards. It was not possible to cultivate and attain a high degree of Christian fellowship among their members so long as they were angrily flashing daggers in each others face. The young boys who were too large to be controlled by their mothers and too small to join the army were in the saddle. They, too, caught the war spirit. Sabbaths were spent by rival communities arrayed against each other in serious conflict, using popguns loaded with acorns for weapons, or hurling deadly stones point blank into each others ranks at close range. But for the ceaseless vigilance an emphatic action of a few "Old fathers in Israel", who placed forcible restraint upon the reckless activities of the youthful warriors, the country would have retrograded to a state of barbarism or drifted into a condition of chaotic anarchy.
Late in the summer of 1865, flaming bills were posted in which it was announced under the picture of a spread eagle, that a mass meeting of the citizens of the county with strong emphasis on the "citizen" would be held at the county seat which had been carted buck to the Court House, for the purpose of reorganizing the county government. Under the political qualifications imposed, Wayne county had but few citizens, a condition that "soldiers of fortune" were quick to observe. However, the "flesh pots" had been scented from abroad and the mass meeting took on more of the appearance of a court day in Ironton, Ohio, than of an assembly of the people of Wayne county. They swarmed like bees around a molasses barrel ready to offer themselves up as sacrifices on the altar of the new county organization.
"The old familiar faces" were nowhere to be seen and the new comers who had
dropped in through the devious avenues of war, were for the time, firmly seated
in the saddle, riding with great gusto under prospects that were bright and
toward a destiny that was alluring.
(WCN - 1/8/1931) NEW GROCERY IS OPENED AT WAYNE
The new grocery store and meat market opened at Wayne last week under the firm name of Adkins and Osburn reports that the announcement of their opening in the advertising columns of this paper last week brought a generous stream of customers the past several days.
Another of their advertisements appears in this issue. The new store is located in a handsome new two-story brick building located between the post-office and the Log Cabin Canteen. The second story has ten office rooms which will be rented, while the first floor and basement are to be used by the new store. The store is being operated by C. W. Osburn and Roscoe Adkins, both of them well known Wayne County men, formerly of the Lower Beech Fork section of the county. Mr. Adkins also runs a number of grocery stores in Huntington.
(WCN - 1/8/1931) Schools Of Early Days Graphically Described
Back in the days when Wayne County was young and was still being hovered by the state of Virginia, there were no free schools.
The state of Virginia had no public school system before the war and schools of any kind in the newer and on the frontier sections were rare and hard to catch. The few schools that were taught came under the classification of subscription schools. They were so designated from the tact that the head of the family subscribed his name to a written obligation to the effect that the teacher took over the privilege of inflicting torture upon a certain number of the juniors of the family for a stated period at so much per junior. The pedagogues and pedagogusses were seasoned for the work by long years of experience, for they ranged in age from three scorn and ten years back into antiquity and a few even beyond that. The best authorities agree that the old time standard guage teachers were the outcome of some long drawn out process of metamorphosis from a state of chagrin, disappointment and indigestion to one of desperation, misanthropy and revenge. Many of them were croseyed bachelors or cross-grained old maids and the theory is that they had pleasure in the punishment of the children of others because of the natural instinct to despise and destroy that which they themselves were unable to possess.
There was no inquiry or formal investigation into the matter of book learning or the theory and art of teaching. The ordinary duties of the teacher did not require much knowledge of books and the art of threshing urchins was in a more thorough state of practical application in those days than it is now. The chief branch taught was corporal punishment. This was imparted through the instrumentality of the branch of a tree and not by any method of transmission from books. In order to get some idea of the qualifications of a teacher, it was only necessary to size up his physical construction and get an estimate of the capacity in horse power he carried. This was easily done for almost every family kept a horse which could be used for determining the power of brute force by way of comparison. The horse seldom had anything on the teacher in the way of horse power but when it came to horse sense the horse usually came out several lengths ahead.
" `Readin' 'ritin' and 'rithmetic" were tolerated in a limited way but it was usually to demonstrate a paradox or to humor some peculiarity of the teacher and was not contemplated in the curriculum, as the master needed to devote no time to books. Saturdays and Sundays were days of leisure which were whiled away in the forests in quest of rare samples of keen switches for the consumption of the school the following week. A real enterprising teacher, with malice aforethought, which was not a matter of legal presumption, could often procure a sufficient supply in the two days for a whole week's demand under normal conditions and the selections were made with the critical eye of a connoisseur. If activities were abnormal, and a deficit should ensue, the victims were granted the excruciating pleasure of making up the shortage. One of the few privileges the boy enjoyed was to be sent out to procure a limb for his own flogging. The rapture was equal to that which comes from the accidental disturbance of a hornet's nest but it went a long way toward establishing the theory that some men are created considerably lower than the angels even if a little higher than the hangman.
The switch was not the only method of punishment. it was strongly supplemented by the system employed in seating the pupils. Rude benches were improvised from puncheons split from the trunks of trees, node after the peg leg model with very minus backs. The shortest boys were usually found on the benches with the longest pegs and the longest boys vice versa, just as they happen to light or to suit the whim of master. This idea of seating a school room is suspected of having been borrowed from the Spanish Inquisition and it was no bad imitation in the way of torture. Abe Lincoln once said that the legs of a well proportioned man should be long enough to reach from his body to the ground but the legs of a small boy were never long enough to reach from the bench to the floor in the old time school house. With his feet hanging over and no rest for the back, his grimaces were like unto those of a boy who had tackled a green persimmon, or of the society woman who had sampled one of the new salads at a reception. The elongated boy on the low bench was enjoying himself equally as well in an effort to find storage room for his surplus legs and the school hours in those days were from sun up to sun down. Both of these boys were required to manifest as sweet a disposition and look as pleasant as if they were flirting with the business end of a kodak. If there really was any premeditated design in the method of seating, the scheme must have been to re-inforce the teacher in the way of any punishment he found himself physically unable to inflict. As the seat torture was both constant and enduring and the physical disabilities of the teacher were sporadic and at long intervals, there was a palpable violation of that well-established principle of law against being put twice in jeopardy. The benches did have the effect of inculcating on the mind of the boy a spirit of abject humility, which kept him from becoming too vain over his "puffed up" condition from his experiences with the switchery.
School books seldom happened in those days for the system of school book boards for trafficking in book adoptions had not yet been perpetrated. The average family could usually assemble sufficient loose leaves to construct one second-hand book of each kind which boarded around with the pupils. When they chanced to be in the school house they were contemplated by the "vocal" method. This consisted of each pupil, spelling, reading and figuring out loud, all at the same time and every fellow for himself. When one small boy balanced on a high bench was spelling out the word d-a-m by the eliptic method, a little girl across the aisle might be revelling in that old classic about Mary and her lamb and marveling that any animal, either with one or two legs would dare venture to a school house but envying it the pleasure of being put out. About the same time a larger boy up front, wrestling with the multiplication table, began to realize that two times one are two and was making as much ado over it as a pullet that had discovered her first egg. The longest boy on the duck-legged bench, though looking intently at his book, was hissing severe imprecations at the teacher in the discreet tones and finding some "heartease" from the dire threats of what he would do for the school master when he grew up te be a man. Poor illusioned boy! He could not foresee that long before he would attain manhood's estate, this base imitator of Squeers would have checked in his account and be undergoing even more severe punishment than he inflicted; or had sought surcease of remorse within the walls of a lunatic asylum.
Geography was taught by the chanting method which was a species of melancholy drone constructed on an undulating plan of something after the order of the modern roller-coaster. The voice movement would first slide up then as down; next fast then slow; high was followed by low and then jack-and-the-game would draw their slow lengths along. At time it became very exciting and when the tremolo chord was struck it was often necessary to hold the girls on. To geographically tour Mexico under the chant method of travel was especially exhilarating at times. It was easy gliding from Matamoros by way of Zacatecas to Buenavista but when one tackles Aguascalientes in the dark of the moon and encountered a blowout at Iztaccihautl he had to gear down to a dirge rate at Uncompahgre in order to avoid an accident. The latest fad is to gallop through Vela Cruz, salute the flag and out again, cautiously approach Lampassas by crescendo and briskly drop back to Laredo and rest on the East side of the Rio Grande river. The method was a kind of humming endless chain and skeedaddle medley of modulated tones and countermanded orders that could not fail to hold the attention of those who were so unfortunately situated that they could not get away.
Some may be found who will contend that this method of chanting geography is where the frog caught the inspiration for their delightful serenades and mellifluent rhapsodies. Others who have a taste for frogs' legs scout the suggestion with contempt as an unjust reflection on the tastes of the frog; at any rate frog's legs do not taste that way to them. Enough is known to suspect that the fiend who did turn it loose on an unprotected public, died an early if not violent death and no man, knoweth the place of his sepulchure unto this day.
Education is like euchre to the extent that it may be made progressive. In the course of time the vocal system of study gave way to a thinking method. Just to what extent it was practiced is not determinable as no speedometers were attached to the brain motor and it is hard to estimate the silent processes of the mind off-hand. Likewise the copyright on the chanting method of teaching geography expired as did its author and neither was ever revived and both have long since been forgotten
As time passed and peace was restored and the ferocious beasts of the forests disappeared before the onward march of civilization, the more savage disposition was superseded by a spirit of humanity. Love sat enthroned at the hearthstone and when it bubbled over the overflow was caught at the school house. When the moral support of the home was withdrawn from the flogged, he lost the most attractive part of his profession and he began to droop and pine away. There was decided modification of all kinds of punishment in the schools. The seats were improved and the slithery ceased to run on overtime. A new kind of punishment was introduced which consisted of the seating of an offending boy between two patty girls. It was humiliating to the girls to be thus used as reformatory influences but the punishment was not more than the average boy could endure. It is thought that the first idea of a sandwich was thus suggested to one bright genius while undergoing this punishment and as a consequence the ham sandwich is today spread from sea to sea as shadowy and translucent as an Autumn moonbeam. In many places the elusive and crafty ham has boldly usurped the province of faith in becoming the evidence of a thing paid for but not found. Still the rod was not entirely abolished and could not become so by a bible reading people in the face of the warning that if the rod is spared the child will be spoiled. There was still sufficient rod exercise to hold a clearance on the Scriptural injunction and prevent the spoiling of any children.
Teachers gradually became more bold and would venture over a little further in the school books. In arithmetic they were known to have cruised over as far as Compound Numbers and not encounter any U-boats and get back safely. With the softening of hearts the bible took a place in the school and much valuable information was imparted to the youth of the land. The teacher could clear up the mystery about who was the father of Zebedee's children, it was made plain how that the shew bread was a product of the bakery that the Jews wore in their shoes during certain ceremonials in the temple and it was demonstrated to the class in physiology about the peculiar delicate organism of the stomach of the whale which caused it to revolt at such unwholesome food as Jonah and many other equally difficult things for the mind of the child to grasp.
After the war when the free school system was established under the
protection and beneficent influences of the Test Oath, education enjoyed a big
boom. School houses began to loom up near the homes of the school board. This
was not only a matter of convenience for their children but gave them the inside
track on boarding the teacher. It also afforded a strategic advantage to the
housewife in securing the use of the school broom and waterbucket during the
eight months of vacation. Myriads of Ohio teachers swarmed across the Ohio river
at low water and infested the land like Pharoah's locusts. As they were fully
protected by the game laws, they remained with impunity and enjoyed the usufruct
and the teacher's fund. Boards for the examination of teachers were not then
provided and the chief duty of the county superintendent was to acertain how
little the Ohio teachers knew, not a difficult task to perform. Ohio teachers
were the rule then. While they may have betrayed more of egotism and less of
real gentility than our own teachers, many of them were almost as well informed
in book learning. It was the rule to employ them both because they had the
superior advantages of mixed schools and to observe the theory that "cattle at a
distance wears long horns."
(WCN - 1/15/1931) Pioneer Incidents Here Not Without Humor
Early Surveyorship Here
When the Civil War came up the office of surveyor of Wayne County was held, for some reason best known to himself, by a prominent citizen of the county who was not a practical surveyor and who really did none of the work of the office. The active duties of the office were discharged by C. W. Fergusson who was a very accurate, and capable surveyor. The surveyor's outfit and records were left in the care and custody of Mr. Ferguson during the war and he kept them at his home one mile from the court house. While Mr. Ferguson was not engaged in the activities of the war, he was precluded by the Test Oath after the war from holding any office because he had "aided and abetted the Rebellion" by occasionally affording food and shelter to his two brothers who were soldiers and from time to time furnishing their families with apples and potatoes from his farm.
When the county government was re-organized after the war there were numerous applications for the offices but it appears that no one asked for the surveyorship who had any practical conception of surveying beyond staking off an office for himself. In the distribution of the favors this office was drawn by a carpenter, who, probably, saw the court house the first time when he went up to take charge of the outfit and records of his office. He applied to Mr. Ferguson for the "working tools" and archives of the surveyor and Mr. Ferguson promptly placed before him the compass, the tripod, the chain, the books and field notes of public lands and the greatest of all these was the compass. The new surveyor looked the array of new things over with a critical eye and regarding Mr. Ferguson with a suspicious look demanded to know where the compass was. Being a carpenter he was expecting this instrument to be constructed along the lines of a carpenter's compasses for describing a circle.
Telling It To The Court
When the constitution of 1872 was young, some of its defects were as glaring as they were after it had taken on age and experience. The farmers were among the ablest lawyers that the state ever produced but the majority of them had been out of touch with legal questions for twelve years because of the war and the consequent Test Oath. They had not been brought to realize that the legal world "do move" at about the same velocity as the physical world. Consequently, it was but natural that they go back to the mother state for their inspiration at the point where they had left it.
One of the strange provisions of the organic law was to invest the county court, composed of a presiding officer and two justices, with law and equity jurisdiction without imposing a legal qualification for membership on the court.
Soon after the new judicial plan got into swing, a young lawyer named Ragland, had a case before it that hinged entirely on the construction of a point of law. Ragland was from Goochland county, Virginia and dropped down seemingly out of the skies into Wayne county. He was a school teacher, well reared, well educated, well read and very genteel in his manner. He was sharp, witty, quick at repartee and very well grounded in the law.
Ragland had argued the legal point with much lucidity and at great length but the court was as Impervious to the legal touch as the back of a duck is to water. So the argument did not take. The court handled the niceties of the law as they would handle a mattock or a plowstock. Ragland persisted and the court resisted and finally ordered him to take his seat. If there is one thing that will put a keen edge on the temper of an attorney it is to be ordered by the court to take his seat, for the court is in a position to enforce the order.
Ragland saw that the court had the advantage of him and spreading one of his most gracious smiles all over his face he said in his most captivating manner: "All right your honors, I submit to your authority but I cannot refrain from observing that this court always suggests to me the proverbial South Carolina cotton team made up of two old mules and one jackass,"
An Editor's Troubles
An editor, using the term in its broadest sense, is necessarily, a man possessing much wisdom. In the first place the inspiration would never strike any but a wise man and like lightning, it seldom strikes the same object twice however conspicuous it may he. In the second place the wisdom he does not have in stock when he starts to be an editor he soon acquires by his varied and interesting experiences. At the first blush he is supposed to know all things. Later on he is conceded to know all things except such things as he knows differently from the way the other fellow knows them. That which he happens not to know he can "claim" and if nobody knows it any better than he does he can generally get by with it. To "claim" has long been admitted to be one of the perogatives of the editor and some it is the chief industry. As it is one on which no war tax has been imposed there is not likely to he much reduction in the output. He can "claim" that his periodical goes into 1699 1-2 more homes than the Saturday Evening Post and the only cost attached is in the way of depreciation of conscience because of the overstrain. There are some things that editors do know and sometimes they know them better than those whose business it is to know them.
But that is not what we started out to say.
A long time ago the editor of the Wayne News received from an attorney who did not reside at the court house, an order of publication in a suit for divorce. The order had been prepared by himself and he sent a letter requesting the editor to read the proof carefully and follow copy "verbatim et literatim". On reading the proof the editor observed that the object of the suit as stated was to "obtain a divorce mensa et torah" with the legal phrase loudly underscored. Taking it to be a mere error, the word "torah" was marked to read "thoro" and it was so published. In a few days the editor received another letter from the attorney pointing out in most emphatic language the negligence of the editor in reading proof and directing that before another publication the notice be corrected to read like the copy. The editor ignored the direction and the notice was published as originally set up and certificate and copy filed with the clerk.
When court convened the attorney called on the editor and informed him that he did not propose to pay for the publication of the notice because of the error made in failing to follow copy and not correcting when directed to do so. He was very indignant and declared that even should the error pass the eye of the court he "had been made the laughing stock of the whole bar".
The "error" evaded even the eagle eye of the court but the attorney never paid for the publication of the notice. He had been humiliated to the extent of the cost of the publication by being brought into ridicule before the bar. He had written the legal phrase from his recollection of how some other lawyer had used it.
A County Court Incident
The incongruity of the county court system in the constitution of 1872,
conferring almost unlimited law and every jurisdiction on a court without
imposing a legal qualification to membership on the court, was aptly illustrated
in a case in Wayne County in the long ago. The case was one between the Davis
Sewing Machine Co and R. H. Weddington, who at that time lived in sight of
Huntington. The case involved some very fine points of the laws relating to
agency and the ablest lawyers of the bar were employed on each side. The best
part of a day was devoted to the arguments on the law and the tables in the
court room were piled up high with law books and the reports of courts that were
read, construed and digested. The court quietly endured its punishment and
seemed to absorb the whole volume of the legal pabulum like a sponge drinking
water. Late in the day the case was unloaded with a dull heavy thud and the
three members drew their heads together with the seriousness and assumed wisdom
of the judges at a country polemic. After wrestling with the proposition for
some time, the presiding member addressed the attorney, and stated that the
court would like to know what the question was that had been submitted for their
decision. Ira J. McGinnis. who always prided himself on a plain and lucid
construction of a point of law, regarded the court with a look of utter disgust.
Captain Gibson, who had a sense for the humorous, strode to the bar and laughed
outright, Colonel Ferguson, who was always a matter of-fact man, free from
frills and furbelows, sprang to his feet as if electrified and gleamed on the
court with indignation. He then faced about and surveyed the court room and
beckoned first one man and then another into the jury room. His cousin, Joe
Plymale, who had read law in his office, observing the mysterious conferences,
asked Ferguson what they protended. Colonel Ferguson explained that the men were
clients of his who had paid him fees to attend to cases in the county court but
as he did not propose to further humiliate himself by appearing before such a
court, he had refunded the fees that the suitors might procure other counsel.
Plymale said: Well, Colonel, I have been very much disgusted with the rulings of
the court on points of law and at times have been aroused to a high pitch of
indignation but I have never been made mad enough to pay back any money.
(WCN - 1/15/1931) OLD PAPER TELLS OF WAYNE MAN'S END DURING WAR
Rev. Carmi Crabtree, well known Wayne County preacher, is in possession of a newspaper 67 years old which records the death of Isaiah D. Crabtree, one of the well known Wayne County pioneers. Through the courtesy of Jas. R. Rigg a copy of the old journal was brought to the Wayne County News office.
The old paper is a copy of the "Holston Journal," published April 16, 1863 at Knoxville, Tenn. The paper was a weekly with a subscription price of $3.00 a year and began publication late in the year of 1862.
Following is the account of the Crabtree death which will be read with interest by a large number of his descendants who are now readers of Wayne County News:
ISAIAH D. CRABTREE
Isaiah D. Crabtree of Wayne County, Virginia, joined the Confederate Army under Captain Spurlock, Ferguson's regiment, in September, 1862 and died at Salem, Virginia, of typhoid fever the 10th day of February, 1863.
He was the son of Wesley and Mary Crabtree. He was a promising young man, moral and upright, and beloved by all who knew him. It is said he was never known to use profane language. He was raised by religious parents. He died far away from home, but he left an evidence of his readiness to depart.
Isaiah has gone from the army on earth and has joined the army of the saints
in glory. Thus another son of the South has given his life for his country. His
name stands enrolled on history's page and when Southern independence shall be
acknowledged by the world the name of I. D. Crabtree will be remembered with
gratitude by his countrymen.
(WCN -1/22/1931) STATEMENT GIVEN CONCERNING BANK CLOSED AT WAYNE
C. E. Lawhead of Clarksburg, recently appointed receiver for the Peoples State Bank which failed at Wayne on November 29th, was in Wayne for two days last week and while here requested this news paper to assure the local public that all possible efforts will be made to liquidate the affairs of the defunct bank at the earliest possible moment. But he pointed out that the collection of notes and clearing up of the bank's business requires a considerable amount of time, since it will likely be necessary to settle some of the disputes that will arise in court procedure.
Mr. Lawhead said that the proof of claim blanks are now ready and requested persons who have claims against the bank, either in the form of debts or deposits, call at the bank and get the proper forms and file their proof of claims.
A meeting of the depositors and stockholders will probably be called at an early date and Receiver Lawhead says that he will attend this meeting to answer questions from interested parties. It is likely that a committee will be appointed at this meeting from the stockholder-depositor group to represent these and work with the receiver in the closing up of the bank's affairs.
The assessment on stock will be one hundred per cent, in the opinion of the receiver, while no opinion was expressed as to the amount that will be paid to depositors, this depending upon the amount of notes and other obligations that can be collected.
A state law in effect at the time the bank closed which became obsolete on January 1st when the new code went into effect makes the State a preferred depositor, and consequently the first money paid to depositors will be paid to the State to cover the $20,000 which the State had on deposit when the bank closed.
While in Wayne Mr. Lawhead issued the following statement to the local public through this newspaper:
The Peoples State Bank of Wayne is now being liquidated for the benefit of the depositors, by Mr. C. E. Lawhead, Receiver, appointed by the State Department of Banking.
"An experienced and competent man, Mr. S. L. Edler, will be in active charge of the work locally and may be consulted at the banking room on any banking day.
"The receiver may be reached by communicating with him at P. 0. Box 1067, Clarksburg, W. Va. Telephone No. 237. As often as possible he will be at Wayne and will spend as much time in the local community as may be needed and as is consistent with his other duties.
"No interest of the depositors will be neglected and every reasonable effort will be made to realize the largest possible amount for them.
"All persons having deposits in the bank are requested to sign a Proof of Claim, which Mr. Edler will be pleased to make out for them. There will be no charge of course, for filing a Proof of Claim.
"All persons who owe the bank are asked to co-operate with the Receivership by paying their obligations as promptly as possible.
Partial payments will be accepted when necessary and arrangements may be made regarding reasonable time for further payment in full."
Below we are publishing the first statement of the accounts of the failed bank since its doors were closed nearly two months ago. The following is a statement of the condition of the bank at the close of the set-up on December 10th:
Loans and Discounts 88,264.95
Stocks and Securities 1,598.82
Banking House 82,348.93
Furniture and Fixtures 13,681.73
Cash Items 665.53
Huntington National Bank, Columbus, Ohio 340.12
First Huntington National Bank Huntington, W. Va. 460.23
First Huntington National Bank
Huntington, W. Va. receiver's Account 2,241.35
Undivided Profits (LOSS) 1,785.77
Protest Fees 8.46
Individual Deposits 88,923.80
Certified Checks 555.12
Drafts Outstanding 1,730.53
Certificates of Deposits 7,492.67
Savings Deposits 5,581.63
Bills Payable 7,500.00
(WCN - 1/22/1931) T. B. McCLURE, 84, ATTRIBUTES SPAN TO YOUTH, HABITS
Professor Taylor B. McClure widely known Wayne Count educator who now makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. D. I. Hager, in Huntington recently observed his 84th birthday.
Hal Curtis, reporting the observance of Professor McClure's birthday in Sunday's Herald-Advertiser, says that this prominent Wayne countian is enjoying his usual good health in spite of the fact that he is only sixteen years short of the century mark.
Professor McClure founded Oakview Academy at Wayne and was a school teacher of renown for sixty years, his last work in the field of education being that of librarian at Wayne County High School at Wayne.
Numbered among his former pupils are men and women in 40 of the 48 states of the Union, many of them prominent and leaders in their communities, a reflection of credit to their former school master.
Oakview Academy was founded at Wayne about 1882 and served the public faithfully as a private school until the coming of the high school here in 1922. The academy building still stands here, but is not used.
In a the Herald-Advertiser interview Professor McClure recalled his friendship with Waitman Barbe, John T. Harris, Dr. D. B. Puritan and other prominent West Virginia educators.
Professor McClure attributes his long life to simple habits, careful eating, exercise and his long association with young people which has helped him to keep a fresh outlook on life.
The Wayne County High School Annual of 1928 was dedicated to this well known man and the dedication tribute, which is published below, expresses the useful life which this eminent citizen has lived. It reads:
"Few educators in this or any other state have trained more boys and girls for lives of useful leadership in this world than the man to whom this tribute is addressed. His investment of years of service is now yielding of achievements by those he has trained.
In the school room as a teacher and counselor, in the educational world at large as a leader of thought and a promoter of progressive ideas and lofty ideals, in his state as an outstanding exponent of good government and educational opportunities, in these and other realms has the subject of this sketch left an imperishable monument that will not crumble with the passing of years.
"So in recognition of his long and loyal services as a teacher of teachers, of farmers, of business and professional men and women of Wayne county, and especially in recognition of his zealous devotion to the cause of education as evidenced by his untiring labors in the establishment of Wayne County High School at Wayne to better equip for successful living the young people of the county in which he has reared his family, we dedicate this annual to our school librarian.'
Professor McClure was born in Lawrence County, Kentucky, on January 16, 1847,
and was graduated from West Virginia University in 1873. Most of his life was
spent at Wayne, until his beloved wife died a few years ago. He has two
children, Mrs. Hager, with whom he lives, and Lawrence L. McClure, prominent
Huntington attorney and secretary of the Jackson Building & Loan Association of
(WCN - 3/12/1931) 17 MIDWIFE LICENSE ARE ISSUED HERE
A marked reduction in the number of applicants for license to practice midwifery in West Virginia is noted in this years record at the State Health Department. Whether this decrease is the result of a decline in the number of those practicing midwifery or is the result of a failure to secure a license from the state Health Department as required by law is the problem before Dr. W. T. Renshaw, state health commissioner.
He is now making plans to ascertain the truth of this matter.
Under the revised code, which went into effect January first, a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars or more than one hundred may be imposed on anyone other than a physician or a licensed midwife who officiates at the birth of a child and receives money for the service rendered. This does not prevent a neighbor or friend from rendering assistance in an emergency. The law seeks to in every way safeguard the lives of mothers and infants by excluding from practice the ignorant and careless midwife who through crude, insanitary methods would endanger the lives of both.
Licenses to practice midwifery in West Virginia are issued by the State Health Commissioner only on recommendation of a local physician. A fee of one dollar is charged for each license.
Under the law requiring midwives to be licensed which was passed in 1925, applicants must be over twenty-one years of age, must be able to read and write, must be clean in appearance and general habits, free from communicable disease, and must possess a diploma from a recognized school of midwifery or have attended five mothers and new born babies under the direction of a licensed physician. Every licensed midwife is required to place in the eyes of each new born baby a solution of silver nitrate. This solution which is to prevent blindness, is furnished free by the State Health Department. The birth must be reported within ten days to the local registrar. Failure to do this is punishable by fine.
In 1927 more than five hundred midwives were licensed in the state. These included several men who had taken some medical work but were not licensed physicians. To date this year only 299 licenses have been issued.
Good roads which have placed medical services within the teach of the average citizens, together with a more general knowledge of the principles of health are responsible in a large measure for the decrease in the employment of midwives, in the opinion of Dr. Renshaw.
The following midwives have been licensed by the State Health Department to practice in this county for the year 1931, and are the only persons qualified under the law to serve in this capacity.
Liza J. Adkins, Route No. 2, Box 74, Wayne; Mrs. Allie Brown, Route No. 1, Box 27, Dunlow; Martha Copley, Webb; Mrs. Ollie Crum Webb; Ines Dyer, Cove Gap; Mrs. H. Finley, East Lynn; Nannie Hundley, Quaker; Mrs. Mary Mathis, R.F.D., Box 75, Dunlow;
Rachel Marcum, Crum; Vergie Roberts, Route No. 2, Box 57, Fort Gay; Isabelle
Skeens, Route No. 1, Box 70, Prichard; Mrs. Dora Smith, Dickson; Mrs. Eliza
Smith, Route No. 1, Box 78, East Lynn; Mrs. Laura B. Smith, Dunlow; Mrs. J. B.
Smith, Ferguson; Mrs. Pricy Sparks, 704-23rd Street, Kenova; Jessie Y. Wilson,
(WCN - 4/23/1931) James H. Ferguson and J. J. Mansfield were first two attorneys in Wayne. (Used)
It was stated in these columns last week that we were publishing in that issue the final installment of the remarkable series of Wayne county historical articles, written by the late W. L. Mansfield, former editor of this paper, and never before published here. But since last week it has been our good fortune to come across another short historical sketch by Mr. Mansfield in which he paints a vivid word-picture of the first two attorneys-at-law who hung out their shingles in Wayne County. And we are pleased to offer our readers this article below. Editor's Note.
The first lawyer to locate in Wayne County was James H. Ferguson, who removed here from Barboursville soon after the county was formed. He lived on a farm two miles west of the court house on Toms Creek. Here he lived when he took young Leander Spurlock, a brilliant young Wayne county school teacher into his home to read law, afterward took him in partnership and in a short time they both removed to Logan, where Spurlock died suddenly by the roadside, on a hot summer day.
James H. Ferguson was a native of the upper New River country who had drifted down to Barboursville in the thirties plying the trade of a shoemaker. Like most of the itenerant shoemakers of the period he gave some attention to agricultural pursuits and his specialty was "wild oats." His commanding physique combined with his strong intellectuality could not fail to attract the attention of men capable of recognizing such towering native ability and they deplored the lavish waste of fragrance on the desert air. Influences were used to induce him to turn his efforts into channels more in keeping with his splendid capabilities and afford him a broader field of usefulness. The best lawyers visited him at his humble shoe bench and tendered him the use of their libraries and the benefit of their instruction if he would read law. He finally accepted the proposals and read the law books and mastered their contents. In his giant mind the most profound and intricate questions of law were as simple and comprehensible, as the rudimental school books. He was eminently successful in the law and stood in the front rank of lawyers at any bar. It has been charged against him that he was lacking in gratitude toward those who contributed largest to his success and in his imperious manner hectored over friend and foe alike. Law brought him into politics and he shone in splendor in the political arena. He was a Democrat in contradistinction to the then opposing Whig party. Like Evermont Ward, an early judge here, he also did some preaching on the side as a local Methodist minister, and in that early day when the religious services were held in the cabins of the pioneers, and in the shady forests, he and Ward were sometimes associated together in the services. Some years before the war and after he had served a term in the senate with such illustrious colleagues as E. W. McComas of Cabell, and Henry I. Fisher, of Mason, he suddenly went west and as there was another notable disappearance simultaneously with his, the two were always associated together in the mind's eye of an ever suspicious public. That old gossiper, "Madam Rumor," also whispered it about that while in the west he held some very important legal relations to some of the state and territorial governments. His ability, astuteness and legal knowledge would command important legal relationships anywhere.
He was giant-like in physical build as well as in mental capacity and to these advantages was added an imperious manner and domineering spirit that cut no little figure in the success he achieved in the legislature, when he was handling measures that provoked opposition and on the courtroom when he was being worried by having a weak case on his he would frequently raise a storm and run the opposition to shelter that he might have a clear field for his measure of cause. He was a critical observer of human nature and studied his opposing counsel closely. If they exhibited signs of timidity he provoked them to rage that they might abuse him and thus neglect their cause. He never failed to guard his own points nor to take advantage of a point left unguarded by his opponent. Many a bright young lawyer with a strong case against Ferguson in the courts, and ambitious and zealous young statesmen in the legislature with some wholesome measure to promote that was opposed to Ferguson's interests, have felt the keen edge of his sarcasm and been driven into a corner to escape his crushing onslaughts.
The second lawyer to locate in Wayne county was Joseph J. J. Mansfield, a native of Bedford county. He had come of good families and his father fought both in the Revolution and the war of 1812. His father was a Methodist minister, whose credentials as an a elder were duly inscribed on parchment and signed in Mechlenburg, Va., in 1795, by Francis Asbury, the eminent English divine and co-worker of John Wesley. Bishop Asbury, after he came to America resided in Spottsylvania county, Va., and died there in 1816. Colonel Mansfield's mother's name was Jefferson and he took his middle name from her family. He was left an orphan at a tender age and early in life was thrown upon his own resources. He started out from the old town of Liberty, a poor but resolute young man, facing his course westward and going by easy stages teaching school and reading law as he proceeded. He reached the Ohio river border in the thirties and located at Barboursville a full-fledged lawyer. As was the custom of that day he practiced in several of the adjoining counties, reaching the county-seats by horseback and carrying books and papers in saddlebags. When the trouble arose between this country and Mexico he went to Texas and remained there for several years and acquired a soldier's section of land. At the close of the Mexican war he returned and located in Wayne county and married there in 1850. He served one term as prosecuting attorney from 1853 to 1857, defeating John N . Laidley and was defeated by Laidley the following election. He was the first resident lawyer to hold the office of prosecuting attorney which was not considered very attractive as the remuneration was a small allowance made by the judge at each term.
Colonel Mansfield was prominent in politics and a strong campaigner and usually canvassed the border counties below the Little Kanawha River for the Democratic ticket. He was intensely Southern in his sentiments and firm in his loyalty to Virginia. His resolute leadership had aroused the enmity of the Union element and while he was over the age of a soldier, he went to the front at the beginning because he knew he would not be permitted to remain at home unmolested.
Colonel Mansfield had a good library for that day which was most depleted of
the best books during the war. They were carried off by the soldiers who would
often overload themselves and be compelled to leave some of the burden at houses
by the roadside. A few of the books so left were afterward recovered.
Information came in for several years of valuable volumes being seen in homes
and libraries in Southern Ohio, bearing the name of "J. J. Mansfield," some of
them as far away as Chillicothe.
(WCN - 5/7/1931) CRUM MAN GIVE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR HEROIC ACT
Charles M. Perry, age 56 of Crum, Wayne County, a powder man and Garfield B. Muse, 45 colored, brakeman of Okeefe, Mingo county, were both awarded bronze medals by the Carnegie hero fund commission at Pittsburgh last week. These were the only two West Virginians thus honored.
This is probably the first instance of a Wayne County man winning the coveted Carnegie medal.
The award of the hero medal to Perry grows out of a miraculous rescue he achieved single-handed at Crum last October 26 in which he saved the daughters of Walter and Leonard Copley, Williamson attorneys, from the wheels of Norfolk & Western Railway train No. 16 as it sped at 60 miles per hour through Crum toward Williamson.
Muse saved Harold E. Wallace, 4, from being killed by a train at Devon, October 9, 1929. The boy was walking on a track on which a train was approach behind him. Seeing his plight, Muse leaped from the caboose of a passing train, raced 65 feet to the boy, and pulled him from the track at the risk of his own life just as the locomotive, screaming to a stop, reached them.
The Copley brothers and their families, former residents of Dunlow, Wayne County, were visiting a sister of Walter Copley on Sunday afternoon, last October 26, when Perry performed his extraordinary feat, according to the Williamson Daily News. The families had been taking pictures, and Walter Copley had sat down on the running board of an automobile to adjust the camera they were using, when Mary Joan Copley, 2 years and 8 months, his daughter, and June Copley of the same age, daughter of Leonard Copley, wandered away unnoticed.
The house in front of which the Copleys were taking pictures was some distance from the tracks of the Norfolk & Western Railway, and clear view from that point toward the tracks was obstructed by a tool house. Assembled in front of the residence of J. B. Crum, Sr., the parents of the children thought they had gone in the rear yard of the house to play. Instead, the tots had wandered down to the railway tracks.
Charles Perry, by a rare stroke of luck, happened to be sitting on the front porch of his own house about 200 feet east of the J. B. Crum Sr., residence. He saw the little girls on the tracks and heard the rumbling approach of Train 16, hustling to make its schedule in Williamson at a 60 mile an hour clip.
Leaping from the porch, Perry ran 250 feet, beating the train to the children on the tracks by a hairbreadth margin. Catching one child under each arm, he hurled himself out of the path of the tram and rolled down the embankment with the two as the engineer of No. 16, Andy Wilson, Portsmouth, Ohio, horrified with the thought that all three had been crushed beneath the wheels of his locomotive, applied his brakes and brought his train to a grinding stop a short distance from the scene of the miraculous escape.
Attention of the parents of the children was first attracted to the train by
its sudden stopping, since No. 16 has no stop at Crum on its schedule. Following
investigation of all facts concerning the heroic action on the part of Perry,
Walter Copley, who is Mingo county prosecuting attorney, brought it to the
attention of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in Pittsburgh.
(WCN - 5/21/1931) ONLY 10 IN FIRST WCHS CLASS HERE SEVEN YEARS AGO
The graduation of a class of 49 Seniors at Wayne County high school at Wayne on Friday morning of this week will be the seventh Commencement exercises held at WCHS.
The first commencement at the county high school was held on May 20th, when C. T. Hatcher was principal, and at this time only ten Seniors composed the graduating class. The names of the ten in the first graduation class at WCHS are:
Irene Smith Jackson
What They're Doing
The Hatcher family moved from Wayne to Ohio and it is not known what Harold
is doing. Leo Tabor is working is a glass plant at Fairmont. Arnold Wellman
lives at Wayne and is doing civil engineering. William Taylor lives at
Charleston and is employed as an abstractor. Clyde Matthews is selling insurance
at Wayne. Gladys Frazier recently finished a term as teacher in the Effie Graded
School. Helen Newman is a student in Marshall College. Earnestine Tabor is on
the faculty of Wayne County High School, teaching English. Ruth Staley is a
teacher in the Ceredo District schools; and Irene Smith Jackson was a teacher in
the Wayne Grade school this past year.
(WCN - 6/11/1931) BREWERS CONFESS AND GET 6 YEARS
Pleading guilty to murder in the second degree, Carl Brewer, 20 and Selwyn Brewer, 23, of the Marrowbone section of Mingo county, near the Wayne-Mingo line, were each sentenced to serve 6 years in the State penitentiary by Judge Beno F. Howard in the Mingo circuit court last week in expiation of the slaying of Mose Block, 40, last March 20 in the latter's home.
Plea of the defendants came after the jury was drawn for trial. Three members of the panel had been removed from the jury box when they expressed themselves as opposed to the death penalty. It was at the request of the prosecuting attorney that the court examined the veniremen on their views as to capital punishment. Following a long conference between counsel on both sides, the two young defendants entered pleas of guilty to second degree murder.
Block, brother-in-law of the Brewers, was slain in what was described as the culmination of a moonshine orgy staged in celebration of the completion of a job of log-rolling on Marrowbone Creek. He was shot three times, one pistol bullet penetrating the chin and emerging on the right side of the neck, another entering the chest and the third striking a point just above the abdomen.
(WCN - 7/9/1931) Paper Published Here Years Ago Reveals Former Habits, Customs
Through the courtesy of our friends, G. H. Lowder and A. C. Carey, of Bluefield, Wayne County News received this week four copies of old newspapers published in 1849, 1859 and 1863. Three of the four were published before the Civil War and the other one during that conflict.
One of the four interesting old journals was a copy of The Ceredo Crescent, published at Ceredo, in Wayne County on September 10th, 1859. This is Volume 2, Number 39 of the Crescent.
The old copy of the Crescent shows that C. B. Webb was editor and publisher and W. Boyd Wilson was contributing editor. The subscription rate of the paper then was $1.50 a year. Practically no local Wayne County news of any kind was published in the Crescent, most of the paper being made up of news and editorials clipped from daily newspapers from the large cities. In this regard, the small community newspapers of the country have undergone great improvement in the past several years, for now you will find that the more progressive weeklies give their readers a full coverage of local news happenings.
We read some interesting market reports in the Crescent of 1859. 72 years ago in Wayne County the prevailing prices were as follows:
Butter, pound .13 to .15
Coffee, pound .12
Candles, dozen .13
Flour, barrel 4.65
Wheat, bushel .95
Molasses, gallon .38
Pork, pound .15
Lard, pound .12
Hams, pound .11
Sugar, pound .07
In this 72-year old issue of this interesting Wayne County paper we read a lodge notice of the Wayne Masonic lodge and the notice is signed by the following lodge officers:
J. C. Wheeler, W. M; Frederick Moore, J. W; Charles W. Ferguson Treasurer; Calvin Cyfers, J. D; Hiram Moore, H. W.; David Smith, Secretary; Milton Ferguson, S. D; and R. G. Smith, Librarian.
Several carriage dealers advertised buggies, harness and saddles. Dr. W. L. Maupin, of Ceredo, carries a professional card. The paper carried advertisements of merchants in Catlettsburg, Guyandotte, Portsmouth, Ashland, and Catlettsburg as well as from Ceredo. The paper was published before the city of Huntington was born.
The paper carried a lengthy advertisement by Eli Thayer, founder of the town of Ceredo, who invited mechanics, machinists and other skilled laborers to come to Ceredo "the land of opportunity" to live.
The Crescent's display advertising rates was one dollar an inch, or more than twice the present-day rate charged by any Wayne county newspaper. The Crescent announced that it would take produce, poultry, hides or anything of value in the place of money for subscription of the paper. The Crescent publishes on its front page a recipe for Elderberry wine, but the prohibition laws of today would not permit this information to be given to a thirsty public!
Another of the four old papers sent us was a copy of The Lawrence County (Ohio) Gazette, published January 16, 1849, at Burlington, Ohio (located just across the Ohio river from Kellogg, Wayne County). This issue is Volume 3, No. 37 of the Gazette, which was published by W. C. Wheeler.
The motto of the paper as carried on page one was "There is no such word as Fail."
This old issue of the Gazette carries a news story about a steamboat accident at Portsmouth, Ohio, when the packet "Skipper" plying the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers was moving up the river with the house boat of one John Ward in tow. The house boat sank and one life was lost.
An editorial squib from the Gazette reads: "The long winter evenings cannot be better employed than by a discussion of the temperance question." Evidently the Gazette was dry.
But the Gazette was not too dry to carry the advertisements of a number of liquor companies.
A society called "The Sons of Temperance" advertised a meeting for Proctorville. Dr. J. James and Wm. M. Murphy were among the Burlington doctors publishing cards. And these attorneys had offices in Burlington; Eliah Nigh, S. M. Browning, A. Cushing, R. Leet, J, F. Wheeler, Le Grand Byington, Hamilton & Jordon, O. F. Moore, Singleton Springg and C. O. Tracy. Today it is doubtful whether or not a single attorney lives it Burlington, at least we do not know of any.
The third of the old papers sent us was The Dollar Weekly Times published at Cincinnati, Ohio, April 16, 1863, which announced that it was "Independent in all things, but neutral in Nothing."
The Dollar Weekly Times was an old style blanket newspaper of nine columns width. This paper was given over principally to the publication of Civil War news, since the issue reviewed was published while that memorable conflict was at its height. War news, poems, sermons and editorial comment made up the chief contents of the publication.
The fourth old paper received was a copy of the "Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, published at Cincinnati, Ohio, January 4, 1849. This old journal began publication in the year 1804 and had been running 45 years when this issue we received was printed. It carried a comprehensive news report from Columbus, the Ohio State capitol, and also carried reports of some world news events. But this sheet has little in common with the modern newspapers of today.
In none of the four old papers referred to above was a single picture published with the news stories and only a very few crude cuts were used to illustrate advertising. All of the four papers were four-page sheets, and all of them composed of type by hand for that was before the advent of modern typesetting machines. The page size of Wayne County News today is 13 by 24 inches in comparison to the cumberson size of approximately 23 by 29 inches of the old Cincinnati Gazette.
All the world has progressed in the past three-quarters a century, but certainly no change is more evident than the change which has taken place in the printing and publishing industry where slow and antiquated hand-methods have been supplanted by modern automatic machinery, driven by electric power.
The average small town weekly paper of today is a much better publication
than the best of metropolitan journals of seventy-five years ago.
(WCN - 7/9/1931) Former Wayne Saddle-Maker Renews Acquaintance Here
Peter Fischbach, widely known in Wayne County as a saddle and harness maker for many years, was renewing old acquaintances here over the week end.
Mr. Fischbach was accompanied by his wife and his son, Jack Fischbach and his wife. They drove through from Williamsburg, Ohio, where the Fischbach family have lived since moving from Wayne 18 years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Fischbach while here visited the latter's brothers, John and Grover Chadwick, of Whites Creek.
Peter Fischbach has for a great many years been recognized as one of the best saddle-makers in the country. He manufactures the famous "Kentucky Spring Seat Saddle" and makes each saddle by hand. There are still hundreds of these Fischbach saddles in Wayne County.
But saddle-making isn't what it used to be, according to this veteran artist in leather. "Fords and other cars have taken the place of a lot of horses," Mr. Fischbach explains," and in addition a lot of present-day riders buy the English type saddle for looks instead of the spring-seat saddle which is designed especially for the comfort of the rider."
"Pete," as he was always known to his many friends here, still makes a few saddles, but most of his time is given over to harness. But he much prefers to build a saddle, for he says that a lot more art and ability is required in making a saddle than in manufacturing a set of harness. His best year's business was a few years ago when he made 100 Kentucky Spring Seat Saddles which were shipped by parcel post from his Williamsburg shop, many of them being shipped to former acquaintances in Wayne County.
Mr. Fischback's hand-made saddle sells for $30 to $35 in comparison to the price of $60 to $125 usually asked for the much less comfortable English saddle, which Pete described as a "strip of leather nailed over a couple of clapboards." His saddle shop in Williamsburg was burned down last fall and on the site he has recently erected a modern new brick building, renting the lower floor and using the second floor as a saddle shop.
Pete was born in Germany and despite the fact that he is now within a very few months of 70 years of age he is apparently as active as he was twenty years ago. He came to the United States when he was only three years old and lived at Georgetown and Lexington, Ky., and in Wayne county he lived at the mouth of Newcomb Creek, on Gragston and in the town of Wayne. He learned the saddle-maker's trade from Bill Moore, brother of the late Calvin Moore, well known Wayne countian.
Mr. Fischbach has three sons, Earl who is in the government hospital at Chillicothe, Ohio, and who was a chemist in U. S. Civil service before he had a breakdown in health; Henson, who is a farmer and works at home; and Jack, who is employed by the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. Mr. Fischbach had two brothers, Julius, of Huntington, and Clifford, an N. & W. conductor to die within a month of each other, both of them being victims of heart attacks.
Williamsburg, where Mr. Fischbach now lives, is a small town located near Cincinnati. It is a hub of a wide trading area and there are seven other small towns within a radius of seven miles of Williamsburg.
Wayne County has undergone some nearly unbelievable improvements since Mr.
Fischbach sold saddles, harness and buggies here twenty years ago. Good roads,
electric lights and power, natural gas, telephones, and high schools are only a
few of the outstanding local improvements which have come about in the past two
decades. "But the greatest of all improvements I find in Wayne County is your
improved roads," Mr. Fischbach says, "for these have opened up and made possible
many of your other improvements. I have enjoyed being back among Wayne county
people again, but there is a touch of sorrow in the fact that not many of the
folks whom I once knew here are still living."
(WCN - 9/3/1931) DR. S. J. FERGUSON MOVES TO WAYNE
Dr. Sam J. Ferguson, son of Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Ferguson and brother of Judge Charles W. Ferguson of Wayne, moved from Catlettsburg, Kentucky, to the town of Wayne Tuesday of this week and will live in Mrs. R. J. Thompson's residence on Keyser street.
Dr. Ferguson will engage in the general practice of medicine in the Wayne community and will open offices in the town of Wayne in a building to be decided upon later.
Dr. Ferguson is a native of the Wayne community, attended Oakview Academy here, was graduated from Marshall college, received his B. S. degree from West Virginia University and finished with his M. D. degree from the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond in 1924.
He began practice as company doctor for the Island Creek Coal Company on Mud Fork in Logan county, went to Cincinnati two years ago and for a year was resident physician in the Deaconess hospital there, and for the past year has been practicing medicine in Catlettsburg. He is married and has one child.
Dr. Ferguson has been eminently successful in his profession, is well
equipped both by educational training and by actual practice seven years and
already has a host of friends in the county, which facts combine to insure his
success in the local field.
(WCN - 10/1/1931) CORNERSTONE IS LAID AT FT. GAY
The corner stone of the new Butler District High School building was laid by the Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias at Fort Gay Friday, September 25, 1931, with the beautiful ceremony of that order. Thomas H. Scott, Grand Chancellor of Bluefield was unable to attend in person, but he gave a commission to Supreme Representative W. W. Smith of Huntington, who was present and with the aid of C. C. White, acting Grand Vice, who is also District Deputy Grand Chancellor of the 10th District, Robert H. Weber, Grand Prelate, Chester M. Rife, acting for the Grand Keeper of Records and Seal, Vernon Galloway, acting Grand Master at Arms, L. L. Lycon, acting Grand Master Exchequer, and Homer Christian, acting Grand Inner Guard.
The principle addresses were given by W. W. Smith, Past Grand Chancellor and Supreme Representative and Dr. L. J. Corbly of Marshall College. The crowd numbered near 700 persons.
The Fort Gay school orchestra under direction of W. C. Lovely furnished music for the occasion. Among the things deposited in the corner stone were: A Holy Bible, copies of Wayne County News, Big Sandy News Recorder, Ashland Independent, and The Herald Dispatch, each containing announcement of the ceremony, copy of Grand Lodge proceedings of K. of P., student enrollment, faculty, Board of Education, town officials, and a copy of the Special acts of the Legislature relating to the school and the program for the occasion.
The Butler High School football game followed with Chesapeake high on the local ground with the result that they met defeat 15 to 0. However, they gave a good fight and played a real fast game and showed their visitors that they had improved over last year.