20 Years Ago
Week of June 20, 2002
High in Franklin
With a median household income of $32,125, Franklin is, by far, one of the most prosperous municipalities in the Potomac Highlands, at least according to data from 1999 which was compiled by the US Census Bureau for the 2000 Census.
The 2000 Census data is based upon an income survey of 362 households in the county seat of Pendleton County, which has a median income of $30,429 based on a survey of 3,364 households. The overall median household income for West Virginia in 1999 was $29,696.
While the median household income for this county is on par with other counties in the Potomac Highlands, the Town of Franklin stands out.
According to the 2000 Census data, the median family income in Franklin was $40,500.
West Virginia Day is soon here—June 20th to be exact. Being in Appalachian country, one soon realizes it has some of the most rugged land in the United States. There are no large areas of level ground, except the strips of valley land along the rivers. The ruggedness of the land gives West Virginia its nickname, “The Mountain State.” It has made life difficult for much of the land is too steep and rocky for farming; highways, airports and railroads are difficult to build; and floods from mountain streams often threaten valley settlements. Yet, the beautiful scenery beckons the many travelers to seek and enjoy the peaceful serenity. The hardy independence of the people who live here is reflected in the state’s motto, “Mountaineers Are Always Free” (Montani Semper Liberi). At the formation of the state of West Virginia, Pendleton County had very few slaves (a total of 318). This was an advantage over most other counties since the people were accustomed to work.
The early pioneers whose descendants saw the noted separation of the western section of Virginia into two sections, that of Virginia and West Virginia are as follows: Dyer, 1747 (Fort Seybert); Patton, 1747 (Fort Seybert); Hawes, 1750 (Fort Seybert); Conrad, 1753 (South Fork Mountain, Fort Seybert); Cunningham, 1753 (Walnut Bottom, North Fork–615 acres); Dunkle, 1753 (South Fork Mountain, Fort Seybert); Mallow, 1753 (Kline Post Office); Propst, 1753 (two miles south of Brandywine); Simmons, 1753 (Upper South Fork bottom); Skidmore, 1754 (Friend’s Run); Hevener, 1755 (South Fork above Oak Flat); Evick, 1756 (South Fork); Harper, 1756 (South Branch); Swadley, 1756 (South Fork bottom); Ruleman, 1756 (three miles south of Brandywine); Dice, 1757 (Fort Seybert and Friend’s Run); Keister, 1757 (Brandywine); and Burnett, 1759 (head of Black Thorn). The citizens of Pendleton County are all Americans and West Virginians by choice. One’s character has been molded and inspired by what the forefathers have done. Proudly display the flag on June 20th and other noted days such as Flag Day, Fourth of July, etc.
30 Years Ago
Week of June 18, 1992
Over the Years
Peanut Thompson, operator of the Korner Shop in Franklin, took some pictures on Main Street, Franklin, and sent them to friends now living the western states to show them how downtown Franklin had changed on Saturday evenings filled with folks shopping and enjoying themselves just like a celebration of some event today. There were four general stores and a clothing store within almost a stone throw distance, a meat market, and at a time, two meat markets, two hotels and several restaurants with some selling beer. There was for a time three barber shops with men waiting their turn for a hair cut. They remembered the shoe shine boy calling out shoe shine. The movie theatre was often filled and folks waiting for the second show or movie. The Ford and Chevrolet agency with a repair shop was doing a brisk business. Then a bowling alley added in the basement of the Ford Garage became a big attraction.
A country store operator in reminiscing said, I thought good roads would bring me more business, but it did just the opposite. Folks would get in their motor vehicles and take their farm produce to sell to Franklin and Petersburg and in turn buy articles needed. Today, better roads, a more comfortable way to travel to distant towns and cities to buy and work and government regulations, along with the changing times that we call progress, has changed downtown Franklin in many ways, especially on Saturday evenings.
Most men will credit their father for making the contribution to their lives. Father was secure enough to be tough when the need arose, but could also be tender when comfort or encouragement was needed. Yes, fathers do leave a mark on their children. This coming Sunday marks a special day for dad—it’s Father’s Day. So as with each day of the year, the balance of respect and love can be shown as a way of honoring dad.
40 Years Ago
Week of June 17, 1982
Sold Last Week
To County Resident
For 50 Years
Seneca Caverns, West Virginia’s largest commercial caverns, were sold last Thursday to Earl Hedrick of Riverton. The purchase price was not disclosed.
The caverns were owned by four individuals, Estyl Lambert of Riverton, William Kirk of New York, James Kirk of Miami Shores, Florida, and Eviline White of Roanoke, Va. The sellers retained possession of the cavern rights until January 1, 1983.
Involved in the sale were cavern rights under 157 acres of land and six acres of surface.
The Seneca Caverns are located three miles east of Riverton off US Route 33. They have been one of the principal tourist attractions of the area since their opening in 1930, except for a period during World War II when they were closed.
Estyl Lambert, who has managed the caverns for many years and helped develop them, said attendance in recent years has exceeded 35,000 visitors.
Lambert said Hedrick plans to develop an amusement park with rides to be operated in connection with the caverns.
Hedrick is a native of Riv-erton who left Pendleton County a number of years ago and has owned and managed a building supply company and lumberyard in Gainsville, Va., in recent years. He recently sold the Gainsville business and returned to Riverton.
50 Years Ago
Week of June 15, 1972
June 11th the temperature dropped to 31 degrees, with plenty of frost to be seen that did damage to the gardens.
60 Years Ago
Week of June 14, 1962
100 YEARS AGO
Stuart’s Ride Boosts Southern Morale
By LON K. SAVAGE
Editor’s Note—The following is one of a series of articles on the Civil War. Each weekly installment covers events which occurred exactly 100 years ago.
Many of the events of the Civil War have come down through history not so much because of their historical significance as because of their romance, their excitement, their embodiment of the spirit of the war. Such was James Ewell Brown Stuart’s famous “Ride Around McClellan” 100 years ago this week.
“Jeb” Stuart’s ride around McClellan was just that: with 1,200 horsemen, the gay, dashing young cavalry general, his plume waving saucily from his hat, rode out from Richmond toward the right flank of General George B. McClellan’s grand army of 150,000 men; he rode around the right flank, circled in behind McClellan’s army and emerged on the left flank, then made his way back to the Confederate lines at Richmond.
Stuart’s men captured a handful of Union troops and a supply of weapons and arms; they also found important information for General Robert E. Lee; but the chief importance of the ride was its boost to Southern morale. For hardly had Stuart returned when his “ride” was picked up by Southern newspapers and was on every lip. Even in the north the story spread, and the northerners wondered how such a gigantic reconnaisance could completely circle their general, crossing every one of his supply lines and remaining behind the lines for three days without being captured.
But that is just what happened—and with purpose to it. Stuart took his ride upon order of General Lee, leaving Richmond in the afternoon of June 12.
The long line of horsemen first rode straight north to the little town of Ashland, some 20 miles away, where they camped for the night with neither fires nor sound.
Next morning, without a bugle blast, they rode off again, this time headed east. At Hanover Court House, they charged a Yankee scouting group, capturing one man. From there, they skirmished most of the day with federal troops, often charging with sabers drawn. In one such charge, Confederate Capt. William Latane fell dead, shot through the heart, and became the only Southerner to be killed on the “ride.” He later was immortalized in a painting showing his burial.
On they rode, fighting federals on both their front and rear, sometimes fighting hand to hand, gathering prisoners as they rode. At one point, Stuart was fighting Yankees commanded by his wife’s father, Gen. Philip St. George Cooke.
At Old Church, they halted, and Virginia residents cheered them, and a lady presented Stuart with a bouquet. Later, they captured a wagon load of small arms, then captured a small railroad station and fired at a Yankee train speeding through it.
The second night out, the men didn’t sleep but, instead, headed back South again, riding under a full moon. They reached the swollen Chickahominy river, built a bridge and walked across it while their horses swam, then continued South toward the James river, arriving there at dusk.
Finally, they rested, and then rode back to Richmond along the river, looking to their left at the masts of a federal fleet at anchor in the river.
Dawn was appearing in the east next morning when Stuart and his men rode back into Richmond, to the acclaim of a gratified Confederacy and to immortality in history.
Next week: “Where is Jackson?”
Local Values Up
29% Since ‘54
NEW YORK—The upward swing in the value of farm real estate continues in Pendleton County.
On the basis of a recent study, part of a national agricultural survey, the value of local farms is now 29 percent higher than in 1954. The change in the number of farms is partially responsible.
The rise is in line with the steady advance in market values noted in many other farming areas of the country during the last 15 years or so. Nearly every year has seen a new high posted.
What is pushing the prices up? According to the Departent of Agriculture, one of the factors is the small supply of farms being offered for sale despite the popular conception that farmers are anxious to dispose of their properties.
In Pendleton County, the figures show, the price of farm real estate—land and buildings—is now $62 an acre, as against the $48 per acre price reported five years previously.
The values placed on farms throughout the nation have just been detailed by the Department of Commerce. Its reports are based on the latest census of agriculture.
The 29 percent rise in Pendleton County tops the State of West Virginia rise of 12 percent.
Various explanations have been advanced to account for the inconsistency that seems to have developed between farm income and farm values.
Some feel that the rise in land prices is due to the continuing pressure of existing farmers for acreage to add to their present holdings to take advantage of mechanization and of other technological advances in agriculture.
A new and more novel explanation, offered by a Department of Agriculture economist, is that farmers are reluctant to sell because of the capital gains tax they would have to pay. It is pointed out that a farm that cost $20,000 and is now worth $60,000 might involve a Federal tax of nearly $7,500.
In Pendleton County, the value of the average farm—land and buildings—rose from $10,606 to $16,128 since 1954. Consolidations caused some of this increase.