20 Years Ago
Week of December 5, 2002
To Share Harvest
By Helping the Hungry
As the fall hunting season gets underway, it’s appropriate to review one of the state’s most successful programs for helping needy families: Hunters Helping the Hungry. Through this program, hundreds of West Virginians receive a quantity of high-quality ground venison, which is sometimes the only red meat they can get during the year. Since its inception 11 years ago, HHH has provided more than 385,000 pounds of venison to needy West Virginians.
30 Years Ago
Week of December 3, 1992
In Refrigerator Ice
Whether you’re having a party or a family meal, it’s convenient to have a good supply of fresh ice on hand, but what if that ice starts to smell or taste funny?
What causes ice cubes to taste or smell peculiar? Investigate the following possibilities:
Old Ice—Cubes that are stored too long may develop a stale “off” flavor. To prevent this, discard any ice that’s more than a week or two old.
New Installation—Ice may be a bit discolored or off-flavored if you’ve just installed a refrigerator with an automatice ice maker. This condition, caused by new plumbing, is temporary—simply discard the first few batches of ice.
Improperly Wrapped Foods—Ice attracts and absorbs odors—including odors that escape from food items in the refrigerator that aren’t well wrapped or covered. The problem is particularly troublesome in today’s no-frost refrigerators, where air is circulated between the freezer and refrigerator sections.
There’s a simple solution: Make sure all foods are sealed or wrapped well, using airtight, moisture-proof, vapor-proof containers or wrapping materials. It’s also a good idea to avoid storing foods with strong odors (pizza, casseroles, anything containing onion or garlic) for long periods.
40 Years Ago
Week of December 2, 1982
Quentin Propst of Brandywine supplied the following story. It appears that Dr. Harvey Bowers of Sugar Grove owned the first automobile on the South Fork. Dr. Bowers had an instructor teach him how to operate the car. One day Noah Propst was sitting on his porch, using a spy-glass in watching the travel on the South Fork road, when he called for his wife, Sally. “Come, quick! There is a buggy going up the William Eye hill without a horse.” Sally came, doubting his word and thinking that he was imagining things. She probably said, “Whoever heard of such a thing?” Anyway, by this time Mr. Propst was getting rather vexed at Sally and said, “I reckon I know what I see.”
60 Years Ago
Week of December 6, 1962
100 YEARS AGO
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.
At Prairie Grove, Ark.
Affairs were not going well for Confederate troops in the West 100 years ago this week, and no one worried about it more than did the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. During that cold first week of December, Davis decided to leave Richmond and look at the affairs in the western theatre, himself. But before he got there, his army had suffered another setback in the West—this time in the state of Arkansas.
On December 7, the morning after Davis’ decision to go to the West, a Confederate army attacked a Union army at a little place called Prairie Grove in northwestern Arkansas and was rebuffed. The Southern army was compelled to withdraw, demoralized.
The battle was a minor engagement when placed in rank among the Civil War’s other slaughters, but it was a hotly contested fight just the same.
It was brought on by Maj. Gen. T. C. Hindman, commander of Confederate troops in the area, a veteran of Shiloh and a competent organizer. Hindman, operating near Fayetteville, Ark., decided to make his attack after he had been ordered to take his troops to Little Rock; it would be a parting gesture to the Federals in the area.
At 3 a.m. on December 7, Hindman’s troops, about 11,500 strong, moved northward against a divided Union army under command of Kansas born Gen. James G. Blunt.
Hindman’s tactics to that point were good. He attacked only half of Blunt’s army—about 6,000 men under Gen. F. J. Herron—and he was capable of defeating it. The two armies collided near Cane Hill; both sides brought up more troops; then Hindman made his mistake.
Instead of attacking with all his force after the initial collision, Hindman took a strong defensive position and waited for Herron to renew the battle.
It was the break the Union forces needed. Blunt, with the remainder of his army, hastened forward at the soud of the firing. With his full army assembled, he pitched into Hindman’s forces and, outnumbering them in both men and materials, he won his victory.
Even at that, it wasn’t much of a victory. There were, 2,500 casualties in the battle, 1,200 of them Federals. But during the night, Hindman withdrew, and it was to prove his army’s undoing. In the cold months ahead, desertions and disease took their toll until Hindman’s army had withered away.
Even as the fighting went on, Davis was preparing to go west. One day after the battle, he wrote Gen. Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg, Va., announcing his trip west, to “arouse all classes to united and desperate resistance.”
Within four days, the president of the Confederacy was moving overland toward Chattanooga.
Next week: Fredericksburg.
For West Virginia’s
Do you know where the biggest tree in West Virginia is located?
The State Department of Natural Resources would like to know about it.
The department has set out to find the biggest tree in each of the numerous species that abound in our Mountain State, and also the biggest tree in the entire state without regard to species.
“We think this big tree search is a splendid way to emphasize the size of West Virginia’s forests and their importance in the development and expansion of the state’s economy,” said Director Warden M. Lane.
“But our primary purpose is to locate and mark these giants of the forest for practical uses. For instance, locating on the state’s tourist map where the biggest tree in the state and the biggest tree of each species may be found, should be an added attraction to visitors in our state. The big tree finding-and-marking project will be of special interest to forest-minded tourists in West Virginia during our Centennial year,” Lane said.
State Forester Lester McClung noted that forests cover almost 10 million of the state’s total of 15 and one-half million acres.
The state’s forests now supply the raw materials for industries that provide full-time jobs for 13,000 persons. The annual payroll of those industries reaches $43 million. The goods they manufacture each year are worth more than $100 million. Farmers sell nearly $2 million of forest products from their woodlots each year.
A Giant Tree
Out on the South Fork Mountain in Pendleton County at a point in the mountain locally known as Main Mountain, midway between what are still known as the Kesner Settlement and the Hinkle Corner, in a wide swale or depression in the mountain, not far from the residence of G. W. Alexander, there stands a giant white oak tree. It is one of the finest specimens to be found anywhere, measuring nine feet in circumference, some distance from the ground. The trunk is straight and free from knot or blemish. It bears no scar from the implements of man. Far above the earth the large branches appear, forming a well balanced, wide spreading top. Its size and shape make it distinguished and outstanding in the forest which surrounds it. No lover of nature could pass it unnoticed, or help admiring it. Forest fires which have destroyed much of the forest of the surrounding mountain top, have left it untouched, because of its situation on lower, damper ground.
It must have been a tree such as this that Joyce Kilmer had in mind when he wrote his beautiful poem, ending with the truism that “only God can make a tree.”
It has withstood the storms of not less than two centuries. It has witnessed the passing of the buffalo, elk and other wild denizens of the forest of the former days. Its story, if it could be fully told, would possess an interest beyond all conception.
We Have a Problem – – –
An encouraging note was sounded Monday night at the meeting held for the purpose of setting up an organization which will seek to attract industry to Pendleton County. Co-chairman H. Byrd Teter said, “We have a big job ahead of us, but we will keep after it until we win!” Although one would be naive to think it will be a simple matter to lure industry into the county, the interest and determination displayed by those attending the meeting left no doubt that the mission will be accomplished.
There may be those among us who are indifferent or even opposed to the idea of bringing industrial concerns here, but when we make a frank analysis of local conditions it would seem that we can not help but see the necessity for it. The most glaring evidence of the need for industrial development is the fact that Pendleton County’s population has declined by 2,000 over the past 20 years. The population dropped approximately 1,000 during the 1940-50 decade, and another 1,000 between 1950 and 1960.
THE CAUSE OF OUR DECLINING population is no great mystery. Pendleton is a one-industry county. Its economy is based upon agriculture. Twenty years ago when the efforts of the entire family were required to operate the family farm, Pendleton’s population was at its peak. But things have changed. Over the past 20 years the tractor has replaced the team, the baler has replaced a dozen haying hands, and the chain saw has made an antique of the crosscut saw. The swift mechanization of agriculture in recent years has made it possible for one man with machinery to operate the farm that formerly required the efforts of the entire family. Their services no longer needed, the young people now go to Washington, Baltimore and Columbus and get jobs in the plants that manufacture the tractor, the baler and the chain saw.
The exodus of our youth is hurting. It robs the county of the vigor and vitality that only they can give it. The decline in population results in lagging public revenues, which in turn, results in lagging public institutions and services, such as schools and churches. The decline in employment results in smaller payrolls and less money in circulation.
THIS IS NOT A PLEASANT PICTURE to paint of one’s community. But if a problem exists, it will not be corrected until it is faced frankly and honest effort is made to do something about it. Indifference cures nothing.
We believe we can be both realistic and optomistic. We believe we have a problem, but we believe the people of the county are ready now to face it and correct it. We believe it can be done.
We passed by the Broad Run schoolhouse where John Dahmer taught school 59 years ago, and the enrollment was 25 and 13 were Hoovers. The young men in that area often came there to play ball, and when the closing day came, a large crowd was present. A community sing followed that night, conducted by the Rev. George E. Pope.
70 Years Ago
Week of December 4, 1952
Ten Pendleton county men will leave here next Tuesday morning by special bus for Fairmont, where they will be inducted into the armed service, it has been announced by Mrs. John C. Harman, clerk to Selective Service Board No. 44.
They are Trummie Thompson, John Paul Bennett and Herbert Forrest Hartman, of Onego; Charles Harry Hoover and Walter Eli Moats of Moyers; Glenn R. Bennett of Washington, formerly of Circleville; Russell Lee McQuain of Staunton, Va., formerly of Moyers; Harlan White Bennett, Circleville; Cecil Waybright, Blue Grass, VA; and Roland Calhoun Miller of Mozer.