40 Years Ago
Week of February 17, 1983
Brings Deep Snow,
Temperatures in the 60s Tuesday brought an end to one of the most severe winter storms to hit Pendleton County in several years.
Snow which began falling Thursday night left Pendleton County buried under from 13 to 30 inches of the white stuff by Sunday with temperatures falling as low as 10 below zero at some places in the county.
Heavy snow and plunging temperatures brought traffic to a standstill Friday and forced the closing of many local public offices and business firms. All county schools were closed Friday and remianed closed Monday.
Fairly heavy winds Thursday night caused some drifting, but thereafter the winds subsided and the county was spared of any significant drifting during the remainder of the weekend.
Although shielded somewhat by the Shenandoah Mountain on the east, Pendleton felt much of the brunt of the blizzard which swept up the east coast all the way from Virginia to New York.
Plants Can Add Color
To Winter Landscape
It’s nice to see color in the landscape during the gray days of winter. With proper planning, you can have a landscape that is just as beautiful in winter as it is in the other three seasons.
And you won’t have to go outdoors to enjoy your colorful winter garden. Good landscaping offers pleasing pictures from the windows of the rooms you use most often. Evergreens, fruiting shrubs and decidious trees with interesting bark or limb patterns that hold snow create a pleasing winter picture.
Interest in your landscape during the winter can be enhanced by using evergreens such as hemlock, white pine, scotch pine, blue spruce, Norway spruce, Alberta spruce or any of the various juniper shrubs.
Several broad-leaved evergreens also maintain their foliage through the winter. Barberry, boxwood, cotoneaster, certain hollies, mountain laurel and rhododendrons, among others, provide some green color during the winter months.
Berries are a popular addition to a winter garden. Shrubs and trees such as pyracantha, hawthorne, dogwood, sumac, holly, viburnum, mountain ash, barberry, contoneaster and crabapple have fruits that hang on through the winter, providing color for you and food for the birds.
Although the deciduous trees lose their leaves by winter, many are valued in the winter garden for their textured bark or their shape and form. Birch, sycamore and beech have a white bark that is especially noticeable when the leaves are off.
Because of their furrowed, peeling, or colored bark, the sweetgum, cherry, lacebark pine, paperbark maple, sassafrass, saucer magnolia and silky dogwood make interesting winter landscaping specimens.
Cutting Bee Tree
Are Almost Lost Arts
By Eston Teter
The fast moving, modern times in which we are living today have caused many traditional activities, customs and sports to be forgotten. Such has been the case with the “coursing” of wild honey bees and the eventual cutting of the “bee tree.”
Usually there lived in each community some person (or persons) who was considered an authority on this matter, as the coursing of wild bees required some special skill and know how. Such was the case in the Fort Seybert community, and the authority and professional in this matter was the late Clem Miller. During his twilight years, his eyesight was failing, and a keen eyesight is one of the first essentials of this sport. As a very young lad, the writer had the much cherished privilege of serving an apprenticeship under the old pro. The lad had the keen eyesight of a young person. Clem had the know-how and experience, and together they made an excellent “bee hunting” team, and many bee trees were found. Quite often the bees would be on “course” for several days or several weeks before being located. If the bee was not found on a given day, the team would go back at a later time and take up where they left off previously, and eventually, through maneuvering and skillful tactics known only to the experienced and skillful bee hunter, the tree would be located.
Some bee hunters would cut the tree at the end of the summer, at night time while the weather was still warm. This necessitated using a smoke pot to subdue the wrath of the angry bees. Our old pro preferred to wait until cold weather, which rendered the bees inactive. The tree then was cut during daylight, usually when the first bitter cold day came along – 32 degrees and below – then according to Clem, it was time to “cut a bee.” On such a cold day – many times snowy – he made his appearance riding his grey horse, carrying several large pails – not to mention the jug of apple cider that was often in the saddle bag. I would hasten to say that he was a most temperate person.
The amount of honey taken was many times very insignificant, the cavity in the tree not being large enough to afford much storage room for honey. Other times the tree would be nothing but an old hollow fragile shell standing in a steep or rocky area. In falling, the tree would completely break up, mixing the honey with rotten wood, wood dust, dead bees, and black brood comb. Many times the only honey taken was some that was licked off of the leaves where it had spilled out.
When a tree becomes hollow enough to accommodate a bee swarm, it is always past its prime and its standing days are limited. Of course, when the bees move in, they are not aware of this. This was the case of the 48 inches in diameter red oak standing on the Little Buckhorn. The foliage was less and less each year, and it was apparent that this would be the last year for the tree to put forth foliage. It was also apparent that the tree would soon fall over electric lines, and cause other property damage.
Not wanting to destroy the colony of bees which had been living in the hollow of the tree some 40 or 50 feet up for some five or six years, much thought was given to any plan to preseve them. Conditions were such that no safe or practical plan could be devised.
50 Years Ago
Week of February 15, 1973
What about that old abandoned car that you have been trying to get rid of for years.
Now is the time.
According to Lon Simmons, it may be difficult to get the crushing machine back into the county later, so maybe we should take advantage of this opportunity now.
According to the local junk car committee, approximately 500 unwanted abandoned cars have been moved from road rights-of-ways in Pendleton County. The committee feels there are several more abandoned cars that can and should be picked up. If the landowners would take the abandoned cars to a hardsurfaced road, the department of highways will provide some assistance in getting them to working sites.
This project was initiated by the Mountaineers for Rural Progress Committee in Pendleton County. This is one of several projects they have been working on for the past two or three years.
60 Years Ago
Week of February 21, 1963
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.
On Mississippi River
All appeared quiet on the Civil War fronts 100 years ago this week. The armies were resting in their winter quarters: Joe Hooker’s Federals facing Robert E. Lee’s Confederates in the snow of central Virginia; Braxton Bragg’s Confederates watching William S. Rosencrans’ Federals in Tennessee, and Ulysses S. Grant’s Yankees digging along the Mississippi trying to find a way around Vicksburg.
In fact, the newspapers of the day appeared to be paying more attention that week to P. T. Barnum’s favorite exhibit, General Tom Thumb (the three-foot-four-inch dwarf, whose wedding to Miss Lavinia Warren, a dwarf of like size, had taken place February 10), than they paid to the Civil War.
In the midst of this quiet, fighting broke out on the Mississippi between Federal and Confederate war vessels, and again the people had war news to talk about.
The Confederates got the first news to be happy about. “The Queen of the West.” a Federal ram, had raced down the Mississippi under the guns of Vicksburg in late January in broad daylight and had begun mopping up on Confederate shipping in the Mississippi and Red rivers. On February 14, the “Queen” was captured.
Col. Charles R. Ellett, commander of the Queen, was about 50 miles up the Red River when the catastrophe struck his vessel. He had just captured the “Era No. 5,” a Confederate transport, when his “Queen” ran aground directly in the line of fire of a four-gun Confederate battery.
The Confederate guns made short work of their victim. Shots poured into the Queen, and her steam pipe was cut. Part of the crew fled aboard a small boat and headed downriver to the captured “Era” and escaped back to the Mississippi.
Meantime, the federal ironclad “Indianola” had descended the Mississippi to come to Ellett’s aid. The Confederates, quickly repairing the “Queen of he West,’ brought her to the Mississippi and several days later, with the “Queen” and other vessels, attacked the “Indianola” near Warrenton, just south of Vicksburg. Within a short time, the ironclad lay disabled and sinking, and the Federals surrendered her.
But the Federals were to have some compensation, at last. Shortly after the capture of the “Indianola,” Flag Officer D. D. Porter set adrift a dummy warship, constructed from a barge mounted with barrels, and let it float down on Vicksburg.
The guns on the bluffs at Vicksburg opened a heavy fire on the dummy as she floated past but failed to stop her. Farther south, the “Queen of the West,” now in Confederate hands, turned and fled from the dummy, according to one historian’s account. A Confederate officer in charge of the captured “Indianola” also spotted the dummy and, thinking it would try to rescue the “Indianola,” set the captured vessel afire and nearly destroyed it.
Next week: A new draft law.
70 Years Ago
Week of February 19, 1953
Says Story Made
Letters, long distance phone calls, and telegrams are still trickling in as a result of last week’s cave episode. I received a telegram last Friday from CBS asking me to appear on the “Wheel of Fortune” TV show, coast to coast, in New York.
A colonel in Georgia wrote us an interesting letter saying how much he enjoyed the story.
Clay Perry of Pittsfield, Mass., writes that he attended a religious service conducted by Rev. Felix Robinson in the Trout Cave in the mid 1940s.
“You undoubtedly know all about the ‘top secret’ investigation that was made of Trout Cave in 1946 by government scientists and members of the National Speleological Society and have read or know of the book “Early Tales of the Atomic Age” by Daniel Lang in which this expedition is described, published in 1948. I have it.
“On my visit in 1948 I did not go far in Trout Cave for lack of time, equipment and company. Getting up to it was so exhausting that about a quarter mile of crawling, etc., was quite enough, once inside. I was camping at Seneca Caverns as the guest of Estyl Lambert, the manager, in a tent trailer, with my son in 1947 and in 1948, stayed at Mr. Lambert’s house for several days, cruising about the Germany Valley area and visiting the Smoke Hole and caves, etc.
I can imagine how those fellows felt, trapped in the dark, for I once was stranded in Simmons’ Cave (not Kenny Simmons) near Mingo, W. Va., with my carbide light failing and didn’t know how long my electric flashlantern would hold out or the one stub of candle I had. The trouble there was lack of water for the carbide light.”
Perry is the author of “Underground New England,” (Tall tales of Small Caves), “New England’s Buried Treasure”, and “Underground Empire-Wonders and Tales of New York Caves” and various magazine articles on caves.
The Washington Herald is printing a feature story in this Sunday’s edition on The Pendleton Times.
As we are going to press a call came in from “The Big Story” program asking me to write a radio script. The program is on NBC Wednesday nights at 9:30.