10 Years Ago
Week of March 7, 2013
To Early Communities
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was relatively little industry in this area. The majority of people led a nearly self-sufficient existence. It is said that it takes three generations to make an area civilized. The first generation brought in goods by way of carts or wagons and built very crude homes. There were no stores or any way of getting things and no mills of any kind. The second generation would build the grist mills to supply the needs of the community and cut roads or pathways through the mountains. The third generation would find a well-settled and suitable way of life, have organized churches, blacksmith shops and grist mills.
Iron was essential for the well-being of the early settlers. The early settlers would make a forge like the blacksmith used, and with iron and forge they would hand make the portions of their homes that were necessary. This would include the iron hook that hung in every chimney, on which the settlers hung their pots for cooking. They made their ovens out of iron in which to bake their breads and other foods, along with the iron skillets to fry their foods. They also used iron to make hinges, rims for wagon wheels, cow bells, tools, homemade nails and to make necessary repairs around the home.
At that time, the blacksmith played a vital role in his community and was accorded due respect. Indeed, without his skill, the life-style would have been extremely primitive. The shop itself was often a place where people socialized, especially on rainy days, or while waiting for something to be made or repaired. In a culture where everyone, including children, had to work to just get by, it is easy to understand how important the blacksmith was at that time. Tools were probably difficult to obtain, and so very often a special tool for a certain job had to be tailor made for the job. Blacksmithing was taking raw, unformed iron and making a finished, useful product.
Of all the tools a blacksmith needs, the anvil is probably the most important. The heated stock is placed on the anvil to be formed, whether it is to be cut, bent, punched or drawn out. Hammers are probably used more than any other tool. The blacksmith uses different weights and sizes, depending on the task at hand. The heavier the work, the heavier the hammer was needed to perform the job. Chisels were used for cutting metal. They were made for hot or cold work. Tongs were used to hold items that were heated or being worked on when hot. Coming in different sizes and shapes, a pair was made specifically to work on one particular thing. Punches were used for enlarging holes, for marking measurements and punching. Tempered tips were made to be flat or pointed, round or square. Files were used to smooth off rough spots, a hand drill for drilling holes, a soldering iron was used for sawing small pieces of metal, and a traveler or tire wheel was used to measure the metal rim for a wagon wheel. Foot-powered grindstones were used to sharpen all the tools; vises were used to secure objects that were being worked on, and mandrils, which were cone-shaped forms, were used to form or stretch circular objects.
Most blacksmiths were skilled woodworkers, as well as metal-workers. The fire was critical to the blacksmith’s work because the iron and steel had to be heated in order to be softened to be forged or welded.
During this time, blacksmiths would even pull teeth for people. People went to the blacksmith for just about everything. No wonder he was a well-respected individual in the community.
The last known blacksmith in this community was the late Willy “Piggley Wiggley” Puffenbarger. Many of his creations are still being used at Williamsburg, VA.
20 Years Ago
Week of March 13, 2003
Regional DMV Office Opens Near Franklin
The ribbon’s been cut, the speeches delivered and now the regional Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in the Pendleton Business Center (formerly the Hanover building) is a reality.
The State of West Virginia’s newest full-service facility, located on US Rt. 220 south of Franklin, was dedicated on Monday morning.
Chamber of Commerce Organized,
Following up on the momentum generated at its inaugural meeting, the county-wide Pendleton Chamber of Commerce hit the ground running at its second get-together, putting together a formal organization, establishing committees and assembling a board of directors.
Local Mountain Dialect
Southern Mountain dialect spoken by Appalachian people (as the Appalachian folk speech is called by linguists) can generally represent the first Queen Elizabeth historical period. What is heard today is totally a sort of Scottish flavored Elizabethan English. It is possible to compile a long list of these words and phrases. “I was getting better but now I’ve done took a backset from the flu.” “When I woke up this morning, there was a skiff of snow on the ground.” Words like “a-studying” and “a-working” are verbal nouns and go back to Anglo-Saxon times (from the 1300s on). “Bring them books over here” was considered good English in the 1500s. “I found three bird’s nests on the way to school,” and “That pencil’s not mine; it’s here’n” evolved in the Middle Ages. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, found people saying, “You wasn’t scared, was you?” “I done finished my work” echoes of late Anglo-Saxon times. Using current Anglo-Saxon and Elizabethan phrases such as “I got so mad I wanted to pick up a board and wrap (worp) him alongside the head” and “He caught a whole slue of fish” are still occasionally heard. Typical Scottish pronunciations are “poosh, boosh, eetch, deesh, feesh (push, bush, itch, dish and fish).” At times there is confusion with the words “pen” and “pin” (which most people continue to pronounce alike as “pin”). These words are regularly accompanied by a qualifying word — “stick pin” for the pin and “ink pen” for the pen. Until recently, the dialect considered it brash to use either the word “bull” or “stallion.” Therefore, it was necessary to refer to a bull as a “father cow” or a “gentleman cow.” A “stable horse” was really a stallion. Embarrassing incidents often took place. A young lad had gone to the general store for some asafetida (to wear in a bag around his neck) and discovered, to his amazement, that the only clerk in the store was a lady! He decided he couldn’t possibly ask for it by the right name since the first syllable didn’t sound proper to him, so after thinking it over, he requested some “rumpifidity.”
30 Years Ago
Week of March 11, 1993
89.6 Percent of Residents
An overwhelming majority of Pendleton County residents think Dr. Alan Canonico has done a good job as superintendent of Pendleton County Schools, according to a telephone survey of Pendleton County residents.
An impressive 89.6 percent of persons expressing opinions in the survey said they think Canonico is doing a good job, and 91 percent said the superintendent’s job performance was not so bad that he did not deserve to have his contract extended.
60 Years Ago
Week of March 14, 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.
Federals Begin Siege
Of Port Hudson, La.
While General Ulysses S. Grant worked his army toward Vicksburg, Miss., 100 years ago this week, other Federals began a siege of Port Hudson, La., more than 100 miles downstream.
It was a combined army-navy effort to help Grant cut the Confederacy in two along the line of the Mississippi. The opening of the siege gave the Confederates a beautiful sight—the exploding of a Federal warship—but it gave the Federals something much more valuable: control of the mouth of the vital Red River, supply line of the Confederacy connecting Texas with the East.
The assault on Port Hudson had long been planned by Federal Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks who had taken command of Federal troops in New Orleans in December. Shortly after his arrival, in fact, Banks had occupied Baton Rouge, 25 miles south of Port Hudson, and had begun preparations to move north.
Like Vicksburg, Port Hudson proved to be a natural fortification, and Confederate General John C. Breckinridge had taken advantage of it. By early 1863, he had 21 big guns and more than 12,000 men strongly entrenched on bluffs 75 to 90 feet above the river.
Banks chose to move on Saturday, March 14th with 17,000 men. He moved out of Baton Rouge upward and to the rear of Port Hudson, hoping to divert Breckinridge from the river and to open fire on the Confederate batteries in the lower portions of the bluff. Throughout the day, his men and wagons moved upstate beneath the trees and Spanish moss of the Louisiana woodlands.
That night Admiral David Farragut moved upstream with a fleet of Federal gunboats to pass the Confederate fortifications at Port Hudson in cooperation with Bank’s plans. But things went awry. Banks was not yet in position to fight.
As Farragut’s fleet moved under the guns of Port Hudson, they were surprised when suddenly a huge fire of pine knots blazed up on the right bank of the river. The blaze set purposely by the Confederates, made perfect silhouettes of the Federal ships, caught between the fire on one bank and the guns on the other. The Confederates quickly opened fire on their illuminated targets.
Four of the vessels—the Richmond, Monongahela, Genesee and Kineo—found the artillery too hot and retreated back downstream. Two others—the Hartford and Albatross—made it through the gunfire and headed north toward Vicksburg. One ship, the Mississippi, stuck on a spit opposite Port Hudson in the line of fire of three Confederate batteries. After half an hour’s effort to free his vessel, the Mississippi’s captain, Melancton Smith, removed the crew and set the vessel afire. As both sides watched, the blazing ship floated free, drifted downstream and blew up.
The attack had failed in one sense, but a siege of Port Hudson had begun. More importantly for the present, Farragut’s two vessels, the Hartford and Albatross, were north of Port Hudson and soon made contact with the Federals surrounding Vicksburg. From that moment on, the Federal navy controlled the Mississippi between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, including the important confluence of the Mississippi and the Red Rivers.
Next week: Gunfire in Virginia and Tennessee.
70 Years Ago
Week of March 12, 1953
JOE – – –
The funeral of Joseph Vissarionovitch Djugashvili—better known as Joe Stalin—ended the reign of a tyrant who had for the past 30 years ruled over an empire that extended from the banks of the Danube in Europe to the South China Sea, and embraced 800 million people.
Through treachery he attained power. When Lenin died, Trotsky—the one man who might have given democracy to Russia—was on his way for a cure in the Caucasus. He wired the Kremlin asking when the funeral would be held, and saying that he wished to attend. He received a telegram signed by Stalin which read: “The funeral takes place on Saturday. You will not be able to return in time. The Politburo thinks that because of your health, you must proceed to Sukhum.” The funeral was on Monday. Trotsky could have been there.
Stalin’s diabolical idea was to keep Trotsky’s friendship with Lenin from the Russian people—to keep him out of the newspaper pictures of the funeral, and plant the idea in the minds of the Russian people that Trotsky had deliberately stayed away.
The plan worked. Once in power, Stalin deliberately planned a great famine which wiped out five million countrymen. The famine gave Stalin a much tighter rein on the government. His entire reign was one of bloody, bawdy villiany. His government was conceived in tyranny and dedicated to the proposition that most men were created for slavery.
An advertisement appearing in the Chicago Tribune last Monday probably sums up the feelings of this country for him. The ad appearing on the day of his funeral was edged in black and read: “This Store Will be Closed on Monday Due to the Death of Stalin—The Employees Are Going On a Picnic.”
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