10 Years Ago
Week of March 28, 2013
Poison Center Urges
‘Use It or Lose It’
Teens are curious. Teens try new trends. Teens accept dares from friends. Having certain products around the home could spark a teen’s curiosity and result in a poisoning. The best way to avoid these events is to limit the number of potential poisons in the home. If a product is not being used regularly, don’t keep it around to be discovered, “use it or lose it.”
Unfortunately, prescription pain and sleep/anxiety medications can be misused or abused by teens. The West Virginia Poison Center encourages parents to discard their prescription pain or sleep/anxiety medications once they are no longer being used. If these types of medications are stored because they are required for future use, lock them up and be aware of how many tablets remain in the bottle.
Teens do not always understand that the use of someone else’s prescription medications is not only dangerous but illegal. They may not consider themselves as “abusing” drugs if it is “just their parent’s pain medicine” or “just their parent’s sleeping medicine.” A teen who is upset about something at school or at home may see no harm in taking one or two. In addition, a teen may see no harm in providing a few tablets to a classmate who asks them to let them have some, especially if a friendship with that person is something they desire.
20 Years Ago
Week of March 27, 2003
Fisherman to Benefit From Innovative
By Kevin Yokum
Are you tired of hassling to get a decent fishing spot along your favorite trout stream? Ever had people crowd in on your fishing space? If you really want to escape the pressures of springtime crowds, there is a destination you need to try.
There are good and bad points of stocking trout, but West Virginia’s trout stocking program has become so successful that without it many areas of the state would simply be without trout. Each year, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources stocks between 700,000-800,000 pounds of catchable size trout all across the state.
The majority of the state’s trout are stocked by hatchery trucks. The downside of West Virginia’s successful stocking program has been the presence of “truck followers.” Truck followers, people who follow the stock trucks from the hatchery to spots where stocking occurs, displease a lot of the state’s true anglers who complain that truck followers catch newly stocked trout as soon as the fish are put into the water.
In an effort to offer a more remote type of fishing experience and to stock areas that would otherwise be unreachable, the West Virginia DNR has looked to innovative ways to stock trout. Although the overwhelming majority of trout are stocked in the traditional truck-stocking manner, a few West Virginia rivers are now stocked by railcar. Rail stockings provide the opportunity to stop frequently along the stream, which allows stocking personnel to spread trout along many miles of river.
Most people have probably never seen or even heard of a railcar. A railcar is a motorized vehicle or cart, which has special railroad wheels instead of, or in addition to, rubber automobile tires. Railcars can reach speeds of 40 to 50 mph on the rails, but when loaded or pulling stock tanks, the railcars seldom travel over 20 mph.
Stocking by rail has become extemely popular in West Virginia, and each year it seems that more anglers desire remote fishing opportunities where they can fish in serenity. Many anglers are more than willing to hike into remote areas where fishing pressure is almost nonexistent. Additionally, these areas usually contain a lot of holdover trout (stocked trout that have survived from previous years). Limited access to these remote areas provides minimal fishing pressure, so the chance to catch a “holdover” trophy trout is greater along the rail-stocked waters than in regularly stocked areas.
No water has benefited from rail stockings more than the Shavers Fork River. The Shavers Fork River is stocked by railroad from the old logging town of Spruce to Bowden. Nearly 3,000 pounds of rainbows and browns are unloaded by rail on this 43-mile section of the river. Although rail stockings take place during the spring, trout fishing can be good year round on the Shavers Fork.
A 5.5 mile section of the Shavers Fork from the mouth of Whitmeadow Run to the mouth of McGee Run is designated as a year round catch and release area. The special regulation area gets significant fishing pressure, but maintains exceptional trout fishing despite the pressure.
The Shavers Fork can be accessed on the upper end along U.S. Route 250, via several county roads. Anglers traveling to Bowden can access the Shavers Fork where U.S. Route 33 crosses the river at the beginning of the four-lane highway between Bowden and Elkins.
For a new perspective on spring trout fishing, try a remote rail stocked section of the Shavers Fork.
30 Years Ago
Week of March 25, 1993
Is Program to Reduce Drinking at Proms
In an effort to help save teenage lives and to reduce injuries caused by drunk-driving, Nationwide Insurance, one of the leading insurance companies in the United States, decided to organize a program that would help. State law enforcement, educational organizations, government officials, local television and radio stations, along with thousands of Nationwide employee and agent volunteers work in cooperation with the program to help high school students stay alive.
Fort Seybert Bridge Is Monument to Men Who Believed in Honest Work
By Eston Teter
On August 26, 1924, the Pendleton County Court advertised in “The Pendleton Times,” and perhaps other papers, for bids on the construction of two bridges in the county. One of these bridges was the overhead steel girder bridge at Riverton, crossing the North Fork River on the Seneca Caverns road. This bridge has since been replaced. The other bridge was a 250-foot bridge of the same type crossing the South Fork at Fort Seybert. This bridge is still in use.
The construction of the bridge of Fort Seybert was the most exciting event that had taken place there since the Shawnee Indian raid and massacre of 1758. I was a very young lad living there with my parents in sight of this project. Naturally, I was very excited about it and the following are some events and personalities which I thought might be of interest.
I do not know which of the two bridges was built first, nor do I remember the year in which construction began on the Fort Seybert bridge. I do remember that it was a very exciting time when the builders began moving in their equipment.
Compared with today’s standards, the equipment was very simple and meager. The rolling stock consisted of two Ford-built trucks. These trucks were of the heavy commercial type, quite a bit heavier than the Model-T Ford truck which we had in our area. They brought two teams of mules, which were used in various pulling capacities throughout the construction. They had a water pump, powered by a “one-lung” gasoline engine, and a cement mixer using a gasoline motor of the same type.
Other than a truckload of small miscellaneous hand tools, this was all the equipment they had. Imagine constructing a bridge of this size today with only this equipment!
The foreman on the job was a Mr. Tuning. He was a pleasant, heavyset man, always chewing tobacco. He would open a bag of “Beechnut,” his brand, and put it in his hip pocket. When he wanted a chew, he would go into the bag, still in his pocket, with his thumb and two fingers bringing out a fresh chew. He would string tobacco from the pocket to his mouth. The bag would not be taken from his pocket until it was empty, at which time it would be replaced with a full one. The job site was literally peppered with empty tobacco bags.
The two “mule skinners” who came with the job were John Foutz and “Gip” Umstot.
The men who came with the job boarded with families in the community, and the other help was hired locally.
Eventually the job was completed. I don’t remember how long it took or when it was finished. At that time the county was financially strapped for several reasons, one being that the Great Depression had hit and people were having a hard time paying the taxes; therefore, the county was having difficulty in finding enough money to pay for the bridge job.
Today this bridge is in daily use and it stands tall as a monument to a group of men who believed in hard, honest work as a way of life.
Recent Big Snow Nothing To the Blizzard of 1888
No doubt the blizzard of 1993 will be marked in our memories for the remainder of our days. Gertrude Mitchell shares memories of the 1888 blizzard which proved quite memorable to the historians. The Mitchell men (Sam, Mus, Jake and Frank) told her of that early March when the wagons were hitched to horses to take the long trek across the mountain through Briery Branch and on to Harrisonburg to load up on the supplies needed for the farm. It snowed so hard while they were returning home that they unhitched the wagons to leave them at Briery Branch. Even though the snow was as high as the bellies of the horses, the men mounted them to return home. Sam’s wife, Jennie, had hung the wash on the line prior to the snowstorm, however, some of the pieces of clothing were not found until the snows had melted.
60 Years Ago
Week of March 28, 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.
Fail at Vicksburg
Five rather battered Federal gunboats backtracked through the bayous and creeks north of Vicksburg, Miss., 100 years ago this week, their mission a failure.
When they arrived back on the Mississippi River and reported to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Grant was forced to come to a rather bitter conclusion: all his attempts to capture Vicksburg over the past six months had come to naught. He appeared no nearer to victory in Vicksburg than he had been the prceding autumn when he first began moving against the city. Confederate troops still were strongly entrenched in the city, their powerful guns overlooking the big river from the Vicksburg bluffs. The Federal troops trying to get at the city had done little more than get themselves mired in mud and swamps.
The five gunboats had made the latest of four attempts by Grant to reach the city from the east or south. Commanded by Admiral David Porter, the boats had gone up the Yazoo River just north of Vicksburg, had turned into Steel’s bayou and had tried to move eastward through a series of bayous and creeks. Their purpose, to bypass Confederate fortifications on the Yazoo behind Vicksburg.
But the effort had been useless. The gunboats had moved into the swamps and creeks and had gotten themselves hopelessly entangled in the trees and brush overhanging the creeks. Confederate soldiers shot at them and chopped down trees so that they fell across the creeks both in front and behind the gunboats, trapping them.
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman finally had come to Porter’s rescue, and the gunboats turned back toward the Mississippi.
Previous attempts to reach Vicksburg had had similar results.
First had been the Yazoo Pass expedition, in which Federal boats tried to move through a series of bayous and rivers for more than 200 miles to reach Vicksburg from the rear. The expedition met disaster in mid-March when Confederates in hastily-erected Fort Pemberton, opened fire on the vessels. The boats caught fire like sitting ducks and had no recourse but to retreat.
Next was the Lake Providence expedition, which began on the Mississippi’s western bank far north of Vicksburg. There, according to the plan, boats would enter Lake Providence in northern Louisiana and make their way southward through bayous and rivers to the Red River. From there, they would move into the Mississippi and attack Vicksburg from the south. That plan, though it produced some good fun and fishing for the soldiers, was foiled when Grant found he couldn’t get enough light draft boats to haul his army.
Finally, there was the plan to change the course of the Mississippi to bypass Vicksburg. Grant’s engineers had dug a new channel for the river to bypass Vicksburg, but the channel was ruined in a flood.
As March came to an end, Grant had no choice but to find a new plan to capture Vicksburg. Already, that plan was beginning to form in his mind.
Next week: A bread riot in Richmond.