10 Years Ago
Week of February 8, 2014
County Experiencing an ‘Old-Fashioned Winter’
The weather has been just like “the old-fashioned winter” as many folk have commented. Freezing temperatures are surely taking care of the lady bugs and stink bugs! School was once again called off on Monday, which found the area deluged with sleet and snow. The rest of the week looks rather pretentious.
20 Years Ago
Week of February 5, 2004
Local Radio Station WELD-AM-FM, Fisher, Petersburg, changed ownership Sunday, Feb. 1. South Branch Communications, headed by Willard Earle, applied to the Federal Communications Commission in October, 2003, to transfer the ownership of the station to Thunder Associates, LLC. Curtis Durst and his wife, Sandra, own Thunder Associates.
Durst was a resident of Moorefield and attended school in Moorefield through his sophomore year. His father, Jack Durst, was a West Virginia State Policeman in Moorefield until 1971 when he transferred to Romney. Curtis Durst attended his junior and senior years at Hampshire High School, attended Potomac State College in Keyser and then West Virginia University in Morgantown.
In 1981, Curtis Durst and his partners founded Starcast Systems, Inc., a radio broadcasting company which owns WKLP-1390 AM in Keyser and WBHN-1590 AM in Bryson City, NC.
For the past five years Curtis Durst has been the director of Grand Central Business Center in Keyser. Annette Keller who has been the assistant director at Grand Central Business Center has been named to fill the position being vacated by Durst at Grand Central. Sandra Durst has been the deputy clerk in the Mineral County Clerk’s office for nearly 19 years and will become the office manager at WELD.
A few changes the new owners have in mind for WELD include promoting Alan Yokum to station manager and extending the hours of operation to 24 hours a day, seven days a week on both WELD-690 AM and WELD-101.7 FM.
Most of the present WELD employees have indicated that they will stay and become part of the new company. Willard Earle who has owned and managed the station since 1985 will continue to consult the new owners. Durst and Yokum have indicated that they hope Earle will continue to work on the air from time to time.
“WELD is legendary in its community service to the Potomac Highlands and we hope to expand on that,” said Durst. “Although the station has a tremendous coverage area including the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, Western Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and western Virginia, the station’s area of primary concern will include the West Virginia counties of Hardy, Grant, Pendleton, Hampshire and Mineral.”
Answering his most frequently asked questions, Durst said, “Yes, we will continue to broadcast the obituary announcements, ballgames of local interest, and country music with specific time periods set aside for bluegrass music and religious programs.” Durst added that “the station will continue to be owned and operated by local people and we will not pipe in our music and announcers via satellite from some distant city.”
30 Years Ago
Week of February 10, 1994
With the Birds
There is a story that links February 14 to the birds. Long ago, people living in England believed that the birds picked their mates on this date. As a result, the people chose this day to send messages of love to one another. It really doesn’t matter how the custom of sending valentines began. What does matter is that Valentine’s Day is a wonderful chance for you to tell someone how much he or she means to you.
Cabin fever seems to be a well used phrase these days. Many have stated that much has been tampered with during this time. Kitchen cupboards have been cleaned, recipes filed away nicely, mending and ironing caught up, garages cleaned, photo albums added to, tempers grown shorter, toes stepped on, letter writing caught up, and on goes the list. Parents breathed a sigh of relief when school was in session for a whole week! Speaking of cabin fever, if anyone should have any news, please call 249-5935. It seems the ground hog (whistle pig) did indeed see his shadow on that noted day.
60 Years Ago
Week of February 13, 1964
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.
Sherman’s Men Burn, Sack Meridan, Miss.
Meridan, Miss., a railroad center 150 miles east of Vicksburg, had become an important supply depot for the Confederate army during the Civil War. Perhaps more important, it had become a center of activity for Southern guerillas who raided Union installations in the Deep South. But 100 years ago this week, Meridian, Miss., became a wasteland—ransacked, looted, wrecked and burned by Union soldiers under General William Tecumseh Sherman.
Sherman would make his reputation for destruction with Southerners later that year in his famous march across Georgia, but he gave a good preview of his warfare at Meridian.
Sherman had set out from Vicksburg with 20,000 men on February 3 to destroy the railroads there and, if things worked out well, to move on toward Selma or Mobile in Alabama.
His men easily beat down resistance as they moved across the state. They passed through Jackson February 6 and arrived at Meridian on the 14th. Outnumbered Confederates under Bishop Leonidas Polk withdrew. Then the Federals went to work.
There were 10,000 of them at the job, and they spent five days on it. Their objective was to destroy all that could be of use to the Confederate war effort, and they interpreted the objective literally.
They tore up railroad tracks from 25 to 50 miles in all directions, bending the tracks and burning the ties. Sixty-one bridges and culverts were burned. So were more than a mile of trestles.
Turning on the buildings, the soldiers burned the town arsenal, two hotels, several factories, shops and storehouses. Bales of cotton, textiles, foodstuffs and army equipment also went up in blaze.
Sherman had ordered a force of cavalry to come down from Memphis and join him in a march into Alabama. But Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest had intercepted the Union cavalry as it moved south and in a sharp fight at Okolona sent it retreating in panic back to Memphis. Although outnumbered, Forrest had out-maneuvered and out-fought the Federals to win one of his most glorious victories.
Without the cavalry support, Sherman turned his men westward again and left the smoking ruins that marked Meridian. As his army headed back for Vicksburg, Negro slaves from throughout central Mississippi fell in behind the blue coated column and marched with them.
Soon, Sherman noticed, there were “about ten miles of Negroes” following his army—from 5,000 to 8,000 men, women and children marching they knew not where, except that they were marching away from slavery.
Next week: A fight in Florida.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
50 School Terms
In 43 Years?’
The January 16th issue of the “Times” carried the picture of John Dahmer and the inspiring story of his continued interest in the schools. We teachers often read just such a challenge, and I was going to post the article on our teachers’ bulletin board. But the article stated that he taught for more than 50 terms in Pendleton County, and then again that during his 43 years of teaching, he never used a paddle. I was afraid I’d be questioned on what he did the other seven years, so I did not post the article. Is there a misprint somewhere?
I also want to heartily endorse Mr. William C. Blackwell’s letter. There are still a few places where one can enjoy the quietness and beauty of nature as God created it. Too many such places have been destroyed by commercialism. I hope Pendleton County’s wonderful heritage can be preserved.
- Mr. Dahmer taught two terms for several years. During the 43 years of teaching, he taught 50 terms. —Editor
70 Years Ago
Week of February 11, 1954
To Be Inducted Tuesday
Hally Worth Sites and Harlan Bruce Sites, brothers and sons of Mr. and Mrs. Cletus Sites of Mouth of Seneca, and Henry E. Bennett, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bennett of Circleville will leave Tuesday for induction into the armed services. Hally Worth Sites volunteered so that he could go with his brother.
Auto Stolen in Maryland Found Near Upper Tract
Trooper Bill Cunningham and Sheriff Leo Skidmore recovered an automobile last Thursday that had been stolen in Maryland and abandoned on Route 220 approximately four miles north of Upper Tract.
A 1951 five passenger Cadillac, Trooper Billy Cunningham said that an examination of the title to the car showed that it had been owned by Jim Tatum, football coach at the University of Maryland, and that he had traced it to Hoffman Cadillac Sales & Co., of Hagerstown, Maryland, on February 1.
Mr. Ernest Bowman who takes a delightful interest in telling of past events says the first newspaper published in the county was called The Pendleton News and edited by Calvert and Campbell in the year 1873 in Franklin.
A Step Forward – – –
Cedar Hill Cemetery lies on the crest of a rolling hill at the edge of Franklin. It has an ideal location because it is both well drained and easily accessible. It could be one of the most beautiful cemeteries found in a small town anywhere. But it isn’t. Its full beauty has long been hidden because it has not been adequately maintained.
The Cemetery Committee has struggled for a number of years to obtain sufficient funds to finance a decent maintenance program. They have had little cooperation from either the lot owners or the public in general and as a result the cemetery has often looked more like a meadow than the resting place of our loved ones.
At the present, owners of cemetery lots are supposed to pay three dollars a year for the upkeep of each lot or maintain their own lot. Many of them are not making the payments nor keeping up their lots and as a result grass and weeds grow up in these lots scattered throughout the cemetery causing the whole cemetery to look ragged and unkempt.
Douglas Brown, a member of the Cemetery Committee, recently said that “the committee has never had enough money to care for the cemetery as it should be. Last year maintenance operations were cut to a minimum and it still cost $200 more than was taken in from the up-keep payments.”
All the lots should be mowed regularly. The road leading through the cemetery must be maintained, and there should be several additional water outlets installed throughout the cemetery to provide a source of water for flowers and for sprinkling lots. At present there is only one water spigot in the cemetery.
In order to set up the fund the price of the cemetery lots has been raised to $100 as of January 1, 1954, and all persons who owned lots previous to that time are being asked to pay into the fund $75.00 per lot. Since most of the old lots were bought for $25 or less, the $75 assessment plus the original cost of the lot would amount to approximately the price of the new lots. This arrangement puts owners of the old lot on an equal basis with the purchasers of the new lots.
If everyone who owns the lots in the cemetery will cooperate in this plan a fund of sufficient size can be established to provide an adequate income to maintain the cemetery in first class condition. Lot owners could forget about yearly assessments knowing that there was a perpetual income which would always be available for the needs of the cemetery.
Lot owners will be receiving letters in the next week or two requesting the $75.00 payments to set up the permanent maintenance fund. Whether or not the plan works will be determined by the response to these letters. It is a wonderful opportunity to make a tangible contribution to a memorial which will last always.