30 Years Ago
Week of March 12, 1992
Is Forgotten Land
While the crises of America’s cities and the growing problems of its suburbs are regularly in the news, little is heard about the
plight of rural America. Yet rural America is in serious trouble. Its economies are reeling, towns withering, tax bases diminishing,
and young people leaving.
The decline of rural areas is a loss to all America. This is our country’s heartland—the area that feeds us all. It’s the part of
America where the air is still clear and the pace still relaxed. It’s the America where people still have a real sense of community
and belonging. It’s the America where many of us who now live in metropolitan areas have our roots.
But rural America—and its children—are at risk. One-quarter of America’s 64 million children live in rural areas. Nearly one
out of four of these children is growing up poor.
Not only is the poverty rate higher in rural America—the rural poor receive less support than their counterparts in cities and
suburbs. According to a new report by the Children’s Defense Fund, public assistance benefits for poor rural families with
children are only about half the benefits in nonrural areas. Rural children are less likely to be covered by health insurance, and
less likely to have access to health care and early childhood education than nonrural children.
The public school has always been the social center and focal point of rural communities. But economic decline has left rural
school systems in crisis. They’re acutely short of funds and teachers. They’re forced to severly curtail already limited course
offerings, special education services, and extracurricular activities.
The best strategy for revitalizing rural economies recognizes the mutual dependence between communities and their schools.
North Dakota’s rural school and community development project is an excellent example. The project uses school improvement
as the engine for economic revitalization. At the same time, the school redesigns its curriculum to make the community the focus
The project calls for neighboring communities to work together and for education and community leaders to collaborate.
Schools in the project are linked through computers and other distance learning technologies to each other as well as to other
Students actively study how their local economy and local businesses work. Through distance learning, students can share
information and ideas.
By graduation, students will not only know where jobs exist in their communities and their understanding of the local economy
means, they’ll know where opportunities to create jobs exist.
Times Change—Uninvited Guests Used to Get Dinner
Changing times: In 1937, the South Branch Parish consisted of six churches–St. John, St. Paul, St. Luke, Mt. Zion, Mt. Olive
and New Hope. The preaching services were held in each church every three weeks, or at two churches each Sunday. One
church in the forenoon and the other one in the afternoon. Then the minister was given a meal in a home before the afternoon
It was a common thing to go visiting without an invitation and receive a good meal too. No one thought much about it, even
begged to stay for dinner. One man said, “I will just take a piece of pie for accommodation.” Mail was carried on the Dry Run
Road three times a week—Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in the afternoon. Now a daily mail is delivered in the forenoon,
except Sunday. Another big change: when someone knocked on the door you would often say come in without looking to see
who it was. Today, you go to the door to see who it is first. Children often knocked on the door to fool someone. One time at the
Dahmer, P.O. (then P.O.’s were often kept in a home) someone knocked on the door. The answer, “Come in if your nose is
clean.” A man entered stating, “I think it is” to a bunch of red-faced children.
40 Years Ago
Week of March 11, 1982
The Thorn Chapel Cemetery, located on the Moyers and Doe Hill Road, has been enlarged extensively to the main road.
According to Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Seveir of Moyers, the late Susan Simmons gave the land for this cemetery, and due to the
generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Harlan Simmons and Mr. and Mrs. Forest Simmons donating additional land, it has the potential to
offer the public a beautiful resting place for their dead and has been renamed Thorn Creek Memorial Garden.
Several people reported seeing groundhogs, but the dog of Gary Rexrode (the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Rexrode)
killed one the morning of March 5, and it was reported to be as poor as Job’s turkey.
Albert Bland of Riverton was in Franklin telling his jokes for a laugh. He told how one of his relations had a dog that died, so
the hide was tanned and made into a pair of shoes. One day his relation was wearing the shoes and a rabbit jumped out and the
shoes nearly ran him to death.
Johnny Arvin Dahmer put up 13 bird houses Saturday intended for the bluebirds.
50 Years Ago
Week of March 9, 1972
Farm Bureau Still Biggest County Unit in State
The Pendleton County Farm Bureau wound up its annual membership drive last week and reported the largest membership of
any county Farm Bureau organization in the state.
Bill Moyers of Moyers, chairman of the membership committee, reported that a total of 275 persons have joined the Farm
Bureau in Pendleton County for the 1972 membership year.
“Pendleton has had the largest membership of any county in the state for several years,” Moyers said. “We are glad our
farmers recognize the benefits offered by the Farm Bureau and are willing to support the organization.”
60 Years Ago
Week of March 8, 1962
As Heaviest Snow
In Years Hits Area
March 6, 1962, is certain to go down in history.
It will be remembered for many years as the date of the “big snow.”
Surely the snowfall this week has set some sort of record. Just how long it has been since so much snow has fallen here in so
short a time is not known for sure, but it has been many years.
Snow began falling in Pendleton County early Monday morning and by Tuesday morning the county was buried under a white
blanket that measured from 25 inches to 33 inches in depth. Another 5 inches fell Tuesday night.
Health Scares Do Not Faze Pendleton County Smokers
NEW YORK, March 7—To what extent has the population of Pendleton County been swayed by the various medical reports
that cigarette smoking is detrimental to health?
Not much, judging from the latest figures on cigarette sales in the area. Local residents, it appears, are smoking more than
they ever did.
This is in line with the reports coming in from other parts of the country. They show that nearly 500 billion cigarettes, 25 billion
packs, were consumed in the United States during 1961, an increase of four percent over the previous year. Part of it was due
to the growth in population.
Pendleton County’s contribution to this total was some 869,000 packs, on the basis of regional statistics issued by the
tobacco industry and nationwide data from the Department of Agriculture.
It represented an average of 156 packs a year for each local person of age 14 or over.
This was a lower rate of consumption than was found in the United States generally among those of smoking age. The
average was 194 packs a year. In the South Atlantic States, it averaged 195 packs per person.
Since the 1953-54 period, when sales dropped sharply upon the news that there was a statistical link between smoking and
lung cancer, there has been a steady increase in cigarette consumption.
People were reassured by the filter-tips that were quickly put on the market and by the tobacco industry’s safety claims for
The use of tobacco in other forms has also been breaking records. Last year according to the Department of Agriculture,
7,150 million cigars were smoked, 75 million pounds of tobacco were used for pipes and for rolling-your-own cigarettes, and
another 99 million pounds for chewing tobacco and for snuff.
While the money that goes for cigarettes doesn’t seem to be a big expenditure, buying them a pack or two at a time, it adds
up to a huge amount on an annual basis. Smokers in the United States paid $6.9 billion in 1961 for this little diversion, the
In Pendleton County, the cost was $242,000, equal to $43 per smoker.
100 YEARS AGO
Battle Ends Era
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.
Saturday, March 8, 1862, was a calm, spring-like day along the Atlantic coast.
About noon on that day, 100 years ago this week, a large, iron-sided frigate, with 10 guns bristling from its sloping sides,
came steaming slowly out of the Elizabeth River at Norfolk, Va., into Hampton Roads. The strange-looking vessel, which was
being cheered by Confederate troops along the shore, was the “Merrimack,” a former United States frigate which the South had
armored and re-chastened as the “Virginia.” (The “Merrimack,” however, stuck as the name in history.)
Once in Hampton Roads, the big ironclad headed for a federal fleet of wooden ships across the harbor. The naval fight of the
century was about to begin, and the era of wooden warships was about to end.
The “Merrimack” headed first for the frigate “Congress” and the sloop “Cumberland,” both swinging lazily at anchor. As the
ironclad approached, the “Congress” opened fire, and to the crew’s horror, the shots bounced off the “Merrimack” like pebbles.
The “Merrimack” then opened fire. Heading for the “Cumberland,” she passed the “Congress,” gave it a full broadside, and
then smashed headlong into the “Cumberland,” driving her iron prow through the sides of the Union sloop.
Backing clear again (with the “Cumberland” now sinking), the “Merrimack” headed upriver, turned around and came back at
the “Congress.” That ship, while trying to escape, ran aground, and the “Merrimack” raked it with shot and shell until the white
flag went up. Later, the “Merrimack” resumed its fire until the “Congress” went up in flames.
With this accomplished, the badly damaged “Merrimack” returned to Norfolk, completely victorious.
That night, panic swept through Washington at the thought of the monster ironclad that seemed indestructible. But unknown
to most of the federals, the Union’s savior was on hand.
For even as the “Merrimack” was playing havoc in Hampton Roads, another ironclad, the “Monitor,” was steaming around
Cape Henry into Hampton Roads. The result of months of labor in Brooklyn, N. Y., the Union ironclad, a small raft-like vessel
with a round turret on top, had arrived at Norfolk in the nick of time.
When the “Merrimack” steamed out of Norfolk again next morning, the little “Monitor” stood guard like a terrier over the
wooden ships, and as the “Merrimack” steamed toward her prey, the “Monitor” came out snapping.
Both ironclads opened fire, and their shots bounced off each other. Soon they were blasting at each other from close range.
For several hours, at times only a few feet apart, they fired without effect.
Once, the “Merrimack” tried to run the “Monitor” down. another time, the “Merrimack” broke loose and attacked the wooden
ship “Minnesota,” temporarily setting her afire before the “Monitor” darted back into the fray and nosed the larger ironclad off.
Early in the afternoon, the “Monitor’s” commander was wounded and temporarily blinded. The “Monitor” drifted out of control,
and the “Merrimack” headed for Hampton Roads. The battle ended—a draw.
For two months, the ironclads stayed at Hampton Roads, each nullifying the other’s importance. The uneasy stalemate would
end in May.
Next week: A new invasion is planned.
70 Years Ago
Week of March 13, 1952
Sugar Grove Four-H Club Stages ‘Rid Rat’ Campaign
The Mountain Pioneers Four-H club, located at Sugar Grove, will sponsor a community rat riddance campaign as their
community project. The program is scheduled to begin March 22 and end when all rats have been killed. All members and
families of the community have been asked to cooperate. They are doing this in connection with the contest sponsored by the
Wisconsin Alumni Foundation. There are many nice prizes and with the cooperation of the public they may win one.
Franklin Lion’s Club
Marks 12th Birthday
The Franklin Lion’s club observed its 12th birthday with a charter night program at Dahmer’s restaurant on Monday evening.
The club was chartered on March 13, 1940, with the Moorefield club as the sponsoring organization.
To Have Top Role
In Nearby Maneuvers
ELKINS, March 12.—The 47th “Viking” infantry division will comprise the major portion of the 20,000 troops which will
participate in Exercise Pine Ridge this summer near here, the Army announced the first of the week.
This unit, a Minnesota-North Dakota National Guard division, was called to active duty as a result of the Korean conflict. It is
currently stationed at Camp Rucker, Ala. The commander of the division, Major General Norman E. Hendrickson, has been
designated deputy maneuver director by Lieutenant General Edward G. Brooks, commanding General of the Second Army.
While the division is composed mostly of men from the Minnesota and North Dakota National Guard, it also has a number of
selectees and many veterans of the Korean fighting.
The shoulder patch of the division is a Viking helmet with horns on a circular background. All of the regiments of the 47th
served overseas during the last war.
The sugar season so far has been a poor one and not much sugar and molasses made from these lofty trees, but many of the
good sugar trees have been felled by the saw and ax and manufactured into lumber. In this section many of us old timers have
kept our sugar orchards free from the ax.