What are the seven scenic wonders of Wayne County? You'll admit that's an interesting question whether you are able to answer it or not. In the following article J. Floyd Harrison, principal of Wayne Graded schools, enumerates what are in his opinion the Seven Scenic Wonders of Wayne County. Mr. Harrison's conclusions are not final, but rather express casual personal opinion. Every reader of Wayne County News is invited to make up a similar list of his or her own selection. Send us your list and describe in some detail each Wonder that you include. A five dollar cash prize will be awarded for the best list submitted. The topic to be covered can be either "The Seven Wonders of Wayne County," or "The Seven Scenic Wonders of Wayne County." The accompanying article will not be included as an entry in the contest. In the meantime we know you will fine the following article of considerable interest.---Editor's Note
It has often been said and is true that a prophet is without honor in his own country. This old adage may be extended further in its application, for much money and time is spent by people of Wayne county in quest of scenic wonders-- which desire could well be satisfied if a few of the salient features of home geography were taught to the folks of our own county.
Each year many mouths gape in astonishment and many eyes grow round with wonder when the famous Natural Bridge of Virginia is mentioned. A person that has visited to this section and has first hand information is looked upon as a sort of an intellectual wonder standing apart from the common herd. Yet not five miles from the county seat of Wayne and less than two miles off the Huntington-Wayne road is a small natural bridge. This bridge is only a minature one as compared with the Natural Bridge of Virginia but is is no less a wonder. How the little stream of Spring Branch near Ardel that drains less than 500 acres of land could have cut out its passage in solid sandstone is a stupendous problem for the scientific minds of this county. The bridge needs to have added only handrails, and the work of nature is complete. This is the first of the seven historical and scenic wonders of the county.
In the days of Daniel Boone when the Garretts came to this county, followed by the Harrisons, Rutherfords and the Dicks, one of the favorite pastimes was bear hunting. Owing to the peculiar characteristic of practically all large animals it was necessary for them to have salt, and the salt springs were frequented by the deer as well as by bear. Near these salt licks, as they were called, the bears waited for the coming of the deer and killed them. After eating, the bears became very inactive for several hours, and it was their custom to lie on the ground and roll much, as is the habit of a horse after it has been in the stable for some time or when it has worked hard in the field. The term "wallow" has been applied to this practice. Upon a dividing ridge between the headwaters of two branches of Shoals and Childers Branch (a tributary of of Millers Fork) a cavity has been formed that tradition has informed us was worn by the bodies of bears wallowing after the pep had been taken out of them by their gorge of fresh venison. To this day a small lake may be seen, and the tradition sounds feasible. Around this Bear Wallow are a number of small mounds that have long delighted the curious boys of this section to grave speculation, but to the knowledge of the writer their sunless crypt is still sealed and the mysteries of this existence remains a profound secret. So "Bear Wallow" I nominate for Wonder No. 2.
Our grandfathers tell us that when they were boys that such a large number of passenger pigeons visited this county that often during the heated summer days a cloud would appear below the sun, and the occasion of this phenomena would be these winged monitors flying between the earth and the sun. The gun then used at this time was the old fashioned flint lock and of very little value for shooting birds on the wing. The pigeons were only killed by maruders that visited their nightly roosting places where, owing to their vast number, they were easily accessible to the sticks and coffee sacks of the hunter. In sight of the village of Dickson stands a high knob that was a favorite rendezvous of these sleepy birds. From its altitude it stands out above the heads of its neighbors. Possibly this fact with its remoteness from civilization were the two chief reasons for its selection by those birds. This is my third Wonder and is called "Pigeon Roost."
When early pioneers stood upon the banks of our traditional little stream of Twelve Pole, their hearts were no doubt gladened by the sound of the gurgling water as it poured over the old fall rock at Dickson. For in those days one of the most serious problems of the early settler was a place to grind the grist. At this narrow place in the river it could be dammed with slight cost. Historians tell us that from [pioneers'] earliest advent into this new region of the west that this water mill has been one of the landmarks. Aside from the commercial value of this particular part of the old river, few places in the country have more scenic beauty than this quiet mill dam that ends with such an uproar as the water pours over. Sequestered as it is by hills and fringed with foliage, it is an inspiring picture in the summer time. A number of the older men of this county will remember with doubtful pleasure the thrill that came from riding a raft of logs over on the spring rise. Thus ends the description of my fourth subject for the local hall of fame.
The people of Buffalo have no doubt impatiently looked ahead for the mention of their treasured mound, the relic of an ancient and beloved heritage of ages ago. This mound that is built upon one of the most peculiar formations that has ever been seen by scientists is situated near Buffalo Creek High School. It was placed on the scientific map of the United States by the work of Prof. W. L. Utterback, formerly of the Department of Biology of Marshall College. It was made known to readers of this paper in a masterful way by J. Roy Fuller, newspaperman deluxe. Of course no one seems to know precisely who the mound builders were or why they built these kindd of resting places for their honored dead. The mounds and the dead are there as silent witnesses of a lost people. Therefore, for the fifth Wonder I offer this Mound with its interesting history.
To quote Duke Ridgley in a recent issue of the Herald-Dispatch: "The lovliest spot on God's green earth is located in the foothills of Wayne County, a beautiful stretch of land that has every natural advantage. The Spring Valley Country Club, now Westmoreland. It is a wonder work of nature, this open air playground." Bounded and terraced with just the right amount of hills and shrubbery, it is sublimely beautiful. The driveway from Westmoreland is one of the show roads of the state, and while the muscles are strengthened by outdoor exercise, the soul is bathed with masterful pictures of nature. Too much cannot be said for the beauty of the grounds and golf courses of the Spring Valley Club. This picture completes the gallery of Seven Scenic Wonders of our county.
Your letter, advising that you intended to publish a souvenir Homecoming Edition of your paper and requesting a letter from me as a former citizen of the good old county of Wayne, brings before me recollections of "good old days."
I was born at Louisa, Ky., which is "hollerin' " distance from Wayne county, and I came to the county to live when I was a small boy, settling on the head of Big Lynn, where lived some of the best people on earth and the best friends I ever had. I began teaching school there on a No. 1 certificate, for $26.00 a month, but that was a good deal of money for a month's work back then. That was about 1895. Most of my education was received at Oakview Academy, at Wayne, under Prof. T. B. McClure, who in my opinion, was the best school teacher in the world, and I realize that takes in a good deal of territory.
The most important event of my life occurred at Wayne, on Nov. 14, 1901, when I married Dr. George R. Burgess' oldest daughter, Charlie. We lived at Wayne and Dunlow until 1907, during which time we were blessed with two sons and a daughter, and they are still with us. We came to Huntington to live and where, as you know, I am practicing law, being a member of the firm of Vinson, Thompson, Meek & Renshaw. I am making more money than I made at Wayne, but am no happier. I go back to Wayne to try a case every time I get a chance because I love the soil and the people there. The older we get, the more we love our native hearth.
With best wishes for the News and good old Wayne County I am
J. H. Meek
Mr. Herman P. Dean, Editor
Wayne County News
Wayne, West Virginia,
and to the other 26,000 or more mostly good, some few bad, but none indifferent, citizens of the grand old county of Wayne:
It affords me a great deal of pleasure to be allowed to contribute to the "Home-Coming Edition" of your valued paper, which privilege is accorded only to those individuals peculiarly favored by Providence in being allowed to "first see the light of day" within the boundary lines of dear old Wayne.
The first 23 years of the 55 (or more) that I have infested this "vale of tears" were spent in the town of Wayne, then Wayne Court House, sometimes called Trouts Hill and incorporated under the name of Fairview and "making good" under each and every one thereof.
Often, "in memory fond I wander back" to the familiar and loved scenes of this early part of my life, and recall my ambition to write as good hand as "Hop" Trodgen, run as fast as "Jess" Adkins and play as good game of checkers as H. K. Shumate, but in these as many as my other laudable ambitions I did not succeed, but did benefit from the effort.
Since leaving Wayne county I have lived in three different Places: Huntington, Hamlin and Charleston (where I now live), and each time I moved I had for an object the bettering of the conditions, and in this I succeeded, that is, in bettering the conditions of the community from which I moved.
My first recollection of Wayne goes back to the time when the woods extended almost to the edge of the town, and I recall helping to clear the part that lies to the west of town, leading through the pass to Toms Creek, that is to say; I worked two days at this and on the second day I made the mistake of my raising something (which, by the way, was the only thing I ever did raise on a farm). I raised a row with my brother Gallie (now Dr. A. G. of Wayne) and I want to say now that if I had had advanced information as to the outcome of this encounter, my farming experience would have been shortened one day. Doctor is credited with being a good man. I can say from experience that as a boy in a rough-and-tumble, he was not bad.
For the past thirteen years I have been a resident of Charleston, where I have been connected with the Ohio Fuel Company as its Attorney.
My family consists of myself (the ostensible head), my wife (the real head) and our son, O. J. Jr. (the both combined-plus), and it is violating no confidence and imparting no news to our acquaintances to say that both Mrs. W. and I are very proud of the boy.
To all of my Wayne county friends I send greetings and kindest regards and to them I will say: That in whatever other particular I may have fallen short and have been found wanting, yet my devotion and loyalty to Wayne has not and could not be questioned.
The Home Land and Investment Company, representing fire and life insurance companies, has moved its office from the Cash Feed Store building to the office building opposite the post office, formerly occupied by the late Judge P. H. Napier. Guy Mosser is manager of the Home Land and Investment Company.
Arthur Monroe, 32, of Westmoreland, and Isabelle Bowen, 25, of Wayne, were united in marriage Saturday at Catlettsburg. The groom formerly lived in Montana. The bride is the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alderson Bowen.
Following are the names of the pupils of Crockett school who have made perfect attendance for the fourth month of school: Opal and Oral Hay, Georgia Blankenship, Eunice and Violet Cyrus and Lyle Fraley.
Transcription by June White
Wayne County News