Skip Navigation

“You Never Know...”

Clarence “Bones” Wright of Shepherdstown

By Malcolm Ater

Photographs by Michael Keller

Clarence Wright leaning in front of inn
Former Shepherdstown mayor Clarence “Bones” Wright in front of the Mecklenburg Inn, a local gathering place where he is a regular, playing dominoes and telling stories. Photograph by Michael Keller


On just about any afternoon in Shepherdstown, you’re likely to find former mayor Clarence “Bones” Wright sipping beer and playing dominoes (and he HATES to lose) with town cronies at the Mecklenburg Inn. At 83, he has a way of drawing people to him like a magnet. While people might not be interested in the dominoes game, they are nearly always interested in what he has to say, as they huddle around within earshot. This historic Jefferson County town has changed dramatically since he first moved here 55 years ago, but Bones keeps the past alive with his endless stories of local characters and a simpler way of life.

On one particular winter day recently, he was reminiscing about the time a gang of motorcycle thugs rode into town with the attitude that they were above the law. And for Bones Wright, it proved to be the most traumatic time of his life.

“It was back in the ‘60's,” recalled Bones. “We had a new fella, Buzzy Carroll, as our only police officer. As mayor, he always gave me a call when there was trouble. Well, we had trouble that summer day. A motorcycle gang was causing quite a stir at one of the watering holes. I hurried to our little police station, where Buzzy outfitted me with a billy club while he carried a loaded riot gun. He’d already called the state police and passed the word in town, and together the two of us went over to the Shepherdstown Bar & Grill.”

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.