Humphrey Visits Henderson As Showboat Leaves
May 4, 1960
Humphrey Visits Henderson As Showboat Leaves
It was a big day for the town of Henderson today!
In almost a single breath, the famous river community across the Kanawha from Point Pleasant said one "hello" and two "good-by[e]s" this morning.
The "hello" and one "good-by[e]" went to presidential hopeful Senator Hubert Humphrey.
The other "good-by[e]" went to the Showboat Majestic which left its long-time Hernderson home for a new homeport at Madison, Indiana. The Majestic, owned by the late Capt. Tom Reynolds, was bought this winter by Indiana University and will be used for showboat performances by the University's theater and speech students.
The Minnesota Senator, on the first leg of a swing through sothwestern West Virginia and up the Ohio River Valley, arrived in Henderson at 9:00 A. M. this morning. He was greeted by a crowd of some three hundred who gathered along the riverbank, either to see what a presidential candidate looks like, or to watch the Majestic leave forever.
When questioned by a member of the Register staff regarding a United Press release that Humphrey-For-President backers had listed contributions totaling $9,605 in West Virginia and expenditures of $13,835 whereas the West Virginia For Kennedy group had released figures of $8,675 contributions and had spent $11,212, Humphrey retorted that he had given the press "an honest statement" and that the Kennedy figures were "not factual".
Asked if he enjoyed his ramps...(Humphrey had been a guest at the annual Ramp Feed sponsored at Richwood recently) he laughed heartily and said, "Oh, my gosh!" He clamped his hand over his mouth as if to signify he was covering the potent odor of the wild onion plant.
Sen. Humphrey was introduced to the gathering by George Penick, Jr., of Hurricane a candidate for nomination as judge of the newly created 29th Judicial District.
Humphrey spoke on the importance of the primary to West Virginia and noted that all states have problems to those of West Virginia. He stated that in the west there is mineral problem; in the mid-West a farm problem, and in the East the problem of unemployment. He said there was not anything wrong with West Virginia that could not be cured by "one good election". He stated that the problems existed because of an "administration that does not care".
He praised the natural resources of West Virginia and turned the topic to the rivers both Minnesota and West Virginia and addressed a few words to Mrs. Tom Reynolds, widow of the late owner of the departing showboat. He said that he hope to see the river traffice greater than it has ever been before.
Although the Point Pleasant High School Band and Henderson Mayor Archie Henry arrived after Sen. Humphrey had made his speech, the Mayor recalled the Senator to the stand and proceeded with his farewell speech to the "Majestic".
Heber M. Miller, Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce, spoke briefly.
Against a background of calli[o]pe music played by Chet Haddox, Mr. Henry bade farewell to the famed towboat that had been a landmark at the Henderson river bank for the past 27 years. Mrs. Reynolds said a few words to the crowd but it was obvious that saying goodbye was a sad and emotional time for her.
Mrs. Humphrey was not with the Senator on his trip here today but several members of the Senator's entourage mingled among the crowd taking pictures and greeting the crowd. Several comely young ladies passed out Humphrey literature and campaign buttons.
Sen. Humphrey personally greeted the Drum major and drum majorette of the high school band and placed buttons on the uniform of all majorettes.
Before leaving Point Pleasant for Ripley, the Humphrey bus made a circuit of the town of Point Pleasant and stopped briefly at Tu-Endie-Wei Park for a view of the river.
His Campaign bus, went up Main Street for three blocks before becoming aware it was traveling on a one way street but circled the town once more before taking off for Ripley.
Humphrey is scheduled to speak at Charleston tonight where he will debate with Sen. Kennedy at 7:30 p.m.
In his address to the crowd at Henderson Sen. Humphrey stated that:
Rural main streets of America have "shared in the economic beating taken by formers of America under the Republican Administration," Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Democratic Presidential candidate declared here today.
"Secretary Benson took office in January, 1953," Humphrey declared. "Since that time, the annual total farm net income has declined by 23 percent.
"This drop in farm income represents 3.5 billion dollars a year that was taken away from the cash registers on the Main streets of the farming regions of the nation such as Point Pleasant since 1952," Senator Humphrey said.
"You have felt it right here in West Virginia, and you are still feeling it.
"The Department of Agriculture's own figures show that West Virginia farmers started 1960 with a substantial decrease in cash receipts - a drop of about 10 per cent below the receipts for January and February of last year.
"For those two months alone, your famrers received $1,686,000 less than in the same months a year before for their livestock and crops - and it just meant that much less they could spend in the stores on Main Street.
"Perhaps agriculture is not as significant to the total economy of West Virginia as coal or industry but it is mighty significant to the man who depends on it for a living and that includes not only the farmer, but the Main street merchant who must depend on the farmer as his customer.
"In the past seven years, the economy of our farming areas of America have lost a cumulative total of $24.5 billion out of what would have been available for spending if farm income had been maintained at the 1952 level when farm prices averaged 100 percent of parity.
"Rural communities cannot absorb such a setback, at a time when the rest of the country is moving ahead. The rural Community hardware store, implement dealer, hometown druggist, and yes, even the rural banker have all paid a stiff price for having Republicans in the White House.
"We cannot have real prosperity in America unless it is shared equitably. We need a Democrat in the White House who understands rural America and understands its vital importance to our entire national economy.
"Rural community businessmen should ask themselves if they can afford more years of Bensonism," Senator Humphrey said.
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