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Grafton Sentinel
April 12, 1960

Symbolism Of Philippi Noted In West Virginia Campaign

Political pundits are casting West Virginia in the role of the decisive state that may make or break the Democratic candidate for president at the May 10 primary. And of all the cities and towns of the sate, Philippi comes in for the most decisive role, as told by Artrur Krock, the veterans political columnist of the New York Times.

Under the title, “I shall see thee again…at Philippi,” Mr. Krock wrote in the April 8 Times under a Washington dateline, the following incisive and at the same time highly conplimentary [sic] – for Philippi – piece:

In the mythology of the Presidential preference primary system West Virginia, through [sic] it has only eight electors and cast less than one sixty second part of the national voting total in 1956, is now being hopefully looked at as the source of infallible omens of the outcome of the Tuesday [sic] betrayed the faith of the political augurs who had flocked there, as the anicent [sic] world to Delphi, for sure-fire portents. If West Virginia should fail them, the sorcerers will move on another state in their effort eventually to prove that Presidents are made at the half dozen perference [sic] primaries.

Having assumed the frustrating – except that the well paid task of deciphering the unintelligible, should be greatly encouraged by aspects of West Virginia that especially invite its recognition as the cradle of omens.

In the West Virginia primary Senators Kennedy of Massachusetts and Humphrey of Minnesota each a Pyrrhic victor of the Wisconsin primary, will meet once more. And in West Virginia there is a Barbour County of which the seat is Philippi.

Let the scoffers scoff the spurners spurn, yet nevertheless two others great in history and the greater ghost of a third met at another Philippi, and a contest for world power was settled there.

The two were Brutus and Mark Antony, the year was 42 B.C. the stake was the dominion of the late Julius Caesar over the world ruled by Rome. Before the battle, the ghost of Caesar (according to Shakespeare,) appeared in the tent of Brutus to tell him ‘Thou shalt see me again at Philippi.” [sic] And the specter guided Antony to a victory over Brutus there of which there was no mistaking.

Simply change the names of Kennedy and Humphrey, cast Adlai E. Stevenson as the omnipotent ghost, and you have the makings in West Virginia of an omen which should attract almost as many political observers to the primary as flocked into Wisconsin and left it in dismal dubiety.

MORE SYMOLISM

But there is more significance to be read into the name of Philippi, West Virginia, as the symbol of history conflict. Here was founght [sic] the first engagement beeween [sic] the Union and Confederate Armies in the War between the States. On June 3, 1861, a Confederate force of about 1,000 which had been burning railroad bridges, “was surprised and routed at Philippi on a stormy night by a Federal command of 3,000.”

There is discouragement for the augers in this additional sentence from the “Dictionary of American History” *Charles Scribners’ Sons, 1940): “the casualities [sic] were few” And it is pretty difficult to demarcate the two A.D.A and A.F.L.C.I.O. certified Liberals, Kennedy and Humphrey, as a rebel and a defender of the Union. But in a search for omens such trivia never stand in the way.

In common with the laws of other states holding Presidential preference primaries, West Virginia provides that delegates to the national party conventions shall be chosen by the voters in this poll. Republicans and Democrats may not, as in enlightened Wisconsin, cross over and participate in each other’s primary and thereby contribute to the interpretative fog for which today enveloped every analysis of what happened in the Badger State. But, under the West Virginia primary statute, no elected delegate is required to vote at the national convention for the President aspirant who has won a preferential majority either in the state at large or in the district of the delegates. So even if the West Virginia Democrats produce a full-fledged omen that Kennedy or Humphrey is marked for high destiny, of an evil portent for Richard M. Nixon is read into a meager Republican turnout, both sets of convention delegates can say “To hell with it” and proceed accordingly.

But none of this will divert the pilgrims of the press and the augurs of the sample pools [sic] from West Virginia. If it proves to be another Wisconsin, another bust as a 1960 Delphi, there will be other locations for tripods before July. Also in fairness, two things should be acknowledged: the Catholic voting percentage is too small to be given the credit for a Kennedy majority, if he gets it, and, though West Virginia ranks thirtieth in population, it has been observed that flattened out it would be as big as Texas.


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