EARLY NEWSPAPERS REVEAL FACTS OF VITAL INTEREST TO OUR READERS OF TODAY; HASN'T BEEN SO LONG SINCE VALUABLE LANDS SOLD FOR $1.00 TO $3.00 AND ACRE
HIGHEST SALARIED COUNTY OFFICER GOT $350 A YEAR
LUMBERING WAS BIG BUSINESS OF OLDEN DAYS; DEMOCRATIC COUNTY CONVENTION OF 1884 LED BY MEN WHO ARE NOW REPUBLICANS; 769 CASES ON COURT DOCKET IN 1885
Wayne county is not what she used to be, say forty years ago.
This truth was brought vividly to mind this week when the writer spent a few hours rambling through pages of Wayne county newspapers that were published in 1884, 1885, and 1886.
We found a lot of interesting things about the Wayne county of forty years ago and its people. A recital of a few of the outstanding facts [from] these early issues of Wayne County newspapers should be of immense human interest and historical value to our readers today, and so we have prepared this story which we hope you will enjoy.
By way of introductory explanation, we should say that the first newspaper ever published in Wayne County was The Ceredo Cresant (sic) which began in December 1857 before the Civil War. W. B. Wilson was proprietor and C. B. Webb editor of this paper. This paper expired in 1861. The second venture in journalism in Wayne County was the publication of The Wayne Advocate at Trout's Hill (now the town of Wayne) in August 1874 by B. Lewis, who came to this county from Western Reserve, Ohio. This paper was the forerunner of the present Wayne County News which you now hold in your hands. This paper was later moved to Cassville (now Fort Gay) and again moved back to Trouts Hill (or Wayne) in 1880, where it has been published continuously ever since. Among those who have from time to time since its birth been connected with this paper as owners or editors are the following: Byron C. Howell, Dr. A. Workman, C. R. Enslow, McFarland Booton, G. W. Hutchinson II, E. Shumate, W. M. Workman, R. J. Prichard, W. L. Mansfield, C. L. Deane, Boyd Jarrell, C. G. Fry, O. J. and J. W. Rife, and the present management. The Ceredo Enterprise was begun in Ceredo in September 1881 by W. M. Workman and Lee C. Salyes. A year later T. T. McDougal (present editor and owner of the Ceredo Advance) purchased the interest of Salyes and continued the publication of The Enterprise and later the publications of The Ceredo Advance and The Kenova Reporter.
Mr. McDougal had formerly been associated with P. C. Morris in the publication The West Virginia Star," later The Ritchie Gazette, and still later founded The Lincoln Clipper." Wayne County News was first known as The Wayne Advocate, then as The Wayne County News under the managements of Mansfield, Jarrell, Rife and Fry. The name was changed to Wayne County News in September 1919 when the paper was assumed by the present management.
With the foregoing historical setting in our minds, we turn to the old issues of the Advocate and Enterprise, published back in the eighties.
In 1884 The Advocate did not carry a single line of Wayne County news on either the front or the back pages. It was a four-page paper, eight columns to the page, and the local happenings were largely confined to the first three columns on page three.
Among items of interest in the Advocate in 1884 are the following:
The county was being "pestered" with lightning rod agents and a good many of the leading citizens were buying rods.
An educational column was begun in the Advocate by Professor T. B. McClure, who still lives in Wayne. The following paragraph appeared in Professor McClure's column:
"We used the following words in our school Friday, January 25th: Mulberry, pacify, rarely, camonulo, baiting, brooch, bruise, brews, clause, fossil, fete, gorgeous, calamus, freeze, salt, persuade, guest, corrode, Hugh, thirteen, Ode, owing, wrestle, libeling. The following are the highest percentages:
Jannie E. Ratcliff 95 M. J. Ferguson 88 W. B. Spurlock 80 Zara F. Hutchinson 72 Julia Burke 72 A. G. Wilkinson 72
T. B. McCLURE"
Coal in 1884 in the town of Wayne was selling at 17 to 20 cents a bushel, and was scarce.
Hogs were reported as being "terribly high due to the prevalence of cholera, causing hogs to sell as high as 6 and 7 cents a pound."
One of the big questions of the day was whether the railroad would be built up right fork or left fork of Twelve Pole; the interest in that issue seemed quite as lively as the interest taken in the county seat removal questions in recent years.
An item is found in the issue of May 1, 1884, which reads: "Married by the Rev. J. D. Garrett on April 24, 1884, Mr. John W. Mitchell and Miss Mary Bloss." Mr. Mitchell is now postmaster at Wayne.
Advertisement of land for sale was carried by the H. K. Shumate Real Estate Agency of Wayne, offering for sale valuable land in Wayne, Logan and Lincoln counties at prices ranging from $1.00 to $3.00 an acre. This included both mineral and surface. Much of the land in the famous Logan coal field was bought and sold in those days for one dollar to three dollars an acre, $1. 50 being the average price. A 250 acre farm in Wayne County with all kind of good buildings and orchards, including residence, is offered for sale for $1,000 with one-fourth dosn and balance in three years.
By order of the town council all persons living in the town of Wayne were ordered to take their dogs off the street and "confine them" in suitable pens.
A rise in Twelve Pole took down "at least eight thousand fine hogs and a vast quantity of staves." Most of the timber was oak. Timbering was one of the chief industries in Wayne County in that day.
"Bull Durham Tobacco" and "Tutt's Pills" were the only two commodities advertised in the Advocate in 1884 that can still be found on the market today.
One of the most interesting things found in the ramble through files of old Wayne County newspapers was a copy of The Ceredo Enterprise of August 5, 1884, which published the Financial Statement of the expenditures of Wayne County for the year ending May 31, 1884. In 1884 the highest salaried officer in Wayne County was the prosecuting attorney, and he received only $350.00 a year. The names of the officers of 1884 and their yearly salaries were
|John S. Marcum, pros. atty||$350|
|William E. Wilkinson, sheriff||$175|
|Jas. P. Wellman, Cir. clerk||$175|
|P. H. Napier, county clerk||$200|
|Alderson Walker, jailor||$85|
|G. L. Wheeler, assessor 1st dist||$250|
|Jas. Queen, assessor 2nd dist||$250|
The total election expense in the county for the year 1884 was $11.35, which was paid to S. J. Ferguson, Abraham Vaughan and J. W. Merrick, who served as election commissioners.
Following is the recapitulation or summary of all county government expenses for the year ending May 31, 1884, including the total county expenses and total road expenses. These should be interesting to taxpayers of this present day as a matter of comparison with our present government, which has necessarily grown more complex as the county has grown and developed. The 1884 recapitulations are as follows:
|General County Expense|
|Salary of officers||$1485.00|
|County court expense||166.00|
|Stationery and books||264.45|
|Witness and jury fund||1699.70|
|County Levy of 1883||9986.51|
|Bal. in sheriff's hands||$2090.94|
|County Road Expense|
|Total road expense||$31,800.00|
The Wayne Advocate, in its issue of June 5, 1884, publishes a lengthy news story of a rousing Democratic convention that was held at Wayne on Monday of that week. W. L. Mansfield was Democratic County Chairman. Chapman Adkins was Secretary of the County Committee. Among those who took a prominent part in the proceedings of the convention were John S. Marcum and Z. T. Vinson, who were active Democrats in those days but both of them have sense joined the Republican party.
Typical of the news items that appeared in the Advocate, we quote the following paragraph relative to James Frizzell, a resident of Wayne in those days:
"James Frizzell one day last week went to the country in the capacity of Deputy Sheriff to attach a witness. He found him and did the necessary "attaching," and gave him permission to change his clothes for something better as he was coming on a visit to the Hotel de Walker, (namely, the jail) situated very near our courthouse. While James was enjoying the scenery from the front porch, the witness was seeking the selected shades of the mountain forests to the rear. James came home a sadder and wiser man, and has handed in his resignation."
An advertisement for Ferguson & Watts' store, at Wayne, quoted the following prices on groceries: Arbuckle Coffee, five pounds for one dollar; breakfast bacon, .15 a pound; lard, .14; shoulder, .14; flour, $6.00 to $8.50 a barrell.
A meeting was called of citizens of the Town of Wayne in January 1884 for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Sunday school. The M. E. (Methodist) church already had a Sunday school here at that time. The Latter Day Saints (Mormons) were holding preaching here then.
The circuit court docket for the January term of 1885 was quite as crowded as is the present-day docket, according to the following paragraph from the Advocate:
"The circuit court docket of our county is reaching beyond control of any Judge. There are 769 cases on the Docket, arranged as follows: State appearance, 247; State issue, 245; appeal, 52; Office judgment, 20; and Chancery cases, 205. It would take one half of the term to call the Docket if an enquiry was to be made as to the Status of each case. We need relief and need it badly. We must either have more time or an Intermediate Court."
Newspapers in those days had no scruples against carrying advertisements on the first page. Even as late as 1906, we find most of the front pages of The Wayne County News taken up by display advertising. The advertisements of liquor houses in Williamson, Huntington and Catlettsburg made up a considerable part of the display advertising that was carried. "A. Goodman" of Williamson and "Ziegler & Behrend" are the names of two famous saloons that were regular advertising patrons of The Wayne County News for a good many years.
The following paragraphs are taken from the "Local News Column" of the Advocate, dated April 8th, 1886:
The martins have come again.
Fresh fish are quite plentiful in Huntington, we understand.
Be courteous to Strangers that are among us.
The season is coming when cows try to climb trees.
To cure dull times, apply and advertisement to the afflicted parts.
Onions, greens and hog's jowl make up the favorite dish at this season.
The farmers of Wayne County should form an Association for the raising of thoroughbred stock. It will pay.
It's a strange thing that a man who knows exactly how to run a newspaper is always engaged in some other kind of business!
The small boy trots out his agate and his glass-eye, draws a ring on the pavement where men most do congregate, and bide business give way to pleasure. Sweet child, lovely flower, what would the Spring be without you?
The time of the year is drawing near when the wives and mothers of America will attire themselves in a faded, ragged, calico mother-hubbard, encase their heads in a tattered remnant shawl, tear up their carpets, pile up the furniture in the back yard, scold everybody, slop water all over the floor between the roof and ground, set out cold dinners, and call the operation "house cleaning".
The front gate party for this season is approaching.
High water caused the missing of the mail last week. The Huntington carrier failed on both trips.
The tide waters of Twelve Pole last week swept away quite a number of small bridges, and slips in the road are numerous, thus almost stopping the usual travel. Wagons cannot get in any direction from our town owing to these difficulties. It is estimated that from 30,000 to 50,000 logs in Twelve Pole went out in the rise last week, and in addition a great many staves were drifted. The old excuse we often hear--"Wait till I get my timber out!"--can avail no longer in Wayne County. Times certainly should get better now.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week there fell about six inches of snow here, which is rather late for snow.
Messrs. C. W. Ferguson, W. S. Napier, G. G. Burgess, Burwell Spurlock and a number of others in our vicinity are down the river looking after timber interests.
J. M. Tiernan was recently thrown out of his buggy on rough roads returning from Ceredo and has been kept closely about home for several days.
The Editor wants twenty nice hens and some potato onion sets, which he will take on subscription or pay market price in cash.
The ubiquitious drummer is moving around as usual.
The following story, which reminds he editor of the Advocate of the cat who weighed the cheese for two monkeys, is now going the rounds in this community: A prosperous farmer of Owingsville, Kentucky, a widower of over 50 years of age, has two sons, who were both in love with the same girl. The young lady found it very difficult to decide which to take and the old man solved the problem by sending the boys off on business and marrying the girl himself while they were away.
From 1885 to 1925 is a good span of years--and times have changed since the days of The Wayne Advocate. Railroads have since been built in the county; the timber has largely been cut down and sold; automobiles have replaced horses and buggies; mineral wealth has been developed; business enterprises, unknown in 1885, have grown to places of power and influence in the commonwealth; the population of the county has increased from a scant scattering of people to nearly thirty thousand; agricultural development has been noteworthy; the business of the county government has developed from a simple organization to a complex business machine. Property valuations have increased from less than five million dollars to nearly forty million.
Some folks have a tendency to look upon the olden days as the "good old days" and say that crime and hatred and all other evils were less in evidence than in modern times; others disagree with this view and regard the present day as far surpassing any period of history.
But however that may be, it has been worth your while, we hope, to view Wayne County as it was forty years ago as it has been pictured in the foregoing descriptive touches of life in the eighties. In 1965 possibly this newspaper will draw a comparison with that age and our present 1925 that will show even more remarkable changes in Wayne County forty years hence than have taken place in the same period that hast just passed.
Letter to the Editor
Lavalette, W. Va.
January 13, 1925
Editor Wayne County News
Wayne, West Virginia
If you will permit me, I desire to express my views on our system of tax collecting.
The taxpayers of West Virginia have recently had the opportunity to experience some of the unpleasant effects of our present laws, whcih require the old sheriff to check out of the office in the middle of a new tax book, at a time when every good tax payer is trying to pay his taxes to avoid having to pay interest.
In order to be able to check out, the old sheriff is compelled to close the office in most counties at least two weeks during the latter part of December, and then after January 1st the new sheriff is required to charge ten per cent on taxes.
This naturally causes a rush on the office, and a great many can not get in in time before the office is closed.
My remedy for this would be a change in our constitution, which would put a stop to the one man trying to serve as a collector and peace officer, all at the same time, someting that no one man can do successfully. I believe we could improve conditions by cutting up the office system, so that the people would have a voice in who is to serve them, instead of allowing so much room for trading and buying themselves into office with deputyships, as has always been the case in our state. I believe that a sheriff should be elected to serve all county papers and act as a conservator of the peace.
I believe that a jailor should be elected by the people and have charge of the jail and its inmates.
I believe that we should have a county treasurer, as all progressive states have had for many years, and require the tax books to be kept in the office of the county seat, instead of scattering the tax books over the country, as has always been done. Allow two and one half percent on all taxes paid before January 1st; allow taxes paid in January at face value. Add ten percent on the face of all unpaid taxes on the first day of February instead of counting the interest per annum as is done now after January 1st.
Let the treasurer take office on the first day of July, which is the beginning of the fiscal tax year, and the old rush that we now have in December would be eliminated, and the outgoing treasurer would be at the last end of his tax book, which should be collected or ready to return delinquent. He should be arranging for his regular annual settlement, and the office would be ready for the new treasurer to assume at once, without having to close the office and wait for a special expensive audit, as it is now under our old system.
This is the question which I deem fit for thoughtful consideration by every tax payer in our state. It should be considered as non-political, and our lawmakers should get busy and bring about a modern system that would show to the outside world that the little mountain state of West Virginia is coming to the front.
Let others give their views.
Very truly yours,
G. M. Johnson
Local business men are busily taking inventories and making up statements of last year's business, preparatory to the filing of Gross Sales Tax statements and Income Tax statements. The gross sales tax report must be in the hands of the State Commissioner not later than January 31st, and the Income Tax report must be filed with the Internal Revenue at Parkersburg no later than March 15th. All persons or businesses who did more than $10,000 business in gross sales are required to make the report. The income tax law requires that report be filed by single persons who had net income of $1,500 or more or gross income of $5,000 or more, and married couples who had net income of $3,500 or more or gross income of $5,000 or more.
Announcement is received of the marriage of Miss Bernice Vaughan of Kenova and James Gordon Bowen of Huntington. The bride is the attractive daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Vaughan of Kenova, and the groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs.Millard F. Bowen, now of Huntington but former residents of Wayne. The groom is now an employee of the Huntington Advertiser and was formerly with Wayne County News. The bride is a member of the 1925 graduating class of Ceredo-Kenova High school. Mr. and Mrs. Bowen, who were the guests of relatives in Wayne Wednesday, will be at home to their friends at an apartment which they are occupying on Adams Avenue in Huntington.
H. Lewis of Armilda, has been appointed county surveyor by the county court for a period of two years from January 1st. There was no candidate for this place in the recent election, which necessitated the county filling the vacancy. One of the primary duties of the county surveyor is to determine disputed property lines between citizens. . .
A wedding of wide interest was solemnnized last Sunday, when Lonnie Adkins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kiah Adkins of Wayne, was married to Miss Erma Baily, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Bailey of Logan county. . . Mr. and Mrs. Adkins will spend their honeymoon in Florida.
Transcription by June White
Wayne County News