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Wayne County News
April 30, 1925


When death claimed Mrs. Arabella Copley of Butler district a few days ago, the Wayne County school system lost one of its most useful builders--one who had been a teacher in the schools of this county for more than half a century.

The deceased, who was the widow of the late D. D. Copley, had been ill for sometime. She died April 3, 1925, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Lizzie Toney, at the age of 73 years. She had been ill with cancer for about two years.

Although she herself never had the opportunity of going to school but very little, Mrs. Copley studied at home, took advantage of every chance to improve herself and became ateacher in the Wayne county schools. She taught school here for 52 years and was regarded as one of the most competent instructors in the county school system.

Mrs. Copley attended one term of school to Frank Chapman, now of Huntington, and a part of a term at Prof. T. B. McClure's school in Wayne, but her education was interrupted by the Civil War, after which her mother died, leaving her with the care and responsibility of the family.

Mrs. Copley taught her first school when she was sixteen years old at the mouth of Dragg Creek in the old log M. E. Church which used to stand there. That was fifty-eight years ago. The seats of her pupils in this school were rough hewn logs. There were no black boards, pencils or tablets and very few slates or books. In her early schools, Mrs. Copley did not have a bell, but called the children in by rapping on the door of the building with a switch. The term of the schools in this county then was only four months.

When Mrs. Copley began teaching school, and for several years afterwards, there were no uniform examinations. The county superintendent would visit her school and ask her a vew questions on spelling, arithmetic, grammar and geography, and if he regarded her as good enough to teach, he would sit down right on the spot and write her out a certificate. While Mrs. Copley was teaching her first school at Dragg, the county superintendent visited her school briefly, tested her knowledge and before leaving gave her a second-grade certificate. In later years she attended the uniform examination and always made good grades, nothwithstanding that practically all of her knowledge of text-books had been gained by home study. She only attended two the schools before mentioned and this was before she was ten years old.

In writing to the editor of Wayne County News sometime ago, Mrs. Copley made the following statement in reply to our question about what outstanding changes and improvements she saw in the modern schools over the schools of the olden days:

"Some of the noteworthy developments since I first began teaching are the uniform examinations, which give teachers equal justice; free text books and uniform text books, which give the poor child a chance to get an education; the graded schools, which do so much to encourage the pupils to climb higher educationally; the well-equipped and comfortable school houses; but the best of all advantages are the efficient, enthusiastic and well-trained teachers. I hope the young teachers as well as the old will always remember they are going out to train the rising generation for good citizenship and that they will always set an example of truth, honesty and industry before their pupils, for it is only by example that we can teach those virtues."

Mrs. Copley lived her teachings, and for that reason she will long live in the loving remembrance of her former pupils and all those who were fortunate enough to know her. She was a good Christian woman and was a teacher of the Bible class at her home Sunday school at Bartram Chapel for many years.

Her death is sad news to hundreds of Wayne county people who knew her and loved her for the unselfish service she had given to the boys and girls under her charge during her teaching experience of over half a century.

She leaves one brother, Jolfin Beaire, of Fort Gay; two sisters, Mrs. Joe Damron of Maybe, Michigan, and Mrs. Olive Wilson of Iowa; and two children, Mrs. Fanny Wellman and Mrs. Lizzie Toney, both of Fort Gay.

Her funeral was conducted by Bro. L. D. Bryan at the M. E. Church in Fort Gay, and she was laid to rest in the Beaire cemetery.


A bill of wide interest among West Virginia orchard growere was enacted by the recent State legislature when both houses passed a law which will mean the chopping down of millions of red cedar trees in this state.

Hundreds of apple orchards in West Virginia, and several in Wayne County, have become infected with the disease known as "cedar rust." This disease, which practically destroys the value of an apple tree, is spread by the common red cedar. Orchards a mile away from cedar trees sometimes become infected due to the force of the wind blowing from the cedars toward the apple trees. The cedar tree bill in the legislature was sponsored by a number of prominent orchardists of the State.

What The Measure Does

The bill provides first that "it shall be unlawful within the state for any person, firm or corporation to own or keep alive and standing upon his or its premises any red cedar tree or trees which are or may be the source for the communicable plant disease commonly known as rust of the apple, and any such cedar trees when growing within a radius of three miles of any apple orchard in this state are hereby declared a public nuisance and shall be destroyed." Owners of such trees must cut them down when told to do so by the state entomologist. The bill further provides that in any county in the state where the disease exists, or where there is reason to believe it exists, the state entomologist in person, or his assistant, shall upon a request in writing by ten or more reputable freeholders of the county, make an examination and investigation to see if any red cedar trees in the locality are "the source of, harbor or constitute the host plant for the disease" and are, therefore, a menace to the orchards.

Ornamental Trees Excepted

If it is found that a menace exists, the owner shall be directed to cut down and destroy his cedar trees, but a statement of facts must accompany the order for destruction. A limit of sixty days is given within which the work must be completed. All notices to cut down trees must be in writing and must come from the state entomologist or his assistant.

If in the judgment of the state officials, it is practical to treat any cedar tree, especially ornamental trees in yards and parks, so as to render them harmless in spreading rust, the entomologist may direct that such treatment be given, but full instructions must be furnished in writing to the owner of the trees. An owner failing or refusing to treat his trees in accordance with the directions furnished is liable to a fine of from ten to one hundred dollars.


A large number of Wayne county Sunday School and church workers are planning to attend the forty-third annual convention of the West Virginia Sunday School Association, which will convene in Huntington on May 12, 13 and 14. In connection with the S. S. Convention, the first convention of the "West Virginia Council of Religious Education" will be held.

Wayne County church workers are particularly fortunate in being locally close enough to Huntington to avail themselves of this great annual church meeting, which is interdenominational. All of the different churches are joining hands to make this one of the biggest religious gatherings that has ever been held in the State.

The convention will open on Tuesday May 12th at 8:30 a. m. , and the opening session will be held in the First M. E. Church of Huntington. After Monday morning sessions at the First M. E., the Convention will be divided into groups and assigned by sections to the different churches in Huntington. A complete copy of the elaborate program may be had by making request to General Superintendent of the State, S. S. Association, E. W. Halpenny, Box 140, Charleston, W. Va. . .


Several leading business men of Kenova recently held a meeting in the Maynard Hotel at Kenova and organized the first Rotary Club that has ever been formed in Wayne County. At the meeting the following were elected as officers: H. T. Breece, president; W. R. Wilson, vice-president; G. D. Luther, secretary; J. Miller Jackson, treasurer; Dr. J. W. Ferguson, sergeant-at-arms; Dr. J. W. Rife and J. N. Stratton were named as the two additional directors. The charter will contain the following names: W. R. Wilson, Jack See, H. S. Lambert, O. J. Rife, Dr. J. W. Rife, Dr. J. W. Ferguson, J. H. Staley, Bryan Preston, Elba Drown, G. D. Luther, J. N. Statton, Lacy H. Byron, Dr. P. C. Swisher, J. W. Bailey, and Rev. H. J. Francis.

Meetings will be held on each Friday at noon.

G. A. Porter of Kenova was recently in Wayne on business. Mr. Porter, together with H. B. Porter, has formed the Service Motor Sales, Co., in Kenova and will sell Maxwell and Chrysler automobiles in Wayne County. A garage and showroom have been opened up at Thirteenth and Poplar Streets. Mr. Porter reports the outlook for business is encouraging.

A civil service examination will be held at Kenova within the near future to fill the position of rural carrier on route number one of Kenova. Applications for the examination will be closed May 13th. The exact date of the examination will be stated on admission cards mailed applicants after May 13th.

The Piedmont Evening Star Festival or Chautauqua of Ashville, N. C., will give four nights' entertainment at the court house auditorium in Wayne May 5, 6, 7 and 8. The programs will consist of musicals, readings and miscellaneous entertainment. The admission charge for each evening is seventy-five cents or $1. 50 for a season ticket.

Transcription by June White

Wayne County News