Archive for November, 2010


I had mentioned in a previous post that talked of Love and Tragedy on Queens Creek about a young man who not only tragically lost his eyesight but also the love of his life as the result of a gunshot wound.  The following will give further insight into Luke and his life.

Following his being shot, Luke went to a hospital for treatment.  I believe the hospital was in Huntington.  He spent several days there being treated and determining what, if any, could be done to restore his vision.  After several days he was sent home to recuperate.  He returned to the hospital on several occasions over the next few years in an attempt by medical staff to bring about some degree of vision.  Unfortunately, it was never to be accomplished. I do believe that if that had occurred in todays medical environment, his eyesight might have been restored to some degree.

The person who shot Luke was never charged with a crime.  The environment for lawsuits in that era was much different that today.  Today the shooter would be charged with several criminal acts and law suits would most certainly have been filed.  None of this ever took place.  It simply was an accident that never should have happened

After Luke returned home after his initial hospital visit, it became his lot to attempt to rehabilitate himself.  Now it is important to understand his plight.  Here is a young man who has a long life in front of him and suddenly the most important of his senses, his eyesight, has been taken away.   He lived in the country, all sanitary facilities were of the outdoor toilet variety, there were no local programs to help with rehabing , and he has to relearn how to do the simple things of life with no vision.  I think most of us would have been very depressed.  Luke was different.  I don’t ever recall in the years that I knew him of his ever complaining of his lot in life nor do I remember him ever speaking a word in anger.

Shortly after his returning home he began to walk about.  First with someone leading him and then shortly he began to take short walks by himself.  He would walk the quarter of a mile distance from his home to our house each day to get his mail.  He would come in and sit on our porch a visit and talk.  Again,  no complaining.  I can recall his having lunch or dinner with us on occasion.  My mother would guide his fork to show him where each food on the plate was located and then he had no problem feeding himself.

As I recall, Luke was a smoker.  He would smoke a brand of tobacco called Prince Albert that came in a red can.  He became very adept at rolling cigarettes and could “whip one up” with the best of them.  During those years when money was tight, most men didn’t even consider smoking already made cigarettes, or as they called them “tailor mades”.  As children become  older,  they sometimes take up adult bad habits such as smoking.  I don’t remember Luke ever letting us have tobacco.  He had an uncanny sense of what kids should or should not be doing.

Luke loved to visit neighbors around the neighborhood and my brother, not being school age yet, became his guide.  As most kids do, we had a red wagon that was our means of kiddie transportation and hauling things such as firewood, etc.  John would sit in the wagon and Luke, using a forked stick, would push him up and down the road and Luke would follow the wagon.  I am sure that John ran Luke into a mud puddle on more than one occasion.  For longer trips, such as to Hubbardstown, one of us usually would take him by the hand and lead him.  That usually befell me in that I was a couple of years older than John.  We were always very careful in avoiding obstacles and traffic and getting Luke  hurt.  He trusted us implicitly.

I recall one Saturday or Sunday, Luke planned a trip to Zelda, Kentucky.  Zelda is just across the river from where Hubbardstown once stood, and I might add there was no bridge.  The plan was for us to walk to Hubbardstown, be on the Big Sandy River bank at a certain point at a certain time, and someone would meet us there with a row-boat.  We were only going for the day and have lunch.  Since there were no telephones in our area, all of the planning was done by mail.  It probably took a couple of weeks to set it up.  I was so excited that I was going to have my first boat ride, even though Auxier Marcum and I had planned on building a steam boat, but that was another story.

On the appointed day, I remember it was a pretty day, we took our walk to Hubbardstown and the river, a distance of three miles.  We arrived at the river and sure enough, here came a row-boat, loaded us up and took us to the other side.  We then landed and walked another short distance to the home of the people we were visiting.  After a hearty meal and conversation, we were ferried back across the river and deposited on the West Virginia side.  After another three-mile walk, we, an eight year old kid and a blind man, made it safely home. 

John and I would visit Luke’s house for short for short visits when we didn’t have chores to do.  He had an uncle, his name was Dave, who was a very entertaining character.  I don’t remember him ever working and he would spend his days rabbit or squirrel hunting, hunting for “bee trees” in the woods and sometimes crafting wooden objects.  I recall him making a banjo.  He couldn’t even play the thing but it seemed to work like it was supposed to.  He would also make chairs and other needed wooden objects.  He didn’t talk much, so when he did, you had better listen because he probably wasn’t going to repeat himself.  The conversations between Luke and the rest of his family was always interesting and entertaining to youngsters such as John and myself.

Luke would keep himself informed on current affairs as to what was going on in the world.  He would listen each night to a news broadcast by a newscaster named Lowell Thomas.  I am sure that many of you will remember him.  He sort of an adventurer and I  was able to read a couple of his books later on in life and found them to be very enjoyable.  As I recall, the newscast was sponsored  by Sunoco and was carried by WLW out of Cincinnati and picked up by listeners on Queens Creek on battery powered radio.

Some time after Lukes accident, it was decided that he should learn to read braille.  For those who have never seen braille, it is simply letters formed by punching small raised dots on a sheet of paper.  Today, all elevator buttons and many other things have a braille symbol  so  that vision challenged people can determine where they are going.  Another blind person came to stay with the family, bringing his collection of braille teaching materials with him.  This lasted but a few days; Luke decided that this was just not for him and he sent the man packing.  He wanted to live his life as close to normal as possible without using supportive materials.  I can recall him occasionally using a cane to feel his way along, but once he memorized where he was going he would leave the cane at home.

Luke would occasionally go away for a few days to visit friends or relatives in Prichard.  Their names were Shannon and I think they were somehow related to Luke.  As children, we were always happy to see him return home so that we might have his frequent visits.  He would talk about his visits and sometimes he would talk about his life prior to the shooting accident, but it was always in a positive manner.

I was about sixteen when we moved away from Queens Creek.  I went away for college and after a year of that, entered the service.  I did not see Luke for many years after that.  Most of his family members had died and the remaining ones, along with Luke,  had moved to a small house in Kenova.  I was visiting my parents in Huntington  sometime in the late sixties and I went by his house to see him.  He had grown older but still had the same positive outlook on life as he had when we moved away.  He did talk of having accepted Jesus as his savior and was very positive about where he would spend eternity. 

Luke died not to many years after that.  I never had an opportunity to visit him again and it saddens me now that I didn’t try to maintain some contact with him, even though I was living away.  It would have been wonderful to have him sit and tell of his philosophies of life and to have talked about the early years.  Even though he was a simple man, he lived his life as an example that all could would be proud to follow.

There is so much more that could be written about Luke.  I am sure he had sad times just as anyone else does, but he just didn’t burden people with his troubles.  I was at Luke’s fathers bedside when he passed away.  I am sure that this saddened him greatly however he did not let it show.  He truly was one of the most positive persons that I have ever met.


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Observed by United States and Canada
Type National
Date 2nd Monday in October (Canada)
4th Thursday in November (U.S.)
2010 date October 11, 2010 (Canada);November 25, 2010 (U.S.)
2011 date October 10, 2011 (Canada);November 24, 2011 (U.S.)

Thanksgiving Day, known informally as Turkey Day, is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving was a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. This holiday has since moved away from its religious roots.  In the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada, it is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

As you can see from the above, Thanksgiving day was initially celebrated as a religious holiday, one in which  we could set aside a time to give thanks to God for a bountiful harvest and for the many blessings we had received the previous year.  Unfortunately, it is no longer celebrated as a religious holiday.  It is  mostly celebrated now as the day before “BLACK FRIDAY”, the day that officially opens the Christmas shopping season.  That  is the day when many stores open their doors at 12:01 AM and everybody tries to outdo everyone else in the mad rush for the bargain shelves. 

Your FGHSAA Board would like to take the opportunity to wish you, all of the FGHS Alumni out there, a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  However, above all, we want to offer up thanks and praise to our Almighty God for the prayers he has answered and gifts he has given to us individually and to the Alumni Association in support of the scholarship. Our continuing prayer would be that the blessings would continue to flow.

We are thankful to all of you who stepped up and supported our golf tournament through your golf hole sponsorships.

We are thankful for the many people who organized golf teams and participated in the tournament.

We are thankful to all who helped stage and work the tournament. 

We are thankful to the Jude sisters for their continuing to hold a bake sale on Saturday to benefit the scholarship.

We are thankful to Mary Damron for her donation of a quilt used in raising money for the scholarship.

We are thankful for Joe Damron continuing to serve as golf chairman in spite of having health issues.

We are thankful to our board members who faithfully attend meeting and given of their time and finances in support of the scholarship.

We are thankful for Paul Salmons for serving as our treasurer.

We are thankful for Doris Staton for serving as our secretary.

We are thankful for all of those that sold corporate sponsorships of a golf hole.

We are thankful for all who continue to attend and support the Alumni banquet each year in support of the scholarship.

We are thankful for the Heritage Day Committee for organizing  and conducting Heritage Day.

 We are thankful for the four students at Marshall University receiving support from the FGHS Memorial Scholarship, thereby providing our group with an opportunity to give back to the people of the area.

Above all, we wish all who are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, whether with family or friends, much happiness and good health and may God continue to smile on you.

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When one is 4 or 5 years old we are not really aware of love stories and tradgies that play out around us.  I had the privilege, if that is the proper word, of witnessing such an event.  It truly was a story very much like we would see in a theater today, the only  difference is that this one happens to be true.  I think it is ok to tell it now because all of the parties to the story died many years ago.  It is not just a story of love and tragedy but also of the character, humility, and acceptance by one of the individuals involved.

At the time I am speaking of, there were quite a few young men and women growing up in my neighborhood.  Social life focused on things such as church, taffy pulls, pie socials at the local school, molasses makings, and any event that people could invent to draw neighbors together for games and conversation.  You know, it has been years since I have heard the term “pie social”.  If you don’t remember, a pie social was usually held at a church or school.  It’s purpose was to raise a small amount of money for a cause and consisted of placing baked goods such as pies and cakes up for auction.  If a pretty girl put a pastry up for sale, you can bet the bidding coud get pretty heated and the prize might not just be winning the pastry but also perhaps walking the girl home along with a stolen kiss along the way. 

There lived nears our house, perhaps a distance of 5 or 6 hundreds yards, a family  of a father, his second wife, his two brothers, two daughters, a son,  and a young girl that they had taken in to raise.  The story I am about to relate involves the son.  The son’s name was Luther and he was born probably about 1910.  Everyone knew him as “Luke” and I seriously doubt if he ever had an enemy.  As I remember, Luke was a very nice looking young man, liked equally well by adults and children.  He would have been considered a good “catch” by the young ladies of the neighborhood.

Luke had at one time been employed in the steel mills at Portsmouth, Ohio.  There was at one time quite a steel industry in that area along the Ohio River. The events I am speaking of would have been about the mid thirties and right in the middle of the great depression so there were very few in our community who would have been working at public works.  I believe that Luke was living at home at this time and was unemployed.  His time would have been consumed by helping with the farm, fishing, hunting small game and the usual things that occupy a young man of that age.

There was another family in the community living perhaps a three-quarters of a mile away.  Among the members of that family was a pretty young lady of about Luke’s age.  She was pretty and better than that, single and available.  Her name was Bernice.  They had grown up knowing each other and being about the same age, it was no surprise when they fell in love.  Being just 4 or 5 years old at the time, I don’t know how long the courtship lasted before Luke asked Bernice to marry him and she readily consented.  A wedding date was tentatively set and wedded bliss seemed just around the corner for the couple.

This would have been in the Fall season of 1934 or  1935.  That was a time when squirrel season came and it allowed the farmer to kill some wild game for a welcome change to his menu.  I can recall that in our neighborhood it sounded as if a war was going on opening day.  I am sure that my dad as well as all of the other men in the neighborhood would have been in the woods.  There were always cars full of hunters coming from Huntington, Kenova, and other communities where there were no opportunities to hunt squirrels.  Sometimes liquor would be consumed and there is no more dangerous animal in the woods than a hunter who has a 12 gauge shotgun and a whiskey bottle in his pocket.

It was on just such a day that Luther decided to go hunting for squirrels.  It was a beautiful fall day, a perfect day to be hunting.  Usually the hunter wanted to be in the woods quite early, a time when the squirrels would be feeding.  Luke was hunting in a patch of woods near our house and had shot a squirrel in a tree.  Unfortunately, the squirrel caught on a limb and did not fall to the ground.  Luke, being young, set his shotgun aside and decided to climb up after the dead squirrel.  He climbed the tree and this is where fate stepped in. 

Another hunter from  out of the community had made the decision to come to Queens Creek that morning to hunt.  He made the fateful decision to hunt the same patch of woods that Luke was hunting in.  Luke had climbed the tree and had retrieved his squirrel and prepared to descend the tree.  At that time, the other hunter, seeing movement in the tree, blasted away at the place he had seen movement.  That movement happened to be Luke descending the tree.  The shotgun blast caught him full in the face and upper body.  Blinded by the blast, he descended to the ground.  The man who had shot him came up and led him out of the woods to the road.  This would have only been a few hundred yards from out house.  At the road, he abandoned Luke to find his own way to ‘some place where he could find help.  I believe the hunter had been drinking and that he also took Luke’s gun. 

This is where my memory of events gets a little foggy because of my age at the time.  I believe that Luke either found his way to our house or someone found him and brought him there.  I don’t believe he was in any danger of bleeding out but he did have shot embedded all over his body and of course the worst of all had happened, he had been blinded.  He was taken to a hospital for treatment, but they were unable to do anything to restore his sight.  Over the next couple of years he did have some surgeries to attempt to restore some of his vision but they were totally unsuccessful. 

The second part of the tragedy was yet to come.  After Luke became blind he made the decision that he did not want to be a burden to anyone, especially to the love of his life, Bernice.  I am sure that it was with sadness and a heavy heart that he asked Bernice to release him from his pledge to marry.  This she did. 

I would like to write that after a few years that they found each other and rededicated themselves, got married, and lived happily ever after.  But, it was not to be.  Both lived to well into their seventies without ever marrying.  All that I have written is from the memory of a 4 or 5 year old.  I am sure that I have left out many details so if there is anyone out there who remembers the events, please feel free to correct me.  There is much more that I could write about Luke and his qualities and his life after all that happened to him, and I will.

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The following article is something that I found recently and have read several times.  I thought some of you might find it as refreshing and full of inspiration as I did.  This article is   mid 1920s and certainly before most of our timeShe states in her interview that she has no prescription for longevity but if you read carefully her remarks are just full of reasons for her longevity.  Wouldn’t it have been  wonderful to have sat and had long conversations with her.  I loved the remark that she made about “I don’t care about dancing anymore”.  But, I bet she could have. Some from the Fort Gay area may have heard their parents or grand parents speak of this lady. I hope you enjoy.


One of the most interesting characters and the oldest person in this section of the county passed away Thursday morning of last week when Mrs. Mahala Wells Huff died at the home of her son on Little Blaine Creek, three miles south of Louisa, Kentucky, at the age of 108 years and 19 days. Mrs. Huff’s husband fought in the War of 1812 and her father was in the Revolutionary War. She was a former Wayne County woman, having been born across Tug River from where she died, on West Virginia soil. Mrs. Huff was known to most Wayne County folks as she lived near the Wayne- Lawrence County, W. Va./Ky. line.

Was Oldest Pioneer

The death of Mrs. Huff ended the oldest life of the most pioneer of all citizens in this part of the State. Even the log cabin where she lived with her son and where she died last Thursday was suggestive of pioneer days. It is a three-room cabin, built from logs cut from the hills’ sparse woods, chinked with mortar and trimmed with heavy boards laboriously sawed by hand. The windows are burnished like the brightness of a new pane and the plank floors of the old cabin are scrubbed to a cleanliness that is like fresh butter before the milk has been worked out. And here dwelt Mrs. Mahala Wells Huff, born 8 years more than a century ago across Tug River in West Virginia within walking distance of the very cabin which has been her home for almost forty years.

Lived With Her Son

Forty years, to most of us, seems quite a long period, but Mrs. Huff was a girl of 75 when she came to this hill cabin to live for the rest of her life with her son, Henderson, her only child, who is now a youth of 75 summers. With them lived Mrs. Huff’s daughter-in-law, Laura; John Workman, the latter’s uncle, who considered himself the youngest member of the family at 76 years, and a lad whom they had taken to raise–all of their own children having left the old home.

Although the daughter-in-law was in active charge of the household, Mrs. Huff was by no means a burden on the rest of the family. On the contrary, she made up the beds every morning–and these  feather beds are  no light work for any chunky pair of arms–and almost always helped with washing the dishes as a part of the cooking. She swept and scrubbed the floors and turned the handle on the mechanical churn with as much vigor and a great deal more industry than any youngster of eighteen.

She did these things up until a short time before her death last week.

Husband’s War Record

On Decoration Day in 1922, Mrs. Huff was named by the government as the oldest widow on its pension rolls. She was then more than 103 years old and the following war record of her departed husband was announced by the war department:

“James Huff volunteered November 5, 1813, at Knoxville, Tenn., and served until March 10, 1814, when he was honorably discharged. He served with the Fourth Regiment of General Taylor’s brigade, having participated in numerous skirmishes near Norfolk, Virginia.

“The year after his return to civil life, he married Miss Ann Pennington. When she died, he then married Miss Mahala Wells, who survives him.”

Her Philosophy of Life

Age brought to Mrs. Huff a philosophy of life that is not inharmonious with the bleakness of the hills outside the little cabin, nor with the smooth, inevitable sweep of Tug River, clearly visible on a bright day off to the south as it goes to join Levisa Fork at the twin towns of Louisa and Fort Gay to make the Big Sandy River.

“I just intend to keep goin’ until I die,” she said in an interview a short while before her death, without a touch of the self-pity so often noticeable in similar statements from aged people.

“I enjoy living just like I always did, and I don’t suppose I ever will get tired of it.” She chuckled and leaned toward the big open fireplace, where four foot legs blazed forth a heat that made the whole cabin cozy, peering into the coals over her ancient spectacles, holding her brown, old hands to the warming flames.

Why Die Young?

“I’ve heard young people say that they wanted to die before they get old and couldn’t get about like they did when they were in the ‘teens, but there don’t seem to be any reason for feeling that way about it when you reach old age. Of course, I don’t care so much about dancing as I did once, and I’d a heap rather sit in a spring wagon on a ride than on a mule’s back. Still I like to do my work around the house here, and then sit down and rest after it’s done, feeling like I’d really accomplished something and saved somebody else the trouble.”

She paused to readjust her spectacles a little further from her eyes. “After I’ve done a bit of sweeping, or scrubbing, or washing, and I sit down in front of the fire to rest, I feel so comfortable and peaceful that it seems I never really enjoyed living until that very minute. Most people don’t know how much real fun there is in resting until they grow old, then they’re afraid to do enough work to get tired, and they never appreciate what they miss.”

An Eventful Life

Nor was it an uneventful life that the old venerable lady recalled.

She was born in the year 1818 in a one-room cabin on Well’s Ridge in the heart of Wayne County, West Virginia. Ann and Moses Wells built the Cabin but a few years after Daniel Boone had tracked through that country and made his coonskin cap a symbol for love of adventure and courage that dare any danger to penetrate an unknown land.

She was the youngest of four children, all of whom have long since passed away, and she grew to robust young womanhood with only the vaguest conception of other mortals outside of her immediate family, who lived in the scattered cabins many miles away on Twelvepole Creek and down at the mouth of Tug River, where twin trading posts had been settled.

Occasionally she saw small boats on Tug River, when she accompanied her father hunting, and they learned from traders of a town of considerable proportions which had grown up at the mouth of Big Sandy, where it added its turbid waters to those of the Ohio River. So it was not surprising that after the death of Moses Wells the family foresook the cabin on Well’s Ridge and moved to Catlettsburg, then one of the most prosperous towns along the Ohio.

Here they lived, until the mother of the family died, leaving Mahala, the only daughter, to keep house for her brothers, one of whom left home when the removal to Catlettsburg was made.

Gets 1812 Pension

Soon after the death of her mother, Mahala Wells married James Huff, a veteran of the War of 1812, in which he served as a private in G. W. Camp’s company of the Virginia Militia, and they lived in the towns of Catlettsburg and Louisa until his death. Neither the records of the government, which paid Mrs. Huff a pension as the widow of a veteran of this country’s last war with England, nor those of either of the towns in which the couple lived throw any light on the Huffs.

James Huff seems to have been a riverman, but in those days most of the male residents of Ohio River towns either followed the river or aspired to do so, so that classification is too generous to give much information. The Huff home, in common with most of the homes in the border towns during the troublesome days of the Civil War, was raided first by home guards and then by guerilla fighters from both the Union and the Confederate forces.

At any rate, Mrs. Huff’s Bible, with the history of her family and that of her husband carefully recorded on the yellow pages, was lost during that period, along with most of her prized family treasures, most of which were relics of the days of the revolution.

James Huff died in 1872, and six years later, by the act of a benevolent Congress, Mrs. Huff began to receive the munificent sum of eight dollars a month as a token of the services her husband had rendered his country in time of need. . . .

No Longevity Prescription

Meantime her son had married, and Mrs. Huff, longing for the freedom of the hills and isolated life she had known as a child, went to live with her son and his wife in the cabin that stands on the highest and the bleakest hill that borders Little Blaine Creek.

In an interview a short while before her death, Mrs. Huff said that she didn’t have any prescription for longevity except except working in the daytime and sleeping at night, living where the air is always fresh and the worries of a complex civilization are the lightest. Worry, she said, was the cause of most deaths and the reason why so few people got any real enjoyment out of life.

The death of Mrs. Huff at the age of 108 years on Thursday of last week is of interest to people the whole country over, since so few people ever attain that advanced age, but her death is news of outstanding interest to readers of Wayne County News since the deceased was a native of Wayne County and had spent her entire life either in this county or near its borders.

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Even back then they were searching for alternative energy sources.  What do you suppose happened to this and what was it?  Perhaps it was a higher octane gas.


A company composed principally of local people has been organized here for the manufacture of King-Kol, a fuel to take the place of gasoline, and it is claimed it will have thirty percent per gallon more efficiency than the ordinary gas and will cost but little more.

Incorporation papers will be taken out in a few days and business started.

The building formerly used by the High Grade Oil Co. at Fifteenth and Beech Streets, has been secured and will be used for the new factory.

W. S. Tabor of Birmingham, Ala., will probably be manager. He has rented the Ezra Ball property on Poplar Street and will move his family (a wife and one small daughter) here in a few days.

I find the below very interesting.  Even back in 1927, the state recognized the importance of maternal and child health and were taking steps to improve it.  Does anyone recognize some to the names on the following list?  I also found it interesting that there were 16 men in the state providing midwifery services.  Do you suppose they had to give up their “man card” to be a part of this group.  I also found it interesting that the men were not named.  How much do you suppose they were paid for their services?


During the year 1927, the state health department granted licenses to 521 persons, on recommendation of local physicians, to practice midwifery in the state. The midwives are to be found in every county, the greatest number being in the more rural communities where medical service is hard to obtain. Among the number are 16 men, several of whom had studied medicine but are not licensed to practice, and a number of women who had some training as nurses.

Of the 521 persons granted midwife licenses in the State this year, 28 are in Wayne County, and these are the only persons qualified, under the law, to serve in this capacity.

Following is the list of licensed midwives in Wayne County:

Mrs. James Wheeler, Route 2, Fort Gay
Mrs. Matilda Ann Vinson, Webb
Nancy Thompson, Box 35, Queen’s Ridge
Mrs. Sallie Smith, Ferguson
Laura B. Smith, Radnor
Eliza Smith, R. F. D. 1, Box 68, East Lynn
Dora Smith, Dickson
Isabelle Skeens, Route 1, Box 70, Prichard
Virgie Roberts, Route 2, Box 51, Fort Gay
Mrs. Elizabeth Porter, Grassy
Mrs. Enster Perry, Dunlow
Adelia Evans, Webb
Mrs. Hulda Finley, East Lynn
Mrs. Mahala Farley, Queen’s Ridge
Maggie Farley, Queen’s Ridge
Mrs. Armilda Gilkerson, R. F. D. 2, Wayne
Liza J. Adkins, Wayne
Allie Brown, R. F. D. 1, Box 14, Dunlow
Eva Moore, Prichard
Sinda Messer, Crum
Mary Mathis, Dunlow
Rachel Marcum, Crum
Polly L. Crum, Wilsondale
Armilda Marcum, Dunlow
Mrs. Ollie Crum, Webb
Martha Copley, Webb
Mrs. Ires Dyer, Cove Gap
Mollie Dortin, Wilsondale

The state health department calls attention to the fact that all of these licenses must be renewed in December 1927 for the year 1928 under the law passed by the Legislature of 1925. This law requires every person practicing midwifery in the state, and who accepts any remuneration for services rendered, to register with the state health department, the registration to be accompanied by the endorsement of a local physician before the license can be granted. The law further states that midwives shall practice only in normal cases, defining the conditions under which a physician must be called. All midwives are required to place in the eyes of the new-born baby two drops of one percent solution of silver nitrate to present sore eyes and blindness and also to report the birth to the local registrar.

By the passage of this law, it was hoped to raise the standard of those practicing midwifery and to give some supervision to the work, in an attempt to reduce the high maternal and infant death rate in this state, which last year showed a toll of 299 mothers and 1748 babies under one month.

After the law was enacted, a survey was made by the state health department in an effort not only to acquaint those affected by the law, with its provisions, but also to give instruction to those applying for a license.

The survey revealed a number of interesting facts, among the most important being that the practice of midwifery is on the wane in West Virginia. This is due to the fact that midwifery was practiced more generally by the older generation of women and that very few are entering the field; that an increasing number of families are employing physicians, the midwife acting only in the capacity of a practical nurse; and that, because of good roads and education, more and better medical attention is available. The survey further disclosed the fact that in many instances those applying for a license were graduate nurses or women with some training, living in the more isolated communities where medical care is hard to obtain.

Education of the mother and expectant mother is being aided through the motherhood correspondence course conducted by the state health department and those counties having full-time health units. A total of 13, 021 mothers have been enrolled for this course up to July 1927, in many instances the names being sent in by local physician or midwife.

I found the two articles from the Wayne County News from 1927 quite interesting.  I was not aware that CST(central standard time) ever reached as far east as Louisa.  The article also notes that Ironton, Ohio remained on CST.  Was Fort Gay ever on CST? 


Eastern standard time (commonly referred to as Fast Time) was adopted for Louisa, Ky., Tuesday evening by the city council in an ordinance effective April 3, when this standard goes into effect on railroads throughout this section by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The change from Central to Eastern time causes time to be set forward one hour at Louisa. Similar ordinances have been adopted by a number of cities and towns served by railroads adopting Eastern time after April 3, since it is held that uniformity should be maintained with railroad time for the convenience of the public. Ironton, Ohio, is the only exception thus far, its city council having refused to approve the change.

The below is  representative of the news one would find in local newspapers in the 20s, 30s, and 40s.  It seemed to be news if someone left town for a visit or visitors arrived from somewhere else.  For instance, I wonder why Mr. and Mrs. G.W. Keyes visited Fort Gay on a Sunday.  Church perhaps.  By the way they would have been the parents of George and Bobby Joe Keyes.  Both attended Buffalo High School but I think many of you would have known them.


Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Keyes were Ft. Gay visitors last Sunday. ***B. H. Cooksey, Mrs. John Heaberlin and Miss Quinn Cooksey attended the funeral of their brother, Will Cooksey, at Huntington March 11 ***Mrs. Worth Hatten was called to the bedside of her grandson, Elba Drown, at Kenova this week. ***Blanche Frazier spent last week end with relatives in Fort Gay.***Panther Shannon is visiting friends in Portsmouth. ***Mayme Boyd, who has been visiting relatives in Logan, has returned home. ***Mr. and Mrs. Chris Meredith of Kenova spent Sunday with Mrs. Meredith’s mother.***Eli Perry has moved to the Hut Shannon Hollow from Big Hurricane. ***Jack Bryant and Wm. Cole of Zelda, Ky., were business visitors here last Saturday. ***George Shannon of Guyandotte spent Sunday with his mother here.

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 I grew up on the farm on Queens Creek, as I have mentioned previously, dealing with the  usual animals that small farmers dealt with at that time.  I never gave any of them  a great deal of thought, just feeding them, watering them, and providing the necessary care to keep them healthy and alive.  All farm animals serve a purpose; the horse to provide power for tilling the soil, the hog to supply meat products to provide food for the farmer, cats to catch rodents, dogs to provide a friend and act as a protector of the farmer and  his property, and then there is the CHICKEN!!!

Most of you that know me, are aware that I have an intense dislike for chicken meat.  It doesn’t matter if it is fried, stewed, fricasseed, baked, or broiled.  I don’t even want a piece of chicken touching anything that I am going to eat.  My daughter used to make great potato soup, UNTIL!  I found out she used chicken broth to make the soup with.  As I have grown older I now question all foods that I eat as to their contents.  I even found a restaurant that was making their French onion soup with chicken broth not beef broth.  Now that is downright un-american. 

I have a brother that is two years younger than me.  We got along pretty well during our childhood with only the occasional sibling spats.  I was larger than him and could have “whupped” him pretty good except he refused to fight fair.  He would grab a chicken leg or bone and a stick of firewood and I had no alternative but to flee. When someone is chasing you with a chicken leg, you need to put plenty of distance between you and that person because the power of that chicken bone is tremendous.  I am not sure that voodoo doesn’t have something to do with it.  You know, they do use chicken parts in Haiti and other island countries practicing the evil arts.   

Have you ever been in a chicken house with two or three hundred chickens in residence?  It is not a pretty site!  Smelly, dirty, full of noisy creatures, and no place to step without putting your foot in something unpleasant.  When we were kids, we as did many other kids of that era would go barefoot in the summer but you planned ahead on your trips to the chicken house by putting on your shoes.

One of the farm chores that I hated most was cleaning the chicken house.  Being the oldest boy, it seems that chore befell me more than my brother.  Cleaning the chicken house involves removing all of the chicken manure using a scoop shovel.  My thoughts were “the chickens did it, let them clean it out.” 

We have a grandson who is now grown but when he was a child of four or five always seemed to get terribly chapped lips in the winter time.  As some times children do, he would pretty much believe whatever his granddad told him.  On one cold winter day he had a terrible case of chapped lips and it seems that kids tend to lick them and make them even worse.  I told him that to effect a cure he should put chicken manure on them.  He questioned how this might cure them and I told him that it wouldn’t but that it would keep them from licking them.  Sure enough, the next day at Sunday School his teacher mentioned to him about his chapped lips.  He told the teacher that his granddad had given him a cure for the problem.  His teacher asked him what the cure was and my grandson told him to use “chicken maneuver” and it would keep him from licking them.  I did learn from this to be careful what I said because apparently he took things pretty literally.

I remember watching my mother kill and prepare chickens for cooking.  She would tie them to the clothesline by their feet and then whack their heads off with a butcher knife.  After flopping around and bleeding all over, she would dip them in a pot boiling water and pick the feathers off.  Have you ever smelled wet chicken feathers?  Not a pleasant aroma. 

What has brought this tirade on that I have just gone through against chickens?  I happened to read some information yesterday that I copied and have inserted below.  After reading through it, I now find I don’t like eggs. 

Believe it or not, the egg laying process for a chicken begins in its eye. Chickens lay eggs only after receiving a light cue, either from natural sunlight entering a coop or artificial light illuminating a commercial egg hatchery. The light stimulates a photo-receptive gland near the chicken’s eye, which in turn triggers the release of an egg cell from the chicken’s ovary.

Most chickens lay eggs on an almost daily basis, unlike some other egg-laying animals which only release an egg every thirty days or so. The chicken also releases a small disk of material which surrounds the egg cell and provides nutrition. The chicken’s uterus also fills up with albumen, the viscous substance we know better as egg white.

Meanwhile, a membrane forms around the inside uterine wall, which seals in the egg cell, yolk and albumen. Eventually a mixture of water, salt and calcium surround this membrane and form a thin but structurally sturdy outer shell. This shell is molded in the shape of the uterine wall, thus giving a chicken’s egg its distinctive shape. While in the uterus, the egg’s narrower end points downward, but it will later turn and be ejected wider end first.

Once the egg has fully formed, the chicken’s uterus begins to contract in an effort to expel it. The egg moves down a vaginal canal towards an external opening known as a vent. The vent is a common opening for both egg laying and waste elimination, but a chicken cannot perform both functions at the same time. An internal flap known as a cloaca keeps the vaginal canal and the intestinal track separate until either an egg or excrement reach the vent. When a chicken is laying an egg, the cloaca descends and blocks the intestinal track.

Once the egg passes the cloaca, it is carefully expelled through a series of muscular contractions which essentially turn the vaginal canal and cloaca inside out at one point. Eventually the egg is pushed out through the vent and ideally lands intact on the ground. Many chickens let out an audible cluck at this point, but designated egg layers rarely display any other maternal concern. These chickens lay eggs every 24 to 36 hours at the height of their productive years, so individual eggs rarely attract their attention.

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As we paused  on Thursday, November 11  to honor all of those who have fought in all of the wars throughout the short history of our country in order to obtain and secure our freedom, it is necessary that we remember those who not only served but made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for this cause.  Cemeteries throughout the world are full of these brave men who went to foreign lands, not only to defend our country but to defend, unselfishly, the cause of freedom of all freedom loving nations around the world. 

I found the following table listing all of the deaths from all of the wars of U.S. service men and women.  When you add them all up the price has been high.  For those who rale, whether foreign or domestic,  against our military and its leaders, I would hope that they  would take time to pause and consider that which has given them the freedom to express that opposition.

War of Independence (1775-1783) 25,000
Quasi-War (1798-1800) 20
Barbary Wars (1801-1815) 35
War of 1812 (1812-1815) 20,000
1st Seminole War (1817-1818) 30
2nd Seminole War (1835-1842) 1,500
Mexican-American War (1846-1848) 13,283
3rd Seminole War (1855-1858) 26
Civil War (1861-1865) 623,026
Indian Wars (1865-1898) 919
Spanish-American War (1898) 2,446
Philippine War (1898-1902) 4,196
Boxer Rebellion (1900-1901) 37
Mexican Revolution (1914-1919) 35
Haiti Occupation (1915-1934) 146
World War 1 (1917-1918) 116,708
World War 2 (1941-1945) 407,316
Korean War (1950-1953) 36,914
Vietnam War (1964-1973) 58,169
El Salvador (1980-1992) 20
Beirut (1982-1984) 266
Persian Gulf Support (1987-1988) 39
Invasion of Grenada (1983) 19
Invasion of Panama (1989) 40
Persian Gulf War (1991) 269
Somalia (1992-1993) 43
Bosnia 1995 12
Afghanistan (2002-2010) 1,244 (8/25/10)
Iraq (2003-2010) 4,417 (8/25/10)

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