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Archive for February, 2011

DO YOU REMEMBER THESE?

The pictures that you see in this post were sent to me by Pam Hollingsworth, Wanda Boyes daughter.  The were saved over the years, no doubt by Wanda.  If you were born in the 1930s or early 1940s, you will remember the items pictured.  Memory of them will certainly take you back to a different time; a time of patriotism, a time of pride in your country, and arouse many pleasant memories.

The picture below, according to Pam, are passengers waiting for a train at the Fort Gay depot.  I believe the view is looking west, however, I may be wrong.  If it is looking in another direction, someone post the right direction.  While Pam didn’t say, I am guessing this would have been taken in the early 1940s.  There is an interesting aspect to the picture.  Please note the  couple standing in front of the small building that looks like a garage. The man looks as if he might be a soldier in uniform.  It sort of tweaks the imagination as to who he might have been.  Where was he going?  If he is a soldier, did he live through the war to return home to wife and family?  By clicking on the picture you may enlarge it.

Please excuse the large space at the bottom of the picture, but because of the way it was saved there was no other way of pasting it in the blog.

The picture to the left appears to be a cover for a ration book that was provided by Curtwright Funeral Home of Louisa, KY.  If it is a cover for something else, I am sure Pam will let me know and I will post it.  Enlarge and look closely at the figure on the front.  It is a young woman tending the garden and helping on the home front while her man is away at war protecting her and their country.  What a nice piece to have saved.  For those that were alive during this time, I wonder if we truly ever recognized the great effort that wives, sweethearts, and mothers provided in support of the military and the population of America during this trying time. 

This picture to the left if of a book of ration stamps.  If you remember, there was ration stamps for just about everything you bought during the war years.  This book was issued to Flora Boyes.  Flora and her husband Walter and family lived on the farm adjoining ours.  Flora and Walter had two sons that served in the Army during WW II.  Their names were Merle and Jack.  Both served in the ETO, I believe.  Jack made the supreme sacrifice of his life in the cause of freedom and is in a military cemetery in Europe.  I believe Jack left a young wife that he married just about the time or shortly after he entered the army.

     As kids, my brother John and myself played with Walter Sherrill and Keith, the two younger brothers.  I believe that years later, John was best man at Walter’s wedding.  One of the things that stands out in my mind is that while playing at their house one time, Flora had made tomato preserves.  I had never had them and Flora invited John and myself to try them.  I can tell you right now, I still remember the taste.  I did not like them and have not eaten them again.  It is interesting how such little things stand out in one’s mind after all of these years. 

I, again, would like to thank Pam for passing these along.  It is such a pleasure to include them in the Chronicle for all to see.  I do welcome any pictures that anyone has and would like to pass along.  Just put them in a jpeg and send them to me.

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For those fortunate enough to have visited Joe and Mary Damron’s home on Bromley Ridge, located just outside the Fort Gay city limits, are well aware of the numbers of wild turkeys that roam the area.  Joe takes great pride in their choosing his farm to take up residence on.  As you can see from the picture on the left that they have multiplied worse than rabbits.  Joe and Mary, as you can see from the photo, have chosen someone to care for and feed the creatures.  It does appear that the lady they have chosen needs to buy some rubber boots.  Most of us have probably never walked among that many turkeys but I am sure that you would definitely need some foot protection.  Joe plans to open up the farm as a turkey hunting lodge and bring in hunters that will be charged a nominal fee for hunting rights.

As you might imagine, the smell of all of those turkeys is not pleasant.  Neighbors from Glen Hayes to Prichard have complained mightily to the authorities about the matter.  As a result, the mayor and other elected officials of Fort Gay, Prichard, and Glen Hayes have brought in their combined police forces, pictured at left, to deal with the problem.  Okey Ratliff would have been proud.  The force has mounted a campaign against the turkeys and it is said that the clatter of swinging night sticks can be heard all up and down Mill Creek.

The added load of mail from people ordering turkeys from Joe’s new enterprise and people making reservations at his hunting preserve, has resulted in the U.S. government postal service expansion of mail service from the area.  As you can see from the picture on the left, there are two brand new mail carriers now working that mail route.  Due to the increased demand for animal care, it has been rumored that a brand new livery barn will open in Fort Gay to care for the extra horses needed for the mail route.  Rumor also has it that it will be operated as a partnership by Fred Reid and Bill Wellman.

The federal government has announced that a grant, given by the Dept. of Transportation, has been given to the town of Fort Gay to establish an areawide transportation system.  For those tax payers that have concerns about an additional tax burden on the local citizenry, the department announced that the systemwould be operated with surplus equipment as pictured on the left.  As a bonus the area will also receive the locomotive that is pictured along with the modern street car pictured on the left.  Gary Huff has agreed to return to the area from his job as City Manager of the City of Fishers, Indiana  to assume the job as director of transportation.  It is rumored that the town of Fort Gay will also assume a portion of his salary in exchange for his services as part-time city manager.  Gary says that as soon as he has decided where the train will run to or from he will have an announcement as to its route.  The street car will travel a route from Fort Gay to Prichard to Glen Hayes. 

All of this activity has brought about an enormous increase in area population and has strained the local education system.  As a result, Marshall College announced that a branch of Marshall has opened in a donated field located near the mouth of Mill Creek.  Patty Wallace has agreed to a long-term contract to serve as Dean of Women.  Additional announcements as to administrative and faculty hirings will be made as they occur. 

As all can see, this tremendous increase in economic activity has been brought about by one man, Joe Damron.  So, when you see Joe, give him a big handshake and a pat on the back.  It does appear that what they say is true, a mighty river starts from a single drop of water.

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Have you ever sat looked at pictures from the past that depict people and items that are older than you and wonder about them?  I do.  I love to look at pictures from the past and try to imagine what were things like back then.  Things I wonder about are, who were they, what was going on in their lives at the time the pictures were made, and where are they or their family’s now? 

I have some old pictures that I am going to place on the Chronicles and they are just as the description above describes.  They are from the archives of the Huntingon Herald.  The Herald is, in most instances to identify them or the date they were taken.  They are certainly an interesting part of history.

The car pictured to the left is a 1909 Winton.  It is purported to be the first automobile in Huntington.  I would wonder about that in that the street it is setting on is paved with bricks.  It is truly a pretty racy looking automobile for its time.   Things you might wonder about are the following; where is it going?  what color was it? and who is the proud person driving it.  The following is almost, “in your face Henry Ford”.

The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio was a pioneer United States automobile manufacturer. Winton was the first American company to sell a motor car.

The company was incorporated on March 15, 1897 by Scottish immigrant, Alexander Winton, owner of the Winton Bicycle Company. Their first automobiles, called “horseless carriages,” were built by hand and assembled piece by piece. Each vehicle had fancy painted sides, padded seats, a leather roof, and gas lamps. The Goodrich Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio made the rubber tires for Winton cars.

 
1899 Winton

By 1897, Winton had already produced two fully operational prototype automobiles. In May of that year, the 10 horsepower model achieved the astonishing speed of 33.64 mph on a test around a Cleveland horse track. However, the new invention was still subject to much skepticism and to prove his automobile’s durability and usefulness, Alexander Winton had his car undergo an 800 mile endurance run from Cleveland to New York City.

On March 24, 1898 Robert Allison of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania became the first person to buy an American-built automobile when he bought a Winton after seeing an advertisement in Scientific American. Later that year the Winton Motor Carriage Company would sell twenty-one more vehicles. The following year, more than one hundred Winton vehicles were sold, making the company the largest manufacturer of gas-powered automobiles in the United States. This success led to the first automobile dealership being opened by Mr. H.W. Koler in Reading, Pennsylvania. To deliver the vehicles, in 1899 the innovative Winton company built the first auto hauler in America.

Publicity generated sales and in 1901 the news that both Reginald Vanderbilt and Alfred Vanderbilt had purchased Winton automobiles, boosted the company’s image substantially.

In 1903 Horatio Nelson Jackson made the first successful automobile drive across the United States in a new Winton.

Winton continued successfully through the 1910s marketing automobiles to upscale consumers.

I read a book and saw a program on PBS about Horatio Nelson Jackson who is mentioned above.  He, of course, was the first person to drive an automobile across the United States.  He was a physician from Vermont.  He drove a new Winton.  His trials, as you might imagine, were many.  I can assure that he did not drive his car up Queens Creek in winter time or he would never have made it.  What an adventure he must have had.  If you get an opportunity to read of or see a documentary of his trip you will find it entertaining. 

As the next few days pass, I hope to place some additional pictures on the site with some information about them.  If anyone has pictures they would like to submit, please put them in a jpeg and send them to me with some copy of what they are about and I will put them on for all to see.

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I STAND CORRECTED

In the previous post, I mentioned Michael Jackson and his song “Whippet”.  I am told that was not the name of the song but that the name was “Beat It”.  My face is red, but, if he never did ‘blue grass music” I would never have heard it anyway.  At least you can now tell from which generation I came.

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I was researching something recently and accidentally came upon a list of different breeds of dogs.  One of them happened to be a Whippet.  Now I personally have never seen one but there are probably some of you out there that own one, and I never listened to or saw Michael Jackson do Whippet, the song or dance whichever it was and I consider myself a better person for having not.   The thing that intrigued me a little was that we owned a Whippet automobile when I was growing up on Queens Creek.  It was a car manufactured by the Willys Motor co.  I don’t remember the exact model year of our Whippet but I think it was late 1920s.  I believe it cost about $545.00 when my father bought it new from a dealer in Louisa, KY.  That is about half what the cost of a Whippet puppy is today judging from an advertisement I saw of one for $1000.oo.   Now, folks, something is drastically wrong when a dog costs more than a car and the dog can’t even tree squirrels, chase rabbits, tree raccoons, or run foxes. 

The car on the left is, I believe a 1928 Whippet four door sedan with a four cylinder motor.  It  pretty much looks like my Dad’s car and is close to the same color.  Our Whippet was either a 1927 or 1928 model.  For those that might never have heard of a Whippet, you will definitely have heard of the company that manufactured it.  It was the Willys-Overland Motor Co. and they were the developers of the famous Jeep used throughout and after World War 2.  Following the war, Jeep sort of set the standard for four-wheel drive vehicles.

I believe the motor in my Dad’s Whippet developed 30 horsepower and had an engine displacement of 130 cubic inches.  Pretty “wimpy” by todays standards.  I don’t remember anything spectacular about the car.  It was pretty small for even those days, having a wheelbase of 100 inches.  The wheels had wooden spokes and mechanical brakes that probably had to be stomped on to get it to a stop.  I recall the horn button operating most of the functions of the car.  You pulled up on it to start the car, pushed down on it to blow the horn, and turned it to the right or left to turn on the headlights.  The car had vacuum windshield wipers which worked only when you were not accelerating.  The interior seated the five in my family at that time pretty well, but then three of us were children and we occupied the back seat.  Usually when three kids occupy the rear seat of a car, you hear things like “Mom make him move over, he sitting my part of the seat” or like statements.  Well, I am here to tell you that we were no different. 

It seems to me that the car had window blinds on the rear windows that could be put up or down, much as the window blinds in your house did.  I believe there might have been small vases in the rear passenger compartment in which you could place a flower.  As far as real comfort, forget it.  There was absolutely no heater.  You simply wore a lot of clothes in the winter time and just “sucked it up”.

The cars of those days were not real easy to start in cold weather either.  Even though the car was equipped with an electric starter, it did not always get the job done on a cold winter morning.   You might have to resort to the time-tested manner of starting it with a hand crank, or I have on occasion seen my Dad start it by towing it with a team of horses.  In the winter time he always wrapped the hood of the car with blankets but I hardly think that this did any good.

When I was two or three years old, I remember a cousin who was in her 20s contacting tuberculous.  She was sent to a hospital in upstate West Virginia for treatment and it befell the duty of my Dad to drive her there in the Whippet.  This was in the middle of winter and the trip was probably 200 miles or greater, a long trip for even summer weather.  I can’t imagine what the highways might have been like.  Having no heater, I believe they wrapped heated bricks and placed them on the floor of the car in an effort to at least keep ones feet warm.  I don’t know what they did to rewarm them once they got cold.  The patient later died from the disease but the surprising thing to me is that the trip didn’t kill her.

To the left is an advertisement from that time for a Whippet automobile.  It is interesting that they talk of beauty and quality for so little money.  Let me tell you this, in the early 30s, $535.00 was a lot of money.  As for the beauty and quality, they  were comparing it to the standards of that time, and one must remember that automobiles had only come into wide usage a few short years before that.  I read some of the features they touted back then and they were not things that would get ones attention today.  They did refer to balloon tires, four wheel expanding brakes, the multi purpose horn, starter, and light switch  combination that I mentioned earlier.

I don’t really remember our family ever taking a long trip in the old Whippet.  Perhaps an occasional trip to Portsmouth, OH, or to Huntington or to Fort Gay to visit grandparents.  There would also have been the trips to Fort Gay and Louisa to get haircuts, horseshoes, and other items that could only be bought at the stores in those towns or mail ordered from Sears and Roebuck, Jim Brown Hardware, or Montgomery Ward.  When the trip was to Louisa, we always manage a 5 cent ice cream cone.  That was about it other than the infrequent grocery shipping trip to buy the necessary staples that one could not raise or make on the farm.  I don’t think my Dad ever drove very fast, maybe 40 mph and that only on a hard surface road of which there were not very many at that time.  In the summer time you rode with the windows down to stay cool, but the clouds of dust on the dirt roads would cover one up when meeting another car.  So, the choice was, do I want to be cool and dirty, or do I want to be hot and clean.  As a kid I am sure my choice was COOL. 

When winter came to Queens Creek, you had better have your travelling all done for the year,  especially until the ground froze.  The Whippet had pretty good ground clearance but nothing to match those hip deep ruts that developed when winter came.  It seems to me that we lived about 1 1/2 miles of off the Big Hurricane Creek road.  Many times you would get stuck and it would take a trip to get the horses and tow the old Whippet the rest of the way home,  covered with mud of course. 

In the summertime, we would sometimes take the Whippet and she would get a wash job.  There was a rather large hole of water on Big Hurricane Creek at the mouth of Sugar Branch.  This was the road that ran to Columbus Hatten’s farm.  My mother and dad would gather up us children and we would spend a couple of hours washing the car and playing in the creek.  In that the Whippet had wood spoke wheels, and in the dry, hot summer, it did not hurt to let them soak in the water for a while.  I am sure that the city kids would not have liked this, but then maybe they would,  but we had great fun.

As an aside, if any of you lived on a farm, you probably had an old wooden spoke farm wagon that you would have used for all of the chores that required hauling things.  The wheels of the wagons were totally made of wood including the hub and rim which was encircled with a steel tire.  In the summer the wood would shrink and the tires could get loose and come off so you might run the wagon out in a hole of water occasionally and let it soak untill the rims swelled up and tightened the tires.

There were 12 or 13 families living on the creek but not everyone had a car.  To the best of my memory, there may have only been 3 or 4 cars in the early 30s on the creek.  In emergencies you might be called upon to take someone to the doctor or some other need that arose that couldn’t be done by walking, riding a horse, of taking the farm wagon.  The other means of transportation would have been to “hoof it” to Hubbardstown, a distance of about three miles from my house and catch one of the local passenger trains that ran east and west a couple of times each day.   

I remember an anecdotal story regarding a couple of our neighbors that happened while in a car.  My friend, Auxier Marcum, the one who had a bicycle, was a Boy Scout,  and with whom I was going to build a steam boat had an aunt that lived at his house.  She was a dear lady and a school teacher.  She also drove a 1936 Ford Roadster with a rumble sear.  A car which one might give their arm and maybe even a leg for today.  One of our neighbors, a Baptist minister, had asked her to take him some place one day.  On their way home in the evening, a skunk, or ‘pole cat’ as we knew it on Queens Creek, ran across the road in front of her car.  The Baptist minister urged her to run over it, which she did.  The car, of course, smelled pretty rank for a while and I am sure drew attention wherever it went.  The lesson to be learned from this might be the following.  Baptist ministers give good advice about your soul but bad advice about skunks.

One of the other cars on Queens Creek was also a Whippet the same model year as my Dad’s except it was a coupe, having only two doors.  It had a rumble seat and was pretty cool looking running around with the rumble seat open and someone riding in it.  It belonged to an elderly lady whose name was Emma Lalonde.  She rarely drove it and when she did, one  was wise to be aware who was driving the car.  The story always went around, whether true or not, that when she went around curves, she would never drive on the side of the road where one could run off of the road and down over a hill, but stay on the side where the worst that could happen would be to run into the ditch.  Hmm, I wonder how that would have worked in England.

Back in those days, some cars would have a trunk on the back of the vehicle in which to carry things.  It was usually a box like container with a lid on the top.  Ours did not.  In its place there was a spare tire attached to the back of the car.  Some cars would carry things on the running boards and have a device much like an expandable gate running along the running boards to keep the items from falling off.  I suppose we just piled everything in the back seat with the kids and away we went.  At least that is the way I remember it. 

I remember as a kid seeing cars traveling along with a canvas bag on the front bumper carrying water in it.  It was a long time before I found that it was drinking water and that water seeping through the canvas  evaporated and kept the water cool.  I often wonder if it worked but never had the opportunity to try it.  Today you just stop and pay $1.50 or so and buy a bottle of water.  Back then, that would have bought several gallons of gas.  No one would have even considered selling you water, give it to you sure, but sell it, no. 

The old Whippet served my family well.  Hauling us to happy occasions as well as sad occasions.  To church each and every Sunday and to the many revival meetings that were held at the country churches back then.  To cake walks and to funerals, to happy visits with grandparents and to the doctor or dentist when I really didn’t want to go. There came a time when it was time to trade her for another car but that is another story to be told at another time.

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Hey Richard, I should have expanded my comment about Mothers to include all of those present Moms who keep households together in spite of, sometimes, holding down an outside job, providing transportation service for teen age sports enthusiasts, running laundry/dry cleaning service, providing sustenance for body and soul of the entire family, all the while she is keeping herself from falling apart.  In today’s environment, I think that is also quite an accomplishment.  I hope I didn’t upset any readers of my comment.  I just didn’t address the present day accomplishments of our partners, as mothers, when I should have stated that the miracle continues.

Can I get off the hook?

Bill W

The above email came from Bill Wellman shortly after I posted the bit about Super Moms.  It is, of course, absolutely right.  So to all Moms out there, young and old, may God Bless you and give you strength and direction.

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Just to show that God plays no favorites when it comes to snow, I am posting the following picture.  Bill Wellman sent it along with a note describing the location as about 80 miles north of Pensacola, FL.  The young man pictured is Bill and Ilse’s grandson.  As you can see it is snowing pretty good while the picture is being taken.  The picture was made in the winter of 09-10.  Anytime we envy someone living in the deep south, perhaps we need to take out this picture and look at it.

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