The Word of the Week, from Managing Editor Jaynell Graham.
What's the Word?
Crux, pronounced "Kruks"
1. something that torments by its puzzling nature; a perplexing difficulty.
2. a crucial point: an essential or deciding point or element in something such as an argument.
3.ﾠ the smallest of the 88 modern constellations
"Crux" is a mighty small word to have such a wide array of uses and definitions.
Several folks have asked me how I select a word for the week.ﾠ The answer is usually pretty simple and straightforward - whatever catches my eye or interest during the week.
But this week's word is a bit different in that it came to me in a dream.
For those of you who find it difficult to keep up with me when I'm awake - "you ain't seen nothin' yet!"
Someone once told me that dreams are the brain's way of filing the contents of the previous day's thoughts and actions.ﾠ I guess my dream files must pretty much resemble the chaos of my desk. And in addition, it appears that my brain is a day ahead of my body.
In the midst of a dream early Friday morning, one phrase stuck in my mind, and that phrase was "this is the crux of the situation."
My mother constantly tells me that I'm bossy, so, of course, even in my dream state I was vigorously attempting to explain the definition of the word, "crux."
And it was at 4:14 a.m., that, simultaneously, my cat, 259 (so named for the Vet's bill), tapped me on the nose with her paw, as my dog, Rut-Roh, scratched on the door. This is a common early morning occurrence in this household as these beasts seem to be quite regularly summoned by "the call of the wild." This situation serves as well as an example of our first definition, "something that torments by its puzzling nature; a perplexing difficulty."
I sent the beasts out into the elements, and at 4:49 a.m., 259 tapped on the bedroom window, and Rut-Roh scratched on the door as they were ready to return to their beds.
That vivid phrase from my dream was still fresh in my mind, so I told them, "the crux of this situation is that you two are a pain in the neck."
Let me go on record, right here and now, to say that I believe no experience is complete without a touch of serendipity.
On Friday night, after a week of work and obligations, I set my sights on a glass of wine, a book and my easy chair.
I opened the book to page 366, where I had left off the night before. I read a page and a half, and then, there- on page 367 - was that word "crux"- adding a touch of serendipity.
The paragraph in the book read:ﾠ "He shook his head.ﾠ ﾑNo, I think you're right.ﾠ This little lady is at the crux of it all.'"
I looked at Rut-Roh lying at my feet, and 259 snuggled beside me in the chair, and I smiled as I realized that they are not "something that torments by its puzzling nature nor a perplexing difficulty" -but rather, these "beasts" are my friends.
"Crux" is also defined as a turning point in a debate or argument, and perhaps no one could turn the tables better than former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Though these examples may be more sarcastic than argumentative, I found them to be quite entertaining.
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once sent a message to Churchill, stating, "I am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come, and bring a friend - if you have one."
Churchill replied, "Impossible to be present for the first performance.ﾠ Will attend second - if there is one."
Another incident involved Nancy Witcher Astor, the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons.
Lady Astor to Churchill: "If I were married to you, I'd put poison in your coffee."
"If you were my wife, I'd drink it."
The third definition of "Crux" deals with astronomy.
According to Wikipedia, "three of the five main Crux stars - Acrux, Mimosa, and Delta Crucis- are co-moving B-type members of the Scorpius Centaurus Association , the nearest OB association to the Sun."
That, I must say, is over my head in more ways than one.
According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, "Crux, the small, but brilliant southern constellation has four prominent members which form a Latin cross, the famous Southern Cross."
The Crux has been used as a national symbol and appears on the flags of Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, as well as some smaller territories
As for the Australian national flag, Australian poet Banjo Paterson wrote in 1893:
"The English flag may flutter and wave, where the world wide oceans toss, but the flag the Australian dies to save, is the flag of the Southern Cross."
So, there you have it - a serious, a humorous and a downright ridiculous look at the word "crux."
What's the Word?
Civility - 1. civilized conduct, especially courtesy, politeness; 2. A polite act or expression. Merriam Webster online
In an article titled "Civility," Kerby Anderson reminds us that the word civility shares its history with the terms "civilized and civilization" which simply means to be "a member of the household. Just as there are certain rules that allow family members to live peacefully within a household, so there are rules of civility that allow us to live peacefully within a society. We have certain moral responsibilities to one another."
That writing mirrors a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson,1803 - 1882, who said,ﾠ "There can be no high civility without a deep morality."
Preparing for the upcoming May Primary Election, County Clerks and Ballot Commissioners across the state of West Virginia met Tuesday morning in their respective counties for the "Ballot Draw" to determine candidate's name placement on the ballot.
Coveted as the top spot may be, it does nothing to inform voters of the civility, morality nor the qualifications of the candidate.
That information comes to the forefront during the campaign.
Perhaps nothing changes a "pretty good old Joe" into an object of derision more so than "Joe" throwing his hat into the ring for an elected office.
There is an old joke, which during an election year, may be no joke at all:
A man with limited resources wanted to trace his ancestry and asked for advice as to how he might do so. He was advised that the way to get the "most bang for his buck" wasﾠto run for public office and let his opponent do the searching for him.
Civility often takes a backseat during political campaigns. Some candidates tend to step on each other as they try to make their way top of the heap.
Voters will be well served to follow the advice of George Washington, who, at the age of 16, transcribed "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation."
"Be not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any."
Candidates might want to consider the following rules of "behaviour" in debates, as well as one-on-one conversations:
"Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs, roll not the Eyes, lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man's face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak."
Many candidates take on an air of duende, which is defined as "the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm."
But that can sometimes turn off a voter as much as incivility. Even spellcheck underscores the word "duende" as questionable.
How about civic virtue?
"Civic virtue is the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community."
And so, we can only hope that all candidates, especially our local slate, will "claim" this cultivation for the success of our community.
As we've all heard our mothers say, "actions speak louder than words."
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
What's the Word?
Although the word "cruciverbalist" came into use around 1977, I first saw and heard the word when it appeared as an answer on Jeopardy a few weeks ago.ﾠ Neither I nor the three contestants knew the question.ﾠ But as it turned out, I was sitting with a "cruciverbalist" at the time - my mother, Frances Graham.
While I like to work a crossword puzzle from time to time, she works four or five every day - with a pen.
If you have a true "cruciverbalist" in your midst, then you know that they are very territorial, and you should never, under any circumstance, mess with their puzzle.
To do so puts you in jeopardy of being "crucified."
Several years ago, Graham's Motel in Buckeye was the neighborhood gathering place.ﾠ And it was there that my mother would settle in after her day's work as the Buckeye Postmaster.ﾠ And she always did the crossword puzzles.
But there was a day when the late Fred Weiford, the local barber, did not receive his Charleston Gazette, and he proceeded to work the puzzle in the motel's copy of the paper.
That made for a very tense evening.ﾠ But I'm happy to report that "most" of us have recovered from the incident.
Crossword puzzles are reported to be the most popular word game in the world. But compared to other games, they haven't been around all that long.
According to George Eliot in "This is a puzzling world," the first crossword puzzle made its appearance in England in the 19th Century.ﾠ Journalist Arthur Wynne from Liverpool created the first published crossword puzzle in 1913, and it appeared in the Sunday edition of the New York World.
During the early 1920s other newspapers picked up the "habit," and within that decade crossword puzzles became a regular feature in most every American newspaper.
Most, but not all.
"The History of Crossword Puzzles" reports that The New York Times did not incorporate the crossword puzzle into its newspaper until 1942.ﾠ "The newspaper felt that the puzzle was childish, sinful and provided for no real mental development."
Today, these puzzles are considered to be one of the best forms of mental gymnastics for every age.
"Cruciverbalists" are always on the lookout for new words.
A good word showed up this week at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Madison Square Garden in New York where a dog named Giorgio Armani was named the "Best of His Breed."
Giorgio Armani is a Xoloitzcuintli, pronounced "SHOH-loh-eets-KWEENT-lee.
If you encounter a clue for a 14 letter word in a crossword puzzle for "a true crossword puzzle fan,"ﾠ the answer is "cruciverbalist."
If the clue calls for a 14-letter word for "a hairless Mexican dog," the answer is "Xoloitzcuintli."
But, of course, that word would likely come in handy in a Scrabble game.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted by email at email@example.com
What's the Word?
Dangling participles, humorous malfunctions and surprises in the written word.
The misuse of words, the addition or deletion of a single letter, or poor sentence structure can provide a much needed respite from the drudgery of proofreading.
I always get a chuckle when I read that a bride and groom exchanged marriage "vowels." I can picture the bride receiving the letter "A," while her groom opted for an "E."
Rather than the correct spelling of "nonetheless," someone once chose to use "nun the less," which I assume is the one most inferior to Mother Superior.
Several years ago, a student minister at Marlinton Presbyterian Church had a one-letter typo in the church bulletin that could have changed the course of history.
The choral Call to Prayer was to be "Gentle Jesus."
The addition of one letter changed it to "Gentile Jesus."
If junior high English has slipped from one's memory, one might think that "dangling participles" refer to those low-slung jeans that are now the fashion craze.
However a "dangling participle is an error in sentence structure whereby a grammatical modifier is associated with a word other than the one intended, or with no particular word at all."
A message transmitted by way of a poorly structured sentence may, in the end, do nothing more than entertain its reader.
One such example crossed my desk a few months ago in the rough draft of a story about the Hefner family's participation in the Little Levels Heritage Festival. The following sentence appeared at the end of an article.
"Listen to Bill as he plays ﾑAll Quiet on the Potomac,' a ballad about a lone sentry shot on his watch on The Pocahontas Times website."
Now, I will admit that we have a most interesting website, but to my knowledge no one has ever been shot there.
Comedians will intentionally use "dangling participles" to add humor to their work.
Take, for instance, Groucho Marx in his portrayal of Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding in "Animal Crackers."
"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.ﾠ How he got into my pajamas, I'll never know."
Other examples can be found in the Writing Guide.
"After being whipped fiercely, the cook boiled the egg."
It sounds as though the cook is working in a hostile environment, while the following sentence gives the wrong impression about an otherwise tough guy.
"Flitting gaily from flower to flower, the football player watched the bee."
The facts as presented in this next sentence may be true from time to time, but nevertheless the structure is wrong.
"Driven to drink by his problems, I could see that he was headed to a bad end."
"Dangling participles," reportedly gathered from newspaper articles, have been making the email rounds the past few months.ﾠ These examples were originally posted on the Basic Jokes website:
"The burglar was about 30 years old, white, 5' 10", with wavy hair weighing about 150 pounds.
"The family lawyer will read the will tomorrow at the residence of Mr. Hannon, who died June 19 to accommodate his relatives.
"Mrs. Shirley Baxter, who went deer hunting with her husband, is very proud that she was able to shoot a fine buck as well as her husband.
Reading ignites the imagination, and the following sentence could cause an explosion of the same.
"We spent most of our time sitting on the back porch watching the cows playing Scrabble and reading."
Author/broadcaster William Davis is quoted as saying, "The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes."
While reading Pete Hamill's book, "Tabloid City," I came across a couple of sentences that didn't make me laugh, but they did make me stop and "think for ten minutes."
A character in the story worked for "New York World," writing the crime section for the fictional newspaper.ﾠ On her last day at that job, she thinks back over her years there, and how, after the death of her husband,ﾠthe newspaper had "saved her life."
"Forty years now? Five dopes a day? Twenty-five a week.ﾠ The dumbest knucklehead criminals in the history of the city.Twenty-five a week means how many? Fifty thousand? Fifty-five?" She thinks that she must do the math, with a pencil, on paper.
Thinking: "Or was I Scheherazade? Telling stories in order to live?"
I stopped reading at that point and researched Hamill's comparison of his character to the Persian queen whose storytelling kept her alive.
"One Thousand and One Nights" tells of a king who married a new virgin every day and, in anger over his first wife's betrayal, would send each new wife, referred to as "yesterday's wife," to be beheaded.
Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the King, and prepared herself by reading books of poetry, books on history and various other subjects. Each night she would tell a story, but would not finish it in a night's time.ﾠ The King, eager to hear the "rest of the story," allowed her to live, and after 1,001 nights, the King found that he had fallen in love with her, and made her his Queen.
"Yesterday's wife" was replaced by tomorrow's story, and that was a life-saver for Scheherazade. Tomorrow's newspaper stories were life-savers for Hamill's character.
Reading provides great entertainment which may come from a dangling participle, a misspelled word that changes the writer's intent, or from a line cast from novel to novel. But surprises are not limited to the well-read.
My granddaughter, Reagan, was just three-years-old when she thumbed through one of her dad's David Baldacci novels and announced, "I found my name."
But, in the end, the laugh was on us as her little finger traced "Reagan National Airport."
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
What's the Word?
Weltschmerz - pronounced [?v?lt?m???ts]) mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state. 2: a mood of sentimental sadness. (Merriam Webster online dictionary)
German author Jean Paul first used the term which, according to Wikipedia, denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind. John Steinbeck wrote about "weltschmerz"ﾠ in "The Winter of Our Discontent" and Samuel Hamilton referred to it in "East of Eden," as did Ralph Ellison in his book, "Invisible Man."
Weltschmerz may be an exaggeration, but having been on vacation for a week in what I would call an "ideal state," I now find myself back in the midst of the "actual state of the world."
For four days I put my hands to work with my neighbors.ﾠ One day was spent completing tasks that had been left undone for far too long.ﾠ And the crown of my "ideal state" was a trip to Winchester, Virginia, to visit my grandchildren, Reagan and Reese.
It was there that I began to realize that I am firmly planted in the ranks of "three out of four."
Eight-year-old Reagan is "fired up" with her Kindle Fire, an e-reader with games, books and all the things that used to clutter up a family's living space, now condensed into a flat, compact state.
Msnbc reports that a survey following the holidays shows that one in four people now own a Tablet or e-reader.
I don't own either of those, therefore that makes me one of the three, out of four, and, as usual, I am somewhat out of step with the rest of the world.
While those around me regale me with tales about the "handiness" of such things, I hold fast to my need to have a book in my lap when I fall asleep. And rather than seeing the percentage of pages read on a Kindle or Nook, I prefer an odd assortment of bookmarks stuffed between the pages to chronicle my progress.
Sitting in my easy chair I am surrounded by colorful book jackets and titles on book spines, much like being in the company of old friends. Some books are neatly shelved, while others are stacked, sometimes haphazardly, on various tables, chests and ottomans.
I am the odd man out when it comes to texting, as well. The need for proper spelling and punctuation would make texting quite an arduous task for me.ﾠ I like a good conversation while enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and I still support the local post office with good old-fashioned letter-writing.
My sporadic visits to Winchester always include a visit to Books-a-Million with my son, Jay.
On our Saturday night jaunt there I was quickly drawn to one particular book, "Believing the Lie," by Elizabeth George.ﾠ I read the jacket cover and commented that it looked interesting.ﾠ After perusing other areas of the store, I returned, twice more, to that eye-catching book.ﾠ In the end I convinced myself that I didn't need another book as I had just received Pete Hamill's "Tabloid City" in Saturday morning's mail.
I left Books-a-Million with nothing more that the new issue of "Book Page."
As I read that publication later that night, lo, and behold, this month's question/answer section with a selected author was about none other than Elizabeth George talking about her new book, "Believing the Lie."
"It's an omen," I said to Jay on Sunday morning.
He hooked me up with a sample of the book on his Kindle, and I had my first experience of reading on the "flat screen."
I could see the benefit of this contraption as, with it, I would be able to read and eat at the same time without using a salt shaker or other device to hold my book open.
Jay and I made a quick trip to COSTCO before my departure on Sunday evening.ﾠ As we are of the same mindset, he looked at me and asked, "Shall we look at the books before we go?"
Of course, we did.
"Here's your book," Jay announced.
And sure enough, there it was and priced $12 cheaper.
"It's almost like they're giving it to me," I said.
Into the buggy it went, and I now have a new 608 page "friend" resting on the table by my easy chair, my "ideal state, where physical reality can satisfy the demands of the mind."
With all that said, I do find that I am at home and nearly addicted to the digitized version of "The Pocahontas Times.
It is quite fitting that in the January 25, 1912 edition I found articles about the Reading Circle for the Greenbank District teachers and the Reading Circle for the Little Levels District, which met at Academy.
The story from Greenbank tells of high standards, and the resistance to prodding. In other words, "weltschmerz," the struggle with "physical reality in meeting the demands of the mind."
"The following is the program for the Greenbank District Teachers' Reading Circle which will convene at Durbin, Saturday, February 3, 1912, at 10 a.m.
How can the teaching of English be correlated with the teaching of other subjects?
The value of stories and conversation in the teaching of English.
Punctuation and its relation to good English.
The value of diagrams in teaching English.
The best method of correcting pupils' mistakes in English.
The value of practical English compared with technical English
The teaching of English in the primary grades.
Composition work and how to teach it.
Which is the more important, a knowledge of good English or a knowledge of arithmetic?
The cause of the inefficiency of the English training in our public schools.
In addition to the above program, Rev. Burr will be present and conduct devotional exercises.ﾠ A good organist will be with us also.
As this may be our last meeting for the year, it is hoped that the teachers will all come and take part in the work. Especially are we "weaklings" anxious that some of those unselfish, sagacious teachers from Greenbank and Cass be with us.
In a "write-up" last week, by the newly elected chairman and secretary of the "insurgent" wing of the Reading Circle, it was stated that their reason for electing officers was that the regular elected chairman and secretary failed to "show-up." They also had the peacock audacity to say they believed in the "recall" when officers proved to be "weaklings."ﾠ It is true, we were not at the meeting at Greenbank because the regular meeting of the Reading Circle was at Durbin on the same day, and we were there.ﾠ We may be hellish, but we are proud of the way we showed it.ﾠ We may be "weaklings" but the strange thing about it is that we cannot be led by those strong, broad minded "professional pullers" at Cass and Greenbank."
D. F. Hull, Chairman
Rebecca McKeever, Sec.
Jaynell Graham may be reached by email at jsgra email@example.com
What's the Word?
News: a: material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast b: matter that is newsworthy. Merriam-Webster
Is it possible that we are living in a time of TMI (too much information)?
Twenty-four hour news programs, Facebook, Twitter, newspapers, magazines and hundreds of TV and radio stations bombard us with news stories from all parts of this country and around the world - a bit of the good - but more often the bad and the ugly.
"Kim Jong Un vowed ﾑreal war' if rocket was shot down," "Hundreds gather to recall Gifford's attack," IRS $385 billion short," "War of words with Iran escalates," "When will Syrian Violence End?" and many and varied political offerings were just a few of Sunday's headlines.
Locally we are entrenched in the Marcellus shale drilling debate, the on-going dispute and "slinging" of the Snowshoe sewage treatment plant, the possibility of losing $500,000 in school funding and questions about our public officials.
It is important to be informed and stay informed, but I find it refreshing to take a break from the hard "news" of today and peruse the "news" of 100 years ago in The Pocahontas Times.
That "news" was about the everyday lives, activities, good deeds and tragedies of the people of this county, with an eye on politics, as well.
January 3 was the coldest day we have had so far this winter.
I found it interesting that there were several entries in the January 11, 1912, edition of The Pocahontas Times that referred to the weather and the travails brought about by low temperatures.
In addition to the weather, here is a sampling of the "news" as recorded by Editor Cal Price, 100 years ago.
"The cold wave last week was noticed by nearly everyone - who mentioned it to his neighbor. As an introductory remark it is about as illuminating as the two Englishmen who occupied the same stateroom clear across the Atlantic without getting acquainted.ﾠ As they approached New York one remarked: ﾑGoing over?' and the other one said: ﾑYes, are you?'"
"Building a fire on the hard frozen waterback in the kitchen stove at the home of J.O. Smith Saturday morning resulted in a bad explosion.ﾠ The stove was wrecked and flying pieces of iron broke windows and ceiling.ﾠ Fortunately no one was in the room at the time.ﾠ A similar explosion, though not nearly so bad, occurred at the home of Mayor Edgar."
"A man named Alderman was found in a vacant barn of Thomas Vaughn's on Hills Creek on Friday night, nearly frozen to death.ﾠ He had been overcome by the cold, lost his way, waded Hills Creek and had lain down in the barn.ﾠ Persons passing by heard him and carried him to George Sutton's where he is now.ﾠ His feet and hands are badly frozen."
"Had not his cries for help been heard, it is probable that John R. Johnson would have perished from cold Friday night.ﾠ He was on his way to Hanson Auldridge's and when in calling distance could go no further.ﾠ His hands and feet were badly frozen."
"At Durbin the other day members of the local Woodman camp went to the home of Mrs. H. C. Dickenson, a widow with five small children to support, and furnished and cut about 20 cords of wood.ﾠ Other members of the Camp who were unable to attend contributed $1 each for gifts to the children.ﾠ Prominent in this generous undertaking were J. H. Galford, D. L. Pingley, J. H. Collins and C. A. Nottingham.
"We are in receipt of a letter from honest miller Oscar A. Price inspired by our reference to his possible race for nomination for Sheriff of Greenbrier County, in which he disclaims any ﾑintentions at this time to run for any office, but to serve the people of the Greenbrier Valley in the humble capacity of an ﾑhonest miller' for a living, and to work for the success of the Democratic Party and what it stands for as a principle."'
"A panther has been reported in these parts [Buckeye]. Recently while Geo. Jackson was tracking late one night he heard the cries of the supposed panther, and as he is a very brave man in the dark, he went to his house, secured a flashlight, a good gun and a dog, and going to the spot, he succeeded in capturing a pet fox.ﾠ He said it had been learned to use both coarse and fine language."
"James McGraw, of Marlinton, is blacksmithing for W. McClintic."
"Edgar Sharp purchased a large yoke of oxen from W. McClintic, and took them to his lumbering contract on Stony Creek."
"The box supper at Bruffeys Creek school house was great; plenty of good things to eat, good behavior, no drinking except water and that weakened.ﾠ Thanking the ladies and gentlemen for their attendance." X
"The pastor and family of the Durbin M. E. Church, South, had an unusually merry Xmas and happy New Year.ﾠ This was made possible by remembrances from friends of other days but especially by the members and friends of my present pastorate.ﾠ It really began some time previous to the holiday season, when the good people of Winterburn and Dunlevie, led by Mesdames Thayer, Collins and Jas. Kirkpatrick, presented the parsonage with some very useful articles, among which was a beautiful rug for the parlor floor.ﾠ On Saturday, December 23rd, Bro. W. W. Arbogast, representing these same good people, accompanied a barrel and various packages to Durbin which he directed our accommodating drayman, Bro. H. E. White, to deliver at the parsonage.ﾠ Before we were even convalescent from this pounding, quite a number of the citizens of Durbin (under the instigation of we know not whom) invaded the parsonage and administered another severe pounding New Year's evening.ﾠ The pastor was the recipient of many useful presents, among which is a nice hat from our friend, Mr. J. D. Wilmoth.ﾠ These evidences of the love of our friends is much appreciated, and for each one of them we wish a prosperous year. H. Q. Burr
An ad for the Bank of Marlinton in the January 11, 1912 paper offered advice that is still relevant today.
"EVERY LIFE HAS ITS DECEMBER."
RICH UNCLES who may will you a fortune are scarce.ﾠ Besides, a man who has worked and saved his money, even though that man be your FATHER, doesn't want to leave you any money unless you have shown him that you know how to make and CARE FOR money.ﾠ Don't depend upon some sudden, unlikely stroke of fortune to make you get-rich-quick.ﾠ Plod, and while you PROSPER, prepare for the storms of life that are SURE to come.
Let OUR Bank be YOUR Bank.
Bank of Marlinton
Capital and Surplus $121,000.00."
What's the Word?
Genealogy - an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor;ﾠ the study of family pedigrees. Merriam Webster dictionary
The pursuit of genealogy comes from the desire to find one's place in history.ﾠ Genealogy gives a line of "kinship" while family histories tell the stories of our "kin."
Everybody wants to know from whence they came.ﾠ Family traits such as appearance, talents, illness and longevity often pass from generation to generation.
The January 4, 1912 edition of The Pocahontas Times contains a rather prophetic article about genealogy and family histories of this county. The article, written by the Hon. Victor Murdock, was originally published in the Wichita Eagle, and excerpts from his writing are put forth here.
"The other day at Marlinton, West Virginia, I found the fountain that Ponce De Leon missed - the fountain of youth.ﾠ Or at least so it seemed to me.
"I had come dodging down among the hills from Grafton on a day train.ﾠ My seat-mate and I struck up on politics. And in some narrative I caught his name -Sturm. On a hazard I said, "Did you ever hear of Tyler Sturm?"ﾠ My seat-mate said: "I know him.ﾠ He is a relative.ﾠ He lives in Sumner County, Kansas."ﾠ Which proves that the world is just as small a place as it appears in many of the universe... Then I took another train, changed cars once more and finally reached Marlinton, a little city nestling in a perfect circle of mountains.
"A veteran of the Civil War - Mr. Adkisson -was among those who met me at the station.ﾠ He told me he was from Kansas and Oklahoma...And here he was in Marlinton.ﾠ I asked why?ﾠ Adkisson said, "It's the water. It agrees with me, so does the climate."ﾠ That was why he had come back.
"Since I had that visit with Adkisson, I have an idea that he has the fountain of youth idea, too, although he did not mention it.ﾠ For before I left Marlinton, Calvin Price, the editor there, gave me a book - a history of Pocahontas County, written by his father. I have read it and I am convinced that there is no section of the United States which can equal in longevity the records of this particular spot in West Virginia.ﾠ The book attempts neither to prove nor assert even anything of the kind.ﾠ It is innocent of anything of the kind.ﾠ It is a story of a community going on two hundred years old - with the inclusion of a lot of biographies of local folks - and it was in these biographies that I found that virtually everyone here lasted beyond the eighty-year mark.
Here are some of the names famous in local history and the ages at date of death: Joseph Mayse, 89 years; Ellis Hughes, 90 years; Andrew Wash'ton Moore, 83 years; Adam Arbogast, 100 years; John McNeel, 80 years; Martha Davis, 88 years; Susanna Kinnison, 83 years; Polly Edmiston, 87 years; James Gilliland, 95 years; John Barlow, 85 years; Martha Wardell Barlow, 82 years; Diana Saunders, 103 years; Andrew Sharp, 97 years; Elizabeth McLaughlin, 91 years;ﾠ Mrs. Jacob Warwick, 80 years; Mrs. Joseph Varner, 114 years; Mrs. Henry Harper, 86 years; Elijah Hudson, 80 years; John Gay, 85 years; Margaret Poage, 98 years; Rebecca Auldridge, 90 years; Ruth McCullum, 79 years; and "Mad Ann," 105 years.
"Now, this is not a selected list to prove the case.ﾠ I took the names at random from the biographies.ﾠ If anyone should read this who comes from Marlinton, the family names will prove familiar.
"For Marlinton is unusual in this - the family names of the locality today are those of the locality a hundred years ago.ﾠ The families have stayed.ﾠ And they have kept records, and what is more - family traditions."
So, here we are 100 years later, 2012.
Many of the family names remain, and this county still boasts of the longevity of its residents, many of whom have lived well past the century mark.ﾠ Just this past week Dr. Roland Sharp, of Frost,ﾠ celebrated his 104th birthday.
While Pocahontas County may not be home to the "fountain of youth," it is home to a wealth of easily accessed genealogy information, family histories and cemetery indexes, as it continues to "record" the lives of its citizenry.
What's the Word?
Tradition - a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Wikipedia
The traditions and rituals for New Year's are being dusted off as those of Christmas are packed away for another year.
Although the holiday season is loaded with family, church and community traditions, a friend of mine recently lamented the loss ofﾠ long-held traditions of this season and the rest of the year.
The word tradition is derived from the Latin "tradere or traderer," meaning "to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping."
It appears that, rather than "safekeeping," many of our traditions have slipped through the cracks and therefore my friend has "resolved" to become a member of the "traditions police."
New Year's is a time for the tradition of making resolutions. Included in the definition of that word is the example: "I made a resolution to mend my ways."
This usually encompasses such things as resolving to lose weight, quit smoking, begin an exercise program, etc. Most meet with little success.
Mark Twain said, "New Year's Day:ﾠ Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.ﾠ Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
Resolutions have been around for about 4,000 years, since the days of the Babylonians.ﾠ They celebrated the New Year in the spring, so one of their most popular resolutions was "to return borrowed farm equipment."
Other traditions of the New Year are more easily kept.
Many people believe that luck in the coming year depends on what you do, what you eat and who comes to call, while seeing the old year out and New Year in.
The first visitor on New Year's Day is thought to bring either good or bad luck for the rest of the year.
A lot of black-eyed peas are consumed during the New Year's meal, cooked with ham or hog jowls.ﾠ The hog has long been a symbol of prosperity.ﾠ Cabbage leaves represented paper currency, another sign of prosperity, so that dish was added to the menu, as well.
The midnight toast comes from the ancient Romans and Greeks, who poured wine from a common pitcher.ﾠ "The host would drink first to assure his guests that the wine was not poisoned."
It seems that poisoning the wine was a good way to get rid of your enemies at that time.
But not all Romans thought that way.
Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was at the head of their calendar.ﾠ With two faces, he could look back on the past and forward to the future, and became the symbol for resolutions, and many Romans looked for forgiveness for their enemies.
Forgiveness is a good start for the New Year.
Striving for other "internal improvements" that bring about external rewards might be a good resolution for this year.
I visited an elderly woman in the hospital several years ago.ﾠ She talked about how lonely she had been since she lost her husband.
"Dinnertime is the worst," she said. "When I sit down to eat, I think of all of my widowed friends."
If we have "widowed friends," we could resolve that we will take time to visit them or share a meal.
We can volunteer at one of the county's libraries or be a part of organizations and activities that serve and encourage our young people.
We can join a club or church choir.
We can challenge ourselves to read a book a month, and join or start a book club.
The list is endless, and much is to be gained.
Benjamin Franklin's words may set us on the right path.
"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
What's the Word?
Messiah - such a short definition for this word, Immanuel.ﾠ A word that is most often heard at this time of year.
What has been wrought of this holiday we call "Christmas?"
At a recent party the discussion turned to the subject of Christmas gifts and how the number and expense of those gifts has ballooned out of control.
When did that happen?
When did it become necessary to go into debt and to spend stressful hours in search of a gift for someone who has everything?
The story of Christmas begins with a couple and a child who had nothing.
If you look to the Wisemen forﾠ gift-giving instruction - they each brought one.
If you consider the origin of gift-giving as coming from the ancientﾠ Roman festivalﾠ Saturnalia, then gifts are to be simple. Gifts of value marked social status, and that went against the spirit of the season.
This country's economy now depends on the overindulgence of shoppers during the Christmas season.
But if we consider the gift selection for Sigillaria, the day of gift-giving during Saturnalia, we will find combs, toothpicks, a hat, a hunting knife, pipes, a pig, a sausage or maybe a nice parrot. A boss would "give a little extra" to their workers to help them buy gifts.
I read a devotional this week that tells of a simple gesture that reveals the true gift of Christmas, Immanuel.
It is from "HomeWord,"ﾠ by Jim Burns
Finding Room for Jesus
And Mary gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn. -Luke 2:7
"I love this story about a second grade boy named Wally. I can't remember where I got it from but I remember it being told to me that this actually happened in a small town in the Midwest.
Wally was nine and in second grade. He should have been in fourth grade. Wally wanted to be a shepherd or an angel in the Christmas play but Miss Lumbard assigned him the "important role" of the innkeeper. I think it was because of his size, and it had very few lines.
And so it happened that the usual large audience gathered for the town's yearly extravaganza of beards, crowns, halos and a whole stage full of squeaky voices. No one on stage or off was more caught up in the magic of the night than Wally. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched the performance with such fascination that from time to time Miss Lumbard had to make sure he didn't wander onstage before his cue.
Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding Mary to the door of the Inn. Joseph knocked on the door. Wally the innkeeper was there waiting.
"What do you want?" demanded Wally, swinging the door open with a brusque gesture.
"We seek lodging."ﾠ "Seek it elsewhere." Wally looked straight ahead. "The inn is filled."
"Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and are very weary."
"There is no room in this inn for you." Wally looked properly stern.
"Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired."
Now for the first time the Innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.
"No! Be gone!" the prompter whispered from the wings.
"No!" Wally repeated automatically. "Be gone!"
Joseph placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head upon her husband's shoulder and the two of them started to move away. The Innkeeper did not return inside his inn, however. Wally stood in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears. And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.
"Don't go Joseph," Wally called out. "Bring Mary back." And Wally's face grew into a bright smile. "You can have my room."
And about that word "Immanuel," it means "God is with us."
With us every day, everywhere, in every circumstance of our lives.
Christmas calls us to love, to be compassionate, but most of all to be still.
"Immanuel, God is with us."
The gift and message of Christmas.
100 Years-Ago- in The Pocahontas Times
Nostalgia - a yearning for the past, often in idealized form; a return to the "good old days."
Extreme cases of homesickness among sailors and mercenaries, led physicians to deem nostalgia a disease. The term was first used in 1688.
I was visiting my aunt, Mary Elizabeth Weiford, several years ago in what is now known as Pocahontas Center.ﾠ The conversation turned to reminiscing about the past.ﾠ One visitor said, "I wish we could go back to the ﾑgood old days," and like a pin to a balloon, Aunt Mary E. dispelled our "nostalgia" when she said, "There were no ﾑgood old days.'"
That is probably true, we only have these days.
Columnist and author Bill Vaughan is quoted as saying, "It's never safe to be nostalgic about something until you're absolutely certain there's no chance of its coming back."
Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the United States, is recorded to be one of the worst presidents, but he is credited with a good quote for this article: "Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory."
As I read the December 21, 1911 edition of The Pocahontas Times,ﾠ I realized that the news then was pretty much the same as today - politics, tragedies, times of joy and times of sorrow, with a good story thrown in every now and then for levity.
Herewith is this year's offering of the news from 100 Years-Ago in The Pocahontas Times
The Pocahontas Times
December 21, 1911
Friday being the last date upon which a municipal ticket could be nominated, there was considerable politics in the air, and on Saturday morning three tickets had been certified to.
Pursuant to a call for a mass convention, a goodly number of representative citizens gathered in the circuit courtroom at the courthouse, and organized by electing Captain A. E. Smith chairman and W. A. Bratton secretary.ﾠ The followingﾠ ticket was nominated: Mayor - A. P. Edgar; Recorder - J. L. Wallace; Council - C. J. Richardson, W. J. Yeager, Dr. McClintic, E. C. Ambrose and Calvin W. Price.
The other citizens met in H. S. Rucker's office, and were presided over by R. S. Staton, as Chairman, Paris D. Yeager, secretary, and nominated R. A. Kramer for Mayor; Recorder - W. L. Dearing; Councilmen, J. A. Sharp, Geo. Taylor, Frank King, Hanson Cover and J. W. Curry.
Some Republican politicians thought to infuse some partisan politics in municipal affairs and gathered at Tilton's opera house, and nominated a straight Republican ticket as follows:ﾠ For Mayor -Dr. J. W. Price; Recorder - W. L. Dearing; Council - J. W. Curry, E. C. Ambrose, R. B. Slavin, Dr. E. B. Hill, and W. J. Killingsworth.ﾠ The chairman of this gathering was S. H. Sharp, chairman of the Executive Committee, and J. M. Paris, secretary.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Tilton, December 17, a son.
Mrs. C. B. Swecker left Wednesday for Philadelphia to have her nose treated.
Harry Taylor killed a wildcat.
Ed Williams will finish sawing this week.
We need a large depot at Sitlington.
The Deer Creek lumber people are pushing things.
Our community was shocked by the death of Henry, second son of C. M. and Mrs. Mary Gum, who died at his home near Wesley Chapel, Monday, December 11, of pneumonia, aged 20 years.ﾠ Henry was a fine young man and a Christian who set a good example in the community where he lived.ﾠ He leaves a father, mother, two brothers, two sisters and many friends to mourn his early departure.ﾠ He was laid to rest at Wesley Chapel in the presence of a very large crowd of sorrowing friends.
Tuesday was poultry day at Noel Bros., and they took in a fine lot of it.
Sherman Gibson, of Frost, was one of our visitors yesterday.
Mrs. Mary Galford has typhoid fever.
Mrs. Cronin Buzzard is on the sick list, also Mrs. J. W. Riley
We are very sorry to hear of the death of our friend, Aunt Liza Arbogast.ﾠ She was a kind woman and a friend to all.
We undertook to go to Clover Lick Monday, down the Laurel Run Road and had we not struck the path blazed out by Davy Crockett and his little hatchet we never would have gotten there and back. One more lumber job and that road will go where the woodbine twineth and the whang-a-doodle mourneth, and the little birds jump from branch to branch and sing their doodle-e-doo.ﾠ We would like to see Jared Hiner try to drive his cattle over that road at this time.
Asa Barlow imported ten head of thoroughbred Hampshire down sheep, which arrived today.
M. M. Crummett, of Mingo, was here Friday to attend the Gay and McLaughlin livery sale. The sale of the livery outfit was largely attended.ﾠ The warehouse and outfit was bid in by W. C. Dillard.
David Grogg, of Bartow, was in town yesterday, and reported that he was running the mail and hack line from his place to Monterey in addition to his hotel and livery business.
A mail route from Cass by way of B. M. Gum's store to Durbin would accommodate a lot of people.ﾠ It seems strange that the people do not move to bring this to pass.ﾠ Surely we are behind the ages.ﾠ The Lord spoke to the children of Israel to move forward and while they were shouting over their victory their enemies were drowning in defeat.
Our friend, Will A. Young, of Davenport, Iowa, took the train Tuesday for Breakneck, on his way back west.
Dr. Clyde Beard, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, came here to attend the burial of his aunt, Mrs. VanBuren Arbogast.
W. A. Thiede, the Durbin tailor, was in town yesterday distributing a very beautiful calendar among his friends and customers.
Let down a button hole or two.ﾠ A few days ago a boy was driving a donkey in a cart along the road.ﾠ A young gent was walking with his best girl. He wished to express himself before the young lady and said: "Watch me take that youngster down."ﾠ He shouted to the boy, "I say, do you think your mother would sell me that donkey?"ﾠ The boy took a good look at him and answered, "Do you think your mother could keep you both?"
S. C. Kincaid, of Douthards Creek, borrowed our old rifle gun while in town the other day to go looking for some bears and a panther which have been bothering his sheep in the Beaver Lick range.
Mrs. Isabella Campbell Moore, widow of the late Moses Moore, died at the home of her son, I. B. Moore, Wednesday morning, December 20, 1911, in her 85th year, after a few weeks' illness. She will be buried today at the Moore graveyard on Knapps Creek.ﾠ In our next issue we will publish a fitting tribute to her memory.
Helen Bruce, little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Wethers, died Saturday night, December 16, of membranous croup, aged 5 years, 5 months and 16 days.
Guell Callison, third son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Callison, died at his home in Lewisburg, Wednesday, December 20, of pneumonia, aged about 17 years.ﾠ His remains will be brought to the family burying ground on Droop Mountain. He was an especially bright and promising boy, and his untimely death brings sorrow to a wide circle of relatives and friends.
Levi Gibson died at the John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Tuesday afternoon from the effects of an abcess on his lungs, in his 33rd year.ﾠ The deceased was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. James Gibson, of Elk. He leaves a wife and two children.ﾠ He was buried today at the family graveyard on Elk. In less than a year this is the third death in Mr. Gibson's family, a son and a daughter dying within a few days of each other last February.
Mrs. Eliza Arbogast, beloved wife of VanBuren Arbogast, departed this life Friday, December 15, 1911, at the home of her brother, B. M. Yeager, aged 72 years.ﾠ A few weeks ago she came to visit her brother, was taken sick with a cold, followed by pneumonia.ﾠ On Sunday she was laid to rest at the church at Thornwood in the presence of a very large concourse of sorrowing relatives and friends.ﾠ In a coming issue we hope to publish a fitting memorial of the life of this most excellent woman.
A man named Boone, working in the woods for the Maryland Lumber Company, at Denmar, was struck on the back of the head by a falling limb, Saturday, and was very seriously hurt.ﾠ He was hurried to the Hinton Hospital, but nothing could be done for him, and he was brought back to his home in the brush of Greenbrier County.ﾠ However, as he was being taken from the train at Keister, he suddenly regained consciousness and spoke to his friends.ﾠ At last accounts he was better, with some hope of recovery.
It is stated that a man in the vicinity of Lewisburg wants to sell a patent pistol cane or a Newfoundland dog, he didn't care which.ﾠ He went home one night and set his cane, heavily charged, behind the door and went in for romp with his little ones. They got along well enough until the pup spied the cane and, going for it, he started sporting around the chairs and table legs with the cane between his teeth.ﾠ The dog, with slight pressure upon the spring, and the man with rare presence of mind, succeeded in throwing the children down the cellar stairs and lodging himself on top of the bureau, before the thing went off.ﾠ The ball only broke a hundred dollar mirror and killed the family cat, and the pup only got a few scratches in jumping through the window.ﾠ The doctor said the children would all recover.
Homer G. Boblett and Miss Edith Nottingham, both of near Millpoint, this county, were married at the Hillside Hotel, December 20, 1911, at 2:30 p.m., Rev. A. M. Cackley, D. D. performed the ceremony.ﾠ The bride is the daughter of the later Emmett Nottingham, and the groom a son of Harvey Boblett, who recently moved from this county to the State of Washington. The party was accompanied by the bride's mother, Edwin Smith and wife, and Mrs. Gladwell.ﾠ The friends of these young people have bright hopes for a happy and prosperous life.ﾠ They will make their home in this county.
Strayed from my place in Randolph County about 20 head of cattle.ﾠﾠ Part of them are marked with two underbits in right ear, and part may be marked with two underbits in left ear, and they may have some other marks that were in their ears when I bought them. ﾠThese cattle were bought in Greenbrier County and will likely make an effort to get back where they came from. Any party finding these cattle or taking same up, and notifying the undersigned will be paid for their Trouble.ﾠ W. B. Anderson, Franklin, W. Va.
Strayed from my place on Greenbrier and Little Rivers, five miles north of Winterburn, six head of cattle marked with a "swallow fork" in each ear; mark not cut very deep.ﾠ A liberal reward will be paid for them. Byron Boggs, Franklin, W. Va.