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The Glenville Democrat
Glenville, West Virginia
May 13, 2004     The Glenville Democrat
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May 13, 2004

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Don't Ge! Me Started! o ~o ' q on a 'Hoot While living 14 years in the southern West Virginiacoalfields, and hearing all about "Hoot Owl" shifts in the deep, dark mines, I admit that I was intrigued by most Of the miners' stories, tales and myths told about this night- time work period. Nevertheless, in my wildest imagination, I never thought that I'd ever have the opportunity to actually experience one. That ended in March 2004 when I received an invitation to "work the Hoot Owl" on the 26th of that month at the West Virginia De- partment of History and Culture at the State Capitol in Charleston. Although not knowing why I even got the special invitation to the relatively new annual event, I suspect that my son, Patrick, who is now an Americorps worker with the Coal Heritage Highway Commission in Beckley, had something to do with it. In fact, he and another southern Coal Road staffer, Morgan McKinney, were also in attendance. Interestingly, only about 50 people were there, and not one other news person was present. As a result, you Gilmer Countians are reading an exclusive report in this column on what's in our Mountain State's historical ar- chives and how you might benefit from this information. 8 p.m. Fri.-8 a.m. Sat. The participants had to check in the back door of the State Museum Building between 5:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. on that Friday and would be required tO leave by 8 o'clock the next morning. Upon arrival at about 7:30 p.m. after a hard week at this newspaper, your tired publisher was escorted to the upper story Archives Department by Dr. Fred Armstrong, director of the Archives and History Dept. There, about every table and microfilm reader was filled with people searching out-- mainly -- their family histories and genealo- The Corcoran | W Column |11111 gies. At the same time, Dr. Armstrong, made me feel right at home, showing me where my son was sitting and making room for me next to him. From the outset, I knew that there'd be a million bushels of information available, but only enough time to sift through, perhaps, one of them. My major interest was to learn more about "Gilmer County." I had to be very specific under these time-constrained circumstances. County's interesting origin Although the archives' computer card index file crashed early that night from over-use, Robert "Bobby" Taylor, the archivist, said that this happens occasionally there. I said, "Where's the old-fashioned, hard copy Card Catalogue?" It was there, so I looked up "Gilmer County," finding several related books and manuscripts. My eyes, though, were captured by Dr. Richard Channing Moore Page's epic volume on the Genealogy of the Page Family in Vir- ginia. The title was misleading in that the book dealt with about 100different families in Virginia, including the Gilmers. In 1845, Gilmer County was carved out of parts of Lewis and Kanawha countles, being named after the late Thomas Walker Gilmer. While I had known that Mr. Gilmer was governor of Virginia in 1840-41 before being promoted into President John Tyler's Cabinet as Secretary of the Navy, I didn't know how politically well-connected he was. In actual- ity, he was related to both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both being Virginia planters, statesmen and presidents. Now, how Gilmer was related to these American patriots, I can't tell you, but the book does explain it. At about 1 a.m. and being blurry-eyed, I started to read how Gilmer was a"cousin once removed" from both Wash- ington and Jefferson. rye never understood what "once or twice removed" means, so I thought that I'd learn it that evening. Never- theless, upon seeing that to explain the con- cept, Dr. Page had to use footnote-sized print, and the explanation took about five pages, using dozens of family names along the way, I decided that to be a better person, I don't need to understand what "removed" relatives are. It boggled my mind! On the other hand, Thomas Walker Gilmer's namesake was his great-grandfather, Dr. Tho- mas Walker, a name that rang a bell with me. In south-eastern Kentucky near the Cumberland Gap, the Dr. Thomas Walker homestead is now a state park. Walker, who ventured into Kentucky in the 1760s with Daniel Boone, became the first white perma- nent settler of the state, I recall. In addition to being a relative of George Washington, Walker was one of the president's closest friends. Moreover, Dr. Walker was appointed guardian of young Tom Jefferson after his parents' pre-mature deaths. So, great-grandson, Thomas Walker Gilmer, came by his high political offices legitimately. Unfortunately, his spiraling political career Continued on page 5A Why not Y once again? By Kristal Sheets, cans in Iraq doesn't reflect the nature of our get off his,case and let him do his job." City Editor & Columnist nation, one has to wonder what values the Others infavorofRummy'skeepinghisjob When I was in my late teens and early president is reflecting by pig-headedly sup- never tire of describing his second appoint- twenties, I worked in a grocery store. We porting the man ultimately responsibie, Sec- ment to the position he holds as "effective." watched customer service videos every now retary of State Donald Rumsfeld. "Superb" is But to get an idea of who these people are and then, which always shot scenes in two whatBushcalledRurnsfeld'sjobperformance calling "effective," one only has to recall parts: the wrong way to handle a customer as recently as Mon., May 10. Rumsfeld's declaration on March 13, 2002 service matter, and the right way to handle a If the Bush Administration's re.actions to regarding the status of the presumptive mas- customer service matter, myriad blunders, muddled policies, arrogance termind behind Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the The wrong way, in those videos, was al- and incompetence carried out by people in Pentagon and the World Trade Center: waysentertaining, because it usually involved charge over the last three years is any indica- "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no the sort ofbehavior we wish we had been able tion, no worthless, screw-up loser in a posi- idea, and I really don't care. It's not that to exhibit to uppity tennis sUn-wearing la- tion of authority has to worry about staying important. It's not our priority." dies and curmudgeonly old men. employed by the Bush White House. (Of course, on Sept. 13, ~,001, long before The right way, though, reflected the nature Would it he a stretch to say that this has a lot Christmas arrived for the neo-cons and the of the company for which I worked. And to do with Bush's comparing their perfor- green light was given for the Iraq War, doing things the right way served a practical mances to his own since he was inaugurated in Rumsfeld was singing this tune: "The most purpose in addition to an ideological one: it 2001? important thing is for us to find Osama bin helped us keep our jobs. Vice President Dick Cheney has called Laden. It is our number one priority, and we When President George Bush says that the Rumsfeld "the best defense secretary" the will not rest until we find him.") treatment of Iraqi prisoners held by Ameri- U.S. has ever had, and insists, "People should Continued on page 5A ii;i!ii!i!i!~;ii!f~ii!iii~!:;?i!ii:~iii!(:;!;i;!i(;;fi(!i;~;? Musings of an oldtimer-- Pounding .the Preacher By Frances Myers Schmetz~r, possible. Once we actually did surprise the minister GlenviUe Columnist For one thing, staple foods would not he bypoundinghimwhenhehadnotbeenmoved. The Southern Methodist church women stockpiled to have to move. So it was a habit The Rev. William H. Beal, pastor of the were whispering at the close of service, "Let's to take food to the new minister- a pound of Southern Methodist Church, anticipated re- pound the preacher on Tuesday." As a nine- butter- a pound of sugar - a pound of coffee tirement in Glenville in 1939 when the Meth- year--old, I knew not to interrupt when my - a pound of salt - a dozen eggs - a bag of odist churches were unified. As his parishio- elders were talking, so I waited until we had flour. It was called a "pounding" and the hers hoped, he was not moved away in 1938. walked home to ask what that meant, fiction was that it would be a surprise. That was a fun surprise pounding the week For many years, it was the prevailing wis- When a church had a particularly popular after Conference. dom in Methodism that ministers should be minister, therewasalotgrumblingthathewas Methodist ministers may still he moved, moved frequently to a new 'gcharge." It hap- due to he moved. City churches that could be but the rules have changed. Trinity minister, pened every one to three years at the meeting generous in paying their assessments to the Mike Ford, has visited the church to which he of"Conference" in.rune, and in the 1920s and Conference argued to keep their ministers, will go, and his replacement in June has '30s, the minister would have no notice where and sometimes won. visited Trinity. Generosity of members wel- (or if) he had to move in two weeks. So (Eventually the two-year rule was relaxed coming the new minister is no longer called"a and the guidelines were changed.) pounding." ministerial families had to he as ready as Dear Editor, During the countywide meeting held to Gilmer County Family Resource Network discuss the flood related mapping project, approved the coordination of an effort to residents mentioned other problems besides petition the Public Service Commission to flooding. One that surfaced in several areas investigate telephone system problems in was inadequate telephone service. This is a Gilmer County. If you have experienced any concern because a working telephone is es- sign ofpoor service such as no dial tone, noise sential in an emergency situation and the or static on the line, missing bits of words problems appear to he widespread, making conversation difficult, or heating con- Because of that, the board of directors of the versafions' other than your owi please con- sider signing the petition. Copies of the peti- tion forms will be available in locations around the county. Please note that for a signature to be counted, the address and telephone number of the per- son signing is required. If you have any ques- tions, please contact Donna Waddell at 462- 7545. Darren Felt ng is a Dear Editor, I cannot believe that we have an obnoxious cannot call himself a sportsman, a hunter or have livestock in this area and probably did person around the Cedarville area that would even a good citizen, not even own any. I hope whoever you are, shoot and kill a defenseless rabbit beagle. There are hunting laws in effect to protect that I get my day in court. This beagle would not hurt a flea. He has dogs. They state that you cannot kill a dog C, aylene Hacker, been a family pet and hunting dog for years, unless it is disturbing livestock. The indi- Cedarvi// Whoever stooped low enough to kill my dog vidual that pulled this kindless act, did not More 'Letters to the Editor' on Page 5A r Attention Political Candidates: Our 'Letters to the Editor' Policy We are in need of more letters to the editor. Feel free to send them in to us. sign the letter via snail mail. Deadlines for letters are Mondays at 10 a.m. fo~ Just remember our policy on the letters, that week's paper. After 10 a.m., they can be accepted for that week as paid Local newspapers have long been the sounding boards for political, adverasements. However, it would appear for free in a future edition. personal, and patriotic views and this paper is no exception! Also, for writers who consistently send in Letters week after week, these Relative to writing responses, please keep in mind our Editorial Policy: we messages are constantly evaluated as to content and to purpose, so they may will accept letters on a space available bas~ on/y and they will be subject to be considered as an advertisement, especially if they are weekly, lengthy, and the Editor's scrutiny as to content relative to libel, good taste and timeliness, repetitious of previous letters. Nevertheless, you will be contacted if the latter A good length is generally one to one-and-a-half standard typing pages, is the case and will be charged only our regular-advertising rate. double-spaced. The decision of the Senior Editor will be final. Letters must For more information, contact either Dave Corcoran, Sr. or Jodi at 304-462- be signed in order publishexl - e-mailed letters must include a pht~..~ ."/3~ ~a~/~~lt~:-..,,~ .,~ ~ ~,~ !~ nunmer where your iaentity can ee verinea, out you may still oe required to .......... - .... ~ Last Issue Before Election: News, Letters, & Ads ~ The long-standing policy of this newspaper has always been that if, in the issue before an election, one candidate or citizen makes allegations about another candidate or issue, that the other patty be given the tight of rebuttal. Readers of this newspaper know that we editors have had this policy in effect for the past eight years in order to make certain that the journalistic and ethical principles of fairness and equality he assured on these pages relative m both the news and advertising side.) At a recent West Virginia State Folk Festival meeting, President Ginny Hawker and the other committee members put out an S.O.S. for volunteers. In that the Folk Festival's 2004 version will he transpiring next month-- June 17-20, it's time that our local organizations and civic-minded individuals begin to plan to become a part of this year's fest. In fact, we citizens and civic clubs have been asked to come to the aid of this annual local extravaganza. This request has much merit because the event draws people from throughout the state, nation and world to our small Appalachian town for a weekend of joyful music, dance and folk culture delights. Most strikingly, through this festival, outsiders know and appreciate Glenville because of not only our fine state college but also the fact that we are the center of West Virginia's folk culture preservation which was started over a half century ago. Much has been accomplished in the past 50 years, owing to the vision of the late nationally-renowned folklorist, Dr. Patrick Gainer, who recognized that so much of our state's 19th century music, customs and trades were disappearing. Hence, he wanted to start preserving them here at this yearly festival. You or your organization may ask, "What can I do to help with the Folk Festival?" President Hawker, a long-time Folk Festival promoter and performer, recently contacted this newspaper about finding volunteers to man or help out with the many jobs required to implement this fest in a first class manner. So, here are some of the jobs that she enumerates, and as you can see, there's one that even you or I can do: Hanging the Folk Festival banner across Main Street, see Don Kelble (462-4010); Encouraging food vendors-- before deciding what to sell, and to help provide a wider variety of foods, call Sadie Kelble (462-4010); Putting sandwich boards on the street on Thurs. morning, June 17, and removing them on Sat. evening, June 19, call Ginny Hawker (462-7577); Placing a sign on the Square Dance platform for relocation if it rains, call Ginny Hawker; Moving the Square Dance sound system to Glenville State College, if it rains, see Tracy Schwarz (462-7577); Distributing Folk Festival newspapers with collection jars, call Sadie Kelble; Helping to layout the ads in Folk Festival newspaper, call Karen Pennebaker (462- 5065); Putting up the Square Dance platform and tents on Wed., June 16, see Don Kelble; Removing the Square Dance platform and tents on Sun. evening, June 20, just show up; Setting up folding chairs for the Gospel Sing and replacing them Sat. morning, see Ginny Hawker; Setting up folding chairs in the Singing and Storytelling tents, see Ginny Hawker; Helping to place the large cardboard listings of Folk Festival Belles in downtown windows, call Stephanie Wines f462-7361); Talking with and assisting Belles to get around town, call Stephanie Wines. As Ginny Hawker put it in concluding her remarks, "This is just a small part of what the Folk Festival Committee does each year. It would help so much if people would call and say, 'I've got THAT job taken care of for you. You can count on me.' " We editors might also add that the Folk Festival's Country Store Museum on North Court Street near Main Street will he the Information Center for the occasion. Just stop in there if you have time on your hands in order to see what needs to be done and where your help is most needed. Finally, to all newcomers in our community, don't hesitate to volunteer! You can be assured that you'll get a warm welcome, in addition to meeting a lot of local old-timers, making many new friends and learning more about West Virginia's rich folklore. The committee wants, invites and will appreciate your involvement. DHC, Sr., Publisher-Editor Historical Society presents programs As a new initiative, the Gilmer County Historical Society is presenting programs at its now monthly meetings. For example, next Thurs., May 20th's program will be given by this county's venerable professor emeritus, Dr. Espy Miller, a long-time and popular English teacher at Glenville State College. Moreover, his topic should prove interesting to most local folks: "Moments to Remember: 50 Years of Life in Glenville." The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Holt House Museum's Annex (the old Senior Center) on East Main Street in Gienville next door to the Crafter's Patch. Historical Society President Hunter Armentrout needs to be congratulated for instituting these monthly programs. Other topics scheduled for the near future are: "The Historical Landmarks of Gilmer County" by Jim Bailey and "Ireland: The Travels of a Young Gilmer Countian" by Jason Collins. In addition, the Society will, once again, participate in the Folk Festival and hold a joint meeting and barbecue with the neighboring Calhoun County Historical Society later in the summer. For further information about the Society, call David Corcoran, vice-president, at 462- 7309 or 462-4643 (after business hours). DHC ]e of . ucaHo ) by George Harper b Dear Editor: Wouldnl it be wonderful if we would fund our programs the way we seem to finance our wars? education George Harper - 401 White Ave. Harrisville, WV 26362