100 Years Ago

Thursday, March 1, 1917

The country is going through the hysterical part of the war now. The Pacific element is speaking and the newspapers are warring on them, not heeding that such publicity is the meat on which these geezers feed. When the war does come, these speakers dry up in most instances and the fighting partakes of the nature of the grim determination of ordinary labor. It is all in a day’s work. This is the main reason that it is said that one class of men brings on the war and another class fights it out. We are all ready to do our duty by the country. It is a relief to note that the President is calm and collected and that the people of the country believe that he will not set them to fighting needlessly.
Men generally pray that they may be spared the cup, but are ready to do what they are called upon to do…


At eleven o’clock last Thursday night, February 22, the night watchman at the big tannery at Durbin discovered fire in the scrub house. The blaze was too big for him to put out and the hose too heavy for one man to handle. The fire whistle was in a distant part of the plant, and by the time the men had been aroused and responded to the alarm, the fire had gotten great headway. Four large buildings were destroyed, the scrub house, one dry house and two yards. The loss cannot at this time be accurately estimated but will possibly be as much as $400,000. The loss is covered by insurance

The large dry house was protected by a brick fire wall and this saved the rest of the plant. The fire destroyed the buildings from this wall to the river.

The two yards were filled with leather in vats in the process of tanning. These hides were damaged but it is not yet known whether they are a total loss or not.

A very serious item is loss of machinery, which cannot be replaced in less than six or eight months. In one pile is machinery which will cost $20,000 to duplicate. The destroyed buildings will be replaced at once.
This tannery belongs to the Pocahontas Tanning Company, and is one of the largest of its kind. Judge Hoffman, of Wheeling, is one of the principal stockholders of the company, the the superintendent is J. W. Goodsell, of Durbin.


The Hillsboro Garage, owned by C. F. Stulting and G. W. Fuller, burned down Wednesday afternoon. The fire was discovered in the roof; it is not known how it caught.The automobile and some of the stock and tools were saved. The loss is about $2,000, partially covered by insurance.

In the upper story was the telephone central. The switchboard and other equipment was saved.

Fortunately the day was snowy and wet and the air still, for near the building are the residences of G. W. Fuller and J. A. Sheets, the Bank of Hillsboro and the Presbyterian church. As it was, the Fuller residence was saved with difficulty.

The building was the old store house of E. I. Holt & Co., which thirty years ago was the most important business house in the county. The store at that time was doing an enormous business and drew trade from all over the county and the proprietors were the local magnates at the time. Hillsboro at that time was the largest town in the county and the only incorporated town. We can very well remember when the business that was done in this building was a marvel to the county.


Just take my turkey, barkeep, and mark the tiggers plain,
I come from West Virginy, and I’m going back again,
And there they’ll count my licker; if the tally don’t agree
I’ll be up before the squire, and sixty days for me.

But the trouble for Willis Tibbs and Ike Jackson began when the barkeep at Catlettsburg, in his rush of business, marked quarts when he should have written gallons.

They are now in the Marlinton jail and their liquor confiscated. Guy Stewart was along, but he kept his score right, and he and his liquor are retained to his friends and his relations.

One day last week, the word came underground to Sergeant Tom Smith of Hillsboro to watch a certain train. Some boys would get off with big suitcases that were not properly marked, if the containers were anyways near full. For some time the Sergeant has been on the lookout for bootleggers, so he set himself and caught the boys. He checked over their grips and found a lot of liquor not invoiced.

On Monday, they were before Squire LaRue, and acknowledged the corn and said the package had been marked by the barkeep and that they had warned the man to be keerful lest this very thing should befall them. One hundred dollars and sixty days were their portions…

Ike and Walter are just plain everyday folks, who work in the Levels. They just took a little flyer to Catlettsburg, Kentucky, as a last chance to bring home some cooking licker under the suitcase law, which is going out of fashion soon.


This community was shocked to hear of the death of Mrs. Lizzie Trainer, wife of Jehu Trainer, who passed quietly away on Saturday evening February 24, 1917, aged about 68 years.

C. J. Richardson and family of Marlinton, passed here the other day en route to Hot Springs to visit friends.

We notice in the Journal some one writing from Knapps Creek says, “We don’t see why Dr. Price wants to take our money and build a highway to the Bath line when there is nothing to connect with.”

What did our forefathers of Virginia see to connect to when they built the Parkersburg pike or the Warm Springs pike into this county. A good road into a county at this age is next to a railroad. As for the high school, we are neutral like the fellow that butted the pig off the bridge…


We are having nice spring like weather with some rain. The sugar trees are running some but not to hurt.
Wheat looks like it was about all killed.

It don’t look like our President is going to keep us out of war much longer.

Well, for the consolidation of Edray and Huntersville districts, I don’t think that ought to be at this time. It would work quite a bit of inconvenience, for instance, in the election of school boards. Perhaps one elected at Frost, one at Marlinton and one over on Elk; would they ever get together? I think not. We don’t think it is for the best.


Martin E. Campbell got the contract to carry the mail from Dunmore to Sitlington for four years, commencing July 1st.

Ellis H. Moore and his father, Sheldon Moore, have gone to Tennessee to look for homes. We are sorry to lose good people like them.

Win McElwee has sold his new house to Doc Sheets.

Win McElwee and Martin Campbell are on Knapps Creek this week trading horses.

Dilley & McLaughlin were in town Sunday for a burial outfit for Uncle Jeff Moore.

Fred Taylor had two fingers cut off his right hand by accident.

Miss Emma Grimes cut her foot badly with an axe.

Auctioneer Swecker has been confined to the house for two weeks with a congested liver, side pleurisy and grippe.

John Pritchard and Miss Ella Pritchard are off to Baltimore.

Mr. Stulting of Hillsboro was up Wednesday and took Win McElwee’s car down for repairs.


Mrs. Faith Baxter, of Minnehaha Springs, came down Thursday to spend a few days with the home folks.

Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Duncan and little son Alex, of Buckeye, were visiting at Mrs. Margaret Baxter’s over Sunday.

C. C. Baxter is preparing to build a limekiln, Charlie is one of our best farmers and he believes in using plenty of lime.


We are proud to know that our town can be represented by a millionaire in Florida land, having a good time while we hump up round a stove with coal in it costing $7.50 a ton, and a pair of 25 cent mittens on, we say when we read J. W. D.’s letters that we wish we could be where he is.

Owing to recent rains, the C & O train did not arrive at Durbin last Saturday until 5 o’clock. The time for arrival is when we see the smoke from the engine.

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