Thursday, May 25, 1922
A.C. Barlow has a bunch of tractors and thirty or forty men at work making the racetrack and putting in ditches at the fairgrounds this week. Three carloads of tile have been delivered to the grounds.
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Last week we were anchored in a hotel in Clarksburg. We did not stay in that city long and missed no trains… In the bad old days when they sold liquor in Fayette, we remember, at Thurmond, seeing a stranger get to the depot just in time to see the train go round the bend, and we heard him remark that it was the sixth train that he had missed out of that town…
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Twenty-five sheep were killed by a bear on Cranberry this week for Geo. P. Edgar. From the sign there may be hundreds of bears on the range. Mr. Clark of Clark & Krebs, of Charleston, surprised a bear in his bed on Spruce Knob.
On last Sunday evening about 7 o’clock considerable excitement prevailed in our little town over an airplane which circled low several times over the houses and finally landed in the northern suburbs of the town. The men in charge of the machine hailed from Lewisburg, and were engaged in picking up anyone desiring to try the novelty of soaring up in the clouds.
Winnie Kinnison, a noted contractor of our community, is erecting a house on the Kinnison addition and will probably put up two more during the summer. A company is also forming to put up a large garage and machine shop on the addition.
Crops are looking fine in this locality for the time of year; plenty of rain and farmers are growling a little over not getting their crops worked and the automobiles are growling a whole lot over the muddy roads, and we don’t wonder at it. The roads from Millpoint to Buckeye are a disgrace to any county. We don’t think the rocks have been picked out of this piece of road for two years or longer. Anyway, they are lying around in the middle of the road as big as a wash tub, everyone waiting for the start to build this piece of road. We wonder if they ever will. This road is traveled as much as any road in the county – will perhaps average 50 automobiles per day passing over it; and most any side road in the county is in better condition.
W. A. Arbogast is running six incubators, with a capacity of 2,100 eggs, every three weeks. He is shipping chicks by parcel post to every part of the state.
The airplane flew over us every few minutes for a couple of days last week and caused the small boys to have cramps in their necks and some of the older ones were not much better.
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Edna Knapper’s name has appeared a number of times in the past few years on the history page of this newspaper. After brief glimpses into this lady’s life, several people asked for more information about her.
The following article was written by Jim Neitzel and published in another newspaper. It was shared in The Pocahontas Times March 15, 1984:
She taught for 5 decades
Edna Knapper is rich with history
At 91, Edna Knapper has seen a lot of history. She taught it for a half-century. So she likes the idea of Black History Month. But in her blunt, straight-forward style, she says she also doesn’t like it.
Sitting in the 621 S. Main Street home she shares with her only son and his family in Chambersburg, Pa., the daughter of former slaves says, “Yes, I think (Black History Month) is good. We helped to make America what it is today.”
Then she shifts her opinion to dissent.
“We are all Americans,” she continues, “and I don’t see why black history should be by itself anymore than Japanese history or Chinese history should be.” She pauses. “Do you?” she asks in a habit formed decades ago when she began “playing school” outside her home before she even could go to school.
A self confessed crossword fan and still an avid reader – she’s getting a kick out of reading Art Buchwald’s “While Reagan Slept.”
Knapper was born in 1892 across the street from where she lives.
Her parents were “freed slaves,” she emphasizes. Her mother, Mary Galloway Christian, came from a plantation in Lynchburg, Va., and her father, Royal Christian, came from a plantation in Bunker Hill, W. Va.
Being the next to last of 10 children, Knapper doesn’t recall all of the rich history of her family that her deceased brothers and sisters may have remembered, but she does remember that “my father came from a plantation whose master was named Royal.
“You see, in those days, slaves, when they were freed, tended to switch their names. My father was named Chris, and when he was freed he took his master’s name for his first name and turned Chris into Christian.
Knapper, whose teaching career spanned five decades, always wanted to be a teacher.
“I remember my sister would come home from school and I’d get her books and papers and go outside along the house and grab all the little kids from the neighborhood.
“I remember my mother telling me that I would be out there with a book in one hand, which she said was upside down,” Knapper said as she chuckled, “and a stick in the other.”
Knapper’s first teaching position was in Delaware in 1912.
“I made $32 for the whole year,” she says.
Two years later, she moved to West Virginia where “I got quite a raise. Oh, yes. It was good money then, at $100 a month.”
She got married there, too.
In 1947 she decided to come back to Chambersburg to get her bachelor’s degree.
“I hadn’t gotten it yet because Delaware and West Virginia didn’t require it,” she says.
When she left, she left her husband, too, with a mutual agreement to end the marriage.
With the degree finally secured from Shippensburg University, she went to Annapolis, Md. to teach until 1953. Then she returned once again to Chambersburg to retire.
At least she thought so.
“I rested up for four or five years and then did substitute teaching all over the area until I finally retired when I was 75.”
But she didn’t’ retire from life. She became and still is active in many organizations such as the Golden Age Club, Operation Concern, Chambersburg Hospital Auxiliary, Eastern Star, American Association of Retired Persons – she served as president – and the Kittochtinny Historical Society.
“I was the first woman to join Kittochtinny and the only woman to address the society,” she says proudly.
“I have much to be proud of,” she says. “I’m proud of what I did, and I’m proud of my family.”
Knapper seems to revel in her identity, but she becomes uneasy about the word, “black.”
“I don’t like that word,” she says, wrinkling her nose. “It has a sinister meaning. It has an evil meaning to it. When you say a man has a ‘black heart,’ it means he’s bad.
“I prefer to be called Negro, or even colored,” she says.
Knapper is a registered Republican.
“Why am I a Republican? It’s because of Lincoln. Because he freed the slaves. Now, I’m not saying he really wanted to, but he was (politically) forced to do it. For that I give him credit.”
She gives Jesse Jackson little chance of being elected president.
“He isn’t going to win. No way is he going to win. He doesn’t have enough experience.”
Knapper says, “I don’t mind Reagan so much. He’s doing the best he can, I think, with what he has to work with.”
Of Martin Luther King, Jr., she says: “I was there (in 1963) when he made that famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington. I walked in the parade and stood there and heard him speak.”
Then she sighs and adds, “And to think, he was assassinated.”
As for the secrets to her longevity, incredible alertness and zest for living, she just shrugs.
“There are just some things you don’t know about yourself.
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Edna Knapper was a teacher at the Greenbrier Hill School in Marlinton for many years.
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