The Pocahontas Times didn’t publish the week of July 27, 1922 ~ so, will take a look back to July 1889.
John Campbell, Editor and Proprietor
Huntersville, W. Va.
The time is again at hand to celebrate the birth of American liberty. The people of the United States, all ages and sexes, are engaged in commemorating an event in their history that marks the beginning of free institutions.
But the Fourth is not what it was a century ago. Perhaps we make more noise, and enter into the jollification with more eagerness than our forefathers did; but it is not with the same feeling. We celebrate a liberty that is ours by gift and good fortune, but those who assembled one hundred years ago to commemorate the event, celebrated a liberty bought dearly, bought with blood and privation. Never having tasted the bitterness of foreign oppression, it is impossible for us in the evening of the nineteenth century to appreciate fully, the blessing of freedom. It is not to be wondered at that they who fought to release our land from foreign bonds should have entered with all their hearts into the celebration of that day where tyranny was forever banished from American Soil. Proud of their victory, they commemorated the event with hearts full of gratitude to the God of battle, who rules the destinies of nations.
But what is the spirit of today’s excitement? It is to be feared that many who are today most jubilant never once reflect on the origin of the day. A dance, or a drunk, or a fight is, to some, the most desirable manner in which to commemorate the occasion, with little thought or care for the sacrifices or triumphs of others. Let us not forget what the day means, and take time for at least one grateful thought of our worthy ancestors who secured us the right to rejoice without fear.
STRIKING A LIGHT
In the days before the invention of friction matches, the difficulty of procuring fire was so great that all pains were taken to prevent the fire on the hearth from going out.
All winter long, it was kept by covering the coal and brands with ashes at night. This was one of the domestic cares of our forefathers, and Homer alludes to the practice as being common in his day, 3,000 years ago.
But fire could not be kept with comfort in the summer, and there would be times in the winter when the hearth would become cold. Then some coals must be brought from a neighbor’s or a new fire must be kindled in the house.
This latter process was usually accomplished by means of flint and steel. Most readers have no doubt seen a spark of fire struck out from a horse’s shoe hitting a stone in the road, or from the shoes of sleigh runners grinding over rocks.
To obtain fire by this method, a piece of steel, such as a file or rasp, was struck with a flint or a bit of white quartz from a granite ledge, and the spark was caught in tinder – charred cotton rags. The flintlock musket, with a few grains of powder and some tinder in the pan, was looked upon by our grandmothers as a domestic utensil. Sometimes, on a clear day, a burning glass – a lens for collecting at one point the rays of the sun – was used.
This method of producing fire by rubbing together two dry sticks is known to most boys, but it has not been often adopted by civilized people. It belongs to the ruder conditions of life.
THE NAME OF OUR STATE
The Wheeling Intelligencer, anxious to take the lead in some new movement, has for several weeks been earnestly advocating a change of the name of our State from West Virginia to Kanawha. So far as we are concerned, and we believe it to be the sentiment of the people of Pocahontas county, our answer is, let it alone; and if anybody don’t like the name, let him go to Texas…
In the history of the individual, but two occasions can arise when a change of name is needful, one is marriage and the other commission of a crime. The same rule applies to States. Now our State is too young to get married; and if she were old enough, it would not be lawful to wed one so closely related as Kanawha. As to the other ground, if, as the Intelligencer contends, the State has gone republican, we can understand how a democrat might feel that the second occasion mentioned has arisen; but we can’t see how the Intelligencer can consistently admit that West Virginia did something mean at the last elections…
‘Twas but a breath –
And yet the fair, good name was wilted,
And friends once fond grew stilted,
And life was worse than death,
One venomed word,
That struck its coward, poisoned blow,
Its craven whispers, hushed and low –
And yet its work was done.
A hint so slight,
And yet so mighty in its power,
A human soul in one short hour
Lies crushed beneath its blight.
We played progressive euchre
The livelong winter through,
She was a skillful player,
And I was lucky, too.
Our luck gave rise to envy,
And us together drew,
Whereat – since she was charming –
I murmured not. Would you?
So, when the playing ended,
Each night she took my arm,
And acting as her escort,
I yielded to love’s charm.
A year now we’ve been married,
And, much to our surprise,
Somehow we both keep thinking
We won the booby prize.