Thursday, December 7, 1972
Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Cochran, of Hillsboro, had as Thanksgiving guests, Alice Cochran Laube and sons, Craig and Herold, Jr., of Akron, Ohio; and John Cochran and wife, Barbara, and daughter, Laura, of Chicago, Illinois.
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Nathan Walker, of Plainfield, New Jersey, and Houston Jefferson, of Cleveland, Ohio, have returned to their homes after spending a week with Mr. and Mrs. Forest McChesney and doing some deer hunting. Sarah Jefferson, of Cleveland, Ohio, also spent the week with her grandparents, the McChesneys.
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About 47 people turned out for the beekeepers meeting Tuesday, the first of its kind. Stanley Loudermilk brought everyone here a pound of nice honey Wednesday morning.
Boys in Service
Staff Sergeant Michael L. McMann, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lee McMann, of Marlinton, graduated from the U. S. Air Force Non-commissioned Officer Leadership School at March AFB, California… He serves with a unit of the Strategic Air Command, America’s nuclear deterrent force of long range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Sergeant McMann, who has served in Vietnam, is a 1966 graduate of Marlinton High School.
Lane – Slaven
On Saturday, November 18, 1972, in an open church wedding at the United Methodist Church in Hot Springs, Virginia, Marian Rachel Slaven and Thomas A. Lane were united in marriage. The bride is the daughter of Mrs. Margaret Wood- dell, of Huntersville, and the groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex J. Lane, of Marlinton…
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe Defibaugh, of Marlinton, a son, named Albert Neil.
William Wallace Addleman, 80, of Marlinton; born in Cumberland County, Virginia, a son of the late William and Emma H. Addleman. Burial in Mountain View Cemetery.
Jesse Ward Tacy, of Cass, he was a custodian at the National Radio Astronomy observatory. Burial in Arbovale Cemetery.
Charles Benjamin Cromer
By Annie Cromer
When I told Charlie Cromer I had been asked to write a sketch of his life, he began, “There ain’t much to tell! I was born at Laurel Fork in Highland County, Virginia, and came to West Virginia in 1886.”
He told me that he does his own cooking and housework and tries to keep busy most of the time…
His first schooling was at Ripples Creek in Randolph County, but Charlie says, “I could never learn my ABCs there, so when I was 17, my father sent me to live with my grandparents near Harrisonburg, Virginia, to go to school. I made a grade a month and finished in the fifth grade. All the girls helped me because I was so good looking.”
Charlie says his first job was carrying the mail for his father from Huttonsville to Travelers Repose at Bartow, when he was 14 years old. There was no box delivery, just from one post office to another. The route included Cheat Mountain Club Post Office, with Frantz Degler as postmaster, and Gillispie, located on old Route 250 at the present site of Harlan Tallman’s barn. There the Gillispie family kept this post office until it was moved to become the Durbin Post Office with Polie Arbogast serving as postmaster for many years.
Peter Yeager, postmaster at Travelers Repose, questioned the lad as to his having been duly sworn as mail carrier. At any rate, Charlie was accepted and continued with the mail.
The Cromer family on top of Cheat had come down with the dreaded disease of smallpox, so Charlie and his brother, Pearl, lived in a shanty near Huttonsville and were not allowed to go home until all danger of the disease was over, because the mail had to go through.
In 1904, Charlie went to Cass and fired engines for 15¢ an hour. Later his wages were raised to 20¢.
Thing were picking up for Charlie, so he got the job of building the Stony River Dam in Tucker County in 1910 at $110 a month. With this money he was able to save enough to buy a farm, one belonging to Will Collins on Back Mountain Road.
He not only liked the place but also the daughter, Mary. They were married in 1915 and took off to Washington, D. C. on their honeymoon. Brother Pearl was the only one who could drive the Michigan car, a gift to Charlie’s dad from Mr. Shaffer, so he took the newlyweds to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and left them to go on by train. They toured the Capital in an open eight seated bus with solid rubber tires. Charlie remembers air was not used in tires until 1916. He showed me a picture of them on the bus, and the blouse that Mary wore on the trip is in a suitcase under a couch in the living room. I can tell theses are very precious memories. Mary passed away February 1, 1946.
Charlie laughed, “I wanted to be polite so I offered a 25¢ tip to a porter. Just then a policeman collared me and said, ‘These men are paid a salary, no tipping allowed.’ That scared the very gallbladder out of me and to this day, I have never tipped one single person.”
In a voice that was half humor and half sorrow, he said, “Maybe I should tell you about the time Mary left me. I was mowing grass and had made about two rounds in the field when I saw her walking down the road with her best straw hat on and carrying her suitcase. I just quit and turned the horses out and went to the house and grieved for half a day. I knew where she had gone but not why she had gone. I couldn’t stand it any longer so I went to town and saw her working in a restaurant. After a long time, she came out and spoke to me. I asked her if she was ready to go home. She said, “Yes.’ When I asked her why she left, she told me she was hurt because I had not asked her to get my breakfast. Believe me, I never let that happen again.”
Times have really changed!
I asked Charlie, “Aside from your family life, what are your most pleasant memories?”
He said, “Hunting, I guess.”
Charlie had eight brothers and five sisters and is the father of Virginia Critzer, of Waynesboro, Virginia, and Alma Beverage, of Bartow.
He enjoys music and wants to brush up on his fiddle playing.
“In what ways are the years gone by better than they are now,” I asked him.
Charlie thinks the children of today lack respect for their elders and all authority, many of them, at least. This worries him.
Railroads are a chief concern, and understandably so, since he spent 29 years of his life as an engineer at different places. He says Governor Moore understands his viewpoint and expressed his feelings that he, too, agreed freight by train was much better when it comes to thinking of the heavy traffic and safety on the highways.
Of course, living is much better, financially, now than ever before.
Security benefits are a great comfort to the aged citizens, so he says he must be careful how he speaks of them. He thinks it is a mistake to have year-round fishing.
“That first day of fishing season was better than any Fourth of July,” he chuckles.
“Have you been in good health all your life?” I asked.
“No. I have been in the hospital three times,” he said. “The first time I had a growth removed from my cheek at the Cass hospital.”
The Cass hospital was news to me, but he told me it was the same building that the Shaffers later used as a dwelling. At another time he spent 14 days in a hospital and was cured of the tobacco habit because he was not allowed to use it there. Until that time, he said he had chewed the strongest brand made and swallowed the juice. He thought it destroyed intestinal parasites.
I wonder which would be the worst?
Charlie’s first vote was cast for William Jennings Bryan in 1906. I didn’t ask him if he lost his vote again in 1972.
The house on the farm where Charlie and Mary lived all of their married life is falling down, but I do not see it as a sore spot in the community but am always reminded of something she said when we were building a new house.
She always laughed when she talked.
“You are lucky,” she said. “We will never have a new house; it takes all Charlie makes to buy groceries. We have never eaten a meal alone.”
Today, I asked Charlie about that.
He told me that was right, that he could not remember ever eating alone and one Sunday they had 36 guests for dinner. This was not unusual. The Cromer house is not sinking from neglect or misuse, but from wear in being a home to brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, neighbors, and anyone who needed a place to rest, eat, sleep, laugh or cry.
“Now that you are nearing your 88th birthday and are so well and happy, to what do you owe this?” I asked him.
“Because I am living for God,” he answered.
He told me that many years ago he had been baptized in Elk Lick Run.
He had been very happy until he had his life threatened; then he began to drink to cover his troubles. It didn’t work.
Now he believes people’s worst ailments are their fears, and he says he tries to be like Jesus when he slept during a storm. He says, “Try to be calm and Christian, and life will be ten thousand times better.”
He says he has missed only one service at church in the last year.
Charlie has been my brother-in-law for 37 years, and I have never seen him angry about anything, and I have never heard one person say a disrespectful word about him.
I am proud of you, Charlie.
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