Subscribe Today

Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Thursday, May 11, 1935

Read the words of wisdom of Governor John J. Cornwell, as spoken at the annual older boys conference held at Wheeling under the auspices of the Young Men’s Christian Association:

If I believed any considerable part of what I read and am told of the young people of today, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak to you.

What is it I hear?

What is it I read about the young men and young women of America?

That they are cynical, irreverent, disrespectful to their elders; that they are generally intemperate, immoral and headed for perdition…

I do realize that you are subjected to influences and temptations to which those of my generation were not subjected in our youth. You are educated or at least taught, from a different angle than that from which we were taught, and if you keep the straight course; if you are not misguided by much of the so-called “modern thought” and present day teachings, I think it will be convincing proof that your reason is less susceptible of being swayed than that of many of your elders.

I am not going to essay the task of giving you a lot of gratuitous advice. It is but natural – it was in my day – for young people to be impatient of old men who seek to lecture them or who think they have a record worth emulating, in effect, say: “Now, boys, I’ll tell you how I did it!”

I am afflicted with no such egotism. On the other hand, as I come nearer to my journey’s end and turn to look backward over the rocky road I traveled, I see, mainly, my mistakes, my errors, and I think, mostly, of the things I failed to accomplish…
In my youth, I did not lack appreciation of the value of an education, but circumstances were such I was denied the opportunity not only of a college training or university course, but even of a high school education. There were no high schools in those days in the section where I grew to manhood. However, then, as now, if a young man wanted an education he could get it somehow, and lack of facilities only increased my desire to obtain an education, as we understood the word in those days…

In those days we labored under the impression that to educate meant to acquaint the pupil or the student with history, mathematics, literature, language, philosophy, and the sciences, partly for the purpose of providing him with information and implements, as it were, which he might use in working his way through the world, as his father had done before him, but the main purpose was that his mind might be cultivated and developed so he could reason and through that process, reach sound conclusions in the more mature years of his life.

Apparently there has been a great change in our educational processes, especially in some of our leading colleges and universities… quite a percentage of them are inoculated with this modern educational theory.

It is difficult to define that theory in a few words or in a single sentence, but it runs largely into sociology, political economy, social science, and theories of government. Even an old-timer, such as I, could not object to that were it not that the distinct trend is against our form of government and towards Socialism and Communism.

This particular modern educational trend is not only that everything is wrong, but also that everything that was done in this country was wrong, including our Constitution, our Government and our institutions.

In my youth we were taught that honesty, industry, and thrift were necessary qualifications for a successful life; that to practice them assiduously would bring reward.

Many modern educators appear to be busy teaching their pupils theories of government under which the possessions or savings of persons who practiced those out of date and almost forgotten virtues may be captured and redistributed among those who lack energy and thrift…

In my youthful days, we were taught self-repression; that young people should be seen rather than heard. Exuberant youngster that I was, I never quite accepted that philosophy and even now think it may have been carried too far by our forefathers, but at that it was far better than the present day fad of urging upon youth “self-expression.”

If there is one thing with which this country is cursed; of which there is a surplus, a superabundance, it is “self-expression,” expressions of half-baked opinions especially of governmental theories and philosophies.

The radio resounds with them. The newspapers teem with them. Every politician, priest, professor or preacher with a florid vocabulary and a fool idea can get a following, for whereas formerly he shouted himself hoarse at a meeting in some dingy hall or in a secluded grove where were assembled a few hundred people, now he steps to the microphone, the use of which is paid for by money wrung from the emotions of our distressed citizens, and talks to millions.

The result is that instead of deliberate discussion of really important public questions, we have a welter of harangues on “isms.” Every self-appointed leader has his own blow-in-the-bottle, self-starting, self-guaranteed plan for reforming humanity and saving the country.

In none of them do we find the cult of Christianity or the doctrine of duty to our fellow man and to our common country. All are based upon the assumption that every man who has prospered is a thief, and the general purpose is to stir up strife, stimulate hate, and array one group against another.

To be continued…

4-H Club Notes

Hiawatha Club of Minnehaha held its meeting April 25 at the schoolhouse… each member answered roll call with the name of a W. Va. River…

Swagoites Club of Buckeye held their regular meeting at the Swago Church April 5. Roll call was responded to by the name of a bird…

The Loyal Workers club met at Trump Run Schoolhouse on April 19… Members responded to roll call by giving the name, description, and characteristics of some common wildflower they have seen growing in the woods. The response showed that many of the members had observed carefully the flower they described…

– – –

During the past few years, Pocahontas 4-H Club members have been gradually increasing the number of purebred sheep they own. At the present time, sixteen members own a total of 37 sheep, as follows: Harrison Gardner, Cloverlick, 1 ewe, 2 lambs; Jim McNeill, Buckeye, 2 ewes; Lee VanReenan, Woodrow, 1 ewe, 2 lambs; Dharl Dever, Huntersville, 2 ewes, 1 lamb; Earlene Dever, Huntersville, 2 ewes; Basil McLaughlin, Huntersville, 1 ewe; Gordon Dilley, Huntersville, 1 ewe; Eugene Dilley, Huntersville, 1 ewe; Clyde Varner, 1 ewe; Lewis Lyle, Raywood, 1 ewe; Hubert Callison, Beard, 1 ewe; Billy Cackley, Millpoint, 1 ewe, 3 lambs; Sammy McNeel, Hillsboro, 1 ewe; Eldon Campbell, Dunmore, 1 ewe, 2 lambs; Ernest Moore, Dunmore, 4 ewes, 4 lambs, 1 ram.


It is unlawful for cows to run at large within the Corporate limits of the Town of Marlinton from 6 o’clock in the evening to 7 o’clock in the morning, from May 1st to November 1st. Cows running at large at night will be taken up and impounded and the owner will have to pay the penalty to get them out. – A. H. McFerrin, Mayor

more recommended stories