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Seventy-Five Years Ago

Thursday, August 31, 1944

Our Army and Navy Boys

Mr. and Mrs. Guy E. Dean, of Lobelia, received the following letter from their son’s Chaplain in answer to the one they had written him asking for information concerning the death of their son, Harlan, who had been killed in action:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dean:

I am writing this in reply to your letter of May 29th.

Harlan was killed instantly on the battlefield when a large enemy shell burst near him. No fragments hit him but the concussion killed him. I cannot tell you where he is buried.(Censored)

Death came so sudden that Harlan never had an opportunity to leave a message for you with anyone. Rest assured that your loss is also felt keenly by us here. Harlan was a good soldier. He enjoyed the respect and admiration of all the men of his organization.

One of the most tragic phases of war is the loss of these fine young men.

No 4-Fs these.

These are the flowers of the worlds’ manhood. It is up to us, the living, so to fight now and so to live hereafter that they might not have died in vain.

May God shower His choicest blessings upon you.

Sincerely yours,
Ralph J. Smith
Division Chaplain
Third Infantry Division


On last Wednesday night fire broke out in the projecting booth of the Alpine Theatre, about the end of the second show of the evening when the crowd was small. Damage was done to machines, seats, carpets and other equipment by fire and water. The shows were resumed on Saturday night.

On Saturday night, fire destroyed the fine big barn of Walter Shafer, near Onoto. Much valuable feed was destroyed.


This is the week of the Pocahontas County Fair, and it is doing very well, considering war conditions. The attendance during the day is small, but many people come out at night. The horse show program is especially strong.

The new road to Richwood will be opened on Wednesday and Thursday, and a lot of our Nicholas County neighbors are coming over.


The past June, bears got to killing sheep for Howard Burner, who lives on Burner Mountain out from Durbin. He set a trap at the forks of the road on Burner Mountain, just in sight of his house. He used apples and honey for bait.

One morning, as Mr. Burner was going to work, he went by to look at the trap. There were bear tracks around and the trap was gone. He and his neighbor, Arthur Townsend, followed the sign a little ways and found where the bear had hung, but had pulled loose. Going back home for a bear gun, a 44 caliber Winchester, they followed on until they overtook the bear in a laurel patch. Mr. Burner put a ball just over one of the bear’s eyes, and that laid him out. This happened on a Thursday.

The two hunters looked around that day, and they found where another bear had killed a lamb. This bear had chased the mother ewe within 50 yards of Mr. Burner’s house.

The next week, Mr. Burner tracked another bear, so he and Mr. Townsend took an evening off when they came from work to see about this one. They found where he had killed a sheep. They took time to set a trap. The bear came back that night to eat another fill of mutton. The next evening Mr. Burner put down what was left of the sheep, which was not much. He looked at the trap the next morning only to find it gone. He then called Townsend and they followed the bear about 150 yards, to find him fast. Mr. Burner put a 44 ball behind his ear, and it brought him down. This was on a Sunday morning.

That afternoon, Willie Lester and Forrest Burner came to see Howard. Later that evening, the brothers wanted to see where the first bear had been caught. They went to the pen and found the trap gone. Forrest went for the gun, and then they followed the bear. He had gone down close to the road. He had been fast but had pulled the drag loose. The bear was found lying on the bank of the road, with one arm over his head. Forrest shot him down. This bear’s stomach was full of mutton. That was two bears in one day.

In a few days, the game warden was around to see Mr. Burner; had him arrested and brought before Squire C. F. Hull. Seemed like the bear law did not hold nor apply and the case was dismissed.

These bears had killed eleven head of sheep for Howard Burner, about fifteen head for Willie and their sister, and a number of head for other people. The bears would weigh about 300 pounds a piece; fat and fine. They were all male bears.

There is still another sheep killing bear on Burner Mountain. He killed sheep until the berries got ripe in June. The neighbors are looking for him back after their sheep, just as soon as the berries are gone in September.

Circosta – Dilley

Miss Ruby Dilley and Nickola Circosta, of Clover Lick, were united in marriage on Friday evening, August 18, 1944, at the Methodist parsonage.

Reynolds – Dilley

Mr. and Mrs. V. F. Dilley, of Marlinton, announce the marriage of their daughter, Margaret, to Randolph Reynolds, son of Mrs. Maggie Reynolds and the late Stokes Reynolds, on Tuesday, August 15, 1944, at the Manse in Hillsboro.


Born to Private and Mrs. Hubert McCoy, of Hillsboro, a son, named Laverne.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. Grover Taylor, a nine-pound son.

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