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100 Years Ago — June 23, 1920
Miss Jean Billingslea of Fairmont, W. Va. is West Virginia’s champion good roads booster. How would you like to be a retiring, studious college girl, absorbed in the various problems of acquiring and imparting education and suddenly, without warning, have someone induce you to step into the center of the bright, white movie spotlight, there to record for the enlightenment of hundreds of thousands of your countrymen, the living, stirring lesson of the necessity of progress, as shown in a 2 reel film entitled “The Road Ahead for West Virginia,” an educational picture for the promotion of highway improvement? That is exactly what Miss Jean Billingslea did to “Help Pull West Virginia Out of the Mud.”
For years the Herald-Dispatch has preached good roads as the gospel temporal salvation for West Virginia. The state must either have good roads and plenty of them or else lapse back into a condition which will be little better than wilderness and barbarism. Because of the isolation and lack of opportunity imposed by present conditions, the rural communities of West Virginia are being drained of almost every drop of their 1st-class blood. The aspiring, intelligent and progressive young manhood and womanhood born in the hills, despairing of opportunity here, are migrating like birds of unerring instinct and going to lands where conditions are less irksome and chances more favorable. Good roads and social betterment are all 1 problem in W. Va. Good roads will pave the way for other things so badly needed. The other things so badly needed cannot be given to the rural people until roads are provided.
A West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual, and official Register for 1919, compiled and edited by Hon. John T. Harris, advanced copies of which have been mailed to the members of the legislature, is one of the most valuable reference books ever issued in this state and a copy should be on the desk of every man in public life in West Virginia. The book contains over 900 pages and there is something of interest to every West Virginian on every page.
50 Years Ago — June 24, 1970
About 1,500 people attended the dedication Saturday near Williamsport of W. Va.’s 100th upstream-watershed dam, Kenneth L. Hall, Area Conservationist at Romney for the USDA, Soil Conservation Service reported today. Among the speakers at the dedication were U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd; U.S. Representative Harley O. Staggers; SCS Administrator, Kenneth E. Grant; State Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass; and William H. Loy, Administrative Assistant to Governor Arch A. Moore Jr.
One hundred thirty-eight campers are attending County 4-H Camp at the State School this week, according to the county Extension workers. Camp opened with registration Monday morning and will close with council circle Friday night. The camp director is John Morris, from Mineral Wells, Wood County. The camp instructor is Ruthanna Maurer, from Smithville, Pa.
A high of 91 degrees on the 18th and a low of 50 degrees on the 23rd have been reported by Miss Frances Vance. Precipitation measured .67 inch for the week.
40 Years Ago — June 25, 1980
Mrs. Duff was honored for her many years of service as a teacher of English, French and Drama in the Hampshire County School System. Not only was she recognized for her dedication to her profession, but also as an outstanding citizen and friend to all who have been her students, her colleagues and her friends. She has touched many lives and enhanced many careers of those who have been in contact with her. The alumni felt it was time to express deep appreciation and gratitude for her service to the community.
The 2nd annual Hampshire Sports Camp will be held during the week of July 7-12. The camp will be held at Hampshire High School. Along with athletic skills being taught, a period will be set aside each day for group counseling on subjects such as drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse and proper diet and conditioning.
Mr. Robert Allen, President of the Hampshire Chapter of American Field Service, received notification that Miss Jessica Lynne Edwards, a Hampshire High graduate of 1980, has been accepted for a 10-to 12-week visit this summer to the Azores of Portugal. Through the Americans Abroad program, sponsored by the American Field Service, she will be living with the family of Mr. and Mrs. Justino Costa Maderia, R. Do Passal, Ponta Delgada, Portugal.
30 Years Ago — June 27, 1990
Stephen Davis and Nancy Davis were both first place division finishers in the 10L Savage River Moonshine Classic held Sunday along the Savage River. Stephen’s time for the 6.2 miles course was 37:00 while Nancy finished the course in 51:38. Also turning in a good performance was Tim Stewart with a time of 45:51. Tim continues to improve his time with each race.
A local resident, Miss Pearl Sperow, celebrated her 102nd birthday last Tuesday at the long-term care center of Hampshire Memorial Hospital. Born June 19, 1888, Sperow’s birthday celebration was marked by a corsage from the mayor and congratulatory cards and letters from both Governor Gaston Caperton and President Bush.
Candy Fiddle of Delray, Nancy Poland of Kirby and Melissa Walker of Rio are competing for the title of North River Valley Fire Company Queen in conjunction with the annual fire company festival. The queen’s contest is a fundraiser for the fire company with each contestant soliciting monetary donations. The girl receiving the highest amount is awarded the title and will reign over the festival. The queen will be presented her crown in special ceremonies July 7 during the festivities.
20 Years Ago — June 28, 2000
In a 2-to-1 vote, the Hampshire County Commission Tuesday approved Walther Production plans for a music festival in Sept. that is expected to draw 4,500 to 5,500 people to Buffalo Gap Camp in the Capon Bridge area. Billed as the 5th Annual Autumn Equinox Music Festival and Camp Out, the event is scheduled for Sept. 22-23. Two Grammy Award-winning artists — Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and John Scofield are scheduled to headline the festival.
The past was literally dug up in Frenchburg recently. A grinding stone from a gristmill was found on the property owned by Isa Ruth Kratzer during waterline excavation work. Kratzer entered into an agreement with the Central Hampshire Public Service District to have the stone placed on a permanent display at the PSD’s new wastewater treatment facility. The plant is located along the Little Cacapon in Frenchburg.
Fifty-eight years after he left, his presence still has an effect on his past players. The young men whose lives he helped to shape in the late 1930s and early 1940s still consider him a close friend and a definite factor in each of their lives. The coach is Robert Kyles. The players that he helped build into all-around individuals and men of character are countless. Last Sunday, a group of 13 former players of Coach Kyle’s went to pay homage to the man that did so much for them over 5 decades ago.
10 Years Ago — June 23, 2010
By the end of Saturday evening, Relay for Life chairman Patty Wygal stepped to the microphone to announce the total money raised for the event. Wygal said over $99,000 had been raised and that there was still money to be turned in. “I hope we make it to the $100,000 mark, but I’m not going to say it until I see it,” said Wygal. This year, it wasn’t thunderstorms that participants had to be concerned about. Instead, it was the extreme heat. With temperatures reportedly flirting with the triple-digit mark, there appeared to be a little less walking than in previous years.
This Saturday, June 26, the sounds of bluegrass music will flood the valley as musicians and concert-goers make their way to Wapocoma Campground just south of Romney. It’s the Second Annual South Branch Valley Bluegrass Festival, featuring such singers and groups as Marty Raybon, Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain, Mark Newton and Stringtones and Hampshire County’s very own Lonesome Highway.
On Saturday, June 26, The Fort Edwards Foundation opens its visitor season with the grandest celebration yet: Hampshire Family Frontier Day. The Visitor Center on Cold Stream Road will host demonstrators, re-enactors, artisans, docents and some vendors. Andrew Montour, an 18th century Indian diplomat and translator, personified by Bill Hunt, will present a lively discourse on the French and Indian War from the perspective of Native Americans.