Thursday, June 05, 2008

Uncle Zeke’s Buzzardtown News of 1929

by David Parmer

Patrick Newton Blake began writing a news column in 1915 which was published in the Braxton Democrat originally under the headline of the “Buzzardtown Budget.” For more than twenty years, Blake, more formally known as P. N. Blake, and more colloquially known as “Uncle Zeke,” wrote a newsy and humorous column, in the style of the famous Will Rogers, mixing fact with fancy, and kept his readership either amused or outraged, laughing or scowling, but never without his opinion, one way or the other, about the social topics of the day.

left: Patrick Newton "Uncle Zeke" Blake

This sketch of the Orlando community takes place in 1929 and its aim is to give an example of the stories told by Uncle Zeke which were read state-wide, and even nationally. Readership outside the Orlando area was more attuned to the amusing stories that Uncle Zeke related in his columns rather than the news of the Orlando area.


Preface
Actual Facts of Orlando in 1929
To set the stage for Uncle Zeke’s columns, the actual state of life in Orlando in 1929 may be helpful to the reader. This preface will give some detail about life in Orlando and will be written in newspaper column form and may require a little ‘getting used to’ by the reader.
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Lee Skinner is operating a flour and feed store.
right: Alfred Lee "Lee" Skinner
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J. W. “Bill” Conrad, who answers to the name of ‘old grab a nickel,’ rebuilds the store he bought from the Kidd family. The Puffenbarger brothers of Bear Run are the contractors. Lumber from Conrad’s previous store is used in the construction. Conrad bought the original store inventory and store fixtures from Doc Means who had rented the three story building located on the western side of the Mike Moran Wholesale Building, and bought the building from Mike Moran. Moran had bought the building from Patrick F. Kennedy who had built the building in 1902.
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right: Bill Conrad's store, about 30 years after the the Puffenbargers rebuilt it.
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Charlie Knight is operating a two story store opposite the Moran Wholesale Building.
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Dick Skinner is conducting a restaurant in a trailer-type building located beside Charlie Knight’s store building. Nellie Foster is helping out in the restaurant along with Jo Malcomb, originally from Adrian in Upshur County.
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Jeff Taylor of Burnsville has bought the fixtures of the B & O Restaurant in the Moran Wholesale Building from Mrs. O. P. McCord.

Reverend Emery F. Keller replaces Reverend A. P. Zinn as pastor of the United Brethren Church in Orlando. Sunday school attendance averages around ninety.
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right: Preacher Keller and his family.
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Reverend W. H. Hart of the Burnsville Circuit is pastor at the Orlando Mt. Zion Methodist Church. Sunday school attendance is approximately the same as the U. B. Church with around ninety attending each Sunday.

Father Thomas Quirk continues to serve the parishioners of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church.

Gave Allman returns from a leave of absence as agent and depot manager for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to replace Jimmie Dye. Allman has been on leave seeking a favorable climate for his son Everett who is afflicted with a serious lung disorder. The railroad continues to operate the Weston line as well as the Elkins line.

Washington Lodge No.194 of the I. O. O. F. is located on the Oil Creek Road.

Clarence E. Scarff is operating a garage, gasoline filling station and store on the Oil Creek Road.

Mike Moran is the resident undertaker and is assisted by Pate Conrad.
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E. J. Cox is the Principal of Orlando Grade School. Gladys McConkey is teaching at Posey Run and Mr. Napier is teaching at the Lewis County Clover Fork School.
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Lloyd Skinner is the Orlando barber.
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Davey Parmer is the Orlando cobbler and sometimes preacher.
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Lee Morrison is Orlando ’s resident photographer.
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The Dolan sisters, Mary and Jo, are busy providing rooms and food at the Dolan Hotel to the many train travelers who stop at Orlando each day.
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John Blake repairs watches and is the Orlando jeweler.
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Lee W. Blake is the busy sawmill operator of Orlando.

J. M. Scarff is cutting mine props for the busy Copen, Bower and Gilmer coal mines.
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The new bridge is completed over the mouth of Oil Creek at Burnsville.

Flint Knob is the name of the bluff overlooking Orlando and on which is situated the Mike Moran home, the Ollie Blake home, the Claud Mick home, the U. B. church and parsonage, and the Orlando School.

The Buzzardtown News
Prefatory Note: Uncle Zeke used a fictitious friend called Billy the Newspacker in his columns.
The use of this journalistic device was
an innovative and clever method of telling his stories.

February 21
Billy says the animal that Baalam rode has been transformed into a slobbering androcephalus abortive biped, equipped with the vocal organs of a vociferous ass, and has been turned loose in our vicinity, and its vociferous he-haw can be heard in all directions. And his name is (no name given). There is no charge for the above item. It’s just to remind you that we know you.

February 21
If some people combed their hair, they wouldn’t look natural.

February 21
Some people claim that groundhogs go to hole in the fall and don’t come out until the second day of February. Billy says he will make oath that Jack Sam never went to hole at all.

February 21
It was six degrees below zero here the morning after George Birthington’s Washday.

March 7
We hope that the Braxton county court will realize that Braxton county has at least two ends, and to get from one end of the county to the other it is as necessary to have a road in one end of the county as the other. So please remember Buzzardtown is located in this end with no road leading to the Gilmer county line. There was a call from Macedonia that said, “Come over and help us.” The call now comes from Buzzardtown.

April 18
Spring, spring, O gentle spring,
‘Tis of thee we love to sing;
Singing birds and blooming flowers
Give us many pleasant hours.
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April 18
Someone recently said the only difference there is between Uncle Zeke and a groundhog is that one goes to hole in the fall and the other in the spring.

April 18
If you want the Braxton Democrat just hand your Uncle Zeke one dollar and fifty cents and you will receive the paper one whole year plus loads of fun. If you don’t want it, send the editor one dollar and a half and take it anyhow.
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April 25
A dollar is a very small thing, yet it is big enough to keep some people out of heaven.
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May 2
What do you think, Billy the newsgatherer just told me that George Riffle was going to raise his own chicken feed this year, and that he had already planted a half gallon of cracked corn.
May 2
I think I have the best woman in the world. She lets me work in the garden a little every day whether she wants to or not.
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right: P. N. Blake's wife, Lorena (Godfrey) Blake
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May 9
It has been rumored, narrated and substantiated that Dan Murphy of Rocky Fork and P. N. Blake of our town, have both been found guilty of working some, being caught in the very act. The sentence hasn’t yet been imposed, but we hope they both get the limit.
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May 9
Life is but a flimsy dream, and it matters little when one dies, though naturally we like to live as long as possible.
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May 9
It is claimed that a certain fellow who moved from our town to Fleshers Run this spring was seen telling his shadow one of his whoppers one day recently; and to do his best, he couldn’t get his shadow to believe one word of it.
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May 9
Since Newt McQuain left our town there is but one good looking man left. Red Beckner is one and I’m the other.
right: William Earl "Red" Beckner
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May 9
Often into folly straying,
O my mother, how I’ve grieved her.
Oft I’ve heard her for me praying
Till the gushing tears relieved her.
And she gently rose and smiled
Whispering, ‘God will keep my child.’

May 16
Billy the newspacker just came in after searching for news and this is what the little scamp reported: John Posey had purchased a new set of springs for his lettuce bed. And just as soon as the sap raised a little more, Bud Hamilton was going to peel the bark from his dogs. And that George Riffle was going to make wine out of his hogs by removing the ‘s’ from swine. And Ray Fox’s fiddle has four keys and ‘nary’ lock. And Tom Conley put wooden legs on his pipe so it could walk. That Mrs. E. L. Fox had threshed a bushel of butter at one churnin’. And then the little imp asked who reformed the reform school. Billy always did remind me of his granddaddy.
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left: Roy Fox
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May 23
Billy the newspacker says when knee watches come into fashion, most everybody will want to know what time it is.

May 30
I came into possession of a nickel the other day and now I am at a loss to know what to do with it. Wife wants me to put it in the bank, but I thought about buying a car. Billy said if he had that much he would spend it for moonshine. Umph ! Humph !

May 30
How much wool did H. R. Poole?
How near was A. J. Wright?
Why did J.F. Moran?
Which hand did Norman Byrne?
Why was Dr. A. M. Cross?
Why didn’t Taylor Skidmore?
How many men did T. H. Hyer?
Of what did Jimmie Dye?
Who broke Dr. Plate?
How long did Dr. Trimble?
And who treed Walter Kuhn?

May 30
Since truth is so scarce, I don’t believe everything I tell any more.

May 30
There was fun galore last Sunday morning when a bunch of Sunday school kids tackled a ground squirrel which they ran onto while on their way to Sunday school. Your Uncle Zeke happened along at the time that war was waged the hottest and viewed the scene with anxious look. Finally they succeeded in capturing the little animal alive, and what a happy set of boys and girls you hardly ever see. The captors were Stanley, Lemoine and Helen Hamilton; Lambert, Marvin and Ruby Beckner, and Hubert Posey. The children asked that mention of it be made in the Democrat.
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right: Lambert, Ruby and Marvin Beckner and Lemoine Hamilton, a decade or so after their squirrel chaseing adventure.

June 6
Bud Hamilton is as mad as he can be. He says two hungry women of Orlando stopped at his home one day last week and ate all the bread he had prepared for his dogs. No wonder he’s mad.

June 6
I believe some one told me that Eli Riffle had actually shaved.

June 6
If you want to get rid of cabbage worms, just get Reuben Blake to spit ‘terbacker’ juice all over the cabbage patch.
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right: William Rufus "Reuben" Blake

June 13
It is claimed that moonshine, booze, John Barleycorn, home brew, whiskey and fools got mixed up at a game of baseball one Sunday recently.
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June 13
Billy says when you thin your corn, be sure to pull the big stalks out to give the little ones a chance.

June 13
It is claimed that while Jack Sam was plowing corn in our town one day last week, Bud Hamilton’s dogs bayed him, thinking he was a groundhog.

June 13
Did you hear Charley snoring during the sermon? I sure did. He woke me up.

June 20
People can buy any kind of car they please, but if I ever buy one it will be the kind that keeps itself in repair and furnishes its own gasoline.

June 20
Some kind of dingus is playing whaley with the cucumber vines this summer.

June 20
I read in some paper where it had been announced that next Sunday, services will be held in the north end of the church at 11 o’clock and at the south end at 3:30 p.m. and that infants will be baptized at both ends. Wow!

June 20
It is said that a chicken hen can be heard clucking for a half a mile. Shucks! That’s nothin’. I heard a rooster crowing in Pennsylvania once.

June 27
Does a woman put salt in her husband’s berries to save sugar, or is it to save the berries?

June 27
Potatoes, they grow in Braxton.
Potatoes, they grow small,
And we dig them in the fall,
And we’ll eat them tops and all,
In Braxton.

June 27
In composing a song the poet said, “I’ve reached the land of corn and wine, and all its riches shall be mine.” Why not sing, “I’m in the land of home brew and wine, where all the moonshine is surely mine: here runs a still from day to day; for all the cops have passed away.”

June 27
People nowadays try to worship God graphophonically, automobilically, radiofussily, aeroplanically, baseballically, and moonshinically.

June 27
Some Christians don’t need a halter to be led away, but a twine string.

June 27
The recent rains have livened vegetation considerably, and we learn that a certain woman who had a hen sit for some time declared that the eggs had begun to sprout.

June 27
Most every one has had his annual haircut and shave so far.

July 11
The road scraper came up over our road one day last week and smoothed it up until you can walk now without falling down.

July 11
Some boys and girls too, need some of the kind of medicine I used to have to take when I was a boy. It grows on bushes and is used externally.

July 11
Reuben Blake, the honey eater, says the long sills for J. W. Conrad’s new building are forty feet long and the short sills are just the same length as the long ones.

July 11
Doggone it, in comes Billy just now with his mouth twisted like the rifles in a gun barrel and said he ‘seed’ fifty aeroplanes in the air. Of course, I went out to look at them, and it proved to be a gang of buzzards looking for food.

July 11
Judge: “Did you hit this man in an excess of irascibility?”
Mose: “No, ah jest hit ‘im in the stummick.”

July 18
A full heart and an empty purse is better than a full stomach and an empty head.

July 18
Some people claim that Webster county is as big one way as it is the other. Well, it might be, for it looks awful big both ways.

July 18
From Cowen to Webster Springs it is called sixteen miles, and Perry Brock, with whom I shared a taxi, says it is just the same distance from the Springs to Cowen.

July 25
When a dog bites his tail, he evidently is trying to make both ends meet.

July 25
It is said that as Bill Henline was coming in the other evening from milking, he fell and spilled all of his milk but six gallons. Umph!

July 25
Funny Things to See
Doyle Skinner trying to shave with a razorback hog.
George Riffle milking his cow with a clothes wringer.
Mrs. P. N. Blake baptizing setting hens in a washtub of water.
Mulligan Riffle trying to look pleasant.
Wilda Godfrey trying to hustle.
But of all things that’s funny is Reuben Blake eatin’ honey.

July 25
Did you know that death is the only thing that keeps people from growing old?

July 25
It is said that there are two things a person has to do: die and pay taxes. According to the delinquent list, if as many people can escape death as easy as they escape paying taxes, some people will live forever.

July 25
A fellow remarked recently that if it didn’t make any difference, he wanted to go to heaven when he died. Of course, it’s all right with me. Very few people go there before death, anyway.

July 25
Doggone it all the way there and back agin’. The missus told me the other day to go and worm the cabbage. When I returned and told her I lacked about twenty worms having enough to put on all the cabbage, she struck me a hard blow just above the top of the head, hit me in the bosom of my back, slipped up behind me and tried to kick me in the face, then slapped me in lots of places too numerous to mention. Today when I ‘seed’ her out givin’ the cabbage some worm medicine, by gosh I couldn’t keep from laffin.’

August 1
Well, for the love of Mike! It’s just no use to talk. The other day the missus put me to beating carpets and rugs. After I had beaten everything on the place until I was entirely petered, and my nose, eyes, ears, mouth and lungs were full of dust, then the missus named me ‘old carpet beater,’ and it made me so mad I could have eaten fried chicken. So in order to get square with her, I told her I intended to leave home for a long while. After I had been gone a couple of hours, thinking it had been a good long spell, I returned home wondering if my better half would know me after being gone so long. And doggone me, if she didn’t say I ought not to have back until she got the morning work done up, and then laughed like the people do on the graphophone. Well, of course that made me mad some more, but I didn’t let her know and ain’t a-agoin’ to. Now, what I want to know is whether I can get a second hand divorce somewhere in Braxton. It seems like as many divorces as have been granted I could get an old one. I don’t care whether it is a new model or not. Any old cheap one will do, for I don’t want to pay very much for it. When the missus heard me speak about getting a divorce, in order to add insult to injury, she up and asked me if I was going to get a two-seated one, or just a runabout. Well, good-bye. If I can borrow a quarter, I’ll go to Dick Skinner’s restaurant and get my dinner.

August 8
Tip Crawford of Bergoo informs me that the noise created by the rapid growth of his tomatoes have caused him several sleepless nights.

August 8
L. H. Posey tells us that he has cabbage heads so big that you can’t roll them out of his garden through a four foot gate. Wow!

August 8
Dee McPherson says by request his wife recently baked a cake for Howard Posey as big as a No. 3 wash tub. Howard says “aggone, but it was fine.”

August 8
A. J. Barnett and family have been visiting and fishing up on the Little Kanawha the past week. Alva says he had good luck. He succeeded in landing a little turtle.

August 8
It is said that death is a debt and we all must pay. I suppose the reason some people don’t want to die is because it would be paying their honest debt.

August 15
To Postmaster C. M. Mick and wife, August 8, a 10-1/4 pound boy. The youngster hasn’t been named yet but we think it will be named either Uncle Sam or Babe Ruth.

August 15
John Posey says he was half sick last Sunday. Now, I’m wondering which half it was that was sick.

August 15
An old car is like an old person -- easily knocked out and hard to repair.

August 15
Woe unto Arch Riffle and Jack Sam! They have absolutely let the whistlepigs eat my cucumber vines up, root and branch.

August 22
Some leatherheaded fool went thru town the other day in a car so fast that the noise didn’t catch up with him until the next day, and then it had to take a near-cut.

August 22
A man told me the other day that he intended to have something to eat and wear if he had to starve to death and go naked.

August 22
What do you think! There was a real threshing machine in our neighborhood last week, the first one for great long spell. When Billy saw it he wanted to know if it was another new model Ford.

August 22
Tom Conley, who is a real Irishman, and smokes a pipe as strong as horseradish, was recently seen riding in an automobile. What puzzles us is to know whether it was run by the strength of tobacco or gasoline. Anyhow, you could frequently see a puff of smoke from Conley’s pipe as he sped along.

August 22
Lee Booth declared that his auto was a great corn harvester when it took a backward dive into G. J. Posey’s roasting ear patch. Mr. Posey will evidently have to use the stock law on the unruly creature and compel Mr. Booth to keep his unlawful property penned, or properly yoked. Billy the newspacker says if the tarnal critter went in backward it will have to be yoked on the hind feet. Well, Billy knows. Doyle Skinner thinks Lee is trying to run the car on crawfish license.

August 22
Fred McCord has been annoyed with several boils this summer. It looks like he would be about boiled dry by this time.

August 29
We have been informed that Arch Riffle has caught, killed, peeled and eaten forty-seven groundhogs this summer up to now.

August 29
What seemed to be the simultaneous firing of a number of guns in the vicinity of Orlando one evening last week only proved to be the bursting of Luther Conrad’s overgrown cabbage heads.

August 29
There was an awful ‘rucus’ in Tom Conley’s tomato patch the other day just because one tomato got ripe a few minutes before the other one did.

August 29
Billy says that a couple of Orlando gents who work for Bert Hyer in the B & O paint gang located in Centralia came home the other day – one to see if his pigs had grown any – and the other to get a glass of buttermilk.

September 5
The other morning I fooled the missus the worst since the day I married her. I usually get up of a morning and light the gas in the stove for her to get breakfast. So the other morning I pretended that I had lit the gas, then called for her to get up; and doggone if she didn’t get up and got breakfast nearly ready before she noticed that there was no fire in the cook stove. Now I am using salve, liniment and plasters for my sores and the cow shed for my bed room. Doggone it, a feller can’t have a little fun these days without gettin’ into trouble.

September 12
A bachelor remarked some time ago that he wouldn’t marry the best woman on earth. I know he wouldn’t for I married that woman myself thirty-seven years ago.

September 12
It is claimed that Reuben Blake was seen sitting on a chicken coop at Orlando one morning very early. It is supposed that some one sold him for a rooster.

September 19
My wardrobe is clothesless, my shoes are soleless, my socks are footless, my razor is shaveless, my bed is sheetless, my back is shirtless, my head is hatless, my table is foodless, my pockets are moneyless and winter is fast approaching. Now what in thunder is a poor devil goin’ to do? Well, I’ll just buy a car on time, and go in debt for gasoline, and run a store account for my eats.

September 19
The dry weather got a good soaking the other day.

September 19
Now listen folks: I’m goin’ to tell you something, but don’t you breathe it to a livin’ soul. The missus likes to be up early on Monday morning to start the washin’, and doggone if she don’t make me sleep with one eye open so I can tell her when daylight comes. Now don’t mention this, for I wouldn’t want the engineers to know it.

September 19
Tom Conley says he is two days behind with his smokin’ since he lost his pipe.

September 19
Bill Dolan told Reuben Blake that Jack Sam told him that Alva Barnett said that he heard Dick Skinner say that he overheard Russ Riffle tell Luther Conrad that Eli Riffle was goin’ to put wings to his cane mill. And Jim Skinner said that “Mooch” Riffle told him that Tom Wymer said that he heard Jack Skinner tell “Chub” Kidd that Bunk Blake said that it was all a lie -- that Eli was goin’ to run his molasses makin’ machine this year with gas.

September 19
A woman out west married a man the other day named Legg, who tips the beam at three hundred ninety pounds avoirdupois. It is claimed that she has the biggest Legg of any woman in the west.

September 19
A B & O train ran over a man at the Orlando bridge one day recently. But fortunately the man happened to be under the bridge.

September 26
We have been informed by a resident of Burnsville that Jim Allen, wife and daughter, who live in a little town on Salt Lick, attended a picnic at Parkersburg recently given by the Hope Gas Company. It is reported that Mr. Allen took with him a certain portion of his earthly effects in a suit case so large that he was obliged to rent a garage to store the enormous traveling bag in, it being too big to be admitted into the entrance of the Dodge hotel where the trio procured lodging. The portmanteau, or valise, had to be transported on a two-ton truck. The informant assumes that it must have been funny to see them moving the big satchel up street with Pa and Ma Allen were on either side lugging at it, the other members of the family behind shoving. The informant can’t quite understand, neither can the writer, why a person would want such a large valise unless it would be to contain certain crooked handle brooms, which he has been buying at J. L. Collins store at Burnsville. Well, Jim, come to the box social Saturday night, September 28, at Orlando and bring your friends, and we will guarantee you a better time than you had at the Parkersburg picnic.

October 3
There is a doctrine being taught in our community, seemingly of the “holy spook” or “unknown gab” variety, which is so light that a thousand pounds of it wouldn’t weigh an ounce.

October 3
Talk about good corn crops! Billy says the other day J. F. Posey went out in his cornfield to look about his corn and took a feed sack with him to bring some in for his pigs. He climbed up a stalk about fifteen or twenty feet, crawled out on the end of an ear and shelled off a sack full and was about to descend when he noticed corn grains falling from above. Leaving his sack setting on a large ear, he climbed on up the stalk and to his surprise, met a man coming down with a sack full who had been up the stalk stealing corn. The stalk was well eared all the way up to the top, and in the top was a large shuck which contained a half bushel of shelled corn.

October 10
The other day I husked some sweet corn that was in the garden and threw it in the chicken park. Of course, the chickens went for it. And, it being a little sticky, it naturally stuck to their teeth; and when the missus saw them digging at their mouths with their claws and wiping their noses on the ground, she thought they had some new disease and bought a box of Pratt’s poultry food to feed them. Of course, it’s about all out of their teeth by this time, but don’t any of you folks tell her what I did or she will give me what Paddy gave the drum.

October 17
George Riffle killed a fresh hog one day last week, and your Uncle Zeke didn’t as much as get a wing of it.

October 17
If Eli Riffle isn’t careful he will have to use a lawn mower on his whiskers. It is claimed his hair had to be cut with a crosscut saw.

October 17
Reuben Blake, who wore winter clothes all summer, says it is about time for people to put their heavy wear on.

October 24
It is claimed that after Pete Blake of Bergoo got his new watch, the folks didn’t sleep much for a couple of weeks on account of its loud ticking.

October 24
Billy says “Boss” Riffle hauled in corn ears the other day as big as nail kegs. Wow!

October 24
If the radio caused so much wet weather in recent years, I wonder if the same varmint caused the dry weather the past year.

October 24
Homer Skinner has the doggonedest doggone dawg you ever seed. It has caught a wagon load of possums, tree a thousand coons, chased an army of rabbits, barked at the moon, chased the rainbow, and won’t even smell a snake. From the looks of that dawg, it must be a houn’.

October 24
Some people claim it is a great honor to be born in Braxton county. Billy the newspacker says the reason he was born in Braxton county was because his mother was born in Braxton and he wanted to be born where she was.

October 31
The dog that didn’t bite me did me a favor.

October 31
Luther Conrad informed us that on October 21 he had a battle with a very large copperhead, and, to mend the matter, the blamed thing wouldn’t die after he killed it until he shot about ten inches of its head off.

October 31
Billy the newspacker says that while Joe Scarff and Os Davis were cutting timber for Lee Blake with a crosscut saw the rapid use of the saw caused it to heat and set the log on fire. Pooh.

October 31
Well, I think I shall start to school again pretty soon. When I went to school there was a branch with which I was very familiar, though it contained some very hard lessons.

November 7
After filling a silo with kraut from one cabbage head, Luther Conrad would like to have barrels enough to contain the remainder of the head.

November 7
Why is rain so much wetter on Sunday morning than any other time?

November 7
Why is Dick Skinner’s hound so much like Coolidge? Because it doesn’t choose to run.

November 14
Judging from the looks of some people, it looks like the barbers have all quit business.

November 14
We know one person who washed his face at least once during the past year. He must have remembered where it says that cleanliness is next to Godliness.

November 14
I honestly believe there were more people in our town last Sunday than there were in the city of New York five hundred years ago.

November 21
In order to show some pity in my ragged condition, wife said I could wear my “nooralgia” this winter. If she had cut my head off and hit me in the face with it, it wouldn’t have made me any madder.

November 28
I was so “duded” up at church last Sunday some folks didn’t know me. Wife had patched my necktie in several places and put some nice patches on my Sunday handkerchief.

November 28
We have been recently informed that a man living on Crooked Fork, near Progress, whose name is Floyd Frame, wishes us to make mention of his antediluvian mule. He claims that his boys harnessed the mule when it was a mere colt eight years old, and helped Noah’s boys haul logs to build the ark, just before the big deluge known as Noah’s flood. We are told that the mule shows sign of great age, and yet it is very spry for an animal of antediluvian days. It draws a provender compensation of a peck of oats per month. This added to the bale of hay per annum, keeps the animal in fairly good thriving condition. The mule (if the story is true) would be nearing four thousand years of age, and its hoary locks betoken that the weight of years is upon it. Well, we hope it will live to a ripe old age.

December 5
Has any one ‘seed’ or heard of Francis Flynn of Dumpling Run, this fall? When last heard of he was eating his seventeenth piece of pie at the Blackburn church dedication.

December 5
For Thanksgiving dinner we had punkin – cooked punkin, punkin sauce, punkin pie and punkin custard. O how I longed for some dried punkin and punkin butter! Nevertheless we had punkin.

December 5
Boss” Riffle would have butchered today, but Billy says his hogs won’t be fat enough until tomorrow.

December 12
What has become of the old-fashioned things, such as the weaver’s loom, the spinning wheel, the hand card, the flax brake, the scutching knife and hackle, the knitting needle, the candle molds and candle sticks, the boot jack, the mush pot, the old oaken bucket, the family sleigh, and many other things we might mention, such as old-fashioned friends, neighbors, teachers, preachers, father, mothers, boys and girls? What has become of love and kindness, sociability and friendship? People used to be happy and content, never in a hurry. Now it seems as if nobody is content and everybody is in a hurry.

December 19
If John the Baptist would live on locusts and wild honey, why did a nine pound mess of honey come so near killing Reuben Blake?

Comment on Uncle Zeke and 1929
1929 was an important year in American history. For some time, the country existed on an over-exuberant faith that American prosperity was never-ending. The stock market crash which occurred in October of 1929 was just the beginning of a terrible period in the lives of Americans, as well as the rest of the world. The full effects of the Depression would not be realized until the mid 1930s when it seemed to most Americans that the Depression was never-ending. Prosperity would not return to America until World War II stimulated American manufacturing and returned the country back to work.

Comment on Mrs. P. N. Blake
Uncle Zeke often referred to ‘the missus’ in his Buzzardtown news columns. Mrs. P. N. Blake was Lorena Godfrey Blake, the daughter of David N. Godfrey and Mary Jane Skinner Godfrey. Lorena was born in 1868 and died in 1953. She was a granddaughter of Alexander Skinner and Phebe Conrad Skinner, Orlando pioneers. She married Patrick Newton Blake in 1892. She is buried at the Skinner Cemetery in Orlando.

Comment on “Jack Sam” Posey
Uncle Zeke frequently mentioned “Jack Sam” as a noted hunter of groundhogs. Jack Sam lived in the Three Lick area. This writer has little information about Jack Sam; however, we do know he was a contemporary and perhaps an in-law of Arch Riffle, another noted hunter of groundhogs in the Orlando area.

Comment on the Residence of Uncle Zeke and His Missus
Uncle Zeke and his wife Lorena lived one mile and a quarter from downtown Orlando toward Burnsville on the east bank of Oil Creek and above the original Baltimore and Ohio railroad line. Their home was a small single story home which they built around 1908 and was situated on two and three-quarters acres purchased from E. J. and Nettie Posey. The home is now gone and the hillside lot is now covered with trees.

Comment on Prohibition
Uncle Zeke was a firm believer in Prohibition and an outspoken critic of those who imbibed in moonshine whiskey, homebrew, or home-made wine. Uncle Zeke was also highly critical of lax law enforcement which seemed to turn a blind eye to the illicit trade in moonshine in the Orlando area. Many of his newspaper columns emphacized those beliefs.

Comment on Women’s Fashions
Uncle Zeke often preached in his columns about women’s fashions of the time which he considered to be risqué or frivolous. Women did not take Uncle Zeke’s criticism quietly. Uncle Zeke’s columns in that regard received as much criticism as he gave regarding the clothes that women wore, the way they cut their hair, and the cosmetics they wore.

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