Friday, June 13, 2008

Uncle Zeke Takes a Look at 1916

by David Parmer

In 1916 Uncle Zeke was in his second year as a writer for the Weston Independent. His Buzzardtown news column had become instantly popular to the readership of the paper. His success had generated some envy among his fellow writers, and his Republican politics had grated on some of the die-hard Democrats in central West Virginia. Uncle Zeke derided President Wilson’s economic policies which brought hard times to central West Virginia in the form of high prices and his foreign policies which were steering the United States into the European conflict. Uncle Zeke prophetically heaped doubt on Wilson ’s claim that he was “keeping America out of the war.”
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In the excerpts from Buzzardtown news columns cited in this article, Uncle Zeke reports the news of Orlando and the Oil Creek Valley, and says a thing or two about other events of the day.
rt: photo of Patrck Newton "Newt" Blake, aka Uncle Zeke.
There are 30 entries about P. N. Blake's column about the life & times of folks in the Oil Creek watershed. For example, see the Dec '06 entry Trouble At Uncle Zeek's House.
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January 4, 1916
Well, who would have thunk it; there is not an idle person in all these diggins’.
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O. P. McCord says his cow has mended up in her milk until she gives nearly a pint.
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The Philadelphia Gas Company is preparing to do a large amount of work here in the near future.
(Writer’s Note: The Philadelphia Company was a Philadelphia based company controlled by industrialist George Westinghouse. The Philadelphia Company acquired the Equitable Gas Company, a pioneer in gas exploration, and developed many oil and gas fields in central West Virginia during the early 1900’s. The gas produced from central West Virginia gas wells was marketed primarily to the Pittsburgh area.)
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The Philadelphia telephone office here is completed. The poles have been set and the line will be completed in a few days.
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A very funny thing happened out among the states recently, when old Kaintuckey got drunk and NewYorked all over Miss Idaho’s New Jersey. Wonder who this woman is they call Mary Etta over in Ohio that so many people went to see recently. Even married men hiked out and went over. “Shame.”
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The M. P. Sunday School at Orlando was reorganized Sunday with the following officers: S. D. Oldaker, Supt.; A. J. Heater, Asst. Supt; C. V. Blake, Sec’y; L. E. Skinner, Treas. Teachers are as follows: Class No. 1, A. J. Heater, Class No., 2 Audra Means, Class No. 3, Carrie Blake, Class No. 4, Mrs. Nora Means.

rt: William A. "Dock" and Laura "Nora" Means.
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January 25, 1916
Dr. Barker
is the busiest man in all these diggins’. (Writer’s Note: Dr. John Ethan Barker was a native of Summers County, West Virginia. He received his medical degree from the Louisville Medical College in 1906 at the age of twenty-one. He first practiced medicine in Kansas and returned to West Virginia where he practiced medicine at Orlando from 1914 to 1916 when he decided to re-locate again in the West.) lt: Dr. John Barker

Sick? Yes. Bad? Yes. Grippe? Yes. Gonna Die? “Spect so. Ready? Er, No.
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War has shot ‘taters’ clean ‘outen’ sight.
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Sheep have been killing a few dogs in our neighborhood.
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S. L. Riffle has bought a new crosscut saw, and of all the saws I ever saw, I never saw a saw saw like that saw saws.
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Uncle Zeke says he has a bad case of satchel, suitcase or grippe. Dr. Barker thinks it is indigestion of the purse.
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P. N. Blake and family are all sick this week. He says the dog would be sick too, if he had one.
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A. J. Heater has resumed his position as section foreman on the C & C railroad, after being absent for a month buying crossties for the company. (Writer’s Note: Andrew Jackson Heater was the son of William Peyton Heater and Sabina (Posey) Heater. He was married first to Ora Riffle, daughter of John Scott Riffle and Mary Ann Skinner Riffle.)
lt: Andrew Jackson Heater
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Uncle Zeke says thou shalt is a command, and shalt thou is optional, or to make it plain, thou shalt means you must, and shalt thou means you may or may not.
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February 22, 1916
Rastus McCray lost a good team horse the other day.

(Writer’s Note: Rastus McCray was Robert F. McCray, an oil and gas field worker who lived on Ben’s Run. He died in 1953 at age 71 and is buried in the Pumphrey Cemetery.)
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Cecil Bee says he is ready any old time for some girl to pop the question to him.
(Writer’s Note: Cecil Bee was the son of John Bee and Lena (Godfrey) Bee. The girl who popped the question to him was Lizzie Graff. He was an employee of the Hope Gas Company. He died in 1971 at age 74. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery at Weston. His wife Lizzie lived to be 102 when she died in 2002.)
lt: Cecil Bee
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The J. L. Fox and Riffle No. 2 came in a good gasser Thursday.
A fellow told us the other day that the roads were just awful bad from here to there.
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Mrs. A. J. Heater was taken to a Clarksburg hospital Friday to be examined for some unknown ailment.
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The B & O is putting in a side track here for the benefit of the Philadelphia Gas Company.
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Sam Posey, Poke Sharpe, and Frank Riffle have been selected as a committee to investigate the groundhog prophecies since the weather has gone wrong.
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Bud Hamilton and Ham Skinner have been working at Blackburn the past week, making road for the Philadelphia Gas Company.

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March 7, 1916
Now for a mess of greens, seasoned with ground hog grease.
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Rev. Davy Parmer preached at Orlando Wednesday night.
(Writer’s Note: Davy Parmer was the son of David Parmer and Ingebo (Church) Parmer. He was a cobbler and part-time preacher.)
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Condy Fox has decided to always remain a bachelor if some girl doesn’t pop the question pretty soon.
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A boy about eighty years old by the name of Billy Nicholson, stayed all night at P. S. Nicholson’s one day last week.
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Charles McCord is engaged in making bee-hives this bad weather.
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Why didn’t they play cards on the Ark? Because Noah was standing on the deck.
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A bad freight wreck occurred on the B & O Saturday night, near Burnsville.
rt: a train wreck on the line from Burnsville to Orlando.
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Funny isn’t it, the Government will honor Washington’s birthday, but won’t Christ’s.
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We hope when the Lord winked at ignorance he wunk so hard that the wink still extends to the wicked and perverse generation.
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The Philadelphia roust-a-bouts spent last Thursday in the Posey office with the boxing gloves, John McDermott being champion, knocking everything east and west that came up before him. Boys, don’t tell Jess Willard about it.
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We sat up all night the other night watching the moon trying to change. It seemed to lack about fifteen cents of having enough to make the change, so we gave it that amount and it started off all right. The moon and me are a little alike just now, both on our last quarter, so at present neither of us can get full.
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Uncle Zeke says that if you take the number of Blakes on Oil Creek, multiply that by the number of McCues at McCue, then add that to the number of Riffles at Kemper, then multiply that sum by the amount of Poseys at Buzzardtown, the answer will be equal to the number of seconds contained in one year.
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March 14, 1916
Always Smile
O, angry frown, depart from me,
Ye scornful angry frown;
I hope some day that I’ll be free
And wear a golden crown.

O, gentle smile, O, smile of love,
O, decorate my brow;
Let angels from that world above
Smile gently on me now.

O, weary man, look up and smile
And never, never frown;
O, bear the cross a little while
And you shall wear a crown.

O, never frown, my dearest friend,
To frown is not worth while
If we meet Jesus in the end,
We’ll meet him with a smile.

And when we meet in heaven above,
With Jesus we’ll sit down,
And grasp the hand of those we love,
We’ll smile instead of frown.

May God his blessings to use give,
Let earth and heaven smile:
I hope in heaven we shall live
Where we can always smile.

And when our days on earth are o’er,
Farewell for just a while
For when we meet on heaven’s shore
I’ll meet you with a smile.
Orlando, W. Va. P. N. Blake
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March 28, 1916
We feel very sorry for some places that they haven’t got so much as a buzzard’s feed.

We think the recent frosts were a little hard on the frog crop.
Uncle Zeke says the McCue broad axe man ‘mout’ of set a gentleman hen.

Hurrah two times for woman suffrage.
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Since reading of the death of some of our prominent men, yer Uncle Zeke feels a little shaky.
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We are not quite certain whether this is last winter, this winter or next winter.
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A bad freight wreck occurred here on the B & O R.R. Thursday morning delaying passenger trains several hours.
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Cecil Bee thinks that four dogs after the sheep at one time is enough, so Bang! Bang! went the old shot gun.
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Girls – did you ever stop to think that gum chewing is about as obnoxious as a buzzard’s breath just after feasting on carrion.
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We get so mixed up sometimes with The Independent and the Free Press that we pulled off our pants the other day to go to dinner thinking we were going to bed. This is a little joke we don’t want any of the correspondents to know.
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April 16, 1916
Vote for women to vote.
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Uncle Zeke wishes it made known that he is a candidate for the poor house, "spect I’ll git thar, Eli.”
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All aboard for Kemper and the Riffle and frog concert.
(Writer’s Note: Kemper was a stop on the B & O railroad line about midway between Orlando and Peterson Siding on Oil Creek.)
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You bet Uncle Zeke likes the lash. Don’t care if you lash him some more, Mr. Kemper.
Ray Blake and Jennette Posey were married at Burnsville recently. Rev. John Ramsey officiated.
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O. P. McCord sprained one of his legs the other day. Consequently he is going around on three legs at present.
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Dock Henline is nearly seven feet tall. Wonder if it was the war that made him so high?
lt: Oscar "Dock" Henline, who served in WWI.
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Lost, somewhere between Buzzardtown and Skunkville, a young man by the name of Bud H, between the age of twenty-five and fifty. When last seen he was at W. T. Riffle’s at the mouth of Possum Holler on his way to “ Georgia.” (Writer’s Note: Bud Hamilton married Georgia Riffle, daughter of W. T. Riffle.)
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April 25, 1916
We are sorely pained to think that we will soon have to wash our feet.
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Listen to the whippoorwill. We are glad it isn’t whippoorzeke.
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Mother earth has discarded her suit of brown, and donned her beautiful robe of green.
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Uncle says that the busiest he ever was was when he tried his best to attend to his own business.
Did you ever take notice that the thing you tried to forget was always the easiest thing to think of.
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We notice in the Roanoke items that T. F. Horner has two ewes with six lambs. That’s nothing. The other day I saw two lambs with eight ewes.
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We think the reason they did not put a woman in the moon was because they wanted to keep all the women to vote.
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Charley McCord says he would like for the parties who borrowed some corn and sauerkraut from him the other night while he slumbered, to return it at once.
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Yes, Old Field Fork. We will sure swap a settin’ of ‘aigs’ for a good bee course, if you will send L.D. Mick over after them. We will send Dow Heater at once after the bee course. Now, will you be good.
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June 6, 1916
Jack Posey has two rows of corn hoed.
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P. N. Blake is doing some grading work for the Pittsburgh and West Virginia Gas Company. (Writer’s Note: The Pittsburgh and West Virginia Gas Company was another subsidiary of the Philadelphia Company, a George Westinghouse company. The Pittsburgh and West Virginia Gas Company was an early explorer for oil and gas in central West Virginia and its production was primarily marketed in the Pittsburgh area.)
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P. S. Nicholson was kicked on the arm by a horse Saturday and was pretty badly hurt.
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It took O. P. McCord three days to tell the truth and then he almost failed.
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Bless your little gizzard, Mr. Oil Creek. It was not your Uncle Zeke that backed down on the suffrage question.
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Yer Uncle Zeke is of the opinion that if the money that is paid to the road engineer every year was applied to the roads, we would have better roads than we have now.
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Ike McCord got a bad fall the other day – he just fell in love.
C. C. Lallathin has gone to Cove Lick to assist in building rigs for the Philadelphia Gas Company.
(Writer’s Note: C. C. Lallathin, an Ohioan, came to central West Virginia to work in the oil and gas fields. He married Carrie Blake, daughter of Uncle Zeke. He died young in 1919 and is buried at Orlando.)
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We recently noticed a potato growing, and it was just seven minutes coming through the ground.
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Shucks. There is nothing to greasing shoes. I tested it by greasing one and not the other, and the greased one only lasted fifteen minutes longer than the other one.
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One day last week, George Riffle’s dog bit Bill Hosey in the forks of the road.
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The recent frost swiped a few young mustaches in our vicinity.
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A young lady of our town fell off the dresser the other day and hurt herself on the drawers.
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The Pittsburgh and West Virginia Gas Company is doing some surveying here this week.
R. M. Riffle is night watch at the Orlando depot during Charles Knight’s six month vacation.
Homer and Burr Skinner met with a bad accident the other day. They bought a tent to summer in, and after bringing it home and setting it up, it some how took fire and was reduced to ashes quicker than you could say Jack Robinson.
I love to read the county news,
That comes to us each week;
If ye correspondents have the blues,
Consult your Uncle Zeke.

I had a dream the other night,
We can’t help things like that;
I dreamed the editor, George White,
Was now a Democrat.

Some say I had a bad nightmare,
Some say it was a spook;
Some say old “Nick” sure was there,
Some say ‘twas Davy Cook.
June 13, 1916
The Philadelphia Gas Company has made three locations on the lands of O. P. McCord, W. S. Posey and A. N. Skinner.
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Clarence Riffle has been carrying slop to the hog pen to feed the hogs the past week thinking the hogs were there, but to his surprise they had been gone three days.
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A corps of engineers is surveying a twelve inch pipe line from here to Murphy’s Creek, a distance of about fifteen miles.
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While teaming for the Hope Gas Company one day last week C. L. Riffle was caught by a chain and thrown over an embankment, breaking his leg just above the ankle. We feel sorry for him, as he is one of our best men, and a hustler besides.

(Writer’s Note: The Hope Gas Company was a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey. In 1943, Standard Oil, a Rockefeller company, was ordered to divest itself of the natural gas companies it controlled under an anti-trust ruling. After re-organization, Hope Gas became part of Consolidated Natural Gas Company. Hope furnished natural gas primarily to northeast Ohio, but also to local communities such as Orlando and Burnsville from its local gas wells.)

Lafayette Riffle, who has been known to suck four dozen raw eggs and eat two pounds of cheese to finish his meal, passed here recently wanting to bet a dollar that he could eat a bale of hay in twenty minutes and cut the wire with his teeth.

(Writer’s Note: See a story about Lafayette Riffle in May '07: Lafayette Riffle – Champion Eater .)
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Uncle Zeke says he planted a nice patch of politics this spring, but they have not come up yet.
The following recipe may be found useful in many homes: Take one ounce of decency, one teaspoon of self respect, one scruple of humanity, two drachma of principle, and sweeten it with a pound of love, dissolved in a quart of friendship, bottled in pure heart, and taken every hour of the day. .
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July 11, 1916
O. P. McCord
is preparing to build a new house.

Lost, somewhere in the weeds, Charley McCord’s cornfield.
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A. J. Loomin is having a swell time. Yes, it’s the mumps.
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A B & O double-header derailed a car load of lumber in the west end of our town on the evening of the 4th, but little damage was done.
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While working at the pump station here the other day, Roy Mick got his foot hurt, Oscar Posey a finger mashed, and one boy got ‘boozy,’ but they are all better now.
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R. F. McCray informs us that Pat Feeney has started a booming business on Ben’s Run. He has hired Joe Scarff and Bill Hosey to build brush fence, and in spite of all, they can make one panel a day.
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Hefner Brothers of Burnsville have drilled a water well here for the Philadelphia Gas Company. They are now drilling one for P. S. Nicholson and have another one to drill for H. H. Coberly, G. C. Posey and O. P. McCord.
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One June 19th, the Lord sent the Death Angel into the home of A. J. Heater and selected for its victim, Ora, his beloved wife. Our heart goes out in sympathy for the bereaved husband and children.

For more on Ora Heater, see the entry Ora Frances and Lummie Jane: A.J. Heater's Two Wives .

August 1, 1916
O. P. McCord’s
new dwelling is under construction.
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While working on a rig one day last week, C. C. Lallathin cut his leg badly with an ax.
Listen! Our town can boast of the wisest men, the prettiest women, the fewest liars, and the most dogs of any town this side of Jericho.
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Uncle Zeke says that Lafe Mick will ‘teech’ our ‘skule’ this winter.
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Since the state went dry, Burr Skinner has been buying toads to get their hops to make beer. Isn’t that wisdom?
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C. O. Skinner, our enterprising merchant, was at Orlando the other day and purchased a pound of Arbuckle’s coffee and a cake of Grand-pa’s soap.
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Uncle Zeke says there is no work as hard as hard work. Uncle Zeke is always right, sometimes.
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Walter Kelley has a ‘hoss’ that can hit the Buzzardtown tango to perfection.
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A. J. Heater has been promoted to assistant supervisor on the northern division of the C & C railroad.
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August 8, 1916
O. P. McCord
’s new dwelling is nearing completion.
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Yes, we have lost the pump station for some reason.

(Writer’s Note: The Philadelphia Gas Company had originally planned on building a gas pumping station in the Posey Run area. After considering the flooding situation along Oil Creek and other favorable tangibles at Burnsville, the gas pumping station was instead built at Burnsville.)

rt: The pumping station built at Burnsville instead of Orlando
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The Fourth quarterly conference of the U. B. denomination was held at Orlando Tuesday, Reverend F. G. Radabaugh, presiding.
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P. N. Blake wishes it made known that he is done harvesting. He actually cut and put up one little hay doodle this season.
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A District Sunday school convention was held at Orlando Saturday and Sunday. A large crowd was present, and a good time was the result. Dinner on the ground. Little Rhoda Rawson of Burnsville attended the convention at Orlando Saturday and Sunday. She now tips the beam at 332 pounds. (Poor little thing.)
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Left: Rhonda Rawson with Marjory.
‘Grump’ Matthews smoked so hard last Saturday, trying to keep even with Tank Henline, his pipe caught fire and burned up in three minutes. When last seen Tank was still puffing away.
Several of our people went to Elkins Sunday on an excursion. The train got stuck behind a wreck at R. C. Junction and did not return until Monday morning at four o’clock. They said not to tell anyone about it. (We won’t.)
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The Devil and Tom Walker have played smash with our pump station here, or else a big Buck Buzzard happened to swoop down too close and ‘skeered’ the fool thing away to Burnsville. We learn that Deck Barnett and Hank Bowyers are now looking after it. (Well, for pity’s sake.)
Hefner Brothers drilled a water well for the Pittsburgh and West Virginia Gas Company which proved to be a fine mineral water, known as the salt sulphur. The well is one hundred four feet deep. People are much elated over the lucky find and folks are carrying it away in jugs. Some claim they have been benefited by its use already.
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J. A. Freeman and son Arthur, J. E., J. F., and M. L. Riffle, H. O. Keith, W. C. Ratcliff, Alpha Gay, E. B. McCord, James Blake, Robert Brinkley, and many others, attended the Odd Fellows meeting at Elkins last Sunday.
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August 22, 1916
O. P. McCord says to please call him ‘Mr. McCord’ since he got a new house.
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C. O. Skinner contemplates going to Colorado this fall.
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If war is hell, to fire a gun must be ‘hell fire.’

J. E. Riffle says he knows what it is to monkey with the business end of a honey bee.
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The Hope Gas Company has made locations on the lands of A. J. Heater and Mrs.
May Carter, in our vicinity.
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Did Wright do right to write out the rite of the church?
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Ray Heater and Ed Oldaker started out with their hounds to see is they could catch up with the price of flour.
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Solomon was the wisest man in his day. The same may be said of O. P. McCord this day and time.
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Ezra Posey and C. O. and Burr Skinner left West Virginia and went up into Braxton County to fish. They returned the next day having caught nothing except bad colds.
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A tool dresser by the name of Davis, who was working on Free State No. 14, got one of his arms broken in a couple of places Saturday morning. He was taken to a Clarksburg hospital on the same day.
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P. N. Blake of our town and Rev. L. L. Westfall of Stop were at Copley Saturday night, returning by way of Taylor Keith’s. Taylor is an old fox hunter and likes to tell of his sport with his faithful dog chasing Reynard. We sometimes think that if Taylor is so lucky to get to heaven, that the first thing he will inquire for will be a couple of hounds and a shot gun. They were accompanied by two of Mr. Keith’s daughters, Robert McCray, and the daughters of Will Wiant to Mary’s Chapel, where Mr. Westfall preached a very able sermon in the afternoon. .
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September 19, 1916
O. P. McCord says he woke up twice the other night, before he went to sleep.
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A rooster was once asked why he didn’t lay eggs. He said he had seen it done many a time, but to save his life he couldn’t.
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I dreamed one night I was a Democrat and haven’t felt well since. O, such awful dreams.
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Flour from eight to ten dollars a barrel is quite a joke on the farmers, and not a bit of wheat in our neighborhood to thrash this year.
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Say! Would a young polecat be called a pole kitten?
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Hurrah for Woman Suffrage.
If some men would rise from the dead and read their own epitaphs most of them would think they got in the wrong grave.
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I. T. McCord left Tuesday for some point in New Orleans.

There are two reasons why some people don’t mind their own business. One is they don’t have any business, and the other is they don’t have any mind.
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Just now there is a ten dollar use for every five dollar bill in existence.
The high price of flour has knocked out pound cake entirely. We do well to get ounce cake now.
The price of knowledge must have gone up too. At least, it seems as if some of us can’t get any of it anyhow.
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Well, here is to the reunion. We hope to get a square meal while in the city. We have lived on shadow soup for so long we are anxious for a change of diet.

October 3, 1916
Be sure to vote for Woman Suffrage.
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Hughes will be the next president; so sayeth Uncle Zeke.
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O, for a thousand tongues to lick, said the boy when he
fell into the molasses tub.
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For the benefit of some of the readers of the Independent who possibly never saw a buzzard, we give a brief description. The buzzard is a fowl of the animal kingdom. It is very large and somewhat resembles the American turkey, both in color and size. They never utter a cry, but always seem to be happy. They feed chiefly on the dead carcasses of live animals. They are very harmless but when attacked, they emit a substance called puke, which to the nostril of mankind, is very obnoxious. This seems to be Mr. Buzzard’s only way of defense. How natural nature is anyhow.
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October 31, 1916
Vote for Hughes. Goodbye Wilson. Shall the women vote? Beans, Beans, Beans. Howdy, President Hughes. Will flour and Gold dust blend? He kept us out of war. Who?
Keep cool, vote for Hughes, and be wise.

George Riffle, the dwarf, has moved to Orlando.
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Fred Lemley has move to our town from Crooked Fork. Claude Snyder has moved to our town from Orlando.

Whether we are in war or not, we are paying for it just the same.
Yes, they tell me that he kept out of war, but they never tell you he reduced the cost of living.
Wilson, war, whiskey and woe,
To the White House never can go;
Vote for Hughes and save the nation,
From another Democrat administration.
Perhaps the oldest watch in this neighborhood is owned by M. C. Gallagher of Three Lick Run. It was purchased in November 1880 of the late Er Ralston of Weston and is of the William Ellery make. Although thirty-six years of constant wear, it is today in a fair state of preservation, though like man, age has caused it to move a little slow.

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November 21, 1916
I have the blues, but hurrah for Hughes. Gosh, but didn’t it go Dimmycratic. The buzzards are all gone. I think they must have went to the election and voted the Democrat ticket.

The twelve inch pipe line on the McCord farm blew up Monday. No serious damage was done.
Burr and Dick Skinner were in the vicinity of Burnsville one day last week imbibing in bug juice.
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Emmett Atkinson says his children are all sick, but eight.
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We learn that Matilda Riffle, an aged lady of Clover Fork, died Tuesday morning.
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F. W. Lemley had a telephone installed in his residence Tuesday.
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W. T. Riffle is building a tool house in the I. O. O. F. cemetery at Orlando for the benefit of Washington Lodge No. 194.
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If the political sense that some of our people has was all glycerin and would explode, it would not shake the whisker on a gnat’s chin.
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Joe Workman, who resides on Pine Run, is said to be the busiest man in all the world. He recently told the writer that he never had time to name his children; consequently they must be without names.
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If John Rollyson will guarantee Homer Posey to tell the truth twice between now and Christmas, Uncle Zeke will give him a chew of honest scrap tobacco.
The wild geese have flown, the election is over, winter is here, crops mostly gathered, show birds are chirping, the sportsman and rabbit are having it nip and tuck, and ye scribes are all still living, so prepare to give thanks to the Great Creator for his goodness and help make the old Independent the best paper in the county.
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I haven’t aught against the tumblebug,
But I don’t like his occupation.
The Democrats may be all right,
But I don’t like their administration.

December 5, 1916
Hughes must be a pretty good barber. He sure gave Wilson a close shave.
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Bet yer life I voted for woman suffrage. How did you vote?
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Uncle Zeke says a kiss is of no value to any one, or a nothing divided by two.
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Henry Cole, poor old soul, in hauling coal, he lost his sole.

A new board walk from the residence of Fred Lemley to the B & O railroad is a late convenience.
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Why do people laugh in their sleeve? Because it is a direct route to their funny bone.
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To get lard out of a vessel easy, always grease the vessel before putting the lard in.
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As ye sew, so shall ye rip. First Zeke, first chapter and the hind claws of the tooth verse.
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The Bish and Dyer well on the Rush farm here came in a good gasser.
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Two persons went to Oakland the first of the week and came back one. Clarence says Dosha Posey’s name is now Mrs.Williams.
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Let all remember that everything Uncle Zeke writes is just for fun. So let no one get offended at my foolishness, or it will make me feel real bad too.
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We are put in this world to help one another, and if we don’t do it we are worse than a Democrat. O, I mean an infidel.

There was a young lady from Sutton,
She couldn’t eat nothing but mutton;
She tackled a sheep on the hillside steep
And he gave her a hell of a ‘buttin.’ .
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December 12, 1916
Homer Skinner
says he caught two skunks and a polecat the other night.
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Winter Freeman says we know nothing about high living as he does because he lives on top of the hill.
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C. C. Lallathin had a dog fight the other day. I mean a fight with a dog. Neither party was badly hurt.
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If Tom Peppers was kicked out of hell for lying, what in thunder will happen to some of the people at this day and time.
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Someone remarked recently that they saw a gas well sticking out of a hole in the ground in our vicinity. “Humph,” it might have been a possum.
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Charley McCord has a good job now with the Philadelphia Gas Company. He lights Roscoe Shafer’s pipe and holds it for him while he smokes.
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Bill Dolan says he has just a good a fiddle as any man if he had a bow, a set of strings, a tail piece, a finger board, and a set of keys.
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Tom Conley took about a five minute’s hunt for his pipe the other day and when he found it, it was in his mouth.
...
There was Henry G. and Stephen B.,
In politics, they couldn’t agree.
But after that there was something funny,
They could always agree to gobble the money.
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It is said the Devil will get some people if they do go to church. And he will get some if they don’t go to church. So my advice would be, to go to church and take chances on Mr. Devil.
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Arthur Loomin still goes to J. R. Posey’s; Guy Ball to J. E. Riffle’s; Buck Hawkins to J. F. Posey’s; Clem Crislip to Joe Skinner’s; and Bud Hamilton has taken up abode at W. T. Riffle’s. All right boys.

lt: Joe Skinner, father of Opal, who married Clem Crislip
..
The health of our town is pretty good at present, except G. J. Posey has a cramp in his leg, W. S. Posey has heart trouble, A. N. Posey is broken down in the back; Oscar Posey has a bad cold; J. F. Posey has a Posey pain; P. S. Nicholson, a crippled foot; a few others are crippled in the head, and yer old Uncle Zeke has one broken rib, two more cracked and another one slightly bent.

rt: "G. J." George Jackson Posey and family
.
.
December 28, 1916
Wonder if the Democrats will reduce the cost of living this time?
.
Homer Skinner shipped a nice bunch of fur this week.
.
Wade Blake of Orlando is plumbing for gas in our town.
.
C. C. Lallathin says if Job’s boils were any worse than his’n, he was to be pitied,
.
Beef is about as high now as it was when the cow jumped over the moon.
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The Philadelphia Gas Company has slowed down on their work here since the election. No wonder.
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Uncle Zeke says he would like to write some, but he is afraid the price of writing is gone up too, but look out.
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From now on, you can expect the news to come systematically, automatically, Democratically and tomcatically.
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A young man recently ordered a violin from Sears & Roebuck, and when it arrived, he said it was nothing but a darned old fiddle.
..
A very prominent Democrat went into W. A. Means store some time ago and asked for a bottle of cock-eye. He happened to get mixed up a little, as it was peroxide he wanted. Sure the way of the transgressor is hard. ..

Epilogue
So ended the year 1916. There was a hard fought presidential election between Woodrow Wilson and Charles Hughes, which was narrowly won by Wilson on the platform that “he kept us out of war.” A short time into 1917, Wilson would revoke that pledge and take the country into the European conflict. The cost of living was a sore spot for Uncle Zeke and most Americans because food stuffs were being steered to Europe instead of to the American dinner table. Women’s suffrage was a big issue during the 1916 political campaigns, a cause Uncle Zeke highly promoted. The oil and gas industry was booming and three gas companies, the Philadelphia Gas Company, the Pittsburgh and West Virginia Gas Company, and the Hope Gas Company, were active in the Orlando area drilling wells and producing oil and gas. Pipelines were being built to transport the gas to major market areas. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad and the Coal and Coke railroad were very active hauling lumber, coal, and passengers throughout the state. The automobile still had not become the bane of a horse-driven agriculture. Orlando, situated in the middle of an active economy, was a booming town as was the Oil Creek valley. A Burnsville newspaper, in 1914, remarked that the Oil Creek valley between Burnsville and Orlando was dotted with one house after another, and that one couldn’t tell where Burnsville and Orlando began and where they ended.
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All in all, despite Uncle Zeke’s disappointment about the election, and the high cost of living, most people were employed, moonshining had not yet become a major problem, the flapper era had yet to begin, Uncle Zeke’s jokes and humor generally pleased his constituency, and life went on in the Orlando area much as before.

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