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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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January 10, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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January 10, 2018
 

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Sf SPIRIT of JEFF ER AI)VOCA I E and FARMER'S " r NEWS PAGE A9 Wednesday ,humaTT 1(1, 2018 By JUSTIN GRIFFIN Special to the Spirit CHARLES TOWN - To George Rutherford, one of the most memo- rable Freedom Trail Marches came on a frigid January day in the late 1970s. The annual event - held long be- fore the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday became a federal hol- !day in 1986 - kicks off local cel- ebrations tied to King's life and work. "It was only 2 or 3 degrees," said Rutherford, the longtime presi- dent of the Jefferson County branch of the NAACP. "It was cold and snowy, the roads were covered with ice and a lot of people who already had problems walking, couldn't walk." Rutherford said the weather kept all but him and two others from making the trek. Back then, the marchers would go from church to church, he recalled. When he, the late James Tol- bert and George Rutherford Barbara Thomp- son finally arrived for the speaker portion of the event, a crowd of sup- porters was waiting. "There had to have been anywhere from 55 to 70 people there," Rutherford said. For this year's Freedom Trail March on Sunday, the weather fore- cast calls for sunny with a high of 29 and 11 mph winds, but Ruther- ford expects dozens to join him at 2 p.m. at the Charles Town Library ert Graf of who initi- for a procession to the Betty Roper ated a Spanish music ministry in his Auditorium. Catholic parish in Charles Town in The theme of this year's march 2005; and the Rev. Jeffrey Berry of is "Peace, Love and Together- Charles Town's Wainwright Baptist ness." The program in the auditori- Church. um, starting at 2:30 p.m will fea- "We want white speakers and ture four speakers each giving a black speakers," Rutherford said. 10-minute address - the Rev. A1- "We want to include as many voic- ice Hunter of Ebenezer Mt. Calva- es as possible. Last year, we had the ry Holy Church in Summit Point; Republican and Democratic county the Rev. Georgia DuBose, a found- party leaders speak. We are a non- ing member of the Jefferson County partisan group." Homeless Coalition; the Rev. Rob- The Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP has a long history with Freedom Trail marches. "We were the first chapter in West Virginia to hold a Freedom March and one of the first in the nation," Rutherford said. Rutherford said that a visit from Jim Karantonis, a civil rights ac- tivist who went on to work for the West Virginia Human Rights Com- mission and later played a key role in establishing the national holiday honoring King, helped influence the Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP to start its march. King, born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929, was just 39 when he was as- sassinated on April 4, 1968. The federal holiday in his memory happens on the third Monday of January. The public is invited to take part in Sunday's March. For more infor- mation, call 304-725-9610 or go to jcwvnaacp.org. S Robe~ Rupp By JUSTIN GRIFFIN to resemble a game of musical chairs. But the Eastern Panhandle's contin- "As the Panhandle continues its Special to the Spirit There are going to be three incumbents ued growth will spell more political growth, it will become increasingly im- and only two seats left." power for the region, Rupp said. portant," Rupp said. "You're going to CHARLES TOWN - A political sci- According to the latest Census Bu- "The Eastern Panhandle will become see more infrastructure improvements ence professor who's been watching reau statistics, from July 2016 to July more important to campaigns looking for in the Eastern Panhandle because infra- West V'trginia politics since the late 2017, West Virginia lost nearly .7 per- votes," Rupp said. "You hunt for ducks structure follows political power." 1980s predicts the Mountain State is in cent of its population. Only Wyoming, where the ducks are and the Eastern Pan- The drop from three members of Con- for a bumpy ride as declining population with a 1 percent loss, showed a higher handle will be where the votes are. gress to two will mean fewer leaders in numbers may it likely the state will lose percentage of decline. "The future of state politics lies in Washington advocating for West Vir- one of its representatives in Congress. West Virginia has lost 2.2 percent the Eastern Panhandle." ginia, including to bring federal proj- "If West Virginia loses a congressio- of its population since 2010 or nearly While the Eastern Panhandle is near- ects here, but Rupp says that benefit has nal seat, you're going to see some of 37,000 people, thanks to deaths out- ly a fiv-hour drive from the state capi- long been on the wane anyway. the bloodiest political battles the state numbering births and people leaving tal, it's within an hour's drive of ma- Before his death in 2010, U.S. Sen. has seen in quite some time," says Rob- the state, If the trend continues, by the jor and minor metropolitan areas in Vir- Robert Byrd "always did a good job of ert Rupp, a political science profes- time of the next Census, the Mountain ginia and Maryland, meaning residents bringing home federal money to West sor at West Virginia Wesleyan College State could have lost around 5 percent here enjoy more opportunities for em- Virginia, but in his last year or two, that since 1989. "In many ways, it's going of its population since 2010. ployment, trend was st/ rting to end." Book F oM from wars, presidential elections and Manifest Destiny to the Califor- nia Gold Rush and the expansion of slavery westward. The book closes with the signing of the Compromise of 1850. Theriault's cast of characters in- .cludes John S. Gallaher and Horatio N. Gallaher, the brothers at the helm of the Virginia Free Press; James W. Belier, the Democrat who launched the Spirit of Jefferson, the upstart competitor in Charles Town that championed the Democrats' cause; and Henry Hardy, H.W. McAnly and John H. Zittle, the trio at the Shep- herdstown Register. The editors and others on staff at the papers were devoted to the idea that the press had power, according ito Theriault. "They believed they could use their skills to shape vot- ers' opinions," he said. Theriault, who spent a dozen years as the chairman of the county's Land- marks Commission, may be best known as the creator of West Virgin- ia GeoExplorer, which uses digital technology to study time, place and people. He has been the project man- ager for West Virginia GeoExplorer isince its earliest days in 2010. He also put together the West Vir- ginia Explorer Program, a CD-based information resource distributed by the West Virginia Division of Cul- ture and History in 1996. Theriault, who has taught at Shepherd Uni- versity, at George Washington and American University in D.C and at other schools, also is the author of a number of books and articles on his- toric preservation and local history, including "How and Where to Look It Up: Resources for Researching the History of Jefferson County, West Virginia" in 2001. He's also worked as publications manager, editor and in other roles at several research institutions. Theriault, who holds a Ph.D. in American literature from The George Washington University, plans two more volumes of "Jeffer- son County's Fourth Estate," with the finale detailing life in Jefferson County through the Civil War to the end of Reconstruction. The second "Jefferson County's Fourth Estate" will cover the tumul- tuous decade that ended in 1859 as the eyes of the nation were fixed on Charles Town for the treason trial of abolitionist John Brown at the Jef- ferson County Courthouse and his hanging just blocks away on today's South Samuel Street. But even when the Spirit and oth- er papers local papers were domi- nated by local happenings rather than news of national importance, the publications make for insightful reading, Theriault explains. "It's a reminder of how essential local newspapers were at the time," Theriault said. "We've all gotten used to getting news online from anywhere, and before the Inter- net, peol le could turn to television or radio for their news - but in the 1840s, most of what you knew came from your local newspaper. "Maybe you could learn about the outside world if someone trav- eled left the area and wrote letters or came back with information, but most people got their view of the world from reading the local news- paper each week." A PARTIAL EXCERPT FROM William Theriault's "Jefferson County's Fourth Estate, 1840-1850" Introduction JEFFERSON COUNTY, VIR- GINIA, was formed from the southern part of Berkeley in 1801. Bounded by the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers, it was named for Thomas Jefferson, who declared the view at the confluence worth a trip across the Atlantic. The coun- try was known for its fertile farm- land as well as deposits of limestone and iron ore. In his "Historical Col- lections of Virginia" (1845), Henry Howe remarked that: It was settled principally by old Virginia families from the eastern part of the state; and the inhabit- ants still retain that high, chivalrous spirit, and generous hospitality, for which that race was so remarkable in the palmy days of their prosperity. Geographically, it was one of the western counties, sharing their need for improved transportation and complaining that their people were under represented in the state Leg- islature. Demographically, its pop- ulation was almost one-third slave, placing it with the eastern counties in its concern to maintain its "peculiar institution." White citizens generally considered the small number of free black residents to be lazy and igno- rant, poor examples for their slave brethren. The Legislature encour- aged them to leave the state on pen- alty of being returned to slavery. Politically, since the close of the 1830 State Constitutional Conven- tion, Jefferson, like the other Vir- ginia counties, was governed by an aristocracy, not a democracy. White male property owners or renters over age 21 could vote for repre- sentatives to the General Assembly. The assembly selected the officials who served at the federal, state and local level, from the governor to the county sheriff. Thus the citizenry had little direct voice in the selec- tion of local officials. Early in the country's history, Thomas Jefferson recognized that the press could inform the masses and shape public opinion, whether its readers had the vote or not. News- papers were present in every pub or coffee house, passed from hand to hand, or tacked to notice boards. But to fully utilize this resource, citizens must be literate and have access to a free public education Part 1. "The Pen and the Sword" Nov. 5, 1840, Charles Town, Jefferson County, Va. Editor John S. Gallaher must have felt satisfied when he proofed the day's issue of John S, Gallaher his newspaper, the Virginia Free Press. The early election returns looked promising for Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison. Thanks in part to Galla- her, Jefferson County had supported Harrison by a solid majority. The Democrats knew Gallaher was a force to be reckoned with, both as a newspaperman and as a politician. At age 14, he had been hired by John Arbutis, veteran ed- itor of the Berkeley and Jefferson Intelligencer. From there he had moved to the Martinsburg Gazette, the Niles Rcgister (Baltimore) and the National lntelligencer (Wash- ington, D.C.). After building an impressive re- sume, John set out on his own, hir- ing his younger brother Horatio and establishing the Free Press at Harp- ers Ferry (1821). From 1824 to 1828, he also published the Ladies Garland, a weekly that furnished women with both entertainment and educational fare. His next acquisition was the local Farmer's Repository (1827), which he merged with his other paper to form the Virginia Free Press & Farm- ers' Repository. In 1832, he focused his efforts on establishing the Virginia Free Press in Charles Town. The birth of the Virginia Free Press coincided with the emergence of the Whig party, led by Senator Henry Clay. It had been formed in reaction to the policies of President Andrew Jackson, and Gallaher was destined to help shape and expound Clay's vision for America - "The American System." In general, the Whigs favored a strong federal government and a tariff to protect American industries and generate revenue. Money from sales of public lands would help fill government coffers. Proceeds would be used to create a national infrastructure of roads and canals that would unite the country. The party sought to establish a perma- nent national bank that would en- sure a stable currency and help off- set the risk and speculation found in state and local banks. Using his pen to support Whig candidates, John was himself elect- ed to the Virginia House of Dele- gates, serving from 1830 to 1835. With the management of the Virgin- ia Free Press in the capable hands of his brother, he moved to Richmond in 1835, becoming chief manager of the Richmond Compiler. Two years later he purchased one-third inter- est in the Richmond Hawk and con- tinued his support of state and lo- cal Whig candidates. Most recently, Gallaher had published the Yeoman, a campaign newspaper that support- ed Harrison and John Tyler. Now, at age 39, Gallaher had come back to Charles Town, looking for- ward to spending some peaceful time with his wife, five children and ex- tended family. Whether Harrison or Martin Van Buren became president, In either event, we will be found supporting what we candidly approve, and condemning in the language of a freeman, what we conscientiously be- lieve to be wrong. As for the rest, let us differ as much as we may. Ours are the plans of fair, delight- ful peace / Unwarped by party rage / To live like brothers. There has been strife enough for 12 months. The na- tion itself requires repose, which, if Gen. Harrison is elected, it will be sure to enjoy. The country was in the midst of the major recession that followed the Pan- ic of 1837. Unemployment was high; wages, prices and profits were low. Many banks and businesses had closed. Harrison promised to restore economic prosperity, and the voters believed him, giving him an elec- toral count of 234 votes to Van Bu- ren's 60. Jefferson County had gone to Harrison by a majority of 78, al- though Van Buren was able to claim all of Virginia's electoral votes. Inauguration Day, March 4, 1841, dawned cold and windy. Harrison chose to deliver a long inaugural address without the protection of an overcoat, hat or gloves. Three weeks after delivering his speech, Harrison developed a cold. He died on April 4, and Vice President John Tyler was sworn in two days later. On April 9, Tyler assumed the office of president of the United States. He was a Virginian and a strict constructionist, with South- ern sympathies. In his address to the people, he noted that, although they had elected Harrison to correct and reform past errors and abuses, While standing at the threshold of this great work he has by the dis- pensation of an allwise Providence been removed from amongst us, and by the provisions of the Constitution the efforts to be directed to the ac- complishing of this vitally important task have devolved upon myself. 9 Charles Town's tribute to the late president began on April 10 at dawn with a salute from the Charles Town Artillery and the toiling of church bells. John's brother, Horatio Nel- son Gallaher, had organized the event. It was cold and wet, but by 11 a.m. the main street was lined with people of all classes. The procession solemnly marched to the Episcopal Church.The Charles Town Artillery led the way, followed by the Potomac Rifles, the Smith- field Blues and the Harpers Ferry Guards. Amateur bands from Harp- ers Ferry and Shepherdstown ac- companied them. A white horse ca- parisoned with black in military style represented the absent hero. Rev. Al- exander Jones delivered an oration and then the public dispersed. John S. Gallaher observed: All political animosity seemed buried in the grave of the departed, and political friends and foes ap- parently mourned the occasion with equal sincerity. All feelings of parti- sanship were merged in those of pa- triotism, and every indication of re- spect for the memory of a president of the U. States was observable and the patriotic spirit of our citizens deserve the highest praise .Held at the end of April, the Vir- ginia general elections produced Whig victories at the local level. For Congress, Richard W. Barton of Frederick County defeated Jeffer- son County's Democratic candidate, William Lucas, and in the House of Delegates, Whig candidates Capt. John Moler and Anthony Kennedy beat out Van Buren candidates Wil- liam D. North and Jacob Morgan. To the editor of the Free Press,Har- rison's presidential victory looked as if it were starting to bear fruit. - Read more from "Jefferson County's Fourth Estate, 1840- 1850" in the Jan. 17 Spirit