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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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October 29, 1998     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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October 29, 1998
 

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4 SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON Farmer's ADVOCATE - Thursday, October 29, 1998 Bill Theriault When we think of Harpers Ferry, the railroad and the canal always seem to be an integral part of the picture. Even the railroad tunnels and Route 340 snaking along the base of the mountains seem to be a natural part of the scene. The canal and the railroad arrived there in the early 1830's. But before that, what was the Ferry really like? Anne Royall provides a rare glimpse of Harpers Ferry in The Black Book, a travelogue pub- lished in 1829. Royall toured most of the Eastern United States at the time, and during one part of her trip came from Frederick, Maryland, to Harpers Ferry, then west to Charles Town and finally to Shepherdstown, where she was able to catch a stage ~o continue on her journey to Hagerstown and points East. Here's a glimpse of Harpers Ferry through her eyes, as it looked 170 years ago. "The fertility of the soil and the wealthy habitations soon disap- pear; after leaving Fredericktown, the country becoming hilly and quite rugged as you approach the Ferry, which is twenty miles west from Fredericktown. When within eight miles of the Ferry, the chasm is distinctly seen. Within three miles of the Ferry, the road reaches the Potomac, and passes along its shore the balance of the way. When you arrive on the bank of the river, upon looking forward, two distinct openings appear. The furthest which is the main Blue Ridge, being, as was said, three miles distant; the nearest is con- Serving Jefferson County Since 1844 EDITOR & PUBLISHER Edward 'Pat" Dockeney Editorial 000 Every so often, we, as citizens of the United States, are asked to take a few minutes of our time to cast a ballot to decide who will lead our government operations and on issues that will affect the quality of life for ourselves and oth- ers. Once again, we have that opportunity next Tuesday, November 3, when we decide who will be representing our interests at the state legis- lature and in county government. We will also make a choice on a very impor- tant issue that of a new service that would provide paid, trained professional personnel to man ambulances throughout Jefferson County. These are all very important decisions and we invite you to peruse today's issue of The Spirit, which contains pertinent information about the candidates and issues. On Pages 14 and 15, The Spirit has invited the candidates to speak out in their own words. Featured are two county commission races, one for the 55th District seat in the House of Del- egates and the 16th District for State Senate. Contained in today's legal advertisements is a complete sample ballot for next week's elec- tion, along with a detailed explanation of two proposed constitutional amendments and the county's ambulance levy. Even though this is an "off-year" election, the ballot is quite important and deserves the at- tention of a well-informed electorate. Check out the candidates and issues and then exercise your most important right as a citizen PLEASE VOTE! to the Editor CAPERTON ENDORSES UNGER Dear Eastern Panhandle Resident, I am proud to enthusiastically endorse the candidacy of John Unger for the State Senate. Our state, and particularly our region, faces great opportunities and challenges in the future and I be- lieve we need a Senator with John's energy and commitment. As a businessman and as a former Governor, I have clearly seen the great challenges that our area faces with the impact of tech- nology and competing in the world economy. John clearly under- stands these challenges in our so- ciety. He has expertise in interna- tional commerce and understands the role of technology. With his expertise and willingness to learn I feel he is the kind of person we need to help our area prosper in these new economic times. John will make a very positive contribution as our State Senator in education. John Unger under- stands the important role educa- tion plays in solving the problems we face as a society. From the strong background he received from local public schools to his un- dergraduate career at WVU and his tenure as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, John is an ex- cellent example of the power of education. I know John will bring not only an appreciation but also an enthusiasm to his work as State Senator. Because of John's understand- ing and commitment to economic development and education, I en- dorse his candidacy and ask you to join me in voting for him on Tues- day, November 3. A vote for John Unger can make a difference. Sincerely, Gaston Caperton OPPOSED TO FUNDING OPTION Dear Editor, We are not opposed to the emer- gency services. We are opposed to its funding, as it's unfair to the ru- ral people. Vote NO! Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. James L. Louthan Wade D. Louthan URGES PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 1 Dear Editor: As chairman of the West Vir- ginia Roundtable, an association representing the state's business leadership, I am writing to express our strong endorsement of Amend- ment 1, which will appear on the November 3 general election bal- lot. Passage of this constitutional amendment, titled the Local Op- tion Economic Development Amendment, will provide a useful tool to create jobs and economic development throughout West Virginia. It is no secret that West Virginia's rugged terrain, while providing great scenic beauty, is a major impediment to economic de- velopment and job growth. Pro- viding infrastructure (sewer, wa- ter and roads) to make sites con- struction-ready is more costly in West Virginia than in any neigh- boring state. Amendment i would provide an innovative way to fi- nance critical infrastructure im- provements without increasing the taxes of any West Virginian. The voters of the county of each proposed project would decide whether to allow the developer to partner with the local government to issue bonds to finance the nec- essary infrastructure for the project. On approved projects, the property taxes paid by the devel- oper on the improved property would be designated to service the bonds. The Roundtable believes that West Virginia should join the 18 other states that already have en- abled financing methods similar to this. We add our voice to the bi- partisan and diverse chorus of businesses, associations and indi- viduals, including Governors Un- derwood, Caperton and Smith, who all support this progressive measure. Not to do so would be to take a stop backward in the pur- suit of employment and prosperity for every West Virginian. Sincerely, Ralph J. Bean, Jr. Chairman West Virginia Roundtable WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM TOLD Dear Editor, I am from Edinburgh, Scotland participating in the Scottish- American Exchange Program at Johnson-Williams Middle School in Clarke County, Va. As a teacher, I have been impressed with your history; as a guest, I have been impressed with your beautiful scenery and hospitality. But I have encountered one ob- stacle - lack of water pressure. Your town's water is definitely not free, yet I am unable to shower in the morning. This may seem like a small problem but it is a real nuisance. My host teacher lives at the southern end of Mildred Street near the park. I can even tell when the neighbors turn on their water. I would appreciate your town's prompt attention to this matter. Janice Wilson Charles Town SUPPORTS AMBULANCE LEVY Dear Editor: As an active volunteer for over thirty years, I feel the citizens of Jefferson County need to vote for paid ambulance personnel to help provide emergency medical ser- vices in this county. On Tuesday, November 3, there will be a special ambulance excess levy on your bal- lot, please vote "FOR THE LEVY". The majority of funds generated from this levy would provide fund- ing for paid ambulance personnel in the four county fire departments that provide ambulance service. These volunteer stations would be staffed on staggered shifts Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. with each station having one emergency medical technician/ driver and one paramedic on duty eight hours per day. The majority of volunteers are not available Monday through Fri- day during the daylight hours due to other commitments such as em- ployment, education, etc. The vol- unteers would be responsible for providing ambulance service for the coverage during the times these paid personnel are not on station. The volunteer member- ships county wide are declining be- cause people have other interest and obligations. In order to pre- serve the volunteers now active, the passage of this levy would pro- vide some relief and guarantee faster ambulance responses to emergencies. I feel there is a major problem with emergency medical responses in Jefferson County dur- ing the daylight hours and this could be a starting point for the so- lution to the problem. In addition to the personnel being on station Monday through Friday for emer- gency ambulance calls, these indi- viduals could help reduce the workload of the volunteers in other ways directly related to emergency medical services. They could do ambulance reports, inventory am- bulance supplies and drug boxes and restock as needed, keep the ambulances in a professional and clean condition and ready for the next call. This becomes a time con- suming task for the volunteers in addition to providing emergency services. Then when the volun- teers are available, they could de- vote the majority of their time to providing emergency medical ser- Continued On Page 17 siderable mountain, called Short Hill, between which, and the grand passage, there is a valley of rich foliage, partially cultivated. This is only seen to the left, viz. Virginia side. This valley, spotted with fields of green wheat, fringed round with foliage, representing circular mounds, smoothly shorn, looks extremely beautiful. "The road, after reaching the river, is interrupted with rugged rocks, and closely hemmed in by this (first) mountain, and over- hung with terrifc precipices of stupendous height. Those rocks, projecting over the traveller's head, seem to maintain their place by magic. "The blood-chilled traveller, i however, is not insensible to the deafening roar of the foaming Po- tomac, which is distinctly seen up to the Ferry - rolling, as it does, over huge rocks, it resounds from cliff to cliff. "From this point, another vast hill shows itself through the chasm, directly west, in front of the traveller. This lies between the Shenandoah, and detracts much from beauty of the view, by .obstructing the range of the eye. "I had been told that we passed through the chasm in a boat, but such is not the case; the road leads quite through the mountain, when you cross the'Potomac, in a boat, over to the Virginia shore, about twenty yards above its junction with the Shenandoah - the only smooth place visible for miles, above or below. As you pass the great chasm your terror is tenfold, from the astonishing precipice overhead. This precipice consists of huge projecting rocks, which seem ready to start from their places, and crush the traveller be- neath. "But it is from the west side of the Blue Ridge that the grandeur of the scene appears to most ad- vantage. From the summit of the hill which lies between the Poto- mac and Shenandoah, you have the best view of this grand curios- ity. This is called Camp Hill, but is, more property, a mountain. As you stand on this hill, the Potomac ,lies on your left, the Shenandoah on your right. The mountain to the right runs up to the junction in a bold perpendicular front of solid rock, 1200 feet high. The moun- tain to the left, though 1400 feet high, slopes, obliquely, down to the water's edge. The Blue Ridge, on both sides of the river, presents nothing but naked rocks. These assume every figure in nature or art; some resemble houses with chimneys; others, ships under sail; to which we may add, tables, chairs, benches, and, with the aid of fancy, cows, sheep, bears, and even human figures! One of these last is called the portrait of Gen- eral Washington, in his uniform, even to his sword and epault. This is on the left, and near it is the fig- ure of a huge bear. "On the right stands a pile of rocks called the chimney, and has every appearance of a real stone chimney. It grows out of a large rock, which may aptly be called a house; it consists of thin stones, regularly laid on each other, about the height and size of a chimney, with this difference, only, a chim- ney is square, and this is circular; it is wholly detached from the mountain, resting exclusively on its foundation. It stands a little below the junction of the rivers, and is seen very plain from the porch of Maj. Stevenson's tavern. "As the Blue Ridge recedes from the chasm, the furrows and crevices of the rocks are stunted pine, and other small growth of rich foliage, which, at first, is scanty, but becomes more and more abundant, until it com- pletely conceals the rocks; and the mountain looks as though it were enveloped in a green mantle. "Both rivers meet precisely at the opening in the mountain. The Potomac is about 250 years wide, and apparently is not augmented by the Shenandoah, but what is singular, the Shenandoah, though much the smallest, has the ap- pearance of being the principal stream, inasmuch as it preserves an even course through the chasm, the river being parallel with it; whereas, the Potomac, when it arrives at the chasm, makes a sudden bend in the form of an ox-bow. This is caused by the course of the mountain on the Po- tomac side, which is from north to south, or nearly so; that on the Shenandoah side runs N.E. and S.W. "Both rivers are much inter- rupted with rocks and falls. The Shenandoah suddenly becomes contracted as it approaches the chasm, as if to gather strength for the daring attempt. A road leads up the Shenandoah as well as the Potomac, and also, has a ferry; both roads are much travelled, and both rivers are navigated by light boats. There is a small is- land in the Shenandoah some hundred years above the chasm, which contains several houses. The hill mentioned (Camp Hill), is several hundred feet in height, and presents a perpendicular front of solid rock to each river, upon which the village and work- shops of the armory are built, forming a long string of houses, with one street only on both riv- ers. "This I have, in plain words, at- tempted to draw a picture of this wonderful scene, and leave the rest to the imagination of the reader. When Jefferson said it was worth a trip across the Atlan- tic, he gave a very correct idea of this sublime assemblage of moun- tains, rocks, and rivers. "It is said that the best view is from the top of the Blue Ridge it- self, doubtless it is grand from any point. I only viewed it from the top of Camp Hill. If you can imag- ine yourself aloft in the air, with the Blue Ridge, such as I have de- scribed it, before you, cleft in twain by the united force of two proud rivers - if you can imagine a bold, impetuous river on each side of you, thundering and foaming over huge rocks, and then, at a dizzy depth beneath your feet, look down upon two long rows of houses - men, no larger than chil- dren, moving to and fro, then, add to this, the ferryboats continually plying on both rivers - carriages, horsemen, and pedestrians - if you can picture yourself all this, at once, you may form some idea of Harper's Ferry. To me it partakes more of the sublime than the beautiful; it inspires awe rather than pleasure; and deserves to rank next to the Falls of Niagara. "I was on the celebrated Jefferson's rock, as large as a great house. It over hangs the Shenandoah, a few hundred yards from the chasm. But the best view is on the top of the hill above the grave yard. It must exceed any- thing in nature when both rivers are full; they were quite low when I happened to be there. I have been told, too, that it appears more sublime by moonlight. "Mr. Gallaher, who edits the Ladies' Garland, at Harper's Ferry, a gentleman of considerable talents and literary taste, has fa- vored the world with the best de- scription I have seen of Harper's Ferry. Mr. G possessing much poetic taste, is eminently qualified to paint the scenery of Harper's Ferry. I have seen this little pro- duction; every line in it glows with the richest coloring. "Herein lies the difference be- tween Harper's Ferry, the Natural Bridge, and the Falls of Niagara, and is a plain proof of the superior claims of Niagara Falls over the two former, it cannot be described. But a lively fancy can find a wide field in the two latter, but more particularly Harper's Ferry. "This Ferry gives names to the village, which contains lS00 in- habitants, and one of the first es- tablishments for the manufacture of arms in the United States. It has the honor of having been se- lected by the penetrating eye of our Washington, as a proper and secure site for the manufacture of arins. "It is the site of one of the two national armories of the United States. From ten to fourteen thou- sand muskets per year are manu- factured at the establishment. The water power that might have been commanded, if the works had been properly planned and con- structed in the first instance, is immense, and would have fur- nished the means of manufactur- ing one hundred thousand stands of arms, whenever the exigencies of the country required it. "A very ingenuously planned machine, invented by Mr. Blanchard, is used at the works on the Potomac, for turning gun- stocks, which, strange as it may appear, actually performs that op- eration, while the stock, in its rough state, revolves slowly around on centers, one at each end, giving to every part of the stock its proper form and propor- tions, some of which are curved, others straight, angular, &c. The principle of this ingenuously con- trived machine, is applicable to a great variety of purposes, and has, it is said, been applied to the turn- ing os ship's blocks, and shoemak- ers' lasts. "In the buildings on the Shenandoah, are manufactured the arms known by the name of Hall's Rifles, which combine all the useful properties of the com- mon rifle and the musket. The in- ventor has constructed machinery for manufacturing them in a very perfect manner. The accuracy of the work performed with these machines, is such as, that every part of each rifle suits equally well to its corresponding parts in all of them, thereby effecting the impor- tant object of rendering the fabri- cation of all the different compo- nent parts of the arms perfectly independent of each other, and ac- complishing such a complete divi- sion of labor, as will ultimately, be productive of the highest degree of economy. "The Hall Rifle I never heard of till I saw it in this armory. It is a great curiosity, as well as a great improvement, in the art of gun- nery. The improvement consists in the facility of loading. No ram- rod is used, nor is the bullet, &c. put in at the muzzle. By pressing a spring, the breech opens a little from the lower end of the barrel, and the load is thrust in, and the spring replaced in an instant of time. I saw the inventor, Capt. Hall, a Yankee; he appears to be the principal at Colonel name. Captain only attends to ment on the She musketry is done I visited all the are described in my workmen were scarcely They all work cellent plan - done. Col. gentlemanly mal manager of the however, many zens at most of the men. Besides C Maj. Broadhurst, Capt. Hall, son, Mr. Dudley, are very genteel C---r were the the place, and brave men; of ment ought to Captain Hall, Robinson, "A word on the pears to have establishment; he versal genius, defatigable man ment, whom I patronizes him How our upon it is a Yankees are sol where, to manage business He has been at tablish schools the place, and ute to every time, his talents, are liberally the prosperity which account teemed by the ried to the niece Preble, at least, Portland, who, brother of the H. like her finest women in some and She deserves rificing the ety she is so we adorn. She is woman, and face is stamped There are, plary females at Major very women. Mrs. an elderly wealth. She does, or did, own erty at the first settler of the membered the Rochefocault to then, when I the room looked through th! from which he vi Ridge. As well as Duke was not for the passage of through the mount was in rapture wt Niagara. Mrs. W.i very fine woman,~ round the waist ever beheld. Shei amiable young ladi daughters or niece which. "While speakinl I must not forget jor Stevenson; he tavern at the Fen amiable man, hig: public patronag obliging little da' never forget, whi Harper's Ferry. | "Mr. Gallaher, dies Garland, ha~[ ferry, to reside at~ few miles distant. also absent from tl "Finally, this p[ a call, both from and the philosoph~ all, from the poei sorry that my purs from thence. Nevl anyone enjoy them the time I left southwardly, havi my time to the than disappoint tion, my journeys ! fatiguing, always ~ the pen in my hand~ the pleasure whicl~ ized by those less 0 Next week the tinue with Anne 1~ ter with the dread of Harpers Ferry. The way out never as simple ! ! In the 19th c~ at Cambridge} Engl~ind, were-r~ keepa dog In tl~ Byron, the fame lI with the rule-h~ Instead. l