International expansion,
domestic reform followed
presidential assassination
by Gerald D. Swick
Editor’s note: Today begins the first in a series of stories about pivotal moments in the 20th century and how they helped to change life in West Virginia.

    When an assassin’s bullet felled President William McKinley in September 1901, it dramatically altered the course of America.
    On Sept. 27, the Republican Clarksburg Telegram loyally described the martyred leader of that party as “the greatest ruler of the age and among the greatest in history.”
    A more accurate description comes from Colliers Encyclopedia: A “cautious, conciliatory politician rather than a leader,” whose chief aim was to support the industrial class that had supported him in Congress.
    In Clarksburg, an official mourning ceremony was held at the courthouse, while “Colored people of all creeds,” held their memorial service at the Methodist Episcopal Church on Water Street, now E.B. Saunders Way.
    With the passing of McKinley, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt moved into the White House. Cheering West Virginians had jammed the streets of Charleston when he spoke there during the presidential campaign, but Roosevelt’s ascendancy brought dismay to many in his party.
    Ohio political boss Marcus Hanna complained, “I told William McKinley it was a mistake to nominate that wild man ... Now look, that damned cowboy is president of the United States.”
    “That damned cowboy” proved to be the leader McKinley had not been. He increased American power abroad, while overseeing a series of moderate domestic reforms, which he viewed as preferable to more radical changes that many were demanding. Many later changes had their incubation during his term.
    When Roosevelt took office, America was gradually recovering from the devastating Panic of 1893. Discoveries of gold in Alaska, South Africa and elsewhere increased the amount of money available. Crop shortages overseas temporarily helped struggling U.S. farmers.
    The nation had established its credentials as a player in the age of imperialism with its decisive victory in the Spanish-American War at the close of the 19th century, placing Cuba and the Philippines under U.S. control.
    In November 1903, Roosevelt sent ships and troops to support an uprising in the Panama region of Columbia. The new Panamanian government gratefully agreed to accept $10 million from the United States, plus an annual rent of $250,000, in exchange for allowing its powerful ally to complete and maintain a canal that would finally provide a quick sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
    On the domestic front, the president faced increasing demands for social and labor reform. Popular novels promoted the idea that any boy could lift himself up by his own bootstraps to rise from poverty to exceptional wealth. A few, like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, saw that dream come true, but the average worker at the turn of the century earned $400 to $500 annually, according to “American History” by Richard N. Current, et al. The poverty line was $600.
    The “morality of business” blended with religious imagery to shower divine blessing on the successes and excesses of capitalism. “The growth of a large merely the working out of the law of nature and a law of God,” as John D. Rockefeller expressed it.
    Others found the treatment of American workers anything but divine. Increased mechanization not only required fewer laborers, it allowed factory owners to replace male workers with women and children who were paid less and forced to toil for 12-14 hours a day in deplorable conditions. Reformers finally forced through a national child labor law in 1916, but the Supreme Court struck it down two years later.
    On farms, increased crop production caused prices to vary as wildly as March weather, and thousands left agriculture for life in the cities.
    In West Virginia between 1870-1880, the estimated value of farm products dropped $4 million, according to “West Virginia, the mountain state,” by Charles H. Ambler and Festus P. Summers. A state board of agriculture was created in 1891, but proved ineffective, although it did pave the way for later agricultural extension programs.
    In industry, capital investment and product value rose sufficiently to take West Virginia from 35th to 28th nationally in industrial production. However, the number of industrial establishments here declined.
    Unlike manufacturing, extraction industries — coal, gas and oil — needed ever-increasing labor pools. Agents encouraged Europeans to immigrate to the land of plenty. African-Americans left farms of the Eastern Panhandle or escaped sharecropping in the South and began moving into the southern counties of West Virginia, where they could make more money in the mines.
    A miner’s life expectancy was minimal. Mine owners were under no constraints to provide safe working conditions, and labor unions were slow to develop here. In the anthracite coal strike of 1901-1903, public opinion backed the miners, but government and the courts sided with mine, railroad and factory owners. The stage was set for bloody showdowns that continued for decades.
    Roosevelt’s administration also established the National Forest Service to manage the country’s national resources in a business-like fashion and aided the first national push for conservation.

1902 coal strike
a taste of the
century ahead
by Troy Graham
    In the spring of 1902, a fledgling United Mine Workers of America requested a joint meeting with coal operators to discuss standard wages, shorter hours and improved working conditions. The coal companies refused and, on June 7, 1902, the union ordered a general strike.
    The 1902 anthracite strike, named after the hard, anthracite coal mined at the time, was one of the most pivotal events in the history of labor and coal mining.
    Out of that strike came one of the union’s most legendary figures — Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Born in Ireland in 1830, Mother Jones became involved in the union movement after her husband and children died in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, and after her business burned down in the great Chicago fire of 1871, according to her autobiography.
    Turning her life’s work to helping the working man, she became a “walking delegate” for the UMWA in early strikes.
Mother Jones and the others who fought for better pay and better conditions in the mines are fondly remembered by UMWA officials today.
    “There’s just a great deal of history. We talk about it all the time,” said Rich Eddy, the president of the UMWA District 31 in Fairmont. “We still have the same principles of representing the miners.”
    But, Eddy said, it’s a different era for today’s UMWA, where the union and companies have joined forces.
“In the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s we used to fight amongst each other,” he said. “Today we’re fighting battles together.”
    The biggest threat to the worker today is government regulation and international treaties on clean air, he said. The unions and the coal companies believe coal is being unfairly blamed for global warming, and they fear some of the measures could put coal out of business for good. “It was a whole lot easier battling the coal companies than battling the government,” he said.
    The cooperation between the companies and the unions is something that would have never seemed possible in Mother Jones’ day. But today’s unions are still carrying the legacy and the tradition started in the days of the anthracite strike, Eddy said. “The general purpose hasn’t changed,” he said. “How we get to it has changed.”
    The anthracite strike order was initially ignored at the large mines in Clarksburg, Fairmont and Monongah. The Clarksburg Telegram ran a headline on June 18, 1902 that read: “Mines Running As Usual.” It was “as if there had been no order issued at all,” the paper wrote.
    Farmington miners, however, obeyed the strike order and marched on the Monongah mines, where “some disorder resulted,” the paper wrote.
    Mother Jones’ memoir is littered with descriptions of armed thugs hired by the coal companies and miners who “disappeared” when the unions were organizing workers and holding rallies.
    The Telegram declared the strike a “decided failure.” The paper, leaning strongly toward the coal operators, wrote that “the companies have absolute confidence in their employees and believe they will continue at work.”
    Nonetheless, the Fairmont Coal Co. and the Clarksburg Fuel Co. obtained a federal injunction to keep rallies from taking place in coal mining neighborhoods and on roads leading to coal mines. Injunctions had been used successfully in previous strikes to battle unions.
    Despite the injunction, and the danger of the armed men, Mother Jones and other UMWA officials attempted to hold their rallies. A small item in the June 20, 1902 Clarksburg Telegram said that handbills had been seen in Clarksburg announcing a rally, where Mother Jones would speak, but the exact location was not disclosed.
    In Monongah, the coal company forbid the promotion of a rally. So the union had pairs of men walk through the streets, one pretending that he was hard of hearing, while the other shouted to him that Mother Jones would be holding a rally.
    “Then the deaf fellow would ask him what he said, and he would holler to him again,” Mother Jones wrote. “So the word got around the entire camp and we had a big crowd.”
    When the Clarksburg rally was held the following week, Mother Jones, Fairmont union leader Tom Haggerty and nine other union “agitators,” as they were called, were arrested for violating the federal injunction.
    Federal Judge John J. Jackson, who issued the injunction, refused to jail Mother Jones and later released another union organizer who had heart disease. Jones called him a “human judge” and a play called “Brimstone and Lace,” first produced in 1976, was written about their courtroom encounter.
    The strike ended that fall but only after coal shortages drove President Theodore Roosevelt to mediate an agreement. A board of inquiry set up by Roosevelt found in favor of the miners and their demands.
    Mother Jones, however, was critical of UMWA leader John Mitchell. She felt Mitchell allowed the coal operators to get off without having to recognize the unions. “Labor walked into the House of Victory through the back door,” she wrote.
    Mother Jones died on Nov. 30, 1930. According to the magazine Golden Seal, she promised, “When I get to the other side, I am going to tell God Almighty about West Virginia.”
    In 1932, Congress enacted the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which recognized the right of unions to organize and limited the use of injunction in labor disputes.

Cleanup has
everything —
including the
kitchen sink
by Paul Leakan
    Jerry Bartley has scooped up junk in Clarksburg for about 17 years. This year, he almost can’t believe what he’s seeing.
Refrigerators. Televisions. Rusted steel barrels. Baby carriages. Pea green seat cushions. Psychedelic easy chairs that survived the ’60s. Cracked bath tubs. And, yes, even a few kitchen sinks. “Where can all this garbage be coming from?” Bartley wonders. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it.”
    Bartley, a heavy machine operator, is one of 14 city employees picking up and hauling away residents’ unwanted junk during the city’s annual spring cleanup.
    As always, small mountains of unwanted merchandise line the curbs. It’s man versus junk. Junk versus time. Junk. Junk. Junk.
    Bartley and the crew have had plenty of work to do since the three-week program began April 12. They hauled away 25 truck-loads of junk to the landfill on one day alone. Each truckload can weigh around 3 tons or more.
    Despite the large loads, there’s some confidence. Confidence that their hard work will once again successfully provide residents with what many believe is one of the best programs the city offers.
    “They try to make the best they can out of the situation,” said Anthony Bellotte, a superintendent in the city’s public works department. “It’s part of a day’s work here. They just work together and get it done.”
    The crew has a long way to go before it accomplishes the feat of clearing away all the junk before April 30.
The city corralled 234 tons of unwanted junk from residents last year.
    This year, crews have been tied up for hours loading up junk on one street. One small house on Williams Avenue in North View had four console TVs and a pile of furniture. Two houses filled one truck.
    Carlo Byrd, who has been a public works employee for about 11 years, wonders how people can store all the junk in the house. It’s almost as if people are throwing away their entire house, he said.
    The city added another end-loader to help the cause. They are using two end-loaders and six trucks. Two workers man the trucks. Still, the city has started to get behind schedule.
    A large part of the problem is that many residents are not following the city’s instructions to bag, box or tie all small items. Small pieces of junk are scattered in piles on several residents’ lawns, making it time-consuming for workers to pick up.
Some residents are tossing out old tires and batteries — items that the city will not collect.
    Huge loads at individual houses have made it difficult for workers to keep up with the schedule. And Bartley believes some people are unfairly taking advantage of the service.
    But there aren’t too many options, Bellotte said. “Sometimes it gets out of control. We used to allow no more than one load per residence, but that doesn’t seem to work. Once people put it out they’ll never bring it back in. We’re just as well to pick up everything.”
    Byrd knows that some residents could choose a much more destructive solution. “If they don’t throw it out this way, they’ll throw it over a hill somewhere.”
    While the city may end up going a few days longer than it expected to retrieve all the junk, they will finish the job, Bellotte said. “Be patient,” he said. “If somehow or another we don’t pick up on a certain day, just be patient with us. We’ll be there.”
    Until then, Byrd and others said they will take pride in their hard work. “God is blessing the city for this service,” Byrd said. “And we’re blessed to do it.”

Glassworkers helping to
put Jane Lew on the map
by Deanna Wrenn
    Nestled in the hills of Lewis County lies a town of hard working people who enjoy their spot in the mountains.
 Jane Lew offers residents a close proximity to both Buckhannon and Clarksburg and offers tourists a look at the area’s historic glass industry.
    The citizens of Jane Lew have a tradition of hard work, residents there say. These ideals are still alive and well in Masterpiece Crystal, a glass factory with 38 employees. As visitors can observe on tours, the glass is hand-blown and formed into many different shapes, then cooled and prepared to be shipped all over the country.
    “There is a huge market for hand-blown glass,” said Rick Bailey, production supervisor at the factory. “We work hard to make sure everything is unique and perfect.”
    Both local residents and visiting tourists enjoy learning how the glass is made on the factory tour, Bailey said.
“During the summertime, tours really pick up. We get tour buses and everything,” Bailey said. “It’s really unbelievable.”
The 20 workers on the floor of the factory turn out a total of about 3,000 pieces of glass per day, depending on what they’re working on. Ninety percent of the employees have worked for a glass factory before, and most of them live in Jane Lew or Lewis County.
    “This factory is a great employment opportunity in the area,” Bailey said, “And by shipping this glassware all over the country, we’re putting the name Jane Lew on the map.”
    That name could become more and more known since the factory continues to grow after its re-opening (after the original factory from the 1970s was closed) in 1991.
    “We’ve been steadily growing since we opened,” Bailey said. “Over the past seven or eight years we’ve had nothing but growth, which is really nice.”
    One of the main reasons Bailey thinks the factory is expanding is because of the hard work and dedication of the workers.
“These guys really know what they’re doing,” Bailey said. “They make it seem so easy.”
    The glass factory plays a big role in the town of Jane Lew, just like any major employer in other places. One resident thinks that the city needs more places like the glass factory to attract more and more young people to the area.
    “Jane Lew is a good town to retire in, but it’s hard for young people to come here and make a living,” said Joseph Lightburn Jr., 70. “The glass factory has been a really big help to our community.”
    If it is one person who knows about the Jane Lew community, it is Lightburn. His great-grandfather was Gen. Joseph A. J. Lightburn, who fought with the Union Army in the Civil War. The historic marker commemorating the general now sits beside Lightburn’s hardware store. Lightburn and his father started the general store in 1956 and converted it into a hardware only store in 1978.
    Now, Lightburn stands behind his antique 1901 cash register, spending his days talking to friends and waiting on customers who wander in. “There’s so many new people in Jane Lew that you don’t really know as many people as you used to,” Lightburn said. “I used to know everyone who came in here, but this town seems to be growing.”
    Lightburn said the town is growing mostly on the outskirts, and that more and more businesses are helping the economy of the area. “We have new businesses, but we still have some of the same businesses in the area,” he said. “When you have a business like this one with an individual owner, it’s more likely to stay in the area.”
    Another business that isn’t planning on going anywhere soon is Post Office Pizza. The restaurant, which converted a post office into a pizza place, was recently bought by Kenneth and Samantha Singleton.
    POP sells a variety of foods, from peroghi pizza to chicken wings to steak sandwiches, and they are the only delivery service in the area. “It’s good food and we’re good to the customers,” said Singleton’s aunt Janet Short, who works at the restaurant. “(Kenny) makes his own dough and his own sauce. We get a lot of compliments from people all over.”
Singleton worked in a much larger pizza restaurant in Maryland before moving to Jane Lew.
“I got robbed at gunpoint,” he said. “That’s when I said, ‘that’s it’ and moved out here. I am glad to be here.”
    Most residents of this small town seem to enjoy living in the hills of Lewis County. “It’s a regular small town,” Bailey said. “It’s quiet; the people are friendly; and there’s not a lot of trouble here.”
    Lightburn also enjoys living in Jane Lew. “I was born in the same house I live in now. It was the finest place in the world then, and it still is,” he said. “You feel like your nestled in these hills and you just feel secure.”

Clarksburg Publishing Co. finishes third
in Press Association advertising contest
From Staff Reports

    The Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram claimed third place in the West Virginia Press Association Advertising Awards Contest. The honor was announced Friday night in Charleston at the press association’s annual advertising banquet.
Competing against larger newspapers in Charleston, Huntington, Beckley and Wheeling, the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram won one first place, four second place, three third place and two honorable mention awards in various Division 1 categories.
    “We’re really proud of the efforts of our graphic artists working in conjunction with our advertising representatives to create effective advertising,” said Exponent and Telegram assistant publisher Andrew Kniceley. “This is part of our philosophy of giving our advertisers more value than our competition and it works hand in hand with the efforts of our newsroom, which won first place in general excellence last year, to make our papers the best in West Virginia,” Kniceley said.
Awards won by Clarksburg include:
— First place: Best Political Ad for “Vote No on No. 1.”
— Second place: Best Newspaper Promotional Campaign for “My Life, My Home, My Newspaper.”
— Second place: Best Classified Display Ad for “Country Club Chrysler Plymouth Dodge.”
— Second place: Best Classified Section.
— Second place: Best House Ad for “It Takes Great People.”
— Third place: Best Political Ad for “Barbara Warner.”
— Third place: Best Real Estate Ad for “Homefinders Plus.”
The Charleston Newspapers won first place in Division 1 while The Register Herald of Beckley finished second.

Barbour residents help make
the Tygart Valley River ‘shine’
by Torie Knight
    Tom Jones knows that picking up trash one weekend near the river won’t change the ecosystem significantly or purify the water.
    But, the general biology and ecology professor from Alderson-Broaddus College does believe every little bit helps.
Jones and other members of the Tygart Valley River Watershed Preservation and Development Alliance gathered in the misty cold Saturday morning to clean up the area around “Party Rock’’ near Moats Falls in Barbour County. The cleanup was part of the West Virginia Make It Shine project.
    “Realistically, we’re not moving enough trash to make a big impact,” Jones said. “This is more public awareness.”
He is an aquatic ecologist who has done extensive research on West Virginia’s waters. He believes water across the state — from the Tygart Valley River to the Ohio River — improved dramatically after the 1972 passage of the Clean Water Act.
“Things are better than they were, much better,” he said.
    “Party Rock,” as local folks call it, extends above Moats Falls. The large rock has been weathered by the wind and river, colored by cans of spray paint and littered by ashes from camp fires and the broken bottles of weekend parties.
    It’s a popular hangout for both college and local youth. It’s also a magnet for litter, which often floats down the Tygart to neighboring counties.
    “I just wish people would bring their own garbage bags so that when they leave they’ll take their garbage with them,” said alliance member Whitni Kines.
    In just one hour of picking up litter, the volunteers collected more than 15 bags of trash.
Philippi resident Tammy Stemple said she hated to think that after the first nice weekend and the first big party out on the rock the trash would return. “There is just no policing of this area,” Stemple said. She would like to see trash cans out near the river — a project the alliance may undertake.
    Last week, many of the same volunteers helped with the Philippi Main Street Cleanup. “I think people will, hopefully, get excited about doing something positive for the community when they see the efforts we make to clean it up,” said Karen Weaver, assistant city manager for Philippi.
    Philippi resident Andrew Trader was out on litter patrol Saturday simply because he likes to fish and loves the rushing Tygart Valley River. His home is a rock’s throw from the river, he said. And during flooding he knows about the trash that floats downstream.
    A younger generation yet to party on the rock also helped with the cleanup. “This is really disgusting I think,” said Chelsea Reed, 11, as she and friend Kimberly Starkey, 13, filled up a black trash bag.
    When it is their turn to venture out to the rock for good music, some kayaking and a camp fire, they’ll remember Saturday morning. They plan to go to the rock with trash bag in hand.


Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302 USA
Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999