1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Alderson Then

Tom Dameron 2008

The Aldersonian has become a vehicle for stories about our history growing up in this beautiful community as well as a news vehicle of current interest to its readers. The tales of years past are not only interesting, but revealing about our common history in the Greenbrier Valley. Recently, I began visiting our library and reviewing some archive film of the "Alderson Advertiser." I initially thought of browsing the pages of the paper for a few hours and then moving on to other more productive use of time and energy. I am not sure what happened, but my first few visits to the pages of the "Advertiser" got me hooked on the informative and interesting articles contained in the pages therein. Possibly you, the visitors to this web site, may be interested in sharing the thoughts and ruminations of "The Advertiser." If interest is shown then I hope to offer some of these pages to you from time to time. Much of what is contained in the paper is known by most of us.

Tom Dixon in his work "The Rise and Fall of Alderson" described the heyday of our community from its founding, through the advent of the railroad to the ultimate "fate" of this community to become a small "bedroom" community with little attraction to new business or expansion of its resources. Alderson remains a beautiful "gem" in the hills in this valley, and as many of you can attest when you return to its natural beauty, friendly atmosphere, welcome surroundings, and all around "homecoming" to all who visit.

Thanks to the hard work of John McCurdy and others who raised the funds to buy the archival film of the Advertiser and store them in the library, we are afforded the treat of browsing its pages. The paper began its existence in 1899 under Editor J. B. Crouch. In the first edition Mr. Crouch outlined the purpose of the paper as follows:

"Alderson Advertiser December 14, 1899: "For only $1 32 columns of matter 52 times a year. As an advertising medium it will have no superior in this section of the state. It will contain all the news fit to print and therefore read by the masses. Politically, it will endeavor to keep full abreast of the best thought and action of the Democratic Party." That pretty well sums up the "business plan" of this paper. A few articles and advertising that appeared in the first few issues of the paper are enclosed for your entertainment. (Hopefully!).

Each edition contained the schedule of east and west bound daily trains stopping in Alderson. Of note, is a comment in the paper that the commercial (freight) traffic was so numerous that the number of trains could not be counted? There were three daily passenger eastbound trains (#4, 14, and 7) and three westbound (#3, 13, and 1). The first edition stated that "Alderson is one of the largest shipping points both for outgoing and incoming freight along the line of the C&O Road." This is quite a statement even for 1899.

For those of you who are interest the first edition contained a very interesting article written by Geo. Alderson entitled "Alderson, Its Past, Present and Prospective." From time to time I will endeavor to include some parts of this article for your information.

The paper included the Democratic Ticket (August 16, 1900) for the national election. W. J. Bryan, of Nebraska for President, Adlai E. Stevenson of Ill., for VP., and John Holt of Cabell County for Governor. The Progressive Town Ticket for 1900 as contained in the December, 14, 1899 issue included the following:

Mayor, J. C. Gwinn
Recorder, W. J. Hancock
Councilmen: L. E. Johnson, J. Orr Nickell, F. G. Lobban, E. Chase Bare and J. N. Mann

If any of you are descendants, or know of stories about these men it would interesting to read your thoughts on any of them. I was fascinated by the article submitted by Marjorie Lobban about the Lobban business interests. I believe that the F. G. Lobban noted above is one and the same F. G. Lobban who was noted in Marjorie's article. (A personal thought about her article is that I looked forward to every Christmas season visit to Lobban's and the model train display). I am confident that there are many of you out there who are descendants of every one of the above gentlemen, and it would be great to have some stories about each of them.

"The backwash by the island just above town was frozen to a depth of 2 inches last week and our young people enjoyed for several days that most delightful of winter sports - skating."

The railroad came to Alderson in 1872.

August 2, 1900. An advertisement read as follows: "Why do you go to Alderson when you can stop at the General Store of S. A. Suttlee at Palestine and buy goods as cheap if not cheaper, and of as good quality as you can get in town" WOW! Now that is competition!! Does anyone have information about the store, its location, its proprietor etc.?

"Our policeman Mr. G. P. Hicks has been supplied with hand-cuffs, nippers, and other instruments of humiliation and torture and proposes to see things run just right inside the corporation. As yet, Mr. Hicks, has not had occasion to use the aforementioned articles for our town is a very orderly one." Now that is "law enforcement"!!!! Can you imagine it running any other way than "just right" with that type of deterrent? Does anyone know what a "nipper" is - or "other instruments of humiliation" Could be an interesting article in itself.!!!!!! (Nippers: Older Slang for handcuffs)

"Attention is called to the very poor condition of the sidewalk at the end of the bridge. It should be repaired." Some things never change.

August 16, 1899. An advertisement. "In the Elmore House, corner of Wick ham Street and Railroad Avenue. Where you will find all the delicacies of the season served in the best manner and at reasonable rates. Cigars, confectioner ion, soft drinks and everything good to eat will be constantly on hand." Haynes and Trice Owners.

August 30, 1900. "A band of gypsies are camped on the road just below the fair ground."

"Buckskin Bill's Wild and Wooly Western show will exhibit in Ronceverte on the 12th. The small boys - and perhaps some larger ones - will have virulent attacks of Western fever and a desire to go West and slay Indians and buffalo, although there are few Indians and no buffalo to slay, will be planted in the breast of hundreds of boys so deep that it will take many a dose of "hickory tea" to thoroughly purge their system." I'll bet that there are more than a few of you who could relate a story or two about the use of "hickory tea". What ever happened to the "good-ole-days"!!!!!

It is my sincere hope that some of you will enjoy some of these stories. I promise to keep them shorter in the future - that is if there is some interest in hearing more from the pages of this newspaper.
(Editor's note: This idea has been continued and you can see the results here The Alderson Advertiser)

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