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
"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.
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
"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
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
(Editor's note: This idea has been continued and you can see the
results here The Alderson