Turning the Page

By: Paige Cline

Due to the current condition of the country and the world, a lot of people are likening the situation to the Great depression years of the thirties.

Not even close.

Anyone who remembers those times can see no resemblance between the dire circumstances of those days and the way folks, even so-called poor people live today.

Still most people back then were used to adversity so they made the best of the hard times. I have chosen some bits of everyday life from the year 1934 to portray in part life at that time.

In January, 1934 eighteen boys were enrolled at the CCC camp in Mullensville. Included in the camp roster were Everette Collins and Russell Beavers. The purpose of the CCC was to provide work and training for young men.

J.K. Beverly opened a general store across from the Court House.

The Piedmont Store in Mullens advertised genuine leather shoes for $1.19 a pair. Ladies hats were 79 cents and union suits (long underwear) were going for 69 cents.

Beckley beat the Mullens Rebels 21-16 in basketball.

A full-page ad in the IH announced the homecoming game between Pineville and Mullens. Admission for the game was 20 cents for students and 40 cents for adults.

The Majestic Laundry would clean and press your three-piece suit for 75 cents. Troy Stone would pick up cleaning at your home and deliver it when it was ready. 

W.C. Bailey, Jr. underwent “major surgery” in the Stevens Clinic Hospital in Welch. It was an appendectomy.

In the spring of 1934, Ralph Byrd, the 10 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Lon Byrd, died of spinal meningitis. The newspaper story listed 24 flower bearers including Mildred Rose, Charlene Belcher, Norma Belcher, Maxine Byrd, Mary Iva Shannon, Audra Cline, Virginia Wikel, Marita Wikel, Alvin Morgan, Claude Morgan, Byron Rose and Paul Cook.

Hundreds watched as “The Human Fly” claimed the Wyoming Hotel Building in Mullens with no type of assistance.

The Guyandotte River claimed two drowning victims in less than a week.

L.O. Belcher, sheriff of Wyoming County, died in a car wreck. Orwell Cook was named to complete the term. In the fall election, Cook was elected to the post. He was only Republican elected in a Democratic Landslide.

Dr. Ward Wylie was elected to the house of Delegates and John Lambert was elected to the county commission. 

You could buy a brand new Chevrolet for $465 at Pineville Motor Co. 

Otis Allen won the Pineville mayor’s race over W. C. Bailey 

After securing 45 subscribes, the C&P Telephone Co. installed a telephone system in Pinevile. The cost was $2.25 per month for a four-party line.

In November, 1934 Mullens businessmen W.W. Wells and W.O. Lay were killed in a plane crash in Beckley. The plane was owned by Wells and his partner W.H. Long. They owned the Long-Wells motor co.

A new town, “Rittermine,” six miles below Pineville, was assured by Ritter Lumber Co. officials. Ritter’s Red Jacket Coal Corp. opened a mine and the town was named Wyoming.

The paper reported that Jack Day, a piano tuner and player was arrested for bigamy. Seems that he married a Tralee girl without bothering to divorce his wife in North Carolina.

A moonshine still was destroyed on Joe’s Branch of Cabin Creek by lawmen Lane Cook, Bill Rutherford and Lee Anderson.

Such were the events of the day in a time of depression. But, hopelessness? Not on your life. People back then were optimistic and wiling to work to make things better.