By: Paige Cline
All this talk about gambling and holding elections to determine if so-called table games will be legal in some counties brought to mind something that I read some time back. So I went to the archives and found the results of an election in Wyoming County in 1933 to determine if the county would allow the sale of alcoholic beverages. You were either “wet” or “dry”.
The result, of course, was that liquor sales would be legal. The laws that determined how it would be sold would come later. Up until fairly recently, the state was the only legal vendor of hard liquor. Now you can buy it in drug stores.
Back to the election, I thought it was interesting as to how the different precincts voted. For instance, the Basin precinct voted 100 to O to stay dry. Not one vote was cast to legalize the whiskey sales. Rockview joined in the fight to keep the county dry by voting 108-43 against alcohol. Cyclone voted dry by an 81-26 margin. Sun Hill was dry, but by a closer 45-32 vote.
On the wet side, Glen Rogers, one of the larger precincts back then, voted pro wet by 273 to 22. Pineville was wet, 139-99. Mullens had a huge impact on the outcome by voting 335 to 111 to be wet.
It seems that in the areas that were pro-dry, there was a very strong religious influence. For some it was a business decision. Others were not particularly for alcohol sales, but saw it as inevitable and thought that it might be regulated better if it was legal.
Anyway, it was an interesting time for Wyoming County back in ’33.
About the same time of the wet-dry controversy, Camp Wyoming, the CCC reforestation camp was moving ahead with its plans to open. Wyoming County, like the rest of the nation was in the middle of the great
depression. The CCC camp appeared to be a Godsend to provide employment and training for unemployed young men. And, to provide a boost to the local economy.
There is a book about the CCC camp available and was written by the daughter of the camp commander. She did much of her research in the archives of the Independent Herald. She remarked at the time that she found information here that was unavailable in the Library of Congress.
Also in 1933, The Rev. E.I.Hill was already appreciated so much that a picnic was held in his honor on Keyrock. There were may choirs and singing groups to perform and the address was given by the very popular and respected Rev. G.P.Goode.
And then there was the front page news that a boy caught a 30 pound catfish in the Guyandotte River. The mudcat was 42 inches long, 22
inches around its middle and nine and a half inches around the head. As proof, the fish was on display in the offices of the newspaper.
The article said: “wrapped in soaked burlap. The fish was very much. alive, snapping when anyone put a hand too close to the mouth.”
I didn’t write it, I just report.