West Virginia

Photo of the Day

The Last Survivor: At 4 p.m., moaning was heard near a crop hole, and a rescuer was lowered through the hole on a rope. About 100 feet below, he found miner Peter Urban sitting on the shattered body of his brother, Stanislaus, staring glassy eyed into space as he sobbed uncontrollably. He was the last survivor of the Monongah disaster. He escaped the full blast of the explosion and was brought up to the light of day through a toad hole near the No. 8 portals. However, sad to say, this hard-working Polish immigrant, who survived the worst industrial accident in United States history, died 19 years later in an accident in the same Monongah coal mine from which he previously escaped. The poor fellow’s luck finally ran out!

Coal Mining Disaster in Monongah, West Virginia

“I was out on the loaded track and was looking toward the mouth of number 8 and the first thing I knew I saw timbers and everything flying through the air…. followed by black smoke. It seemed to me the smoke was afire. It seemed to me it was a short distance in the air, maybe fifty or sixty feet.” 

This was the memory of Carl Meredith, a Foreman at the Fairmont Mine in West Virginia.

On December 6, 1907, at about 10:30 a.m., two coal mines – connected underground – known as Monongah No. 6 and Monongah No. 8, were destroyed by a series of explosions that killed more than 500 miners. While the official count listed 358 miners and three rescuers dead, the use of subcontractors by miners to increase their production, as well as the number of funerals, have lead historians to conclude that the number of dead likely exceeds 500.

With disregard for the safest mining practices of the time, the mines were connected underground on the west side of the West Fork River. As a result, the explosions needlessly killed workers in both mines.

The series of explosions in the mines in Monongah caused disruption not only underground but above ground as well. They rocked buildings in their foundations, tossed people like rag dolls and treated the transportation system like putty. Street cars were thrown from their rails like toys; horses fell on the streets as though light as feathers.

Such was the force of the explosions.

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You’ll never guess why Hillary Clinton lost West Virginia when she won it in 2008

Hillary Clinton got spanked in West Virginia by Bernie Sanders. but you will never guess why she lost the state she won in 2008.

West Virginia is one of the most conservative states in the country — so why did its voters support Bernie Sanders, who routinely ranks among the most liberal senators, by a margin of 51 to 36?

The answer has a lot to do with the uniqueness of West Virginia’s political landscape.

After his victory, Sanders said he won West Virginia on the strength of his “anti-establishment” political revolution. Under his interpretation, Sanders’s outsider insurgency has allowed him to scramble the traditional left-right divide and secure the white working class.

Others think this misses a big part of the story. According to the political scientists I interviewed, Sanders may be winning states like West Virginia largely because he’s become an all-purpose vessel for conservative Democrats who think the party has moved too far to their left under Barack Obama.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo:Top, Wedding photo of Zona and Trout Shue. Botton Left hand side, Elva Zona Heaster; Bottom right hand side, Mary Jane Heaster, Zona's mother.

Photo: Top, Wedding photo of Zona and Trout Shue. Bottom Left hand side, Elva Zona Heaster; Bottom right hand side, Mary Jane Heaster, Zona’s mother.

The Witness that Testified from Beyond the Grave!

They say dead men tell no tales … but what about dead women?

January 23, 1897, the body of a young woman named Zona Heaster Shue was discovered in her home in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. It seemed to be a rather ordinary case of perhaps domestic discord gone wrong, but in the end, the case turned out to be anything but ordinary. In fact, it went on to become one of the most unusual stories in the history of crime.  It remains a one-of-a-kind event: the only case in which the word of a ghost helped to solve a crime and convict a murderer!

Zona Heaster was born in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, around 1873. Little is known about her life, growing up in the Richlands region of the county but in October 1896, she met a man named Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue. He was a drifter who came to Greenbrier County to work as a blacksmith and to start a new life for himself. He began working in the shop of James Crookshanks, which was located just off of the old Midland Trail. A blacksmith could find plenty of work along this rough, unpaved trail, and throughout the county, and Shue became well-known for his work.

Zona became acquainted with Shue a short time after he arrived in town. The two of them were attracted to each other and soon were married, despite the animosity felt towards Shue by Zona’s mother, Mary Jane Robinson Heaster. She had taken an instant dislike to him and often told her daughter that she felt there was something the otherwise amiable man was hiding.

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Photo Of The Day

Flyer about the Sodder children. Courtesy of Jennie Henthorn

Flyer about the Sodder children. Courtesy of Jennie Henthorn

Mystery of the Missing Sodder Children

For nearly four decades, anyone driving down Route 16 near Fayetteville, West Virginia, could see a billboard bearing the grainy images of five children, all dark-haired and solemn-eyed, their names and ages—Maurice, 14; Martha 12; Louis, 9; Jennie, 8; Betty, 5—stenciled beneath, along with speculation about what happened to them.

Fayetteville was and is a small town, with a main street that doesn’t run longer than a hundred yards, and rumours always played a larger role in the case than evidence; no one even agreed on whether the children were dead or alive.

What everyone knew for certain was this: On the night before Christmas 1945, George and Jennie Sodder and nine of their 10 children went to sleep (one son was away in the Army). Around 1 a.m., a fire broke out. George and Jennie and four of their children escaped, but the other five were never seen again.

George had tried to save them, breaking a window to re-enter the house, slicing a swath of skin from his arm. He could see nothing through the smoke and fire, which had swept through all of the downstairs rooms: living and dining room, kitchen, office, and his and Jennie’s bedroom.

He took frantic stock of what he knew: 2-year-old Sylvia, whose crib was in their bedroom, was safe outside, as was 17-year-old Marion and two sons, 23-year-old John and 16-year-old George Jr., who had fled the upstairs bedroom they shared, singeing their hair on the way out. He figured Maurice, Martha, Louis, Jennie and Betty still had to be up there, cowering in two bedrooms on either end of the hallway, separated by a staircase that was now engulfed in flames.

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US teenager spanks 67-year-old Republican incumbent in West Virginia

I love stories like this, where cunning campaigning youth take out tired old codgers past their use by date.

At 17, Saira Blair is only barely old enough to drive.

But the West Virginia schoolgirl is on course to become America’s youngest state legislator after unseating a Republican nearly four times her age.

Miss Blair ran as a hard-line conservative in her successful bid to defeat Larry Kump, a 67-year-old member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

The high school student touted her support for gun owners and her opposition to abortion as she charged to an 872-728 victory.

“People saw that you don’t need to wait until you are 40, 50 or 60 to realise our conservative principles are beneficial to everyone,” said Miss Blair  Read more »

Is this what Jesus wanted?

NZ Herald

Although I wasn’t aware Jesus wanted us to handle venomous snakes to prove faith, he must clearly have wanted this pastor to die.

I am not an expert in these matters, but I recommend Christians or anyone of other faiths to prove their commitment by helping people. It’s safer than handling rattlesnakes.

A West Virginia preacher who followed his father into the rare practice of handling snakes to prove faith in God died after being bitten during an outdoor service involving the reptiles.

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford, 44, whose own father died in 1983 after suffering a fatal bite had been bitten before and survived. But he died earlier this week after witnesses say a timber rattler bit him on the thigh. Wolford’s sister and a freelance photographer told media outlets it happened during a Sunday service at Panther State Forest.

Lauren Pond, a freelance photojournalist from Washington, D.C., didn’t immediately return messages Thursday but told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph she was among 25 people at the service. She saw Wolford bitten but said congregants were unfazed.

“I don’t think anyone necessarily expected it,” she told the newspaper, “but they’ve dealt with it before so it’s not such a huge shock, maybe.”

Bluefield Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Becky Ritter said Thursday that Wolford was a patient and died Monday, but that federal privacy laws prevented her from releasing additional information.

Wednesday Weapons – Why the terrorists will never win

I read this post at Federalist Paupers and thought about the parallels here in new Zealand after the tragic killing of Rosemary Ives. There were a great many calls from gun-grabbing liberals for tighter controls on firearms, without them thinking that the controls were quite tight enough and that Andrew Mears broke every single one of them with his stupid action. The point was missed utterly about how few people actually get killed or injured during hunting, and the fact that it is actually more dangerous driving to recreational areas than being in them.

The post at Federalist Paupers nicely provides some numbers and some facts that counteracts the gun-grabbers. The post also nicely shows why no one will ever successfully cow the United States, either politically or externally.

The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters.

Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world – more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined – deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay.

But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan’s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia, and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

These numbers are part of why those of us who grew up in rural parts of the country simply don’t comprehend the gun-grabbing impulses of some. Every single year, millions of Americans carry high power rifles into the woods and more or less do as they please – some shoot at deer, some just drink a lot – and it is a complete non-story. The number of people injured and killed by these guns will pale in comparison to those injured and killed in driving accidents during the same time period.

But however well or badly we handle our guns, woe will befall he who thinks he can conquer America. 500 years ago, Machiavelli compared ancient Persia with then-modern France. Persia was highly centralized, so the emperor was firmly in control of all parts of his realm, and could muster enormous numbers of men to any part of the country. But if you could defeat that army and the central authority that raised it, then you would almost immediately control the whole nation, as Alexander showed. Medieval France, on the other hand, was very decentralized, with petty dukes controlling small centers of power throughout the country. Because of this, the king of France had only marginal control over vast swaths of his country , but no invader could stand a chance at conquering France because of all the small bands of local opposition.

I wish N.M. was around today, if only to hear the praise he would have for a nation that every year assembles and then disbands the world’s largest army purely for the purpose of managing its deer population. For millenia, philosophers have pondered how one can maintain a well-armed population that can fend off all attackers, while simultaneously maintaining ordered governance.  In America, we’ve fulfilled this dream, and we’ve done it so well and so effortlessly that no one seems to have noticed.

That kind of puts things into perspective and shows up the nonsense of the gun-grabbing liberal elite who have never had the pleasure of  tracking, and matching guile and stealth with deer or any other animal. Ironically the same greenie gun-grabbers that want to stop hunters are also the ones wanting to rid the country of deer and other pests, they seem quite happy to dump literally thousands of tonnes of toxic poison on our forests but don’t want people to enjoy the outdoors and dispatch a few pests along the way.

In the US deer hunting, for example, is largely limited to defined seasons. Here in New Zealand we would be better to manage our deer populations by changing the laws to remove them from the noxious pest list and to instead create a new tourism industry encouraging people to come to Ne Zealand seeking trophy animals. The only thing stopping this is the dogmatic instance of DoC and the green lobby for the total eradication of deer from New Zealand, something that is unachievable and un-needed.

It is high time that the facts were shown to politicians in a meaningful way and that isn’t through Peter Dunne. He pretends to support hunters and fisherman and yet he hasn’t done a single thing for them. Far better would be the establishment of list of hunting and fishing friendly MPs, so that people who enjoy the outdoors can see for themselves whether or not their local MP is on their side or not.

Wednesday Weapons – A Democrat with a Gun

It is a reare beast indeed – a Democrat with a gun- but a Democrat with a gun AND endorsed by the NRA is just unheard of….except in West Virginia. Not only does he have a gun he is also against The Cap and Trade Bill.

That makes this man a candidate for Wednesday Weapons. Senator Joe Manchin is today’s Wednesday Weapon.