Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 7, 1974 · Page 13
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July 7, 1974

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 13

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 7, 1974
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Page 13
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BATTLEFIELD - Staff Photos byFerrellFriend MABIE NATIVE HARRY STREETS IS A REGULAR VISITOR TO THE RICH BATTLEGROUND He Draws His Water From A Spring Used By Union and Confederate Forces Little Trace Left of Civil War Contest Site at Rich Mountain By Terrell Friend MABIE -- Scarcely a trace bt evidence remains on a Randolph County mountaintop where one of the first and highly important Civil War battles was fought. Here, at the Battle of Rich Mountain July 11, 1861, in a surprise attack, Gen. William S. Rosencrans' forces defeated the Confederates under Capt. J.A. de Lag- nel. The victory was decisive in McClel- lah's northwest Virginia campaign. The battle raged around the Joseph Hart house and barn where de Lagnel's 3iO men held off Rosecrans' forces for about four hours before suffering defeat. This reversal forced a Col. Pegram to retreat and his army was captured. ; · ··*-.. LISTED as a point of interest on the off i- cial West 'Virginia tourist-map, the Rich Mountain site is covered with high grass on the spot where the old Hart log house was located. Still barely visible are sections of what apparently was the foundation of the house, which stood in the mountain pass -and in the line of battle -- and reportedly was used as a field hospital by both armies. A plaque erected at the battle site by the West Virginia Historical Commission is the only marker calling attention ,to the battleground. · , - · , Hidden away in a cluster of trees, brush and waist-high grass, a crumbling flagstone well house partially covers a cold mountain spring used by the Hart family. Harry Streets, a miner living down on the western slope of the mountain at Mabie, regularly visits the spring to replenish his supply of drinking wat'er. He says it's "the best water to be found anywhere in this part of the country." The Rev. Glenn R. Phillips, pastor of the Beverly Methodist Church is writing about the Battle of Rich Mountain and says "Men seem to have forgotten and neglected the importance of the battle on this lonely mountain. "The little spring where soldiers and travelers alike slaked their thirst has not been forgotten," he said. "Whispering softly, its cool waters gurgling down the steep mountainside seem to say 'Remember. .-; - ,, . · · · . . +· A LANDMARK until 1940 when it was destroyed by fire, blood stains remained on the floors of the old Hart home from its hospital days. Close examination of the Site discloses evidence of the house foundation. A log barn in the line of battle where visitors reportedly whittled out lead bullets disappeared from the scene many years ago. Looking east from the battleground is the town of Beverly, four miles away; to the west the little community of Mabie is about the same distance. The old Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, winding its way. through the mountain pass and battleground, is still in use most of the year. Someone familiar with the battle site is recommended as a guide for persons interested in locating trenches, fortifications, and markers cut into.rocks. Harry Streets filled his water containers from the cold spring and started walking through the tall grass and weeds to the old turnpike a few hundred feet away. "Watch out for rattlers," he warned, "They're plentiful up here." GAZETTE-MAIL Chn-lrKon, W. V»., July, 7, RQNT IB Court May Have to Decide If Amendment Gets on Ballot By Herb Little The Associated Press The State Supreme Court may yet have to decide whether ? second constitutional amendment will go on the November election ballot this year for a ratification vote. There is no question about one amendment, Judicial Reorganization, being on the Nov. 5 ballot. But whether it will be there alone or paired with the Modern Schools Amendment is an uncertainty the legislature failed to clarify in the special session that ended last week. The school amendment won't be on the November 1974 ballot unless someone sues to compel its placement there. If such a suit is filed, which seems likely, the decision will then be up to the Supreme Court. First, a new constitutional amendment was introduced. It was the same as the one, approved last winter, except that it called for a November 1974 ratification vote. This was defeated in the House after having been grotesquely amended into a form that would have restricted bond issue and levy election voting solely to property owners. . Next, a concurrent resolution was introduced to revoke the action the legislature took when it voted last winter to submit the Modern Schools Amendment to the voters. The House adopted the resolution, but it was defeated 20-8 by the Senate. Stalehonse Note Book LITTLE BOND ISSUE and property tax excess levy proposals by local government units require 60 per cent approval in local elections under the State Constitution's pre- provisions. As to such proposals that are earmarked for public school financing, the Modern Schools Amendment would lower the required approval margin to a simple majority. In its regular session last winter, the legislature approved the amendment but ticketed it for a ratification vote in the November 1976 election rather than this year. The reason for deferring the vote was fear the school measure (narrowly defeated in the 1966 election) would arouse property owner opposition and jeopardize the judicial amendment's ratification chances if both were on the same ballot. When multiple constitutional amendment proposals are on the same ballot. West Virginians more often than not vote straight tickets for or against the whole package. Some legislators who favor both amendments nevertheless wouldn't vote to put the school measure on the same ballot with judicial reorganization. However, the regular session vote to defer the school amendment vote until 1976 created a legal muddle. The constitution says that once an amendment has been approved by two thirds majorities in both chambers, it must be submitted to the voters in a special election "or at the next general election." Of course, the "next general election" is in November 1974. not 1976. TOR THIS REASON, some lawyer-leg- lalors argued that, notwithstanding the language specifying the 1976 election, a suit could be successfully maintained to force the secretary of state to put the scjtool amendment on the ballot this year. id the special session just ended.' two different efforts were made to dispel the legal uncertainty. Both failed. Bridge Outdoes View Always on Sunday lv Terrv Murchal Hawks Nest -- the most photographed wonder in Fayette County -- if not all of Virginia -- is taking second place tnese days to a place a short way down the road. The new tourist attraction is the construction of the huge bridge across the New River Gorge. Although there are signs indicating the road is closed, the four-lane section of Corridor L between U.S. 60 and the bridge work is completed and usable to reach the area. Construction crews have built a parking lot and a fenced observation area overlooking the project. The view is breathtaking. Not of the New River. You really can't see that from the observation area. But you can see the bridgework and the daring hardhats who walk around on those little beams high above Fayette Station. *· AS THE BRIDGE skeleton reaches out from the north rim toward the opposite side far away, workmen trot around the steelwork as casually as if they were walking on Charleston's Capitol Street. They seem oblivious to the hundreds of feet of nothing that separate their narrow sidewalks from the floor of the gorge. Each time one of the fearless men moves, a collective gulp rises from the observation area. Hawks Nest could never compare to this. ...It's amazing how these construction teen could be so fearless. One thinks this wo«M be more frightening than being an astronaut The guys on the bridge don't have a space capsule around them p computers aiding them. And a walk into a cage of lions seems more tame. ; - " There isn't enough money in the^world to get me to work a job like that. H'cTtake a gang of people to drag me onto the construction. I'd kick and scream all the way. And once I got out there. I'd grab a-beam in a deathlike grip and wouldn't let. go. They'd have to build the bridge around me. Feed me intraveneously. I wouldn't get off or release my hold or open my eyes until Gov. Moore cut the ribbon to open the structure. ^ That's how high the bridge is and;how frightening it is to watch those fearless construction men working without parachutes. ; IT IS, incidentally, possible to get a view of the bridge from underneath the work. A short distance from the project is the narrow road that winds into the gorge to Fayette Station. For those of you who have never traveled the paved, little highway down to the New River, suffice to say it is only outdone in excitement by the tramride at Hawks Nest State Park. After it crosses the river at Fayette Station, the road winds its way up the other side of the forge, finally arriving at Fay- itteville. . f P o o r old Hawks Nest. It'll % have to suffer until the excitement down the road conies to an end.

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