WEST VIRGINIA – Week of September 24
Stories from the States

WEST VIRGINIA – Week of September 24


Wheeling, West Virginia

Week of September 24, 1859

Population 1860: 14,083
Population 2016: 23,375

September 24, 1859

My Familiar
By John G. Saxe

Again I hear that creaking step!
He’s rapping at the door!
Too well I know that boding sound
That ushers in a bore.
I do not tremble when I meet
The stoutest of my foes,
But heaven defend me from the friend
Who comes — but never goes.

He drops into my easy chair,
And asks about the news;
He peers into my manuscript,
And gives his candid views;
He tells me where he likes the line,
And where he’s forced to grieve;
He takes the strongest liberties —
But he never takes his leave!

He reads my daily paper through
Before I’ve seen a word;
He scans the lyric (that I wrote)
And thinks it quite absurd;
He calmly smokes my last cigar,
And cooly asks for more;
He opens everything he sees —
Except the entry door!

He talks about his fragile health,
And tells me of the pains
He suffers from a score of ills
Of which he ne’er complains;
And how he struggled once with Death
To keep the fiend at bay;
On themes like this away he goes —
But never goes away!

He tells me of the carping words
Some shallow critic wrote,
And every precious paragraph
Familiarly can quote.
He thinks the writer did me wrong;
He’d like to run him through;
He says a thousand pleasant thing —
But never says “Adieu!”

When’er he comes, that dreadful man,
Disguise it as I may,
I know that like an autumn rain
He’ll last throughout the day;
In vain I speak of urgent tasks;
In vain I scowl and pout;
A frown is no extinguisher —
It does not put him out!

I mean to take the knocker off;
Put crape upon the door’
Or hint to John that I am gone
To stay a month or more.
I do not tremble when I meet
The stoutest of my foes,
But heaven defend me from the friend
Who never, never goes!

September 24, 1859


There is a vacant house on the river bank, some distance below the city, which is said to be visited regularly by ghost but no especial attention was attracted to the place until a night or two ago when an intelligent gentleman passing the place discovered a scene somewhat similar to that witnessed by Tam O’Shanter in “auld lang syne.” The old evil one, says our informant, seemed to be holding a levee and was enjoying himself with his imps in the merriest kind of a way. The gentleman cannot be persuaded that the house in the rendezvous of a lot of abandoned people of both sexes who resort there to be out of the way of the authorities. We are satisfied that such is the case.

September 24, 1859

A Woman and a Locomotive

A dangerous counterfeit is out on the Allegheny Bank. It purports to be a five dollar bill and is entirely unlike the genuine except that both have a view of a Western steamboat for a vignette. In the spurious bill the head of Washington appears on the lower right-hand corner and the head of Clay on the right hand lower corner. The genuine bills have a woman’s head upon the right and a locomotive on the left.

September 26, 1859

A Sneaking Drizzle

A cold dreary rain dropped down sluggishly through the whole of Saturday. Men moved about with solemn visages, muffled in big coats, beneath huge umbrellas. It wasn’t an honest sort of a rain but a sneaking, drizzle that surreptitiously wet you to the skin in a most disagreeable manner. Upon business it acted as a brake to a railroad car, entirely checking it. As the agricultural folks are just harvesting their corn and potatoes this protracted rain will cause not a little embarrassment. There has been nothing but rain and dark clouds and wet, sloppy streets for a week and we fervently hope that September may retire with a bright and shining face.

September 26, 1859

Charles Dickens Worn Out

A London letter writer says Charles Dickens is about worn out; fast breaking up. His cares, his troubles, his years, his habits, and incessant labor to make both ends meet, have taxed his mental powers till they are breaking down. In his readings, he looks like a decayed beau, a patched, painted, peruked he-dowager. [Editor’s Note: Peruked is a word I’ve not come across before. It means wigged.]

September 26, 1859

Frightful Scarecrow

A country editor says that a farmer in their county made a scarecrow so very frightful that an old crow actually went and brought back all the corn he had stolen during the past several days and left it in the field.

September 27, 1859

Daguerreotype Leads to Arrest for Murder

Officer Hawley, of this city, is now in Trenton, New Jersey attending the trial of Jacob S. Harden for the murder of his wife. It will be remembered that Hawley, assisted by Mr. Jas. Wright, of this city, discovered the supposed murderer by means of a daguerreotype likeness and afterward arrested him at Fairmont. He was brought to this city at the time and sent on to New Jersey for trial.

September 28, 1859

Aggregate Cold

We have seen it stated that the aggregate of cold is greater the present year than during any one for seventy years past, except that of 1845.

September 29, 1859

War at the House of Tolbence

The night before last cried of murder were heard issuing from the house of Timothy Tolbence, situated somewhere in the vicinity of the old jail. Officer Deafenbaugh repaired thither and found Mistress Mary Fox clinging vigorously to the capillary substance appertaining to the coke of Mary Maria Tolbence, wife to Timothy, whilst the said Timothy sotted by calm and unruffled contemplating the exciting scene. The parties are all related. The two marks were taken before a magistrate and fined about five dollars each. Not being able to pay, they were sent to jail. Mistress Tolbence left a young infant at home which expressed its dissatisfaction with the turn things had taken by an incessant crying which did not cease until nestled upon its mother’s bosom within the dreary walls of the calaboose. Nothing can be more true than that one-half the world knows not how the other half lives.

September 30, 1859

Cheap Statesmen

The town is just now being flooded with plaster Paris busts of Clay, Webster, and Douglas, and statuary representing Venuses, Graces, and various prominent characters. They are manufactured in the city by a party of Italians and peddled through the streets in great abundance. There is hardly a price dwelling or an office but what is already ornamented with one or more of these snow white specimens. They are really beautiful and some of the busts have a striking resemblance to the statesmen they are intended to represent. The peddlers ask nine and ten dollars apiece for the busts but rather than miss a sale they take one dollar.

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Population information: Wikipedia
Featured photo: Wheeling in 1849, is from the Ohio County Library site.

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