Weekly Features

Historically Speaking–Local Driver Makes Record Run In New Model Ford Roadster

 This first article is from the January 3, 1929 issue and tells of an adventurous race for a record run from AZ to West Union, WV.

   Crandall Doak and Roy Shinn were the subjects of this article.  Crandall was 21 years old, single, and living on Wood Street in West Union with his parents, Ora Delbert, and Gertrude Hudson Doak at the time of the road trip.

 Roy Shinn was 25 years old and was the son of Lehman and Bessie McIntyre.  Roy had married Mazella Jean West in May of 1922.  Mazella Jean was the daughter of James and Jennie Gorda West from the Mannington area in Marian County.  She died shortly after childbirth in 1923.     Their son, Ora Ray Shinn Jr. also died.  

   Roy remarried to Olive Russell Rollins of Santa Cruz, AZ in 1927, and was living in Tucson, AZ at the time of the road trip.  

   But, back to the story…It is relayed as it was written and is as follows:

 “It was “Lucky Lindy” that spanned the broad Atlantic with his Spirit of St. Louis, and won the plaudits of the world; but it was Crandal Doak of this little “burg”, familiarly known to all of our younger set as “berries”, that flew across that vast expanse of North America that lies between Tucson, Arizona and West Union, West Virginia.   

   “Berries” didn’t take the aerial route-he had no Spirit of St. Louis-but he did have Leroy Shinn’s muchly used new model Ford Roadster, that had hauled fishin’ tools, casing and divers other oil-well supplies over Middle Island bluffs and up Arnolds Creek pinnacles, durin’ much of the past summer; and he had the Spirit of old Arnolds Creek-even if he was too far away from home to have any of the Arnolds Creek spirits.

   Leaving here Sunday, the 9th about 10:00 o’clock, “Berries” and Shin arrived in Tucson, Friday the 14th in time for a telegram telling of their trip to reach the local office early in the evening.  But this, up to then, record run of some 2200 to 2300 miles in about five days, is harly worthy of mention.  It was the return trip of 2169 miles, in which some two or three dirt road near-cuts were taken, that breaks all previous records.

   Hopping into their sturdy, fast-stepping little “Henry” at Tucson, shortly after noon Tuesday the 18th, they sped across the desert sands to Denning, New Mexico, 227 miles, arriving about 8:o’clock that evening.  Wednesday, they finished crossing New Mexico and drove to Herford in the Pan-Handle of the Lone Star state, about 50 miles west of Amarillo, covering some 415 to 420 miles.  Thursday, they did still better, landing at Stroud, Oklahoma, about 8:00 o’clock, around 450 miles from Hereford.  On Friday they breezed on through Oklahoma and crossed the great   “Show-Me” state to East St. Louis, some 516 miles towards the mornin’ sun from Stroud.

   Well, by this time “Berries” was sort o’ gittin’ used to the Ford-an’ mebe he wuz a bit home-sick, too.  Anyway, he called to Roy to step in, and casual-like, said “All abord for West Onion”.  They had some tire trouble, hit up some 50 or 60 miles of dirt road, and made four stops in all; but at 9:36 in the evenin’, they had parked on Main Street, West Union, West Virginia.  The distance covered is 550 miles, if it’s an inch; and the time from Parkersburg was one hour and 29 minutes.

   The entire homeward trip-slightly under 2200 miles-was made at an average of about 40 miles an hour, including traffic and traffic lights in the cities and towns; and this means that most of the open road had to be taken at better than 50-a speed that will burn up most of the high priced cars, if undertaken for a thousand miles or so.

   And the Ford?  Why of course she’s ready to do it again or even better, if necessary.  Why heck, man, it won’t be to its best until Shinn hauls a few more strings of eight-inch casing on it.”

1929-Moses W Smith SR Civil War Veteran Passes

 In the January 10, 1929 West Union Herald, I found yet another reason for digitizing these rare local newspapers with this important article recording the death of the prominent Civil War Veteran, Moses W Smith.  The article is relayed as it was written and is as follows:

   “As the old year was drawing to a close the spirit of Moses W Smith, Sr. passed to the great beyond at 11:30 p.m.  at his home three miles west of town.  The body was brought to the Star Furniture Undertaking Parlors and prepared for burial and remained there until the hour for the funeral.

He was born in Barbour County, W.Va., June 2, 1844, and departed this life December 31, 1928, age 84 years 5 months and 29 days.  He was united in marriage to Barbery Ellen Coonts, March 20, 1864 to this union nine children were born, all of whom survive him except one son.  The living are:  Riley of Akron, Ohio, Creed of Morgansville.  Frank of Ellenboro, Wesley of Akron, Ohio, Moses W. Jr., West Union, Mrs. Lucy Bee of Sunnyside, Mrs. Lucinda Robinson of Harrisville, Mrs. Louis Hague of Elizabeth, and John who died March 20th, 1882.  His wife preceeded him to the great beyond, June 21, 1916.  Besides his children he leaves to mourn his loss, 33 grandchildren, and 17 great grandchildren.

   He enlisted in the Union Army, September 15th, 1862 in Company H 17th    West Virginia Regiment and was discharged July 3, 1865.

He was baptized by Rev. Thomas J. Smith about four years ago.  He repeatedly said to his children and neighbors to meet him in a better world.   He was waiting for the Lord to come and take him home.  Uncle Mose as we all called him was one of the old sturdy pioneers and a very bright man for the opportunity, he had in his youth in getting an education.

   Funeral services were conducted at the Brick Church on Arnolds Creek January 3, at 3 p.m. by Rev. John C. Wright assisted by Rev. Kelly.  Interment was made in the cemetery close by the church.  A.J. Osborne was the funeral director in charge.”

   These newspapers are jam-packed with similar stories that can be found nowhere else.  They have documented our ancestors in real time, nothing else can come close to such riveting in the moment storytelling. I hope you will consider donating to the digitization of these more than 500 issues dating from the 1930s to the 1970s.  If you can do so, make check out to Doddridge County Historical Society, P.O. Box 444, West Union, WV  26456.  Note in the memo “newspapers.”  We now have a total of $4,700, with $5,300 to go.  We cannot thank everyone enough for their generous donations.

God Bless and Stay Well

Patricia Richards Harris