Historically Speaking

Historically Speaking


February 1959

This week I thought I’d take you for a stroll through the pages of time.  Perhaps see what was going on in the good ole days.  How good were they?  Let’s find out. (Articles are exactly as written, including grammar and spelling errors.)

Advertisement for Casto-Spurgeon Funeral Home published after the merger.



On this day in 1959, it was announced that Casto and Spurgeon Funeral Homes had merged.  It reads:

“Two well known West Union business establishments have merged and formed a corporation and will begin business under their new set up on Tuesday, February 10.  They are Casto Funeral Home and Spurgeon Bros. Funeral Home.

The new business establishment will be known as Casto-Spurgeon Funeral Home, Inc. and will operate from the present Casto Funeral Home site on Columbia Street.  The only stockholders of the corporation are Clifford and Betty Casto and C.J. and Edna Spurgeon.

Both Mr. Casto and Mr. Spurgeon are competent morticians and are rated among the best in their field of endeavor.

In an interview with the owners of the new business venture, they stated that the main reason for merging was to cut operation expenses and to maintain their high quality service to the public at the present price level.  Also to give an expanded services with their combined facilities.

Both young men are graduates of the Cincinnati College of Embalming, are members of Monongahela Valley District F.D.A., the State and National Funeral Directors Associations.

Mr. Spurgeon and Mr. Casto indicated that they will have four ambulances, two service cars and other cars available for a more efficient, economical service to the public.

Advertisement for Casto Funeral Home before the merger. 

A native of Lewis County, Mr. Casto has been operating the Casto Funeral Home here for the past 4 ½ years.  His wife is the former Miss Betty Smith, daughter of Mr. J.C. Smith, from whom they acquired the mortuary business.  They have three children, Lynn, Cathy and Johnny.  Mr. Casto and family will continue to live on the second floor of the building housing the funeral home.

Advertisement for Spurgeon Bros. Funeral Home at the time that both Charles and his brother, Jennings, owned the business.

Mr. Charles J. Spurgeon has been operating a mortuary in West Union for the past 11 years in the former Chapman home on corner of James and Marie Streets, where he and his brother Jennings began the business as partners.  About three years ago Jennings sold his interest in the business to his brother Charles and went to Ohio to live.  It is understood that he and his family are now living in Glenville.

Mr. and Mrs Charles Spurgeon who reside on James Street, have two daughters.

Congratulations are in order for the young, energetic businessmen.”

FEB. 1, 1959


A meeting of members of Middle Island Golf Club was held Sunday afternoon, Feb. 1 at the Recreation Center at Smithburg, with Crandall Doak, president, in charge.

The following officers and directors were elected for the new year: Crandall Doak, re-elected president; Jennings Broadwater, Salem, vice-president; James A. Smith, secretary-treasurer.

Directors are: H.C. Brannon of Salem; James A. Smith, Don Bates, Crandall Doak, Charles Jarvis, L.E. Kiger, E.F. Stutler and James Hall of West Union, and Jennings Broadwater, Salem.

Members of the board will meet Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2:00 p.m. at the Golf Club at Smithburg.”


Wabash Bridge (aka Neely Bridge) as it looked when traveled with automobiles.

“The Walbash Bridge has been temporarily closed this week while State Road crews are making much needed repairs on it and making it safe for light traffic.

The large hole in the bridge has been filled and covered with black-top.  Other rough places on the surface of the bridge’s driveway have been or will be filled with blacktop; likewise the approaches to either end of the bridge.

This is certainly good news to the residents of Wabash and others, who use the bridge for a shortcut to town.


“Recently the following seniors of Doddridge County High School were honored guests of the West Union Kiwanis Club after being selected as Girl and Boy of the Month by a faculty committee.  These students were chosen to represent the school on the basis of leadership, scholastic standing and participation in school activities.

Students chosen were:

Sandra Cox, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maynard Cox of Smithburg, and Jerry Kimble, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Kimble of Center Point, were chosen for the month of November (1959).

For the month of December, Judy Nicholson, daughter of Mrs. Ilena Nicholson of New Milton, and Rex Davis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rex Davis of Long Run, were chosen.

Representing DCHS during the month of January were Janice Vanscoy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Vanscoy of West Union, and Lloyd Gray, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willard Gray of Smithburg.

God Bless

Patricia Richards Harris, President

Doddridge County Historical Society