WV teacher sells $50,000 of War Bonds, wins contest

Posted by Dave Tabler | October 18, 2017

In October of 1951, 27 year-old Marjorie Ramsey of Logan, WV won a statewide US Defense Department Bond Selling Contest for schoolteachers. During the two-week contest, she sold $50,000 worth of defense bonds.

Marjorie Ramsey holds a War Bond advertising poster and the flyer announcing the bond sales contest.

Marjorie Ramsey holds a War Bond advertising poster and the flyer announcing the bond sales contest.

The US government’s heavy spending on the Korean War (June 1950-July 1953) had set off a bout of inflation that neared 8 percent in 1951. Furthermore, the Chinese Air Force had begun to participate in the war starting in September of 1951, meaning the Defense Department would have to redouble its spending efforts to address that new threat.

To pay for the war, President Harry S. Truman raised the top tax rates to 91 percent for individuals and an all-time high of 70 percent for corporations, while imposing wage and price controls. And the Defense Department, which had promoted the purchase of War Bonds to the public in both World Wars, geared up its public advertising effort once more.

In West Virginia, Lewis Tierney, president of Charleston radio station WCHS and volunteer chairman of the state’s bond selling drive, sponsored the contest to teachers to help stimulate war bond sales. The winner was to be shepherded around Defense Department sites in Europe by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s War Finance Agency. The 3-week tour was intended to show the “observer for West Virginia’s US Defense Bond Purchasers” just how their monies were being spent. And presumably once home again the “observer” could then be counted on to help drum up support for additional bond sales. Tierney offered to pay full expenses for the winner.

“I was teaching science and music at Logan Junior High School,” said the former Ms. Ramsey, now Mrs. Oakley, in a recent interview, “and principal Pat Hogan said to me ‘Well now, you’re the only one I know who would jump on that.’

“And I said ‘What are you talking about?’ And he showed me the flyer that described how the teacher who sold the most defense bonds in the state would win a trip to Europe. And I laughed and I said ‘Oh sure! I’m going to Europe!’ Then, as I walked out the door I thought to myself ‘What did I say?’ Well you know, I’d never flown or been to Europe, but I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. I walked back to the classroom and said to the kids ‘Well, I might go to Europe. Do you think I should go?’

“I had 7th grade homeroom. ‘Sure, Miss Ramsey, sure! We’ll help you find some people to buy bonds.’ I said I’d have to think about it for 24 hours, but when I came back the next day I said ‘Let’s go kids, let’s go!’ That was it. I started, and Joe Fish bought the first 5,000 bonds (I taught his daughters music—piano). My father didn’t even buy any! He thought I was on a wild goose chase.

“Every teacher was on their own. The night before the end of the 2-week selling period, it was Halloween, and I was told there were $2,000 or $3,000 that had been sold that day at the post office. The chief of police and someone from the post office found out it was true, and they got in there and picked up those last few bonds and sent them on to Charleston. They had to be in the mail by the next day.

“Over in Kanawha County two women came in 2nd and 3rd, but I never did know how close they were to me.

“Some fellow from Washington came over and asked ‘Would you be interested in First, Second or Third choice on the prizes?’ And I said ‘I’m only interested in going to Europe.’ Second choice was a refrigerator, and third was a stove! (laughs)

“So I went to Europe about 3 weeks later—flew for the first time. It was very exciting, very fast. It’s wonderful after you get back to savor it and think about all the things that you saw.

“I flew from New York to Goose Bay, Labrador, and it was a cold, cold trip. And then from there into London. And at London the Air Force and the Associated Press met me. And one of them said ‘You don’t wanna have anything to do with the Air Force; we’ll be able to help you. The other one said ‘You don’t wanna have anything to do with the Associated Press, we’ll be able to help you!’

“There was always somebody taking me someplace. In London I went to Parliament, and had a meeting with Lord MacIntosh of Halifax. I was there 2-3 days, and then we flew to Heidelberg, Germany—such a picturesque place! They had a restaurant way up on the hill with exotic fish, and a person who sang opera when I had dinner. They found 3 or 4 West Virginians that were in the WACs there. I stayed in the WAC billets.

“I went out in a jeep in Berlin, to the Brandenburg Gate. In Berlin I met General MacDaniels. He was… he was NOT a P.R. person…he was a general! (laughs) In Berlin the thing that struck me most was the Garden of Remembrance—where Allied soldiers from WWII are buried. Every hedge, every bush around it was pruned perfectly. At the very end of it, it had a huge statue of an American soldier. Along the inside of the base was a tiled mural in bright gold, red and blue of soldiers crushing the opposition. I felt very much alone in Berlin. When I’d go to bed everybody else around me was jabbering in German, and here I didn’t even know English very well!

“Then I left Berlin and was on my way to Malta. We had a forced landing in Zurich, Switzerland—it was storming. I was there for 5 hours. I’ve always been thankful for that because I had time to walk down the streets of Zurich and see in their shops what they had.

“I took a train from Zurich to Malta and on down to Naples. I didn’t have time to be scared or anything. There was Admiral Carney and his crew, and they were very attentive. They took me over to the Isle of Capri and into the Blue Grotto there. (Not every place they took me had military significance.) They even took me down the streets of Pompeii in front of the brothels—you see the ruts where they stopped in a hurry! (laughs) I saw things I’d never seen before on this trip.

“I flew from Naples to Paris and there I had an interview with [General] Anthony Drexel Biddle. The AP men took me there. Then I flew to Washington; I was on DuMont Television talking about the trip. I had an interview at the Pentagon with General George Marshall, who was a delight—just like somebody’s grandfather. I saw Omar Bradley that same day.”

Marjorie Ramsey watches as General Omar Bradley autographs a photograph for her.

Marjorie Ramsey watches as General Omar Bradley autographs a photograph for her.

General Bradley told her, “You have had the unique experience of meeting our military commanders in France, Italy and Germany, and of seeing first hand our foreign policy in action. The interest of the individual citizen in national defense is essential for successful mobilization of our resources. It is this personal interest that was responsible for your trip to Europe. When the women of America appreciate the urgency and importance of defense, we cannot fail to accomplish our objectives.”

The three weeks were over.

Sources: http://staging.adcouncil.org/default.aspx?id=126

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The three restless spirits of Sarah, Will, and Clem

Posted by Dave Tabler | October 17, 2017

The city of Ringgold, GA sponsors tours of its train depot each Halloween based on ‘The Legend of the Haunted Depot:’

Clem and Will Jackson grew up in Ringgold doing all the things brothers did, swimming in the Chickamauga Creek, hunting in the woods, and generally enjoying the pleasures of young men in the Old South.

The boys were very close and never imagined the War would separate them. However; Clem, the younger brother, was anxious to join the fighting, but his father refused him permission. In order to join in the Confederate fight, Clem ran off to Alabama and joined the 33rd Alabama Regiment. The 33rd Alabama Infantry Regiment was officially organized and outfitted in Pensacola, Florida in April 1862.

After dismounting heavy artillery from obsolete Fort McRee, the Regiment was sent to Corinth, Mississippi, arriving just after the Battle of Shiloh. Its baptism under fire occurred at Perryville, Kentucky in October, 1862 where it captured a battery, but suffered heavy casualties, including every field officer.

Ringgold Haunted DepotThe next month the Army of Tennessee was organized, and the history of this great army is the history of the 33rd. The Regiment was placed in General Patrick Cleburne’s Division, and contributed to his reputation of possessing the best assault troops in the Army of Tennessee. The 33rd drove the enemy before it in Hardee’s dawn assault at Murfreesboro; it prevailed against the 6th Indiana at Chickamauga; it helped hold the flank at Missionary Ridge; and it helped bring the Federal pursuit to a bloody end at Ringgold Gap.

In the three years Clem was gone, Will fell in love and married Sarah Johnson, a great friend of Clem’s. Although newly married, because the Confederate cause became so desperate, Will felt compelled to enlist under the command of General Patrick Cleburne.

Sarah corresponded with Clem throughout the War and wrote him telling about her marriage to Will and of his enlistment. The two brothers were reunited during the War, but were both tragically killed at the Battle of Ringgold Gap, so close to home. Their bodies were never properly buried, so their spirits were doomed to roam the earth forever.

Unaware that her beloved had been so close, Sarah waited and met every returning troop train hoping to be reunited with her husband and her friend. Upon hearing the news of their death, Sarah took her own life by sneaking into the Depot in the dark of the night and hanging herself. Because she had taken her own life, Sarah also was doomed to roam the earth without rest. The three restless spirits of Sarah, Will, and Clem finally found each other and made the Depot their home.

More than a hundred years had passed when construction workers found Clem’s body at Ringgold Gap and gave him a proper burial, freeing his spirit to ascend. Left behind, the spirits of Sarah and Will roam the streets of Ringgold in search of Clem. Legend has it that on a dark moonlit night Sarah can be seen standing on the back deck at the Depot watching for the brother that Will refuses to leave.

Source: http://ringgoldhaunteddepot.com

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The Girl who had been in an Accident

Posted by Dave Tabler | October 16, 2017

The following story is from an article by Ruth Ann Musick, “West Virginia Ghost Stories,” published in the Midwest Folklore Journal, Vol. 8 No. 1 (Spring 1958). “Since I came to West Virginia in 1952,” she says, “I have collected over a hundred ghost stories. The ‘hitch-hiking girl’ seems to be especially popular. John Jacob Niles has a particularly dramatic version of this, and I have three versions from West Virginia contributors. This version was contributed by Doris Summers, a former student of mine at Fairmont State University.”


The three boys huddled closer together in the car to keep warm. It was a cold night and the snow sifting in under the doors didn’t make the boys feel any better. It was late, but the boy at the wheel didn’t dare drive any faster because the roads were bad. It was snowing heavily, and the road ahead was barely visible.

snowy road

One of the boys made a joke and all three started laughing. Suddenly they became silent. On the road ahead was a figure crawling on hands and knees. They stopped the car and jumped out. The figure was that of a girl, and she had evidently been in an accident. Fearfully the boys lifted her into the car. Her hands and feet were nearly frozen and her teeth chattered from the cold. There was a wound on her forehead that had dried blood on it.

Greatly concerned for her, they tried to get her to tell them where she lived, but at first she wouldn’t speak. Finally she managed a weak whisper.

“I was in an accident,” she gasped. “Mason’s Lawn. Get me to Mason’s Lawn before…”

Her voice trailed off and she did not speak again. One of the boys wrapped his scarf around her. They all knew where Mason’s Lawn was. It was a big estate on Morgantown Avenue. They had driven by it many times. The fact that the injured girl might live there surprised them, for they hadn’t know old Mrs. Mason had a daughter. It was supposed the old lady lived alone.

The car moved steadily and soon reached Mason’s Lawn. As they approached it the wounded girl regained consciousness and became alert. The car came to a halt in front of the huge house. Before the boys could get out the girl muttered a hasty ‘thank you’ and hurried out of the car. They watched her in surprise as she ran up the walk and went into the house.

“Hey,” said one boy, “she’s got my scarf.”

Puzzled, but tired, the boys went home, determined to return the next day.

Upon arriving in the afternoon they knocked on the door. It was answered by Mrs. Mason, who invited them to come in.

“Is your daughter in?” one of the boys asked.

They noticed a decided change in the old lady’s countenance.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “I have no daughter.’

Quite a great deal puzzled, the boys began a complete explanation of the happenings of the night before. It made them uneasy to watch the old woman grow pale and nervous. When they had finished, she caught her breath. When she spoke her voice was tight and strained.

“My daughter is dead. She was killed in an automobile accident several years ago. This is the fifth time someone has tried to bring her back to me.”

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The story of the Wampus Cat

Posted by Dave Tabler | October 13, 2017

In Missouri they call it a Gallywampus; in Arkansas it’s the Whistling Wampus; in Appalachia it’s the just a plain old Wampus (or Wampas) cat. A half-dog, half-cat creature that can run erect or on all fours, it’s rumored to be seen just after dark or right before dawn all throughout the Appalachians. But that’s about all everyone agrees on. In non-Native American cultures it’s a howling, evil creature, with yellow eyes that can supposedly pierce the hearts and souls of those unfortunate enough to cross its path, driving them to the edge of sanity.

Cherokee folklore, which is filled with tales of evil spirits lurking in the deep, dark forests that surrounded their villages, offers a different view of the Wampas cat.

An evil demon called Ew’ah, the Spirit of Madness, had been terrorizing the village of Etowah (or Chota, depending on the version you hear) in what is today North Carolina. The village shamans and warchiefs called for a meeting. The wise shamans told the warchiefs that sending the braves to hunt and kill the Ew’ah was surely going to be the end of the tribe, for the Ew’ah had the terrible power to drive men mad with a glance. The warchiefs argued that the Ew’ah could no longer feast on the dreams of the Cherokee children, and that something must be done. Together they agreed that their strongest brave would go alone, and bring great honor to his family and tribe by killing the mad demon.

the Wampus CatStanding Bear (or Great Fellow, depending on the story version) was the strongest, fastest, sneakiest, smartest, and most respected brave in all the Cherokee nation, and he was chosen to do battle with the demon. As he walked from his village, the shamans blessed him, and the warchiefs gave him many fine weapons with which to slay the beast, and on the edge of town, his wife, Running Deer, bid him a final farewell. She would never see him the same way again.

Weeks went by, and there was no word from Standing Bear. Suddenly, late one night, the stricken brave came running back into camp, screaming, and clawing at his eyes. One look, and Running Deer knew. Her husband was no more. With time, he would be able to pick berries and work in the fields with the young girls and the unmarried widows, but he would never be any good as a husband again, and by Cherokee law, that meant he was dead. Standing Bear’s name was never again mentioned, but Running Deer had loved her husband, and she wanted revenge.

Running Deer went to the shamans, and they gave her a booger mask, a bobcat’s face, and they told her that the spirit of the mountain cat could stand against the Ew’ah, but she must be the one to surprise the demon. The warchiefs gave her a special black paste, which when rubbed on her body, would hide her scent as well as her body. She kissed her former husband on the forehead, his blank eyes staring, and headed off to seek her revenge.

Running Deer knew the woods as well as she knew the village, and she ate sweet berries to keep up her strength over the many days, but still she came across no sign of the Ew’ah. Then, late one night, she heard a creature stalking down by the stream. As she crept slowly towards the creek, she heard a twig snap behind her. She spun, and just as suddenly realized how quickly it could have been the end of her. Behind her a wily fox darted across the pathway. “If that had been Ew’ah, I would be mad now…” the widowed Cherokee woman thought to herself, as she continued towards the creek.

At the edge of the creek, she saw footprints which did not belong there, and her former husband’s breastplate lay at the edge of the water. As she followed the prints upstream, she saw the demon. Its hulking form lurched hideously over the water, drinking from the pristine mountain spring. The Ew’ah hadn’t seen her! Running Deer crept ever closer, and just as she felt she could bring herself no closer, she sprang!

The Ew’ah spun, and saw the Cat-Spirit-Mask, and began to tear at itself as the spirit of the mountain cat turned its powerful magic back on itself. The Ew’ah tumbled backwards into the pool, and Running Deer immediately turned on her heel and ran as fast as she could back to the village, never once looking back.

When she arrived home, she sang a song to herself—a quiet song, of grief for her husband, but also of joy for the demon’s banishment. The shamans and warchiefs declared Running Deer the Spirit-Talker and Home-Protector.

Some say that the spirit of Running Deer inhabits the Wampas cat, and that she continues her eternal mission of watching her tribe’s lands to protect them and their peoples from the demons that hide in the dark and lost places of Tanasi.

sources: Cherokee version above related by Enrique de la Viega, of Powder Branch, TN, on 7/11/03, posted to Ex Libris Nocturnis forum at http://bit.ly/2FmX4f


Mysterious Knoxville, by Charles Edwin Price, 1999

15 Responses

  • Tim Hooker says:

    In Southeast Tennessee, I’ve heard it called a Catty-wampus.

  • While there are towns named Etowah in both North Carolina and Tennessee, the Cherokee village named Etowah was in Bartow County, Georgia, near the Etowah Mounds (which were not built by the Cherokee), and Chota was in Monroe County, Tennessee.

  • Dave Tabler says:

    You’re right! Thanks for catching that and setting it straight, Dennis.

  • Janie Kraker says:

    I live in northern Georgia and comment Dennis for his knowledge and his post. My late father always talked about a Wampus Cat and I was thrilled to find this post. Thank you so much! I travel to western North Carolina frequently and feel that I belong in the Nantahala area. I grieve for what the white man did to the noble Cherokee. As a side note to Tim Hooker’s post….catty-wampus is known to me and my family as “all mixed up” or “out of order” or “out of arrangement”.
    I just returned from a wonderful visit to Fontana Village…we went in February and the lake was almost completely drained…we visited Cherokee, Joyce Kilmer, Robbinsville, Lake Junaluska areas. I am infatuated with Horace Kephart as well and have hiked Kephart Prong several times. Simply put, I love the area and feel that I belong there.

  • Jennifer Robinson Whaley says:

    A year ago I got my family tree from my mother who had kept it all in her Bible. I am over three fourths cherokee Indian. My fiance had spoken of a Wampus Cat that he and his cousins had seen on our land as children.We moved to the thirteen acre property last June. I saw something behind our house that i thought was a ghost and another spirit just before dawn.It looked at me as if it were looking into my soul and what I felt was pure rage.When I described what I had seen to my fiance he told me it was the same Wampus Cat he had seen as a child. This is the first time I have looked it up and find this very interesting. Two years ago I gave my three daughters Indian names. My eleven year old named Hannah is the one I gave the name Running Deer. I never knew the story behind all of this and just want to thank you for post.

  • Jennifer Robinson Whaley says:

    who has a drawing or picture of the wampus cat

  • TJ Morrison says:

    I live in Atoka, Oklahoma. I am in McCall Middle School. McCall is the last name of the Mayor that built the school. But anyways, My school’s nickname is the Wampus Cats, so it’s
    The Atoka Wampus Cats. Our football team is good, and so is our softball and baseball team. Basketball, mabye a so-so.

  • Nancy Stafford Griesinger says:

    Catty-Wampus in our neighborhood always meant a rather mixed up situation.
    My people lived in Western North Carolina in what is now Eastern Tennessee. They traveled west and settled (some of them) in Northwestern Tennessee.

  • […] panther.  It’s a creepy ghost story, basically, and like any legend, there are different versions.   If you’re building a party, these are your strong warrior types.  (You know the drill by […]

  • Shannon Duzan-Fowler says:

    The Etowah mounds in Georgia aren’t Cherokee mounds. They were built by the Mississippian Period mound builders (thought to be the ancestors of both the Cherokee and the Creek).

  • brave heart bull says:

    Etowah is a corruption of the Muskogee word, Etalwuh ( E’tvlwv in our language)meaning: Their Town, as in someone else’s. If you remove the “E”, making it Tv’lwav, it then becomes personal.

  • Tony Williams says:

    As a boy growing up in rural northwest Florida, my Granny used the term “Wampus-Cat” to scare us back into the house at dark or at dinner time. Best of my recollection, she described this thing as evil and “of the devil”. Ran on all fours or upright, long fangs and claws and his scream could be heard for a country mile. I remember this as a useful method for her getting my cooperation.

  • BigUrn says:

    The Catty-Wampus don’t give a fuck.

  • Tony says:

    I was attacked by a Wampus cat as a child. My Mamaw would always holler right before dark, “you kids better get in here before the wampus cat gets you” and we would come runnin to the house. A kid at school made fun of me for believing in the wampus cat. One evening we were playing outside and my mamaw hollered the usual. I shot back “Aint no such thing as a wampus cat, we’ll be in when the game is over!” About 30 minutes later I came up to the house and as soon as I opened the screen door, the Wampus cat got me. Its claws felt like a switch on the back of my legs. I learned that a wampus cat is actually a whoop ass cat and it don’t like being sassed.

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You’d have that feeling then of being way far back

Posted by Dave Tabler | October 12, 2017

From 1935-1943, President Franklin Roosevelt looked to the U.S. Farm Security Administration, under the direction of Roy Stryker, to photograph people in need across the country in order to help sell his New Deal programs to the public.

Ben Shahn was one of the first photographers Styker hired. Shahn worked for a part of the project called Special Skills, and also helped create posters and other graphic arts.

“It was a really tough time,” remembered Shahn years later, “and when this thing came along and this idea that I must wander around the country a bit for three months. . . I just nearly jumped out of my skin with joy. And not only that, they were going to give me a salary too! I just couldn’t believe it.”

In October 1935 Shahn and his wife Bernarda started out on the first trip in a Model A Ford. Heading for West Virginia, he took photographs in Monongalia County before arriving in Logan County. The couple spent a Sunday and Monday in Omar and also visited Freeze Fork before moving on through Williamson to Kentucky and Tennessee, and then into the deep South.

“I did a series of photographs on a Saturday afternoon in a small town in Tennessee, I believe, of a medicine man. He had a little dummy, ventriloquist dummy, and he had a Negro to help him and so on. It was Saturday. I don’t think there were ten cars in the square, they were all mule drawn carts that had come there. This was 1935; it was incredible you see. The same was true of a lot of areas we covered. You’d have that feeling then of being way far back; but tragically enough, just about a month ago we took a train from Washington to Cincinnati. As I went throughout West Virginia, it hadn’t changed. It just made me sick to see the same darn thing.

Tennessee Medicine Show by Ben Shahn
“The other thing that startled me; when I was down in the mine country, I think it was Kentucky, there was some local strike taking place and I thought I want to cover that. It was being picketed and I thought, ‘Now how do you get into a conversation with a union picket? You offer him a union made cigarette.’ So I bought a pack of Raleighs and I offered him a cigarette and he says, ‘No, I don’t smoke that awful stuff.’ In stronger language than that. He says, ‘Here, I’ve been in the union for thirty years and I won’t smoke that,’ and he offered me a non-union cigarette. This to me is startling you know.

“As was the fact that John L. Lewis, who was a kind of a God of theirs at that time, and you didn’t dare say a word against him…if you had a copy of The Nation with you, I think they’d run you out of town. There was this incomprehensible conflict there you know.

“I got into homes. I stayed with some families. I knew how to do that pretty well, and got to know them, and we still remember their names.”

sources: www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/transcripts/shahn64.htm

Ben+Shahn Farm+Security+Administration appalachia appalachia+history appalachian+culture appalachian+history appalachian+mountains+history

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