Look Back: Parkersburg odds and ends

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Photo Provided The community water pump on Juliana, between 7th and 8th streets, may have been near where policeman Dawson apprehended the two revelers mentioned in the item below.

Go slow

Day before yesterday, a man by the name of Johnson, from the country, took on a load of “Lightning Whiskey,” and mounted his steed for a ride; but being unable to “go slow,” was handed over to the Recorder, who fined him one dollar and costs, for fast riding.

The Parkersburg Times

July 4, 1867


Wednesday evening two lovely bacchanalians [drunken revelers] were passing lock-armed down Juliana Street. In front of the residence of Mr. Ward they were brought to a halt to give vent to diuretic effect of the benzene they had taken rather freely. Policeman Dawson assured them that this city does not issue license for such acts of indecency, and marched them off to the place appointed for receiving equivalents for offenses against municipal ordinances.

The Parkersburg Daily Times

May 29, 1868



On Tuesday a gentleman from Barbour County, whose name is Harding, made his appearance on Court Square, and as he is but little shorter than a lightning rod he attracted no small amount of attention, and it was not long until a bet of a new hat was made by a couple of our popular townsmen, that the stranger was or was not over seven feet high. The stranger was captured and found to measure seven feet and one inch. One of our Court Square grocers will sport a new hat to-morrow, while the loser blushes audibly whenever that Barbour County man is mentioned.

The Parkersburg Orthopolitan

Dec. 26, 1874


That prisoner

One day last week Judge Murphy had a queer character brought before him on a charge of having knocked down Sol. Chichester. The evidence was conclusive that the prisoner had coolly stopped by the side of Chichester and knocked him down without the least provocation. Judge Murphy turned to the prisoner, after having heard the evidence and inquired:

“What is your name?”

“John Smith, sir,” smilingly remarked the prisoner.

“John Smith — it seems to me that I’ve heard that name before. Where do you reside?”

“Right here, sir,” rapping the chair.

“Have you anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon you?”

“Do you think, sir, I would dispute the word of those gentlemen and yourself? No, sir, I wouldn’t be so impolite,” blandly answered John Smith.

“You are not very polite, or you would have taken off your hat.”

“Do you desire it sir?”

“No, sir, I do not. What are the jail fees?” turning to policeman Bartlett.

Bartlett: “One dollar and a half.”

Prisoner: “Eh, make it $2.50; be sure to give the jailor enough.

Judge M., indignantly: “Fine and costs, $11.50. Can you pay it?”

“Pay it? No sir; don’t pay fines,” smilingly returned the prisoner.

Judge M.: “Take him out officer, and put him to work.”

Prisoner: “Thank you, sir. Bye bye, ta-ta, da,da,” and out he went still smiling and serene.

He was a lunatic, but Judge Murphy didn’t know it.

The Parkersburg Semi-Weekly Sentinel

July 12, 1879


Sealed up in a boxcar

John Wildt was arrested by special officer Had Dils last night. He was found sealed up with the rest of the cargo, in a box car loaded with lumber. Justice Jones, this morning, gave him a reasonable time to leave town. He said he came from Memphis.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Sept. 29, 1897


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical Society. Would you like to help preserve our past for future generations? The society offers informative monthly meetings and an interesting, 20-page quarterly newsletter. Dues are just $20/year. Send to: WCHPS, P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.