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Look Back: Writers take jab at government, taxes

An old-time office seeker

Gov. Jack Tyler, of Virginia, and old Jack Dade had been chums and had “punished” a great deal of the “juice nectarous” together. If Dade was illiterate he was a good soul and companionable, and Tyler, one of the old time fellows and a man of great abilities, liked him anyway. After Tyler was inaugurated, Dade made a trip to the capital to see him. The interview was characteristic.

“Jack, old boy, how are you? Come in,” said the Governor, greeting the old man as of yore. “Governor Jack,” said Dade, for they always called each other Jack, “I want an office.” The Governor laughed. “Jack,” said he, “what are your qualifications for office?” “Well now, Governor Jack, I kin mix drinks. I kin mix your whiskey sling, and your port wine sangaree and your tod,” said Dade going over the catalog of compounds, “and I kin drink em and you know it.”

So they laughed together on the strength of reminiscences. “Well, Jack,” said the Governor, “what kind of office do you want?” “Governor Jack,” was the response, “I want a offis with hell uv big pay and nothing to do.”

The Parkersburg Sentinel

June 10, 1876

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Tax increase angers man

I was toiling along the mountain trail with a knapsack on my back when overtaken by a man on a mule. He asked where I was going, and when I replied I had been directed to stop for the night at Hopkins’ cabin he said: “I am just going up to Tom’s place myself, and we’ll job along together. I hev to see Tom about his taxes.”

“How are taxes assessed up here in the mountains” I asked after a while. “Oh, kinder so so.”

Nothing more was said until we reached the cabin. Mr. Hopkins was cutting firewood in the backyard and he came around and welcomed us and queried of the man with me “Wall, Sam, what brings you up this way.”

“Cum to see about your taxes, Tom.” “Shoot! How are taxes this year?” “Well, Tom, taxes is up a little, I’m sorry to say.” “How much up?” “Yo’ done paid $7 last year, I believe?” “Bout $7.” “And they’ve risen up to about $9 this year. “Shoot! Sam Davis, who riz up them taxes on me?” “The state b’ord, I reckon.” “And where might the state b’ord be at?” “Nashville, I take it.” “Shoot! Jest wait a minute.”

He entered his house for a moment and then reappeared with a long barreled rifle and dropped the butt on the ground as he said: “Sam, I ain’t going to stand no riz up in my taxes! There’s no call for it. I’ve got that $7 right here in the house, but I won’t pay no more. What yo’ going to do about it?” “Won’t yo pay no mo?” “Not a blamed cent.” “And yo’ doan’ care ’bout the state b’ord?” “Not a bit!” “And yo’ll shoot before you pay any more?” “Sure to!” “Well, then, I reckon I’ll take along that $7 and call it square, and if the state b’ord don’t like it they can come after the rest. How’s Pete Small on taxes this year?” “Pete won’t pay a cent.” “And ole man Harper?” “Him’s waiting fur you with a gun!”

“I see. Well, I won’t bother’em, I reckon. Bring out that $7, Tom, and take a receipt, and if you have any corn juice handy I might be coaxed to wet up the roof of my mouth!”

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

March 23, 1896

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Will arouse the natives

A cannon was put on the batteau [a small flat-bottomed boat] Calhoun, by the Captain, Bob Miles, this morning, and it will be used in the upper Little Kanawha river for signaling purposes. It is small size but of sufficient strength to arouse all the natives for miles around.

The Parkersburg Semi-Weekly Sentinel

July 4, 1899

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Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. If you have comments or questions about Look Back items, please contact him at: roberteenoch@gmail.com, or by mail at WCHPS, PO Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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