SOME KEYSER ANECDOTES
(From "History of Keyser, WV" by William Wolfe)
Every community has some treasured and oft repeated
local anecdotes, humorous occurrences and whimsical sayings, which
are often both of questionable humor as well as questionable veracity.
From the large number of Keyser anecdotes, some quite risque in
nature, I have selected the following - some I know are true, some
partly try, and some may be fictitious.
1. "DEW DROP" MOSLEY, AUNT SUSAN AND ROBERT
George Washington Mosley,(born 1810, died 1897) and his wife Susan Myers Mosley (born 1828, died 1896) ran the New Creek Hotel, now 208 Mozelle Street, before the Civil War. The B&O passenger train stopped at the hotel to let the passengers get off and eat. One summer day, the dining room was full, many had ordered some of Aunt Susan's famous pie. Suddenly, Aunt Susan stuck her head through the dining room door and yelled, "Wash, them hogs has et up all them pies, they ain't no more!"
Uncle Wash was known locally as "Dew Drop". He had a very large and prominent nose. There was always a drop or two of moisture on its end, hanging there, ready to drop. In the 1880's he kept a store at 102 N. Main Street (Now Clement's Jewelry Store). It was said that every time Uncle Wash stopped over the flour barrel or sugar barrel a drop or two would fall in. Mischievous boys (and girls, too) would open his store door, stick their head in and yell, "Dew Drop and Sonny and Papa's little honey," which would make Uncle Wash very angry indeed.
The Sonny referred to was their son, Robert (Bob) Mosley. Aunt Susan was very careful for Sonny's health. She would bundle him up even in the warn weather, fearing he would catch cold. He was not allowed to go to the store until nearly noon, when the sun was well up. Mrs. "Rich" Athey used to say that Aunt Susan gave Bob his bath until he was 17 years old.
These Mosleys lived at 50 N Davis Street.
When Robert was about 20 years old, they decided to let him go on a excursion train to Washington, DC all by himself. The train left Keyser Sat night and would return Monday morning. Uncle Wash and Aunt Susan went down to the station to see Bob off. She had fixed fried chicken and homemade bread and butter sandwiches in a shoe box for his lunch.
Just before train time, Uncle Wash said "Bob I guess you'll need a little spending money to take along with you. How much do you want?" Bob said, "I don't know Pa, how much do you think I'll need?" Uncle Wash replied, "Well, Bob, here's a quarter. That ought to see you through".
On Monday morning, Bob, on his return home, gave his father back a dime, saying "Here's what I had left over from that quarter you gave me, I didn't need it all".
2. COL THOMAS B DAVIS
Col. Davis died in Nov 1911. I think he was 88 years old. He had been very ill for some time. A few days before his death, he said to his attendant, Mr. Harry Gull, "Harry, are you going to the funeral?" Harry asked, "Whose funeral, Colonel?"
"My funeral, Harry, my funeral, damn it>"
"Colonel, let's not talk about that."
"Don't you go to it, Harry. You stay here and watch the house to see that no one steals anything."
3. HUNTER, ZAN AND THE PIG
Two brothers, Hunter and Zan Redman, had raised a pig. When butching time came, they agreed that Zan was to go into the pigpen and drive the pig out through a hole in the side of the pen. Hunter was to wait outside the hole with a hammer and hit the pig on the head to stun it as it came out the hole.
Zan went in, but the pig did not want to come out. In fact, the pig drive Zan out through the hole. As Zan's head emerged through the hole, Hunter hit him a right good blow right on the skull. If Zan had not been wearing a felt hat, he might have been killed.
He did pass out for a while; when he came to he said, "Hunter, whoever saw a pig with a hat on?"
4. THE HOME TALENT SHOW
One of the first "home talent" shows in Keyser was given in Johnson's Hall, where the poolroom is now at the corner of Main and Center Streets, for the benefit of the Keyser Fired Company. In one of the acts, a villain was to be chased by four policemen with batons (police sticks) made out of stuffed black stockings. After catching him, they were to take hold of him by each arm and leg, one police on each limb and swing him back and forth between them.
One police was to shout, "I have him." Another would shout, "What'll we do with him?" A third would answer, "Throw him out the window!" Then they were to heave him out the upstairs, back window into the alley, where some men were to be stationed under the window holding a blanket to catch him as he fell.
The night of the show, all went well as scheduled until they shouted, "Throw him out the window." The villain, a young Keyser man named Coffey Boucher, sailed through the air and out the window, but the men who were to hold the blanket were not there.
Coffey would have been killed, had not there been a huge pile of empty boxes used for packing, piled up to just below the second story window. As soon as Coffey went through the window, he hit the wooden boxes - there was a mighty sound of wood snapping and breaking mingled with Coffey's yells and groans. he bounced from the box to box until he hit the ground. It is an understatement to say he was bruised and battered.
About ten minutes later, Coffey came limping and groaning and holding his back, up the stairs from Center Street and into the hall.
A man, who had a considerable lot to drink, was sitting near the entrance door. When he saw Coffey come in, he slapped his thigh and yelled, "That was the damndest most realistic act I ever seen!"
5. COL THOMAS CARSKADON
At Mr. Charles Rolls' funeral (where Kenny's Corner/Sheetz Parking lot is) who was the father of Sarah Rolls who married Clarence Washington; Henry Rolls who married Beatrice Washington and Lizzie Rolls who married Mack Hamilton had been Col. Carskadon's "right hand man" on the farm.
Col. Carskadon's farm was called Radical Hill. He was a fluent, gifted orator and had one eye out, wearing in its place a glass eye. When the Colonel spoke, the glass usually shifted to turn up toward the heaven. In his most impressive moments one eye was staring at the ceiling.
When Mr. Rolls died, his funeral was held at Janes' Methodist Church. Of course, Col. Carskadon attended. After the sermon, the minister invited the Colonel to say a few words.
He arose impressively, and said, one eye turned upward, -
"My friends, if I am ever so fortunate as to gain entrance into the heavenly City of the New Jerusalem and walk down those golden streets, and as I gaze about in rapture, if I do not see my good friend Charlie Rolls, I shall wonder how Thomas Carskadon ever got there."