The Highland Register & Digest

Area News and Common Sense Opinion for Real People

November 15, 2005

Go Take a Swim

“Jerry, Curly and Moe” invite the National Park Service to a Swimming Party

According to one disgruntled land owner, “With Jerry, Curly and Moe running the county, Jerry will probably build a hotel and convention center next to his pool. And he’ll heat it with electricity from a windmill.”

For many people living outside the metropolis of Monterey, there has been a “disconnect” between county supervisors and the people in the “sticks” of Highland who are increasingly concerned about the lack of common sense in county government and an official attitude of “to hell with what the people think.” Read about it here.

President McKinley’s “Coffin” found its way from Cheat Mountain, West Virginia to McDowell

In 1900, the year McKinley was elected to a second term, and the year before McKinley’s death, an elderly Confederate Veteran of the War for Southern Independence finished laboring at a job assigned by Eli Crouch, the owner of a Tygart Valley farm near Elkwater, West Virginia.

When curious observers asked what he was doing, the old veteran replied, “I’m makin’ McKinley a coffin.”

Bruce Vance (left) inherited “McKinley’s Coffin” in 1972. At rest beside their farm house below McDowell, the Vances have cared for it ever since.

Read the story of this curious bit of history here.

Official National Park Service Policy: Willing Sellers Must “Agree or Else”

In 1988, the National Park Service and its historic preservation “partners” ignited a firestorm of protest when they tried to expand the Minute Man National Historic Park in Massachusetts. The National Park Service broke its word and ruthlessly seized private property to create the park after more than 150 frightened home owners, farmers and small business owners were promised condemnation would not be used. The “willing buyer, willing seller” procedure of acquiring land, touted by park officials, is “meaningless” according to a top National Park Service official.

If you believe your land will never be condemned and taken; if you think you can trust the NPS and its historic preservation “partners’” word; or if you are sure Congress will never change the way land is “acquired,” this article will give you a better understanding of the NPS deception.

At the end of October, sunset comes to McKendree Church

May 25, 2005

The Battle of McDowell, 1862-2005

The $60,000 parking lot for the McDowell battlefield was constructed along US Route 250 using federal ISTEA (TEA-21/TEP) funds for “battlefield preservation.” Many residents have good reasons to be convinced the outrageously expensive lot was not only a huge money-making scam for someone, but was purposely sited in such a way as to “monkey-wrench” a proposed major road improvement to the highway. A worse location for “tourists” who want to “see the battlefield” could not have been chosen.

Like almost every federally-funded pork-project for “battlefield preservation,” the parking lot typifies a gross waste of money. But the parking lot is simply the “tip of the iceberg.” Beneath the surface is the federally-funded, National Park Service land acquisition scheme for a 4,539 acre area in Highland County. The real Battle of McDowell, being fought today, threatens private Property Rights of local citizens and their ability to control the future of their own county. Read the facts about the modern-day Federal invasion here.

David Hinkle “Hink” Hiner (1928-1999) was known far and wide throughout the Allegheny region of western Virginia and West Virginia. Hink and his wife, Ruth, with their portable grist mill, were a big attraction at area festivals. He was one of those rare ‘characters’ who could do, fix or make just about anything…a mechanic, plumber, sawmill operator…a builder of bird feeders.

With Ruth working by his side, he took on jobs most others would not touch. Always willing to help those who needed, he charged most people little—or nothing if they could not afford to pay.

March 20, 2005

The National Chr…uh, I mean, “Capitol Holiday Tree”

Religious Sects Cause a Disturbance—A ‘Capital Gift’ for Taxpayers

Cut ‘er down, boys!

Read “Allie” Williston’s commentary on the ‘political circus’ which came to Highland when the first “Capitol Holiday Tree” from Virginia was selected from the Highland County portion of George Washington National Forest.

Warning: Williston’s article may have adverse effects on some readers. Please read the package insert for warnings, precautions and symptoms of side-effects.

January 27, 2005

In the early 1900s, family and friends gathered for a wedding at the home of Mr. Abe Armstrong. In a dark shirt and coat, he is standing on the porch next to the column. The home on Bull Pasture Mountain no longer exists.

David Neil standing on the newly constructed basketball court.

David Neil Hits a Home Run

Volunteering for His Community

Most Highland residents know and respect the even-tempered and friendly county native, David Neil. As one of Highland County’s Deputy Sheriffs, he stands 6’2”, and weighs 220 lbs., a person with whom few would purposely tangle, on duty or off.

But behind the uniform is a man who cares about his county, his neighbors, and especially about the welfare of county youngsters. Read more about David’s work with the Stonewall Ruritan Club to create a first class recreation facility in Highland at no cost to the taxpayer, here.

Historic Preservation Deception

Targeting Rural America

Highland's new ‘Federal’ History Museum. Southerners should be proud.

Highland County continues to officially back federally-funded land acquisition by so-called ‘non-profit,’ historic preservation groups. As private property continues to be acquired, conflicts arise, causing divisions within the community.

Land, long held by local families, comes under the control of people, “outsiders,” with very different values. What might have been used for agriculture, hunting, for a home site or for a local business is no longer available. Now it is “preserved forever for future generations” who will never see any benefit.

Peyton Knight, Executive Director of the American Policy Center in Warrenton, Virginia, details what happened to Ralph and Julie Shelton in Malheur County, Oregon, when historic preservationists targeted their farm. The Shelton story is striking in its similarity to what has been happening in Highland. Read the full story here.

Related articles about historic preservation in Highland County can be found here and here; and see Congressional testimony on National Heritage Areas here and here. Highland County is included in a NHA.

Bicycles. Needless, Tragic Death.

The death of a 52 year old female bicyclist on Saturday, August 2, 2003, on U.S. Rt. 250 near Monterey, Virginia should make every Highland County resident pause to question why some county leaders encourage activities which put lives and property at risk.

Two weeks prior to the death, Joyce Morrison sent us her article, Beware of Bicycles. On August 3, 2003, she commented: “I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy—although it was bound to happen. I feel sorry for the person who was driving the vehicle. I have found bicyclists believe themselves to be superior… [Many of them] are professionals, highly paid individuals, who will not tolerate an opinion contrary to their own. They have a socialist attitude and are Smart Growth advocates. They are Sierra Club…hate SUVs and the wear and tear any of our vehicles do on “their” roads.” Joyce writes about the lunacy faced by rural communities all across the nation where Tourism, Historic Preservation, Scenic Byways, Bicycling, and Hiking Trails are part of an elitist agenda being pushed by a loud, arrogant minority who want to change America to fit their vision. Her articles may be found in The Illinois Leader and a sample of the nationwide furor caused by her article can be found here.

Robert Thomas Whitelaw ran the Hightown mail route about 1910-1915. RFD (Rural Free Delivery) was started by the Post Office in 1896 as an experiment in three West Virginia towns, soon spreading across rural America. According to John Jarrell Whitelaw, the Hightown Route ran north on what is now Rt. 640, crossed to Rt. 637 at Rt. 639, then ran south to Hevener Lane, Rt. 638, crossed back to Rt. 640 and north back to Hightown. Robert Thomas (b.1887, d.1918) was the son of Nicholas Alexander Whitelaw, and the father of John Jarrell Whitelaw. When Robert passed away, his sister, Mary Elizabeth Whitelaw Dudley took over the RFD No.1 Hightown route.