Blast from the Past

December 05, 2007

Week of Dec. 2, 1957

· There is lots of national interest in the Battle of Antietam and the stories behind the bloody battle that was fought here in Washington County. That is what Douglas F. Storer, an NBC Monitor broadcaster reported yesterday. Here is the partial text, titled "Two Presidents": "In September 1982, the battle for Antietam was raging fiercely, and the 233rd Ohio Regiment was in the thick of it. A 19-year-old soldier known to his comrades as 'Billy' was the commissary sergeant. As the commander, Col. Hayes, ordered his men into the firing line, the men were tired and hungry. Billy called on a teamster, John Harvey, to get the fires going well, while he dashed to the commissary and got enough fresh beef to feed 1,000 men. The two men cooked the meat and made 1,000 hefty sandwiches, and then loaded them on a cart and drove right up to the firing line. Without disturbing a single man from his firing, Billy went up and down the line, stuffing a sandwich into each man's mouth. The Colonel saw what he was doing, and then, during a lull in the fighting, he staged an impromptu parade and promoted Billy from sergeant to second lieutenant. The men cheered and shouted 'Hurray for Billy. Billy for President'. Billy shouted back 'Colonel Hays for President'. The colonel smiled and ordered the men back to fighting, and they won the battle.


The sergeant, Billy, was William Henry McKinley, who became President of the United States. The colonel was Rutherford B. Hayes, who also became President of the United States."

Week of Dec. 2, 1982

· A $50,000 low-interest loan from Hagerstown's Community Development Block Grant fund will help turn a 100-year-old building at 107-109 W. Franklin St. into five apartments and 2,000 square feet of office space. The building was once a bakery, and a warehouse behind it still contains ovens once used in the old bakery.

· For JLG Industries, fiscal 1982 was "the most disappointing year in our history", in which sales fell by 21 percent and profits fell by 96 percent, company president John L. Grove said yesterday.

The recession has kicked out the supports from the worldwide heavy equipment market, and JLG has suffered like the rest of the industry. However, Grove said increasing housing starts, engineering work and retail sales spell good news for JLG. Also, buyers from the Middle East and Europe began nibbling a little more about JLG equipment after the company dangled low financing and new discounts in the market.

Although he could not say when things would look better for the firm, Grove said "You've got to invest for the future. It all depends on whether you're willing to take a risk. I can tell you with confidence the JLG that emerges from this recession will be stronger than ever before."

· Although it may never replace the Big Apple, the Washington County village of Clear Spring has been chosen by a Syracuse, N.Y. businessman as "the best place in the country" to build a TV studio and station.

If built, Bernard Boozer said the station will produce and transmit its own shows, mostly about the town, its residents and farmers. It will also offer some satellite programming.

After combing the country for sites, Boozer said he chose Clear Spring because it's in the center of a 90,000-person market and "because it has 428 people in it and I want to give them something they can call their own."

· Mary Shank of St. James calls it gratifying to work with the children at Fountain Rock Elementary School. For the past five years, Mrs. Shank, who was a teacher at the old Fairplay School in the 1920s, has tutored young readers twice a week. Third grade teacher Mrs. Rae Miles said she has watched children who were once bored by reading take active interest in books after Mrs. Shank started working with them.

Last week, the second and third grade classes said thank you to their grandmother volunteer by throwing a big party in honor of Mrs. Shank's 81st birthday.

- Compiled by Kelly Moreno

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