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It was 1912 in Logan County, and even though they were not allowed to vote, women had already started making a difference for the town of Logan, which was well on its way to becoming a true and bustling city. Thanks to the rapidly growing coal industry, Logan would become an enlightened and progressive locality, yet neither polished nor refined.

By 1912, the Logan Mercantile Co. — the first floor of which is now judicially utilized as Family Court — had been open for barely a year by owner B.C Harris, who also conducted embalming and other undertaker procedures on the upper floor of the Main Street structure that featured an elevator.

Logan was growing quickly. The longtime former Indian burial grounds that existed under nearly all of the town even had its own Kroger store on Main Street directly across from the courthouse. The word “Kroger” can still dimly be seen painted on that particular building.

While men were probably hustling to open such businesses as pool halls, barber shops, retail stores and restaurants to take advantage of the growing population and to cater to the coal camp folks who were pouring into Logan every weekend, many women saw the need for other things, so a group of women organized as the “Woman’s Civic League.”

The objective of the league was to improve the conditions of the community, and its first move was to approach Logan City Council, after organizing and electing officers Feb. 3, 1912. It was reported that “every lady, married or single, over the age of 18 years, who has the interest of the city of Logan at heart” was invited to become a member. The initiation fee was a $1, which also included the first year’s dues.

At a time when chewing tobacco was a popular item chewed inside and outside of the coal mines by both males and females, the Women’s League wanted a halt put to spitting in public places, and they convinced the council to pass an “anti-spitting ordinance.”

Spitting on the sidewalks, walls or floors of public buildings, or in other places where the public might be in Logan called for the offender to be liable for a fine of from one to ten dollars. Still, that wasn’t all the ladies got accomplished in creating a better health environment.

Through their efforts with the council, the beginning of proper garbage disposal became a reality for the first time in Logan as the street commissioner was ordered to collect and dispose of all accumulated garbage on Monday of each week. To facilitate the effort, all residents were requested to maintain a barrel or “other suitable receptacle for waste matter” and to have it in a convenient place for removal each Monday.

The Logan Woman’s Club would some years later come into existence, as well as the Daughters of the American Revolution, both of which accomplished many outstanding civic endeavors — but it was these “feminine pioneers” who were not even allowed to vote in an election until 1920, that made the early difference in helping Logan government in matters such as the sale of sewer and paving bonds, the location of the first bridges across the Guyandotte River into Logan, the blocking of railroad tracks by trains, and even the restoration of the evening passenger train to Holden from Logan.

BITS AND PIECES

I actually had planned this week to inform readers about all of the new laws that have been legislatively enacted that pertain to Magistrate Court, but because of time restraints and the abundance of laws that will take up considerable space in explaining, I am going to place that material on a back burner for another day. Of particular interest, however, is a law that allows drivers whose license has been suspended for unpaid citations to get their license back and legally drive. It’s not a complicated matter to do, but because of the virus situation and the courthouse being virtually closed there is little that can be done at this time. However, regardless of how much money is owed, a person can now be able to drive legally by coming to Magistrate Court and completing a form that is submitted to the Department of Transportation. Anyone desiring more information may telephone 304-792-8650 or 304-792-8651.

Other items of interest are that persons receiving new citations — that most of us just refer to as tickets — will not see their drivers license suspended if the fines and court costs are not paid within the usual 180-day time frame.

In addition, magistrates now must issue personal recognizance bonds for particular misdemeanor charges, and we are not allowed to set bonds higher than three times the amount of the fine per charge. For example, if a person is charged with obstructing an officer, which carries a penalty of $50 to $500 and/or up to one year in jail, a magistrate cannot set a bond higher than $1,500.

Of course, some of the new laws are designed to help alleviate each county’s increasingly high regional jail bill, which, in Logan County’s case for last year, I believe it was around $1.5 million despite numerous programs designed to keep people from being in jail.

Regardless, since few people are aware of all of these legislative changes, I hope to soon better explain in detail how these changes will help some people, especially those persons who cannot work or seek employment because of a lack of a valid driver’s license.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“Someone has tabulated that we have 35 million laws on the books to enforce the Ten Commandments.” — Bert Masterson

DID YOU KNOW that there is no actual deed recorded for the Logan County Courthouse property in Logan?

CLOSING NOTE: It never fails to amaze me how many people have left Logan County and became highly successful in life; it also is of interest how many people have chosen to write books that pertain to growing up in Logan County. One native of Logan County, who lived at Amherstdale, West Logan and McConnell, is a highly successful surgeon of the past 40 years. Dr. Robert Jackson, who now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is writing a book titled “You Can’t Do That, Bob.” He said he was inspired to become a doctor by a Dr. Vaughan, who took care of his grandmother’s medical problems when he lived as a child at McConnell. He noted that the title of his book is because of all the times people told him that he could not do a particular thing, which he would later accomplish.

Dwight Williamson serves as magistrate in Logan County. He writes a weekly column for HD Media.