From the Lincoln Republican of Hamlin, WV, comes this submission by three Carroll High School students about what Lincoln County might do when oil and gas is exhausted in the future.
AFTER OIL AND GAS, THEN WHAT?
If oil and gas were to become exhausted in Lincoln county what suggestions have you along the line of agriculture for keeping up and increasing the wealth of the county and maintaining the population of Hamlin?
Three Carroll High School pupils in a recent examination in Agriculture gave the following answers:
If oil and gas were to become exhausted in Lincoln county, and it is supposed that it will, the people could make just as much money at other things if they would only think so. For instance, Lincoln county has been declared by the best educated men in the State to be the best fruit growing county in West Virginia. The people of Lincoln county can make as much money growing fruit as the people of Ohio, and many a farmer in Ohio has grown rich just by growing fruit. I do not mean out close to Columbus, but down near Kenova, in the hilly section. These hills of Lincoln county can be cleared and the men who are now making $2500 a year working in the oil and gas business can make that much and more growing fruit. Of course he has to go about it in the right manner. If they do it as it should be done they would be busy every day in the year.
Dairying is another thing that has been discussed by educated men for Lincoln county. They say now that we are getting the hard road we can take all our milk and butter to Huntington and receive good prices for it. Improved cattle can be turned out on these hills and if cared for in the proper way a man can make as much money working at it as he can working in the oil and gas business.
If oil and gas were to become exhausted in Lincoln county, I think dairying would help increase the wealth of the county and also help maintain the population of Hamlin. Dairying would pay in this county because so many people do not own cows and would buy all their milk and butter from the dairy. The cows could be pastured in the summer, and this would cause the people to improve their farms; and again, we are getting the hard road, and the dairy products could very easily be taken to market, if the dairy man could not sell all his products at home.
Fruit raising would also help Lincoln county. These hill-sides could be converted into profitable and beautiful fruit farms. I don’t think another town in the U.S. of its size uses so much fruit as Hamlin, and all this fruit must be shipped in from other places when it could be raised very easily at home. The people would improve their farms, and the washed and gullied hills would be made of some use, whereas they are of none. The only thing needed to make both dairying and fruit raising profitable is some one to start and boost the business.
If oil and gas were to become exhausted in Lincoln county, I would suggest agriculture on a scientific basis to keep the population and increase the wealth. If I see right, Lincoln county has some of the best land for orchards in the eastern part of the United States. What cannot be used for orchards can be used for sheep. With the proper care, orchards of great value and producing ability can soon be started in Lincoln county. Most of the soil, or sub soil, is clay and usually is deep and well watered. The change in temperature is usually gradual and not much risk or danger would be run in loosing from frosts or freezing. Again, we can not find a better sheep raising county in the east than Lincoln county. Sheep would surely prosper in Lincoln county. The land is somewhat run down and this would soon build it back again and restore Lincoln county’s virgin soils. This is the only way I can possibly see to keep Lincoln on her feet.
Perhaps it is well that some people are thinking along this line. It might be dded also that one way of keeping up the population and welfare of the county is to build up at the County seat the best school possible. In doing this everyone can help. We should have a large number of county teachers in the High School for the spring months. Everyone should be interested in livening teachers up to this opportunity of better preparation. We shall be in the new building then and the new building is fine. It might be of interest to note in closing that the Board of Education and the faculty are considering the establishment of a Five Week’s Summer Training School for teachers, and are discussing the matter with State authorities and with the County Superintendent.
Prin. Carroll High School
Source: Lincoln Republican (Hamlin, WV), 02 February 1922.