Judge Conrad retained the position till 1868, when George W. Ginn was elected. In 1870 Capt. L. N. Huck was elected. From 1872 till the spring of 1876 Rev. J. B. T. Reed filled the place, when W. L. Clark was elected and continued till 1884, at which time John C. Williams took the municipal reins; in 1886 Richard L. Gray, the present genial clerk of the corporation, came into power, and in 1888 William M. Atkinson, the present incumbent, stepped to the front, who gracefully wears the robes of municipal state.
To return to the proceedings of the corporation council: After reciting the fact that two amendments had been made to the original act incorporating the town of Winchester, and another declaring justices of the peace of Frederick County residing within the corporate limits of the town to be eligible as members of the common council, the first ordinance passed prescribes the duties of the treasurer and town sergeant. This was in 1820, at which time, also was passed an ordinance providing for the appointment of a committee of accounts. March 12, 1822, foot-ways were ordered to be placed on both sides of Boscowen Street from London to Washington. At this same meeting of the council an act setting forth and commanding a number of progressive movements was passed, viz: For the appointment of a superintendent of police; keeping streets, alleys, and gutters clean; to give information of nuisances; for the employment of scavengers; to contract for the sale of dirt taken from the streets; to clean snow and ice off of pavements; to remove snow from public square (a pointer for the city in the cause celebre); no porch to be erected on any paved street, except within certain limits; regulating building materials piled upon streets; wagons not permitted to stand on streets unless in actual use; carriages not to be driven at an unusual rate of speed; horses not to be galloped; about slaughter houses, out-houses, distilleries, soap-boilers, hatters, etc,; not to hound or chase any horse or cow, or throw at them in the streets; regulating lime-kilns, not to fire cannon or muskets in the town; regulating market, weights, measures, butchers, hucksters, etc. An ordinance was passed for widening and deepening the town run; also an act for the "preservation of good order on the Sabbath, and for the suppression of other disorderly conduct of slaves and others." Patrol appointed, and slaves must be in at 10 o'clock, p.m. An act was passed for the curbing "the sidewalks from Fairfax Lane on the west side to Piccadilly street." The rate of taxes as set at this time was: On houses and lots for every one hundred dollars, $2.50; every tithable person, $1; male dog, $1; female dog, $10.
October 28, 1826, the council appropriated $50 for erecting an engine house "fronting on Water street in the corner formed by the walls of the Episcopal church yard and the court house yard, and the space in front of the house to be graveled." Beatty Carson, John Bell, and Samuel H. Davis were commissioned to contract for and superintend the same (another pointer for the city). A town clock was ordered to be procured, at a cost not exceeding $750, to be placed in the steeple being erected on the court house. Alexander S. Tidball, S. H. Davis and Daniel Lynn were commissioned to procure said clock and have it put up. The year 1826 was an extremely unhealthy one, and they blamed it on the uncleanness of the streets; so the next year the council instituted measures for obviating any return of the great distress that prevailed. They regulated the using of the public hydrant, when they must be let run, and for cleansing the gutters, etc.
An act passed this year, 1827, looks rather favorable to the city? seems as though they had charge of the public square at that date, at least. For the council enacted that "no person shall place anything in or on the walls enclosing the public square, the court house wall, or the wall in front of the south end of the court house."
February 7, 1829, an ordinance was passed to lay cast-iron pipes from the spring to the jail of six-inch dimensions; those on Loudon Street to be three-inch, and those on the other streets to be two-inch, excepting Stewart, Piccadilly and Boscowen Streets, east of Cameron, which are to be one and one-half inch. Those to be used in conveying water from the main pipes to hydrants to be two-inch. John Heiskell, Alexander S. Tidball, John Bell, William L. Clark and Henry M. Brent were appointed commissioners to contract for the purchase of the pipes. $10,000 was borrowed and stock issued, redeemable in 1838. Lead or iron pipes not over one inch in diameter wee to be the only ones used by private parties to their hydrants. In this year a building was ordered to be erected at the southwest corner of the jail wall, 21x12 feet, two stories in height, the lower portion to be used for the fire engine and the upper stories for a watch-house. Lamps were also ordered to be placed at various points on Loudon and Cameron Streets, and the next year, more of them were ordered to be put up on other streets.
April 16, 1832, a new fire engine was ordered to be purchased, to cost $800, to be seven and one-half inch, thirty-man power, nozzle three-fourths inch, play 170 to 175 feet. John W. Miller, Edgar W. Robinson and John Heiskell were appointed committee to purchase. Shortly afterward an engine house was ordered to be built on the public square, fronting on Louden Street, but the plan was subsequently changed to a building of larger dimensions.
The cholera appearing in the United States during this year, 1832, the city fathers in August, appointed a committee consisting of Dr. John R. W. Dunbar, John W. Miller, John Heiskell and Thomas B. Campbell to take such steps as they deemed necessary to prevent the appearance in Winchester of the dread disease, and by October they became seriously alarmed and passed the following:
"Whereas, at the present crisis when death in all its terrific forms, is sweeping off its thousands and tens of thousands of our fellow men, and whereas the disease which has proved such an appalling scourge too almost every region of the world, is advancing towards us with slow but apparently certain strides, it becomes us as members of a Christian community, to discountenance and suppress (for the present at least), all public exhibitions calculated to bring together large assemblies of people of all classes and habits, and affording to a certain class of our population, opportunities to indulge in the intemperate propensities, therefore, be it enacted by the President and Common Council of the corporation of Winchester, that the exhibition of all public shows, circuses or theatrical performances, be, and the same are hereby prohibited until the first day of April next. The penalty was $20."
The health committee was also augmented by the following gentlemen: Dr. Holliday, Dr. Davison, Joseph H, Sherrard, Dr. H. H. McGuire, Dr. William D. McGuire, Beatty Carson, Isaac Russell, Dr. Ro. T. Baldwin, Dr. James R. Conrad, John R. Cooke, Dr. A. S. Baldwin and Charles H. Clarke.
Having purchased the engine and built a house or two for it, it was necessary to procure some other apparatus, so June 29, 1833, the council ordered the purchase of two hose-carriages; 250 feet of large and 125 feet of small hose; two large water tubs four chacks and chains, two hydrant wrenches, two fire-hooks, four axes, two ladders and four torches, and John M. Brome, Thomas B. Campbell and Lewis Lindsay were appointed a purchasing committee.
Daniel Gold became president of the council in the spring of 1834, and a general spirit of improvement seems to have pervaded that body, as acts for the improvement of most of the streets, alleys and roads were passed. The walls enclosing the public square were improved and the bridges over the run were repaired. John Bell, Henry F. Baker, John Miller, John M. Brown, Thomas B. Campbell, John F. Wall, Beatty Carson, Godfrey Miller, Jacob Baker, James P. Riely, Abraham Miller, John Price, Lewis Lindsay, William Henning, Fredrick Schultz and John B. Campbell were deputised [sic] to attend to the public improvements.
In 1835 the council ordered the purchase of the Tidball spring, and in 1836 the purchase of a suction engine, for $750 and additional hose, hooks, ladders, etc. The Baltimore & Potomac Railroad was given permission to have space in the public building for a ticket office, and further improvement of the streets were ordered. Robert Y. Conrad, Robert Brannan, David Russell, Abraham Miller, John Bruce, David W. Barton, Bushrod Taylor and Mr. Senseney were ordered to carry out the designs of the council.
In 1838 $50 were appropriated toward building an engine house on the corner of Loudon and Monmouth Streets, and $25 to the Friendship Fire Company to repair and paint their engine. In 1839 an act was passed authorizing a loan of $25,000 to pay the subscription to the Valley Turnpike Company.
In 1840 the General Assembly of the State, by petition of the citizens, changed the charter of the town so that instead of voting by wards, a general vote of the voters should be sufficient to elect councilmen, etc. In 1847 the council appropriated $75 to the Eagle Fire Company, and in 1848 an act was passed appropriating annually the following sums: To the Sarah Zane Company, $125; Union or Eagle, Company $75; Friendship Company, $50.
But here is an order that is calculated to give the "city's case" a black eye, for it reads: "Whereas, the County Court of Frederick County at its June Term passed an order that leave be granted to the corporate authorities of the town of Winchester to erect suitable buildings for the fire engines on any part of the public square, except on the west or northwest of the court house, be it enacted, etc." This act was amended by ordering the houses to be built elsewhere.
In 1850, the Winchester & Berryville and the Front Royal Turnpike Companies each received a $10,000 subscription. August 24, 1855, gas was introduced, and in 1889 the old town was brilliantly illuminated with electricity.
In closing this chapter, a number of incidents related to the author by William G. Russell, Esq., now in his ninetieth year, the oldest living land-mark in this section, whose faculties are still almost perfectly preserved, whose education and social position has been well adapted to the obtaining of the facts furnished, will here be given.
It was a tradition that the members of Morgan's first company, when they encamped at the spring near Shepherdstown in 1775, had all agreed to meet at that spot in fifty years from that time, should they be living. At the expiration of that time two old men appeared on the spot, both of them from Winchester, and the fact was so stated in the papers. Shortly after this was published Mr. Russell went to Tennessee on a visit to his uncle, William Greenway, a soldier of the Revolution, and while there the young man (Mr, R.) read the accounts as published of the meeting alluded to, with the additional remark of the editor that the old veterans were all dead but the two who met at the spring whereupon Mr. Greenway sprang to his feet, jumped into the air and cracked his heels, exclaiming, "That's a lie; here's one of them!" And he was, too, being at that time over seventy years of age.
Way back in the 20's there lived in Winchester an old Revolutionary soldier named Mark Hays. He was a peculiar old character, used to ring the bell for auctions, etc. He was helping to dig a well near where the gas-house is now located, and in blasting the rocks the fuse was shorter than Mark expected, so it exploded the powder prematurely and blew the old veteran into an apple tree, from which he was rescued entirely unhurt.
In the early days a brutal case of mayhem occurred out in the mountain, not far from Winchester. A man named Rudolph, through spite for her father, bit one of the ears off of an innocent little girl, on meeting her alone. The miscreant was pursued by a man named Joseph Parker, $500 reward being offered for his capture. Parker discovered Rudolph up a tree, and, as he approached the fugitive, received a shot in the shoulder; but, notwithstanding his being partially disabled, made the villain come down, tied him, and marched him off to the authorities. He was sentenced to the penitentiary, and Parker got his $500, besides other funds.
It is related that on one occasion Mr. Marshall went to William Ball and Peter Schultz to collect his "quit rents." Schultz reached for his old musket he had used at the storming of Quebec and told the collector to "get out o'here in double quick," and he went pretty lively. Old man Ball grasped his sword and flashing it around his head two or three times, informed the gentleman (Mr. M.) that Morgan had seen him use that, but "I'll use it now when he don't see it, if you come fooling around here." Those old Revolutionary heroes, as the year came round, were in the habit of "celebrating" their soldier days, and Mr. Russell says they had high old times. Get "full?" ?well!
Several of the Hessian prisoners remained in Winchester after the Revolution, and some of their descendants are said to be living there still. The boys, in consequence of the stigma attached to the unfortunate old fellows, who were only either sold to the English or were soldiers of fortune, making arms their profession, used to poke a good deal of fun at them. There was one, name, Gyer, and the mischievous lads used to cry after him. "Hessian Gyer! Hessian Gyer!" One Sunday old man Gyer went to hear Rev. Reck, a Lutheran minister, and it so happened that the preacher took his text from Hezekiah, having occasion to repeat the word several times. Gyer, who was on a front seat, dressed in his velvet breeches, blue stockings and silver buckles, rose to his feet and said, "Mr. Reck, you call me Hessian Gyer, I no stay."
Miss Sarah Zane, the daughter of Col. Isaac Zane, a man whose name appears as one of the first justices to take the oath of fealty to the commonwealth when she threw off the British yoke in 1776, spent much of her time in Winchester. She boarded with Mrs. Christian Streit; she also stayed with the Baldwin and Mackey families. She was a woman of fair size, compactly built, and rather good looking, with an extremely benevolent, pleasant and kindly face. She will always have a warm place in the hearts of Winchester people, and especially among the fire laddies.
About 1815 land and other property depreciated fifty percent, and great stagnation in trade was the result. This lowering of values was undoubtedly the result of the extravagance that followed the natural exhuberance of spirit that pervaded all classes at the favorable ending of the struggle for autonomy on the part of the colonies. But by 1820 to 1825 another reaction occurred, and business went booming along. Hundreds of persons could be seen daily on the streets of Winchester, some of them coming 75 to 100 miles with pack-horses for supplies, for there were very few good wagon roads over and through the mountains to the westward at that time. These pack-horses carried everything, even furniture, and it was a curious sight to see piled upon the back of a horse tables and chairs. Bar iron, one of the most awkward articles to transport on horse back, was bent to the proper shape, all the stores that kept it having large heavy logs with staples driven in them around which the iron was bent to the shape of the horse. Teaming along the valley pike was a tremendous business before the railroads were constructed, and long lines of six-horse teams with those large, partially boat-shaped, wagons, appropriately called "land schooners," could be seen, sometimes as many as fifteen or twenty in company, and with bells upon every horse. Their pleasant jingle was particularly inspiring. The old stage lines were an interesting feature, and the regular arrival of them with the mails was an event looked forward to by every body.
In regard to dress, our aged informant is quite interesting. In cities and towns the men generally wore short breeches, black velvet, if it could be had, with yarn or silk stockings, and with knee and shoe buckles, the vest was very long, cut off at the corners, and with huge pockets. It would sometimes be made of different colored goods, so that when lapped over and buttoned one way it would be blue, and another way it would show red or yellow. The coat was a "shadbelly," of various stuffs. The buckles on the shoes were sometimes three or four inches in length. The three-cornered cocked hat was used by almost all "gentlemen," as the old Revolution had made it very popular. In the country the men usually wore a hunting shirt. The breeches were of all styles. Sometimes they were like bags, with a red or blue ribbon in the bottom to draw them close. When short breeches were worn the boots were long, and at the top a portion turned down about six or eight inches, generally of buff colored leather. When short breeches went out of fashion the "Suwarrah" boot came into vogue. It was long, but was pressed down and wrinkled and some of the old "bloods" took as much pains in "wrinkling" their boots as a modern belle does her sixty-four-button undressed Bernhart kids.