Friday, May 27, 2016



of the


A clipping from the WHEELING REGISTER Newspaper; January 15, 1883

“The contest for the Knights of Labor silver watch, chain and charm closed at the K. of L Hall over McGregor’s store on Saturday night. Mr. James Murray, a stonecutter of this city, held the lucky number and carried off the watch. Ticket No 73 drew it. He is the happiest man in town.”

My version of the event in a narrative:

“Men’s laughter tumbled down the stairwell from the Hall above McGregor’s Store. At the
doorway, one by one, men, laborers all, stepped into the winter air rising from the river.
They closed their collars against the bite and hollered “goodnights” into the wind. One
man paused, raised a silver watch and chain in reply, and braced himself for the walk to his 
house on the edge of the Ohio River.”

I relish fictionalizing my great-grandfather’s moment of success.  I want to imagine the moment when James Murray walked in the door of his home in Bellaire, Belmont County, Ohio, with such a prize in his hand. An Irish Stonemason of earned repute, he survived the Great Famine, and supported his family for twenty years by building roads, walls, bridges in Ireland before emigrating in 1869.

This Irishman deserves this bit of Irish luck, and he should be laughing all the way home. A simple prize long due.

Pat Murray Scott - 27 May 2016