SABOTAGE AND THE FBI CAPER
THE CLIMATE OF SPUTNIC
The citizens of the United States of America got a huge wake up call in 1957 when the USSR launched the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit. This event also caused much consternation in the US government. This even eventually impacted the 1960 US Presidential elections. Candidate John F. Kennedy proclaimed there was a missile gap, and that it was the fault of the Eisenhower/Nixon administration. America made many attempts to launch their own satellite, but early attempts were miserable failures. This describes the climate of 1958 when Americans were scurrying to catch up with the Russians. The American people no longer felt safe within their borders.
GLEN DALE BOYS GOING OFF THE DEEP END
The above was the headline in the summer of 1958 in the Wheeling News Register. It described how a group of Glen Dale boys were playing poker, smoking, and drinking alcohol in Glen Dale Park. I am here to set the record straight on this matter. We were not drinking alcohol. We were playing 15 cent, three raise limit dealers choice poker, and smoking but no alcohol was involved. The empty beer bottles that had been found were the result of workers at the Marx Toy Plant eating their lunch, and drinking beer at the west end of Glen Dale Park. My friends Skip Chaddock, Dave Minor, and I enjoyed our poker game and we never bothered anyone. Glen Dale only had one policeman, Kenny Pickett, who lived right across the street from Glen Dale Park, and he never objected to our presence playing poker and smoking cigarettes.
SABOTAGE INVESTIGATION BY FBI
We did many fun things during our summers. We were all teammates on the Glen Dale baseball team in the Babe Ruth League. We won the championship in 1958 with a record of 23 and 1. As I have described before we visited the airport and the Ohio River. We also slept out quite often. We really never slept we ran around the town at night. We also walked the railroad tracks between Glen Dale and Moundsville. Some of our other friends joined us in our fun activities. There was Joe Blair, Wade DeGarmo, Keith McMahon, Ric Chamberlain who also slept out many times.
It happened during one our sleeping out times when we were walking down the railroad tracks then we saw some old railroad ties just at the south end of the Marx Toy Plant, and we decided to put them back where they belonged back on the railroad tracks. We were always helpful boys and we were just trying to do our duty.
The next day I stayed in Glen Dale just fooling around with my pals. I got home to Glen Dale Heights about 3:30 PM and my mother was standing there with the Wheeling News Register with a headline stating
“SOVIET SABATOURS TRY TO DE-RAIL TRAIN CARRING ROCKET FUEL IN GLEN DALE-FBI INVESTIGATING.”
It seems that a chemical plant south of Moundsville was involved in making a critical component of the US rocket fuel at that time and our attempt to help had been misinterpreted. The trains went very slow in the vicinity of the Toy Plant due to the many crossings, but the engine had de-railed. We decided to stay away from the railroad tracks for the duration of that summer.