OCTOBER 1, 1943
Ben Garrison
       Ben Garrison, pioneer local automobile dealer, who retitred from active business yesterday, is just visible in this photograph snapped at a testimonial dinner given him last night at the Fairmont Hotel. In plainer view are Carl Wilson, the dinner host, who sits at the end of the table to the left. Next to him on the left is Mr. Garrison. Then in plain view are Forney Wade of Morgantown and Joe K. Buchanon of Fairmont. Mr. Garrison is one of the old timers in American aviation. He was contemporary of the Wright Brothers and just missed joining the army air service at the time when such notables as General "Hap" Arnold were becoming enthusiastic about flying. Garrison has been the local Ford dealer for many years.  
     Ben Garrison, who for more than 30 years has been engaged in the automobile business in this city, was the recipient of a testimonial dinner at the Fairmont Hotel last night, the occasion being his retirement from active business. Almost from the earliest days of the old Model-T Ford cars, Garrision has been identified with Ford sales and service, and his show rooms and shops were among the largest in this county.
     Those who gathered last night to felicitate him and siwh him well upon the occasion of hir retirement from active work were his old partners and associates in the Central Automobile company, which sold Ford automobiles in this county almost before the first stretch of road was hard surfaced.
     Host at last night's affair was Carl Wilson, who was a business associate of Garrison's for almost 30 years. Others of the original partners in the infant business venture which started in Morgantown when the present century was in its first decade, and who were present last night, were Forney Wade of Morgantown and Harold G. Moore of Manington. Others present, in large measure, represented the personnel of the various automobile concerns which formerly were incorporated as the Central Automobile company, but which later were divided into a number of smaller enterprises.
Hailed as Pioneer
     While Garrison was felicitated for his pioneering and leadership in the automobile business, greater recognition was given him for his early activites in aviation. It was brought out last night that when the Wright Brothers were completing their first successful plane, Ben Garrison and an associate in Morgantown were busily engaged in trying to build a contraption that would fly.
     It was related that on one occasion Col. H. C. Greer of Morgantown, for whom Garrison was then employed as a part time chauffeur, drove him to Fort Myers, Va., to witness a pioneering flight of the Wright Brothers. Later Garrision, then a real aviation enthusiast, went to Washington, where with General Arnold, now chief of the air forces, he discussed the future of flying and agreed to give aviation his life's services.
     The serious illness of his mother in Morgantown prevented the fulfillment of that dream, but throughout the intervening years, when he was pursuing a successful career in automobiles, he never lost his enthusiasm for aviation.
Retires From Business
     It was stated last night that his retirement from the automobile business will not mean his retirement from active affairs. The belief was expressed that with the leisure now afforded him he will devote his time to aviation and make his services available to one of the larger production companies. Mr. Garrison has kept abreast of the progress of aviation and throughout the years has been a leading local advocate of an adequate flying field in this city.
     In addition to Carl Wilson and Forney Wade, among those who paid him tribute last night were J. K. Buckhannon, Harold G. Moore, Harry M. Layman and Marion Toothman. Others present at the dinner, at which a charming feature was the presentation to Mr. Garrison of a War Bond, included R. F. Scully, Clyde Dusenberry, Harold Swisher, Walter M. Crago, Morgantown; Elisha Andrews, Richard Hartley, Charles Grass, Harry Toothman, Mannington; Marvin Haynes, Morgantown; D. C. Garrison, Morgantown, and C. E. Smith.
Collection of Garrison Phillips, 5-14-07

BackNext Home