Aaron Edson Altizer

AARON EDSON ALTIZER, M. D. Altizer is one of the old- est family names in the Buffalo Valley District of Logan County. During the past seventy years the business inter- ests of the family have been chiefly engaged in farming and the timber and logging industry there. Doctor Altizer had some rugged experience as a boy in the timber, and since qualified for his profession has done an extensive practice, chiefly around the mines that have developed within his lifetime along this valley. His home is at Acco- ville.

Doctor Altizer was born on a farm that included ground on which the later town and now thriving little City of Man is located, near the mouth of Buffalo Creek. He was born there November 19, 1882, son of Joseph and Nancy (White) Altizer, and grandson of Aaron and Sarah Altizer. His grandfather came from Virginia to Logan County in 1858. Aaron Altizer is now ninety-eight years of age. He has been a witness of and a contributing factor in the de- velopment of this valley for seventy years. Soon after coming here he bought a large tract of land at the mouth of the Buffalo. This land was covered with heavy timber, and his labors cleared up a farm there. His active years were devoted to the timber business and farming. Aaron Altizer has been an influence for good in this locality. He has been a man of temperate habits, which no doubt ac- counts for his long life, and he has also been satisfied with the simple life, producing most of the food that sup- plied his table, including milk, butter and honey, and has kept up with the march of events by constant reading, so that he is well informed not only on local history, but on the history of the world and topics of the day. He was a Confederate soldier and a prisoner of war. His service was with a Virginia regiment. In politics he has a rather in- dependent choice in casting his vote. The large tract of land he formerly owned he finally sold for $15,000, but it is now worth many times that figure. The town of Man was built on this land, and he was the first postmaster of the village and served as justice of the peace and at differ- ent times was a member of the local school board. His great age is not exceptional in his family, since he had an older brother in Virginia to reach the age of ninety-eight years. After the death of his first wife Aaron Altizer married Mary Aliff, of Roanoke County, Virginia, and she died in 1907. He now lives with his son Charles at Kistler, a mining village also built on part of the Altizer farm.

Joseph Altizer, father of Doctor Altizer, was one of a family of nine sons and two daughters. He was born in 1848 in Montgomery County, Virginia, and was ten years of age when the family came to Logan County. He de- voted his life to the lumber business and farming, and died on March 10, 1911. He was a Baptist and a democrat. His wife, Nancy White, was a daughter of Green White, and she is now sixty-five years of age. They had a family of seven sons and two daughters: George W., a merchant and justice of the peace at Accoville; D. K., a lumberman and dealer in railroad ties and timber, living at Hunting- ton; Aaron E. and Bruce, twins, Bruce being yard master for the Chesapeake & Ohio at Logan; Walter, in the mines at Kistler; Ellen, wife of Thomas Perry, of Kistler; Julius, who lives with his mother at Kistler; Lena, wife of Beverly Burke, of Kistler; and Cecil, at home.

Aaron Edson Altizer had a happy boyhood on the old farm long before any railroad was in the vicinity or any of the mines opened along the valley. He worked in the timber, and helped pilot many log rafts down the Guyan- dotte River. He attended school at Man, and during 1905-07 was a student in Marshall College at Huntington. At the age of twenty he began teaching, his first school being at Oilville on Island Creek in Logan County. He taught a number of terms, aggregating fifty-two months altogether. As a teacher he made the money that put him through medical college at the University of Louisville, entering that school in 1907 and graduating in 1910. While there he specialized in children’s diseases. He had work in the Louisville City Hospital in 1911, 1920 and 1922, and then returned to Man and began practice. Almost from the beginning much of his practice has been in the mining towns. In 1916 he moved to Accoville, where he has charge of the medical practice for the mines owned by the Litz- Smith, the Deegan Eagle, the Arthur D. Cronin companies. He is president of the Triadelphia District School Board and many of the modern school buildings have been erected under his supervision. He is associated in membership with various medical societies.

In 1911 Doctor Altizer married Elsie Burgess, daughter of C. A. Burgess, of Man. Their four children are Boyd Delmont, Aaron Edson, Jr., Vera Vane, and Joseph Corne- lius. Doctor Altizer is a trustee of the Methodist Church. He is affiliated with the Lodge and Chapter of Masonry at Logan, the Knight Templar Commandery at Charleston, the Shrine at Charleston, and the Scottish Rite degrees in Wheeling.

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 211

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Submitted by Valerie Crook March 18, 2000
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