Charles Spindler

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 24, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 265-266
Preston County

CHARLES SPINDLER. Before answering the summons of
death on March 17, 1922, Charles Spindler had accumu-
lated those achievements that mark for lasting honor,
an individual life. He was a former sheriff of Preston
Comity, and had spent thirty years as a contractor both
in general building and in road construction and prob-
ably had as much substantial work to his credit in Preston
County as any other man in his line.

The Spindler family has been in Preston County since
prior to the Civil war. His grandfather, Jonathan Spindler
brought his family to the United States from one of the
German states about 1828, first locating in Somerset County,
Pennsylvania, where Jonathan Spindler died. He and his
wife were buried near Turkeyfoot. He was a farmer,
and all his sons were farmers or mechanics. These sons—
there were no daughters—were three in number, John, Jona-
than and Andrew.

Andrew Spindler was a volunteer soldier at the time
of the Civil war, but hostilities closed before he got out
of training camp. He learned the carpenter’s trade, made
it his life work, though he also owned a farm and reared
his family in the country. On coming to West Virginia
he established his home near Clifton Mills in Grant District
of Preston County. He was a contractor and builder in this
locality. He died in 1908, surviving his wife two years.
They were buried at St. Peter’s in Grant District. Andrew
Spindler was one of the respected men of his locality,
though he never sought public honors, voted as a republican
and worshipped as a Lutheran. He was a hearty and
rugged man, about medium height, and had a fine sense of
duty. His wife was Nancy J. Haines, of a family that
came to Preston County prior to the Spindlers. She was
born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Her children were:
Elizabeth, widow of Robert Maust, residing near Clifton
Mills; William, a farmer and veterinarian in Grant Dis-
trict, and a member of the County Court; Loretta, who died
at Fairchance, Pennsylvania, wife of Steward Barclay;
Isabel, who became the wife of Edward Smith, of Union-
town, West Virginia; James G., of Fayetteville, Pennsyl-
vania; Samuel of Burkettstown, Pennsylvania; Charles;
and Bruce, an undertaker and furniture dealer in King-

Charles Spindler was born April 29, 1871, at his father’s
home in Grant District. He lived with his parents until
he passed his twenty-first birthday. He attained a com-
mon school education and attended two summer normals in
Grant District. For four years he was an apprentice at
the carpenter’s trade, followed it as a journeyman, and
gradually took on an ever increasing scope of activities
as a contractor. For many years his work was in building
houses and barns in Grant District exclusively. From there
he expanded his business over a larger territory, and to
include all classes of building and construction work, in-
cluding road making.

Mr. Spindler perfected an organization for handling per-
haps the most important class of public improvement to-
day, road building. Of hard surface road in Preston
County he constructed some fifteen miles. In 1921 he
completed three and a half miles of the Corinth and
Albright roads. The building of durable and permanent
roads was a subject to which Mr. Spindler devoted a great
deal of time and study, and he appreciated some of the
limitations imposed upon the contractors. While the type
of hard surface roads recently constructed is a wonderful
improvement over the old dirt road, it will not stand up,
in the opinion of Mr. Spindler, under the heavy traffic
of many years, since the construction work specified is too
light. Ordinarily five and seven inches of thickness has
been the standing for road building over the state, and
while experience shows it to be insufficient, county courts
have been slow in conceding their mistake and have failed
to adopt heavier type, involving greater initial expense,
but undoubtedly the better for permanent wear. Insufficient
drainage is another feature of road building that Mr.
Spindler discovered through experience, but the matter
of drainage has been well taken care of in his territory,
and undoubtedly an ideal system of drainage and con-
struction will in time be the standard.

One good example of Mr. Spindler’s activities in house
building is his Kingwood home, a ten-room brick of two
stories, which with its modern features, stands as one of
the finest residences in the county seat. Earlier in his
career he built his home in Bruceton and another at Terra
Alta. One high class artistic home which he constructed
is the Lincoln home at Kingwood. He erected four of
the Hopemont sanitarium buildings, the Masontown school
building and the bank building at that place, perhaps the
equal or better than any other banking house in the county.
He was also contractor for the Methodist Church and par-
sonage at Terra Alta. The best example of his concrete
construction is the three-story Herring business building
at Kingwood.

Along with contracting Mr. Spindler found other inter-
ests to engage his time and attention. The people of Pres-
ton County nominated him for sheriff in 1908. He was the
successful one among five candidates for the republican
nomination. He was elected, defeating William M.
Schaeffer, and served the four year term allowed by law.
He was a village and peace officer, though he had per-
haps only the normal routine of duties. Three murders
were committed in the county during that time, and he
used his official authority to break up some of the illicit
traffic in liquor. Mr. Spindler was twice elected mayor
of Terra Alta, and served one term in the same office
for Kingwood. At Kingwood his administration was
marked by an era of street improvement. Mr. Spindler
was a member of West Virginia Consistory of Scottish
Rite Masonry at Wheeling, and was also affiliated with
the Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, and Woodmen of the World. He was reared a Luth-
eran but for a number of years was a member of the
Methodist Church.

In Preston County April 11, 1899, Mr. Spindler married
Miss Nettie Matheny, daughter of W. J. Matheny and
Fanny (Bush) Matheny. Mrs. Spindler was born in
Lewis County, West Virginia, in 1876, the oldest of eight
children, the others being Effie; Jessie, a trained nurse
who died unmarried; Mrs. Hattie Lyons; Howe; Ray;
Miss Willa and Miss Myrtle. Except Mrs. Spindler all
these children now live in Southern California, around
Los Angeles.

Surviving the honored husband and father are Mrs.
Spindler and two children: Charles Hobart was associated
with his father in the contracting business. He married
Miss Josephine Brown. Gerald Ralph is a student in the
University of Morgantown.

The first wife of Mr. Spindler was Luanna Wirsing.
By this marriage he had a son, William W., who after
reaching manhood became associated with his father in
business, and left civilian life to enlist at the beginning
of the World war. He was in the field artillery and died
at Camp Meade of the influenza and was buried with the
honors of a soldier at Kingwood.