H. Freeman Colebank

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 526-527

H. FREEMAN COLEBANK brings to bear a high degree of
efficiency and loyal stewardship in his service as clerk of the
County Court of Tucker County, and he is one of the popu-
lar citizens of Parson, the county seat.

Mr. Colebank was born in Barbour County, this state,
March 5, 1875, and is a son of Samuel Colebank, Jr., who
was born in that county on the 12th of July, 1851, and
whose wife, Malinda B., was born in Preston County, De-
cember 20, 1854, a daughter of Harman Freeman, who was
there a substantial farmer. Samuel Colebank, Jr., devoted
the major part of his active career to farm industry and
was a resident of Fairmont at the time of his death, in
January, 1916, his widow being still a resident of that
place. Of their children the subject of this sketch is the
elder, and Icy, who resides at Fairmont, is the widow of
D. N. Dumire.

Rollo Colebank, grandfather of him whose name intro-
duces this review, was born in Barbour County, a representa-
tive of a sterling pioneer family of that county, and there
he continued his activities as a farmer until his death at
Shiloh, his remains resting in the old Dunkard Cemetery in
that county beside those of his wife, whose maiden name
was Margaret Simpson. They became the parents of five
sons and three daughters, one of the daughters having died
in childhood. The sons were Sylvanus and Quinter (twins),
Samuel, John and Jefferson, and the daughters who attained
to maturity were Elizabeth, wife of L. C. Coffman, of Kas-
son, Barbour County, and Mary, who became the wife of
Isaac Lohr and was a resident of Barbour County at the
time of her death.

H. Freeman Colebank was reared in his native county,
received the advantages of the public schools, summer
normal schools and the West Liberty State Normal School,
and, beginning at the age of sixteen years, he taught in the
rural schools during the winter terms for a period of five
years, his pedagogic work having included also service as
principal of the school at Hendricks and effective work as
an instructor in summer normal schools. Thereafter he
was for a time bookkeeper for the Hendricks Company, and
for a few months was a traveling salesman for the Piedmont
Grocery Company. For six years he was associated with the
substantial real-estate business conducted by Levi B. Harr at
Fairmont, and he then re-entered the employ of the Hen-
drieks Company, then the J. E. Poling Company, as credit
man and general supervisor of the bookkeeping department.
His service in this connection continued somewhat more than
five years, and while thus engaged he received the republican
primary election for the office of clerk of the County Court
of Tucker County, without opposition. He was elected to
this office in the fall of 1914, assumed office January 1,
1915, and after serving his term of six years he was re-
elected by the largest majority ever given to a candidate
for this office in Tucker County, he having received a ma-
jority of 1,700 votes, this being far in advance of the
party ticket in the county, which gave to the head of the
ticket somewhat more than 500 votes. He is a stalwart sup-
porter of the principles of the republican party, his initial
presidential vote having been cast for President McKinley
in 1896. In 1912 he was a delegate to the West Virginia
state convention of his party at Huntington as a Roosevelt
supporter, but when Colonel Roosevelt left the ranks of his
party to become presidential candidate on the progressive
ticket Mr. Colebank refused to be deflected from his al-
legiance to the regularly constituted party. He and his
wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
he has served the Parsons Church of this denomination as
trustee and steward. He is a director of the Tucker County
Bank, is a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, and is
affiliated also with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, the Junior Order United American
Mechanics, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal
Neighbors. Mr. Colebank was prominently identified with
local patriotic service in the period of the World war, was
an associate member of the Legal Advisory Board of
Tucker County, and was a director of the War Savings
Stamp drive in the southern part of this county.

On August 14, 1898, at Hendricks, was solemnized the
marriage of Mr. Colebank and Miss Myrtle Shaw, a daugh-
ter of George and Mary (Musgrave) Shaw, the latter of
whom is now a revered member of the family circle of Mr.
and Mrs. Colebank. George Shaw was born in Preston
County, was associated with farm enterprise and lumbering
operations, and at the time of his death was identified with
the Hendricks Company. He was survived by three chil-
dren: Wade W., who married and was a resident of
Hendricks at the time of his death; John E., of Newark,
Ohio, who is a locomotive engineer for the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad; and Myrtle, who is the wife of Mr. Cole-
bank of this sketch, she having been born in Preston
County, July 15, 1880. Harry, eldest of the children of
Mr. and Mrs. Colebank, is, in 1922, a student in the en-
gineering department of the University of West Virginia;

Edwin C. is deputy to his father in the office of clerk of the
County Court; Clifford S., who is chief clerk in the office of
the county clerk of Randolph County, married Ruth, a
daughter of Lee Poe, of Elkins; Elliott Freeman and Mary
Lynn remain at the parental home.