John L. Rhea

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 8, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 288-289

JOHN L. RHEA, JR. The life of John L. Rhea has been
passed at Flatwoods, where he was born, and for over
twenty-one years he has been one of its most enterprising
and successful merchants. His interests are all centered
here, and he is proud of the place and his connection with
it. His birth occurred January 7, 1875, and he is a son of
Dr. John L. and Sallie B. (McLaughlin) Rhea. The latter
was a daughter of Col. Addison McLaughlin, now deceased,
who represented Braxton and Nicholas counties in the West
Virginia State Assembly when the capital of the Con-
federacy was at Richmond. For many years he was a
prominent attorney. Dr. John L. Rhea was reared at West-
minster, Maryland, was educated in the Baltimore School
of Medicine, and after his graduation he engaged in the
practice of his profession at Flatwoods. He was also a
member and local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South. His death occurred in 1883. Two of his
five sons survive, namely: his namesake son and Stephen A.,
John L. Rhea, Jr., attended the common schools of Flat-
woods, and from his youth has been a good business man.
In addition to his large store he owns a farm adjacent to
Flatwoods and a large amount of stock in an oil and gas
well. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Frater-
nally he belongs to Sutton Lodge No. 21, A. F. and A. M.;
Sutton Chapter No. 29, B. A. M.; Sutton Commandery No.
16, K. T., and has been advanced in the Scottish Rite at
Wheeling, West Virginia, and he also belongs to Osiris
Temple, Mystic Shrine, of Wheeling. For a number of
years he has been one of the leaders of the local democratic
party, was elected several times on his party ticket as
mayor of Flatwoods, in 1913 represented Braxton County
in the State Assembly, and while in the Legislature par-
ticipated in the securing of some very constructive legisla-

In 1902 Mr. Rhea married Rebecca E. Floyd, who was
born in Doddridge County, West Virginia, but was brought
to Flatwoods in her girlhood, and here attended the common
schools. Mr. and Mrs. Rhea have three children, namely:
Sallie A., who is the wife of H. C. Hiveley; and Clara E.
and Howard W., both of whom are in school.