John Robert Poland

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 340-341

JOHN ROBERT POLAND is one of the substantial and pro-
gressive business men of the City of Martinsburg, Berkeley
County. He was born on a farm on Black Oak Bottom,
bordering the Potomac River, in Allegany County, Mary-
land, and the date of his nativity was March 25, 1871. He
is a son of Guinn and Anna V. (Holt) Poland, both natives
of Maryland. The latter’s grandfather, L. O. Holt, repre-
sented Allegany County in the Maryland Legislature and
served also as county sheriff. The grandmother of John
R. Poland was Ruth Cresap, a daughter of Colonel Cresap,
who was the founder of the City of Cumberland, Maryland.
In memory of Colonel Cresap the Cresap Family Associa-
tion has erected a handsome monument in one of the parks
of Cumberland, Maryland. Colonel Cresap was a resident of
Allegany County, Maryland, at the time of his death. Guinn
Poland was born at Dawson, Maryland, in 1844. In his
native state he served several years as steward of the
Mineral County, West Virginia, Infirmary. Thereafter he
established his residence at Keyser, Mineral County, West
Virginia, and engaged in the transportation of merchandise
between that place and Burlington. He died at Keyser in
1902, at the age of fifty-eight years, and his widow now
resides at Clarksburg, this state. Of their two children,
John R., of this sketch, is the elder. Bessie Lynn married
L. P. Sonders, and they have two children, Lawrence and
Ruth Holt.

John R. Poland attended the public schools at Burlington
and thereafter became a clerk in a general store at Elk
Garden. He continued his service as a clerk ten years and
then engaged in an independent mercantile enterprise. In
1899 he became a merchant in the City of Richmond,
Indiana, where he remained until 1902, when he came to
Martinsburg, West Virginia, and with a partner established
the Perfection Garment Factory. From a small inception
the business has developed to one of substantial order, a
second factory having been established, in the City of
Charles Town, and a retail store, known as the Garment
Shop, at Martinsburg.

Mr. Poland served as the first president of the Martins-
burg Chamber of Commerce, and he is a former vice presi-
dent of the local Rotary Club, in both of which progressive
organizations he takes deep interest. He east his first
presidential vote for Benjamin Harrison, and has continued
an independent in politics. He served one term as a mem-
ber of the city council of Martinsburg, is a member of the
board of directors of the local Young Men’s Christian Asso-
ciation, and he has twice served as vice president of the
West Virginia State Sunday School Association, of the
executive committee of which he is now a member. Both
he and his wife are zealous members of Trinity Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, in their home city. In the Masonic
fraternity Mr. Poland’s affiliations are with Equality Lodge
No. 44, A. F. and A. M.; Lebanon Chapter No. 2, R. A. M.;
Palestine Commandery No. 2, Knights Templars; Scottish
Rite Lodge of Perfection at Martinsburg; and Osiris
Temple of the Mystic Shrine in the City of Wheeling.

In 1908 Mr. Poland married Miss May Supples, who was
born at Baltimore, Maryland, a daughter of Thomas A. and
Mary E. Supples. Mr. and Mrs. Poland have three children:
John E., Jr., Anna Mary and James Lloyd.