Oliver Shurtleff

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. 292

OLIVER SHURTLEFF. The work of the educator is very
exacting in the demands which it makes upon its devotees.
Ostensibly the duty of the instructor is to instill a prac-
tical, working knowledge into each of his pupils, but equally
important in his correlative, though less direct, function of
instilling character and worthy precepts through his un-
avoidable, personal influence. The first duty calls for an
individual knowledge and of specialized training; the second
for a capable and conscientious person whose life and mode
of living provide a fit criterion for the younger generation.
When an individual combines the possession of these at-
tributes with the exclusion of strongly detrimental char-
acteristics the early, formative years of future citizens may
be safely entrusted to his care. Such a man is Oliver Shurt-
leff, superintendent of schools at Sutton, West Virginia.

Oliver Shurtleff was born at Humboldt, Nebraska, and is
a son of Roberta A. (Grady) Shurtleff and Edgar W. Shurt-
leff, the former born in Ohio and the latter in West Vir-
ginia. They were both educated in the public schools of
their respective places of birth, and after marriage settled
in Nebraska, whence they later removed to West Virginia.
Edgar W. Shurtleff was for a number of years a hotel
keeper, and also followed the vocation of market gardening
and was a man who was held in high respect and esteem.
He and his worthy wife were members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church and the parents of five children.

Oliver Shurtleff was reared at Fairmont, West Virginia,
where he received his education in the graded and high
schools. After his graduation from the latter he enrolled
as a student of the State Normal School at Fairmont, where
he took one academic course and one professional course in
teaching. Later he was a student at the University of West
Virginia, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts,
and then began his career as a teacher in West Virginia.
After completing the above work in West Virginia Univer-
sity he became a student in the Chicago University, where
he is now working on his Master’s degree. For ten years
he taught in the district schools, and for the next four years
was district superintendent of rural schools in Marion and
Monongalia counties. He then became a teacher in the high
schools of Marion County, and was thus engaged when
elected superintendent of the public schools of Sutton,
Braxton County, in 1919. Mr. Shurtleff has succeeded in
elevating the standards of education in the Sutton schools,
and is recognized as a progressive leader in the educational
field. He has had very agreeable success in his chosen line
of work. From the start he was exceptionally fitted for the
duties and responsibilities involved, and has invariably given
his best efforts toward the betterment and growth of the
institutions in his charge. He has taken a personal interest
where some others might have felt only a business obliga-
tion, and has instilled into the hearts and minds of his
pupils a tenderness and respect. The Sutton schools include
a normal department, which is in charge of Mrs. Shurtleff,
who prior to her marriage to Mr. Shurtleff was Miss Mary
McCulloch. She was born in Pennsylvania and had the same
training as her husband, with the exception that her normal
work was done at Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. They belong
to the Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Shurtleff is an
official member. As a fraternalist he is affiliated with the
local lodges of the Knights of Pythias and the Ancient
Order of United Workmen.

Mr. Shurtleff belongs to a family that came to the Amer-
ican continent in 1637, locating in the Plymouth Colony.
Members of the family have participated in all the different
wars of the country, including the World war, in which Mr.
Shurtleff enlisted as an athletic director and public enter-
tainer. He spent one year in the army, and then resumed
his profession of teaching.