Phineas Randolph Tharp

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 23, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 257-258
Ritchie County

PHINEAS RANDOLPH THARP, a county surveyor of Ritchie
County, with residence and official headquarters at Harris-
ville, the county seat, was born at Auburn, this county,
January 13, 1850, and died November 24, 1921. He was
a son of Timothy and Sarah (Cox) Tharp, the former a
native of Harrison County and the latter of Lewis County.
Timothy Tharp was a boy at the time of his father’s death
and was indentured; or “bound out,” in a family that re-
quired much service of him but gave him few advantages,
especially along educational lines. His alert mind and self-
reliant spirit, however, enabled him to make advancement
after he initiated his independent career. After his mar-
riage he established a modest home on a farm in Lewis
County, and later, with increasing prosperity, he bought
a tract of timbered land near Auburn, Ritchie County. He
reclaimed this place to cultivation, developed a productive
farm, and he and his wife remained on this homestead,
honored citizens of the county, until their deaths, both
having been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Of their family of thirteen children Phineas R., of this re-
view, was the last survivor.

Mr. Tharp was reared on the home farm and attended
in his boyhood and youth both the subscription and public
schools. As a youth he taught three terms in the rural
schools of his native county, and though he was but a boy at
the time of the inception of the Civil war he served 10 1/2
months as a member of Company E, Sixth West Virginia
Volunteer Infantry, as a loyal young soldier of the Union.
Three of his brothers likewise were Union soldiers, W. D.
having been a member of an Iowa regiment, S. S. having
been a member of Company I, Third West Virginia Cavalry,
and the third brother having died while a prisoner of war
in Andersonville Prison.

Mr. Tharp led a busy and useful life, and he prepared
himself thoroughly, through study and practical service, for
the profession of suveyor, so that he was well qualified for
the office which he so ably filled in his native county, and
he served also as a road supervisor, constable and justice of
the peace, and had been county surveyor since 1917. He
was a stockholder of the People’s Bank at Harrisville,
of which he was one of the organizers and was the owner
of his residence property and also had other real estate
interests in Ritchie County. His political allegiance was
given to the republican party, he was a past grand of
Harrisville Lodge No. 89, Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, and was one of the appreciative and honored members
of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, of
which he had served as commander. He was affiliated also
with Harrisville Lodge No. 98, Ancient Free and Accepted
Masons, and he and his wife held membership in the
Methodist Episcopal Church.

November 25, 1869, recorded the marriage of Mr. Tharp,
and Miss Sarah C. Moyers, who was born in Ritchie County,
November 15, 1849. Mr. and Mrs. Tharp became the parents
of four daughters: Mary M. now deceased, was first the
wife of Frank M. Moats, who died leaving two sons, Guy
R. and Dale H. Moats, and her second marriage was to
M. L. Weekly, of Pennsboro, this county. There were no
children by this marriage. Martha Maude is the wife of
B. C. Moats, of Parkersburg. Isa Adelle is the wife of
R. W. McKeen, of Youngstown, Ohio. Carrie Belle is the
wife of B. M. Sigler, of Harrisville, and they have one son,
Howard Tharp Sigler.