Hugh B. Shinn

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 24, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 603-604

HUGH B. SHINN, a representative of the historic Shinn
family of Harrison County, was one of the founders and
has been occupied with the management for twenty years
of the Valley Grocery Company of Belington. This is one
of the prosperous wholesale concerns that add an imposing
volume to the commercial trade centered at this little city.

The Valley Grocery Company was founded by L. P.
Shinn, G. W. Shipman and Hugh B. Shinn. The company
was chartered with an actual capital of $61,000, and with
an authorized capital of $100,000. The first officers were
G. W. Shipman, president; H. B. Shinn, secretary and
treasurer, and L. P. Shinn, vice president. It was in the
fall 1902 that the house opened for business, with two trav-
eling salesmen representing the firm in the field. The
business has grown steadily, and now serves a large and
important section of West Virginia. There are three trav-
eling salesmen on the staff. The company has steadily
kept in touch within its original field, handling groceries and
feed. Hugh B. Shinn is a member of the State Wholesale
Grocers Association.

There is something said on other pages of this publica-
tion concerning the historic Shinn family. The Shinns of
West Virginia are descended from a remote Scotch ancestor
who came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania be-
fore the Revolution. The grandfather of Hugh B. Shinn
was Jeremiah Shinn, a substantial farmer in the Shinnston
community of Harrison County, where he spent his life
and where he is buried. He married Mahala Sturms, and
they had two sons and five daughters: Luther P. and Byron
Shinn; Mrs. Rose Tetrick; Caroline, wife of George F. An-
dall; Jane, who married Harry F. Randall; Florence, who
became Mrs. Bruce W. Boggess; and Allie, who married D.
L. Morrow. There were no politicians, ministers or other
professional men in this old family, and hardly with an
exception the men have been occupied either with farm-
ing or some line of commercial endeavor.

Luther P. Shinn, father of Hugh, was born in Harrison
County in 1850, acquired a country school education, and
has been a business man all his active career. He took up
merchandising at the age of twenty-five, and is still in
business at Buckhannon. The only office he ever held was
as a member of the City Council at Buckhannon. For many
years he has been an official in the Methodist Episcopal
Church. Luther P. Shinn married Virginia Boggess, daugh-
ter of John W. Boggess, of Lumberport, Harrison County,
an ex-soldier of the Union Army. She died in 1882, leav-
ing two sons, Hugh B. and Guy. Guy was associated with
the wholesale business at Belington until he died in 1906,

Hugh B. Shinn was born in Harrison County in Decem-
ber, 1874, but was reared at Buckhannon, Upshur County.
He attended the public schools and had a brief course in
Wesleyan College. His early life was spent in the atmos-
phere of his father’s retail store, and at the age of eighteen
he became an active helper in the business. He is still
associated with his father’s store at Buekhannon, although
his main time and attention are given to the wholesale house
at Belington. The management of this business, in which
he has been a factor for twenty years, constitutes a man’s
job, and Mr. Shinn has permitted himself no special share
in politics or other affairs. He was brought up a repub-
lican, and cast his first national ballot for McKinley in
1896. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
and the Knights of Pythias.

In Upshur County in September, 1897, Mr. Shinn mar-
ried Miss May. Brown, who was born in Delaware County,
Ohio, daughter of F. W. Brown, but since childhood she
has lived in West Virginia and she finished her education at
Wesleyan College. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Shinn
are: Sherwood, a member of the class of 1923 in the elec-
trical engineering course at West Virginia University; Fran-
cois, of the class of 1925 in the Baltimore Dental College;
Virginia, of the class of 1925 at Wesleyan College; Kenneth
is a student in the Belington High School; and Frederick.
in grammar school.