Robert R. Steele

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WEST VIRGINIA In History, Life, Literature and Industry
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1928 – Volume 4, page 55-56 with photo

ROBERT R. STEELE, well known West Virginia funeral director, is
proprietor of the Steele Funeral Home, Incorporated, at Huntington, located
at 1126 Third Avenue.
Mr. Steele was born at McArthur, in Vinton County, Ohio, May 6,
1877, son of Jasper N. and Mary (Ervin) Steele. His grandfather, Robert M.
Steele, was a native of Pennsylvania, a cabinetmaker by trade, moved from
his native state to Ohio, and during the Civil war was a soldier in Company
H of the Fifty-third Ohio Infantry. The maternal grandfather, Nelson Ervin,
was born in Ohio and spent his life as a farmer, dying at the age of
forty-nine. Jasper N. Steele was born at Clearfield, Pennsylvania, in 1846,
was reared and educated in Ohio, taught school in early life, and in 1877
was admitted to the bar. Shortly after being admitted he was engaged in
handling a murder case for a college friend, whom he succeeded in clearing.
He became so dissatisfied with the law as a profession that he never took
another case. He removed to Huntington in 1913, and was retired until his
death on November 26, 1922. His wife was born in Jackson County, Ohio,
September 9, 1855, and died in 1925. They were members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church and Republican in politics. In their family were four
children: Mrs. Rhoda Braley, wife of a farmer in Gallia County, Ohio; Ervin
B., who is associated in undertaking business with his brother Robert;
Robert R.; and John D., a farmer at Tonkawa, Oklahoma.
Robert R. Steele grew up on an Ohio farm, attended schools in that
state, and as a youth clerked in a grocery store three months, and for five
years was with a shoe and leather business. He learned undertaking at
Rutland, Ohio, beginning in 1895, and at the end of a year the business was
turned over to his management and he continued it five years longer and was
offered the business if he would remain. Seeking a larger field for his
operations, he removed to Charleston, West Virginia, in 1899, and in 1900
became a member of Simpson & Steele, undertakers. He was with that firm
until 1905. He also was a traveling salesman, covering twenty-two states,
but in 1911 left the road and located at Huntington, where he was connected
with an undertaking firm until May, 1915. On August 13, 1915, he started a
business of his own on Eleventh Street. At that time his total cash capital
amounted to $19.20. He was a man of experience and thorough qualifications
for his work, and his business has grown and prospered. Since 1918 it has
been located at 1128 Third Avenue, and in 1926 he incorporated the Steele
Funeral Home. At that time each of the employes was given a share of stock
apportionate to his years of service with the company. The business has all
the facilities and equipment for expert service, including eleven motor cars.
Mr. Steele married, in 1899, Miss Ethel Hooper, who was born in
Meigs County, Ohio, daughter of Ira W. Hooper, an Ohio farmer. Mr. and Mrs.
Steele have a daughter, Alice Pauline, who is the wife of Rev. L.
Riggleman, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Milton,
West Virginia. Both Rev. and Mrs. Riggleman are graduates of the Southern
Methodist University of Dallas, Texas. They have a daughter, Alice Roberta
Riggleman. Mr. and Mrs. Steele also have a daughter, Anna Byrne, now twelve
years of age. The family are members of the Johnson Memorial Methodist
Episcopal Church. Mr. Steele is a York and Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner,
member of the Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Guyan
and Spring Valley Country Clubs, Guyandotte Club and is former president of
the Kiwanis Club. He is a member of the County Anti-Tuberculosis League,
the State Board of Embalmers, West Virginia Funeral Directors Association,
and is now president of Capitol No. 2 District Funeral Directors
Association and a member of the National Selected Morticians. He is a
Republican. His hobby is golf. Mr Steele is on the Board of Stewards of the
Johnson Memorial Church. He and his family reside in a beautiful home
located a mile from the corporation limits of Huntington.

WEST VIRGINIA In History, Life, Literature and Industry
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1928 – Volume 4, page 62-63

CHARLES W. WATTS, president of the Watts-Ritter Dry Goods Company
of Huntington, is a successful business man who started his career with
neither capital nor influence, merely with such abilities and talents as he
possessed, which of themselves were of no ordinary merit. He has had a
career at Huntington for thirty years, and has risen from bookkeeper to
president of one of the leading wholesale houses of that city.
Mr. Watts was born at Webster, Ohio, in 1867, son of James M. and
Nancy (Collis) Watts, his father a native of Virginia and his mother of
Maryland. His father spent most of his active life in the iron industry at
Jackson, Ohio. He was a Democrat and a member of the Presbyterian Church.
Charles W. Watts was the second in a family of three children. His
schooling was consigned to the advantages of his home locality, and in 1887
he was keeping books for a firm at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. In 1888
he came to Huntington, and was for two years bookkeeper for the
Barlow-Henderson Company was succeeded by Biggs, Watts & Company, and in
1906 it became the Watts-Ritter Company, wholesale dry goods, with Mr.
Watts as president. The company has thirty traveling men covering territory
in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, and does an immense volume
of business in dry goods, notions and holiday goods. While this is the
business to which Mr. Watts gives most of his time and energies, he has
become connected with a number of other important business organizations.
He is a director of the First National Bank of Huntington and member of the
executive committee; is president of the Blue Jay Manufacturing Company,
overall manufacturers, selling their goods all over the United States; is
vice president of the Empire Furniture Company and a director of several
other companies in Huntington.
Mr. Watts married, in 1895, Miss Elizabeth Biggs, who was born in
Kentucky and died in 1904. In 1916 he married Ouida Caldwell, daughter of
the prominent Huntington banker and capitalist, the late James L. Caldwell.
Mrs. Watts finished her education in the Mary Baldwin Seminary at Staunton,
Virginia. She is a member of the Episcopal Church, while he is a
Presbyterian. Mr. Watts is a member of the Guyandotte Club and Guyan
Country Club.

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