The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 38
Submitted by Gerald Bills.
WILLIAM EDWARD CLOVIS. During the past seven years Mr. Clovis has devoted his
entire time and energies to a very successful and prosperous automobile
business as an authorized agent for the Ford car in Pleasants County. His
career altogether has been one of well directed effort in different lines. He
has been a teacher, is former sheriff of Pleasants County, and probably is as
well known over the county as any other citizen.
His family has been in West Virginia for several generations. The name Clovis
was transplanted to Pennsylvania in Colonial times from Southwestern Virginia.
His great-grandfather, Conrad Clovis, was born in Pennsylvania, and from that
state moved his family to Hebron, West Virginia, where he lived out his life
as a farmer. The grandfather of William E. Clovis was Solomon Clovis, who was
born in Monongalia County, West Virginia, in 1818, but spent nearly all his
life in Pleasants County and was a cabinet maker by trade. He died in 1876
and is buried at Hebron. His wife was a Miss Wrick, a native and life long
resident of Pleasants County. Amos Clovis, their son, was born near Hebron
August 13, 1854, and since 1885 has been a resident of Maxwell in Pleasants
County. He was a merchant in early life, and since then has been a leading
farmer and still owns two farms at Maxwell. He is a republican and an
active member of the Church of Christ. Amos Clovis married Martha Jane
Fleming, who was born near Fairmont, West Virginia, July 15, 1856.
William E. is the oldest of their children. Dr. Elijah Ellsworth is
one of the state’s prominent physicians and is now superintendent of the State
Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Terra Alta. Cora Elizabeth is the wife of Homer F.
Simonton, Circuit Court clerk of Pleasants County. Harry T. is an oil refiner
at St. Marys, and the youngest, Maurice Lawrence, is in the drug business at
William Edward Clovis was born at Hebron, Pleasants County, November 7, 1876,
and acquired a rural school education there. He finished his education in the
Fairmont State Normal, which he attended altogether for five terms. He was
granted an opportunity to teach school at the age of eighteen, and the first
year he taught in the Jonestown School of his native county. Then for two
years he had charge of the French Creek School, one year in the Ruckman School
on Cow Creek, and his last year was spent in his home school at Nine Mile.
After leaving the schoolroom Mr. Clovis was deputy county assessor one year.
For some time he cherished an ambition to become a physician, and with that in
view he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, but on
account of ill health had to give up those plans after the first year. From
1901 to 1908 Mr. Clovis conducted a mercantile business at Adlai in Pleasants
County. In the fall of 1908 he was elected sheriff, and on January 7,
1909, removed to St. Marys and was the chief law officer of the local courts
through the four year term ending in 1914. During 1913-14 Mr. Clovis was a
member of St. Marys Hardware Company, but in the meantime he had taken the
agency for the Ford cars, and since 1914 has made this his primary business.
He is the authorized agent in Pleasants County for the Ford automobile,
trucks and tractors, and has done the biggest business in that line of any
automobile agency in this section of the state. It is estimated that he has
sold at least ninety per cent of all automobiles bought in the county. During
1920-21 he erected a handsome public garage at the corner of Washington and
Third streets. The garage in 80×80 feet, two stories, and built of brick and
concrete. Mr. Clovis is also a director of the First National Bank of St.
Marys. He still retains a deep interest in educational progress and since July
1, 1919, has been president of the Board of Education in St. Marys. He is
an elder in the Church of Christ, is a republican, and during the war was a
“fourminute” speaker and a worker in behalf of all local patriotic causes.
April 16, 1899, at Gibson in Pleasants County, Mr. Clovis married Miss Mary
Varner, daughter of George W. and Angelia V. (Daniel) Varner, now deceased.
Her father was a minister of the Church of Christ. Mrs. Clovis received a
normal School education and prior to her marriage was a teacher in Pleasants
County for four years. Mr. and Mrs. Clovis have five children, and have given
all of them liberal educational advantages. Eunice Madge, the oldest, born
March 4, 1900, is a graduate of the St. Marys High School and the Fairmont
State Normal, and is now teacher of the fifth grade in the local
public schools. Cora Edith, born October 23, 1901, graduated from the same
schools as her sister and now has charge of the first grade in the St. Marys
public school. The only son, George A., was born October 25, 1903, and is
now a student in Marietta College in Ohio. The two younger children are
Martha Virginia, born November 15, 1906, a student in high school, and Mary
Edna, born November 21, 1910.