William A. Shannon

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. 261-262
Hampshire County

WILLIAM A. SHANNON for a long period of years, in fact
since early manhood, has been in the service of the Balti-
more & Ohio Railway Company. For over ten years he
has been the railway station agent at Springfield in Hamp-
shire County.

His name introduces one of the oldest of the pioneer
families of this section of West Virginia. The founder of
the name was his great-great-grandfather, who came from
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and settled about a mile below
the old farm at Springfield. William A. Shannon as a boy
could see the ruins of his old pioneer home. He was a
blacksmith, and a number of his descendants followed the
same trade. His pioneer ancestor was buried in the old
graveyard at Springfield in 1792, his grave being marked
by a common stone slab. The next ancestor was his son,
Thomas Shannon, who likewise was a blacksmith and de-
voted his active life to his trade in his shop on the Spring-
field townsite. He was laid to rest in the same graveyard
as his father. Thomas Shannon married a Miss Walker,
and among their children were: James, who settled at West
Union, West Virginia; Andrew; and Mrs. William Donald-
son, wife of a large slave holder and wealthy farmer be-
tween Springfield and Green Spring in Hampshire County.

Andrew Shannon, grandfather of the railway station
agent, was born at Springfield, and died there in 1850, at
the age of fifty-two. He also followed his father’s trade,
and was the village blacksmith of his generation. He was
never in public service of any kind. He married Mary
Cross as his first wife. She came from Wood County. They
had four sons, Benjamin, who was a Springfield black-
smith and a magistrate when he died; Thomas, the only
soldier representative of the family who volunteered for
the Mexican war, and removed to Ohio and died at Nelson-
ville in that state; Robert, who also went to Ohio and prac-
ticed medicine at Circleville; and James.

James Shannon was born August 5, 1824, and was only
a few weeks old when his mother died. He had only a sub-
scription school education, but his inquiring mind led him
to investigate and acquire a knowledge of many subjects
outside his Immediate experience. He became a black-
smith, and for many years worked as a partner with his
brother Benjamin at Springfield. He was a member of the
school board, a Presbyterian, a loyal and faithful Christian
in all his years, was a Southern man in sympathy and a
democrat in politics. He died in 1908. His wife was Eliza-
beth Somerville, who was born in October, 1821, and died
New Year’s morning of 1900. She was the daughter of
William and Elizabeth (Phillips) Somerville, who came to
Hampshire County from Frederick County, Virginia, and
settled at Romney, where the daughter Elizabeth was born.
William Somerville was a saddler and harness maker, and
died in 1865, at the age of eighty-three. The children of
James Shannon and wife were: Charles, who followed his
father’s trade for a short time and later became a merchant
at Springfield, where he died; Miss Mary, of Springfield;
Emma, wife of Charles Towers, of Baltimore; Sallie, who
died at the age of sixteen; William Andrew; and Hannah,
Mrs. Elwood Parsons, of Springfield.

William A. Shannon was born August 25, 1861, and was
reared and educated at Springfield. At the age of twenty-
one he entered the service of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway
Company as a track man, was promoted to section fore-
man, then to supervisor, and in October, 1911, took over
the duties of station agent at Springfield as successor of
J. D. Pownall. He has given over forty years to the serv-
ice of the railway company, has performed his duties with
a high degree of fidelity and efficiency, and has also per-
formed a good part as a public spirited citizen of his home

For twenty-eight years Mr. Shannon has been a member
of the Springfield School Board, and is its president. He
is a democrat, is an elder in the Presbyterian Church of
Springfield, a former superintendent of the Sunday school
and is now assistant superintendent.

At Springfield, November 27, 1884, Mr. Shannon married
Miss Fannie C. Parsons, daughter of William C. and Louise
(Jarboe) Parsons, her mother a daughter of Washington
Jarboe. Her father was born near Springfield and her
mother at Piedmont, West Virginia. William Parsons was
a Confederate soldier. Mrs. Shannon was born September
16, 1864, seventh in a family of thirteen children, eleven of
whom grew up and nine are still surviving, namely: Elwood,
of Springfield; Mrs. Nannie Parker, of Lincoln, Nebraska;
Mrs. Shannon; Mrs. Sallie Hughes, of Moundsville, West
Virginia; William, of Cumberland, Maryland; Miss Louise,
of Springfield; John, of Piedmont; James and Charles,
both of Springfield.

Mr. and Mrs. Shannon have one son, Augustus, born De-
cember 25, 1885. He was educated in the public schools, is
a traveling salesman, and during the World war served as
a member of the Hampshire County Draft Board.