The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III, pg. 115-116
WILSON PORTERFIELD SPEROW. The Sperows were one of
the many families that moved down from Pennsylvania and
joined in the very early settlement of the Shenandoah
Valley in what is now Berkeley County. They were here
before the Indians had departed, and shared in the struggles
and vicissitudes of making the country habitable. Some five
or six generations of the family have lived here, and one of
the youngest is represented by Wilson Porterfield Sperow, a
prominent school man living in Martinsburg.
He was born at Bedington in Berkeley County, son of
John Wilson Sperow, grandson of George O. Sperow and
great-grandson of George Sperow, who died on the farm
which he owned and occupied in Hedgesville District. He
had a family of six sons and two daughters: Brown,
George O., Henry V., Cromwell S., James, Peter S., Kate
and Sallie. George O. Sperow was born in Hedgesville
District, acquired a farm in Falling Water District, and
when he finally left the farm he moved to Martinsburg,
where he died at the age of seventy-eight. His wife was
Mary S. Riner, who was born in Falling Waters District, a
daughter of Henry and Polly (Couchman) Riner. She died
at the age of sixty-nine, mother of four children: Henry
Riner, John Wilson, Anna May and Hester.
John Wilson Sperow is now a resident of Martinsburg.
He was born on a farm in Falling Waters District, grew up
there and received a rural school education, and at the age
of twenty-two bought the home farm and gave his time to
its management and cultivation until 1911, when he moved
to Martinsburg. Since then he has been a traveling sales-
man, though he still owns and manages the farm. He was
elected a member of the State Legislature in 1911, and was
a member of some of the important committees during his
term. He and his wife are members of Trinity Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, at Martinsburg. John Wilson
Sperow married Sallie A. Porterfield, who was born on a
farm in Falling Water District. Her father, Alexander
Robinson Porterfield, is now eighty-eight years of age,
sturdy and useful in spite of his long life, and is still
living on the farm where he was born December 24, 1833.
He was a son of William and Polly (Rush) Porterfield, and
both the Porterfield and Rush families were early settlers of
Berkeley County. Alexander R. Porterfield was an active
farmer before the Civil war, and had slaves to operate his
plantation. He married Susan B. Small, who was born In
Opequan District of Berkeley County, daughter of John and
Sallie Small. John Wilson Sperow and wife reared two
children, Wilson Porterfield and Dora Vivian. The latter
is the wife of Daniel Franklin Dennis and has a daughter,
named Margaret Katherine.
Wilson Porterfield Sperow received his first educational
advantages in Bedington. He pursued a four-year course
in the Shepherd College State Normal, graduating in 1914
with the A. B. degree and in 1916 received the Master of
Arts degree. His career as a teacher has been in connection
with some of the larger schools of this section. He taught
in the Martinsburg High School until he answered the call
to the colors in 1918. He was a sergeant and remained at
Camp Meade until honorably discharged in December, 1918.
On returning home he was an employe of the old National
Bank at Martinsburg until the fall of 1919, when he began
his duties as principal of the Bunker Hill High School.
On March 20 1920, Mr. Sperow married Lillian Henrietta
Sites, who was born in Pendleton County, West Virginia,
daughter of Dr. Johnson McKee and Isabella (Kile) Sites.
Her father was a practicing physician in Martinsburg for
many years, and is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Sperow are
members of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
He is affiliated with Equality Lodge No. 44, A. F. and A.
M., Lebanon Chapter, R. A. M., Palestine Commandery No.
2, K. T., Washington Lodge No. 1, Knights of Pythias,
Azhar Temple No. 226, D. O. K. K. He is past moderator
of the Potomac Valley Bound Table, a teachers organiza-
tion, and is a member of the Rotary Club at Martinsburg.
Submitted by: Valerie Crook