William Jackson Coontz

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 331

WILLIAM JACKSON COONTZ has found satisfaction for
ambitions to be both useful and successful in the trade
and business of carpenter and builder, an occupation in
which his father also excelled. Mr. Coontz is one of the
honored residents of Belington, and has done some of
the most distinctive work in his line in that section of
Barbour County.

He represents an old family of West Virginia, his great-
grandfather having been the pioneer of the name in the
western region of old Virginia. His father is the ven-
erable Samuel Morgan Dallas Coontz, who was born in
Barbour County, and as a youth had only the advantages
of the subscription schools. His inclination for study
enabled him to realize a great deal of value out of that
limited education. He sympathized with the South in
its contest for independence, but did not serve in the
Confederate army, although he was in Virginia during
the war. After the war he took up the work of his life,
that of carpenter and millwright, and some of the mills
he built still stand, including the Johnny Booth Mill
on the head waters of Mill Run, several mills on the
waters of Laurel and Sugar Creek and the mill at Nestor-
ville on Teter Creek. He did his work chiefly in Taylor,
Barbour and Randolph counties, and continued his labors
with his favorite tools until recent years. Now, at the
age of seventy-eight, he is living in comfortable retire-
ment at Belington. He is a democrat, but never took a
serious interest in politics beyond voting for good men
for office. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South. He is one of the occasional self made
men who can express themselves in public, and he has
proved an entertaining and instructive talker before an
audience as well as in general conversation.

Samuel M. D. Coontz married Isabel F. Poe, who was
born in Taylor County, December 14, 1851, daughter of
William D. and Mary (Davis) Poe. Her father was born,
reared and spent his life in Taylor County, dying at his
farm home on a hill overlooking Grafton. His father was
Jonathan Bore Poe of German ancestry and also a West
Virginia farmer. Samuel Coontz and wife had five chil-
dren: Zura May, who died in Barbour County, wife of
Frank Moore; Amanda, who lives in Belington, wife
of Riley Moore; William J.; A. Thayer, of Akron, Ohio;
and Grover C., of Belington.

William Jackson Coontz was born on a hill overlooking
the City of Grafton, August 24, 1877, but a short time
after his birth his parents moved to Barbonr County,
and he grew up near Belington. He attended the free
schools there, and as a youth learned his trade from his
father, beginning at the age of fourteen and working
as apprentice and journeyman under his father until he
was twenty-two. At that time he yielded to an ambi-
tion to see something of his own country, and he went
to the Pacific Coast, going out by the Southwestern
route, and spent three years in San Francisco in the employ
of the United Railroads, a street ear corporation. While
in San Francisco he learned the sensation of being in an
earthquake, and one year in the month of February there
were twenty-eight shocks, as many as four occurring in
one day. When he left California, he returned by way of
the Northwestern States, and soon after reaching home
he married and built a residence near Belington and re-
sumed work at his trade. Mr. Coontz has contributed
much to the development and growth of Belington, and
also the surrounding country. He has constructed some
of the tipples at the coal mines in this vicinity. Among
conspicuous examples of his work as a building contractor
are the residences of John W. Coontz. William Hill and
Charley Kittle, the Lambert Chappel Church and the
Shoekey and Laurel Hill school houses.

Mr. Coontz is also a painting contractor and has lent
beauty to the town through this art as well as through
his organization of carpentering. He was also the fore-
man in laying the base course over part of the Morgan-
town and Fairmont road improvement and the Fairmont-
Beverly Pike. In March, 1922. Mr. Coontz was elected a
member of the Belington Council, as representative of the
First Ward. He is a democrat, casting his first presiden-
tial vote for Judge Parker.

Mr. Coontz and family are members of the Methodist
Church. South, and he is a member of both branches of
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Rebekahs.

In Barbour County, September 30, 1905, he married Miss
Nettie J. Sturm. daughter of Henry J. and Frances (Pol-
ing) Sturm. Her mother was a daughter of Abraham
Poling, a Confederate soldier and member of one of the
real pioneer families in this section of West Virginia.
Mrs. Coontz, who was born June 6, 1885, third in a fam-
ily of twelve children, acquired a liberal education in the
public schools. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Coontz are:
Clark R., Maxine, Josephine and Arline.