Category Archives: Barbour

Charles A. Sinsel

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 10, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 305-306

CHARLES A. SINSEL, M. D. A thoroughly trained and
educated physician and surgeon, Doctor Sinsel rendered
his first service with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and
this connection broadened into a permanent one. Por over
thirty years he has been medical examiner of this railroad
company at Grafton. In the choice of this line of service
there was doubtless exercised some influence from his
father, who for many years was a local official of the
Baltimore & Ohio.

Three Sinsel brothers came to America as British soldiers
to fight the colonists in their struggle for independence.
They were captured, and eventually found it congenial to
their interests to remain in America, where they found
useful employment in their trades as millwrights. They
settled in Virginia. Elijah, son of one of these soldiers,
was a native of Old Virginia and transplanted the family
over the mountains to West Virginia, settling near Web-
ster, in what is now Taylor County. There he obtained
a large tract of land, put some of it into cultivation dur-
ing his lifetime, and was buried at the family plot there.

John Sinsel, a son of Elijah and grandfather of Doctor
Sinsel, likewise spent his life on the homestead near Web-
ster and was laid to rest on the farm. His wife was Sarah
Curry, a native of Barbour County. Their children were:
Harmon, who became a civil engineer; William, Elijah and
James, who were farmers; Mrs. Mary Ann Newlon; and
Mrs. Williamson.

Arthur Sinsel, another of these children, was born on a
farm near Pruntytown, Taylor County, in August, 1838,
and was educated in the country schools and old Prunty-
town College. He then taught school and learned the trade
of cabinet-maker and carpenter with an uncle in Prunty-
town. When the Civil war came on he was commissioned
a lieutenant in the army, but he was soon detailed for
civilian service in the bridge-building department of the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. This fixed him in the service
with which he remained to the close of his life. For many
years he was supervisor of buildings, bridges and water
stations. He. was killed by being run over by an engine
in the Wheeling yards January 25, 1889.

While never an applicant for the honors or offices, he
was active in republican polities, a member of the State
Republican Committee several years and also of the Ex-
ecutive Committee. For thirty years he was president of
the Board of Education of Grafton District, was a deacon
of the Baptist Church and a worker in the Sunday School,
and was an ardent Mason, being a past grand high priest
of the Royal Arch Chapter of the state.

Arthur Sinsel married Hannah B. See, who was born in
Randolph County, West Virginia, December 31, 1837, daugh-
ter of Charles and Harriet (Bosworth) See. The Bos-
worths, an old family of the state, were direct descendants
of the famous Warwicks of England. Mrs. Arthur Sinsel,
who died in August, 1893, was the mother of eight children,
the seven to reach mature years being: Columbia M., who
was the wife of the late Judge A. G. Dayton; Miss Abbie
T., of Grafton; Dr. Charles Arthur; Ada, wife of the dis-
tinguished Judge Ira E. Robinson, former judge of the
State Supreme Court of Appeals and now connected with
the Department of Justice at Washington; John W., who
was United States revenue agent at New York for years
and died at Philadelphia in 1919; Miss Mary H., of Graf-
ton; and Carrie S., wife of C. Frank Sellers, of Mansfield,

Charles Arthur Sinsel was born at Pruntytown, Taylor
County, June 5, 1864, and may be said to have grown up
in the atmosphere of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. While
attending school he worked during vacations at civil engi-
neering and at the machinist’s trade. Following his pub-
lic school course at Grafton came two years in West Vir-
ginia University and two years in Dennison University at
Granville, Ohio. For a year he studied medicine under
Dr. William L. Grant at Grafton, and then entered the
University of Maryland, at Baltimore, where he was grad-
uated in medicine in 1888.

His first duties after getting his medical diploma were
as Baltimore & Ohio medical examiner for the west end
of the Chicago division, including that city, his head-
quarters being at Garrett, Indiana. About a year later,
on the death of his father, he returned home, and in a
short time was inducted into the duties of medical exam-
iner for the Monongah division and part of the Charles-
ton division of the Baltimore & Ohio, and he has continued
faithful and efficient in the discharge of his duties at this
post for a third of a century. He is a member of the
county and state medical societies, the American Med-
ical Association, and the Railway Surgeons Association.

Doctor Sinsel is one of West Virginia’s prominent Ma-
sons. He has taken all the work of the York and Scottish
Kites and held offices in all the local bodies; is a K. C. C. H.,
a member of West Virginia Consistory at Wheeling, is a
Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of
Knights Templar, West Virginia, a life member of the
Grand Encampment of the United States, and is inner
guard of Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He is also
affiliated with the Odd Fellows and Elks, is a deacon of
the Baptist Church of Grafton and teacher of the Philathia
Bible Class.

He has rather strengthened the ties that bound him by
inheritance to the republican party. His first public serv-
ice was as school commissioner for four years, then a sim-
ilar time as president of the Board of Education. In 1914
he was elected to the House of Delegates for one term, and
then elected a member of the State Senate. He entered
that body under Lieutenant Governor Goodykoontz, and in
the second session appeared as an eleventh hour candidate
for president of the Senate, and after an interesting eon-
test was elected. He went to the Senate as successor of a
democrat who for eight years had represented the Eleventh
District composed of Marion, Monongalia and Taylor coun-
ties. He gave a studious and impartial attention to the
program of legislation before that body, and at the special
session was active in behalf of woman’s suffrage. Doctor
Sinsel was a spectator in the national convention at Chi-
cago in 1884 when James G. Blaine was nominated, and
he has been a delegate to a number of state, judicial and
congressional conventions. He did much to defeat the as-
pirations of such well-known democrats as William L. Wil-
son and William G. Brown to represent the Second District
in Congress.

April 4, 1889, Doctor Sinsel married in Taylor County
Miss Bertie Creel, daughter of J. W. and Mary (Whites-
carver) Creel. She died in February, 1897, the mother of
two children: Charles A., Jr., connected with the Cambria
Coal Company; and Lila, wife of D. L. Gather, of Fleming-
ton. On June 19; 1901, Doctor Sinsel married May David-
son, daughter of C. L. and Mary M. (Johnson) Davidson.
Doctor and Mrs. Sinsel have twin sons, Rupert Austin and
Richard Claudius, aged seventeen, and graduates of the
Grafton High School in 1922.

Charles Kenna Switzer

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 8, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 293-294

CHARLES KENNA SWITZER. A special aptitude for me-
chanics manifested in boyhood has been turned to the ac-
count of useful service in the world by Mr. Switzer through
his veteran relations with the grain milling industry. He
has operated mills in several sections of his native state,
and for many years has been one of the most active of
the group of citizens in the Philippi locality in the promo-
tion of local manufacturing and industry.

Mr. Switzer, who is manager of the Switzer Mill Com-
pany of Philippi, was born at Petersburg, Hardy County,
April 8, 1853, son of David Nicholas and Frances Switzer.
A more complete history of the Switzer family is given in
another article in this work under the name P. A. Switzer.
Charles K. Switzer spent his boyhood at Upper Tract in
Pendleton County, where he remained nntil he was about
eighteen years of age. He acquired his education in a
country district, and when he left home he went to Fort
Seybert and for five years operated the Jacob Cowger mill.
Then moving to Kline Cross Roads in the same county, he
took charge of and for some five or six years had the
responsibility of managing the J. H. Harmon mill. Thus
with a total of more than ten years in the milling industry
he came to Philippi and was for several years located at
the suburban town of Mansfield, where he was a member
of the mercantile and milling firm of Dyer and Switzer,
his partner being Mr. E. R. Dyer.

In 1902 Mr. Switzer resumed his active business as n
miller at Philippi, taking over the Haller Mill Company
property and becoming its manager. It was conducted
as the Philippi Mill Company until October 21, 1915, when
the business waa reorganized as the Switzer Mill Company,
with C. C. Boyles as a partner. This mill is an important
local industry and furnishes a market for the grain prod-
ucts raised in the county.

Mr. Switzer has carried a liberal share of community
work since coming to Philippi. His chief enthusiasm,
thought and study in a public way are devoted to educa-
tion. For several years he was a regular contributor to
the West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buckhannon, the
Methodist School there. He was also one of the citizens
of Philippi who joined their effort and money in securing
the location of Broaddus College here. In 1916 Mr. Switzer
became a member of the Philippi Board of Education,
and is still in service. This board has set a fine example
of progressiveness in the matter of securing thoroughly up-
to-date schools for Philippi. In 1922 was completed a
splendid new high school building at a cost of about
$120,000. This is one of the best school houses in Bar-
hour County. It is the culmination of a long and active
campaign carried on by the advocates of improved school
facilities, and it was only after three efforts had been
made that the people of the district secured an overwhelm-
ing majority for the bond issue required to put up the

Mr. Switzer is a democrat; having cast his first vote for
Samuel J. Tilden, and only once has failed to vote for the
democratic presidential candidate. He was reared a Metho-
dist, is a member of the Official Board of the church of
Philippi and a trustee. Fraternally he is a member of
the Odd Fellows Lodge and the Maccabees.

At Port Seybert, Pendleton County, May 29, 1879, Mr.
Switzer married Miss Minnie M. Dyer. She is a daughter
of Mr. Alien Dyer and a sister of his former business
associate at Philippi, and the history of the Dyer family
is given elsewhere. Mrs. Switzer was born December 25,
1853. She and Mr. Switzer have three daughters: Ola,
wife of W. G. Riley, of Gary, Indiana, and the mother
of a daughter, named Jannis Irene; Fannie, who is the
wife of W. H. Carter, of Middlebourne, “West Virginia, and
their children are Kenwood, Mary Frances and. Ann; and
Miss Neva, a graduate of Broaddus College and a teacher
in the public schools of Fairmont.

Charles B. Williams

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. 337

CHARLES B. WILLIAMS, M. D. The distinction of Doctor
Williams has been his devotion for more than a quarter
of a century to the practice of medicine in the community
of Philippi. He began practice with a superior education
and training, and has sought opportunities since then to
keep in touch with men of prominence and the growing
knowledge in the profession of medicine and surgery.

Doctor Williams was born at Grafton, Taylor County West
Virginia, October 1, 1872. His father, George Williams,
was a native of Maryland, and his father was a native
of Wales. George Williams died at Grafton in 1874, while
master mechanic in the Grafton Shops of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad. He was twice married. By his first wife he
had two sons and three daughters. The daughters all died
in childhood. The sons were: George, who died at Grafton,
and Chester, who died at Pittsburgh, both leaving families.
The second wife of George Williams was Christina See, a
daughter of Charles See, a farmer in Randolph County,
West Virginia, where Mrs. Williams was born. They were
married in Taylor County, and Doctor Williams was their
only child. The mother of Doctor Williams subsequently
married Moses H. Crouch at Lee Bell, West Virginia, and
died at the home of her son in Philippi in 1916.

Doctor Williams was only two years of age when his
father died. He attended his first school in Grafton, and
was a pupil of Miss Amanda Abbott, the venerable primary
teacher of Taylor County, who is still active in the service
of the schools at Grafton. When Doctor Williams was
seven years of age his mother removed to Lee Bell, Randolph
County, and he lived there until he went away to college,
completing his work in the public schools. Later he became
a student in the Augusta Military Academy at Fort Defi-
ance, Virginia, and in June, 1895, graduated from the
University of Virginia Medical School at Charlottesville.
Immediately after completing his medical course Doctor
Williams located at Philippi, and with only brief interrup-
tions has been steadily engaged in his private practice in
that city ever since. During 1911 he was absent for a time
taking work in the New York Post-Graduate Medical School
in New York City, and the following year he did post-
graduate work in the University of Maryland at Baltimore.
Outside his private practice he has served several terms as
county health officer and is now city health officer and
county health officer. He is also Baltimore & Ohio Railway
surgeon at Philippi, and is a member of the County, State
and American Medical associations and of the Baltimore and
Ohio Surgeons Association.

During 1918 Doctor Williams was commissioned as Cap-
tain in the Medical Corps, and for six months was on duty
at Camp Greenleaf, Georgia, until discharged there Decem-
ber 24, 1918. He is a charter member of Barbour County
Post No. 44 of the American Legion. Doctor Williams
is a republican, and voted at all the national elections since
casting his first vote for Major McKinley. He took his
Masonic degree in Bigelow Lodge No. 52, A. F. & A. M.,
at Philippi, has filled all the chairs in that lodge and been
representative to the Grand Lodge, and is a member of
Tygart Valley Chapter No. 39, B. A. M. He and Mrs.
Williams are Presbyterians, and Mrs. Williams took a con-
siderable part in the work of the local Red Cross Chapter
during the war.

At Philippi June 30, 1898, Doctor Williams married Miss
Annie Bosworth. Her father was the venerable Doctor J. W.
Bosworth, who is still living at Philippi at the age of eighty-
five, a pioneer physician of the city and also a former Con-
federate soldier. Doctor Bosworth married Mattie Dold,
of Waynesboro, Virginia, and Mrs. Williams is her only
child. Mrs. Williams finished her education in the Mary
Baldwin Seminary at Staunton, Virginia, and married soon
after leaving that school. Doctor and Mrs. Williams have
one son, George Woodbridge, who finished his preparatory
education in Broaddus College at Philippi, and is now a
student in the Augusta Military Academy at Fort Defiance,

Worthington Chenoweth

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
March 19, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 355-356

WORTHINGTON CHENOWETH. In the profession of dental
surgery Worthington Chenoweth is one of the oldest ac-
tive practitioners in the state. His work and study have
been directed along that line for more than a half cen-
tury, and for forty-eight years his home has been in Phil-
ippi, where he is held in the highest esteem for the in-
fluence and quality of his good citizenship at all times.

Chenoweth is an historic name in Randolph County of
this state. His great-grandfather, John I. Chenoweth, was
a native of South Wales, and he and a brother came to
America before the Revolution and settled in Maryland.
John I. Chenoweth served as a soldier in the war for in-
dependence. After that war he moved into Western Vir-
ginia, and spent his life here near Beverly, at the home
of his son, John I., Jr., and he was laid to rest in the
cemetery near Beverly.

John I. Chenoweth, Jr., was a farmer near Beverly, his
farm being on Chenoweth’s Creek, two miles from Elkins.
He cleared a good farm and owned a large body of land
in that vicinity. He was well educated for his time, pos-
sessed a strong mind and exercised great personal influence,
was in the official life at Randolph County, was a mem-
ber of the Primitive Baptist Church and a whig in pol-
itics. He voted for secession, and one of his sons became
a captain in the Confederate Army. John I. Chenoweth,
Jr., died about twelve or fifteen years after the Civil war.
He married Miss Skidmore. Their children were: Eli,
Washington, Archibald, Lemuel, Thomas, Elijah, Martha
and Jerusha. Only one of the sons served in the war be-
tween the states. Martha married Job Daniels and Je-
rusha married Allison Daniels.

Archibald Chenoweth, father of Doctor Chenoweth, was
born on Chenoweth’s Creek in Randolph County, had a
country school education, and as a young man learned
the trade of wagon-maker. To this trade he devoted all
his active life, maintaining his shop in Beverly, where for
a short time he had his brother Lemuel associated with
him. He was a skilled worker, but was a modest and re-
tiring citizen. He became a member of the Presbyterian
Church after reaching middle life, and was a democrat.
Archibald Chenoweth, who died when about seventy-five
years of age, married Margaret Hyre. Her father, Wil-
liam Hyre, owned a farm at the head of Buckhannon River
in Upshur County, and was a noted hunter in that vicinity.
He was’ a strong Union man, and two of his sons were
Federal soldiers and all of them were republicans in pol-
itics. Margaret Hyre was a daughter of her father’s first
marriage, to Miss VanDeavender. Archibald Chenoweth
and wife reared one son and three daughters: Belle, who
died at Beverly, wife of John Leonard; Rose, resident of
Charleston and wife of John Conner; and Idella, who died

Worthington Chenoweth was born October 26, 1848, and
up to the age of twenty-four he lived in the historic com-
munity of Beverly. He attended some of the old sub-
scription schools, and finished his education soon after the
free school system was established. He has a vivid recol-
lection of some of the events and conditions of the Civil
war period. After one of the raids made by the Con-
federate general Rosser he helped bury the dead. For
several years he worked with his father in the wagon
shop, and he began the study of dentistry at Beverly with
Dr. D. B. Campbell, a pioneer dentist in Randolph County.
He remained with Doctor Campbell four years there, and
both of them in 1874 moved to Philippi. Since then Doc-
tor Chenoweth has carried on a very successful practice.
He has made a specialty of plate work.

In the line of public service Doctor Chenoweth was
for one term mayor of Philippi, twice served as treasurer,
for twelve years was a member of the Board of Educa-
tion and was on the Board when the property was ac-
quired for the site of the new high school. While he
has rendered public service he has not been in politics as
an active candidate for office. Some years ago he was
named jury commissioner for the District Federal Court
of West Virginia by Judge Alston G. Dayton. Judge
Dayton knew him intimately in civil and religious life,
and while they were not of the same political faith the
Judge explained his appointment by saying: “I know
him to be a man I can trust and I want him.” Doctor
Chenoweth gave his first presidential vote to Horace
Greeley, and has voted for all the nominees of the demo-
cratic party for half a century, including three votes for
William J. Bryan.

Doctor Chenoweth is one of the very prominent Odd Fel-
lows of West Virginia, having joined the lodge at Philippi
the year he moved to that town. He has been financial
secretary of the lodge fifteen years, financial secretary of
the Encampment, and has represented both branches in
the Grand Lodge. He is also financial secretary of the
Knights of Pythias. When he was forty-nine years of age
he was converted and joined the Presbyterian Church, and
for a number of years has been an elder in the church
at Philippi and superintendent of the Sunday school.

At Philippi, February 23, 1889, Doctor Chenoweth mar-
ried Miss Mary H. Bosworth. Her father, Elam Bosworth,
was born in the Beverly community of Randolph County,
and married Miss Switzer, by whom he had four children:
Harriet, Mary, Squire and Erastus. By a second marriage
Elam Bosworth had two sons, James and Thomas, the for-
mer a merchant at Brownsburg, West Virginia, and the
latter a teacher in the high school at Richmond, Virginia.
Mrs. Chenoweth was born March 8, 1849, was liberally edu-
cated, and died January 5, 1922, at the age of seventy-
three. She was associated with her husband in the work
of the church, and both of them took an active interest
in the war work of the community.

Albert Gallatin Chrislip

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
March 18, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 353

ALBERT GALLATIN CHRISLIP. An ambition to be a mer-
chant was the leading motive in the early career of Mr.
Chrislip. Having no capital but what he could earn, he
farmed, taught school and clerked until the day of realiza-
tion came when he could get into business for himself. In
point of years of service he is the oldest merchant of
Philippi, and is one of the very successful and substan-
tial citizens of that community.

His family name involves an interesting story of his
original German ancestor. At the close of the thirty years’
war in Germany, known as the war of extinction, after
which that country was left practically desolate, a lonely
babe was found in an old oven and the king of the prov-
ince was asked to name the child. He called it “Chris-
lieb,” meaning Christ love. After coming to manhood
this youth came to America and settled in Pennsylvania,
establishing his home near Carlisle in the Cumberland
Valley. The family name has since undergone a change
of form, and a number of branches of the descendants
of the original settler have become scattered over the
Allegheny region and further west.

The grandfather of the Philippi merchant was Abram
Chrislip, who, accompanied by two brothers, Isaac and
Samuel, settled in Barbour County and were successful
farmers near Elk City. Abram Chrislip married Amanda
Britton, and they are buried in the grave-yard near the lit-
tle Village of Elk City. Of their children Ervin was the
oldest child; Elza lives at Elk City; Elmore Lee lives
with his older brother; Elizabeth is the wife of Albert
Reeder, of Carthage, Illinois; and Julia, married Alpheus
Corder and died at Carthage, Illinois.

Ervin Chrislip was born near Elk City and spent his
life there on a farm. He was a Confederate soldier, going
through the war without injury. He died in April, iyi»,
at the age of eighty-five. Mis wife, who died in March,
1874, when about fifty years of age, was Mary Darnels.
Her father, Joseph Daniels, was a pioneer in this region
of West Virginia, his home being near Elk City, and he
died during tne Civil war. He came here from Augusta
County, Virginia. At one time he was elected a member
of the Legislature in old Virginia, and attended the legis-
lative sessions, journeyed to and from Richmond on horse-
back. Ervin Chrislip and wife had the following chil-
dren: William L., a merchant of Philippi; Albert Gal-
latin; Edmond H., who died, leaving a family, at Elk
City; Emma, wife of Jacob Rogers, of Phillppi; Abram,
a graduate of Columbia University, New York and an
educator living at Berkeley, California; and Bessie, wife
of Lawrence McGee, of Elk City.

Albert Gallatin Chrislip was born near Elk City, one
of the old villages of Barbour County, on August 26, 1859.
During his youth he attended a brief term of instruction
in the country school each winter, and the rest of the time
he worked on the farm. At the age of twenty-two he
began teaching, and taught in the country for two winters.
In 1882 he came to Philippi, and after taking a course
in the select school of Professor Cornwell, taught in the
public schools at Philippi fur two years, For another
year he was a deputy in the office of County Clerk Luther
C. Elliott, one of the good old citizens of Barbour County,
long since passed away. About that time came the op-
portunity to get experience in the line which he had de-
termined to follow permanently, and he became a clerk
in the store of Job H. Glasscock, this being then the largest
general siore at Philippi. Two years later he started in
business for himself as an implement dealer, and he brought
to Philippi the first improved farm machinery ordered for
sale here. About the same time he became a representa-
tive of a fertilizer manufacturing concern, and it is claimed
that Mr. Chrislip sold the first stock of fertilizer in Bar-
bour County. This business brought him in direct touch
with farmers, and he was soon marketing for his customers
large quantities of raw wool. But his business expanded
step by step, and later he added a stock of groceries and
finally merged all his departments into one large general
mercnandise business on Main Street now known as the
Farmers Supply Store, which runs an annual aggregate
of sales totaling $30,000. He erected his business house
on Main Street, one of the modern structures in the town,
and also owns one of the beautiful and attractive resi-
dences of the city.

In the line of public duty Mr. Chrislip responded sev-
eral times to election as a memuer of the City Council. At
that time plans were being made for some of the public
improvements which have since ueen completed. Mr. Chris-
lip for many years was an active democrat, but with pass-
ing years he hass cut away from partisan affiliations and
regards himself as strictly independent. Since the age
of fourteen he has been a member of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church, and fraternally he is a past noble grand of
the Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows and one
of the oldest members of that fraternity at Philippi, also
belongs to the Encampment and is a member of the Ki-
wanis Club.

In Taylor County, October 28, 1898, he married Miss
Ella Nuzum, daughter of Allen Nuzum, Boothsville, that
county, where she was born and reared on a farm. Mrs.
Chrislip was one of a family of two sons and four daugh-
ters. Mr. and Mrs. Chrislip have four talented children.
Lillian Nuzum Chrislip, the oldest, graduated from Broad-
dus College of Philippi, and in 1922 graduated from tne
Boston Conservatory of Music. John Howard, the second
child, is a graduate of the Philippi High School and of
Broaddus College, and is now taking a course in electrical
engineering. The two younger children are Allen Rockwell,
a high school boy, and Charles Woodrow.

Clark L. Rohrbough

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. 327-328

CLARK L. ROHRBOUGH, M. D., is one of the able and repre-
sentative physicians and surgeons of Barbour County, where
be has been established in successful general practice since
1883, with residence and professional headquarters at

The Doctor was born on a farm near Buckhannon, Up-
shur County, February 23, 1858, and is a son of John M.
and Matilda (Butt) Rohrbough, the latter having been bom
in Lewis County, as was also her father, William Butt, who
was a member of one of the sterling pioneer families of
that county. John M. Rohrbough was a son of Anthony
Rohrbough, who came from the vicinity of the north branch
of the Potomac River and became one of the very early
settlers of what is now Upshur County, West Virginia, his
farm having been two miles east of Buckhannon and he
having there reclaimed his land from the wilderness. He
was a member of the first class, of ten members, that
established the first Methodist Church in that county, and
his Christian faith was ever shown in his daily life. He
and his wife remained on the old homestead until their
deaths, and there were reared not only their children but
also a number of their grandchildren. The eldest son,
George, removed to Illinois and there remained until his
death in Hancock County; Anthony remained in Upshnr
County until his death, as did also Benjamin; John M.,
father of the subject of this sketch, was the next younger
son; Jacob died at Buckhannon and Isaac in Lewis County.
Dorcas, the elder daughter, became the wife of Michael
Strader after the death of her first husband, whose name
was Tenny, and Mahala, who became the wife of John Love,
died in Barbour County.

John M. Rohrbough continued as a successful farmer in
Upshur County until his death, in the. spring of 1860, and
his widow survived him by more than thirty years, her
death having occurred in 1893, on the old home place near
Buckhannon. All of their ten children attained to adult
age: Elizabeth is the widow of Seth Williams and resides
at Buckhannon; Marietta is the widow of John Griffith and
now resides at Harlingen, Texas; Virginia, the wife of
John Hyer, died in Upshur County, when still a young
woman; William lives at Beverly, Randolph County; Je-
mina, wife of Jerome Pultz, died in Lewis County;
Matilda is the wife of S. S. Leonard of Buckhannon;
Columbia is the wife of Archibald Hinkle, Jr., and they
maintain their home at Belington; Ardelia, the widow of
Tillotson Martin, resides in Barbour County; Vermont
died unmarried; and Dr. Clark L., of this review, is the
youngest of the number.

The public and county normal schools afforded to Doctor
Rohrbough his early education, and for six years he was
a successful teacher in the schools of his native county, his
earnings enabling him to realize his ambition and begin
preparation for his chosen profession. After reading
medicine two years under the preceptorship of Dr. J. P.
Miller, of Buckhannon, he entered the Medical College of
Ohio in the City of Cincinnati, and in the spring of 1883
he received from this institution his degree of Doctor of
Medicine. For five years thereafter he gave his attention to
a wide rural practice in Barbour County, with residence
at Talbott, and he then removed to Belington, where he
has continued in practice as one of the leading physicians
of the county and where he has status as one of the loyal,
public-spirited and influential citizens. He is actively iden-
tified with the Tri-County Medical Society (Randolph, Bar-
bour and Tucker counties) and also with the West Virginia
State Medical Society. He has served as health officer of
the Belington independent school district, was city recorder
one term, and later gave two terms of specially effective
administration as mayor of Belington, he having been very
strenuous in his efforts to eliminate the liquor traffic in
the city. He has given unfaltering allegiance to the repub-
lican party, and he and his wife hold membership in the
Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he has been an active
member of thirty years.

On the 27th of January, 1885, was solemnized the mar-
riage of Doctor Rohrbough and Miss Hulda Carpenter, who
was born and reared in Barbour County and who was the
third in order of birth of the five children of Coon and
Julia (Harris) Carpenter. Doctor and Mrs. Rohrbough have
four children: Pearl, wife of Herbert Sparks, of Niles,
Ohio; Otis C., of Davis, West Virginia; Flossie, wife of
Frank Phillips, of Belington; and Mrs. Hazel Dunlap, of
Mount Clemens, Michigan.

James Stanley Corder

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 24, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 594

JAMES STANLEY CORDER, son of William Alonzo Corder,
is a prominent young banker of Philippi. He was born at
the home of his parents in Barbour County, October 11,
1887, and was liberally educated, graduating from the
public schools and from Broaddus College of Philippi, and
attended the preparatory school of “West Virginia “University
at Keyser, and West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buck-
hannon. He taught school in Barbour County for two years.

His early ambition was for a medical career, and he had
attended college with that in view. However, upon the
organization of the People’s Bank of Philippi on September
15, 1908, he entered that institution as teller, and served
in that capacity until 1914, when he became cashier. He
was the youngest teller and also the youngest cashier in
the city and the county when he entered upon the respective
duties of those positions. The active officers of the bank
are Lee J. Sandridge, president; William A. Corder, first
vice president; B. E. Snyder, second vice president; J.
Stanley Corder, cashier; and Sherman Lindsey, assistant

J. Stanley Corder married Miss Audrey Dyer, and they
have one daughter, Ruth Reynolds Corder. J. Stanley
Corder is high in Masonry being a Knight Templar and

Clyde Poling

Biographical Sketches of Members of Congress, Members of the Legislature,
Officers of the State Governement and judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals,
West Virigina, 1917

West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual and Official Register, 1917,
Compiled and Edited by John T. Harris, Clerk of the Senate,
The Tribune Printing Co., Charleston, West Va.
pgs. 719 – 770



POLING, CLYDE. (Republican.) Address: Berry-
burg, West Va. Member of the House of Delegates from
Barbour county. Born in that county April 13, 1891;
educated in the public and subscription schools, and at the
Fairmont State Normal; has devoted practically his
entire time to educational work, his present profession
being that of Principal of Schools. Along with this work,
however, he has given much attention to the cause of
temperance. He was elected to the Legislature in 1916,
and during the 1917 sessions was a member of the following
committees: Education and Prohibition and Temperance.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Arthur B. Spencer

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 10, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 303-304

ARTHUR B. SPENCER went into a coal mine at the age
of fourteen. He had an ambition for something better
than the routine of a miner’s life, and in the intervals of
his toil he studied the science and technic of the coal min-
ing industry, testing each fresh instalment of theory in
the practical environment of his work. For a number of
years he has been one of the responsible executives of the
coal business in West Virginia, and at present is superin-
tendent of the Gage Coal & Coke Company at Junior, Bar-
bour County.

Spencer is one of the older family names in the history
of West Virginia. The family was first established in
Monongalia County, where Arthur B. Spencer’s grandfather,
Caleb D. Spencer, was born. His grandfather moved to
Newburg in the Scotch Hill locality about 1860, and was
engaged in farming until the beginning of the Civil war,
when he moved to Taylor County, to a new home nine
miles east of Grafton. He was one of the very success-
ful men in that agricultural community. He was a Union
soldier, was twice wounded in battle, and was rated as one
of the expert rifle shots in his company. He had several
furloughs, and it is believed that he furloughed at the end
of his three years and veteranized for the duration of the
war. He was a private soldier, and after the final surren-
der he returned to the farm and lived at his place near
Thornton until 1900. Thereafter he lived a retired life
in Kingwood, where he died in October, 1915, at the age
of seventy-seven. Caleb D. Spencer was a republican, and
believed in doing a citizen’s duty without taking the honors
of responsibilities of politics. He was the most consistent
and active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church from
boyhood. Caleb Dorsey Spencer, known among his friends
as “Doe,” married Jane Lewis, of Brandonville, Preston
County, daughter of John Lewis. She was a woman of
unusual ability and character. She was one of the first
women to engage in school work at a time when school
teachers were usually men. Her husband at the time of
their marriage was unable to write his name, and she taught
him writing so that he was able to correspond with her
while he was in the army. She was an ideal companion for
her husband in every other way, and was deeply concerned
in the spiritual welfare of her children. This good woman
died in 1900, at the age of sixty-seven. Her memory is
particularly cherished by her grandson, Arthur Spencer,
who lived with her several years and benefited from her
instruction on literary subjects as well as morals.

The children of Caleb D. Spencer and wife were three
in number: Thomas Bay; Christian Wilbur, who was killed
at the explosion in the Newburg shaft in 1886; and John
Lewis, general superintendent of the Twin City Traction
lines at St. Paul, Minnesota.

Thomas Bay Spencer was born July 7, 1861, was edu-
cated in the common schools and entered the mining indus-
try as a mule driver on Scotch Hill. He married while
there, and a few years later went to Fayette County, Penn-
sylvania, where he followed coal mining three years, and
on returning to his native state resumed mining in the Fair-
mont District. In 1892 he went to Glendale, Marshall
County, for two years was fire boss of the Glendale shaft,
and in 1894 returned to Fairmont and for two years was
assistant foreman with the Newburg Oil, Coal and Coke
Company. About that time he gave up mining to engage
in farming on his father’s old place in Taylor County. In
1897 he became a miner for the Davis Coal and Coke Com-
pany at West Virginia Junction, and in 1899 went to Pres-
ton County and was mine foreman of the Irona Coal Com-
pany, was made superintendent of that company in 1901,
and later became general superintendent of the company’s
Irona and Atlantic Mines. This service he left in 1911,
and for one year was at Masontown in the employ. of the
Elkins Coal and Coke Company, and since then has been
a resident of Wellsburg, where he is still at work in the
service of the Eagle Glass and Manufacturing Company.
Among other experiences he was for eighteen months in
charge of the pay roll of the Gage Coal and Coke Com-
pany, of which his son is superintendent.

Thomas B. Spencer has been a republican worker in the
various communities where he lived and was a member of
the Preston County Committee at one time. He has proved
himself a friend of education, and has tried to secure bet-
ter advantages for his own children and children of the
same age than he had himself when a boy. By corre-
spondent courses he fitted himself for the duties of foreman
and mine superintendent. He has long been an enthusiastic
worker in Sunday school organizations, and has organized
a number of Sunday schools. He is a past noble grand
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, past chancellor
of the Knights of Pythias and a Master Mason.

In Preston County in December, 1882, Thomas B. Spen-
cer married Isabel Henry, daughter of William and Helen
(McFarland) Henry. Her father was a brother of Law-
rence Henry, the pioneer coal operator of Preston County,
operating the Newburg Oil, Coal and Coke Company. The
Henry Brothers were natives of Scotland, and for many
years lived around Scotch Hill, where they are still rep-
resented by their children. Isabel Henry was one of thir-
teen children, eleven of whom grew to mature years, and
the other survivors are Mrs. Marion Ralston, Mrs. Agnes
Swan, John F. Henry, Lawrence Henry, William Henry,
Mrs. Mary A. Jennings and Frank Henry. Isabel Henry
was born in December, 1861, and she is mother of the fol-
lowing children: Arthur B., subject of sketch; Christian
Wilbur, of Junior; Helen M., wife of G. G. Garner, of
Wellsburg; Jane Lewis, wife of Clarence Noah, of Wells-
burg; and Jessie, wife of Campbell Hall, of Wellsburg.

Arthur Blaine Spencer made good use of his advantages
in the public schools, though the greater part of his edu-
cation has come since he left school and entered the prac-
tical business of life. In 1914 he received his diploma for
completing the coal mining course in the International Cor-
respondence School of Scranton, and he has taken several
courses on mining engineering. When he went to work at
the age of fourteen he was under his father, and his first
important promotion came in 1906; when he was made fore-
man of the Irona Coal Company in Preston County. When
his father was promoted to general superintendent the son
succeeded him as mine superintendent there. He remained
with that company from 1899 until 1907, when he left Irona
and moved to Mount Clair, Harrison County, becoming fire
boss for the Hutchinson Coal Company. A year later he
was transferred to the Meadowbrook Mine of the same com-
pany as chief foreman, and after another year he returned
to Masontown and was made superintendent of Mine No. 6
of the Elkins Coal and Coke Company. He was in that
position eighteen months, and then became mine foreman
for the Pittsvein Coal Company in Taylor County at Flem-
ington. In November, 1915, Mr. Spencer came to Junior
as superintendent for the Gage Coal and Coke Company,
and since November, 1918, has been manager of the com-
pany’s affairs in this locality.

Mr. Spencer has been under the sense of an obligation
to do all he could to provide better educational facilities
for the younger generation. He was instrumental in secur-
ing the public school for the Gage community where he
lived for two years. Since coming to Junior he has built
two homes in the little town, was elected a member of the
Council in 1918, and in 1920 was elected mayor.

In polities he has been a republican since casting his first
vote for William Howard Taft. Fraternally he is a mem-
ber of both branches of the Odd Fellows, the Knights of
Pythias, joined the Lodge of Masons at Bridgeport, took
the Chapter degree at Philippi, the Scottish Rite Consis-
tory work at Wheeling and is a member of Osiris Temple
of the Mystic Shrine at Wheeling. He is a member of the
United Brethren Church, is president of its Board of Trus-
tees, and endeavors to carry a full share of the activities
of church membership.

At Terra Alta, September 28, 1903, Mr. Spencer married
Mary Belle Bowermaster. The minister performing the
service was Rev. Mr. Jones. Mrs. Spencer was born at
Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, in October, 1884, daughter
of Even James and Hulda Adaline (Listen) Bowermaster.
Her brothers and sisters are Marshall C.; Mrs. Cora Blanche
Hawkins, who died at Kingwood; Ira Benjamin, of King-
wood; and John L., of Kingwood. Her father was a
cabinet maker and carpenter in early life, later was in the
undertaking and furniture business at Bruceton Mills, and
about 1885 moved to Kingwood and was in the lumber busi-
ness, later a hardware merchant, and subsequently devel-
oped a general mercantile enterprise there, with which he
continued active until 1921, when he retired. He was one
of the early members of the West Virginia Hardware
Dealers Association. Even J. Bowermaster died March 2.
1922, and was buried on March 4th, his sixty-sixth birth-
day. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer became the parents of three
children: Garold Ray, born November 7, 1904, and died
December 7, 1904, Mildred Adeline and John Kenneth.

Some of Mr. Spencer’s other activities in the Junior com-
munity should be noted. He was one of the promoters and
first stockholders in the Merchants and Miners Bank of
Junior, and has always felt a personal interest in its suc-
cess. He organized and became the first president of the
Mildred Coal Company, capitalized at $25,000.00, which
developed and operated mines on the west side of the Tygart
Valley River, near Junior. The Junior Concert Band was
organized in March, 1921, and Mr. Spencer has regarded
this as one of his hobbies and has been active in perfect-
ing the organization of the body of musicians, which now
has a membership of thirty, and is regarded as one of the
best amateur bands in the state.

William Alonzo Corder

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 24, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 593-594

WILLIAM ALONZO CORDER. In Barbour County the name
Corder has come to stand for all those qualities and deeds
that are significant of integrity in business and social rela-
tionship. William Alonzo Corder, popularly known among
his friends as “Lonnie,” has steadfastly emulated the
virtues of his father and grandfather in this respect, and
as stockman, banker and man of affairs his personal judg-
ment is as nearly standardized in current acceptation among
his friends and associates as any coin of character can
possibly be. Members of the Corder family have lived
plain and modest lives, have done well for themselves and
have assisted others to the extent of their power-have been
useful, honorable and responsible at all times.

The name Corder is of English and Irish ancestry. The
founder of the American family was Joseph Corder, who
came from England and settled in Virginia about the close
of the Revolutionary war. His children consisted of four
daughters and four sons, the sons being James, Joseph,
William and John. James moved to Ohio and settled at
Circleville, John located near Logansport, Indiana, and
Joseph crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1838 into
Western Virginia.

The other son, William, grandfather of William A. Cor-
der, was born March 29, 1785, in that portion of Frederick
County now Fauquier County, Virginia. On September 14,
1811, he married Sarah Cole, of German ancestry and a
native of Loudoun County, Virginia. In 1814, with two
young children, they crossed the Alleghany Mountains, pass-
ing through the wilderness until in December they reached
what is now Barbour, then a part of Harrison County.
Here William Corder bought fifty acres of land for $450.
He bought this from Peter Robinson, and it was located
on Hacker, near Philippi. On the land he put up a small
cabin of hewn logs, and within its walls started the simple
life of the pioneer. From an humble beginning his indus-
try carried him into the ranks of the well-to-do, and eventu-
ally he became owner of 1,200 acres. He and his wife had
eleven children, named Joseph, William, Joshua, James,
John, Edward, Elizabeth, Martha Ann, Mary, Ingaby and
Hannah. Edward was a captain in the Confederate army
during the Civil war, dying from wounds received while
leading his men in action. His last words as he was bleed-
ing to death were: “Go on men, push forward and save
the day. I am a dead man.”

Of this family James Corder was born on Hacker, near
Philippi, January 15, 1824. Pioneer days had not altogether
disappeared while he was a boy, and in a new country he
had only an education supplied by subscription schools a
few weeks each year. He was well prepared for a life of
toil and activity when he reached manhood. Remaining
under the parental roof until he was thirty-five years of
age, he was then given about 200 acres of land by his
father. At that time land was cheap and this inheritance
represented only an opportunity for hard work and long
persevering toil. He paid the price of success on these
terms, and at one time his estate was represented by 1 500
acres and much real estate and personal property besides.
At his death on March 16, 1905, he was regarded as one of
the wealthiest men in the county, and the wealth of esteem
paid his character was even greater. He was a conservative
and careful business man, and an example of his conserva-
tism is found in the fact that he took nearly ten years to
perfect and arrange his will. His old friends still say of
him that while he was slow in arriving at a definite con-
clusion he was always right and he never broke his word.
He made money as a farmer and through cattle, and he
had few equals as a judge of live stock. He had made con-
siderable progress toward accumulating a moderate portion
when the Civil war came on, and before it was over he was
down at the bottom of the ladder and had to begin over
again. A Southern sympathizer, he suffered the inevitable
hostility paid a Southern man, and when the Jones raiders
came through Philippi they ran off his cattle and horses and
took away much other personal property. He met the men
on the road driving off his live stock, and stopping them,
he pleaded that they return him the oxen, which were his
sole dependents for hauling wood. One of the raiders
threatened to shoot him if he did not get out of the way,
but he refused to yield and in the end he secured his yoke
of oxen. However, the loss of the cattle left him heavily in
debt. In that crisis he went to his father for assistance.
His father was regarded as a wealthy man, but, without
directly refusing the aid asked, felt that it would be a good
test of character for a young man still with his best years
before him if permitted to depend upon his own resources
in this emergency. The young man then borrowed money
at 10 per cent interest in order to restock his farm, and he
proved equal to the test and before long had recouped his
losses and was once more rated as a man of wealth.

James Corder married Mary C. Bond, daughter of Reuben
Bond. She was born in Harrison County, August 10, 1830,
and died November 27, 1904. The children of this good
old couple were: William Alonzo; A. B. Corder, of Taylor
County; Icy, who is Mrs. L. D. Woodford, of Philippi;
Sarah, who married W. F. Cole, of Barbour County; and
Stella, who died when in her ‘teens.

James Corder was not a man to regard his responsibilities
ended with looking after his own interests. He was one of
the leading members of the Primitive Baptist Church in his
community. He and his brother Joshua built what is known
as the Mount Olive Church on Hacker, and that house of
worship is still standing. He was not a seeker of public
office, though asked many times to serve. He gave liberally
to church and charitable causes, and was more than willing
to come to the assistance of his friends and neighbors in
time of need, and he served them in the true spirit of
Christian fellowship.

A son of James W. and Mary C. (Bond) Corder, William
Alonzo Corder was born on Hacker in Barbour County,
October 20, 1862. While he has no recollection of the war
itself, his early youth was spent in the period immediately
following the war, when the country in general was recover-
ing and while his father was making valiant efforts to re-
establish himself as a stock man. He made the best pos-
sible use of such educational opportunities as were at hand,
and while he realizes now that conditions were rather hard
and that he was deprived of many of the advantages given
to youth of more modern times, he also feels that his
character was really strengthened In this school of bard
knocks, and the lessons of thrift he thus gained have been
of inestimable value to him in later years. Farming and
stock raising have constituted his primary activities, and
like his father, he is a judge of good live stock and has set
a high standard in his home county as a business-like
farmer. His homestead is frequently pointed out as one of
the best examples of progressive agriculture and stock
husbandry in that part of the state. His farm, which is
known as Meadow Brook Farm, comprises 700 acres, beau-
tifully located about three miles north of Philippi, on the
Beverly and Fairmont Pike, and at all seasons of the year
it is a model of systematic arrangement and efficient man-
agement. Much of the land of the farm is underlaid with

Supplementing his farming activities, William A. Corder
has had other business concerns. He was at one time in
the mercantile business and was postmaster at Switzers. He
became one of the organizers and a director of the People’s
Bank of Philippi on September 15, 1908, and later was
made first vice president of that institution and is also one
of the Discount Committee. His talent for business, his
wide experience and knowledge of men and conditions made
him especially valuable in handling the resources of the
bank. For fifteen years he has been one of the men largely
responsible for the growth and prosperity of this institution,
and gives much of his personal time to the bank. He is also
a director of the Laurel Hill Orchard Company. Mr. Corder
is not a member of any secret or fraternal order, is a
democrat in politics, and is an active member and attends
worship at the Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church,
where his father and grandfather worshipped before him.

On June 19, 1884, Mr. Corder married Nannie R. Rey-
nolds, who was born October 28, 1863, daughter of Ben-
jamin S. and Lucy (Pell) Reynolds. Mrs. Corder graduated
from the Fairmont State Normal School in 1881. The only
child of Mr. and Mrs. Corder is a son, James S. Corder, a
brief sketch of whom follows: