Category Archives: Hancock

Samuel G. Pomeroy

Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 12, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 221-222
Hancock County

SAMUEL G. POMEROY. Some individuals are fortunate
enough to inherit the spirit of industry, financial sense
and business capability which help to make them suc-
cessful in their life work, while others are obliged to strive
against adverse circumstances and only attain prosperity
and position because they have developed winning charac-
teristics themselves. Pughtown numbers among its most
responsible and representative men some who have been
satisfied to work out their destiny along the even lines
of ordinary occupations. They have not sought the ap-
plause of admiring throngs, nor have they desired to wrest
wealth from speculative enterprises, but, doing the duty
that lay nearest at hand, have gained material advance-
ment and the respect of their fellows. In this category
may be included Samuel G. Pomeroy, who is engaged in
the general merchandise business at Pughtown, a commu-
nity in which he is well known and highly regarded.

Mr. Pomeroy was born at Pughtown, October 14, 1867,
a son of Rev. Joseph S. and Isabel (Griffith) Pomeroy.
Rev. Joseph S. Pomeroy was married in Mercer County,
Pennsylvania, in 1849, and came to Hancock County, West
Virginia, as pastor of the old Flats Presbyterian Church
near Pughtown, the only church of that denomination in
Hancock County, whose members were scattered for a
radius of twenty miles in every direction. He lived at
Pughtown, where he bought a home, which is now occu-
pied by his son. Reverend Pomeroy served the old Flats
Church until 1877, a period of twenty-eight years, during
which time he labored faithfully, zealously, cheerfully and
unselfishly in behalf of his flock and his church, and built
up a large and prosperous congregation. He then spent
nine years as pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Mounds-
ville, following which he returned to his old home at Pugh-
town and went into semi-retirement, although he continued
to visit various churches as the demand arose until within
two or three years prior to his death, when advanced years
caused his complete retirement to a life of rest after a
long and eminently useful career. He died in August,
1907, at the age of eighty-five years, being buried at the
Flats Cemetery, while his worthy wife survived him twelve
years, passing away when but one month and six days less
than ninety-five years old. After he had retired from regu-
lar active work as a minister Reverend Pomeroy was
called upon frequently to officiate at special events. He
was called upon to act at funerals, and was popular at
marriages. During his long career he married parents
and later their children, and buried several generations of
the same family. He was also a popular lecturer, being a
man of broad information on a number of interesting and
important topics, and his voice was frequently heard from
the platform. He and Mrs. Pomeroy were the parents
of the following children: John B., who became a minis-
ter of the Presbyterian faith, preached in North Dakota,
Illinois and Ohio, retired to his home at Findlay, Ohio,
and died there in 1920; Chester, who for a time operated
the store started by his father soon after the Civil war at
Fairview, now Pughtown, and later became a merchant at
East Liverpool, Ohio, where he died;; Samuel G., of this
record; Jennie, who died in Colorado as the wife of Boss
Carney; Clara, who married D. L. Evans and died at Pugh-
town; Myra, unmarried, formerly deputy postmistress at
Pughtown and with her brother, Samuel G., in the store,
and who has remained as his constant companion and
housekeeper; and Ella, who married Frank McClellan and
went to Colorado.

Samuel G. Pomeroy received a public school education
at Pughtown and as a youth entered the store of his
brother Chester, whose interest in the business he later
bought. He has continued in the same line to the present,
and this enterprise now has the distinction of being the
oldest continuous business in Northern West Virginia.
Mr. Pomeroy carries a full line of general merchandise
and has developed an excellent business, his customers
being drawn from all over the surrounding countryside.
His old establishment, the original one, was destroyed by
fire in 1906, but was replaced immediately with a more
modern structure, the present one. In business circles Mr.
Pomeroy is known as the man of the strictest integrity
and probity. He has never evinced other than a good citi-
zen’s interest in polities, although his father kept posted
on election returns and was able to recall the returns of
every county in the state, a mathematical talent that was
also possessed by his son Chester. Samuel G. Pomeroy is
unmarried and resides with his sister Myra, a capable
housekeeper and a woman of many virtues and numerous
friendships. They are faithful members of the old Flats
Presbyterian Church, to the movements of which they con-
tribute liberally. While he does not take an active part
in public life, Mr. Pomeroy is a friend of progressive
and constructive enterprises tending to advance his com-
munity, and such receive his unqualified support.

W. D. Johnston

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

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 258-259
Hancock County

W. D. JOHNSTON is superintendent of schools at Weirton,
that interesting and thriving industrial and agricultural
community of which the town of Weirton and the Weirton
Steel Works are the central figure. For a century this
section of Hancock County was almost entirely agricultural
and pastoral. Therefore, while Mr. Johnston has been look-
ing after the schools only half a dozen years or so, his work
here has been largely coincident with the period of modern
growth and development.

It was in 1916 that the present Central High School
building was erected at Weirton, with Mr. Johnston as
superintendent. Prior to that time the educational activ-
ities of the Butler District had been centered at Holliday’s
Cove, while the high school had been maintained for sev-
eral years. The Central High School at Weirton and the
schools in that group enrolled about 800 pupils, with forty
in the high school, twenty-nine teachers all told, and three
in the high school. There were only seven schools altogether
in the Butler District in 1916. For 1922 the enrollment for
the district was 1,720, there were sixty-eight teachers, and
the high school had 110 scholars and ten teachers comprising
the faculty. Among the veteran teachers at Weirton, whose
work has been of the highest degree of usefulness, might
be mentioned Miss Nell Cox, Miss Catherine Conlon and Miss
Clara M. Smith.

Superintendent Johnston was born in Harrison County,
Ohio, graduated from Adrian College in Michigan in 1912,
took post graduate work in Ohio University at Athens and
at Columbia University in New York. For three years he
taught in the district schools of his native county, was
principal for three years at the high school of Jewett,
Ohio, for three years was principal of the Chester High
School in West Virginia, and then, in 1916, came to his
duties at Weirton as superintendent of the local schools.
He is an active member of the National Educational Asso-
ciation, the State Association, and is vice president of the
District Superintendents Association of the state. He has
been superintendent of the Presbyterian Sunday School at
the Cove, and is county chairman of the Junior Bed Cross.

He married Dorothy Dennimore, of Jewett, Ohio. She is
a talented musician, graduated from Dana’s Musical In-
stitute at Warren, Ohio, and at Scio College, and for four
years was a teacher of music in the public schools of Ohio.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have one daughter, Lorraine.

The school system of the Butler District is a matter
of special pride to all local citizens. D. M. Weir, vice
president of the Weirton Steel Company, in an address he
delivered to the officers and executives of the Steel Com-
pany in January, 1922, had this to say concerning the school

“The school system in Weirton is one that we have every
reason to be proud of. The superintendent of schools in
the Butler District is a man of high ideals, is a credit to
the community and a very able and efficient director. And
I think that the results bespeak more for him that any word
of praise that I may say at this time. He has the support
of a very able school board, Mr. Shakley, Mr. Morris
and one of our own employes, Mr. Rowland. These men
give their time and thought to advancing educational fa-
cilities in the district, which is now taking care of 1,800 chil-
dren, having about sixty teachers for this work. In addi-
tion to that we have two colored schools, one in the north-
east part of Weirton, with about twenty pupils, and one on
Calico Hill, with about forty or fifty pupils. The teachers
of these schools are just as competent as any others.

“We are all justly proud of our High School and I think
it compares favorably with any other in the state. This
educational work is of the utmost importance. Boys and
girls in the schools today will be prime movers in tomor-
row’s Weirton, and we should encourage educational work
in every way.

“At the present time there is being considered and it
seems an absolute necessity a building for high school pur-
poses at a probable cost of from $150,000 to $200,0.00.
This bond issue will come before the people some time soon
and I am hopeful that it will be approved, because new
high school facilities are bady [sic] needed. About seventy-five
pupils are being enrolled each year in the freshman class,
and if past records for enrollment are any criterion it will
increase yearly.

“Mr. Johnston would like to have a high school which
will accommodate from 400 to 500 pupils. Naturally he is
looking ahead. He has vision. We think it will only be a
few years hence until we will have that many pupils in
our high school. Vocational training is being carried on
with much success in our present high school building. In
the wood work and machinery class there are some forty
boys enrolled, and the work they produce is most commend-
able. A recent exhibit of what they made was shown in
one of the local stores and proved most surprising to every
one who saw it. No one had any idea that such development
was taking place in this line of work. Domestic Science is
a very popular class in high school, some fifty girls being
enrolled. This branch teaches home economics and sewing.”

William Banfield

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. 255-256
Hancock County

WILLIAM BANFIELD. Prominent among the men who have
contributed to the business development of Follansbee may
be mentioned William Banfield, general manager of the
Follansbee Brothers Company Steel plant, who has numerous
other important business connections. Mr. Banfield was
born in Monmouthshire, England, in 1854, and at the age
of eighteen years immigrated with his father to the United

Upon their arrival in this country father and son secured
employment in the first tin plate mill erected in this country,
located at Leechburg, Pennsylvania, where William Banfield
was a heater and roller for seven years and was then made
manager, a position which he held for six years. In October,
1885, he removed to Irondale, Ohio, and with others estab-
lished the Irondale Boiling Mill Company, having purchased
the former plant of the Pioneer Iron Works. The above
company, under the name of Wallace, Banfield & Company,
Limited, made fine grades of black and galvanized iron
and soft sheet steel, and it became one of the leading in-
dustries of Jefferson County. In 1892 they converted part
of their plant into a tin mill, being the first to become
extensive manufacturers under the McKinley Tariff. In
1899 the American Tin Plate Company purchased and dis-
mantled the plant, and Mr. Banfleld, with others, erected
sheet mills at Chester, West Virginia, but these were also
acquired by the American Tin Plate Company at the time
of their completion. Mr. Banfleld was chosen and served
as district manager for this concern about five years, at
the end of which time he removed to Steubenville, in 1907,
subsequently becoming associated with the Follansbee
brothers in building the tin plate mills at Follansbee, of
which he has since been general manager.

The Follansbee Brothers Company, started to erect a mill
at Follansbee, West Virginia, in 1902, and the six tin plate
and two sheet mills were put into operation in 1904, with
600 employes. There were three buildings, about 200 x
40 feet, occupying approximately two acres of ground. In
1911 two sheet mills were added. In 1906 the company had
commenced the steel plant, having two twenty-five ton open
hearth furnaces, to which a third was added in 1911 and a
fourth in 1918. Three more sheet mills greatly increased
the company’s capacity in 1915, as well as a galvanizing
shop. There are about 1,200 men on the pay-roll, which in
1920 was over $2,000,000. The weekly output approximates
400 tons of tin plate and 1,000 tons of sheet steel. The
company has erected ninety houses, which it has sold to
its employes on reasonable terms, and the friendliest of
feelings exist between the corporation and its men. The
Follansbee brothers, of whom there were formerly four, but
now only three, were merchants of Pittsburgh prior to en-
tering their present line. They now have a similar mill at
Toronto, Ohio, with about the same capacity.

An auxiliary company of the Follansbee Brothers Com-
pany is the Sheet Metal Specialty Company, which was
established in 1906 on a small scale with about fifteen men
employed. In December, 1906, the plant was destroyed by
fire, but was rebuilt on a larger scale and since then has
been enlarged at different times, now having four two-story
buildings, 50 x 150 feet each, with from seventy to eighty
employes engaged in making sheet metal ovens and stovepipe
and elbows. In 1921 this company took over a two-story
building 180 x 130 feet, formerly operated by others for
several years in making metal specialties, and this is now
utilized for the manufacture of milk and garbage cans, with
some fifty employes. This latter acquisition added about an
additional half to the company’s output, sold to jobbers,
which is now about 350 cars. The buildings of this plant
have some 65,000 square feet of floor space, and the annual
pay-roll amounts to $105,000. The officers are: John Fol-
lansbee, president; L. A. Diller, secretary and manager; and
D. Reed, treasurer.

Mr. Banfield is also president of the East Ohio Sewer
Pipe Company at Irondale, Ohio, one of the important local
industries of that place, president of the Union Savings
Bank and Trust Company at Steubenville, and a director
of the Citizens Bank of that place. He likewise is an elder
of the Second Presbyterian Church at Follansbee, West
Virginia, and now makes his home at Follansbee.

James W. Finley

HANCOCK COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: Finley, James W. (published 1923)
Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 12, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 221
Hancock County

JAMES W. FINLEY. One of the best known and most
highly respected citizens of Hancock County, James W.
Finley has long been practically in charge of all the con
strnction work done by the big firm of Finley Brothers
of Chester. He has been identified with this line of work
for more than thirty years, and few men bear a better
record in business matters or as to citizenship.

Mr. Finley was born on the old Finley farm, one mile
from Chester, Hancock County, February 1, 1863, and be-
longs to an old and honored family, a complete record of
which will be found in the sketch of Mr. Finley’s brother,
Joseph N. Finley, elsewhere in this work. He was reared
on the home farm and secured a good educational training,
and was variously employed until he reached the age of
twenty-eight years, at which time he entered the trade.
Inside of the same month he was given the responsible
position of supervision of construction, a line in which he
has continued to the present time, being generally the
one in direct charge of all the construction work. The
Pinley Brothers continued as a partnership until August,
1903, when the business was incorporated, with a capital
of $10,000, the officers being Joseph N. Finley, president;
Joseph McCoy, vice president; R. Frank Finley, treas-
urer; and George A. Hasson, secretary. James W. Finley
assumed the duties of superintendent of construction. R.
F. Finley became vice president of the concern in 1916,
at the time of the death of Joseph McCoy, a brother-in-
law, whose widow is now a director in the concern. In
1921 the capital of the business was increased to $50,000.
The work of this concern is not confined by any means
to Hancock County, nor to the State of West Virginia,
for the reputation of the enterprise for honest represen-
tation, high grade of. workmanship and honorable fidelity
to contracts has extended to distant points, and work has
been done by Finley Brothers as far west as Moline, Illi-
nois. Much of the success of the business must be ac-
credited to James W. Finley, an expert in his line, a capable
executive in the handling of labor and possessed of much
energy and ideas of a modern character. He was for-
mally a member of the Chester City Council, where he
served on several important committees and worked faith-
fully in behalf of the welfare of his community.

While engaged in park work in Summit County, Ohio,
Mr. Finley met Miss Ustha E. Boughton, who later became
his bride. Mr. and Mrs. Finley have three sons: Richard
Dale, Clyde Ember and Elvet Franklin, all attending school.
At one time Mr. Finley belonged to thirteen fraternal
organizations and passed through the chairs in most of
these orders, of a number of which he was representa-
tive to the state bodies. Of later years, however, he has
not evidenced so much interest in fraternalism, and when
his business duties allow of a vacation he either spends
his time in his home or else takes a hunting trip in the
mountains of his native state or goes to Michigan in
search of deer and bear.

Robert C. And Jesse S. Evans

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 254
Hancock County

ROBERT C. AND JESSE S. EVANS. None of the mercantile
establishments at Weirton are better known or have gained
a greater success during a like period of years than the
general merchandise enterprise of Evans Brothers, the pro-
prietors of which are Robert C. and Jesse S. Evans. These
men have built up a large and flourishing business from
small beginnings, and while advancing their personal success
have contributed to the progress of the community not only
through the development of a worthy commercial venture
but through their constructive and helpful support of meas-
ures promulgated for the betterment of the city’s

The Evans brothers were born at New Cumberland, Han-
cock County, West Virginia, Robert C. on June 4, 1873,
and Jesse 8., June 24. 1879, their parents being James Madi-
son and Emma E. (Evans) Evans. Mrs. Evans, who was
born at Wheeling, still survives and resides at New Cumber-
land, at the age of eighty-four years. James Madison Evans
was born near New Cumberland, in 1841, a son of Jeremiah
C. Evans, an agriculturist, who passed his life in Hancock
County and was an extensive operator. On reaching man-
hood James Madison Evans adopted farming for his life
work, and spent his whole life in Hancock County, where
up to the time of his retirement he tilled the soil and was
a large grower of fruit. He resided at New Cumberland,
surrounded by the comforts attainable by the fruits of his
early industry and where he died in March, 1916.

Robert C. and Jesse S. Evans received good, practical
educational advantages as lads in the public schools of
Hancock County. They were reared as farmers’ sons, but
neither desired to lead an agricultural life, and accordingly
accepted positions as clerks, where they gained their intro-
duction to business methods. Robert C. Evans also served
two terms, or eight years, from 1904 to 1912, as assessor of
Hancock County, an office to which he was elected on the
republican ticket. In May, 1912, the Evans brothers
founded the Weirton Supply Company, a grocery and mar-
ket, their initial capital being about $2,500. The business
was continued in the same way, although with growing
success, until 1918, when it was connsolidated, with a store
at Weirton which the brothers had started in 1916 as a
branch of the original business. In the same year they
had erected a double store, three stories in height, of brick,
at the present location, coating $28,000, and in 1921 an-
other store was added, with lodge hall and two apartments
above, making the entire building cost about $37,000. The
first year’s sales were about $30,000, but have run as high
as $225,000, and the stock carried regularly is valued at
from $20,000 to $25,000, or more than ten times the original
stock. Eight employes are kept busy and the trade is by
no means confined to Weirton, many of the patrons of the
establishment residing in the rural districts and the nearby
towns and villages. The brothers are men of sound integ-
rity who have established excellent reputations for honor-
able dealing and honest representation. They are inter-
ested as good citizens in civic matters and give their moral
and material support to all measures which promise to be
of benefit to their community. They have several connec-
tions of a fraternal character, and their friends are numer-
ous in social circles.

Robert C. Evans married Miss Mary L. Mayhew, daughter
of J. H. Mayhew, who was superintendent of the Hancock
County Infirmary for a number of years. To this union
there have been born two children: Edna, a teacher in the
public school at Holliday’s Cove; and James Henderson,
D. D. S., a graduate of the Pennsylvania University at

Jesse S. Evans was united in marriage with Miss Vir-
ginia Wilson, of New Cumberland, and they have five chil-
dren: Emma Virginia, Dorothy, James L., Fred W. and

James L. Mayhew

Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 12, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 226-227
Hancock County

JAMES L. MAYHEW. The chief executive office in any
community is a responsible one, and the individual occupy-
ing it bears the responsibility on his shoulders not only
of handling the multitudinous details of municipal manage-
ment, but the accountability for its commercial and moral
integrity. As he is, so is generally his community, for it
soon reflects his character and manner of dealing with
large problems, and unless he keeps a firm grip upon
the reins of government and influences his associates to act
as he believes is right and just, his administration soon
shows the effect of lax principles. For this reason of
recent years the people of the enterprising communities
all over the country have been choosing their chief execu-
tives more and more from the sound business class, recog-
nizing the beneficial effect of example and action. Ex-
Mayor Mayhew, of Chester, West Virginia, is not only a
business man of proved ability and substantial standing,
but a man who has had former experience in public office
and who has shown his worth in securing the successful
bringing about of movements for the public welfare.

Mr. Mayhew was born at the old Mayhew farm home
at Pughtown, Hancock County, March 18, 1862, and is
a son of James N. and Mary Jane (Crawford) Mayhew.
James N. Mayhew was born near Florence, Washington
County, Pennsylvania, in 1827, and when seven years of
age was brought to West Virginia by his parents, John
and Elizabeth (Jackson) Mayhew, who settled adjoining the
village of Fairview, now Pughtown. John Mayhew owned
about 340 acres of land and lived in a brick house which
still forms a part of the residence on the property. He
followed farming until his death when eighty years old,
while his wife died when seventy-five or seventy-six years
of age. They had the following children: Rebecca, who
died as Mrs. Albaugh; Eliza, who became Mrs. Buchanan
and had a son, John Buchanan, an attorney at Beaver,
Pennsylvania; James N.; David Simeon, who died in Illi-
nois; Nancy, who became Mrs. Fulton and died at the
age of ninety-six years, being the mother of Rev. W. P.
Fulton, a noted Presbyterian divine of Philadelphia, Penn-
sylvania; John W., who died in Beaver County, that
state; William, who was last heard from in California;
Elizabeth who married a Mr. Travis; and Mary who
married a Mr. Custer.

After completing a public school education James N.
Mayhew turned his attention to agricultural operations,
in which he was engaged all his life, and became one
of the highly respected and esteemed men of his locality.
He was a democrat in politics, and he and his wife be-
longed to the Methodist Protestant Church. In Columbiana
County, Ohio, he married Mary Jane Crawford, and they
became the parents of thirteen children, all of whom are
still living in 1922, the youngest being now in middle life:
Thomas C., a resident of Nebraska; John H., of Chester;
David E., of Pughtown, who is engaged in farming the
old home place; William Lucas, a resident of Lisbon, Ohio;
Nancy Jane, the widow of Wesley Herron, of Pughtown,
who had thirty-two grandchildren in 1922; James L., of
this review; Charles C., his twin, who is a resident of
California; Ella, the widow of Howard Warren, of Cleve-
land; George, of Sebring, Ohio; Ira, residing on the
old home farm; Frank, of Salem, Ohio; Elizabeth, now
Mrs. Emanuel Thomas, of Salem, Ohio; and Noah, of
East Palestine, Ohio.

James L. Mayhew received a public school education
and remained on the home farm until reaching his twen-
tieth year, at which time he went to New Brighton, Penn-
sylvania, where he took up the trade of painting. He
followed that vocation for a long period, and was a
contractor in the same line for five years, following which
for twelve years he was the proprietor of a grocery and
meat market. In 1900, while residing at New Brighton,
he was elected one of the three county commissioners of
Beaver County, Pennsylvania. This proved to be the most
responsible position in the county, with court in session
all the time during the administration. At the time all
the bridges in the county were toll bridges, but in 1900
the commission of which Mr. Mayhew was a member
started the movement for free bridges by purchasing
the first bridge of this kind in the county. New Brighton
is located on the Beaver River, near its junction with the
Ohio, and there are bridges in every direction. The move-
ment for free bridges met with a turmoil of opposition
and the most strenuous objections, but later, after a start
had been made in this line, the enterprise met with grow-
ing favor, and finally became popular. Mr. Mayhew, how-
ever, met defeat for reelection by a small majority. Later
he conducted a hotel at New Brighton for about ten years,
and in 1915 disposed of his holdings and returned to Han-
cock County, settling at Chester, where he was elected mayor
in 1920 and served capably for two years his term expiring
April 1, 1922. He has been prominent in the ranks of
the democratic party and is a member of the committee
of his party for the congressional district, as well as a
jury commissioner, his associates being Capt. Harvey
Robb, of New Cumberland. As chairman of the congres-
sional committee he is one of the most active workers in
the conduct of campaigns and has frequently been a dele-
gate to conventions. At present, in a business way, Mr.
Mayhew is engaged in the handling of paints and wall
paper, and is contracting in work of this kind. He has
several fraternal connections and is accounted one of the
most energetic and public-spirited citizens of his com-

Mr. Mayhew married Miss Nannie E. Snowden, who was
born near Pughtown, daughter of the late W. D. Snowden,
who was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Hancock
County until his death. To Mr. and Mrs. Mayhew there
have been born two children: Ina, who is the wife of Theo-
dore McLain, of New Brighton, Pennsylvania; and William
A., who is associated in business with his father.


Robert R. Hobbs

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 250
Hancock County

ROBERT R. HOBBS. Included among the men who have
the responsibility for good government in Hancock County
on their shoulders is Robert R. Hobbs, occupying the posi-
tion of clerk of the County Court. Mr. Hobbs is well known
to the people of the county a.a an efficient, energetic and
conscientious official, for he is. now serving his second
six-year term in his present office, and prior to becoming
the incumbent thereof had acted in other public capacities.
He has spent his entire life in the county, where he has
been the architect of his own fortunes.

Mr. Hobbs was born at Fairview, Hancock County,
September 5, 1875, a son of John Wesley and Elizabeth
Jane (Brenneman) Hobbs. The mother of John Wesley
Hobbs was Margaret Ray, a daughter of Joseph Ray, said
to have been a Eevolutionary soldier, who settled on
Brown’s Island, six miles below New Cumberland in the
Ohio River, and reached an advanced age, being buried
at Pughtown. The father of John Wesley Hobbs was
Leonard Hobbs, who died at the age of thirty-four years
at Wellsburg. John W. Hobbs was sheriff of Hancock
County during the Civil war period, following which he
became a merchant at Pughtown. In 1881 he was elected
to the State Legislature, when the capital was at Wheel-
ing, and after completing his term of office returned to his
store at Pughtown, in which community he died at the
age of seventy years. Elizabeth Brenneman was a daughter
of Jacob Brenneman, a descendant of the original settler
of the county, Jacob Nessley, whose home was opposite
the mouth of Yellow Creek, Ohio, but over the West
Virginia line. There Elizabeth had been brought at two
years of age and was reared on the farm in the Ohio
Valley. She died at the advanced age of eighty-two

Robert R. Hobbs secured his education at Pughtown,
where he lived until reaching the age of sixteen years,
at that time becoming an employe of a merchant at
Hookstown, Pennsylvania. At the end of three years
he went to Pittsburgh, where he became a clerk for
Joseph Hern & Company, and then ran a store at Chester,
West Virginia, until 1909, when he was elected sheriff of
Hancock County. After spending four years in that
capacity he returned to his mercantile operations at
Chester, and applied himself thereto without interrup-
tion until elected clerk of the County Court for a period
of six years, on the republican ticket. When his term
expired the citizens, in looking back over his record, found
it so satisfactory that he was chosen to succeed himself for
another six-year term, and is still the capable, conscientious
incumbent of that position.

Mr. Hobbs married Miss Effie K. Knowles, of East
Liverpool, Ohio, and to this union there have been born
four children: Robert Knowles, who graduated from the
high school at Chester, West Virginia, in 1922; Ruth Louise,
who is attending high school; and Mildred Elizabeth and
Ralph Brenneman, who are attending the graded schools.
Mr. Hobbs has a number of civic and social connections,
and is accounted one of the progressive men of his com-
munity, where he has numerous friends.

James Bennett Porter

File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by
Valerie Crook
September 13, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 233
Hancock County

JAMES BENNETT PORTER is vice president of the Globe
Brick Company, representing one of the important industrial
enterprises of Hancock County, and since 1909 he has main-
tained active supervision of a portion of the old Mahan
fruit farm near Arroyo, this county, a property inherited by
his mother. In this latter connection he is one of the exten-
sive apple growers of his native county, and has on the
farm a finely productive orchard that receives scientific
care. Of both the Porter and Mahan families, representing
the paternal and maternal ancestry of Mr. Porter, adequate
record is given in other personal reviews in this volume,
he being a son of John and Carrie (Mahan) Porter and
having been born at New Cumberland, judicial center of
Hancock County, on the 14th of November, 1882.

Mr. Porter was afforded the advantages of the well or-
dered public schools of his native county, and as a youth
he became actively identified with the manufacturing of
brick, with which industry he has continued his association
to the present time, the Globe Brick Company, of which
he is vice president, being one of the largest concerns of the
kind in this section of the state. The family home of Mr.
Porter is maintained in the attractive and modern house
which he erected at Arroyo and which commands a fine
view up and down the Ohio River and also of the Ohio
shore district. Mr. Porter is liberal and progressive as a
citizen but has had no desire for political activity or public
office. He is affiliated with both the York and Scottish Rite
bodies of the time-honored Masonic fraternity.

The year 1912 recorded the marriage of Mr. Porter and
Miss Josephine Lovell, of Boston, Massachusetts, she being
a graduate of Wellesley College and having come to Han-
cock County, West Virginia, to visit a classmate, Mary
Anna Brenneman, daughter of Herman Brenneman. Romance
here became her portion, for here she formed the
acquaintance of Mr. Porter, whose importunities resulted
in her here remaining as his wife. Mrs. Porter was active
in Red Cross and other patriotic service in the World war
period, as was also her husband, and she is an active mem-
ber of the Nessly Chapel of the Methodist Protestant
Church at Arroyo. Mr. and Mrs. Porter have five children,
namely: James B., Jr., John Ethan, Josephine Natalie,
Helen Cross and Leah Lovell.

Robert Morrow Brown

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 253
Hancock County

HON. ROBERT MORROW BROWN. For several decades Hon.
Robert Morrow Brown has been a progressive, and for
much of that period a prominent, factor in the business,
journalistic, political and public activities of New Cumber-
land. His standing as a citizen is firm and broad and as
a leader of the republican party his reputation has extended
into state-wide influence. Mr. Brown was born at New
Cumberland, Hancock County, West Virginia, November 21,
1877, and is a son of Adrian Wilmer and Mary Virginia
(Morrow) Brown.

Adrian Wilmer Brown was born at Wellsburg, Brooke
County, Ohio. in 1854, his parents being John Danforth and
Lucie (Hewlett) Brown. John D. Brown, who was born
in what is now West Virginia, was a merchant for some
years at Wellsburg, where he died aged thirty-nine years,
while his wife. who survived him to the age of sixty-three
years; was born at Richmond, Virginia. Adrian W. Brown
passed his boyhood at Wellsburg, where he received a pub-
lic school education and as a young man secured a posi-
tion with the Wellsburg Herald. In 1877 he came to New
Cumberland, where he founded the New Cumberland Inde-
pendent, the first issue of which appeared January 10th
of that year, from the same building in which it is now
published. This republican weekly, published on an old-
fashioned Washington hand press, at once gained a good
circulation, due to its general worth and excellence and
to its championing of all worthy movements in the way
of modern progress and advancement. Mr. Brown remained
as editor of this newspaper until 1903, when he retired from
active affairs and turned its management over to his son.
He died three years later, greatly mourned by those who
had come to know his numerous fine qualities of mind and
heart. Mr. Brown was circuit clerk for Hancock County
from 1890 to 1896. He was a member of the Episcopal
Church at Wellsburg, and services were held in his own
home at New Cumberland once a month. At Pughtown Mr.
Brown was united in marriage with Miss Mary Virginia
Morrow, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Wilson) Mor-
row, of Pughtown, Mr. Morrow having been proprietor of
the old Virginia House at that place when it was the county
seat. He was also a justice of the peace for many years.
Mrs. Brown died in 1890, leaving two children: Robert
Morrow; and Lucie, now the wife of N. W. Ballantyne, a
sketch of whose career appears elsewhere in this work.
Later Mr. Brown married Ola M. Moore, who survives him,
but they had no children.

Bobert Morrow Brown attended the public schools of New
Cumberland, and after hs graduation from the high school
enrolled as a student at the West Virginia University, where
he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1902 and his
Bachelor of Laws degree one year later. Previous to this
he had seen service on a daily paper at East Liverpool, and
had also been on a paper at Morgantown, so that he was
not without experience when he took charge of the Inde-
pendent at the time of his father’s retirement in 1903. The
old hand press of former days has gone with other things
of its kind, and the office is now electrically equipped
throughout, with modern linotype machines and a Babcock
press, which has a capacity of from 1,500 to 2,000 per hour.
The paper circulates freely, not only in the immediate vicin-
ity of New Cumberland, but into sections of Pennsylvania
and Ohio. It is in high favor with its readers because of
its practical, well-written and timely editorials, its authentic
news features and its various interesting departments, and
because it has ever maintained the policy of its founder
in supporting all movements promising for advancement and
progress along all material and moral lines.

In addition to his newspaper activities Mr. Brown has
been engaged in the practice of law, having a large and
lucrative practice in all the courts. In 1905 he was elected
on the republican ticket as prosecuting attorney, an office
in which he served with an excellent record until 1909.
In 1912 President Taft appointed him postmaster of New
Cumberland, and this office he also held for four years.
During the World war period he was exceptionally active,
serving on the county committee in the Liberty Loan drives
and the Red Cross, and it is to be noted as a significant
fact that Hancock always stood high among the counties
when the final returns were in. In November, 1920, Mr.
Brown was elected to the State Legislature for Hancock
County, and during his term was a member of the follow-
ing committees: Judiciary, Rules, Printing, Forestry and
Conservation, Mines and Mining Labor, Medicine and Sani-
tation and Redistricting. His record was a worthy one, of
much value to his constituency and his state. For the past
eight years Mr. Brown has been chairman of the Hancock
County Republican Committee. He was in attendance at
the national convention that nominated Warren G. Harding
for the presidency. As a fraternalist Mr. Brown holds mem-
bership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of
Pythias, and he is also a member of the Kiwanis Club, and
Phi Kappa Psi College fraternity. He and his family are
entitled to membership in the Sons of the American Revolu-
tion and the Daughters of the American Revolution through
the service of one of his direct ancestors, Capt. Oliver
Brown, buried at Wellsburg, who participated in the win-
ning of American independence.

Mr. Brown married Miss Leora Scott, of Somerset, Penn-
sylvania, and to their union there has been born one son,
John Scott.

John Bentley Newell

HANCOCK COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: NEWELL, John Bentley (published 1923)
Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 12, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 225-226
Hancock County

JOHN BENTLEY NEWELL. The influence exerted by the
deeds of those who never seek publicity, but who are
ever ready to do their part in the world’s work for civili-
zation and progress, is a very potent one. Transitory
success comes to some who disregard the principles of
honor and morality, but once they are removed from
their scene of action the lack of merit in their work
is soon realized, and their names are used but to illus-
trate the uselessness of their manner of living. The man
who is remembered is the one who puts self last; who
endeavors to give to others a little more than the treat-
ment he wants for himself, and who is willing to make
some sacrifice for the good of his fellow-men. Such a
man can be depended upon and his life is a benefit to the
community. Judged by these standards, the late John
Bentley Newell, of Newell, West Virginia, measured up to
the highest ideals of good citizenship, and although a num-
ber of years have passed since he was called to his final
rest, he lives in the memory of his friends as the highest
type of manhood.

John Bentley Newell was born April 12, 1839, at the
old mill on Tomlinson’s Run, in Hancock County, West
Virginia, a son of John and Lydia Ann (Edie) Newell.
John Newell, father of John B. Newell, was born near
Burgettstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1796,
a son of Hugh Newell who with his brother had removed
to Vance’s Fort soon after the close of the Revolutionary
war. Hugh Newell built one of the first brick houses in
Washington County, Pennsylvania, and John Newell built
the first house of brick at Pughtown in Hancock County,
an old residence that is still standing. He also owned
a tannery, which he operated for some years, even after
he had secured what later became known as the Hart-
ford Flour Mill, on Tomlinson’s Run, about four miles
from the Ohio. He built flatboats, which he ran down the
Ohio River to New Orleans, carrying flour and leather,
and would then walk back to his home. About 1850 he sold
the mill to a man named Hartford and located on the
present Newell farm, to which he brought his wife, who had
been Lydia Ann Edie, of Fairview. This farm was a
part of the Greathouse tract or grant, and the old deed
to Greathouse is still held by the Newell family. The
original settler, named Greathouse, whose cabin was on
the left bank of Tub Mill Run; at the entrance to the
Ohio (the cellar being still visible), was killed by an
Indian floating down the river in a canoe. The place is
now included in the village of Newell. W. F. Lloyd, a
steel manufacturer of Pittsburgh, bought parts of four
farms, that of Newell, Wells, McDonald and Moore, but
sold out some twenty years later to the North American
Manufacturing Company, who really started the town,
the first step being to erect a bridge from East Liver-
pool. The farm extended to the Ohio and reached back
as far as the hill, which is some 500 feet above the
river level. The pottery, of course, was down by the flat
on the river. The farm had formerly been occupied and
rented by Alexander Edie, the brother of Lydia Ann
(Edie) Newell, and was purchased by John Newell from
a Mr. Glass and others. It contained 320 acres, on which
Mr. Newell made many improvements, including a brick
residence. He built his pottery on the site of the present
station at Newell, on the right bank of Tub Mill Run,
the first pottery on the West Virginia side of the river,
and in his two-kiln plant, with its thirty or forty em-
ployes, manufactured a creditable article of yellow-ware.
John Newell died in 1884, when eighty-eight years of age.
He married Lydia Ann Edie in 1826, and she died in
1844, the mother of seven children: Hugh, a sketch of
whose career will be found elsewhere in this work, in the
record of John F. Newell; William, of Berthoud, Colo-
rado; Rev. James, of Los Angeles, California; George, of
Delta County, Colorado; John Bentley; Lizzie, who mar-
ried Alfred Marks, owner of the old Marks farm at
Chester; and Rachel, who married George Harker, a pot-
ter at East Liverpool. Mr. and Mrs. Harker had a son,
William Harker, president of the Potters National Bank
of East Liverpool, whose son, Robert, still resides at Newell,
and is one of the owners of the Harker Pottery, founded
by his grandfather.

John Bentley Newell was ten years of age when brought
by his parents to the home farm and his education was
acquired in the public schools. During the Civil war he
served as a lieutenant in the Home Guards, and was twice
called into active service, once during the time of Morgan’s
Raid. With this exception his life was a quiet one, and he
was content to remain on his farm, where his industry and
good management, together with his intelligent application
of modern methods, won him success. His integrity and
probity were universally recognized, while he was also
a strong temperance man, and in this connection it may
be noted that Hancock County had never had a licensed
saloon within its borders. He never cared for public life.
He and his worthy wife were members of the First
Presbyterian Church of Newell, West Virginia, in the
faith of which Mr. Newell died October 21, 1914, and
Mrs. Newell, October 19, 1910. At the age of twenty-
six years Mr. Newell married the twenty-one-year-old
daughter of Dr. Robert A. Johnston, a physician of Wells-
ville, Miss Margaret Jane Johnston, who was born at
Noblestown, Pennsylvania, and to this union there were
born the following children: Carrie, a teacher in the
public schools of East Liverpool, who died unmarried
December 20, 1919; James, residing at home, who has
been active in promoting the Newell bridge and other
enterprises, married Maud Croxall, of East Liverpool; and
Charles B., Ada and Robert C. (Bert), all unmarried and
at home.

Robert C. Newell attended George Washington University
in, 1905, following which he pursued his law course at the
West Virginia University as a student in jurisprudence
and diplomacy. An amusing incident of his college
days, which he vividly recalls, is the following: On the day
succeeding the historic victory of West Virginia Univer-
sity over Washington and Jefferson College the students
desired to celebrate, and President Purington, seeing little
chance of keeping them from their desires, gave his con-
sent. The law students, raising a great yell on the campus,
succeeded in bringing out several classes from recitations
and the crowd became greatly augmented. Finally the
disturbance reached the class taught by Miss Johnson,
whose determined stand and uncompromising demeanor
abashed and bluffed the entire crowd of law students.

Mr. Newell was admitted to the bar in 1908, and
immediately engaged in a general practice of his pro-
fession, to which, however, he does not devote his entire
attention, being also a farmer and fruit grower. The
Newell Fruit Farm now consists of 254 acres, with some
five acres in small fruits and thirty-five acres in apples
and peaches. John Bentley Newell, who conducted this
farm as a sheep breeding property for a number of years,
later in life became interested in fruit and was the
originator of the Red Willow apple, which has become
one of the leading varieties and which is produced on
this farm, as well as Grimes Golden and Elberta peaches.
The old residence stands well up on the bluff, one-half
mile back from the river, but not with a view. It was
the center of the social life of the community for more
than a half a century, and its doors have always been
kept hospitably open. The Newells have ever stood for
high standards of citizenship, their influence always for
progress, advancement and betterment of conditions in
the community which honored John Bentley Newell by
the adoption of his name.