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.

Oscar O. Allison

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. 244-245
Hancock County

OSCAR O. ALLISON. The really valuable men of any com-
munity are not necessarily those whom fate has placed
in commanding political positions where they compel ap-
plause from their associates and the admiration and support
of their constituents, but rather the men who rise steadily
through sheer merit to governing places among commercial
and financial enterprises where their abilities are directed
toward the control or finances and the creation of better
conditions for the working majority. Such men are not to
he found everywhere. The requirements of the positions
they fill and the weight of the responsibilities they volun-
tarily assume are of such a nature as to bar out all but the
chosen minority who have proven themselves. When such
an individual has shown his worth, his value to the com-
munity cannot be overestimated. Judged by these standards
one of the valuable men of Chester is Oscar O. Allison,
cashier of the First National Bank of Chester and secre-
tary-treasurer of the Hancock County Building and Loan

Mr. Allison was born at Chester, March 31, 1872, a son of
Samuel and Eliza (Finley) Allison, natives of the same
community. Samuel Allison was born in 1837 and died
May 5, 1907, in his seventy-first year, while Mrs. Allison
was born December 3, 1840, and died March 17, 1910, on
the anniversary of her wedding day. She and her husband
had enjoyed fifty years of happy wedded life. Samuel Alli-
son was a son of Charles Allison, whose father, Jonathan
Allison, died in his ninety-sixth year, the latter’s father,
Datty Allison, being buried on his 100th birthday. Charles
Allison was eighty-six years of age at the time of his demise,
so it will be seen that this is a family somewhat noted for
its longevity. Samuel Allison lived at the old home two
miles south of Chester, at the head of Cunningham’s Run
or Creek. He followed farming for a long period and won
success through industry and good management, so that
he was able to retire in the evening of life, and tor
some years lived comfortably in his pleasant home at
Chester. He was a man of popularity and influence in his
community, and on two occasions was the democratic can-
didate for the office of sheriff, and on one occasion met
defeat by but seven votes, although in a strong republican
county. He and his wife were the parents of the follow-
ing children: Charles F.; Sarah Jane, the widow of John
L. Bernard, of Chester; Ida Mary, the wife of A. J. Glass,
a retired farmer of Chester; Oscar O.; and Olive E., who
was active in the First Presbyterian Church at East
Liverpool, Ohio, and died in young womanhood.

Charles F. Allison, brother of Oscar O. Allison, was bora
on the old home farm in Hancock County, and died in
March, 1921. He remained on the home farm until 1900,
at which time he was elected sheriff of Hancock County, the
only member of his party to be accorded that honor in
forty years. During President Wilson’s administration he
served in the capacity of deputy United States marshal-
Prior to 1900 he had made a special appraisement of real
estate in Hancock County. During the last years of his life
he was connected with the jewelry business. Mr. Allison
was one of the incorporators and a member of the board
of directors of the First National Bank of Chester. He
was an elder of the Presbyterian Church at New Cumber-
land. His widow, who bore the maiden name of Sally
Cameron, survives him as a resident of Chester.

Oscar O. Allison received his education in the country,
attending the Washington Schoolhouse, which was situated
on a corner of the home farm. On first coming to Chester
he became interested in a general store business, with which
he was identified for five years, the firm finally becoming
Allison & Hobbs. Mr. Allison disposed of his interests in
this enterprise to become one of the five incorporators of the
First National Bank of Chester, of which be was the first
cashier, a position which he still retains. A history of this
institution will be found on another page of this work, as
will also a review of the Hancock County Building and Loan
Company, of which Mr. Allison is secretary-treasurer. He
is a director in the Bucher-Smith Company, one of Chester’s
important industries, and in former years was a member of
the board publishing the Tribune of East Liverpool, Ohio.
He is a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce of
East Liverpool and a director of the Kiwanis Club of that
city. An adherent of progress and advancement, he has
been a helpful and constructive supporter of all worthy
civic, educational and religious movements.

As a young man Mr. Allison joined the Presbyterian
Church at Fairview (now Pughtown), and was a trustee
thereof until coming to Chester, where he became one of
the organizers of the church at Chester, of which he has
been an elder since its inception. He has also served as
clerk of the session and as delegate to the Presbytery. He
has likewise been prominent in political matters, and as a
stanch and uncompromising democrat has been a delegate
to several congressional conventions and was formerly a
member of the Democratic Executive Committee.

Mr. Allison has an unique distinction as a fraternalist,
having been the first member initiated in any fraternal order
at Chester, where, October 4, 1890, he was accepted into
the Junior Order United American Mechanics. He presided
over this lodge during the first year, and for twenty years
has filled one or another of its offices, in addition to having
passed all the state chairs. He was made an Odd Fellow
aa a charter member of New Cumberland Lodge, and was
the first noble grand of Pride of Chester Lodge No. 245,
being twice delegate to the Grand Lodge. He became a
charter member of Chester Lodge No. 142, A. F. and A. M.,
of which he was made treasurer at the time of organization,
an office which he still retains. In October, 1921, he was
crowned inspector general of the thirty-third degree in the
House of the Temple at Washington, D. C., and is the only
thirty-third degree Mason in West Virginia north of Wheel-
ing, there not being one even at East Liverpool. His mem-
bership is as a thirty-second -degree Mason in the Con-
sistory at Wheeling. Since 1910 he has been a Knight
Templar in the Commandery at Wheeling, belongs to Osiris
Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and on two occasions has been
a representative to the Imperial Council, in 1918 at Atlantic
City, and in 1920 at Portland, Oregon, and attended both.
Mr. Allison is a member of the board of directors of the
Scottish Rite Educational Association of West Virginia,
president of the Scottish Rite Club of Chester, treasurer
of the Shrine Club of Chester, a member of the Masonic
clubs of Wheeling and East Liverpool and a member of
the board of directors of the Masonic Temple Company of
Chester, and he and Mrs. Allison are charter members of
Chester Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. Mr. Allison is
greatly interested in tennis, baseball and all forms of whole-
some athletics and recreations.

Mr. Allison married Miss Anna Baxter, a daughter of
Absalom Baxter, a farmer of this locality. She was edu-
cated in the normal school at West Liberty, and prior
to her marriage was a successful and popular teacher in the
public schools. To this union there have been born two
daughters and two sons: Eunice M., a graduate of Wilson
College, Chambersburg, and principal of Newell High School,
who la active in the work of the Presbyterian Church; Helen
R., a graduate of the Pennsylvania College for Women at
Pittsburgh, class of 1922; and Ralph B. and Howard R..,
both deceased.

Phelps Can Company

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 6, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 455-456

THE PHELPS CAN COMPANY is one of the several estab-
lishments that have made an important industrial com-
munity at Weirton in Hancock County, practically
surrounding the historic old village of Holliday’s Cove
with factories, teeming population and all the institutions
and improvements of twentieth century existence.

This plant was established at Weirton in the spring of
1911 by the president of the original company, W. J.
Phelps of Baltimore. At that time the plant started with
a capacity of 350,000 cans daily and about a hundred em-
ployes. Subsequent additions and improvements have
trebled the capacity, and employes now number about 350,
with a payroll of about $6,500 a week. The tinplate is
obtained from the adjacent Weirton Steel Works, the an-
nual consumption being between 600,000 and 700,000 boxes
of tin plates. The plant at Weirton makes a specialty
of tin containers for evaporated and condensed milk, the
output being sold to condensaries all over the United States
and Canada.

The company is capitalized at $50,000. The president
and treasurer of the corpoartion [sic] at Baltimore is W. J.
Phelps, the vice president and secretary is Forest Bramble,
of the same city, while the executive in charge at Weirton
is J. Howd Phelps, assistant treasurer and manager. This
company maintains four plants, one at Baltimore, another
at New Philadelphia, Ohio, the one at Weirton, and another
established in 1921 at Clarksburg, West Virginia. Mr. J.
Howd Phelps and Mr. J. B. Dresel, the superintendent,
started the plant at Weirton and have been in active
charge ever since. The plant has floor space of 110,000
square feet, about two and a half acres, and a double rail-
road track runs the entire length of the factory.

The Phelps family have been pioneers in can manufac-
ture. W. J. Phelps as a boy made cans by the hand
process before the introduction of any of the complicated
machinery now used in can making. He started his first
can factory at Baltimore about 1890. The Phelps Can
Company now stands third in the United States in relative
size and importance, and is probably the first in a special-
ized output for packers.

J. Howd Phelps was eighteen years of age when he en-
tered the shops of the Baltimore plant, and has grown up
in the business. He is a Mason, is affiliated with the
Scottish Rite Consistory at Wheeling, is a member of the
Weirton Masonic Club, and belongs to the Scottish Rite
Orchestra at Wheeling and also a similar orchestra at
Steubenville, Ohio. Mr. Phelps, whose home is at Holli-
day’s Cove, married Sarah Marie Turner, a native of New
York State. Their four children are Dorothy, Howd, Jr.,
Marjorie and Virginia.

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.