Category Archives: Kanawha

William Carroll

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

History of Kanawha County
George W. Atkinson
p. 122-123


The Carrolls came to Kanawba shortly after the Morrises, and settled in the
same neighborhood. William Carroll located four miles below the mouth of
Kelly’s creek, cleared several acres of bottom land, and built a small
round-log cabin on the bank of the river.
In the spring of 1789, Mr. Carroll, while on his way to the village of
Charleston, or Clendennin’s settlement, as it was called at that time, was
surprised by a body of Indians, who were concealed in the paw-paw bushes near
the roadside. He discovered their presence before they had an opportunity to
fire, and leaped from his horse. As he was dismounting two of the Indians
fired upon him, and the balls from both rifles took effect in the horse,
killing it instantly. Carroll ran, with all possible speed towards the
river, which was fully three hundred yards distant, and the Indians were in
close pursuit. The bottom was covered with large trees, which prevented the
Indians from shooting him as they ran. He reached the river, perhaps a
hundred yards in advance of his pursuers, and being a good swimmer, leaped
into the stream, and struck out for the opposite shore. He evaded the shots
from the rifles of the savages by diving every few moments, until he reached
the other side. After getting on land he ran along the bank of the river to
the Paint creek settlement, a distance ef about ten miles, and thus made his

The Indians went to his house, plundered it, set it on fire, killed his milch
cow, and left the settlement. Fortunately Mr. Carroll had taken the
precaution to send his family to the Kelly’s creek fort the morning he left
for Charleston, so that none of them were harmed by the savages.

William Mercer Owens Dawson

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 26, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 428-432

HON. WILLIAM MERCER OWENS DAWSON, exgovernor of West Virginia, was born at
Bloomington, Md., within a few hundred yards of the Virginia (West Virginia)
line, May 21, 1853, son of Francis Ravenscroft (sometimes written Ravenscra
ft) and Leah (Kight) Dawson. He is descended on the paternal side from
martial an-cestors who accompanied Oliver Cromwell to Ireland and fought
to subdue the insurrectionary forces in that unhappy island. One of them
came to this ceuntry quite early in the history of the colonies. At a later
day we find a branch of the family residing in Allegheny county, Maryland,
where John Dawson, our subject’s grandfather, was born. The latter was a
blacksmith by occupation and locally a well known and respected citizen. He
married a Miss Ravenscroft. who was born and lived and died in Maryland, in
or near Dawson. John Dawson and wife had seven children, most of whom grew to
maturity, married, and reared families of their own. The members of the
family generally were Methodists in their religious affiliations. The
youngest son of John Dawson, the Rev. Samuel R. Dawson, was for many years a
well known and popular preacher in the M. E. church, North, and died in 1892
at an advanced age, at Ellenboro, Ritchie county, W. Va. Another son of
John, Hanson B. Dawson, was clerk of the Circuit Court of Romney, Hampshire
county, W. Va.; he died September 6, 1876. He married a Mrs. Shabe, widow of
Daniel Shabe and daughter of James Parsons, whose wife was a sister of
General Fairfax. They had no issue.
Francis Ravenscroft Dawson, father of our subject, was the eldest child of
his parents, and was born near Dawson, Md., in 1809. He learned his father’s
trade of blacksmith, and later became clerk for Samuel Brady, a wealthy man
who owned a large plantation and a number of slaves. Later Francis R. Dawson
took up the mercantile business at Piedmont, W. Va., and at Bloomington, Md.
He died in July, j88i, at the age of almost eighty years. He was a class
leader in the M. F. church, and a very hospitable man. During the Civil War
peribd, his sympathies were with the Union cause. One of his sons, Frank M.,
was a soldier in the 17th W. Va. Volunteers, enlisting as a private and
serving from 1863 mitil the close of the war.
Francis R. Dawson married, in 1832, Leab Kight, who was born in Virginia in
1811. Her father, John Kight, and her mother, whose maiden name also was
Kight, were both Vir-ginians. They were active members of the Methodist
church and both attained an advanced age. The children of Francis R. and
Leah Dawson were Penelope, John H., Nancy C., Mariam, David Shoaf, Frank M.,
and William Mercer Owens. Of those other than our subject, the record in
brief is as follows: Penelope, who is the widow of E. Clark Jones, but has no
children, resides in Terra Alta, W. Va. John H., who was a well known
steamboat cap tam on the Ohio river, died at Parkersburg, W. Va., in 1879.
He married Miss Jennie Shaffer, who resides at Parkersburg, W. Va. Her only
son, Harry H. Dawson, of Norfolk, Va., died in the fall of 1910. Nancy C.,
widow of George E. Gtithrie, resides with her son, the Rev. Charles E.
Guthrie, pastor of the First M. E. church at Wilkesbarre, Pa. Other children
of hers are D. S. Guthrie, of Chicago; Wade H., state printer at Charleston,
W. Va., and William V., publisher of “The Methodist,” of Baltimore, Md.
Mariam, the fourth child of Francis R. and Leah Dawson, married Joseph
Goodrich, and died leaving several. children. David Shoaf, the fifth child,
if now living, is probably in South America. No news has been received from
him for a considerable time. Frank M., whose military history has been
already referred to, is a machinist, and resides in Toledo, Ohio. He married
Miss Cole of Grafton, W. Va., and they have sev-eral children.
William M. 0. Dawson, with whose history we are more directly concerned, had
the misfor-tune to lose his mother when he was a child of less than four
years, and he resided successively with his father at Cranberry (now Terra
Alta), Bruceton Mills, and Ice’s Ferry. In 1863 he began to learn the
cooper’s trade at Cranberry, where also for a time he attended public school,
subsequently continuing his education in a pri-vate school at Terra Alta.
During this period he also worked for some time as a clerk and taught school.
In 1873 he became a resident of King,vood, the county seat of Preston
coun-ty, and became editor of “The Preston County Journal,” a Republican
newspaper, for which he had previously been a correspondent, as well as for
the “Wheeling Intelligencer.” Two years later he became the owner of the
“Jour-nal” which under his management became a po-tent factor in state
politics. In 1874, though nor seeking the position, he was elected chairman
of the county Republican committee, and was twice re-elected, serving for
thirteen years, at the end-of which time he retired. In 1880 he was
unanimously nominated as the Republican canidate for state senator from Tenth
district, composed of Monongalia and Preston coun-ties, and was elected. He
was the youngest member of the body, and- the only Republican member except
his colleague. At the end of this four-year term, he was again nominated
without opposition, and re-elected to the state senate. In 1888, at the end
of his second term, he declined to be again considered as a candidate though
he could have been nominated for the third time without opposition. When he
re-tired in i888 the Senate was nearly equally di-vided between the two
political parties. During his career as senator Mr. Dawson rendered valuable
service as a member of the committee on banks and corporations, on finance,
on the joint committee on finance, on the joint subcommittee on finance to
prepare the appropria-tion bills; on counties and municipal corporations, on
the penitentiary, on mines and mining, on public printing, and was the only
Republican member of a special committee to investi-gate the public printing,
his report being adopted by the Democratic senate. The decided stand he took
for the protection of the school fund is still well remembered and is a
matter of public record. He also advocated the regulation of railroad
charges on the lines afterwards adopted by the Federal government in the
creation of the interstate commerce commission. He is also the father of the
first mine inspection law of the state, and he initiated and carried through
much other beneficent legisla-tion. His name has been since associated with
the “Dawson Corporation Law,” enacted by the legislature in 1901, while he
was secretary of state, and which made much needed and benefi-cent
alterations in the corporation laws of the state, adding over a quarter of a
million dollars to its revenues from the tax in corporation charters.
In 1891 Mr. Dawson was unanimously elect-ed chairman of the Republican State
Committee, a position to which he was twice re-elected. When he took charge
West Virginia was Democratic by a majority of 5,000 to 6,000, and had be’en
in complete control of the Democratic party since 1871. His conduct of the
campaign of 1892 wrought a great change in the political situation and was a
surprise to all the party leaders of the state, and particularly so to the
enemy. Under his management the Republican party won the great victories in
West Virginia of 1894, 1896, 1898 and 1900. Since 1896 the state has been
Republican in all branches of the government, having a majority in both
houses of the Legislature. Mr. Dawson resigned the office of chairman in
In 1897 he was appointed secretary of state by Governor Atkinson, and was
reappointed to that office in 1901 by Governor White, being the only man who
has served two terms in that important office. His administration of its
affairs was marked hy personal integrity, efficiency, and devotion to the
public welfare that won for him universal commendation and compelled the
respect even of his political enemies. having the legislature pass the
“Dawson Cor-poration Law,” referred to above.
Every one remembers the great political campaign of 1904 in West Virginia.
The all-absorbing issue was “tax reform.” It was hased on the
recommendations of the tax commission of 1901, which made its report to the
legisla-ture of 1903. The body refused to consider the bills to amend the
tax laws proposed by that commission. On the question of their
con-sideration Mr. Dawson became a candidate for the Republican nomination
for Governor. It was a fierce, hot campaign. Mr. Dawson was nominated; and
the campaign that ensued, resulting in his election, was probably the most
hotly contested in the history of the state. Mr. Dawson served as Governor of
West Virginia from March 4, 1905, to March 4, 1909, and during his
administration he succeeded in hav-ing “tax reform” enacted into laws, now
often referred to as the “Dawson Tax Laws.”
As the incumbent of this high office, he again justified his party’s choice
and his record as governor is one that will hear close comparison with that
of the ablest of his predecessors. It is sufficiently well known to the
people of the state to need no detailed recapitulation here. Among minor
offices that have been held by Mr. Dawson are those of clerk of the House of
Delegates, in 1895, and mayor of Kingwood. He is a member of the Masonic
order belonging to Preston lodge, No.90, A. F. & A. M. of Kingwood, and is
past chancellor of Brown lodge, No.32, also of Kingwood. He is a member of
the Presbyterian church and has been active in Y. M. C. A. work.
Mr. Dawson was married in 1879 to Luda, daughter of John T. Neff, of
Kingwood, W. Va. She died in 1894, leaving a son, Daniel; and in 1899 Mr.
Dawson married Maude, daughter of Jane Brown, of Kingwood, of which union
there is a daughter, Leah Jane, born April 4, 1901, and now attending the
pub-lic schools. The son Daniel, who was born January 13, 1881, was educated
in the Charleston schools, including the high school, and subsequently
entered the University of West Virginia at Morgantown, where he was graduated
in 1904. He then took a one year course at Harvard University, and later
graduated from the law school of West Virginia University. He is now engaged
in the practice of law at Huntington, W. Va. Ex-Governor Dawson is a printer
by trade and a lawyer by profession. He is now engaged in the practice of
law at Charleston, the capitol of West Virginia.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William Dickinson

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

History of Kanawha County
George W. Atkinson
p. 320


Colonel Dickinson is the only son of William Dickinson, Sr., who was one of
the leading salt makers of the Kanawha Valley for over fifty years. He was
born in Bedford county, Virginia, but has spent the greater portion of his
life in Kanawha. He is now upwards of eighty years of age, and is resid~ng
upon his magnificent farm on the Kanawha river, fifteen miles above
Charleston. He has a princely estate, and seenis to enjoy himself in his
retired farm life. He never would accept any office never owed anybody
anything, always lived up to his promises, and has the respect of all persons
who ever had any dealings with Dim. Kanawba has no better citizen than
Colonel William Dickinson, and no kinder hearted gentleman ever lived in the
Valley of the Great Kanawha. He always looked at the sunny side of
everything, and therefore necessarily enjoys life.

William Sr. Dickinson

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

History of Kanawha County
George W. Atkinson
p. 323


Colonel Dickinson was born in Bedford county, Virginia, and came to Kanawha
with Joel Shrewsbury, Sr., in 1813. He and Mr. Shrewsbury had been engaged
in the manufacture of tobacco in Bedford county from 1804, and after their
arrival in Kanawha, they formed a partnership in the manufacture of salt,
which business they continued until 1856. Colonel Dickinson died in 1862, at
the advanced age of about ninety-three. his son William is still living, and
quite a number of his grandchildren are also residing in the county.

William Gustavus Conley

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 418-419

HON. WILLIAM GUSTAVUS CONLEY, attorney general of West Virginia, and a
citizen of that state who has been prominent both in professional and public
life for many years, was born in Preston County, W. Va.. January 8, 1866, and
is a son of Major Will-iam and Mary (Freeburn) Conley.
Major William Conley, who was an officer in the state militia, was born also
in Preston County, but the mother was a native of Scotland. She came to
America with her parents at the age of eight years, resided with them in
Philadelphia, and later accompanied them to West Virginia, where her death
occurred in 1896, her husband having passed away when their son, William G.,
was quite young. Maior William Conley was a man of local prominence, and at
one time was deputy sheriff. He was a school teacher and was also engaged in
business as a contractor.
William Gustavus Conley was educated in the public schools of Preston County,
and the West Virginia University at Morgantown, and was graduated there from
the department of law, in 1803, and in the same year was admitted to the bar.
On April 2, 1903, Mr. Conley had conferred on him the honorary degree of
Doctor of Laws, by the Nashville College of Law, at Nashville, Teun. From
1893 until 1903, he was engaged in the practice of law at Parsons, W. Va.,
during the closing six months of this period being in partnership with
Charles D. Smith, under the firm name of Conley & Smith. He was in active and
citizen there, serving in the city council and also as mayor. From Parsons
he came to Kingwood, W. Va., where he is a member of the law firm of Hughes &
Conley, and where he has his residence. Mr. Conley has filled many important
political positions. In 1896 he was chosen assistant secretary of the
Republican National Convention that nominated the late President McKinley.
Subsequently he was twice sent to the convention of the National Republican
League Club; for six years was chairman of the Republican Executive
Committee, and for several years was a member as well as assistant secretary
of the Republican Congressional Committee. On May 9, 1908, Mr. Conley was
appointed attorney general, by Gov. William M. 0. Dawson, to serve until his
successor was elected and qualified, and was elected for both short and long
term, expiration being March 4, 1913. This position is one befitting one of
his talents, connections and achievements. Attorney Ceneral Conley maintains
his office on the first floor of the Capitol Building, Charleston.
Mr. Conley was married in 1892, to Miss Bertie I. Martin, who was born in
1873, near Kingwood, W. Va., and they have three children living. Mrs.
Conley is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, while he was reared a
Presbyterian. He is identified with the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the
Knights of Pythias.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William Hubbard Goodwin

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 406-407

WILLIAM HUBBARD GOODWIN, general merchant and representative citizen of
Malden, W. Va., was born in this place, April i6, 1872, and is a son of
George A. and Sarah E. (High) Goodwin, both of whom are living and are highly
respected people of Malden. The father was born in Rockbridge County, Va.,
and came to Kanawha County in 1871, with the C. & 0. Railroad, where he
shortly afterward was married to Miss Sarah E. High. They have four
chil-dren: William Hubbard; Cammie, who is the wife of H. 0. Ruffner; Hall
G.; and Anna, who is the wife of H. J. Harbey, of Charleston.
William H. Goodwin learned the carpenter’s trade with his father after he had
attended the public schools and his first business position was a clerkship
in the Pioneer Coal Company’s store at Dana Sta-tion. He then took a
business course at Staunton, Va., after which he returned to Malden as clerk
for E. L. Rooke and later, in partnership with this employer, opened up a
general store at Cedar Grove, Kanawha County, subsequently selling his
interest and coming back to his birthplace. In May, 1910, he bought his
present store building from Wallace Averill, put in a first class stock and
has been quite prosperous, being numbered with the successful business men.
In September, 1894, Mr. Goodwin was married to Miss Lottie L. Scott, a
daughter of James and A. E. Scott, and they have one child, Gladys R. Mr.
Goodwin is an active citizen and is particularly interested in the public
schools. He served four years on the Board of Education and was reelected and
served as president of that body for four years more. He is prominent in
several fraternal orders, belonging to Lodge No.87, Knights of Pythias at
Mallden, and has been deputy grand chancellor; and has been collector of
wampum, in Lodge No.26, Red Men, also at Maiden. In politics he is a

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William D. Lewis

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. 223
Kanawha County

WILLIAM D. LEWIS, wholesale merchant and banker of
Charleston, is a successful business man who has pursued
a well balanced purpose in his achievements. Mr. Lewis in
later years has given generously and has been in fact pri-
marily responsible for the success of Charleston’s unique
institution, the Union Mission. The Union Mission stands
out as perhaps the most original organization of its kind
in the country. It is a centralized agency, both religious
and philanthrophic, wherein are concentrated the means and
the influences for the alleviation of hardship and suffer-
ing in the community. It performs the work performed in
many other cities by the Associated Charities, but is even
broader in scope than those worthy organizations, and it
has been conducted so efficiently as to win the confidence
of men like Mr. Lewis, who alone, it is said, has contributed
many thousands of dollars to the Mission, and it consti-
tutes his largest interest and pride outside his business and
personal affairs.

William D. Lewis was born near Maiden in Kanawha
County, June 21, 1850, son of John D. and Betty (Darneal)
Lewis. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His great-grand-
father, Charles Lewis, was a native of the Shenandoah
Valley, served as a colonel in the Indian wars, and was
killed at the battle of Point Pleasant, in what is now West
Virginia. His son, Charles Lewis, Jr., subsequently settled
in the vicinity of Point Pleasant, on the Ohio Biver, and
was a farmer there. John D. Lewis, father of the Charles-
ton business man, was born in 1800, and was reared in
Mason County and later settled on the Kanawha River,
where he was a pioneer in the salt industry, and at one time
owned 70,000 acres of land covered with timber and under-
laid with coal. He was a man of wealth, a large slave
owner, served in the Legislature, and was widely known for
his blameless character and philanthropic impulse. He was
a whig and later a democrat, was a member of the Episcopal
Church, and died at the age of eighty-two, in December,
1882. Betty Darneal, his third wife, was born in Kentucky
and died in 1851, leaving two children, Julia D. and
William D.

William D. Lewis, though his boyhood was spent in the
Civil war period, acquired a liberal education, graduating
from Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Vir-
ginia. He has kept in close touch with his alma mater, arid
in 1907 was elected a trustee of that institution. After
leaving university Mr. Lewis entered the lumber industry,
managing his father’s timber lands and manufacturing
lumber for a number of years. Since retiring from the
lumber industry he has been active in business organizations
at Charleston, where he is president of the Hubbard Gro-
cery Company and a director of the Kanawha National
Bank. Mr. Lewis is an elder in the First Presbyterian
Church of Charleston, and politically has always been
aligned with the democratic party.

He married Miss Jennie G. Stanley, who is a native of
Kanawha County, daughter of Joel Stanley. Mr. and Mrs.
Lewis have five children: William D., Jr., Mrs. Lynn Hol-
derness, John D., Captain Brown and Julia V. Red.


William R. Morris

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

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia
W.S. Laidley
p. 831

WILLIAM R. MORRIS, superintendent of mines for the Queen Shoal Coal Company
and general manager of their mercantile store at Queen Shoals, Clay county,
W. Va., was born July 18, 1872, at Clifton, W. Va., and is a son of James
Dickinson and Agnes L. (Haymaker) Morris.

James Dickinson Morris was horn sixty-nine years ago at Hanley, W. Va., and
now lives at Pratt. He was sixteen years old when he enlisted for service in
the Civil War. He served four years in Co. I, 8th Va. Vol. Cavalry, and after
being mustered out of the army, became a blacksmith, and still does
considerable work of that kind. He moved to Clifton ahout 1870 and has
resided there continuously since then. He has been a lifelong Democrat. He
married Agnes L.’ Haymaker, who was born in Botetourt county, Va., and who is
a daughter of Michael Haymaker, who was a shoemaker by trade. The Morris
family came originally from Kentucky. Of the surviving children of James D.
Morris and wife, William R. is the eldest, the others being: Oscar L., who is
connected with the railroad at Thurmond, W. Va.; Eugene H., who is bookkeeper
for a coal com-pany in Kanawba county; and Henry E., who is a clerk with
Armour & Co., at Louisville, Ky. The father of the ahove family has been a
member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Clifton, for the past twenty-five
William R. Morris attended school at Clifton and afterward was a clerk for
his uncle, W. S. Haymaker, for five years. He then followed the carpenter’s
trade for two years. In 1891 he went with the Coal Valley Mining Company in
the capacity of clerk and book-keeper and remained for six years. For the
following five years he was with the Beury Coal and Coke Company; for one and
one-half years was buyer for the firm of Carver Bros, Montgomery, W. Va.; for
three years was with the Wacomab Coal Company; and for two years was with the
Paint Creek Colliery Com-pany, after which he came to the Queen Shoals Coal
Company, and occupies a responsible p~ Sition with this corporation. In
politics he is an active Prohibitionist. For two years he was also postmaster
at Queen Shoals.
Mr. Morris married Miss Edna Hughes, who was born in Fayette county, W. Va.,
a daughter of Ellis Hughes, who was horn in Wales, and emigrated to America
prior to his marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Morris have two chil-dren: James, aged
ten years, and Agnes, aged six years. The family attends the First
Presby-terian church at Charleston. Mr. Morris belongs to the Khights of
Pythias, Uniform Rank, at Montgomery, W. Va.

William M. Welsch

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 380-383

WILLIAM M. WELSCH, superintendent of the Monarch Mines at Monarch, Cabin
Creek District, Kanawha County, W.Va., is a native of Germany, born there
April 5, 1876, and is a son of Nicholas and Theresa (Leipertz) Welsch.
Nicholas Welsch was born in one of the Rhine Provinces in Germany, where he
married Theresa Leipertzartd in 1888 the family came to America and located
at Ford City, Pa., moving from there to Ohio in the following year, and the
father securing work in the coal mines at Jacksonviue. He took out his first
citizen’s papers immediately after coming to this country, at Kittanning, the
county seat of Armstrong County, Pa., and his second papers in 1893, at
Athens, the county seat of Athens County, Ohio. While living there his wife
died. He survived her and now resides with his son, William, at Monarch.
There were many children beside William in the fam-ily, he being the eldest,
namely: Hubert; Nettie, the wife of William Heiser; Harry; Gertrude, the
wife of John L. Mandt; and others who died in infancy.
William M. Welsch attended school in Germany for seven years before coming to
America and for a short time afterward-long enough to learn the English
language-and in 1889 became a miner at Jacksonville, 0., where he was rapidly
advanced, being appointed a mine foreman in 1901. In that capacity be came to
Kanawha County in 1904, for the same company, the Ohio Sunday Creek Coal
Company, and continued in their employ until July, 1910, when he came to the
Monarch people. Mr. Welsch has been a hard working man all his life and has
exercised prudence and forethought and is in comfortable circumstances.
On December 31, 1901, Mr. Welsch was married to Miss Mary Hatfield, a
daughter of Theodore and Mary Hatfield, and they have two children, William
and Dorothea. He is a meniber of three imnortant fraternal organizations: the
Red Men, the Forresters of America and the Woodmen of the World.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William And George Keely

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 21, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 358-362

WILLIAM and GEORGE KEELY are among the well known and honored citizens of
Kanawha county, both reside in Loudon district on their home farms opposite
Charleston; both were born in Haverhill, Mass.,-George in 1839 and William in
1842, and were sons of Rev. Josiah Keely, A. M. and Eliza (Bradley) keely.
Rev. Josiah Keely was born in Northampton, England; landed in America in 1818
and located in Haverhill, Mass., where, later, he engaged in mercantile
trade, and was one of the forty shoe manufacturers of the town in 1837. It
was then the custom for the young man who put up his first business sign, to
“wet his sign;” Keely, Chase & Co., were the first business firm in the town
who 4id not “wet his sign,”-being active in the great temperance movement
that had been started in the country. In 1840 Rev. Keely entered the
ministry. In 1843 he settled in Wenham, Mass.; in 1852 he settled in Saco,
Me., pastor of the Main Street Baptist church, and for a number of years was
also supervisor of the public schools of the town and township; in 1863 he
was appointed chaplain of the Thirteenth Maine Infantry, then doing duty in
the Department of the Gulf, and he joined the regiment at New Orleans, saw
active service during the whole Red River campaign, was corn-mended by
Major-General N. P. Banks for his care and devotion to the soldiers, was
~aced in charge of the Hospital Steamer “Natchez” with the sick and wounded
for New Orleans, and shortly after, was stricken with malarial fever and died
(June, 1864), aged s8 years.
Mrs. Eliza (Bradley) Keely, his wife, was the daughter of Enoch and Abigail
(Hildreth) Bradley. Enoch was a drum-major in the war of 1812, and after the
war returned to his farm in Haverhill, Mass.; later, as his nine children
became of age, he built cottage homes for each on different sections of his
large estate,-to provide against possible need. Enoch’s wife was a near
relative of the Hildreths who settled Marietta, Ohio; their descendants are
among the most estimable of the present residents of Marietta.
William Keely entered early in life upon duties of a public nature: at 16
years, was librarian of the Sarco Athenaeum (Public Library); at 17, teaching
a rural school; at 17, was graduated from the Saco (Me.) High School, and
entered Colby (Waterville) Col-lege. Later, the Civil’ War was claiming the
young patriots of the Country, and he enlisted as a private in the i3th Maine
Vol. Infantry, of which Gen. Neal Dow was the Colonel; and while in camp, at
Augusta (Me.) was Adjutant’s Clerk at Headquarters. His regiment was ordered
to Ship Island, Miss., where he performed his share of guard duty and of
loading and unloading, and coaling U. S. Transports, preparatory to the
capture of New Orleans. This regiment was sent to cut off the retreat of the
Confederates, and two companies were ordered to garrison Fort Macomb, La.
Later, Mr. Keely is commissioned a Lieutenant, and Acting Post Quartermaster
and Com-missary at this fort. Later, civil government being restored in
Louisiana, he and other officers are ordered to await assignment of duty in
the regular army. Not desiring to enter the regulars, he resigned and was
honorably discharged in October, 1864. Soon after arriving home he was
appointed principal of the Peaks Island School,-a part of Portland, Me.
Clos-ing his school work, he accepted position as bookkeeper, and, later, as
superintendent of the Cannelton (W. Va.) Branch of the Union Coal and Oil
Co., of Maysville, Ky. This company mined cannel and bituminous coal, made
oil from the cannel coal, shipped the crude oil in barrels and an oil boat to
Maysville to be refined, and, also, shipped cannel coal to Cincinnati and New
York for gas purposes. The pay rolls and expenses of the company were about
$30,000 per month. When, in 1865, Mr. Keely was appointed postmaster at
Cannelton, he and his two sureties had to go horseback fourteen miles on to
Cabin Creek to the nearest magistrate, Matthew P. Wyatt, Esq., to qualify.
Upon the discovery of Rock Oil, the cost of making oil from cannel coal
became prohibitive; and, in i868, Mr. Keely was instructed to close up the
business of the Canneltown Branch. In 1869 he moved to Fayette County, on to
the William Buster farm, where the town of Mount Carbon now is; later, he
rents the Hogue farm below Charleston, and in the winter months we find him
working fire and life insurance in Kanawha, Boone and Logan Counties,
representing the Coldwell & Moore Agency. At the same time, he is looking
about for some place on which to permanently locate. In the meanwhile, he is
business manager of the Ba~ tist Record at Charleston, and, later, is local
editor of the Kanawha Daily,-the FIRST Daily paper printed in Charleston, and
also reporting the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1873;
later, this Daily, with its good-will, was merged into the Daily Courier, of
which Hon. H. S. Walker was proprietor.
Mr. Keely now accepts a position as Secretary, Bookkeeper and General Manager
of the Anchor Stove Works Co., of which Colonel T. B. Swan was the
President,-succeeding Secretary Randolph, of the firm of Boggs & Randolph.
This stove company was composed of local capitalists, and made a brave fight
to com-pete with the larger and stronger stove companies on the Ohio River,
hut having assumed the debts of a former company, it was “quit or lose more
For a year or more Mr. Keely was accountant for Mr. Charles Ward and The
Charleston Gas Co., of which Mr. Ward was the efficient superintendent, but
stringency in money matters compelled curtailinent in office force.
>From 1874 to 1876, business was very dull in Charleston, and, for the first
time since coming to the Kanawha Valley, Mr. Keely retired for a livelihood
to his mountain home on the wooded hills of the south side of the Kanawha
River,-this site having been purchased in 1870. He supplemented his poultry
and dairy operations by devoting his spare time to copy-ing “Briefs,” and by
occasional bookkeeping.
In August, 1876, through the kindness of friends, and unbeknown to Mr. Keely,
he was recommended to Dr. J. P. Hale, President of the Snow Hill Salt Co.,
who was planning to start the old Snow Hill Salt Furnace, the larg-est in the
Kanawha Valley; Dr. Hale wrote for an interview. Mr. Keely had never met Dr.
Hale, but, following the first interview, he ac-cepted the position of
storekeeper, bookkeeper and general manager. He was able to handle the work
in the store for a while with the young men who were assisting, but other
duties demanded more of his time, and he secured the services of Mr. B. F.
Mays of Charleston, who proved faithful and trustworthy in every respect.
Mr. Keely made a thorough study of the process of salt making, and
demonstrated that the business could be made a success. The furnaces were
running every hour of the six week (lays and Sunday, and he ascertained, by
experiments, that he could make as much Salt without running on Sunday, and
so give the men who were “Kettleteoders” a needed rest and the furnace was
run for three years on this plan :until 1882, when all the furnaces of the
Kanawha and Ohio rivers were closed out and shut out by the cheaper grades of
salt from Michigan and New York States, which monopolized the markets, the
Dickinson Furnace, only, running on the Kanawha, by holding the Kentucky
trade over the Chesapeake & Ohio RR.; and one or two furnaces on the Ohio
having their own market.
During his stay at Snow Hill, Mr. Keely was road commissioner, Sunday school
superintendent and school trustee; he also opened a reading room for the men,
which was well patronized and much appreciated: he had, also, Mrs. Keely as
his valued assistant in keeping up the bookkeeping and office work.
In 1882, Mr. Keely, having closed up the business of the Snow Hill Salt Co.,
moved to his mountain home; and, again, accepted position with Mr. Charles
Ward, whose business as inventor and manufacturer of the Ward Water-tube
Marine Boiler was becoming firmly established; and Mr. Keely, as accountant
and. later, as secretary of The Charles Ward Engineering Works has continued
with this firm for a period of thirty years. During this time, he has, also,
through the courtesy of this firm, been able to accept the position of
president of the Board of Education of Loudon Magisterial District, for four
years, and, later, for seven years, he has been the secretary of the same
He has been active in religious work since his conversion at fifteen years;
was superintendent of the Union Sunday School when at Cannelton, and after
taking his letter to the Charleston Baptist Church in 1870, he was clerk and,
later superintendent for ten years, of the Sunday School of this Church, also
a Deacon of the Church since 1876; also, clerk of the Kana-‘vha Valley
Baptist Association for thirty-two years, and West Virginia Transportation
Leader for the Conventions of the International Baptist Young Peoples’ Union
of America since 1895.
He is awake to all matters of public interest, -especially of good schools,
of good roads and of good farming. For a number of years he has been County
Correspondent of and Re-porter for the U. S. Department of Agriculture at
Washington, under a commission from the secretary of agriculture. At all the
general elections he is either a clerk or an election commissioner, and has
been a notary public for tvelve years. He is a Prohibitionist in principle
and practice, and a Republican in politics: -an upright, active, useful and
appreciated citizen.
In 1865, he married Miss Lucy Stacy of Saco; Me., whose ancestry, as well as
that of Mr. Keely, is traced back to the seventeenth century. Their six
children, all now in active callings, are Elizabeth and Madeline, teachers in
the City Schools; Josiah, for ten years principal of the State Preparatory
Schools at Montgomery, now superintendent of the Ownings Mine of the
Consolidated Coal Co., near Shinnston; John, a former bookbinder, now a
settled pastor in Massachusetts; Urania and Abby, teacher and accountants.

GEORGE KEELY, when quite a youth, was sent for a prolonged visit to an uncle
in Haverhill, who had a private school at his residence; and George combined
farming with a course of study. Returning to Saco, he continued his school
work,-his summer vacations being given to farming and harvesting for the
parishioners of the Rev. Keely; later, he was a student at Colby Institute
(Waterville, Me.). He was graduated from the Saco High School and entered
Colby (Waterville) College in 1859.
During his high school course he gave part time to medical study, while
employed as apothecary clerk; he taught school the winter of 1859 at
Charleston, Me., about 20 miles from Augusta, the capital of the State. The
neighborhood was primitive, and the 26 scholars had 24 different kinds of
readers,-requiring 24 recitations each day; his salary was meagre, and he
“boarded round.” Failing health in college compelled Mr. Keely to seek more
active employment; and going to the Aroostook country in the Northern part of
Maine, he engaged as clerk in a village store. Later, the Civil War being
already in progress and many of his student friends having enlisted, he
returned to Saco in the fall of 1861, and enlisted as a private with his
brother William in Co. K, 13th Maine Volunteer Infantry. In 1863, the
hospital steward of the regiment was made a surgeon, and Mr. Keely was
recommended for the position, and was hospital steward during the remainder
of his term of service in the Red River campaign and after the regiinent was
transferred to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He was honorably discharged
January 6, 1865,-having served more than his three years’ term.
Mr. Keely again took up his studies, entering the New Hampton (Vt.)
Theological Institute, and, later, completing at Hamilton Serninary; he
preached during the time to the small adjacent village churches in New York
State. Completing his studies he returned to the Aroostook country, and
engaged in colporteur and pastoral work at Linneus, Linden and Smyrna, Me.,
and remained in the county preaching and farming until March, 1876.
In 1868 he married Louisa J. Adams, an efficient and prominent school teacher
and teacher of music in Aroostook County. Her sister, Miss Marada Adams of
Portland, Me., has been principal for years of the Emerson Grammar Schools of
that city, and is a woman of remarkable tact and ability as superintendent
and instructor.
The experience of Mr. Keely and wife among the people as they went from place
to place revealed a primitive condition of things in some of the homes,-both
in want of culture and the the proper conception of pastoral support; so that
the pastor was often found without money or material to keep the wolf from
the door in the long severe winters in the Aroostook. Wonderful dreams began
to trouble the wife, and she had a vision of mysterious meaning, in which she
saw the words of Scripture recorded in the Revelation, “Come out from among
them, and BE YE SEPARATE,”-which decided their action in leaving the Baptist
faith, and they sought for new light.
An uncle learning of their extreme financial straits and of their
environments, and who had taken a deep interest in the two “boys” (George and
William) since the death of the father in the army, proffered help; George
also wrote his brother William about his decision religi-ously; later, the
brother taking up the matter and the situation with the uncle, it was decided
that Mr. Keely and his family should move to West Virginia. They arrived in
March, 1876, remaining on the farm of his brother William during the
management of the Snow Hill Salt Furnace, when he occupied his adjoining
property of 34 acres, which had been purchased,-on which the family of eight
living children have since resided. In their religious searching for new
light they were led to choose the faith of the Society of Friends. The
children were all matriculated at the Friend’s School at Westtown, Pa.,
except Frank, deceased, who was graduated from the Charleston High School,
and was fitting himself for forestry. George, the eldest, married, and is
with a Leather Belt manufacturer at Wilmington, Del.; Louisa and Jennie are’
at home; Mary, married, and has a nice home at Patten, Me.; Faith, a teacher;
Mercy and Truth are efficient graduate trained nurses; Thomas, married, and
is a truck-gardener; the wife and mother still teaches at the home, and many
of the neighbors’ children and grandchildren are pleased to say that they
went to school to “Aunt Louisa.”
As the years have gone by, either the father or the mother have alternated in
attending the Yearly Meeting of Friends at Philadelphia. The influence from
this good family is widely felt and appreciated.