Category Archives: Mercer

Thomas S. Hamilton

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
PJSTON@aol.com
December 15, 1999
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II

pg 196

Rev. Thomas S. Hamilton, the able and honored pastor of the Bland Street
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in the City of Bluefield, Mercer County,
was born at Abingdon, Washington county, Virginia, October 17, 1867, and is a
scion of one of the old and influential families of that section of the Old
Dominion state. He is a son of John B. and Anna (Bradley) Hamilton, his
father having been born and reared in Washington County and having there been
engaged in mercantile business at Abingdon for many years. As a lad of
fifteen years, John B. Hamilton ran away from home and followed an infantry
that went forth in defense of the Confederate cause in the Civil war. The
youthful soldier lived up to the full tension of the great conflict,
participated in many engagements, including a number of important battles,
and the bullet which wounded him in one of his hands remained imbedded in the
flesh of the hand until his death in 1905, at the age of fifty-nine years.
His widow attained to the age of seventy-three years and passed to the life
eternal in 1919, both having been devout members of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South, in which Mr. Hamilton served many years as a steward. John B.
Hamilton was a man of fine mentality and sterling character, was a stalwart
supporter of the principles of the democratic party and was affiliated with
the United Confederate Veterans.

Rev. Thomas S. Hamilton, eldest in a family of five children, received his
preliminary education in the public schools of his native place, thereafter
continued his studies in Emory and Henry College, Virginia, and later took a
law course in historic old University of Virginia. He was admitted to the
bar at Abingdon, judicial center of his native county, and there he continued
in the successful practice of his profession for a period of twelve years.
Mr. Hamilton likewise studied medicine, and thus further broadened his
intellectual ken and practical knowledge-a fortification that has been of
much value to him in the high calling in which he is now serving. Moved by a
fine spirit of Christian stewardship, he finally decided to consecrate his
life to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which he
had become an earnest member in his youth. He was ordained a clergyman of
the church in 1902, as a member of the Holston Conference in Virginia, and
his first pastoral service was on the Oldtown Circuit of that conference. He
was thus engaged one year, and during the ensuing three years was in similar
service on the Cedar Spring Circuit. He then became pastor of the church at
Wise, Virginia, where he continued his labors two years. For the ensuing
four years he was pastor of Grace Church at Bluefield, West Virginia, and the
next four years found him pastor of Trinity Church in the City of
Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1916 he came again to Bluefield, where he has
since served continuously as pastor of the Bland Street Methodist Church. In
evidence of the high esteem in which he is held in the community and also of
the estimate placed upon him as a citizen and a clergyman, it is interesting
to record that the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, every leading civic
organization in the city and all of the other churches of Bluefield recently
sent representatives to the annual conference of the Methodist Church with
insistent requests that Mr. Hamilton be returned to his present pastorate, to
which he was duly reassigned. He is a forceful and eloquent pulpit orator
and an able church executive, so that unequivocal success has attended his
work in his various pastoral charges. His fine intellectual and professional
attainments have heightened his influence in connection with civic affairs.
He was one of the leaders in the movement which caused Mercer County to “go
over the top” in the various lines of patriotic contribution during the
nation’s participation in the World war, he having been one of the most zealou
s of the four-minute speakers engaged in furthering such war service in the
county and having served on many committees in charge of local campaigns in
support of the Government loan, Red Cross work, etc. Mr. Hamilton was
chairman of the local committee which perfected arrangements for the
evangelistic campaign of Rev. “Billy” Sunday in Bluefield. He is a leader in
community sentiment and action , is a valued member of the Chamber of
Commerce, and of the Rotary Club, in which he holds the office of president
of the local club.

On the 26th of February, 1895, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hamilton
and Miss Aldens Clark, daughter of Isaac Lewis Clark, a representative
citizen of Abingdon, Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton have three sons and six
daughters. One of the sons, Stokes Hamilton, served with loyalty and
efficiency as a soldier in the United States army at the time of the World
war, and received commission as first lieutenant.

Roy T. Wright

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
PJSTON@aol.com
December 5, 1999
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg 94 +95

Roy T. Wright, general manager of the Pawama and Algonquin mines, vice
president of the Bank of Matoaka and president of the Wright Drug Company,
came into this district in 1902 as a member of the First Engineering Corps
for the Pocahontas Coal & Coke Company, and his initiative and ability have
since advanced him to a leading place in the affairs of this part of Mercer
County.

He was born near Princeton, that county, July 24, 1882, son of E. C. and Mary
S. (Ellis) Wright, the former a native of Wythe County, Virginia, and the
latter of Monroe County, West Virginia. E. C. Wright came to Mercer County
in 1866 with his father, Thomas Wright, who settled on a farm near Princeton
and spent the rest of his life as a farmer and cattle raiser. Thomas Wright
was a veteran of the Confederate army. He was killed by accident while
working in the timber at the age of eighty-four. E. C. Wright followed
farming for many years, but since 1907 has been a resident of Matoaka and is
in business as a funeral director. He is a Methodist, much interested in
Sunday School work, is affiliated with the Masons, Knights of Pythias,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Moose and other societies and is a
democrat. His family consists of two sons and three daughters, the other son
L. A. Wright being in charge of the Wright Drug Company.

Roy T. Wright acquired his early education at Princeton, finishing school at
the age of eighteen, after which he spent a year on the farm. His first
connection with the coal industry was in the service of the Sagamore Coal
Company on Crane Creek, following which he went with the Pocahontas Coal and
Coke Company, and since his first work at Matoaka he has enjoyed increasing
responsibilities, serving as superintendent, manager and engineer, and has
been connected with the Winonah, Hiawatha, and Smokeless companies the
Springton Colliery Company, and since 1918 has been in active charge of the
coal properties above mentioned and has other interests in the coal industry
as well. Besides the Bank of Matoaka and the Wright Drug Company he is
manager of the Matoaka Electric & Power Company, is president of the Mercer
Hardware & Furniture Company, president of the Matoaka Insurance Agency.

Mr. Wright in 1900 married Miss Mary Harriet McClaugherty, who was born at
Princeton, daughter of James McClaugherty. They have three children:
Bernice, a student in the Martha Washington College at Abingdon; Harry and
Agnes, both in high school. The family are Methodists, and Mr. Wright is
affiliated with the Elks and Knights of Pythias, is a Scottish Rite Mason and
a member of the Mercer County Country Club.

White

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
“John “Bill” Wheeler”
wheeler@gru.net
December 7, 1999
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume ll.
pg. 113

The White family was of English origin, coming to America in the early days
of the Colonies and settling on the James River in Virginia, William White, who
married a Miss Workman was the progenitor of the family in Tazewell County,
Virginia, and Mercer County, West Virginia. He came to this region from Campbell
County, Virginia. Benjamine White, his son, was sheriff of the County of Mercer
and represented this County in the general assembly of Virginia before the
states were separated and was prominent in the business and political affairs of
the county for more than half a century. He married Elizabeth Pearis and
enjoyed a long and happy married life, having been married sixty-one years
before the death of his wife at the age of eighty-six and his wife at the age of
eighty-three. He was a man of very strong mind and sterling character. To them
were born the following children: George W., who married Alice Bailey; John H.
who married Julia Cunningham; Charles, who was never married; Sarah Louisa, who
married Andrew J. Hearn; Elizabeth Pearis, who married Richard C. Christie; and
three daughters, Bell, Mary and Minnie, who died at the ages of fifteen,
sixteen, and seventeen, all within two weeks from diphtheria.

William H. Thomas

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
PJSTON@aol.com
December 14, 1999
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II

pg 190

William H. Thomas. While there is probably no city in the state of the size
that has a larger number of men with distinctive and important achievements
to their credit in the domain of commerce and industry than Bluefield, there
is manifest a disposition to recognize and confer by consensus of opinion if
not formally a degree of special leadership upon Mr. William Henry Thomas,
whose name in that community really suggests all the best elements of power
and influence involved in constructive citizenship and commercial enterprise.

Mr. Thomas represents an old family of Roanoke County, Virginia, and he was
reared and educated and had his early commercial training there. Though his
home has been in Bluefield for a number of years, he still feels in touch
with the vicinity where he was born and reared. His birth occurred November
13, 1865, at what was then known as Big Lick, now Roanoke City. He is a son
of Charles M. and Jane (Crawford) Thomas, natives of Roanoke County.

Giles Thomas, Sr., came to this country from England about 1745, settling
near Havre de Grace, Maryland. His son, Giles Thomas, Jr., who was born in
1763 and died in 1842, moved to Virginia in 1796, settling in the county of
Botetourt, now Roanoke. He was only twelve years of age when the
Revolutionary war broke out, and in his sixteenth year he joined the Maryland
Regiment and served until the close. He was under General Thomas in the
great campaign of the Carolinas, and witnessed the surrender of Lord
Cornwallis at Yorktown. For these services as a soldier he received a land
grant, which was located west of Cumberland in Washington County, Maryland.

On June 4, 1786, Giles Thomas, Jr., married Ann Wheeler. He was a cousin of
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, a venerable signer of the
Declaration of Independence. They were married at Carrollton.

Charles M. Thomas, a son of Giles Thomas, Jr., was born July 15, 1790, and
died May 30, 1869. He was about six years of age when the family settled in
Botetourt County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Barnett, who was born April
1 1792, and died in November, 1875. They were the parents of Charles
Marigold Thomas.

Charles M. Thomas was born in 1825 and died in 1866. He was a farmer in
Roanoke County and in 1861 moved his family to Big Lick. During the war
between the states he was with a Virginia regiment, and on account of
physical disability was chiefly employed in the Quartermaster’s Department
and the Home Guard. Charles M. Thomas was one of ten brothers who were in
the Confederate army, and this approaches if it does not establish a record
for participation of one family that or any other war of the nation. In 1852
he married Jane Crawford, who was born July 24, 1831, and died in 1914. She
was a descendant of James Crawford, Sr., who was of Scotch-Irish birth and
came from Northern Ireland in 1770. His wife was a Miss Wallace a descendant
of Sir John Wallace of Scotland. Hames Crawford, Jr., their son, was five
years of age when the family came to this country. He married Eliza Poague,
whose family came in 1765 from Scotland and settled in Augusta County,
Virginia. This James Crawford, Jr., by his wife, Eliza was the father of
James Crawford, father of Jane Crawford Thomas. The mother of Jane Crawford
was Jane Deyerle.

William H. Thomas, who therefore descends from very substantial American
stock on both sides, never had any better school advantages than those
supplied by the common schools of Roanoke County, and at the age of seventeen
he was earning his living as clerk in a retail general store at Big Lick, and
the year represented a valuable training to him. He then went on the road as
a traveling salesman, and for eight years sold groceries and general
merchandise throughout the South and Coast states. In 1889, at the age of
twenty-four, Mr. Thomas became associated with three other men, one of whom
was his brother-in-law, B. P. Huff, in the firm of Huff, Andrews & Thomas,
wholesale grocers. The personnel of this firm has remained the same for over
thirty years, though their greatly extended business is conducted under a
number of corporate names. The partnership has been maintained as a firm at
Roanoke, where they had their first headquarters as wholesale grocers. Mr.
Thomas was the man who acquired the business for this early firm as traveling
salesman, and for several years he covered the states of Virginia and West
Virginia. The first important step in expanding the business came in 1895,
when a branch was located at Bluefield, and this is now the main house of
Huff, Andrews & Thomas Company. The business at Bluefield has from the first
been conducted as a corporation, with Mr. Thomas as president and general
manager. In the meantime the partners in 1892 had organized a wholesale dry
goods and notion business under the title F. B. Thomas & Company, the active
head of which was F. B. Thomas, a brother of William H. and one of the origina
l partners in the Huff, Andrews & Thomas Company. F. B. Thomas & Company is
still doing business.

There are now seven wholesale grocery houses representing the expanded
interests of the original concern at Roanoke, and Mr. Thomas of Bluefield is
connected with all of them as a director. The six houses outside of
Bluefield are: Thomas-Andrews Company at Norton, the Bristol Grocery Company
at Bristol, Abingdon Grocery Company at Abingdon, National Grocery Company at
Roanoke, these all being in old Virginia; and Williamson Grocery Company at
Williamson, and Mullins Grocery Company at Mullins, West Virginia.

Mr. Thomas has organized and has participated in the management of a large
number of successful business undertakings, including the Roanoke Candy
Company, of which he is a director, the Bristol Candy Company at Bristol,
Virginia, the Bluefield Ice and Cold Storage Company, which he with others
organized in 1904 and of which he is president; the Citizens Underwriters
Insurance Agency; the Flat Top National Bank of Bluefield, which he and
others organized in 1903 and of which he is vice president; the Bluefield Gas
& Power Company, of which he is a director; the Southern Investment and Real
Estate Company of Roanoke, of which he is a director; the Bailey Lumber
Company of Bluefield probably the largest lumber company in the state; the
Montvale and Company and the Big Clear Creek Coal Company in Greenbrier
County.

When his associates speak of his civic record they usually begin and end with
unqualified praise of what Mr. Thomas did as member and for many years
president of the School Board of Bluefield City. He first went on the board
as a member in 1902, and altogether served twelve years, most of the time as
president of the board. While he was president practically all of the modern
school buildings in the city now in use were erected, both for the white and
colored people. Mr. Thomas has some sound ideas on education, but his
particular service was due to his great faculty of getting things done,
whether it comes to the promotion of a strictly business enterprise or the
financing and construction of a group of school buildings.

On November 17, 1891, Mr. Thomas married at Elizabethon, Tennessee, Miss
Minnie Folsom, daughter of Maj. H. M. and Elizabeth (Berry) Folsom. Major
Folsom, who was a relative of Francis (Folsom) Cleveland, widow of President
Cleveland, was one of the able lawyers of Tennessee and had a distinguished
war record, going into the Confederate army at the age of seventeen and being
promoted to major before he was twenty. He died in 1909. Mrs. Thomas is a
member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and for many years has
been president of Bluefield Chapter of the United Daughters of the
Confederacy. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have three children: Paul C., who was born
in Tennessee in 1892 and finished his education in Washington and Lee
University, Florence F. and Grace Elizabeth.

Mr. Thomas is of Scotch Irish ancestry, and his people were among the early
settlers of the Valley of Virginia and also identified with the pioneering of
Roanoke County. Some of his ancestors were soldiers in the Revolution and
one of them was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Thomas assisted in organizing the Bluefield Country Club and is one of
its Board of Governors. His favorite sport is hunting and fishing, and he
particularly enjoys the pursuit of big game in the Maine woods. He is a
democrat in politics, is affiliated with the Royal Arch, Knight Templar, and
Scottish Rite Masons and Mystic Shrine, the Knights of Pythias, the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Lions, and he and Mrs. Thomas are
members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Thomas in 1904 was a delegate from
West Virginia to the World’s Sunday School Convention at Jerusalem, and
during that trip abroad he made an extensive tour all through the Holy Land,
Egypt and other Mediterranean countries.

William B. Honaker

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

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

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

739

HONAKER WILLIAM B. (Republican.) One of
the delegates from the county of Mercer; lives at Matoaka.
Born February 11 1870; educated in common, private and
summer normal schools; engaged in teaching in Raleigh
and Mercer counties from 1888 to 1899; was County Super-
intendent of Schools of Mercer county from 1895 to 1899;
moved to McDowell county in 1902 and engaged in the
coal business there until 1908 when he returned to Mercer;

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

William Putnam Hawley

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

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

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

pg. 725

HAWLEY, WILLIAM PUTNAM. (Republican.) Ad-
dress: Bluefield, West Va. Born July 22, 1868, in Raleigh
county; educated in the common schools and at the State
Normal School at Athens; occupation, merchant, banker,
manager of a telephone company, and farmer; served as
Superintendent of Schools and Sheriff of Mercer county;
also, as Chief of Police of Bluefield, and member of City
Council for ten years; member of House of Delegates in
1909-11-13; elected to the Senate from the Seventh Dis-
trict in 1914; assigned to committees as follows in 1917:
Finance (Chairman); Banks and Corporations, Penitentiary,
Medicine and Sanitation, Claims and Grievances, Public
Printing, Public Library, Virginia Debt.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

William J. Cole

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
cmac4330@chesapeake.net
December 14, 1999
******************************************************************

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 156

WILLIAM J. COLE has standardized, systematized and put on a commercial basis one
of the oldest arts known to mankind, that of baking bread, and in the Bluefield
Bakery, of which he is proprietor, has one of the largest plants of its kind in
West Virginia, capable of producing the staff of life for many thousands of
people every day.

Mr. Cole was born at Marion in Smith County, Virginia, November 12, 1883, son of
L. C. and Elizabeth (Wolf) Cole. The Coles have been in Virginia for a number of
generations. His grandfather, William Cole, was a Confederate soldier in the
Civil war.

William J. Cole acquired a common school education at Marion and Graham in his
native state, and at the age of seventeen began learning the baker’s trade with
the Virginia Confectionery Company at Graham. He remained there two years, and
then entered the mercantile business for himself. He conducted this business
successfully for about nine years, finally selling out in 1911.

In Was in 1912 that Mr. Cole bought the Bluefield Bakery, and since then has
given his entire time and attention to developing the plant and business. He
has installed automatic machinery throughout, and the plant now has a capacity
of producing 3,000 loaves of bread per hour or 48,000 in a full day’s run. The
Bluefield Bakery was originally started in 1900 by M. Stean, who was succeeded
by Captain Barger and from him Mr. Cole bought the business.

Mr. Cole married in 1905, at Graham, Virginia, Miss Mary Holbrook, daughter of
John and Marie Holbrook natives of Virginia. Her father was one of the leading
merchants and citizens of Graham. Mr. and Mrs. Cole had six children, William
Paul, Elizabeth, Holbrook, Carlyle, Kenneth and William J., Jr. William J., Jr.,
died in 1920. Mr. Cole and family are members of the Lutheran Church. He is a
Knight Templar and Royal Arch Mason Shriner, a member of the United Commercial
Travelers the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and the Bluefield Country Club.
He has been in business and earning his own way since he was seventeen, and all
his prosperity has been gained by hard work and close adherence to the
fundamental principles of sound business.

A. F. Wysong

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

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

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

752

WYSONG, A. F. (Republican.) Address: Princeton,
West Va. One of the members of the Legislature from
Mercer county. Born January 13, 1881, at Newport,
Virginia; educated in the public schools of Giles county,
Virginia, and in the schools of Dayton, Ohio; received his
professional education-that of an architect-at Dayton;
is engaged in general architectural work at Princeton;
elected as a member of the House of Delegates in 1916;
he received the following committee assignments during
the sessions of 1917: Taxation and Finance, Medicine and
Sanitation, Game and Fish.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Charles M. Scott

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
cmac4330@chesapeake.net
December 14, 1999
******************************************************************

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 155

CHARLES M. SCOTT, M. D., began practice at Bluefield twenty years ago. During
the last ten years his time and skill have been predominently devoted to
surgery. His rank as a surgeon is among the best in the entire state.

Doctor Scott was born at Graham, Tazewell County, Virginia, October 3, 1878,
son of James and Nannie (Hale) Scott, being their only child. His parents were
natives of .Virginia and his father was a farmer. The grandfather, Matthew Scott,
was a jeweler and gunsmith, and repaired guns for the Confederate army during
the Civil war.

Charles M. Scott acquired a common school education, attended Princeton Academy,
the University of West Virginia at Morgantown and Richmond College at Richmond,
Virginia. In 1897 he entered the University College of Medicine at Richmond,
from which he graduated M. D. in 1901. The following year he began practice at
Bluefield, where he is handling a general practice, but every year he did
special work in surgery and other post graduate courses in the New York
Polyclinic, and in 1910 began specializing in surgery, which now comprises
eighty per cent of his professional work. In the line of his profession Doctor
Scott gave Bluefield a modern institution in St. Luke’s Hospital, which he built
and established in 1905, with accommodations for fifty patients and with every
type of modern hospital equipment. Doctor Scott is a busy professional man, has
reached a position of ripe achievement, is kindly and generous and one of
Bluefield’s most useful citizens. He is a member of the County, State and
American Medical associations and is a Fellow of the American College of
Surgeons. Doctor Scott is a Baptist, a member of the Chamber of Commerce,
Rotary Club and Blueficld Country Club, and is an Elk.

November 10, 1912, at Catlettsburg, Kentucky, he married Miss Hazel Morton,
daughter of Dr. W. W. and Edith (Hill) Morton. They have two children, Helen and
Charles Scott.

David H. Thornton

MERCER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
cmac4330@chesapeake.net
December 18, 1999
******************************************************************

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 158

DAVID H. THORNTON, M. D. Engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery in
Mercer County for nearly thirty years, and for twenty years of that time a
specialist in eye, ear, nose and throat diseases, Doctor Thornton has in
addition to his character as a high minded and proficient doctor exerted a
helpful influence in community affairs and particularly in behalf of the
simplicity of original Christianity and the application of the Bible to the
common life and affairs of mankind.

Doctor Thornton was born in Mercer County, June 30, 1865, is of English and
Irish descent and of Virginia stock, both his parents, William M. and Eliza J.
(Hatcher) Thornton, being natives of Virginia. His father was a farmer, served
as a soldier in the Civil war with a Virginia regiment under Colonel French, and
was all through the fighting to the end. In the battle of Clark, near Princeton,
he was wounded in the arm, but recovered and rejoined his command. After the war
he returned to his farm, and lived there, manifesting a commendable interest in
public affairs, and was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church, but before his
death became attracted to the study of the Bible with his son, Doctor Thornton.

David H. Thornton acquired a common school education, attended the State Normal
at Athens, and, leaving there, went to Janesville, Wisconsin, to the Valentine
School of Telegraphy. After mastering the technique of the telegraph key he
entered the service of the Norfolk & Western Railway as clerk of the Clinch
Valley Division while it was under construction. Doctor Thornton was a railroad
man for three years, and following that bought a store from his brother at
Elgood and was in the general mercantile business two years. He sold out and
used his capital to prepare himself for the profession of medicine. In 1893 he
graduated M. D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, and
began practice at Athens where he remained twenty years, and since then has had
his home and professional headquarters at Princeton. Doctor Thornton began
specializing in 1902 in the eye, ear, nose and throat, taking in that year a
post-graduate course at the Chicago Post-Graduate School and also a private
course on the ear under Albert Andrews and on the eye under R S. Pattillo. In
1912 he did other work along his special lines in the New York Post Graduate
School and Hospital; and for a number of years his practice has been limited to
his specialties.

In 1889, at Graham, Virginia, Doctor Thornton married Mary Jennings, daughter
of William H. and Isabel (Shanklin) Jennings, natives of West Virginia. Doctor
and Mrs. Thornton had six children: Chauncey Bryan, Eunice Janetta, Mabel Clara,
Paul Benson, Joseph Harry and David Jennings. Two of them are now deceased,
Eunice and Joseph H. The daughter Mabel is the wife of C. J. Moore, an employe
in the general office of the Norfolk & West Virginia Railway. The son Chauncey,
who is an electrician with the Appalachian Power Company at Bluefield, married
Hattie Meadow, daughter of Attorney J. H. Meadow. His son David is an
electrician in the navy on the battleship destroyer Davis No. 65.

Doctor Thornton many years ago was attracted to the independent religious
movement of Pastor Russell, and has been an enthusiastic member of the
International Bible Students Association and for several years has conducted a
class for the study of the Bible, which is outside of all denomination and free
from creeds, concentrating upon the essential teachings as presented by Christ
and his followers. Some years ago, before the World war, in prosecution of his
study of the Bible and his interest in Old World affairs, Doctor Thornton and
his brother J. T. of Bluefield made a long and interesting trip abroad through
Asia, Africa, the Holy Land, Germany, Italy and France.

Doctor Thornton is a member of the Business Men’s Club at Princeton, belongs to
the County and State Medical Society, is a Fellow of the American Medical
Association, and was formerly active in Masonry, being a Royal Arch and Knight
Templar Mason and Shriner. He served as master of his Lodge and as high priest
of his Chapter.