Category Archives: Mineral

Joseph W. Stayman

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
“John “Bill” Wheeler”
December 6, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historic Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume ll.,
pg. 111-112

Joseph W. Stayman. The president of the Potomac State School at Keyser is
Joseph W. Stayman, who for more than a quarter of a century has been actively
associated with the educational interests in West Virginia. The first year he
was in the state he taught a country school, but for the greater part of the
twenty years his work has been at Keyser, either in the city schools or what is
now the State College.
Mr. Stayman was born at Carlise, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. His
parents were Joseph B. and Mary A. (Shelley) Stayman, the latter a daughter od
Daniel Shelley. Joseph B. Stayman was born in Cumberland County on a farm,
secured a college education in Dickinson College, and began his business career
as a forwarder, with headquarters at Mechanicsburg. He was in that business
until late in life, then retiring, and he lived for some years at Carlisle where
he died in 1898. During the Civil War he was a Union Soldier as a private in a
company commanded by his father. This company saw its chief duty within the
state, but had some more serious service during the Confederate invasion which
terminated in the battle of Gettysburg. The widow of Joseph B. Stayman died in
July, 1914. They reared four children: Daniel, of New York City; William, of
Pottsville, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Garrett Stevens, of Cleveland, Ohio; and Joseph
Joseph W. Stayman lived until he was sixteen with his maternal grandparents
near Harrisburg. he was among country people of Pennsylvania Dutch stock and
had some excellent intellectual influences. His grandfather, Daniel Shelley,
was a well know educator and was the first county superintendent of Cumberland
County schools and established the Normal School at Newville, an institution
since moved to Shippenburg. After teaching for a number of years, Daniel
Shelley entered the service of the Cumberland Valley Railroad Company, and was
in that work until he finally retired. Joseph W. Stayman attended school at
Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania, where his grandparents lived, graduated in 1890
from the Dickinson Preparatory School at Carlisle, and in the same fall entered
upon his regular collegiate work in Dickinson College, where he received his
Bachelor’s degree in 1894. Dickinson College gave him the Master od Arts degree
in 1897, and during his individual career as an educator he has taken
post-graduate work in the University of Chicago, in Columbia University of New
York, and has recently completed the work leading up to the Doctor’s degree in
Pitt University in Pittsburgh.
In 1896, soon after leaving college, a matter of business brought him to
West Virginia, and while here he accepted a proposition to teach a county
school at the mouth of Geeenland Gap in Grant County. He taught there one term,
the following year he was principal of the three room school at Moorefield, and
in 1899 came to Keyser to teach the ninth grade in the local schools. After a
year he was called to Terra Alta as principal of the town schools, where he
remained three years. Since then his work has been in Keyser, where for nine
years he was superintendent of the city schools, and resigned that office to
become principal of what was then known as the Keyser Preparatory Branch of the
West Virginia University. By act of the Legislature in 1921 the name of the
institution was changed to the Potomac State School, with Mr. Stayman as its
first president.
He has completed ten years of work as head of this institution. From a
secondary school designed as a feeder to the State University, it is now rapidly
building up to the status of a Junior college. The school suffered a great
handicap in 1917 by the loss of its building by fire. Since then a second year
of college work has been added to the curriculum, and graduates from the school
are entitled to enter the junior college class of any standard college or
university in the United States. The teaching force has been improved both in
number and in qualifications, and in the way of equipment Mr. Stayman has
witnessed the building of two dormitories, the acquisition of a farm where
vocational education is taught and the institution of vocational departments,
home economics and commerce.
During his many years of residence at Keyser Mr. Stayman has acquired some
substantial business interests, and his enthusiasm is especially directed in
the line of fruit growing. he first acquired an interest in the alkire orchard,
and in association with four others purchased that property, now known as the
Potomac State Orchard, one of the large orchards in this section of the state.
There are 15,000 apple trees of bearing age in condition, and under the new
management of the property has been greatly improved. Mr. Stayman is also a
director of and had a part in the organization of the Potomac farm and Orchard
Association, doing a general fruit packing and sales business at Keyser. Plans
are now being formulated for the construction of a by-product plant for using
the lower grade fruit and converting it into food products.
Mr. Stayman took the initiative and was made chairman of the organizing
committee of the Keyser Rotary Club in 1921. In Masonry he served three years
as Master of Davis Lodge No. 51, A.F.& A.M., was for twelve years secretary of
Keyser Chapter, R.A.M.., has been captain general of Damascus Commandery,
Knight Templar, and is a member of Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine in
Wheeling. He is a republican, and is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, serving fifteen years on its board of stewards.
At Keyser, November 19, 1941, he married Miss Margaret Liller, daughter of
William A. and Martha (Kalbaugh) Liller. Her father was a contractor and
builder who spent most of his life in the eastern part of the state. Mrs.
Stayman was born at Keyser, is a graduate of the local public schools and the
Keyser Preparatory School’s music department and completed her musical education
in National Park Seminary at Washington. She has been a teacher of music in
Keyser and is active in music circles. The only son of Doctor and Mrs. Stayman
is Joseph Webster Jr., born in 1915 and one daughter, Martha Shelley, born in