Category Archives: Monongalia

William Jefferson Snee

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
February 13, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II, pg. 127-128

William Jefferson Snee, a well known Morgantown attorney, also referee in
bankruptcy, is a native of Southwestern Pennsylvania but finished his law
course in West Virginia University and for the past twenty years has made an
enviable record in his profession.
He was born on a farm in Washington County, Pennsylvania, January
28,1873, son of Thomas Jefferson and Sarah Jane (Rue) Snee, the former also a
native of Washington County, while his mother was born in Fayette County,
Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather was Thomas Jefferson Snee, who was a
native of Pennsylvania, the family having been established in that state by
his father, Thomas Snee, who came from Ireland. The father of the Morgantown
lawyer was born in 1831 and died 1884, devoting his active career to farming,
and when his son, William J., was a boy he moved over the line from
Washington into Allegheny County. The mother was born October 12,1844, and is
still living. Her father, Alexander Rue, was a native of Pennsylvania.
William J. Snee grew up on a farm near Pittsburgh, acquired his early
education in the public schools and for several terms attended the Pittsburgh
Academy and also the Grove City College in Pennsylvania. He taught several
terms in Allegheny County and thus worked his way and paid his expenses while
a student of law. He graduated in law from the University of West Virginia in
1900, the same year he was admitted to the state bar and began his
professional work at Morgantown. Soon afterward he was appointed assistant
prosecuting attorney of Monongalia County, but resigned in about a year to
look after his rapidly growing clientage. he also served two terms as city
recorder of Morgantown and was elected to fill an unexpired term as sheriff
and treasurer of that county. November 18, 1918, he was appointed referee in
bankruptcy by Judge Dayton of the Federal Court.
Mr. Snee was president of the Monongalia County Bar Association in
1919-20. His learning and industry have earned him a specially honored
position in his profession. Fraternally he is a past grand of Monongalia
Lodge No. 10, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is a member of Morgantown
Union Lodge No. 4, A.F. and A.M., West Virginia Consistory of the Scottish
Rite and Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the Morgantown
Masonic Club, is a member of the kappa Alpha college fraternity, and the
Methodist Episcopal Church.
August 28, 1901, Mr. Snee married Miss Grace Martin, daughter of J. Ami
and Mary C. (Snyder) Martin. Her parents formerly lived in Preston County and
later in Morgantown.

James H. Stewart

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 8, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 288

HON. JAMES H. STEWART, State Commissioner of Agricul-
ture, and for many years director of the Agricultural Ex-
periment Station at Morgantown, exemplifies the most ad-
mirable qualification for his present duties. He is a man
of high character, represents the substantial social attain-
ments of a family of long residence in the state, and has
the advantage of thorough training and long and successful
practice in the fundamentals of agriculture and stock

Mr. Stewart was born on the Stewart plantation on the
Kanawha River in Putnam County June 20, 1859, son of
James and Martha Jane (Staton) Stewart. The Stewarts
are a prominent family of Scotch-Irish origin, for many
generations identified with old Virginia and later with
West Virginia. Martha Jane Staton was a daughter of
James Staton, member of the Staton family who first set-
tled on the Kanawha Eiver in Putnam County, about 1812.
The original Staton plantation subsequently came under
the proprietorship of James Stewart, who developed it
into one of the famous estates of the Kanawha Valley.
It remains in the family, being the birthplace of and
still owned by James H. Stewart. The home of James
Stewart in ante-bellum days was widely noted for its
atmosphere of culture and refinement and its genuine
hospitality. Many distinguished guests were entertained
there, and the intellectual and social standards thus created
have continued to this day. Martha Jane Staton was a
rarely gifted woman in all the arts of the household, skill-
ful in the making of fine woven fabrics and other furnish-
ings for her home, and some of the counterpanes, table
covers and kindred articles that she made with her hands
are still in the home, priceless heirlooms.

James H. Stewart attended country schools, the Shelton
College at St. Albans, graduated with the class of 1882
from the University of West Virginia, and also studied
law in the University, graduating in 1885. However, he
never practiced law, finding abundant occupation for his
time and talents on the home plantation in Putnam County.
In 1893 he was made one of the regents of the State Uni-
versity, and in the following year the University author-
ities literally took him away from the plow and placed
him in charge as director of the Agricultural Experiment
Station. He therefore removed his family to Morgantown,
and remained director of the station fourteen years. Fol-
lowing that, until 1916, he was agricultural agent of the
Baltimore & Ohio Railway system.

Mr. Stewart was first elected State Commissioner of Agri-
culture in 1916 and was reelected in 1920. In both elec-
tions he was on the republican ticket, and in the primaries
and in the general election he received the highest vote ever
accorded in West Virginia.

Under Mr. Stewart the Department of Agriculture has
become one of the most vitally important and valuable in
the state government. It comprises a number of bureaus
and sub-divisions, each under the direction of a specialist,
and in the aggregate it is performing work of genuine and
lasting benefit not only for every interest that can be
grouped under the general head of agriculture but for the
welfare of the state as a whole. Some of the effective
lines of its service includes the spreading of knowledge
among farmers and stock raisers as to the best means of
increasing crop yields, getting rid of blights and insect
pests, grading up cattle and livestock, and teaching effi-
ciency and business methods in farm management. Under
this department cattle are being tested out in West Vir-
ginia at a lower cost per animal corresponding with the
efficiency of results that any other state in the Union ex-
cept Iowa. The department has done a great work in
eradicating tuberculosis, and another source of valuable
service is the promotion and supervision of agricultural

Mr. Stewart is also a member of the Board of Public
Works in West Virginia, and a member of the Budget
Committee which makes up the appropriations for the state.
During the war with Germany the work of his department
was given over almost entirely to measures leading to the
winning of the war. Mr. Stewart was a member of the
State Council of Defense, and accepted as his special
province all questions relating to increased food production
and conservation of food supplies.

While his official residence is in Charleston, Mr. Stewart
retains his home at Morgantown, and he also keeps, in
close touch with the management of his old home estate on
the Kanawha. This comprises several hundred acres of
fine agricultural and horticultural lands, and its several
units combine to make it one of the model farms and
orchards of West Virginia. An important feature of this
estate is the famous James H. Stewart apple orchard, one
of the largest and most successful orchards in West Vir-

Mr. Stewart married Miss Minnie Louise Vance, and they
have one son, James Vance Stewart.

James Scott Stewart

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
January 10, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 77 & 78

James Scott Stewart. One of the veteran figures in West Virginia educational
affairs, and familiar as an istructor and in other official capacities to the
student body of the university at Morgantown for more than forty years, James
Scott Stewart has made an enviable record of service and is one of the greatly
admired citizens of Morgantown.

He was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, January 5, 1854. Both his grandfathers
were natives of Scotland. His paternal grandfather, Alexander Stewart, a son
of James Stewart, left Scotland early in life and, going to London, England,
became what is known as flour factor or a wholesale dealer in flour. Prior to
1820 he left England and came to the United States, and somewhat later settled
at Steubenville, Ohio, where he lived out his life. He had a considerable
fortune, and one of his investments was a good farm in Jefferson County about
twelve miles from Steubenville. He was instrumental in instituting the first
Lodge of Masons at Stuebenville and became a charter member.

His son, James R.M. Stewart, was born in London and was only a boy when his
parents came to the United States. He grew up in Jefferson County, Ohio,
inheriting the Stewart farm there, and in addition to the responsibilities of
its management he was for years a lumber manufacturer, operating lumber mills.
He died in Ohio in 1881, at the age of seventy-three. James R.M. Stewart
married Cordelia K. Scott, also a native of London, England, and brought as a
child to the United States, her parents settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Stewart and Scott families had not been acquainted while living in London.
Cordelia Stewart died in 1895, at the age of seventy-seven.

Her son, Prof. James Scott Stewart, grew up on the old homestead in Eastern
Ohio. His interests were largely identified with the farm until after attaining
his majority. His apt scholorship gave him a good record in the common and high
schools, and in August, 1873, he enrolled as a student in West Virginia
University. He was graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree in 1877, and
three years later received the Master of Science degree. After his graduation
Mr. Stewart remained as an instructor in the preparatory department of the
university, and continued through the various grades of instruction until he
was promoted to professor of mathematics in the university in 1891. During the
school year 1894-95 he was superintendent of public schools at Fairmont, West
Virginia, but without exception he continued to perform his duties as
professor of mathematics until June, 1907. Since leaving the faculty of
instruction Mr. Stewart has continued with the university in an official
capacity as manager of the University Book Store, which is an important adjunct
of the university and a business of no small proportions measured in the
commercial scale.

During his long residence at Morgantown Mr. Stewart has acquired other business
and civic interests. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers and Merchants
Bank and has been a director since the early years of the instituion. He is
vice president and a director of the Morgantown Savings & Loan Society and is
examiner for the real estate offered the society as basis for loans. He is
also a member of the Board of Directors and secretary of the Board of the
Chaplin Collieries Company of Morgantown. Mr. Stewart for forty-three years has
been an elder in the First Presbyterian Church at Mortgantown.

He married Louisa M. Hayes, daughter of Alexander Hayes, of Morgantown.
Following the death of his first wife Mr. Stewart married Sara Meredith,
daughter of the late John Q.A. Meredith, of Fairmont, West Virginia.

Everett Ray Taylor

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
December 15, 1999

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

pg 198

Everett Ray Taylor, M. D., made a definite choice of a medical career as a
young man, and pursued his studies preparatory to that great profession with
practically no interruption until he was qualified by graduation and
experience for his duties as a physician and surgeon. Since 1908 he has been
engaged in a successful practice at Morgantown.

He was born at Dunkard in Greene County, Pennsylvania, April 17, 1883, son of
William R. and Mary Elizabeth (Shelby) Taylor. The first of this branch of
the Taylor family when they came over from England settled in Pennsylvania,
later went to Virginia, and the grandfather of Doctor Taylor, John Evans
Taylor, was born in Old Virginia and founded the family home in Greene
County, Pennsylvania, at the place known as Dunkard, but commonly called
Taylortown in his honor In Greene County he married Sarah Stoker. Doctor
Taylor’s father is William R. Taylor, who was born in Greene County and whose
active interests in that county were as a farmer. In 1898 he removed to
Morgantown, and since then has been in the grocery business.

His wife, Mary Elizabeth Shelby, was born in Greene County, daughter of Aaron
Shelby. This family was established in Greene County by Aaron Shelby, who
moved there from Kentucky. He married Harriet Smith, a native of Greene
County. The parents of Doctor Taylor are active members of the First Baptist
Church of Morgantown.

Everett Ray Taylor graduated from the public schools of Greene County in
1897, and after the family moved to Morgantown spent a year in the City High
School and one year in the preparatory department of West Virginia
University, and then entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at
Baltimore, where he was graduated M. D. in 1907. Doctor Taylor practiced for
about a year at Bemis, Randolph County, West Virginia, but since September 1,
1908, has had a busy professional career at Morgantown. He is a member of
the Monongalia County and the American Medical associations. Fraternally he
is a member of the Knights of Pythias, Elks and the Phi Chi college
fraternity and the Kiwanis Club. He married Miss Helen Bowie of Morgantown,
daughter of Walter and Mary Elizabeth (Hunt) Bowie, who were natives of
Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and are now living at Morgantown. Doctor and
Mrs. Taylor have two daughters: Mary Elizabeth, born January 4, 1906; and
Dorothea, born May 17, 1908.

Fred Tropf

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. 277
Monongalia County

FRED TROPF. The fundamental cause of many of the
industrial disputes and disturbances of recent years has
been due to the separation of financial ownership from
the responsible direct management. A contrasted case,
in which disputes have been conspicuous by their ab-
sence, is furnished by the Tropf Coal Company of Mor-
gantown, of which Mr. Fred Tropf is the manager. Mr.
Tropf came up from the ranks as a working miner, qualified
himself for the responsibilities of mine ownership on the
score of actual efficiency, and today he works at the mines
with his men, knows their viewpoint as well as his own, and
conducts the business as a smooth running frictionless

Mr. Tropf was born in Brooklyn, New York, October 23,
1870. In 1880, when he was a boy of ten, he went to the
Connellsville coal and coke region of Pennsylvania. With
limited school advantages he started to work with a dump
wheelbarrow and a small fork handling coke, and for sev-
eral years he earned his living by labor in mines, car shops
and other industries. Not satisfied always to work for
others, he put himself in the ranks of independent operators
near Scottdale, Pennsylvania, where he began working an
abandoned mine and did it so systematically and efficiently
as to lay the foundation of his success there. He has been
a coal operator ever since.

In October, 1916, he secured his present mine, which had
been opened by Alexander Tait. This coal property
lies under about 200 acres bordering the Monongahela River,
three miles below Morgantown. There are four veins of
coal in this territory, the Pittsburg being the most valuable.
Above the Pittsburg lie at a distance of some sixty feet
apart two other veins. The Tropf Coal Company confines its
operations to the Pittsburg vein, where eight foot mine
props are used. At the beginning Mr. Tropf loaded only
one car per day, while now he has the facilities for the
prompt loading of from fifteen to twenty-two cars. He em-
ploys 165 men and the average production is 950 tons daily.
A few other local men are associated with him, but he is
the leading spirit and principal owner of the Tropf Coal
Company, and personally superintends every detail of pro-
duction. His mine has a reputation for fair dealing with
its men. Differences almost universally are settled without
calling upon officials of the unions. In only one instance,
and that concerning a minor matter, was an outside union
official appealed to. Mr. Tropf deservedly has won hosts
of warm friends, is a man of liberal views, and plays a sub-
stantial part in the affairs of Monongalia County.

He married Miss Margaret McGoogin, of Scottdale, Penn-
sylvania. They have one daughter, Anna Mary, now a stu-
dent in -the high school at Morgantown.

Hugh Warder

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 8, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 294-295

HUGH WARDER. A number of sound achievements stand
to the credit of Hugh Warder, primarily in the law, to
the practice of which he was admitted more than a score
of years ago, and also in the polities and public affairs
of his home city and state.

Mr. Warder, who is senior member of the well known
Grafton law firm of Warder & Robinson, was born at
Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, January 30, 1879.
His father Francis S. Warder was born on a farm near
Pruntytown, served as a government teamster during the
Civil war, was a stone-mason by trade, and spent nearly
all his life at Webster, where he died in 1892 at the age
of fifty-one. He was a republican in politics, and for a
time served as a school trustee. He married Lucinda
Keller, daughter of Isaac and Nancy (Moore) Keller. She
was born in Barbour County, but was reared at Gilmer,
and she died in 1892 the same year as did her husband.
Of their seven children, five survive: Miss Clara B., at
the old home in Webster; Charles H., a dairyman at Graf-
ton; Hugh, the lawyer; Miss Ina M., a teacher in the
Grafton public schools; and Mrs. J. F. Fordyce, whose
husband is a train dispatcher of the Baltimore & Ohio
at Grafton.

To a large degree Hugh Warder was left to discover his
own resources and make his own opportunities. He was
thirteen when his parents died, and he had the direction
of his career from that time. After a country school edu-
cation at Webster, he graduated from the Grafton High
School in 1896, and while a clerk in the office of the circuit
clerk of Taylor County, under Frederick J. Burdett and
J. B. St. Clair, he read his first lesson in law. Mr. Warder
finished his law course in West Virginia University and
wag admitted to the bar in 1900.

Instead of beginning practice at once, Mr. Warder deemed
it more to his advantage to continue his duties as book-
keeper for the Speidel Grocery Company, a wholesale house
at Grafton. Then in 1904 he became associated with Judge
Ira E. Robinson and was his partner until the latter went
on the bench of the State Supreme Court. At that time
a new firm was formed by Mr. Warder and Jed W. Robin-
son, a nephew of Judge Robinson, and they have a splendid
business and a widening reputation over the state.

Mr. Warder’s first case in court was a justice trial in-
volving the recovery of a watch. He was successful in
regaining the timepiece for his client, but never got a
fee for his service. He has since participated in much
litigation of a general nature, and of late years an im-
portant share of cornoration practice. The firm have been
attorneys for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

In 1908 Mr. Warder was elected to the House of Dele-
gates, and was in the session of 1909 under Speaker James
H. Strickling. He was a member of a special committee
to investigate the affairs of the penitentiary, served on
the committee of cities, towns and villages, and devoted
himself to the promotion of a number of worthy bills,
without having any pet measure of his own. Once he suc-
ceeded in getting the consideration of a bill that had been
adversely reported in committee, and it passed the House.

Mr. Warder went to the Legislature as a republican, and
he has acknowledged that political faith since boyhood.
He cast his first presidential vote for Major McKinley in
1900, and has attended a number of state conventions and
was an alternate to the national convention in Chicago in
1916. Mr. Warder managed Judge Robinson’s primary
campaign when the latter ran tor governor, and had charge
of the Robinson headquarters at Grafton.

In Taylor County, June 10, 1903. Mr. Warder married
Miss Anna M. Moran, a native of Grafton and daughter
of Patrick and Anne (Grayston) Moran. Mrs Warrior
was well educated, and left a position as stenographer in
the Merchants & Mechanics Bank of Grafton to become
the bride of Mr. Warder. They are the proud parents
of seven children. Frederick B., Robert, Francis P., Thomas
G., Anna M., Charles E. and John B. Frederick, the oldest
son, is already on his way to distinction. He is a graduate
of the Grafton High School, and is a cadet in the class
of 1925 in the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Samuel Miller Whiteside

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
December 2, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg 92

Samuel Miller WHITESIDE, who, under the title of S. M.. Whiteside & Company,
conducts at Morgantown, Monongalia County, one of the largest establishments
in the city devoted to the handling of ladies’, misses’ and children’s
apparel, was born at Benwood, Marshall County, this state December 31, 1865,
a son of Robert J. and Amanda (DeMoss) Whiteside, both now deceased. The
parents were born and reared in Maryland, where their marriage was
solemnized, and whence they came to West Virginia and established their home
in Marshall County.

Samuel M. Whiteside received the advantages of the public schools of his
native city, and was a lad of fourteen years when in 1880, he found
employment in the department store of George E. Stifle & Company in the City
of Wheeling. He continued in the employ of this representative mercantile
concern for twenty-six years, worked his way through the various departments
and by faithful and efficient service gained eventual advancement to the
position of buyer in one of the important departments of the establishment.
He resigned his position in 1906 and came to Morgantown where he opened a
small store on the site of the present new building of the Bank of the
Monongahela Valley, on High Street. A year later the increase of his business
led to his removal to larger quarters in the Wiles Block, at 338 High street,
where he has since continued his substantial and prosperous business. when he
removed to his present location Mr. Whiteside at first utilized only 1,400
square feet of floor space, and an idea of the splendid expansion of the
business is conveyed in the statement that at the time of this writing, in
1921, after three additions, the establishment utilized 4,900 square feet of
floor space.

Aside from the representative business enterprise that he has thus developed
Mr. Whiteside takes loyal and helpful interest in the civic and social
affairs of his home city, and is known and valued as one of its liberal and
progressive citizens and business men. He is an active member and a former
director of the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce, holds membership in the local
Kiwanis Club, and is affiliated with Morgantown Lodge No. 411, Benevolent and
Protective Order of Elks.

Mr. Whiteside married Miss Bertha L. Zevely, of Wheeling, she being a
daughter of John H. and Maggie (Couniahn) Zevely, of that city.

John Thomas West

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
January 3, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 74 and 75

John Thomas West, B.S. The thinking world agrees that knowledge is the master
key to unlock the hidden mysteries of life made worth while through
achievement. It is the great human leveler, giving to the poor and obscure
the same tools to work with as the rich and more fortunate, and rewarding them
alike according to the use made of them. Leaders in educaitonal work in the
United States, those who have been chosen because of particular fitness to
lead, direct and encourage seekers for knowledge throughout the great school
system of the country, find themselves, perhaps, more deeply interested than
ever before as they see their fields of usefulness growing wider. Like the
good soldiers that they are, they keep their armor bright and stand ready to
do battle with the cohorts of ignorance and superstition. With the coming of
Prof. John Thomas West to Morgantown as pricipal of the high school this city
took a long stride forward.

Professor West was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, May 14, 1882, and is
a son of John B. and Sarah Jane (Stewart) West. Looking back along the
genealogical line it is found that the first of the West family recorded in
America was a soldier in King George’s Army who was killed in battle during
the Revolutionary war. He left descendants, and after the war other members of
his family came from England and established themselves in Greene County,
Pennslyvania, where Professor West’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather
were born as well as himself. John B. West now makes his home at
Morgantown, West Virginia. He married Sarah Jane Stewart, who died Ocotber 12,
1884. She also was born in Green County, and was a daughter of James and
Lucinda (De Berry)) Stewart, the Stewarts being of Irish and the De Berrys of
Holland stock.

Losing his mother in infancy, John T. West was reared by her people in Marshall
county, West Virginia, where he obtained his early educational training. His
talents received recognition, and he prepared for college in the preparatory
department of the West Virginia University, afterward taking the full course and
was graduated in the class of 1907 with his B.S. degree, continuing at the
university during 1907-08 for special work. In the latter year, in association
with Prof. Lawrence B. Hill, principal of the university he opened a county high
school at Middlebourne in Tyler county, a most creditable enterprise, the first
of its kind in West Virginia, and one of the first county high schools east of
the Mississippi River. In this school Professor West was an instructor from
1908 until the fall of 1913, during the last year being principal. At that
time he was made acting principal of the Morgantown High School, and a few
months later, at the beginning of 1914, became principal in fact and so

On December 31, 1908, Professor West married Miss Mary Elizabeth Sturgiss, who
was born at Morgantown and is a daughter of A. Howard and Elizabeth (Pretzman)
Sturgiss, the former of whom is deceased. Professor and Mrs. West have four
young daughters: Margaret Sturgiss, born November 15, 1909; Ruth Elizabeth, born
March 2, 1913; Mary Jane, born December 24, 1914; and Anna Eleanor, born August
8, 1919. Professor West and his family belong to the First Baptist Church at
Morgantown. He is a Mason, a member of Middlebourne Lodge No. 34, A.F. and
A.M., and of Morgantown Lodge of Perfections No. 6; belongs to the Chamber of
Commerce; the Kiwanis Club; his old college fraternity, the Sigma Phi Epsilon,
and is a member of the National Teachers Assocaition and of the county and
state bodies. As an educator he occupies a foremost position, and is
broad-minded policies have proved him exceptionally able as an executive.

Russell Aubray Wilbourn

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
December 13, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 153 & 154

RUSSELL AUBRAY WILBOURN. What is probably the largest single plant and
enterprise devoted to cold storage handling of produce and the manufacture of
ice and ice cream in West Virginia, is owned by the R. A. Wilbourn Company,
Incorporated, of Morgantown. The president and general manager of this
corporation is Russell Aubray Wilbourn, a man of remarkable energy who has been
stepping upward from the ranks since early boyhood and has exhibited a wonderful
resourcefulness and initiative at every successive stage of his commercial

Mr. Wilbourn was born on a farm in Nelson County, Virginia, March 29, 1881. His
father, Robert Willis Wilbourn, was a native of the same county and spent his
active years in commercial lines. Robert W. Wilbourn married Elizabeth Hill, a
native of Nelson County. Her family was an old and wealthy one in Virginia, but
its fortunes were wrecked by the Civil war. She died in 1905.

Russell A. Wilbourn was the youngest child of his parents and lived on their
farm until he was ten years of age. He acquired only such education as was
afforded by the common schools. His commercial instinct was aroused at an early
date, and at. the age of fourteen he and a brother were partners in a retail
grocery business. Thus, though only a little past forty years of age, Mr.
Wilbourn has spent fully a quarter of a century in active business life.

He has been a resident of Morgantown since 1901. In the fall of that year he
engaged in the retail grocery business and sold out his store in 1907. He then
took up the wholesale produce business, starting on a modest scale and with
only such capital as he could individually command. His experience and training
enabled him rapidly to reach out for business and develop a growing concern,
and in 1913 the R. A. Wilbourn Company was incorporated. At that time the plant
was erected, probably the largest and best equipped produce and cold storage,
ice and ice cream manufacturing plant in the state. The company buys by car-load
lots and employs a number of traveling representatives, who cover the adjacent
territory of Monongalia and Preston counties in West Virginia and Greene and
Fayette counties in Pennsylvania. The business of this firm is essentially a
monument to Mr. Wilbourn’s business acumen and the remarkable concentration of
his efforts over a period of years.

He is one of Morgantown’s popular citizens, a member of the Chamber of Commerce,
and of Morgantown Lodge No. 411, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr.
Wilbourn married Bess Gregg. She was born in Morgantown, daughter of the late
Thomas Gregg and sister of John M. Gregg, banker and county official. Mr. and
Mrs. Wilbourn have three children: Robert Gregg, born in 1905, graduated from
high school in 1921 and is now attending the University of West Virginia;
Margaret, born in 1912; and Russell Aubray, Jr., born in 1918.

William Mckinley Yost

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
January 10, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg. 76 & 77

William McKinley Yost. Among the offices which call for the demonstration of
ability, judgement and clear-headed courage by the incumbents, one that in
particular demends the possession of these qualities is that of sheriff. The
shrievalty is generally conferred upon an individual who in the past has
demonstrated his fitness for the handling of the grave responsibilities, for
the duties of the office include the possibility of necessity for quick
thinking and immediate action in times of crisis. Monongalia County is favored
in having as the incumbent of the office of sheriff so capable and energetic a
young official as William McKinley Yost, an overseas veteran of the World war
and a native son of Monongalia County, where he is greatly popular.

Sheriff Yost was born on the home farm at Coal Spring, Monongalia County, July
1, 1894, a son of Thomas and Mary (Mason) Yost, natives of the same county. His
paternal grandfather, Jacob Yost, was an early farmer of this county, as was also
his maternal grandfather, John W. Mason. Thomas Yost, father of the Sheriff,
followed agricultural pursuits until 1911, in which year he removed to
Morgantown, this city now being the family place of residence.

William McKinley Yost was reared on the home farm, and as a lad attended the
public schools. When his parents removed to Morgantown he remained on the home
farm, where he was still carrying on operations at the time the United States
entered the World war. With youthful enthusiasm and patriotism young Yost
decided that his country was in need of his services, and accordingly left the
farm and went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where, December 20, 1917, he
enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Subsequently he was sent to the
Paris island, South Carolina, training camp, and after eleven weeks of
intensive training was sent overseas. On May 6, 1918, he disembarked at Brest,
France, from which point he and his comrades were ordered to St. Aignan. Five
days later he was in a training camp at Grandchamps, whence after two weeks of
further training he was sent to the front, where he was assigned to the
Seventy-ninth Company, Sixth Regiment, Second Division of United States Marines.
He arrived at the Chateau-Thierry front June 8 of that year and remained there
from that date until July 4, when he was ordered to the reserve in the rear.
On the 14th of the same month he was ordered to Soissons, where he was in the
thick of the fighting on the 18th and 19th, and from which desperate
engagement his battalion came out numbering less than a full company. He was
then returned to Mantreul, on the Marne, where, August 1, he subtrained for
Nancy, from which point a few days later he went to the Marbach sector,
directly in front of the Metz. Mr. Yost was in the fighting on the front
August 7, 8 and 9, and on the morning of the last-named day was wounded by a
high explosive and sent to the Base Hospital No. 3 at Montpont, France, where
he remained utnil November 1, 1918. On that date he was ordered to the
replacement camp at LeMans, reaching that camp on the 4th of the same month
and was still located there when the armistice was signed. He was then
ordered to join his company in Belgium, and with it marched to the front of the
German lines at Luxembourg. On December 13, 1918, they came to the Rhine at
Brohl, and on the following day crossed that historic stream. They were
stationed at Rheinbrohl, Germany, until June 18, 1919, at which time they
marched to within approximatley two miles of the neutral zone, and there
remained until the peace treaty was signed June 18. Mr. Yost started for home
July 18, 1919, embarked at Brest on the 25th, and reached New York City August
3. The company was then ordered to Camp Mills, but on the morning of the 9th
the entire division paraded in the streets of New York City, and in the evening
of the same day was on its way to the Quantico, South Carolina, Marine
Training Station. On the 12th of that month Mr. Yost took part in the parade
at Washington, D.C., and on the following day, August 13, 1919, was honorable
discharged at Quantico.

Returning to his old home, Mr. Yost resumed farming and was thus engaged when,
May 25, 1920, he received the republican nomination for the office of sheriff
of Monongalia County in the primaries. In the ensuing election he was placed
in office by an approximate majority of 1,800 votes a gain over the normal
republican vote of nearly 1,000. He assumed the duties of the sheriff’s
office January 1, 1921, and in that position is as faithfully serving Monongalia
County as he faithfully served his country overseas.

Sheriff Yost is a member of the American Legion and of the Veterans of Foreign
Wars, and as a fraternalist is affiliated with the Improved Order of Red Men
and the Junior Order United American Mechanics. He belongs to the Methodist
Protestant Church and to Baraca Sunday school class. He is unmarried.