Category Archives: Ohio

John E. Wright

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 465

JOHN E. WRIGHT was born at Wheeling, December 19,
1862, his father, the late John Wright, having been one of
the twenty-three men who in 1852 organized the LaBelle
Iron Works, long one of the leading industrial concerns of
the Wheeling District, he having been a practical man in
the business and having had charge of motive power, as
superintendent, from the time of the erecting and equipping
of the original plant. He retired from active service in
1876, but retained his financial interests in the business
until his death in 1907, at the venerable age of eighty-five
years. John Wright was born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
and came to Wheeling in 1852, at the time of the organiza-
tion of the LaBelle Iron Works. He was an expert iron
man, he having learned his trade in one of the largest of the
old-time iron mills in Pittsburgh. He was also a director
of the Jefferson Iron Works at Steubenville, Ohio, and was
active in political affairs, first as a whig and later as a
republican, though he had no ambition for public office.
His wife, whose maiden name was Eleanor Madden, was
born at Cincinnati, Ohio, and their companionship of more
than fifty years was severed by her death in 1903. They
became the parents of seven children: Anna Virginia,
widow of F. J. Hugens, resides at Wheeling; Miss Eliza-
beth died in 1921; Eleanor G. is the wife of C. A. Robinson.
of Wheeling; William F. died at the age of twenty-three
years; John E., of this review, was the next in order of
birth; Margaret is the wife of C. L. Taylor, of Los Angeles,
California; and Carie M. is the wife of Thomas Stewart, of

John E. Wright gained his early education in the public
schools and as a youth he became a skilled operator of a
nail machine in the plant of the LaBelle Iron Works. Later
he was made paymaster in the office of the concern, and he
continued his advancement through various grades until
ho became president of the company in 1898. He thus con-
tinued until 1903, when he sold his interest in the business.
In the following year he engaged in independent business
as a broker and contractor, devoting five years to the iron
and steel brokerage business and to contracting in public
work. While president of the LaBelle Iron Works he pur-
chased the Jefferson Iron Works at Steubenville, Ohio, re-
built the plant and made the business a success, the same
being still a subsidiary of the LaBelle Iron Works.

Mr. Wright wedded Miss Bessie Baron, daughter of
Abraham Baron, and her death occurred nineteen years
later, in 1914. She is survived by two children: Mary
Eleanor is the wife of David W. Sloan, of Baltimore, Mary-
land; and John E., Jr., is superintendent of a plant at Elm
Grove, a suburb of Wheeling.

William S. Stenger

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
December 5, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg.66 & 67

WILLIAM S. STENGER. One of the, most successful concerns in West Virginia
handling motor trucks and equipment is the Stenger Motor Company of Wheeling, a
business founded and built up with steadily increasing prosperity by William S.
Stenger, a young business man of great energy who has had the faculty of doing
well anything he undertook. He is a member of a very well known family in the
Wheeling District.

He was born in Ohio County, West Virginia, May 20 1885. His grandfather, John
Stenger, was born in 1837 in Pennsylvania and soon after the Civil war moved to
the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and spent the rest of his life as a
farmer in Ohio and Brooke counties. He died at Beech Bottom in Brooke County in
1897. His son, John J. Stenger, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, in February
1862, spent his early life there, married in Wheeling, and for twenty-five years
was employed in the sheet department of iron and steel rolling mills. Since 1907
he has been busied with his farm at Short Creek, West Virginia. He has grown a
large acreage in wheat and also has a peach orchard of twenty acres. John J.
Stenger is a Catholic, a democrat, and member of Carroll Council No. 504,
Knights of Columbus, Wheeling. He married Jane Myles, who was born at Wheeling
in August, 1862. Of their children the oldest is Catherine, wife of Bernard
Baker, a stationary engineer living at Warwood, Wheeling. The second in age is
William S. John J., Jr., is associated with the Stenger Motor company. Vincent
J. went overseas with the One Hundred and Eighteenth Engineers and died in
England in 1918, the age of twenty-eight. Herbert M. and Earl are with their
father on the farm. Raymond E. is a student in St. Charles College at Baltimore.

William S. Stenger acquired his early education in the public schools of
Wheeling, graduated from the Cathedral High School in 1904, and during the next
five years be managed his father’s retail dairy in Wheeling. From 1909 to 1916
he farmed on his own account in Ohio County, and in the latter year he opened at
Wheeling a business known as the Sandow Motor Sales Company. In the summer of
1921 changed the name to the Stenger Motor Company, of which he is sole
properietor. His garage, salesrooms and offices are at the corner of Eleventh
and Water streets. The Stenger Motor Company is the local distributing agency
for the Gramm-Bernstein Motor Trucks, Pilot cars, sells tires and standard parts
for motor trucks, and Mr. Stenger has developed a business that is recognized as
an indispensable service to all truck owners at Wheeling.

Mr. Stenger is a republican, a member of the Catholic Church and Carroll Council
No. 504, Knights of Columbus. His home is at 118 Twenty-first Street in Norwood.
November 24, 1909, at Wheeling, he married Miss Sadie E. Smith, daughter of John
E. and Mary Catherine (Raab) Smith, of Short Creek, where her mother lives. Her
father was a farmer and died at Short Creek. Mrs. Stenger completed her
education in the West Liberty Normal School. To their marriage have been born
six children: Ralph, born in September, 1910; Sarah, January 13, 1912; Gertrude,
in May, 1913; Ruth, in November, 1914; Blanche, in August, 1917; and Angela, in
September, 1919.

Wheeling Traction Co

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 460

Company has played an important part in advancing the
civic and material interests of Wheeling and the Ohio
Valley, progressing from the old-time horse ear mode of
transportation to an extensive city and interurban elec-
tric railway system, giving service of inestimable value
to the public.

In 1863 the Citizens Railway Company of Wheeling gave
to Wheeling its first street railway service, consisting of
horse-drawn cars which operated on wooden tracks. The
line extended from South Wheeling to North Wheeling and
from Wheeling to Bridgeport, Ohio. This service was con-
tinued until 1887, when the Wheeling Railway Company
was organized and combined with the Citizens Railway
Company. After this consolidation the lines of the Citizens
Railway in Wheeling were electrified and electric cars were
operated on the old horse-ear tracks.

The first electric cars operated in Wheeling were known
as the Vanderpool type. The motor was in the front
cab and was geared with a sprocket chain running from
the motor to a sprocket wheel on the axle of the car.
These cars could only be operated in one direction and
it was necessary to have turntables or a “Y” at any
point where it was necessary to turn the car. Wheeling
was the third city in the United States to have an electric
street railway system.

The track was constructed with a flat rail similar to
that used on the horse car lines and was laid on a 6 by 6
inch wooden stringer with cross ties every five feet. Power
was conveyed to the ear with two overhead trolley wires,
as no return was used through the rail.

In 1889 the electric railway was extended south into
Benwood. In 1893 the new Back River Bridge was built
and the electric line extended to Bridgeport, Ohio. The
Bellaire, Bridgeport and Martins ferry Street Railway
Company was also organized and built a line during this
year from Bellaire through Bridgeport to Martins Ferry,
Ohio. In 1895 another company was organized and a line
was built from Benwood to Moundsville, West Virginia.
In 1898 an electric line was built from Steubenville, Ohio,
to Brilliant, Ohio, by a number of Wheeling capitalists.
In 1899 the Wheeling Railway Company was re-organized
under the name of the Wheeling Traction Company, and
it took over the interests of the Wheeling Railway Com-
pany, the Bridgeport, Bellaire & Martins Ferry Street
Railway Company, which covered the lines on the Ohio
side of the Ohio River, and the lines between Benwood
and Moundsville. In 1901 the Northern Ohio Valley Rail-
way Company was organized by Wheeling people, which
company was later known as the Pan Handle Traction
Company, and an electric railway line was built between
Wheeling, West Virginia, and Wellsburg, West Virginia.
Two years later this line was extended to Lazearville, West
Virginia. In 1902 the line between Steubenville and Bril-
liant was acquired by the Wheeling Traction Company.

In 1904 a line was built by the Tri-State Railway Com-
pany, later known as the Steubenville, Wellsburg & Weir-
ton Railway Company, from Wellsburg to Steubenville, and
about two years later a line was built from East Steuben-
ville to Weirton, West Virginia. In this same year, or
in 1904, the Wheeling Traction Company extended its lines
from Bridgeport to Barton, Ohio. In 1906 the line was
extended from Martins Ferry, Ohio, to Rayland, Ohio,
and in 1907 the Bellaire line was extended to Shadyside,
Ohio. In 1912 the stock of the Wheeling Traction Com-
pany was taken over by the West Penn Railways Com-
pany of Pittsburgh. In 1917 the West Penn Railways
Company took over the Steubenville, Wellsburg & Weirton
Railway Company, operating between Steubenville and
Wellsburg and Steubenville and Weirton. These last named
lines are now being operated under lease by the Wheeling
Traction Company.

The first power plant was installed in an old skating
rink in South Wheeling, and in later years was moved
to a more substantial building at Forty-second Street,
Wheeling. At the present time power to operate the cars
is largely obtained from the Windsor Power Plant located
at Beech Bottom, West Virginia, about twelve miles north
of Wheeling.

The Wheeling Traction Company has kept up with the
electric railway industries throughout the country, and
today has on its lines double truck steel passenger ears
of the latest design. On the interurban lines large cen-
ter entrance steel type cars are used. There is operated
daily seventy cars on regular schedules; in addition, freight
and express cars are operated daily between Wheeling and
Moundsville and Wheeling and Steubenville-Weirton. The
track and overhead lines have been rebuilt and maintained
in accordance with standard practice of modern railway
construction, and at present the system comprises 101
miles of track.

The company has a corps of about 600 employes, in-
cluding those in the transportation, track and shop de-
partments. The shops and barns of the company are
located on Wheeling Island, McMechen, West Virginia,
Beech Bottom, West Virginia, and at Follansbee, West
Virginia. During the year 1921, 27,000,000 passengers
were carried on the lines of the company.

From the beginning the local stockholders and executives
of the Wheeling Traction Company have been men of rep-
resentative citizenship and financial stability. Through
the untiring efforts of C. P. Billings, vice-president, the
service on the lines has been greatly improved and the
fares charged by the company most equitably adjusted.

William White

From “History of Wheeling , Ohio County, West Virginia and
Representative Citizens,” by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902.

Typed by Carol Taylor Lanza.

Pages 829-833

WILLIAM WHITE, a prosperous carpenter of Valley Grove, Ohio County,
West Virginia, was born June 13, 1851, is a son of Madison White and
grandson of James White. The latter, who was born in Scotland, of
Scotch-Irish parentage, came to this country in the eighteenth century,
and became an extensive land owner and farmer. He was eighty years old
at the time of his death. Madison White, father of the subject of this
sketch, was born in Ohio County, near Roney’s Point. He resided on a
farm near Bethany, Brooke County, West Virginia, at his death, which
occurred from typhoid fever at the age of thirty-five years. He chose
for his wife Margaret Jane Howard, and to them were born four children,
as follows: William; Mary Jane, widow of George Murphy, residing in
Independence, Washington County, Pennsylvania; James M.; and Martha,
widow of G.F. Wharton, residing in Columbus, Ohio.
William White followed the occupation which his ancestors chose,
that of a farmer, but in later years he has followed the trade of
carpenter. He has always been very successful, and is prominent among
the leading residents of Ohio County. He was married in 1877 to Agnes
Miller, a daughter of George W. Miller, who is a farmer of Washington
County, Ohio. Our subject and his wife have been blessed with six
children, namely: George C., who was born May 18, 1878, and is baggage
master for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, served one year in
the Spanish-American War as a member of Company G, 4th Regiment
Immunes; Charles M., who was born June 22, 1880, is now at work on the
telephone line; Ira M., born January 31, 1883; Laura B., born April 3,
1885, who is clerking in a general store at Valley Grove; William H.,
born April 18, 1890, and died September 1, 1890; and Letha M., born
October 16, 1891, who is living at home.
James M. White, the brother of our subject, was born March 27,
1855, and for the past seventeen years has been conducting a portable
sawmill at Valley Grove. In 1880 he married Maggie Raines, a daughter
of Robert Raines. Five children were born to James M. White and his
wife: Nina, born November 24, 1881, married William P. Collett, a
carpenter residing in Valley Grove, who is at present employed on the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad; James G. Blaine, born May 10, 1884; Maggie,
born September 8, 1887; Bertha, born November 22, 1889; and Joseph
Lehrman, born November 28, 1891. James M. White is a Republican.
Religiously, he is a Methodist. He is a member of Lodge No. 966,
I.O.O.F., of West Alexander, Pennsylvania, having passed through the
various chairs and having represented the local lodge at the Grand
Lodge held at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1892.
William White, subject of this sketch, is a Republican in politics.
He is a believer in the Methodist faith. Fraternally, he is a member
of Lodge N. 966, I.O.O.F., of West Alexander, having joined that
organization eighteen years ago, and has passed through all the chairs.
He has also belonged to Encampment No. 293, at Claysville,
Pennsylvania, for the past six years.

MRS. MARGARET A. (WHITNAH) VAN METER, a highly respected resident of
West Liberty, Ohio County, West Virginia, was born near Martinsburg,
West Virginia, and is a daughter of John G. Whitnah. The latter was
born near Martinsburg in 1787, and became a soldier in the War of 1812,
after which he engaged in farming until his death, in 1854, at the age
of sixty-seven years. His father, Henry Whitnah, was a soldier of the
Revolution and a pioneer of New Jersey. He also followed farming and
lived to reach the advanced age of ninety-two years, a man who enjoyed
the respect and highest esteem of every one with whom he was
Margaret A. Whitnah was joined in marriage in March, 1845, with
Vincent H. Van Meter, who was born on the old Van Meter homestead in
Ohio County, in 1817. He was the son of Joseph and Margaret Van Meter,
and grandson of Abraham and Elizabeth (Burns) Van Meter. Elizabeth
Burns was born in Scotland, where she belonged to a prominent family of
that name, and came to America at an early day. Abraham Van Meter was
born in Virginia, and fought in the Revolutionary War. Joseph Van
Meter was born in Berkeley County, Virginia, and moved to the farm now
owned by our subject in 1809. Vincent H. Van Meter, who had two
brothers, Joseph and Robert, always lived on the old farm and in the
house built by his father. The house is located on a rise of ground
and commands an excellent view of the surrounding country. He engaged
in agricultural pursuits, and made a specialty of raising fine horses
and sheep. He also bought and sold cattle extensively. He was a man of
estimable character and commanded the respect and admiration of his
fellow men. He died April 24, 1901. Mrs. Van Meter resides on the old
farm and has many intimate friends in her section of the county, in
which she has lived for so many years. A pleasing feature of this old
estate is an excellent orchard, which was planted more than a century
ago, and still bears abundantly, many of the trees being from 18 inches
to two feet in diameter.
Jan Gysbesten Van Meter, who founded the Van Metre (or Van Meter)
family in this country, emigrated to New York in 1663 from Bommel, a
city of Holland. Governor Gooch of Virginia gave a grant of 40,000
acres of land to two of his descendants, Jan (or John) Van Metre and
Abraham Van Metre. Their descendants settled in Ohio County, West
Virginia, and in Kentucky and Ohio. Of those settling in Ohio County,
Joseph Van Metre, a great-uncle of Vincent H., built Fort Van Metre.
John Van Metre, his brother, took up the land where West Liberty now
stands, and left a man in charge by the name of Black, who built the
place known as Black’s Cabin. Abraham Van Metre afterward owned the
land where West Liberty is, and sold two acres to Ohio County for $20.
Joseph Van Metre, father of Vincent H., had five brothers: Abisha,
Josiah, Asahel, Abraham and Isaac, and three sisters: Ruth, Naomi and
Elizabeth. Joseph Van Metre was killed or drowned in the Ohio River,
when on his way to the Ohio side of the river to hunt; his gun was
found in the river forty years later.

W. W. Mcconnell

From “History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and
Representative Citizens,” by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902.

Typed by Laurie Birks Dean.

pp. 582-583
W. W. McCONNELL, who has been a member of the board of education since
January, 1895, is a well-known business man of Wheeling, and is
proprietor of a box factory and of the Pittsburg Coal Yard, with his
office at the corner of Thirty-fifth and McColloch streets. He was born
in Wheeling in 1844, and is a son of Richard McConnell.
Richard McConnell was born at Wellsburg, Virginia (now West
Virginia), and came to Wheeling in 1832. He was a cooperage
manufacturer, established one of the first plants of the kind in
Wheeling, and operated it throughout his business career. He died in
1887, at the age of seventy-three years. He married a Miss Holmes, who
was a native of Virginia, and died before her husband. Eleven children
were born to their union, but three of whom are living, namely: J. W.,
who is in the employ of his brother; Ella, who lives with the subject
hereof; and W. W., whose name appears at the head of these lines.
W. W. McConnell, having had some experience in connection with his
father, established a business for himself in North Wheeling, in 1863,
at the age of eighteen years. After three years he moved to East
Wheeling, and to his present location in 1880. He has developed a large
business, and does contract work, principally in the city, supplying
barrels, casks and boxes for packing. He employs 25 hands, and at times
traveling men, traveling some, also, himself. He has several teams to
do his hauling for the factory and also to deliver coal from the yards.
His present building was erected in 1888, having a floor space of 24 by
175 feet where the office is located, and 73 by 73 feet in the box
factory. He is also a director of the South Side Bank of Wheeling. He
has always been a public-spirited citizen, and has taken a deep interest
in the growth and development of Wheeling, where he has lived all his
Mr. McConnell has been thrice married, his first union being with
Margaret Kinghorn, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, all of
whom died in infancy. He was again married, to Mary E. Dillon, who
died, leaving one daughter, Clara. He then married West Virginia
Dillon, a sister of his second wife and a daughter of B. B. Dillon, an
old resident of Wheeling, and a bricklayer by trade. This union was
blessed by the birth of five children, namely: Ethel; Sarah; John
Wesley; Frank; and Willard. In politics, Mr. McConnell is a Republican,
and in 1895 was elected a member of the board of education.
Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and
the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is a member of the Methodist
Episcopal church, and was one of the first members of the Zane Street M.
E. church when it was organized in 1866.

John Yeasted

From “History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and
Representative Citizens,” by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902.

Typed by E. J. Heinemann

p. 705

JOHN YEASTED, who is practically retired from business activities and
resides at Elm Grove, was elected on the People’s ticket in January,
1900, a member of the town council and was chairman of the committees
on streets and alleys, and petitions. He was born in Germany,
September 19, 1851, and is a son of Peter Yeasted.
Peter Yeasted was born in Germany, and came to this country in
1853, and followed the occupation of farmer. Careful and saving in
habits, he finally purchased a farm which he owned until the day of his
death, at seventy-two years. He was united in marriage with Elizabeth
Schonedice. Besides John, they had another son, Adam.
John Yeasted was two years of age, when in 1853 he was brought to
this country by his parents. His early mental training was obtained in
the common schools, and at the age of seventeen years he began working
out by the day, which he continued until his marriage, in 1873. He
then worked the old home farm, and after his father’s death purchased
the outstanding interests of the heirs. He now owns the old place and
resided upon it until 1898, when he purchased land in Elm Grove, and
built a handsome 10-room residence. His home is modern in all its
details, and is equipped with all modern conveniences. He has also
built other houses in Elm Grove, which he rents. He is a man of high
standing in his home town, and enjoys the esteem and respect of all.
April 17, 1873, Mr. Yeasted was joined in matrimony with Lourena
Jane Betzer, who was born January 5, 1853, and is a daughter of Andrew
and Eliza (Edwards) Betzer. Her father was born in Germany, and early
in life came to this country and became a successful farmer. Her
mother was of English descent; both are deceased. Fraternally Mr.
Yeasted is a member of Mystic Lodge, No. 24, K. of P., having joined it
in 1884. Religiously he and his wife are members of the Stone
Presbyterian church.

N. Price Whitaker

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

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



WHITAKER, N. PRICE. (Republican.) Address:
Wheeling, West Va. Born in Cecil county, Maryland;
educated in the public schools of Lawrenceville, N. J.,
and at Cornell University. Since coming to West Virginia,
Mr. Whitaker has been largely identified with the steel
manufacturing business and has met with marked success.
He is also prominently connected with other business
enterprises. He was elected as one of the members of the
House of Delegates from Ohio county in 1916; during the
1917 sessions had the following committee assignments:
Taxation and Finance, Railroads, Forestry and Conser-

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Andrew Glass

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
December 4, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg.68 & 69

ANDREW Glass is one of the very active and influential younger men in the
industrial and commercial life of Wheeling, and his practical field of
experience since leaving school has been the iron and steel industry.

He was born at Wheeling, June 25, 1881, son of Woodward W. and Mary C. Glass.
His grandfather, Andrew Glass, was one of the original stockholders of the
LaBelle Iron Works, one of the pioneer iron industries at Wheeling, established
seventy years ago, and now a subsidiary of the Wheeling Steel Corporation.

Mr. Andrew Glass acquired most of his public school education in Chicago, and
as a youth became a salesman in the Chicago store of the Wheeling Corrugating
Company. Later he was made general manager of the Portsmouth, Ohio, works of
the Whitaker-Glessner Company, and for several years past has been president of
the Whitaker-Glessner Company and vice president of the Wheeling Steel
Corporation and his business offices are in the Wheeling Steel Corporation

Mr. Glass is a republican, a Knight Templar Mason and Shriner and a member of
the Elks, and belongs to the Fort Henry Club, Wheeling Country Club and the
Columbus Athletic Association. August 2, 1920, he married Dorothy Varner, and
they have an infant son, Alexander Glass.

William H. Magee

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Chris & Kerry
December 5, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg.68 & 69

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg.65 & 66

WILLIAM H. MAGEE, who was born in the country north of Wheeling, is now designer
for the Central Glass Works of Wheeling, has concentrated the energy and study
of his mature career to the glass industry, and has filled a number of expert
and responsible offices with glass plants all over the Ohio Valley.

Mr. Magee was born at Wellsburg, West Virginia, October 15, 1878. His father,
Joseph Magee, was born in Donegal, Ireland, in 1841. He lived there until he was
twenty, then crossed the ocean to Hamilton, Canada, and for two years was
employed as a physician’s assistant in a hospital. On leaving Canada he went to
Akron, Ohio, learned the tinner’s trade, and followed it as a journeyman for
seven years. In 1870 he located at Wheeling, and owned and operated a tin shop
and store at the corner of Eleventh and Market streets until 1877. In that year
he removed to Wellsburg, where he continued the same line of business. From 1888
to 1898 he conducted his business at one of the leading centers of the Ohio oil
fields, Findlay. For twenty years following he was in business at Newark Ohio
and in 1918 retired and now, at the age of eighty, is living at Charleston,
West Virginia. He is a republican, a stanch member of the Episcopal Church, and
is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias. Joseph Magee married Hannah
Richardson, who was born at Wheeling in 1849. Her father, William Richardson,
was a native of England, came to the United States and settled at Wheeling when
a young man, and was a merchant tailor for many years. He married in Wheeling,
Elizabeth Barrett, who was born in Ireland in 1808 and died at Findlay, Ohio, in
1892. Joseph Magee and wife had three children, William H. dying in infancy and
the third son was also named William H., he being the glass maker at Wheeling.
The second son, Charles Frizzell, is a clergyman of the Episcopal Church with
home at Charleston, West Virginia. There was also an adopted daughter, Hannah
Ethel, who died at Newark, Ohio, in 1918, wife of Franze Bahlke, who is now an
employe of the Republic Truck Company at Alma, Michigan.

William H. Magee spent the years of his childhood and early youth in Wellsburg,
West Virginia, and Findlay, Ohio, acquiring his public school education there.
He left school at thirteen, and his labors as boy and man have been entirely
devoted to the glass industry. He was a boy worker in the mold department of
the Dalzell, Gilmore & Leighton Company at Findlay for seven years. From 1898 to
1902 he was mold maker for the A. H. Heisey Glass Company at Newark, Ohio. He
first came to the Wheeling industrial district to take charge of the mold
department of the West Virginia Glass Company at Martins Ferry. This plant was
abandoned in 1904 and Mr. Magee was then put in charge of the mold department
of the Jefferson Glass Company at Steubenville, Ohio, in 1906 went to Rochester,
Pennsylvania, to fill a similar position with the H. C. Fry Glass Company, was
there two years, and did similar work for the McKee Glass Company at Jeannette,
Pennsylvania. He then returned to the Jefferson Glass Company, who had relocated
at Follansbee, West Virginia, and was general manager of that plant until 1910.
For nearly a year he was in charge of the mold department of the Imperial Glass
Company of Bellaire, and on January 1, 1911, he organized and opened the Grafton
plant of the Columbia Tile Company. He continued as general manager of this West
Virginia industry until January, 1915. From that date until January 1, 1921 Mr.
Magee had charge of the mold department of the Libbey Glass Company at Toledo,
Ohio. On leaving Toledo he came to Wheeling as designer for the Central Glass
Works. This is one of the prominent industries of the Wheeling District, located
at Fifteenth and McColloch streets.

Mr. Magee is a republican in politics, a member of the Episcopal Church, and is
well known in glass manufacturing circles and as a citizen of a number of
communities. During the war he acted as salesman in every one of the five loan
campaigns. He owns a modern home at Park View, Elm Grove, Wheeling. He married
at Wellsburg, West Virginia, in 1903, Miss Margaret Frances Spooner, daughter
of Samuel and Anna (Carless) Spooner, now deceased. Her father was a rolling
mill heater in sheet iron mills. Mrs. Magee was reared and educated in Wheeling,
and died at Toledo, Ohio, February 23, 1921. She is survived by four children:
William Spooner, born at Steubenville, Ohio, May 1, 1904; Nancy Lee, born at
Rochester, Pennsylvania, April 7, 1906; Samuel Joseph, born at Follansbee, West
Virginia, December 11, 1908; and Robert Barrett, born at Grafton, West Virginia,
November 7, 1912.

Conservative Life In

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
September 29, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume 111
Pg. 362

The Conservative Life Insurance Company. With full measure of consistency may
this publication offer brief review of the Conservative Life Insurance Company
of Wheeling, West Virginia, for the institution is one that is gaining high
rank and unequivocal success, and had proved a source of just pride, as well as
value, to the city and state in which if figures as a “home corporation.”

This company was organized and incorporated, under the laws of West Virginia,
in the year 1906, with an authorized capital of $500,000. When its first policy
was issued, in April, 1907, the assets of the company were about $14,000. Of
all that has since been achieved an idea is conveyed by the brief notation that
at the close of the year 1920 the assets of the company aggregated $1,575,344.56,
an increase of nearly $400,000 over the preceding year. From an appreciative
article that appeared in the publication entitled “Money and Commerce,” are
taken the following pertinent quotations. After noting that annual statement
of the company for the year 1920 the article continues as follows: “Thus it
will be seen that from a very meager beginning it has progressed and advanced
each year until it now stands among the leading financial institutions in the
country. It has always been the aim and policy of the management to build up
the institution on a solid and safe foundation, and to that end great care has
been exercised in the selection of insurance risks, investment of the funds,
and the systematic conducting of its affairs in such a way as to give to the
public every attractive and up-to-the-minute form of policy, together with the
creation of a permanent agency organization, which now numbers approximately
two hundred fifty men and women, representing it in the states of West Virginia,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. With
the constant opening of new state, with the agency force increasing in numbers,
and with the volume of business constantly expanding, and naturally the
resources of this institution cannot help but swell in proportion, and its
future growth and stability can be measured only on the basis of the amazing
financial growth of some of the institutions of this kind in the East. Since
its organization the company has paid out over $600,000 in death claims, and
has withstood not only the great World war but also the greatest epidemic the
world has ever known, Spanish influenza. This alone increased the expected
mortality by over one-half, yet each and every claim was paid the same day that
proofs of death were filed and approved at the home office. This alone
demonstrates to the public at large the financial strenght of the company, and
is positive evidence and proof of the soundness and stability as well as of the
just and equitable treatment received by the policy-holders and their

The home offices of the Conservative Life Insurance Company are established in
a fine building that bears the company’s name and that is owned by the company.
This is an enlarged and remodeled structure, the base of which was the old post
office or Federal Building at Wheeling, and with the purchase more recently of
adjoining property on which was situated the Colonial Theater the company now
owns a block 132 feet square-one of the most valuable properties in the city.

In conclusion may be given extracts from a New York financial periodical, the
New York Commercial, whose representative found fully justified the “claim that
Wheeling has one of the most successful and best managed life-insurance
companies in cities of this class in America.” The article further states that
the ultimate test of a company’s financial solidity is the relation of
liabilities to assets, and that, gauged by this test, some of the smaller
insurance companies hold the commanding position, “and this is true of the
Conservative Life of Wheeling.” In Commenting on the specially liberal
policies marking the conduct of the business and the company’s adoption of
“multiform” insurance, the article continues thus: “This contract has been the
means of the company writing as much or more business in its home state as any
other company operating in the State of West Virginia, and the contract has
proved so popular that it is now being copied by some of the older and larger
companies. The wonderful success and progress of this enterprising concern is
due to the competent staff of officers and agents. Clem E. Peters, the
efficient secretary and treasurer of the company, who is recognized as one of
the leading insurance men of this district, has perhaps been more of a factor
in bringing the company through to its present high standing than any other
individual connected therwith, because it has been through his untiring efforts
that the company has attained its present high rank in financial circles.

Of the secretary and treasurer of the company more specific mention is made in
preceding biography.