Category Archives: WV

Rebecca Jane Clay

Rebecca Jane Clay Cantley

This article was reproduced with the punctuation
capitalization used by the original author.

Transcribed by Jo Alice Bradley



Rebecca Jane Clay, daughter
of Charles L. and Awry Clay, was born in Pike county Kentucky June 25, 1828.
When but a baby her parents left their Kentucky home, and came to Wyoming
county, W. Va., to make a new home in the Mountain State, and as this home
was being built, one by one, sisters and brothers were added to the family
until there were four boys and six girls.
        During this home life in Wyoming county,
the subject of this sketch, then a little girl of twelve years, at a camp
meeting held in their community, heard and heeded the call of Jesus Christ
to “Follow Me,” and then and there accepted and publicly confessed Him as
her Savior, and united with the Methodist church and began the christian life.
        After living in Wyoming county some
eighteen years, her parents sought a new home, coming to Raleigh county and
locating at Brackenridge. While living there another sister and brother came
into the home. Brackenridge was their home but four years when they moved
to Sand Lick where they made their home until death, August 1, 1852.
        While living at Brackenridge, the
subject of this sketch, Rebecca, the oldest daughter, was married to James
Cantley, and they spent the first two years of their married life at the
Cottle place, now better known as Saxon. While living here their first child,
Nettie J., was born. They next for a part of one year at what is now known
as the old flats, and during their brief stay there they were blessed with
the second baby Nancy Jane.
        From that place they moved to the
present home, where Mrs. Cantley spent the rest of her days. Two other children
came to live in this little family, Ellen and James. Ellen, however, after
four years, went to live with him Him who said, “Suffer the Little Children
to Come Unto Me.”
         When Lincoln issued the call
for 75,000 volunteers in 1861, James Cantley responded to that call, left
his faithful wife and beloved little ones to go out never to return for in
the battle of Cross Keys, Sheandoah Valley, Va., he received a wound that
soon proved fatal. He was taken to the Harrisburg hospital, and after ten
days started for home, getting as far as Cumberland, Md., where his strength
failed, and he departed this life and was buried at that place.
        Mrs. Cantley, now a widow with the
three little ones, took up the battle of life, with its toils and bravely
met the responsibilities, doing as best she could-trusting always in Him to
whom she had yielded her life as a child. Her friends and neighbors pay her
the splendid tribute of calling her a good, kind christian woman. She departed
this life “looking unto Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of her faith,” on
May 26, 1910, aged 81 years, 11 months and 1 day, leaving to morn their loss,
two daughters, one son, sisters, brothers, twenty grand-children, thirty-one
great-grand-children, and many other relatives as well as a great host of

G. A. Reaugh     

John B. Clifton


The History of West Virginia, Old and New

Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,

Chicago and New York, Volume III,

pg. 366


JOHN B. CLIFTON. One of the youngest coal operatorsin Raleigh County,
John B. Clifton as a boy took up railroading, spent several years in growing
responsibilities in the railroad service, and had the expert qualifications
as a traffic man when he turned to the coal industry. It has been his fortune
to associate with prominent men, and

among them he is regarded as one of the coming leaders in the coal
industry of West Virginia.

Mr. Clifton was born at Ridgeway, Montgomery County, Virginia, July
27, 1891, son of James W. and Mary K.

(Kelley) Clifton, both natives of Virginia, and his father a farmer.
He is of English ancestry. John B. Clifton

attended the common schools of Montgomery County until he was sixteen
years of age, then learned telegraphy, and his first assignment of duty
was as an operator on the Norfolk & Western. He served with that road
from 1907 until 1910, and then became general operator for the Virginia
Railway, his duties taking him all over the line.  Beginning in 1912,
he acted as car distributor for the road, but resigned in 1915 to go into
the coal business on the Stone Coal Branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio. 
At that time he became part owner of the Beckley Smokeless Coal Company.
He sold his interest in that organization in 1919, and since then has helped
organize and has been active as a business representative and as a member
of producing and sales companies operating in the Raleigh County field.
These include the Raleigh Smokeless Coal Company, Guyan Collieries Company,
Wilton Smokeless Coal Company, Wood-Peck Fuel Company, Red Ash Coal Company.
Mr. Clifton also has interests in South America, the Raleigh Smokeless
Fuel Company maintaining an office at Rio Janeiro, Brazil.

Submitted by Valerie Crook


USGENWEB NOTICE:  These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced
in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. 
Persons or organizations desiring to use this material,

must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative
of the submitter, and contact the listed USGenWeb archivist with proof
of this consent. Files may be printed or copied for personal use only.



Robert M. French



The History of West Virginia, Old and New

Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,

Chicago and New York, Volume III,

pg. 365

ROBERT M. FRENCH has earned real distinction in the financial life of
Raleigh County. Throughout his active

manhood he has been in the service of the oldest bank of the county,
the Bank of Raleigh, and is now cashier of

that institution, which ranks among the strongest banks in this section
of the state.

Mr. French was born at Logan, West Virginia, December 17. 1888, son
of Millard F. and Ellen (Wilburn) French, both natives of Virginia. His
ancestors were soldiers in the Revolution, and his grandfather was Henderson
French, a farmer and blacksmith. Millard F. French was a physician, and
practiced a number of years at Logan and later at Beckley, where he died
in 1908. He was an elder in the Christian Church and a member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows. The mother is still living at Beckley.

Robert M. French as a boy attended the common schools at Logan, graduated
in 1907 from the State Normal School at Athens, and also spent two years
in West Virginia University at Morgantown. About the close of his university
career Mr. French entered the Bank of Raleigh as bookkeeper.  Two
years later he was advanced to assistant cashier, a post he held six years,
and since then has been cashier, and for eight years has been one of the
bank directors. The Bank of Raleigh was established in 1899, and its stockholders
and directors have included many of the most substantial men of Raleigh
County. During the World war Mr. French was connected with all the bond
drives in Raleigh County.

At Athens, West Virginia, in 1912, he married Hattie L. Vermillion,
daughter of S. I. and Rhoda (Bird) Vermil-

lion, natives of West Virginia. Her mother is now deceased. Her father
is a surviving Confederate veteran who

served with the Virginia Regiment of Cavalry, and among other battles
was at Gettysburg. He followed farming as his active vocation. Mr. and
Mrs. French have two children, Robert M., Jr., and Elizabeth Ann. The family
are members of the Christian Church, and he is a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight
of Pythias and a member of the Rotary Club.

Submitted by Valerie Crook


USGENWEB NOTICE:  These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced
in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. 
Persons or organizations desiring to use this material,

must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative
of the submitter, and contact the listed USGenWeb archivist with proof
of this consent. Files may be printed or copied for personal use only.



Martin Van Buren Godbey


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


pg. 724

Born in Raleigh county, December 19,1879; educated in the public
schools, at Marshall College and at Grant University; a physician
and surgeon; received the degree of M. D. from Maryland Medical
College; elected to the House of Delegates from Boone county in
1908; a member of the State Board of Health 1909-13; elected to
the State Senate in 1914, from the Eighth District; in 1917 had
the following committee assignments: Forestry and Conservation
(Chairman); To Examine the Clerk’s Office (Chairman); Railroads,
Insurance, Mines and Mining, Medicine and Sanitation, Public
Printing, Rules, Virginia Debt. Appointed Chief Medical Examiner
of the Workmen’s Compensation Fund, May 1,1917.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook


Lewis Wetzel

“Adventure of Lewis Wetzel”
From The Casket, 1837

Amongst the heroes of border warfare, Lewis Wetzel held no inferior station. –Inured to hardships while yet in boyhood, and familiar with all the varieties of forest adventure, from that of hunting the beaver and the bear, to that of the wily Indian, he became one of the most celebrated marksmen of the day. His form was erect, and of that height best adapted to activity, being very muscular, and possessed of great bodily strength. From constant exercise, he could without fatigue bear prolonged and violent exertion, especially that of running and walking ; and he had, by practice, acquired the art of loading his rifle when running at full speed through the forest; and, wheeling on the instant, he could discharge it with unerring aim, at the distance of eighty or one hundred yards, into a mark not larger than a dollar. This art he has been known more than once to practice with fatal success on his savage foes.

A marksman of superior skill was, in those days, estimated by the other borderers much in the same way that a knight templar, or a knight of the cross, who excelled in the tournament or the charge, was valued by his contemporaries, in the days of chivalry. Challenges of skill often took place; and marksmen, who lived at the distance of fifty miles or more from each other, frequently met by appointment, to try the accuracy of their aim, on bets of considerable amount. Wetzel’s fame had spread far and wide, as the most expert and unerring shot of the day. It chanced that a young man, a few years younger than myself, who lived on Dankard’s creek, a tributary of the Monongahela river, which waters one of the earliest settlements in that region, heard of his fame, and as he also was an expert woodsman, and a first rate shot, the best in his settlement, he became very desirous of an opportunity for a trial of skill. So great was his desire, that he one day shouldered his rifle, and whistling his faithful dog to his side, started for the neighborhood of Wetzel, who, at that time, lived on Wheeling Creek, distant about twenty miles from the settlement on Dunkard’s creek. When about half way on his journey, a fine buck sprang up just before him. He levelled his gun with his usual precision, but the deer,
though badly wounded, did not fall dead in his tracks. His faithful dog soon seized him and brought him to the ground, but while in the act of his doing this, another dog sprang from the forest upon the deer, and his master, making his appearance at the same time from behind a tree, with a loud voice claimed the buck as his property, because he had been wounded by his shot and seized by his dog. It so happened that they had both fired at once at this deer, a tact which may very well happen where two active men are hunting on the same ground, although one may fire at the distance of fifty yards, and the other at one hundred. The dogs felt the same spirit of rivalry with their masters, and quitting the deer, which was already dead, fell to worrying and tearing each other. In separating the dogs, the stranger hunter happened to strike that of the young man. The old adage, “strike my dog, strike myself,” arose in full force, and without further ceremony, except a few hearty curses, he fell upon the hunter and hurled him to the ground. This was no sooner done than he found himself turned, and under his stronger and more powerful antagonist. Discovering that he was no match at this play, the young man appealed to the trial of rifles, saying it was too much like dogs, for men, and hunters, to fight in this
way. The stranger assented to the trial, but told his antagonist that before he put it fairly to the test, he had better witness what he was able to do with the rifle, saying that he was as much superior, he thought, with that weapon, as he was in bodily strength. He bid him place a mark the size of a shilling on the side of a huge poplar that stood beside them, from which he would start with his rifle unloaded, and running a hundred yards at full, and wheeling, would discharge it instantly to the centre of the mark. The feat was no sooner proposed than performed! the ball entered the centre of the diminutive target: astonished at his activity and skill, his antagonist instantly inquired his name. Lewis Wetzel, at your service, answered the stranger. The young hunter seized him by the hand with all the ardor of youthful admiration, and at once acknowledg- ed his own inferiority. So charmed was be with Wetzel’s frankness, skill, and fine
personal appearance, that he insisted upon his returning with him to the settlement on Dunkard’s creek, that he might exhibit his talents to his own family, and to the hardy backwoodsmen, his neighbors. Nothing loth lo such an exhibition, and pleased with the energy of his new acquaintance, Wetzel consented to accompany him; shortening the way with their mutual tales of hunting excursions and hazardous contests with the common enemies of the country. Amongst other things, Wetzel stated his manner of distinguishing the footsteps of a white man from those of an Indian, although covered with moccasins, and intermixed with the tracks of savages. He had acquired this tact from closely examining the manner of placing the feet; the Indian stepped with his feet in parallel lines, and first bringing the toe to the ground : while the white man almost invariably places his feet at an angle with the line of march. An opportunity they little expected, soon gave room to put his skill to the trial. On reaching the young man’s home, which they did that day, they found the dwelling a smoking ruin, and all the family lying murdered and scalped, except a young woman who had been brought up in the family, and to whom the young man was ardently attached. She had been taken away alive, as was ascertained by examining the trail of the savages.

Wetzel soon discovered that the party consisted of three Indians and a renegade white man, a fact not uncommon in those early days, when, for crime or the love of revenge, the white outlaw fled to the savages, and was adopted on trial into their tribe.

As it was past the middle of the day, and the nearest assistance still at some considerable distance, and there were only four to contend with, they decided on instant pursuit. As the deed had very recently been done, they hoped to overtake them in their camp that night, and perhaps before they could cross the Ohio river, to which the Indians always retreated after a successful incursion, considering themselves in a manner safe when they had crossed to its right bank, at that time occupied wholly by the Indian tribes.

Ardent and unwearied was the pursuit, by the youthful huntsmen; the one, excited to recover his lost mistress, the other, to assist his new friend, and to take revenge for the slaughter of his countrymen slaughter and revenge being the daily business of the borderers at this portentous period*(Between 1782 and 1784). Wetzel followed the trail with the unerring sagacity of a bloodhound; and just at dusk traced the fugitives to the noted war path, nearly opposite to the mouth of Captina creek, emptying into the Ohio, which, much to their disappointment, they found the Indians had crossed, by forming a raft of logs and brush, their usual manner when at a distance from their villages. By examining carefully the appearance on the opposite shore, they soon discovered the fire of the Indian camp in a hollow way, a few rods from the river. Lest the noise of constructing a raft should alarm the Indians, and give notice of the pursuit, the two
hardy adventurers determined to swim the stream a few rods below. This they easily accomplished, being both of them excellent swimmers ; fastening their clothes and ammunition in a bundle on the tops of their heads, with their rifles resting on the left hip, they reached the opposite shore in safety; after carefully examining their arms, and putting every article of attack or defence in its proper place, they crawled very cautiously to a position which gave them a fair view of their enemies, who, thinking themselves safe from pursuit, were carelessly reposing around their lire, thoughtless of the fate that awaited them. They instantly discovered the young woman apparently unhurt but making much moaning and lamentation, while the white man was trying to pacify and console her with the promise of kind usage, and an adoption in the tribe. The young man, hardly able to restrain his rage, was for firing and rushing instantly upon them.–Wetzel, more cautious, told him to wait until daylight appeared, when they could meet with a better chance of success, and of also killing the whole party, but if they attacked in the dark, a part of them would certainly escape. As soon as daylight dawned, the Indians arose and prepared to depart. The young man selecting the white renegade, and Wetzel an Indian, they both fired at the same time, each killing his man. The young man rushed forward knife in hand, to relieve the young woman, while Wetzel reloaded his gun and pushed in pursuit of the two surviving Indians, who had taken to the woods, until they could ascertain the number of their enemies. Wetzel, as soon as he saw that he was discovered, discharged his rifle at random, in order to draw them from their covert. Hearing the report, and finding themselves unhurt, the Indians rushed upon him before he could again reload. This was as he wished: taking to his heels, Wetzel loaded as he
ran, and suddenly wheeling about, discharged his rifle through the body of his nearest, but unsuspecting enemy. The remaining Indian, seeing the fate of his companion, and that his enemy’s rifle was unloaded, rushed forward with all energy. the prospect of prompt revenge being fairly be- fore him. Wetzel led him on, dodging from tree to tree, until his rifle was again
ready, when suddenly turning, he shot his remaining enemy, who fell dead at his feet. After taking their scalps, Wetzel and his friend, with their rescued captive, returned in safety to the settlement. Like honest Joshua Fleetheart, after the peace of 1795, Wetzel pushed for the frontiers on the Mississippi, where he could trap the beaver, hunt the buffalo and the deer, and occasionally shoot an Indian, the object of his mortal hatred. He finally died as he had always lived, a free man of the forest.

Submitted by: Alan Wiley
date:June 1, 2003

Andrew Jackson Mullens

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



Address: Mullens, West Va. Delegate from the county
of Wyoming; resides at Mullens. Born in Tazewell
county, Virginia, in 1857; educated in the common
schools of Pike county, Kentucky; located subsequently in
McDowell county; was deputy sheriff there in 1892;
removed to Wyoming in 1896; purchased and improved
a tract of land through which the Virginian Railroad now
runs; has served two terms as Justice of the Peace and
two terms as Mayor of Mullens; elected to the Legis-
lature in 1914; re-elected in 1916 and served in the 1917
sessions on the following committees: Forfeited and
Unappropriated Lands, Executive Officers, Library and
State Boundaries.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Eli C. Morris

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
December 9, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II
Pg. 70-71

Eli C. Morris. In the old Keystone State Eli C. Morris was born March 14, 1845,
in Washington County. He was a son of Samuel Morris, a representative of one
of the ster-ng old Pennsylvania families long identified with that gracious
and noble religious organization, the Society of Friends, more commonly known
as Quakers. In Pennsylvania Eli C. Morris was reared to manhood, received
such educational advantages as were offerred in the schools of the period, and
in his youth learned the trade of millwright, in connection with which he
assisted in the erection of many flour mills, besides eventually becoming a
successful mill operator. In connection with his vocation he came to West
Virginia, where for a time he operated a mill at Elizabeth. Thereafter he
built and equipped a mill at Morristown, which was named in his honor, and
after operating this mill for a time he removed with his family to Washington
County, Ohio, where he passed the remainder of his life and where he died at
Lower Salem in 1914. He was a birthright member of the Society of Friends, and
in his unostentatious career he examplified the sterling characteristics ever
associated with the name of Quaker. His father was implacable in his
opposition to the institution of slavery, and the Morris home in Pennsylvania
was made a station on the historic underground railway which enabled many
slaves to escape bondagein the period leading up to the Civil war. Though the
customs and teachings of the Society of Friends deprecate war in all forms, the
youthful patriotism of Eli C. Morris was such that he transceded these teachings
when the Civil war was precipitated on the nation. He believed
the preservation of the Union was of greater importance than his observance of
the tenets of the faith in which he had been reared, and accordingly he
enlisted in Troop B, Sixth Pennslyvania Cavalry, with which he saw active
service under command of General Sheridan in the historic Shenadoah campaign.
His first wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth McDonald, is survived by one
son. His second wife, Eliza J. (Winland) Morris, still resides in Washington
County, Ohio. Of this union there are two sons and two daughters, and of the
number James G. is the only representative in West Virginia.

James G. Morris is a native of West Virginia, his birth having occured at
Morristown, Wirt County, but he was reared and educated in Washington County,
Ohio. He is now president of the Arrow Lumber Company, one of the important
industrial and comercial concerns of Parkersburg.

Mr. Morris has completed the circle of Scottish Rite Masonry, in which he
has received the thirty-second degree, besides being affiliated with the Mystic
Shrine. He takes deep interest in all that concerns the welfare and
advancement of his home city and is essentially progressive and public spirited.
Mr. Morris wedded Miss Jennie E. Watson, and they have one son, Harold W.

J. Albert Toler

Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 16, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 239
Wyoming County

J. ALBERT TOLER. From the elevated plane of public
service down through the fields of its usefulness to the com-
munity and its honorable connection with a leading profes-
sion and into the privacy of his family circle the career of
J. Albert Toler has been characterized by a constant and
consistent integrity born of high principles. His profes-
sional life has been marked by constant action, and as an
official and citizen he has displayed public spirit exemplified
in a willingness to stand by his convictions and support
worthy movements.

Mr. Toler was born in a little log cabin near Oceana,
on Big Huff Creek, Wyoming County, West Virginia, No-
vember 28, 1883, and is a son of Henry Paris and Darthula
(Brown) Toler. Henry Paris Toler was born at Sun Hill,
Wyoming County, in 1857, and died November 18, 1918.
He was a son of John and Elizabeth “Polly” (Cline)
Toler, and a grandson of Zachariah Toler, who was born in
Ireland and as a young man immigrated to America, settling
in what is now West Virginia, where his son John was born.
When John was still a child the family returned to Ireland,
but again came to America when he was nineteen or twenty
years of age and located below the mouth of Big Cub Creek,
where Zachariah Toler died at the remarkable age of 102
years, after a career spent in farming. A number of
interesting anecdotes are related of the prowess, strength
and endurance of this sturdy old immigrant, as well as of
his son John, also a farmer, who lived to be ninety-four
years of age, and of the latter’s wife, Elizabeth, or
“Polly,” who was nearly 100 years of age at the time of
her demise. Henry Paris Toler passed his life in farming,
in addition to which he dealt in the timber which he cut
from his land and which he contracted to deliver at the river
bank. He was a leader in the Missionary Baptist Church,
and, like the other members of the Toler family, as well as
the Browns (who lived on Big Huff) was a stanch adherent
of the democratic party until 1892, when all became re-
publicans. Aside from Henry P. the members of the family
belonged to the Primitive Baptist faith. At Oceana, West
Virginia, Henry P. Toler was united in marriage with Miss
Darthula Brown, who was born on Big Huff Creek, Wyom-
ing County, a daughter of Jack Brown. She survives her
husband and for the most part makes her home with her
son, J. Albert. Of the eleven children of Henry P. and
Darthula Toler nine are living, four of these being sons, all
self-educated: W. R., who is a justice of the peace at
Mullens; J. Albert, of this notice; John H., a graduate of
Concord Normal School and West Virginia University, who
is now principal of the Mullens District High School; and
Buren H., a graduate of Concord Normal School, who also
attended the State University, served in the World war,
and is now superintendent of schools of the Slab Fork

In his youth J. Albert Toler attended the schools of the
community in which he lived, including the Laurel Branch
school house, a log structure of one room, and when still
little more than a lad entered upon his career as an edu-
cator, a vocation to which he devoted, in all, four years.
His first trip outside of the county occurred when he was
twenty years of age, when he went to the Concord Normal
School at Athens, attending that institution for a part of
two years. He then resumed his teaching activities, and
while thus engaged borrowed law books and began to pre-
pare himself for his chosen profession. Eventually he at-
tended Kentucky University, now Transylvania, and in June,
1907, was admitted to the bar and located at Pineville, the
county seat. There he was in partnership with R. D. Bailey,
now occupying the bench as circuit judge, until 1912, when
he was elected prosecuting attorney and served in that posi-
tion until December 31, 1916. In July, 1917, he was ap-
pointed a member of the County Court of Wyoming County
to fill out the unexpired term of H. M. Cline, resigned.
Later Mr. Toler was in partnership with D. D. Moran, of
Mullens, for two years, but is now engaged in practice alone.
He stands among the leaders of his calling in Wyoming
County, and in his profession is known as a man of sound
ability, a valuable associate and a dangerous competitor.
Mr. Toler has always proven himself a good citizen, sup-
porting worthy movements and contributing to worthy
causes. During the World war he volunteered his services
as a “Four-Minute Man,” and made numerous speeches in
this connection, as he did also in behalf of the Red Cross
and in the loan and other drives, at the same time con-
tributing generously of his private means. He is a stanch
republican in his political allegiance, but has never allowed
party loyalty to blind him to justice. Fraternally he holds
membership in the local lodges of the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, in both of which
he has numerous friends.

On October 28, 1907, Mr. Toler was united in marriage
with Miss Victoria Trent, a daughter of Humphrey and
Arminda Trent, formerly of Rhoderfield, McDowell County,
West Virginia, where Mrs. Toler was born. Five children
have come to this union: Lyman, Raymond, Beatrice, Ruth
and Kate, of whom the last-named died at the age of five
years, October 28, 1930.

John Criss

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Linda Criss
March 26, 2000


John & Ona Nicholas Criss are buried in unmarked graves in Sand Hill
Cemetery, Courtney Ridge, Wirt Co. “JOHN CRISS Last rites were conducted
Wednesday afternoon for John Criss, 67, who passed away Monday at the home
his son, Everett, in Charleston, after a lingering illness of a year.
Before passing on he confessed his faith in the Lord. Funeral services
were held from the Pomroy
Funeral Home with the Rev. Kelcie Board officiating. Burial was made in the
Hill cemetery. Surviving are two sons, Everett of Charleston and Arthur of
Palestine; three daughters, Mrs. Edith Enoch, Mrs. Arizona Somerville of
and Mrs. Bertha Law of Elizabeth. His wife and two children preceded him in
death.” (Wirt County Journal, Friday, Feb. 2, 1940). Information from his
funeral record is as follows: “Deceased John Criss – Residence Elizabeth –
Charge to Evart Criss Station B Charleston – Order given by Evart Criss –
Occupation of deceased Labor – Date of Death Jan. 29, 1940, 4 pm. – Date of
birth Aug 31 1872 67years4months28days – Clergyman Kelcie Board –
Resided in State Life – Place of death Stop 2 Charleston Name of Father
Criss His Birthplace unknown – Maiden Name of Mother Unknown – Her
birthplace Unknown Ship remains to Elizabeth.”
Respecting his wife, I have no obituary for her. I do have a Funeral
Home Record as follows: “Deceased Onna Criss Wife of John Criss Charge to
Co. Court, Elizabeth – Date of funeral May 14, 1935 – Residence Palestine
R2 – Place of death Palestine R2 – Funeral Services at Sand Hill – Time
2pm – Clergyman J. S. Sarver – Certifying physician O. W. Coplin Elizabeth
WVa – Cause of death
pneumonia – Date of Death May 12, 1935 – Occupation Housewife – Married –
Religion – Medoth. – Date of Birth March 5, 1889 – Age 46years2months7days.
Father John Nicklaus Mother Lucy (difficult to read-might be Shank)
Mother birthplace Wood Co. WVa. –
Interment at Sand Hill Cemetery. “

Robert Lester Early

WYOMING COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: EARLY, Robert Lester (published 1923)
Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 16, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 242
Wyoming County

ROBERT LESTER EARLY. Although still included among
the younger generation, the large and varied interests which
have engrossed the time and attention of Robert Lester
Early have brought him to the very forefront among the
progressive business men of Mullens, where he is a member
of the well-known contracting firm of Early Brothers. Es-
sentially a business man, he has not been content to play
only a passive part in municipal affairs, but has brought
his keen abilities to bear in the position of mayor, an office
which he now occupies, thus contributing in no small de-
gree to the general welfare.

Mr. Early was born at Rocky Mount, Virginia, Septem-
ber 2, 1890, and is a son of Jubal A. and Minnie Lee
(Lynch) Early, natives of Franklin County, Virginia. Ju-
bal A. Early was born in 1866, and as a young man learned
the trade of carpenter, which he followed for some years
before developing into a contractor. For some years he
lived at Rocky Mount, and moved from there to Elkhorn,
McDowell County, West Virginia, where, after a short stay,
he moved to Beckley, Raleigh County, and in 1914 came to
Mullens, where he now resides as a member of the firm of
Early Brothers. From the outset of his career Mr. Early
displayed his thorough mastery of every detail of his trade,
and when he became a contractor it was found that he was
never at a loss to know at once the thing to be done, no
matter what the problem or difficulty. Probably no man
in the coal regions of this section did more or better work
in the erection of tipples, miners’ houses, etc., and his con-
tracts were not only extensive, but his work would always
stand the severest tests. Mr. Early is a man who is liberal
in his views, and who has the friendship and esteem of
many. A republican in politics, he has always been active
in committee and convention work and wields not a little
influence in the ranks of his party. He is a Mason, and
while not a professed church member supports the move-
ments of the Baptist Church, to which Mrs. Early, who is
one year his junior, belongs. They have three children:
Anderson Cabell, a member of the firm of Early Brothers;
Robert Lester, of this record; and Lotta B., who resides
with her parents.

Robert Lester Early received his primary education in
the public schools and supplemented this by attendance at
Beckley Institute. When he was still a lad, with his brother
he assisted their father in his various contracts, and thus
received an early introduction to the business, although his
first regular position was with the Link Belt Construc-
tion Company of Philadelphia. From that city he went to
Pittsburgh, where during 1913 and 1914 he was with the
Nacola Construction Company, in the latter year returning
to Mullens, where he joined his brother in the formation of
the firm of Early Brothers. Later their father was admit-
ted as the third member of the concern. The firm of Early
Brothers has practically built Mullens. It has not only
erected many of the business blocks and residences at this
place, but its contracts have extended to various other
communities of Southern West Virginia. Among their con-
tracts at Mullens may be mentioned the Wallingford Hos-
pital, the J. C. Sullivan office building, the Wyoming Ice
and Bottling Company’s plant, the Emmons-Hawkins Whole-
sale Hardware Company Building and the Santon Building.
The firm and its members enjoy the best of reputation in
business circles. A republican in politics, Robert L. Early
was elected mayor of Mullens in 1921 and re-elected to that
office in 1922. He has given the city an admirable admin-
istration, displaying much executive ability and bringing
to bear his abilities as a business man. As a fraternalist
he is a past master of Mullens Lodge, A. F. and A. M., and
a member of Princeton Chapter, R. A. M., in addition to
which he holds membership in the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. With his fam-
ily he belongs to the First Baptist Church, in which he is
serving as a member of the board of trustees.

In 1914 Mr. Early was united in marriage with Miss
Lillian E. Moseley, daughter of J. P. Moseley, of Rich-
mond, Virginia, and they are the parents of three children:
Pauline, Marguerite and Jo Edith.