Category Archives: Pleasants

Jesse Earle Riley

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

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JESSE EARLE RILEY, superintendent of city schools of St. Marys, was at one
time probably the youngest teacher in West Virginia, qualifying for his first
school when he was only fifteen. He has been alternately a student and teacher
ever since, is a Master of Arts from Bucknell University, and has an enviable
record as a teacher and school administrator.

Mr. Riley was born in Taylor County, West Virginia, near Bridgeport, March 27,
1888. In the same vicinity was born his father, James Riley, in October, 1848,
and the grandfather also bore the name James and was born in old Virginia in
1828. The Rileys came from Ireland and were Colonial settlers in Virginia.

James Riley, Sr., as a young man moved to the vicinity of Bridgeport, was
married there, and lived his life as a successful farmer. He died in 1913.

James Riley, Jr., learned a mechanical trade, but for the greater part of his
active life owned and managed an extensive farm near Bridgeport and since 1921
has lived retired at Shinnston in Harrison County. He is a democrat, and a
very active member of the Baptist Church. He married Louisa Withers, who was
born in old Virginia in November, 1850. Their family consisted of eight
children: Effie, wife of Jonah Currey, a flour miller at Bridgeport; Leola,
who died at Enterprise, West Virginia, in 1909, aged thirty-five, wife of
Jesse Anderson, a farmer near Boothsville, West Virginia; Charles, a farmer
who died near Bridgeport in 1908, at the age of thirty-three; Leonard, a
mechanic and contractor at Shinnston; Marion, a general contractor at
Shinnston; Ora, wife of Minor Currey, who is in the lumber business at
Shinnston; Jesse Earle; and Truman, a general contractor at Bridgeport.

Jesse Earle Riley attended the rural schools of Taylor County, graduated from
Broaddus Institute, then located at Clarksburg, with the class of 1909, and
received his A. B. degree from Bucknell University at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania,
in 1914, and won his Master of Arts degree from the same institution in 1916.

He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Bucknell. During 1915
Mr. Riley also took special work in history and economics in West Virginia
University at Morgantown. As a youth of fifteen he was appointed to preside
over a rural school in Taylor County, and taught in rural districts four
years. In 1914 he became an instructor in Latin and registrar of Broaddus
Institute, remaining there a year. For two years he was teacher of science in
the high school of Portsmouth, Ohio, then superintendent of schools at
Harrisville, West Virginia, two years, principal of the high school of New
Martinsville two years, and in June, 1921, came to his present duties as
superintendent of city schools of St. Marys. St. Marys has a well organized
school system, there being six schools, a staff of twenty-five teachers, and a
scholarship enrollment of seven hundred.

Mr. Riley is a member of the West Virginia State Educational Association, and
during the war had an effective part in stimulating patriotism and teaching
Americanism in the schools and was also a worker in the various war drives at
Harrisville. He is a democrat in politics, a member of the Baptish Church, and
is affiliated with Shinnston Lodge No. 24, F. and A. M. Mr. Riley is a
stockholder in the Riley & Riley Company, general building contractors at
Shinnston, an organization in which the active members are his brothers,
previously mentioned.

At Washington, D. C., in 1917 Mr. Riley married Miss Ethel Heiter, daughter of
James 0. and Daisy (Kleckner) Heiter, residents of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Riley is a graduate of the Domestic Science Department of Bucknell
University, and for one year before her marriage was dietitian in the
university. The three eons of Mr. and Mrs. Riley are William born July 27,
1918, John Warren, born February 3, 1920, and Ellwood Withers, born November
20, 1921.

Joseph Frank Smith

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 26

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JOSEPH FRANK SMITH, who is more familiarly known by his second personal name,
is successfully conducting a hotel in the Village of Cower, Webster County,
and is also the owner and operator of a well improved farm in this locality.
He was born in Pleasants County, West Virginia, August 4, 1866, and is a son
of George L. and Margaret E. (Frink) Smith, both natives of what is now
Preston County, this state, where the former was born in 1842 and the latter
in 1841, each having been reared on a pioneer farm in that county. After their
marriage the parents remained on a farm in Preston County until their removal
to Pleasants County, where George L. Smith purchased a farm, and he and his
wife passed the remainder of their lives on this homestead, he having
accumulated and developed a valuable farm estate of 285 acres and his
prosperity having represented the results of his own energetic and well
ordered activities, He and his wife were zealous members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and he was specially active in the work of its Sunday
school, Mr. Smith was a stalwart republican in politics, and was
loyal and public-spirited as a citizen, he having served as a member of the
school board of his district. He survived his wife by many years and was about
fifty-six years of age at the time of his death. Of their seven children there
are living at the time of this writing, in the spring of 1922: Joseph F., of
this sketch, the youngest of the number; William H., a prosperous farmer near
Cleveland, Ohio; and Mary, who is the widow of James Riggs and resides at St.
Marys, Pleasants County, West Virginia. All of the other children attained to

The home farm on which lie was born was the stage of the youthful activities
of Joseph Frank Smith, and his early educational discipline included that of
the high school at St. Marys. He initiated his independent career when he was
but sixteen years of age. He was employed in connection with the construction
of the railroad line from Parkersburg to Kenova, where he served as
superintendent of the work, and he continued his association with this line of
railroad development abort eight years. He purchased a lot in Buckhannon,
erected a house on the same and finally soul the property at a distinct
profit. After severing his connection with railroad construction he purchased
the Summit Hotel at Cowen, and later he purchased a tract of timber land. He
cut and manufactured the timber on this land, made development on the tract
and eventually sold the same for farm usages his financial returns from the
various activities aril the c sale having been very appreciable. He is now the
owner of the oldest farm in this section of the county, and has made, the same
one of the model places of this part of the state, the while lie has here
become a leader in the breeding and raising of Hereford cattle, improved
Duroc-Jersey hogs Shropshire sheep and White Leghorn poultry. His landed
estate in Webster County comprises 300 acres. His original hotel at Cowen was
destroyed by fire, and he then purchased the Central Hotel, which he has
since successfully conducted. To connection with farm industry and business
activities Mr. Smith has stood exponent of progressiveness, and the same may
be said of his attitude as a citizen, for he is always ready to lend
cooperation in the furtherance of measures and enterprises projected for the
general good of the community.

Mr. Smith has had much of leadership in connection with the councils and
campaign activities of the republican party in Webster County, and has served
as chairman of its executive committee for this county. When he was made the
party nominee for county sheriff he was defeated by only thirty-two votes,
in a county that at that time gave a normal democratic majority of 400 votes.
In the Masonic fraternity Mr. Smith is affiliated with Camden Lodge No. 107,
A. F. and A. AM; Sutton Chapter No. 29, R. A. M.; Sutton Commandery No. 16,
Knights Templar; and Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine in the City of

In 1894 Mr., Smith wedded Miss Dora E. Vance, who was reared and educated in
Webster County. They have three children: Hosea A. is a graduate of the
University of West Virginia: Ruth K. graduated from the State Normal School qt
Fairmont, and is, in 1922, in the extension department of agriculture in
connection with the University of West Virginia at Morgantown; and Joseph F.,
Jr., is a student in Augusta Military Academy at Fort Defiance, Virginia. Mr.
and Mrs. Smith are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which
he is serving as a member of the official board.

John B. Watson

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg 39

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JOHN B. WATSON, M. D. For over thirty years Dr. Watson was performing his
duties as a physician and surgeon, and most of that time has been a resident
of St. Marys, his native town, in which he grew up and in which he has won the
recognition of old time friends and associates, both in a professional
capacity and as a high minded citizen.

Dr. Watson was born at St. Marys May 5, 1862. His grandfather, John Watson,
was born in England in 1807 and as a young man came to America and settled on
a farm near St. Marys, where he married Rosanna Barker, a native of Pleasants
County. John Watson was a millwright, and he and his wife spent the rest of
their years in and around St. Marys, where he died in 1894. The son, Andrew J.
Watson, was born in Pleasants County in 1840 and was for a number of years
identified with merchandising at St. Marys. In 1881 he removed to East
Liverpool, Ohio, where he lived practically retired until his death in 1917.

He was a democrat, and a member of the Methodist Protestant Church. His
wife was Miss Charlotte Core, who was born in Harrison County, West Virginia,
in 1838, and died at East Liverpool, Ohio, in October, 1920. Dr. Watson
is the oldest of their large family of children; Mamie, who lives at East
Liverpool, is the widow of William Good; Joseph C. was an oil well driller and
died at East Liverpool in 1920; Mrs. Flora F. Griffin lives at Toronto, Ohio,
where her husband is foreman in a pottery plant; William A. is foreman for the
Newell Street Railway Company at East Liverpool; Iva is the wife of William
Lawson a farmer, at East Liverpool; Charles is a motorman with the Newel
Traction Company at East Liverpool; Virdie lives at East Liverpool, where her
husband is employed in one of the pottery plants; and Andrew J. is a motorman
for the Newell Traction Company.

John B. Watson spent his early life in Pleasants County and attended rural
schools up to the age of thirteen and at that time began earning his own way.
He was employed by his father in shaving staves and also worked in the timber
until he was twenty-one. He came to manhood with a vigorous constitution
but only a common school education. He began the study of medicine under his
uncle, Dr. Joseph B. Watson, at St. Marys, and subsequently entered the
College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, where he graduated in 1887.

After graduating for nine and a half years Dr. Watson practiced at Lawrence in
Upshur County, and since then has performed his professional work at St.
Marys. His offices are on Second Street. Since 1920 he has been county health
officer and is a member in good standing of the State and American Medical
Associations. Dr. Watson is a democrat, has filled all the lay offices in
the Methodist Protestant Church, and is affiliated with St. Marys Lodge No.
41, A. F. and A. M., St. Marys Camp No. 20 Knights of the Maccabees, St. Marys
Lodge No. 22, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and also belongs to the
Knights of Pythias and the Tribe of Ben Hur.

In 1889, at Friendly, West Virginia, Dr. Watson married Miss Linnie F.
Williamson. Two children were born to their marriage Sue Mary, who died at St.
Marys at the age of twenty-seven was the wife of Dr. Jed C. Wilcoxen, a St.
Marys dentist. The only son, Dr. J. Loomis Watson, graduated Doctor of Dental
Surgery from the University of Pittsburgh and was in the Student Army
Training Camp at Pittsburgh during the war. He is now practicing his
profession at Pittsburgh. Mrs. Watson is a daughter of Friend C. Williamson,
who was born in Tyler County, West Virginia, in 1842, and lived there all his
life. He had various business interests, and was an extensive dealer in fruit.

The town of Friendly in Tyler County was named for him, and he was living in
that community when he died in 1911. He was a democrat and was one of the
leading members of the Methodist Protestant Church in his vicinity. He was
also a Mason. Friend C. Williamson married Adelia Thorne, who was born in
Jackson County, West Virginia, in 1844, and is now living in Friendly. Mrs
Watson was educated in the public schools of Friendly, and before her marriage
was a milliner and dressmaker.

William Edward Clovis

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 38

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

WILLIAM EDWARD CLOVIS. During the past seven years Mr. Clovis has devoted his
entire time and energies to a very successful and prosperous automobile
business as an authorized agent for the Ford car in Pleasants County. His
career altogether has been one of well directed effort in different lines. He
has been a teacher, is former sheriff of Pleasants County, and probably is as
well known over the county as any other citizen.

His family has been in West Virginia for several generations. The name Clovis
was transplanted to Pennsylvania in Colonial times from Southwestern Virginia.
His great-grandfather, Conrad Clovis, was born in Pennsylvania, and from that
state moved his family to Hebron, West Virginia, where he lived out his life
as a farmer. The grandfather of William E. Clovis was Solomon Clovis, who was
born in Monongalia County, West Virginia, in 1818, but spent nearly all his
life in Pleasants County and was a cabinet maker by trade. He died in 1876
and is buried at Hebron. His wife was a Miss Wrick, a native and life long
resident of Pleasants County. Amos Clovis, their son, was born near Hebron
August 13, 1854, and since 1885 has been a resident of Maxwell in Pleasants
County. He was a merchant in early life, and since then has been a leading
farmer and still owns two farms at Maxwell. He is a republican and an
active member of the Church of Christ. Amos Clovis married Martha Jane
Fleming, who was born near Fairmont, West Virginia, July 15, 1856.

William E. is the oldest of their children. Dr. Elijah Ellsworth is
one of the state’s prominent physicians and is now superintendent of the State
Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Terra Alta. Cora Elizabeth is the wife of Homer F.
Simonton, Circuit Court clerk of Pleasants County. Harry T. is an oil refiner
at St. Marys, and the youngest, Maurice Lawrence, is in the drug business at

William Edward Clovis was born at Hebron, Pleasants County, November 7, 1876,
and acquired a rural school education there. He finished his education in the
Fairmont State Normal, which he attended altogether for five terms. He was
granted an opportunity to teach school at the age of eighteen, and the first
year he taught in the Jonestown School of his native county. Then for two
years he had charge of the French Creek School, one year in the Ruckman School
on Cow Creek, and his last year was spent in his home school at Nine Mile.
After leaving the schoolroom Mr. Clovis was deputy county assessor one year.
For some time he cherished an ambition to become a physician, and with that in
view he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, but on
account of ill health had to give up those plans after the first year. From
1901 to 1908 Mr. Clovis conducted a mercantile business at Adlai in Pleasants
County. In the fall of 1908 he was elected sheriff, and on January 7,
1909, removed to St. Marys and was the chief law officer of the local courts
through the four year term ending in 1914. During 1913-14 Mr. Clovis was a
member of St. Marys Hardware Company, but in the meantime he had taken the
agency for the Ford cars, and since 1914 has made this his primary business.

He is the authorized agent in Pleasants County for the Ford automobile,
trucks and tractors, and has done the biggest business in that line of any
automobile agency in this section of the state. It is estimated that he has
sold at least ninety per cent of all automobiles bought in the county. During
1920-21 he erected a handsome public garage at the corner of Washington and
Third streets. The garage in 80×80 feet, two stories, and built of brick and
concrete. Mr. Clovis is also a director of the First National Bank of St.
Marys. He still retains a deep interest in educational progress and since July
1, 1919, has been president of the Board of Education in St. Marys. He is
an elder in the Church of Christ, is a republican, and during the war was a
“fourminute” speaker and a worker in behalf of all local patriotic causes.
April 16, 1899, at Gibson in Pleasants County, Mr. Clovis married Miss Mary
Varner, daughter of George W. and Angelia V. (Daniel) Varner, now deceased.
Her father was a minister of the Church of Christ. Mrs. Clovis received a
normal School education and prior to her marriage was a teacher in Pleasants
County for four years. Mr. and Mrs. Clovis have five children, and have given
all of them liberal educational advantages. Eunice Madge, the oldest, born
March 4, 1900, is a graduate of the St. Marys High School and the Fairmont
State Normal, and is now teacher of the fifth grade in the local
public schools. Cora Edith, born October 23, 1901, graduated from the same
schools as her sister and now has charge of the first grade in the St. Marys
public school. The only son, George A., was born October 25, 1903, and is
now a student in Marietta College in Ohio. The two younger children are
Martha Virginia, born November 15, 1906, a student in high school, and Mary
Edna, born November 21, 1910.

Joe Williams

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 36

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JOE WILLIAMS is founder and publisher of the Pleasants County Leader, the
second oldest but the largest newspaper in point of circulation and influence
in Pleasants County and in fact one of the best edited journals in that
section of the state. Mr. Williams has been a citizen of invaluable influence
in St. Marys, is a former representative of Pleasants County, and was also
postmaster of St. Marys for a number of years.

His family were pioneers in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, going into that
mountainous section from old Virginia. His grandfather, Joseph Williams, was
born in 1800, owned a farm, but spent a large part of his time hunting. He
died in Greenbrier County in 1884. His wife was a Miss Brown a native of
the same county, who died in Kansas. James M. Williams, father of the St.
Marys editor, lived all his life on one farm in Greenbrier County, where
he was born in 1837 and died in 1909. He was a soldier in the Union Army.

At first he was a scout attached to the forces of General George Crook. Later
he joined Captain Andrew W. Mann’s Company of State Guards from Greenbrier
County, being enrolled in the Company December 1, 1864, and discharged July
1, 1865. This service was a particularly hazardous one in the No Man’s Land
between the Union and Confederate lines, and he had a full share in that
strenuous campaigning. He was a republican in politics and a member of the
Baptist Church. James M. Williams married Lavina McMillan, who was born in
1838 and died in 1905, spending all her life in Greenbrier County. They
became the parents of seven children: John R., who died on the Williams
homestead at the age of thirty, having taught school for a number of years;
Nellie Frances, wife of Moffat May, a farmer, stock raiser and lumber dealer
living near White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; Luelle, wife of Rev. S. A.
Moody, a clergyman of the Adventist Church near Macon, Georgia; Joe; Mrs.
Maggie Burns, who died on the old home farm; Emra, a farmer at Myrtle Creek,
Oregon; Mrs. Cassie Christian, whose husband operates a part of the Williams

Joe Williams, who was born January 20, 1573, lived on the farm to the age of
eighteen and acquired his early education in the rural schools of Greenbrier
County. For two years he worked for N. S. Bruffey in a store at Falling Spring
in Greenbrier County, and then as clerk for W. H.. Overholt at the same place
about two years. During 1894-95 he attended Michaels University at Logansport,
Indiana, taking a business course, and in the fall of 1895 began in connection
with journalism at Sistersville as an employee of J. H. McCoy on the Daily Oil

On September 12, 1898, Mr. Williams moved to St. Marys and established the
Pleasants County Leader, of which he has since been proprietor and editor. He
owns the Leader Building and the entire plant, and has one of the best
equipped newspaper offices in this section of the state, including linotype
machines, cylinder press, etc. It is a republican paper, circulating
throughout Pleasants and surrounding counties, and has an extensive mailing
list to all the oil sections of the country.

Mr. Williams was postmaster of St. Marys from 1905 to 1913. He was reappointed
by President Taft, but the democratic Senate refused to confirm him for a
third term. He was city treasurer in 1914-15, and in November, 1918, was
elected on the republican ticket to represent Pleasants County in the State
Legislature. He was one of the very useful members in
the sessions of 1919-20. As a member of the educational committee he
helped frame the present school code. He was chairman of the committee on
executive offices and libraries, and a member of the committees on election
and privileges, insurance and Virginia debt.

Mr. Williams affiliates with the Presbyterian Church, is a past master of St.
Marys Lodge No. 41, F. and A. M., a member of Sistersville Chapter No. 27, R.
A. M., Mountain State Commandery No. 14, K. T., Nemesis Temple of the Mystic
Shrine at Parkersburg, and St. Mary’s Chapter No. 31 of the Eastern Star.
During the war he made the Pleasants County Leader an effective source of
influence and publicity for the Government and every patriotic cause
associated with the winning of the war, and was personally active in the
various drives in his locality. Mr. Williams owns a modern home at 501 First
Street and is also owner of a baseball park at St. Mary.

In 1899 he married Miss Eloise Bachman, daughter of Captain Martin and Margie
E. (Miller) Bachman, now deceased. Her father, who was a lumber manufacturer
at St. Mary, served as a captain in the Union Army during the Civil war. Mr.
and Mrs. Williams have four children: Nellie, born August 19, 1902, is in the
junior class at West Virginia University; and the three younger children, all
attending high school, are Doris, born in June, 1905; Joe, born in August,
1906, and Mazie, born in May, 1908.

James M. Snively

Pleasants County, West Virginia – Biography of James M. Snively.


James M. Snively

Born Sept. 3, 1841, in Monroe County, O., where he was living when he
enlisted, at Clarington, Sept. 15, 1862, as a private in Co. A, 77th. O.V.I.
(16 A.C.); he had previously been engaged for the Government in the Carrying
Trade on the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and was at the Pittsburg Landing
with the steamer Liberty at the time of the battle at that place. At Alton,
Ill., February, 1863, he was sick in hospital with typhoid fever and mumps;
he took part in the fifteen days fighting in and around Little Rock, Ark.,
and from there to Camden, in that State; also in the battle of Mark’s Mills,
the siege of Mobile — including the attacks on Spanish Fort and Fort
Blakely — and in many skirmished and minor engagements. At Mark’s Mills,
April 15, 1864, his haversack and canteen were shot away, and he was
captured by Kirby Smith’s Command. For ten months following, he was a
prisoner at Camp Ford, Texas,, subjected to all the hardships and privations
which the inhuman Commander of that prison-pen could inflict. On being
released from prison he received a parole furlough for thirty days, and on
expiration of same rejoined he command at Mobile, Ala.; he was discharged,
July 19, 1865, at Clarksville, Texas, and Jan. 31, 1867, married in Monroe
county, Mary E. Terry, who was born in the county, Sept. 9, 1846, and died
Feb. 12, 1892, daughter of George and Eliza (Williams) Terry, both now
deceased. They had five children; Ida B. (now Mrs. Steel), b. Dec. 1867,
Clara J., b. Dec. 29, 1870, Cora A., b. March 1, 1872, Emma E., b. Dec. 10,
1874, and Sylvia M., b. June 10, 1883. Mr. Snively’s parents were Benj.
Snively, who served in the 36th. O.V.I. , and was discharged for disability,
died 1867, and Mary A. (Parskale) Snively, born 1869, yet living. Mr.
Snively’s brother John L., served for three years in Co. E, 116th. O.V.I.,
died 1876, and two of Mrs. Snively’s brothers, Franklin and Charles Terry,
were also in the Union Service, the former in an Illinois regiment, and the
latter in the 25th. Ohio, and subsequently, for five years in the Regular
Army. Comrade Snively has served his township as supervisor and school
trustee, and is a class leader in the M. E. Church; he is a member of Hazen
Post, No 66, G.A.R., Dept. of W. Va., and receives a pension; he is a
prosperous farmer, owning 102 acres of good land near Raven Rock, Pleasants
county, W. Va., which is his post office address.

Submitted by Mary Louise Rea Lamp (James’ Great Granddaughter).

Robert Landon Pemberton

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. 464

ROBERT LANDON PEMBERTON was born in Pennington,
Lancashire, England, March 9, 1860, the son of Robert
and Abigail B. (Landon) Pemberton. His grandfather
was Joseph Pemberton and his great-grandfather, John
Ball Pemberton. In the spring of 1863 Robert Pember-
ton, at the age of fifty, came to America, locating near
Philadelphia, and enlisted in Company I of the Pennsyl-
vania Volunteers to repel the invasion of the state by the
Confederates under Lee. In the fall of the same year he
was joined by his wife and children-two daughters and
the son, Robert.

In 1865 the family removed to Alleghany; in 1870, to
Wellsburg, West Virginia; and in 1873, to New Martins-
ville, in the same state. In the last named town the boy,
Robert L., began learning the trade of printer in the
office of the Labor Vindicator, edited and published by
Daniel Long. It was the first paper printed in Wetzel
County. This was in the year 1875, and his connection
with the paper afforded him opportunity to publish verses
and other articles of his own composition.

In 1877 the Labor Vindicator ceased, and in that fall
he went to St. Marys as printer of The Watchword, the
first paper published in Pleasants County, Rev. F. M.
Yates being owner and editor. This paper suspending,
he taught the country school at Mount Olive, below St.
Marys, the following winter, having passed an examina-
tion which entitled him to a first-class certificate.

For several years after this he was employed in print-
ing establishments at various places. On November 24,
1886, he married Margaret C., daughter of Robert Alex-
ander and Annie Carroll Gallaher, and to them were born
two children, Margaret and Robert, the latter dying in

Mr. Pemberton taught one term as assistant principal of
the New Martinsville High School and six years was prin-
cipal of the St. Marys School. In 1890 he was employed
by the Census Bureau in Washington and New York, re-
signing in 1891, when he read law and was admitted to
the bar.

In 1894 he was elected superintendent of schools for
Pleasants County, serving four years. In 1910 he was
elected a member of the House of Delegates, in which he
was appointed chairman of the committee on printing,
of the committee of executive buildings, and was a mem-
ber of several other committees.

In 1902 he became part owner of the St. Marys Oracle,
and in 1911 became sole owner, improving the plant by
installing new presses and linotype machines.

He has contributed short stories and occassionally verse
to eastern newspapers and magazines. For several years
he conducted a column of verse and prose under the head
of “Random Remarks” in the Oracle, and has published
two volumes of verse, one entitled “Random Rhymes”
and the other “Songs in Merry Mood.” In the last five
years he has written several serial stories. During twenty-
five years he has been trustee and senior warden of the
Episcopal Church of St. Marys. He is a member of the
West Virginia Press Association, and also a member of
the American Press Humorists.

James Denton Dinsmoor

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg 161

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JAMES DENTON DINSMOOR With the development of the Oil district around St.
Marys no name has been more prominently identified than that of Dinsmoor.
James Denton Dinsmoor is associated with his brother in the firm of Dinsmoor
Brothers, and their father, during his last years, was also a participant in
this development. The Dinsmoor brothers do not confine their operations as
producers to St. Marys, or even to West Virginia, their holdings being
scattered extensively over nearly all the settled Oil districts of the Middle

James D. Dinsmoor has been permanently located at St. Marys for a number of
years, is a banker of that city and also represents this district in the State
Senate. He is of old New England ancestry, members of the family, Scotch Irish
descent, having settled in New Hampshire in Colonial days. One of his
ancestors was an officer in the Revolutionary war. His grandfather was a
soldier in the War of 1812, was born in New Hampshire, and throughout his
active career followed teaching and was an old fashioned and highly educated
schoolmaster. For many years he was identified with the schools of Warren
County, Pennsylvania, where he died.

John C. Dinsmoor, father of Dinsmoor Brothers, was born in Warren County in
1837, was reared and married there, and first engaged in the lumber business.
In 1872 he located at St. Petersburg in Clarion County, where he began mining
coal from his own mine, and was interested in some of the pioneer oil well
operations there. In 1886 he removed to the Tarkill oil field in Venango
County, Pennsylvania, where he was one of the leading producers. Associated
with his sons, he extended his interests to the St. Marys field of West
Virginia, and in 1906 he moved to St. Marys to look after his business in this
district. In 1908 he established his home at Williamstown in Wood County,
where he lived until his death in 1918. As an oil producer he had interests
throughout the Ohio and West Virginia fields. He was a republican, held the
office of school director in Clarion County, Pennsylvania, and was a member of
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Loyal Order Of Moose. John C.
Dinsmoor married Jane Holt, who was born in Warren County, Pennsylvania, in
1838, and died at St. Marys in 1906. James Denton and Lyell E. are the only
two sons of this marriage and comprise the firm of Dinsmoor Brothers at St.
Marys. John C. Dinsmoor married for his second wife Miss Nellie Finny, a
native of Pleasants County and now living at Marietta, Ohio. She has three
young children.

James Denton Dinsmoor attended school in Clarion County and high school at St.
Petersburg, but after the age of fifteen he turned from books and book-
studies to a scene of action. For several years he was a telegraph operator
and station agent with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, being on duty at
Jefferson, Turkey City and other stations in Clarion County. When he was
twenty Mr. Dinsmoor began his long and thorough apprenticeship in the oil
industry. He began as a pumper in the fields of Clarion and Venango counties,
and then successively was a driller, rig builder, tool dresser and even bad
experience in the mills where the pipe and castings for oil wells are

Associated with his brother and father Mr. Dinsmoor came to St. Marys in 1901
and began buying settled oil production. Dinsmoor Brothers have for several
years been by far the largest producing concern in the county, and they rank
among the very largest in the entire state. Mr. Dinsmoor is a senior partner.
and his word is accepted as the ultimate authority in fourteen different Oil,
companies operating through Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois and Pennsylvania. He
and his brother were also pioneers in the development of the oil resources of
Eastern Kentucky, but they sold their interests in that state in 1919. Mr.
Dinsmore is vice president and a member of the executive committee of the
Keener Oil & Gas Company of Ohio. Dinsmore Brothers, whose offices are on
Second Street in St. Mary, own a number of farms, two in Pennsylvania and over
1,000 acres in Peasants County. Mr. Dinsmore is vice president Of the First
National Bank of St. Mary, is a. director of the People’s Bank & Trust Company
Of Marietta, Ohio. and holds stock in two other banks. His home, the finest in
St. Mary, is situated on a commanding eminence on Second Street.

Mr. Dinsmore was elected on the republican ticket. to the State Senate in
November, 1920, beginning his duties in January, 1921. During the first
session he was a member of the committees on finance, mines and mining, labor
and railroads, and was one of the Senate sub-committee of three which drafted
the Gross Sales Tax Bill. During the war Mr. Dinsmore was ready and welcome
every opportunity to contribute or aid in any way the Government in the
successful prosecution of the war. He is a member of the Pleasants County
Automobile Association; St. Mary Lodge No. 41, A. F. and A. M.; St. Mary Lodge
No. 22, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he has been a member of the Odd
Fellows since he was twenty one years of age, joining at Oil City,

In 1905, at St. Mary, he married Miss Nell Gallagher, daughter of Silas and
Rosa J. (Porter) Gallagher, the latter living in the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Dinsmore. Silas Gallagher was a farmer who died at St. Mary, and a portion of
that city occupies his old farm. Five children were, born to Mr. and Mrs.
Dinsmore: Carlton G., born in July, 1906; James Denton Jr., born May 1,
1908; Gordon H. born in 1912; Mary Louise, born in September, 1915; and Jane
Elizabeth, born in July, 1918.. The oldest son, Carlton, is a student in the
Culver Military Academy of Indiana.

Elijah Elsworth Clovis M.D.

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 308

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

ELIJAH ELSWORTH CLOVIS, M. D. The State Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Terra
Alta was established in 1911, and the initial quarters were first opened
for the reception of patients in January, 1913. From the beginning the
superintendent of the sanitarium has-been Doctor Clovis, a West Virginia
surgeon and physician who successfully combated the white plague as his
personal enemy, and soon after recovering came to his present office and

Doctor Clovis was born at Hebron, West Virginia, August 27, 1879. His
grandfather, Solomon Clovis, was a native of Pennsylvania and many years
before the Civil war moved from Greene County, that state, and bought Falls
Mills at Shiloh, West Virginia. Later he located at Hebron, where he became
a manufacturer of brick and tile, also conducted a tan yard, and continued
active in those lines of business the rest of his life. He married
Elizabeth Wriek, a native of Hebron in Pleasants County. Their children
comprised three sons and four daughters, and the three sons and one
daughter, Mrs. Samantha Wagner, are still living. The sons are Benjamin,
Theodore and Amos. The two older sons were Union soldiers in the Civil war.
Amos Clovis was born in Pleasants County in 1854 and lie took up farming as
his vocation instead of giving his attention to the factory or the
merchant’s counter. He was active in this line until advanced years came
on, and he still lives on the farm. He and the other members of the family
have been very stanch republicans, but none of them have been active in
political affairs. Amos Clovis is a member of the Church of Christ. In
Hebron he married Martha J. Fleming, who was born at Fairmont in 1856,
daughter of Enoch Fleming. Their children are: W. Edward, who has the Ford
automobile agency at St. Marys, Dr. Elijah Elsworth; Cora, wife of Homer F.
Simonton, of St. Marys; Harry T., of St. Marys; and Lawrence, a drug clerk
at Huntington.

Elijah Elsworth Clovis grew up around Hebron, where the country air and the
life of the farm contributed to his physical development. He attended the
public schools, taught school four years in a country district, and at the
same time carried on his studies in high school branches preparatory to
entering medical college. Doctor Clovis was graduated in 1905 from the
College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, where lie specialized in
diseases of the chest. After graduation he practiced five years at Hebron,
giving up his professional work when threatened with a breakdown from
tubercular trouble. He employed his will power and his professional
knowledge in his own behalf, and for two years lived in the healthful
atmosphere around Asheville, in Western North Carolina. He practically
recovered his normal health there and then returned to West Virginia, and
in August, 1912, entered upon his duties as superintendent of the
Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Terra Alta.

This institution had provision for only sixty patients when it was opened
in January, 1913. By June of that year the full quota of patients had been
received. Subsequent additions were made to the facilities by sixty more
beds in 1916, forty more in 1919 and forty in 1920, so that at present
there are accommodations for 200 patients, and there is a long waiting list
of applicants, indicating the need for such an institution and also for
additional facilities of that kind. During the past nine years the
sanitarium has treated more than 2,000 patients, and a large number of them
have been out five or six years after being discharged as cured.

Doctor Clovis, on account of his position and also his individual attainments,
is one of the widely known professional men in the state. He is president of
the Preston County Medical Society, a member of the West Virginia State and
American Medical associations and the American Sanitarium Association. He was
made a Mason at Hebron and is a past master of that lodge, a member of Osiris
Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Wheeling, and is affiliated with the Knights of
Pythias and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a member of the Official
Board of the Terra Alta Methodist Church.

At Hebron January 1, 1904, Doctor Clovis married Miss Clara McKnight, who was
born there, a daughter of James B. McKnight. Mrs. Clovis finished her early
education in the Carroll High School, and was a teacher before her marriage,
doing her last work in the grade school at Whiskey Run, Ritchie County. Doctor
and Mrs. Clovis have two daughters, Mildred and Madaline.

John Lafayette Everly

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 608

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JOHN LAFAYETTE EVERLY. Any American community might be proud to claim such
a citizen as the venerable John Lafayette Everly of Grant District, Preston
County, whose years have been spent in exemplification of the best
standards of patriotism, loyalty to his government and his fellow men, and
the cardinal virtues of industry and integrity.

He is member of the old family that was introduced into Preston County by
his grandfather Henry Everly, who came here in company with his brothers
Peter and Joseph. Joseph had fought as a Revolutionary soldier and they
settled in this part of West Virginia soon after the close of the war for
independence, probably coming from Delaware. Henry Everly made settlement
north of Terra Alta in Portland District. On Muddy Creek he set up his
blacksmith shop and continued it in connection with farming. In the late
thirties he moved to the Sandy Creek neighborhood near the present town of
Hudson, buying the Christopher Cale farm. He lived there until his death
about 1852 when about seventy years of age. He was held in high regard as a
citizen, one of the early Lutherans and prominent in that church, and
possessed some education, since he kept his own accounts and was a studious
reader of the Bible and of other current literature. Henry Everly married
Miss Lewis. A brief record of their children is as follows: Peter, who
spent his life in the Bull Run community of Preston County, where he died
at the-age of ninety; Lewis; Polly, who was the wife of Joseph Smith and
lived in Portland District; Sarah, wife of Jacob Cale, died in Pleasant
District at the age of about eighty; Joseph, who was a Union soldier in the
West Virginia Infantry and spent his civil life at Terra Alta; Nancy, wife
of John T. Smith, lived and died at Hazelton; Julia Ann was the wife of
Augustine Wolfe and died in Preston County; William, who moved to Iowa and
served from that state in the Civil war; Henry, who as a young man went to
Ohio and died in Noble County, that state.

Lewis Everly was born in 1811 in Preston County, and acquired such
education as the schools of his day provided. He learned his trade in
Portland District and he erected the first mill on Muddy Creek some time in
the ’30s or even earlier. He operated the mill as long as he lived there,
and when he moved over to Big Sandy he built the first mill at Rockville
about 1852, and conducted this plant through the period of the Civil war.
After he abandoned the mill he applied his energies to the farm and died in
1893. He was a democrat, very active in that party, and a Methodist. Lewis
Everly married Eva Zwyer, a native of West Virginia, daughter of Adam
Zwyer, of German ancestry. She died in August, 1885. Her children were:
John L., whose record follows; Henry, who was a teamster in the Union Army
and died in Preston County in 1882; Adam, who was a Union soldier in the
Fighting Seventh West Virginia, and spent the rest of his life farming in
Pleasants County; William, who was a teamster in the Union Army during the
Civil war, later was a farmer, and is now a merchant in Pleasants County;
Elizabeth, wife of Robert O’Brien, living in Noble County, Ohio; Sivilla
became the wife of Samuel Forman and died in Preston County; Thomas was a
farmer and died in 1882; Joseph is still farming in Grant District; Lewis
Wesley, a farmer near his brother Joseph in the Laurel Run region; and
Sarah J., who married Preston Icing and died near Aurora, Preston County.

John L. Everly was born January 12, 1837, and the incidents and experiences
of his boyhood and youth are largely associated with the old home on Muddy
Creek, in the vicinity of his father’s pioneer mill and his grandfather’s
blacksmith shop. He also came to his majority near Rockville. In 1856-57 he
taught school at Harmony Grove, Pleasants District and in 1858 at Cole,
same district. On July 4, 1861, he entered the Union Army as a member of
Company A of the Fighting Seventh West Virginia Infantry under Col. J. H.
Lockwood of Moundsville, whose wife presented the regiment with an extra
service flag. Mr. Everly after enlisting joined the regiment at Oakland
where he was in training about a month and was then sent out on scout duty.
The first man killed was Zach Caughron, sheriff of Taylor County, who lost
his life not at the hand of the enemy but by members of his own Company A
on account of his refusal to surrender for an offense he had committed
against the state. The first fighting in which Mr. Everly participated was
at Romney, following which came Winchester, Luray, Port Republic, all in
the Shenandoah Valley, then at Harpers Ferry, and from there to Richmond,
where his command was in the battle of Seven Pines. He was at Antietam
September 17, 1862, and the following spring went into the Wilderness
campaign with the battle of Spottsylvania, was at Cold Harbor in June, was
in the battle of Fredericksburg, at Chancellorsville in May, 1864, and had
previously been in the three days’ battle of Gettysburg, fighting during
the second and third days in front of General Pickett’s men when the
Confederates made their final charge. He was at Petersburg in the early
days of the investment of Richmond, and received his honorable discharge in
August, 1864, a month and seven days after the expiration of his
enlistment. His service as a soldier was in some of the greatest battles
and the most arduous campaigns in the principal theater of the war, yet he
escaped wounds, his haversack and canteen only being riddled by bullets.
Once a comrade was shot through the head and a piece of his skull struck
Mr. Everly in the temple and drew a little blood. With more than three
years of fighting he had more than satisfied all his taste for military
life, and after his discharge he returned home and resumed his duties on
the farm. For a time he remained near Rockville, then established his home
near Greenville Furnace where he remained until his heavier
responsibilities were concluded. There he cleared up sixty acres in the
timber, fenced it, and put up the improvements necessary for home and
prosperous agriculture. Among those buildings are two houses and two barns
which are still standing. From 1871 to 1877 he was surveyor of roads.

Though the son of a democratic father Mr. Everly cast his first ballot for
Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and again in 1864, and has been a voting member of
the republican party for sixty years, casting his sixteenth successive
ballot for a national ticket in 1920. He has been interested in community
affairs, but the only local offices he has held have been those of road
surveyor and trustee of district schools. Mr. Everly has been a faithful
church man sixty-five years and is an old fashioned Methodist and one of
the trustees of the Laurel Run congregation. He was one of the building
committee when the church was constructed, and he holds the deed to the
property in the church name. He is a charter member and the oldest brother
of Pisgah Lodge, Knights of Pythias.

In March, 1858, Mr. Everly married Miss Hila Liston. They have gone along
life’s highway band in hand for almost fifty years when their companionship
was severed by her death on February 5, 1918. She was born in Preston
County April 2, 1840, daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth (Smith) Liston. Her
father’s farm was near Harmony Grove Church in Pleasant District, where
Abraham Liston was also reared. Mrs. Everly was a girl of seventeen when
she united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and her life was an
exemplification of its spirit of Christly service. Mrs. Everly was the
mother of the following children: Fletcher Camden; Mintare A.; Serilda
Belle, wife of Philip Gribble of Morgantown; John Barton.
Fletcher Camden Everly, the oldest son, was born August 20, 1859, attended
the local district schools, and his career has been that of a farmer,
though he early learned the trade of carpenter and has built many barns and
other farm improvements in his neighborhood. He married Emma Jane Galloway
and their children are: Flora, wife of Thurman Wolfe; Mary, wife of Robert
Benson; William of Fayette County, Pennsylvania; Ethel, Mrs. Sanford
Christopher; Hazel, wife of Frank Cale; and Earl.

Mintare A. Everly, the second son, was born at Rockville March 29, 1864,
acquired a common school education, and his career has likewise been taken
up with agriculture and he resides on part of his father’s old homestead.
He is a member of the Knights of Pythias. He married Mary L. Speelman July
17, 1885. Their children are: Emma, wife of Harry Ryan of Pisgah; Lillie,
wife of Jesse Fowler of Morgantown; Dayton, of Fayette County,
Pennsylvania; Ray, a farmer near his parents; Goldie, wife of Ellis Fowler
of Morgantown; and Miss Annabelle, the only child at home. M. A. Everly is
surveyor of roads.

John Barton Everly, born April 11, 1873, grew up on the home farm and
acquired a liberal education and as a young man taught school. Since his
marriage he has been farming and lives near Clifton Mills. He married
Arminta Yeast and their children are: Zora, wife of Alva Christopher;
Bertle, who married May Sliger; and Elsie, wife of Guy Gibson. John B.
Everly was county commissioner for Grant District during 1919-20.

These sons of Mr. Everly have his political faith and they also have the
earnestness in civic affairs of their father, though they have seldom
sought office or any other political distinction.