Category Archives: Ritchie

Septimius Hall

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. 736

Members of the House of Delegates.

HALL, SEPTIMIUS. (Democrat.)^Address: New Mar-
tinsville, West Va. One of the delegates from Wetzel.
Bom in Ritchie county February 14, 1847; educated in the
common schools and the New Martinsville high school; is
one of five surviving members of the Constitutional Con-
tion of 1872; served one term in the Senate and numer-
ous terms in House; oldest delegate in point of continuous
service; the present legislature passed a concurrent resolution
in which his long and faithful services were recognized and
highly commended; committee assignments 1917: Virginia
Debt (Chairman); Elections and Privileges, Taxation and
Finance, Insurance, Rules, Forfeited and Unappropriated
Lands, Executive Offices and Library.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Michael Kern Duty

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

DUTY, MICHAEL KERN. (Republican.) Address:
Pennsboro, West Va. Born in a cabin on Hickory Run,
Tyier county, West Virginia; educated in the common
schools, the State Normal School at Fairmont, and the Uni-
versity of Arkansas; studied law at the latter institution
and from it holds the degree of LL. B.; has served as Mayor
of Pennsboro, County Superintendent of Schools and mem-
ber of the House of Delegates; elected to the Senate from
the Third District in 1916; is a hold-over Senator; com-
mittee assignments in 1917: Education (Chairman);
Judiciary, Roads and Navigation, Federal Relations,
Labor, Claims and Grievances, Rules, Forestry and Con-
servation, Forfeited and Unappropriated Lands.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Phineas Randolph Tharp

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 23, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 257-258
Ritchie County

PHINEAS RANDOLPH THARP, a county surveyor of Ritchie
County, with residence and official headquarters at Harris-
ville, the county seat, was born at Auburn, this county,
January 13, 1850, and died November 24, 1921. He was
a son of Timothy and Sarah (Cox) Tharp, the former a
native of Harrison County and the latter of Lewis County.
Timothy Tharp was a boy at the time of his father’s death
and was indentured; or “bound out,” in a family that re-
quired much service of him but gave him few advantages,
especially along educational lines. His alert mind and self-
reliant spirit, however, enabled him to make advancement
after he initiated his independent career. After his mar-
riage he established a modest home on a farm in Lewis
County, and later, with increasing prosperity, he bought
a tract of timbered land near Auburn, Ritchie County. He
reclaimed this place to cultivation, developed a productive
farm, and he and his wife remained on this homestead,
honored citizens of the county, until their deaths, both
having been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Of their family of thirteen children Phineas R., of this re-
view, was the last survivor.

Mr. Tharp was reared on the home farm and attended
in his boyhood and youth both the subscription and public
schools. As a youth he taught three terms in the rural
schools of his native county, and though he was but a boy at
the time of the inception of the Civil war he served 10 1/2
months as a member of Company E, Sixth West Virginia
Volunteer Infantry, as a loyal young soldier of the Union.
Three of his brothers likewise were Union soldiers, W. D.
having been a member of an Iowa regiment, S. S. having
been a member of Company I, Third West Virginia Cavalry,
and the third brother having died while a prisoner of war
in Andersonville Prison.

Mr. Tharp led a busy and useful life, and he prepared
himself thoroughly, through study and practical service, for
the profession of suveyor, so that he was well qualified for
the office which he so ably filled in his native county, and
he served also as a road supervisor, constable and justice of
the peace, and had been county surveyor since 1917. He
was a stockholder of the People’s Bank at Harrisville,
of which he was one of the organizers and was the owner
of his residence property and also had other real estate
interests in Ritchie County. His political allegiance was
given to the republican party, he was a past grand of
Harrisville Lodge No. 89, Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, and was one of the appreciative and honored members
of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, of
which he had served as commander. He was affiliated also
with Harrisville Lodge No. 98, Ancient Free and Accepted
Masons, and he and his wife held membership in the
Methodist Episcopal Church.

November 25, 1869, recorded the marriage of Mr. Tharp,
and Miss Sarah C. Moyers, who was born in Ritchie County,
November 15, 1849. Mr. and Mrs. Tharp became the parents
of four daughters: Mary M. now deceased, was first the
wife of Frank M. Moats, who died leaving two sons, Guy
R. and Dale H. Moats, and her second marriage was to
M. L. Weekly, of Pennsboro, this county. There were no
children by this marriage. Martha Maude is the wife of
B. C. Moats, of Parkersburg. Isa Adelle is the wife of
R. W. McKeen, of Youngstown, Ohio. Carrie Belle is the
wife of B. M. Sigler, of Harrisville, and they have one son,
Howard Tharp Sigler.

Thomas Jeffrey Davis

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 282
Ritchie County

THOMAS JEFFREY DAVIS, prosecuting attorney of Ritchie
County, with residence at Harrisville, the county seat, was
born in this county March 19, 1879, and is a scion of an
old and honored family of what is now West Virginia,
a family that was founded in America in the early colonial
era. The genealogy of the Davis family has fortunately
been preserved in careful record, from which the following
data are drawn:

William Davis was born in Glamorganshire, Wales, in
1663, and was educated at Oxford University, his parents
wishing him to become a clergyman. At the university
he became interested in the teachings of the Society of
Friends, which he joined, and in which he became a speaker.

In 1684 he came to America with others of this faith
to join the colony of William Penn. In 1698 he became
a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Penn-
sylvania. He first married Elizabeth Brisley, and after
her death wedded Elizabeth Pavior. Four children were
born of the first and seven of the second marriage. Several
of the children became members of a Seventh Day Baptist
colony at Monmouth, New Jersey, about 1740, and with
these children William Davis passed the closing years of
his life. He died in 1745, aged eighty-two years. Rep-
resentatives of the family were prominent members of the
old Baptist Church at Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Rev.
Jacob Davis enlisted as a chaplain in the Patriot Army
of the Revolution, and his father, James, Sr., was killed
by a stray bullet while in service as a soldier in that war.
William Davis, Jr., served on the staff of Gen. George
Washington. William Davis, Jr., and his family became
members of the colony from the old Shrewsbury Church
that came to Virginia in 1789, the immigrants, who came
with a train of fifteen wagons, making settlement on White
Day Creek in what is now Monongalia County, West Vir-
ginia. James Davis, son of William, Jr., was sixteen
years old at the time of this migration to the wilds of
Virginia. His son David married Lydia Jeffrey, and they
became the parents of ten children, of whom the fifth was
Thomas Neely Davis. who was born in 1824 and who mar-
ried Amelia Zinn. Thomas Engle Davis, son of Thomas
N. and Amelia (Zinn) Davis, was born July 11, 1846, at
Oxford, Bitchie County, West Virginia, as now constituted.
December 24, 1868, Thomas E. Davis wedded Alethea Anna
Leggett, and they became the parents of four children:
Winifred married Homer B. Woods, September 10, 1890,
and they became the parents of seven children, of whom
two are deceased; Juniata Davis married Wheeler Boggess,
June 23, 1892, and her death occurred February 20, 1920,
she being survived by six children; Thomas Jeffrey, the
immediate subject of this review, was the next in order
of birth; and Dada died in infancy.

Thomas Engle Davis attended historic old Washington
and Jefferson University at Washington, Pennsylvania,
and he had the distinction of being the teacher of the
first public school established in Ritchie County. He be-
came one of the leading members of the bar of Ritchie
County, which he served two terms as prosecuting attorney,
besides which he served in earlier years as deputy sheriff
and deputy county and circuit clerk. He was a man of
fine intellectuality and marked professional ability, was
a leader in public affairs in his native county, and rep-
resented his district in the State Legislature. He was
a stalwart advocate of the principles of the republican
party, was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, and was
a zealous member of the Baptist Church, as was also his
widow, who died January 7, 1915, at Harrisville. Brief

record has already been given concerning the four children,
but it may be stated that Winifred graduated from the
Wheeling Female College and that her husband is now
Judge Homer B. Woods of Harrisville; Juniata, who at-
tended Broaddus College, became the wife of Rev. Wheeler
Boggess, who served as a missionary of the Baptist Church
in India, from 1892 to 1915, the death of Mrs. Boggess
having occurred at Phillipi, West Virginia, February 20,
1920, as previously stated.

Thomas Jeffrey Davis gained his early education in
the public schools of Harrisville, West Virginia, com-
pleting his public school education in Washington, D. C.,
and was thereafter graduated in Woods Commercial Col-
lege in that city. He also attended Broaddus College,
Clarksburg, West Virginia, and in 1900 he was graduated
in the law department of the University of West Virginia.
He received at this time the degree of Bachelor of Laws,
and later he received the degree of Master of Laws from
Columbian University, Washington, D. C. In 1901 he was
admitted to the bar, and he has since been successfully
engaged in the active practice of profession at Harrisville,
save for the interval of his service as private secretary
of the president of the Senate of the West Virginia Leg-
islature. He was elected prosecuting attorney of Ritchie
County in 1912, and that his administration has been spe-
cially efficient is indicated by the fact that in 1920 he
was re-elected for a third consecutive term. He is a re-
publican and is an influential figure in the councils of his
party in his native county. Mr. Davis is the owner of a
considerable amount of real estate in his home city and
county, including his attractive home. He is a director
of the First National Bank and is interested also in oil
production enterprise in this section of the state. He and
his wife are specially zealous and valued members of the
Baptist Church at Harrisville, and he served nearly eleven
years as superintendent of its Sunday school, besides having
served twelve years as secretary of the Ritchie County
Sunday School Association, and is also serving as record-
ing secretary of the West Virginia State Sunday School
Association and as secretary of its executive committee.
He is past master of Harrisville Lodge, No. 98, Ancient
Free and Accepted Masons; is a member of Odell S. Long
Chapter, No. 25, Royal Arch Masons; is a past eminent
commander of Pennsboro Commandery, No. 20, Knights
Templars; and is a member of Nemesis Temple of the
Mystic Shrine at Wheeling. Both he and his wife hold
membership in the Order of the Eastern Star, in which
he is a past patron of the local chapter and a past grand
patron of the grand chapter of the state, Mrs. Davis being
affiliated also with the Daughters of Rebekah.

June 27, 1917, recorded the marriage of Mr. Davis and
Miss Hermoine Goff, of Burnt House, Ritchie County.
She attended Marshall College at Huntington, and the Fair-
mont Normal School, and for four years was a popular
teacher in the schools of Ritchie County prior to her mar-
riage. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have two children: Thomas
Jeffrey, Jr., born September 1, 1918, and George L., born
May 4, 1921.