Category Archives: Tucker

A. Jay Valentine

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 529-530

A. JAY VALENTINE, judge of the Twenty-first Judicial
Circuit and a resident of Parsons, Tucker County, has been
a business lawyer in that county for more than a third of a
century, having tried his first case before reaching his
majority. His is an unusual record for a West Virginia
lawyer and judge, since he has never represented the defense
in a criminal trial and has never appeared in a contested
separation case between husband and wife. The civil and
business branches of the law have been his special field, and
it is also noteworthy that he was never a candidate for
public office until he made the race for circuit judge.

Judge Valentine was born near Valley Furnace in Bar-
hour County, March 8, 1866, son of Andrew and Rachel
(Digman) Valentine, also natives of Barbour County, his
mother being a daughter of George Digman. Andrew Valen-
tine was a lieutenant in the Confederate army under General
Imboden, and was never wounded in service, but for the last
eleven months of the war was a prisoner at Camp Chase,
Columbus, Ohio. He manifested the interest of a good
citizen in politics and was a democrat. He died in 1887 and
is buried near Montrose, West Virginia. The mother died
in 1891. They had three children: Judge Valentine; Sarah
E., wife of Stephen Murphy, of Montrose; and Carrie B.,
wife of Thomas Gross, of Levels, West Virginia.

A. Jay Valentine spent the first fifteen years of his life
near the hamlet of Meadowville in Barbour County, on his
father’s farm. In 1882 the family moved to .Randolph
County, and another five years of his life were spent in the
environment of a farm near Montrose. It was immediately
after leaving this community that Judge Valentine began
his professional work at St. George, then the county seat of
Tucker County. His early education was acquired in the
common schools and summer normal schools, and for four
years he taught in the rural districts of Randolph County.
As he looks back upon it Judge Valentine regards teaching
as the hardest work he ever did. While teaching he became
interested in the law, made some progress in his reading,
and his two principal preceptors were the late A. C. Bow-
man of Barbour County and W. B. Maxwell, still practicing
in Randolph County and a former member of the Tucker
County bar. Mr. Valentine was admitted to the bar at
Beverly, then the county seat of Randolph County, in 1887,
taking his several examinations for admission, one under
Judge A. B. Fleming, another under Judge Henry Brannon
and another under Judge W. T. Ice. In his first year or
practice he was associated with W. B. Maxwell, of St.
George, West Virginia, but after a year he relied upon
himself to handle all his law business. That business was
principally in the commercial and corporation law, and
before many years he had a very extensive clientele.

Judge Valentine is a republican without being a strict
partisan, and increasing years and experience has made him
less and less interested in partisan politics. He east his
first vote for Benjamin Harrison. In 1920 he was urged to
make the race for judge of the Twenty-first Judicial Circuit.
There were three competitors for the republican nomination,
one of them being the presiding judge and the other two
able lawyers. The judicial convention at Keyser which
decided the matter held a session all night until 11 o’clock
the following morning, before the conflicting partisans of
the different candidates were harmonized in the nomination
of Mr. Valentine, who was nominated on the 207th ballot.
In the following election he led his ticket by several hun-
dred votes and had a majority of 4,697 over his democratic
opponent. Judge Valentine held his first term of court in
Keyser in January, 1921, succeeding Judge Francis M. Rey-
nolds on the bench.

At St. George, West Virginia, December 2, 1891, Judge
Valentine married Lummie Kalar, a native of Tucker
County, where her parents settled from old Virginia. Her
father was Samuel D. Kalar, who married a Miss Mary Lee
Gray. He was a farmer and died soon after the close of the
Civil war, while Mrs. Valentine’s mother lived until 1921,
passing away at the age of eighty-four. In the Kalar
family were the following children: Solomon W., of Par-
sons; Elam B., of Santa Cruz, California; Mrs. Valentine,
who was born May 23, 1868, and was educated in the public
schools; Mrs. Hoy Ferguson, of Randolph County; Mrs.
Lloyd Collett, of Wheeling; Spencer Kalar, of Porterwood,
West Virginia; and Lloyd Kalar of Parsons.

Judge and Mrs. Valentine had six children, two of whom
died in infancy, and have one grandchild. Their daughter
Zillah is the wife of Rev. A. B. Withers, of Louisville, Ken-
tucky, and has a daughter Zillah Evelyn. Arthur, Jr., who
was in the student army training corps during the World
war, is now an automobile salesman at Parsons. Mark T.
graduated in 1922 from the law school of West Virginia
University. Paul, the youngest, is attending grammar
school at Parsons.

Judge Valentine is a member of the Masonic Lodge and
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. During the war he
was a member of the Legal Advisory Board of Tucker

James B. Close

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 22, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 524

JAMES B. CLOSE, of Parsons, is the efficient sheriff of
Tucker County, and is a representative of one of the old
and well known families of this section of the state. He
was born in the St. George District of Tucker County,
September 11, 1883, and is a son of Alexander Close, who
was born near the Village of St. George, this county, in
1857, and who here followed the trade of blacksmith for
many years, and who more recently became a successful
merchant at St. George, where he and his wife still reside.
He served twelve years as constable and two terms as county
commissioner, his political affiliation being with the repub-
lican party. He and his wife are members of the Methodist
Protestant Church. As a young man Alexander Close mar-
ried Miss Catherine Dumire, a daughter of Jacob and
Elizabeth (Piter) Dumire, of Tucker County. Jacob Du-
mire, of German ancestry, became one of the substantial
farmers of this county, served as county sheriff, was a
republican, and his eldest son, A. Loman, was a gallant
young soldier of the Union in the Civil war. The names of
the other children are here recorded: John Wesley Oliver,
George, Jane (Mrs. Frank Beavers, her husband having
been a Union soldier in the Civil war), Catherine (Mrs.
Alexander Close), and Florence, who became the wife of
P. W. Lipscomb and died in Tucker County. Of the chil-
dren of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Close the present sheriff
of Tucker County is the eldest; Edward resides at St.
George; Jacob is a resident of Parsons; William lives at
Elk Garden; “Tootie” died at the age of fourteen years;
and Duncan, Chester and Charles are still members of the
parental home circle.

David Close, grandfather of the sheriff of Tucker County,
was born in Scotland, came to the United States in the ’50s
and obtained public land near Lead Mine, Tucker County,
where he reclaimed and developed a productive farm and
passed the remainder of his life, secure in the high regard
of all who knew him. He and his wife were zealous mem-
bers of the Methodist Protestant Church. In his native
land he married Miss Agnes Ferguson, whose death occurred
in 1914, he having passed away about 1890. Of their chil-
dren the eldest is John, of Berkeley Springs, this state;
William died at Thomas, Tucker County; James resides at
Berkeley Springs; Alexander, father of Sheriff Close, was
the next in order of birth; Duncan died at the age of fifteen
years; Mrs. David Root resides at Thomas; Sarah, wife of
Lewis Shaffer, died at that place; and Isabel is the wife of
Grant James, of Thomas.

Sheriff Close gained his early education in the public
schools of St. George and there learned the blacksmith
trade under the effective direction of his father. At the
age of sixteen years he found employment as blacksmith
for the Burger Lumber Company, later was similarly em-
ployed two years by the Clover Run Lumber Company, and
for twelve years thereafter he was blacksmith for the
Chaffey Lumber Company at William, this county. He then
established at Parsons a custom blacksmith shop, which he
successfully conducted until he retired from the work of
his trade and became chief of police in this city in 1917.
The service which he gave in this position fortified him
greatly for the broader duties which became his upon his
election to the office of sheriff of the county in 1920, by a
majority of 234 votes. Concerning his candidacy for this
office the following statements have been made: “Despite
the fact that some of the Tucker County electors feared
that Mr. Close would not enforce the prohibition law, and
others feared that he would enforce it, his candidacy in the
primaries took on somewhat of the aspect of a forlorn hope.
However, the ‘wet’ element in the county has found that
Sheriff Close has rigidly enforced the prohibition law, as
well as all other laws, and his stand for law and order has
convinced all opposers that he is a real sheriff who is making
a record that has not been excelled in the history of the
county. He knows no favorites in his official work, and
has a high sense of his executive stewardship.”

Mr. Close is a republican and is affiliated with the
Knights of Pythias and the Junior Order of United Amer-
ican Mechanics.

At St. George, this county, July 4, 1903, Mr. Close mar-
ried Dora Hedrick, daughter of Solomon K. and Bettie
Judy Hedriek, the father being a farmer by vocation and
having been a resident of Pendleton County at the time of
the birth of his daughter Dora. Sheriff and Mrs. Close
have two children: Ruth and Earl.

H. Freeman Colebank

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 526-527

H. FREEMAN COLEBANK brings to bear a high degree of
efficiency and loyal stewardship in his service as clerk of the
County Court of Tucker County, and he is one of the popu-
lar citizens of Parson, the county seat.

Mr. Colebank was born in Barbour County, this state,
March 5, 1875, and is a son of Samuel Colebank, Jr., who
was born in that county on the 12th of July, 1851, and
whose wife, Malinda B., was born in Preston County, De-
cember 20, 1854, a daughter of Harman Freeman, who was
there a substantial farmer. Samuel Colebank, Jr., devoted
the major part of his active career to farm industry and
was a resident of Fairmont at the time of his death, in
January, 1916, his widow being still a resident of that
place. Of their children the subject of this sketch is the
elder, and Icy, who resides at Fairmont, is the widow of
D. N. Dumire.

Rollo Colebank, grandfather of him whose name intro-
duces this review, was born in Barbour County, a representa-
tive of a sterling pioneer family of that county, and there
he continued his activities as a farmer until his death at
Shiloh, his remains resting in the old Dunkard Cemetery in
that county beside those of his wife, whose maiden name
was Margaret Simpson. They became the parents of five
sons and three daughters, one of the daughters having died
in childhood. The sons were Sylvanus and Quinter (twins),
Samuel, John and Jefferson, and the daughters who attained
to maturity were Elizabeth, wife of L. C. Coffman, of Kas-
son, Barbour County, and Mary, who became the wife of
Isaac Lohr and was a resident of Barbour County at the
time of her death.

H. Freeman Colebank was reared in his native county,
received the advantages of the public schools, summer
normal schools and the West Liberty State Normal School,
and, beginning at the age of sixteen years, he taught in the
rural schools during the winter terms for a period of five
years, his pedagogic work having included also service as
principal of the school at Hendricks and effective work as
an instructor in summer normal schools. Thereafter he
was for a time bookkeeper for the Hendricks Company, and
for a few months was a traveling salesman for the Piedmont
Grocery Company. For six years he was associated with the
substantial real-estate business conducted by Levi B. Harr at
Fairmont, and he then re-entered the employ of the Hen-
drieks Company, then the J. E. Poling Company, as credit
man and general supervisor of the bookkeeping department.
His service in this connection continued somewhat more than
five years, and while thus engaged he received the republican
primary election for the office of clerk of the County Court
of Tucker County, without opposition. He was elected to
this office in the fall of 1914, assumed office January 1,
1915, and after serving his term of six years he was re-
elected by the largest majority ever given to a candidate
for this office in Tucker County, he having received a ma-
jority of 1,700 votes, this being far in advance of the
party ticket in the county, which gave to the head of the
ticket somewhat more than 500 votes. He is a stalwart sup-
porter of the principles of the republican party, his initial
presidential vote having been cast for President McKinley
in 1896. In 1912 he was a delegate to the West Virginia
state convention of his party at Huntington as a Roosevelt
supporter, but when Colonel Roosevelt left the ranks of his
party to become presidential candidate on the progressive
ticket Mr. Colebank refused to be deflected from his al-
legiance to the regularly constituted party. He and his
wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
he has served the Parsons Church of this denomination as
trustee and steward. He is a director of the Tucker County
Bank, is a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, and is
affiliated also with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, the Junior Order United American
Mechanics, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal
Neighbors. Mr. Colebank was prominently identified with
local patriotic service in the period of the World war, was
an associate member of the Legal Advisory Board of
Tucker County, and was a director of the War Savings
Stamp drive in the southern part of this county.

On August 14, 1898, at Hendricks, was solemnized the
marriage of Mr. Colebank and Miss Myrtle Shaw, a daugh-
ter of George and Mary (Musgrave) Shaw, the latter of
whom is now a revered member of the family circle of Mr.
and Mrs. Colebank. George Shaw was born in Preston
County, was associated with farm enterprise and lumbering
operations, and at the time of his death was identified with
the Hendricks Company. He was survived by three chil-
dren: Wade W., who married and was a resident of
Hendricks at the time of his death; John E., of Newark,
Ohio, who is a locomotive engineer for the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad; and Myrtle, who is the wife of Mr. Cole-
bank of this sketch, she having been born in Preston
County, July 15, 1880. Harry, eldest of the children of
Mr. and Mrs. Colebank, is, in 1922, a student in the en-
gineering department of the University of West Virginia;

Edwin C. is deputy to his father in the office of clerk of the
County Court; Clifford S., who is chief clerk in the office of
the county clerk of Randolph County, married Ruth, a
daughter of Lee Poe, of Elkins; Elliott Freeman and Mary
Lynn remain at the parental home.

David Earl Cuppett

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 523-524

DAVID EARL CUPPETT. A resident of Thomas, and one of
the leading members of the Tucker County bar, David Earl
Cuppett has in the course of a quarter of a century done
some good work as a teacher, but for nearly twenty years
his time has been fully taken up with a law practice that
has afforded opportunity for the exercise of his striking
abilities as a criminal lawyer.

The founder of the family in West Virginia was John
Cuppett, Sr., who lived in Pennsylvania during the Revolu-
tionary war and was one of the few men who escaped the
Wyoming Valley massacre. When he moved out of Bedford
County he settled at Glade Farms in Preston County, Vir-
ginia, and spent the rest of his life there as a farmer. His
son, Daniel Cuppett, was born in Bedford County, was a
child when brought to West Virginia, and his life work
also was identified with the farm. He married Mary Scott,
and their nine children were: William; Alpheus; Daniel;
Henry; David; Isaac; Lucy, who married Josiah Smith;
Miss Jane; and Mrs. Nancy Edwards. Of these brothers,
Henry was a Union soldier and captured a Confederate flag
when Fort Donelson was taken; while Isaac was in the
service as a member of General Custer’s command and died
in Andersonville Prison.

Alpheus Cuppett, father of David E. Cuppett, was born
in Preston County, had a country school education, and his
active years were spent as a farmer and stock dealer. He
was interested in the success of the republican party, and
was a prominent leader in the Methodist Church at Glade
Farms, being influential in building the church there. He
died June 15, 1900, at the age of seventy-four. Alpheus
Cuppett married Elizabeth Harned, daughter of Edward
and Sarah (Johnson) Harned. She died March 12, 1908.
Their children were: Milford H., of Uniontown, Pennsyl-
vania; Clark A., who died in Southern California; Ross,
deceased; Edward E., of Terra Alta; Mary, wife of Rufus
Augustine, of Confluence, Pennsylvania; Ella, who died at
Addison, Pennsylvania, wife of C. H. Bird; Charles H., a
school man of Bellvernon, Pennsylvania; Sylvia, who died
unmarried; and David Earl.

David Earl Cuppett was born in the Glade Farms locality
of Preston County, February 13, 1878. He lived there
through his boyhood and youth, shared in the labor of the
farm, attended the country schools, and several summer
normal courses prepared him for teaching. He took his first
school at the age of sixteen, being in charge of the North
Avenue School. For six terms he continued teaching in the
country, two terms being spent in Fayette County, Pennsyl-
vania. He left teaching to enroll as a student in the literary
department of West Virginia University, in which he did
three years of work and then finished with the law course,
graduating LL. B. in 1904. Immediately after qualifying
as a lawyer he located at Thomas in Tucker County, and
tried his first law suit in the courts of this county. He
has practiced alone, and while he has appeared in some
notable litigations in both the civil and criminal branches
his reputation has become fixed as a defense lawyer in
criminal practice. Up to the spring terms of 1922 he had
figured in twenty-nine murder cases, and several of the cases
in which he has appeared have gone before the Court of
Appeals, where he has won victories as well as in the lower
courts. Mr. Cuppett is a former president of the Tucker
County Bar Association and a member of the West Virginia
Bar Association.

His public service includes two terms as city recorder at
Thomas and fifteen years as city attorney, during which
time he handled the legal matters connected with bond
issues for street improvement and water supply. For twelve
years he was secretary of the Board of Education of Fair-
fax District, and in 1909 was elected member in the House
of Delegates from Tucker County, serving under speaker
James H. Strickling, and was a member of several com-
mittees. He was connected with the passage of the State
Board of Control Bill at that term. In 1919 he was again
elected to the Legislature, and Speaker L. J. Wolfe ap-
pointed him chairman of the committee on elections and
privileges and a member of the judiciary, education, Vir-
ginia debt, mines and mining, private corporations and joint
stock companies committees. In that session he was much
interested in securing the passage of the Amended Work-
men’s Compensation Law, in the passage of the New School
Code, the Child Labor Law and the amendment of the
Juvenile Court Law, all of which measures originated in
the judiciary committee. He also voted for the ratification
of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the Fed-
eral Constitution and was author of the Women’s Registra-
tion Law, which enlarged the field for political action for
women, carrying into effect the real purpose of the Nine-
teenth Amendment. Mr. Cuppett has participated in a
number of campaigns as a speaker in behalf of the repub-
lican candidates, is a member of the Tucker County Execu-
tive Committee, and has attended several congressional and
state conventions. Fraternally he is a member of the Sigma
Nu college fraternity, the Knights of Pythias, and is presi-
dent of the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. During the World war he was one of the Four-
Minute speakers and chairman of that body in Tucker
County, and was also a member of the County Council of

In a business way Mr. Cuppett is a director and attorney
for the Miners and Merchants Bank of Thomas and the
First National Bank of Bayard, and is local attorney for
the Davis Coal and Coke Company, the largest industry at
Thomas. He is a stockholder and director in the Black-
water Coal Company.

In Preston County, December 26, 1905, Mr. Cuppett mar-
ried Miss Vida Barnes, daughter of J. P. and Amanda
(Harshbarger) Barnes, both of whom lived in Preston
County, though her father was a native of Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Cuppett was reared at Brandonville in Preston County,
and is a graduate of Southwestern State Normal School of
Pennsylvania, and for five years taught in Charleroi, Penn-
sylvania. She and Mr. Cuppett have three children, named
Reardon S., David Earl, Jr., and Mary Elizabeth. Mrs.
Cuppett is one of the well known women in the republican
party, being a member of the Republican State Committee.
She came of a democratic family, but she cast her first vote
as a republican. She is a Methodist, helped organize and
has served as president of the Women’s Club of Thomas,
nd was one of the active workers in the Red Cross Chapter
during the war.

Abe L. Helmick

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 522-523

HON. ABE L. HELMICK, state senator from the Fourteenth
District, belongs to one of the old families of Tucker
County, and has achieved a number of important associa-
tions with the business and civic affairs of that section of
the state. He is president of the Blackwater Coal Company,
is vice president of the Miners & Merchants Bank of Thomas
and is a director in the Peoples Bank of Davis.

The old home of the Helmick family is in Pendleton
County, where at least four generations of the name have
lived. Senator Helmick was born at Circleville in that
county, August 31, 1864. His great-grandfather and the
founder of the name on this side of West Virginia was
Phillip Helmick. A son of Phillip Helmick was Miles Hel-
mick, a native of Pendleton County. Abe B. Helmick,
father of the senator, was born in Pendleton County in 1843,
and married Catherine Mullennax. Her father, Salathiel
Mullennax, was a native of Pendleton County and lived there
all his life. Abe B. Helmick and three of his brothers were
in the Confederate army during the first half of the war,
and if they were not Union men in sympathy at the be-
ginning they finally became convinced of the righteousness
of the Federal cause and all of them one way or another
found their way within the Union lines and fought as sol-
diers in that cause. Abe Helmick while on a furlough was
taken prisoner by his Confederate comrades, and was kept
in Libby Prison for some time without a hearing before
being released. Mrs. Abe B. Helmick died in 1877, mother
of the following children: Albert C., of Pinto, Maryland;
Georganna, wife of John J. Knotts of St. George District,
Tucker County; and Abe L.

When Abe L. Helmick was seven years of age his par-
ents moved into Tucker County, settling at Sugarland, near
St. George, and in that community he grew to manhood,
having such educational opportunities as were afforded by
the local schools and the summer normals. Senator Helmick
had a brief teaching experience in his home district. He
assisted his father in farming and the stock business until
his majority, and after leaving home he began work for the
builders of the Western Maryland Railroad on a portion of
the land between Thomas and Davis in Tucker County. For
six weeks he did common labor and was then made a fore-
man. After the road construction was ended he clerked
in a store at Thomas for two years, and in 1888 was ap-
pointed postmaster of that village, which then contained
between 400 and 500 people. He was postmaster for six
years, and in the meantime engaged in general merchandis-
ing and sold goods at Thomas for eighteen years, finally
retiring when elected sheriff of the county.

While a merchant at Thomas he was a member of the
County Court for six years, and for five years was president
of the court. A large number of county road bridges were
built during his administration, and his name ia on record
as one of the commissioners at the time the conrthouse was
erected. In 1908 he was elected sheriff, as successor of
Sheriff Jack Jenkins, and served that post of duty four
years, when he was succeeded by John F. Repair.

During his time of sheriff Mr. Helmick had become inter-
ested in business at Parsons, and on retiring from office he
bought the Cheat Valley Insurance Agency at the county
seat, and until recently was active in that line. He became
a coal developer and operator in 1916 as an organizer of
the Blackwater Coal Company. He also helped organize the
Kanawha Colliery Company. He was one of the organizers
of the Miners and Merchants Bank of Thomas, the strongest
financial institution of the county, and which has a record
of substantial success and prosperity for nearly twenty

Mr. Helmick was elected mayor of Thomas, and was en-
dorsed by both parties for re-election, but declined that
honor. While mayor he brought about the improvement
of the city water plant and some of the streets. Mr. Hel-
mick is a stanch republican, having cast his first vote for
Benjamin Harrison in 1888. He was republican committee-
man of Tucker County for many years, and has also served
as republican state committeeman. He was elected to the
first Senate, in November, 1920, as successor of Senator
Cobun of Preston County. At the organization of the
Senate he was made a member of the finance committee,
bank and corporations, railroads, military, federal relations,
mines and mining, medicine and sanitation, public library
and the redistricting committees, being chairman of the
military committee. In the Senate he was father of the
movement which resulted in the employment of stenog-
raphers by the circuit courts of the state. He introduced
the original bill for the hiring of stenographers by the dis-
trict judges, thus saving to the state a great expense that
was so frequently brought about by witnesses before grand
juries, without the service of a public stenographer, denying
their testimony. He also introduced a bill for the censor-
ship of the moving pictures of the state, a measure that was
defeated through the organized opposition of the movie
interests. He also introduced a bill to make a felony the
act of a father deserting without just cause his wife or
family and leaving them without proper support. Another
bill introduced by him was to abolish the State Hotel In-
spector, a meritorious measure in view of the farcical char-
acter of hotel inspection under the old law. At the opening
of the session of the Senate, Senator Helmick was chairman
of the joint committee to wait upon the house and the
governor to notify each that the Senate was organized and
ready for business.

At Thomas, in 1891, Senator Helmick married Miss Kate
Flinn, daughter of Patrick Flinn. She died leaving two
children, Marie, wife of Alexander Parks, of Thomas; and
Joe, who served with the Canadian army in the World war.
In 1905 Senator Helmick married Fannie Liller, daughter
of Oliver Liller, of Ridgeville, West Virginia, where Mrs.
Helmick was born. She was educated in the Fairmont State
Normal School, and was a prominent teacher in Mineral
County for ten years. She was appointed postmistress to
succeed Mr. Helmick’s first wife, and held the office of post-
mistress of Thomas for two terms. During the war she was
actively engaged in work as a member of the executive
committee of the Red Cross in Tucker County, and Mr.
Helmick was chairman of the membership drive for the

Joseph P. Minear

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 4, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 413-414

JOSEPH P. MINEAR has devoted the greater part of his
active life to the coal mining industry in West Virginia.
He is now superintendent of the Minear Coal & Mining
Company at Adrian, this being a family corporation.

The Minear family goes back into the pioneer history
of Tucker County, West Virginia. The great-grandfather
of Joseph Minear was David Minear, who came from old
Virginia in 1789 and entered about five hundred acres of
land in the vicinity of St. George in Tucker County. That
land is still in the family name. David Minear is said to
have built the first sawmill in this part of the state, and
in the early days that mill cut great logs of walnut timber
into common lumber. The grandfather of Joseph P. Minear
was Enoch Minear. David Minear was founder of the
Methodist Church in his community, building a church
edifice, and his own children followed him in that religious
faith. However, his grandson, David S. Minear, became
a Presbyterian and was an elder in that church for many
years. David S. was affiliated with the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows and voted as a democrat. He married
Mary J. Parsons, who was also born in the St. George
community. They have six children: Crede W., who grad-
uated from the Smith Commercial College at Lexington,
Kentucky, and is cashier of the First National Bank of
Hendricks, West Virginia; Joseph P.; John W., of Parsons;
Crawford W., of Tacoma, Washington; Mary C., wife of
Lomax Wamsley, of Herndon, Virginia; and W. S., who
lives on the old homestead farm.

Joseph P. Minear was born at St. George February 1,
1870, grew up on the home farm, and supplemented his
public school education in the Fairmont State Normal.
He has had a busy career and for several years was in
newspaper work at St. George and Davis. For six years
he was railroad agent at Hendricks, and then became store
manager for the Wildell Lumber Company, remaining in
the service of that corporation six years. He then went
to Harding, West Virginia, as store manager for the Davis
Colliery Company, remaining there six years, and in 1917
took the responsibility of superintendent of the Minear
Coal & Mining Company at Adrian. Mr. Minear is also
one of the directors of the Bank of Adrian. He is a
democrat, is affiliated with Hendricks Lodge of Knights of
Pythias, a member of Beverly Lodge of Masons, and has
attained the thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite.
Mrs. Minear is a member of the Eastern Star. They are
active in the Presbyterian Church. In June, 1895, Mr.
Minear married Anna T. Adams, daughter of John J.
Adams. She graduated from the St. George Academy and
was a teacher before her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Minear
lost their only child, a daughter.

Wayne K. Pritt

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 527-528

WAYNE K. PRITT has been a resident of Tucker County
since he was a child of two years, and is now a representa-
tive member of its bar, he having been established in the
successful practice of law at Parsons, the county seat,
since 1911.

Mr. Pritt was born in Randolph County, this state, Janu-
ary 23, 1872, and is a son of George W. and Lucinda
(Ingram) Pritt, the former of whom was born in what is
now Randolph County, West Virginia, and the latter in
Washington County, Pennsylvania. George W. Pritt, whose
death occurred at Hambleton, Tucker County, in 1892, at
the age of forty-seven, was the only child of Edmund and
Susan (Ryan) Pritt, the parents of the former having been
pioneer settlers in what is now Randolph County, West Vir-
ginia, and the lineage of the family supposedly tracing back
to Irish origin. Representatives of this branch of the Pritt
family were stanch supporters of the Union in the period of
the Civil war. Edmund Pritt survived his only son and was
a resident of Hambleton, Tucker County, at the time of
his death, in 1894, when about seventy-six years of age.
The widow of George W. Pritt survived him by ten years
and died at Parsons in 1902, when past fifty-four years of
age. Of their children the subject of this review is the
eldest; Harriet is the wife of Walter Bagshaw, of Parsons;
Charles E. resides at Columbus, Ohio; Frank W. resides at
Charleston, West Virginia; and Bess is the wife of Robert
W. Swink, of Parsons.

Wayne Kennedy Pritt was two years old when the family
home was established on a farm near Parsons, and he con-
tinued his association with the work of the home farm until
he was twenty years of age. That he profited fully
by the advantages of the public schools was demonstrated in
the success which attended his efforts during four terms of
service as a teacher in the rural schools of his home county.
In the meanwhile he attended the summer normal school
at Philippi, and after leaving the pedagogic profession he
was for four years in charge of the office of the Hendricks
Company at Hendricks. In 1896 he was elected clerk of the
Circuit Court of Tucker County, and of this office he con-
tinued the incumbent twelve years. In the meanwhile he
found his duties and environment a spur to his ambition to
enter the legal profession, and with characteristic determina-
tion and receptiveness he devoted himself closely to the
study of law in a private way, this having continued during
the two years which he passed as a student in the Univer-
sity of West Virginia, where he specialized in elocution
and other branches of value in connection with his chosen
profession. He was admitted to the bar in 1911, and has
since been engaged in successful practice at Parsons. In
1912, on the republican ticket, he was elected prosecuting
attorney of Tucker County, in which office he served four
years and added materially to his professional equipment
and prestige. Mr. Pritt served several years as chairman
of the Republican County Committee of Tucker County, has
been an effective campaign speaker and a delegate to state,
congressional and judicial conventions of his party, as well
as to the republican national convention of 1904 which
nominated Roosevelt for the presidency, he having been
sergeant at arms of the West Virginia delegation at this
convention. In the World war period Mr. Pritt was one of
the active workers in the local patriotic ranks, was a member
of the Legal Advisory Board of his county, was a Four-
Minute speaker in behalf of the Government loans and
other war measures, and was chairman of the local com-
mittee in one of the drives of the Salvation Army. He is
affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Elks,
Knights of Pythias, and the Beta Theta Pi college fratern-
ity, and is a member of the Methodist Protestant Church,
in which he has served as a trustee and as a conference
delegate. He is still a bachelor.

Samuel Olen Billings

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. 722

BILLINGS, SAMUEL OLEN. (Republican.) Ad-
dress: Parsons, West Va. Born at Camptown, Pa; edu-
cated in the schools of Bradford county and at the Ohio
Business University; came to West Virginia and located
in Tucker county; served one term as county surveyor and
two terms as county clerk; elected to the State Senate
from the Fourteenth District in 1914; in 1917 served on
standing committees as follows: Claims and Grievances
(Chairman); Public Printing (Chairman); Roads and
Navigation, Public Buildings and Humane Institutions,
Railroads, Militia, Federal Relations, Mines and Mining.
Medicine and Sanita tion, Labor, Forestry and Conservation.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

James P. Scott

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 527

JAMES P. SCOTT. The year 1922 finds Tucker County
receiving effective service from one of its leading attorneys
in the important office of prosecuting attorney, and this
county official, Mr. Scott, has been a resident of Parsons,
the county seat, since 1886.

He was born at Simpson, Taylor County, this state, April
21, 1857, a few years before the creation of West Virginia
as a commonwealth of the Union. He attended the public
schools of his native village, the West Virginia College at
Flemington, and finally graduated from the State Normal
School at Fairmont. He taught seven terms in the rural
schools and one term as principal of the school at Webster.
He retired from the pedagogic profession shortly after at-
taining to his legal majority and became the publisher and
editor of the Simpson New Era, a weekly paper. Thereafter
he read law under the preceptorship of Judge Lucas at
Charles Town, and at the age of twenty-three years he was
admitted to the bar at Grafton. He soon afterward came
to Tucker County and founded the Tucker Democrat, a
weekly paper, at St. George, where he also engaged in the
practice of law as a partner of Col. A. B. Parsons. He con-
tinued these relations at St. George until the county seat
was transferred from that place to Parsons, and he followed
the county government to its new seat, both in the practice
of law and in the publishing of his newspaper, which is now
published by Daniel W. Ryan and which is one of the oldest
county newspapers in this part of the state, with continued
influence as an advocate of the principles of the democratic

Mr. Scott has served as a member of the Board of Teach-
ers’ Examiners for Tucker County, as commissioner in
chancery, and is now divorce commissioner of the county, as
well as its prosecuting attorney. He was reared a democrat,
and has never wavered in his allegiance to the party, his
first presidential vote having been cast for Hancock in 1880.
He has been for many years chairman of the Democratic
Executive Committee of Tucker County, has been a delegate
to many county, judicial, congressional and state conven-
tions of his party, and has given yeoman service in advanc-
ing the interests of his party in West Virginia. Mr. Scott
served three terms as mayor of Parsons, has been several
times elected a member of the city council, and is now serv-
ing his third term as city attorney. In 1920 he was elected
prosecuting attorney of the county, and in his administra-
tion he has vigorously and effectively prosecuted violators of
the laws of the state and nation. He is affiliated with the
Modern Woodmen of America, is a director of and the
attorney for the First National Bank of Parsons, of which
he was one of the charter stockholders, and he aided also in
the organization of the Tucker County Bank, of which he
was formerly a director.

In Webster, this state, in the year 1893, was solemnized
the marriage of Mr. Scott and Miss Virginia Adams, who
was there born and reared, her father having been for many
years proprietor of the Adams House, a leading hotel in
the village. Mr. Adams was a direct descendant of Presi-
dent John Quincy Adams and came from Massachusetts to
what is now West Virginia, where he passed the remainder
of his life. He married Margaret McClintick, from Lan-
caster, Pennsylvania, and they became the parents of two
sons and seven daughters, all of whom attained to maturity.
Mrs. Scott, the youngest of the number, died on the 16th of
September, 1915, and is survived by two children, Miss
Lah Ruth, who is her father’s companion and who presides
over the domestic and social affairs of the pleasant home,
and Miss Ethel .Fay, who holds a position in the internal
revenue department of the Government at Washington,
D. C.

Mr. Scott is a son of Sandy M. and Rachel (Davis) Scott,
the former of whom was born in Monongalia County and
the latter in that part of Harrison County that was set off
as Taylor County in 1844. Morgan Scott, grandfather of
the subject of this review, likewise was a native of Mo-
nongalia County, where his father, Col. David Scott, was
one of the first settlers, Colonel Scott having come from the
South Branch Valley of Virginia to what is now West Vir-
ginia after having served as a patriot soldier and gallant
officer in the War of the Revolution. After his removal to
the wilds of the present West Virginia he endured the full
tension of life on the frontier, and in special evidence of
this it is to be recorded that his daughters Phoebe and Ann
were here murdered by the Indians. Sandy M. Scott was a
carpenter by trade, and followed this vocation througout [sic]
his active career. He was a Union soldier in the Civil war
as a member of the Seventeenth West Virginia Volunteer
Infantry, was a democrat in politics, and was a citizen of
sterling character. His death occurred at Simpson when he
was about seventy-six years of age, and his wife passed
away in 1876. Lemuel W., oldest of their children, is an
architect by profession and resides at West Union, Dodd-
ridge County; Dora became the wife of A. E. Lake, and
her death occurred at Simpson; James Porter, immediate
subject of this sketch, was the next in order of birth; and
Bruce was a resident of Liberty, Texas, at the time of his

Morgan Scott, grandfather of James P., married Sarah
Barker, her death having occurred in Wirt County and
that of her husband in Monongalia County. Sandy Morgan
Scott was the eldest of their three children. The only
daughter first married a man named Barker, who met his
death while serving as a Confederate soldier in the Civil
war, and thereafter she married William Dulin, her home
being now in Calhoun County; Morgan, youngest of the
children, died in Wirt County.