Category Archives: Webster

Clarence D. Howard

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
March 18, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 344

CLARENCE D. HOWARD, of Cowen, Webster County, has
been identified with the lumber business since his early
youth, he and his brother, C. T. Howard, being owners of
the Smoot Lumber Company, with main office at Cowen.
The mills are located at Arcola, this county. He is also a
director of the First National Bank of Cowen, and is one
of the progressive and substantial business men and repre-
sentative citizens of the county.

Mr. Howard was born in Preston County, West Virginia,
September 12, 1865, and is a son of Thomas D. and Mary
S. (Holt) Howard, both likewise natives of Preston County,
where the respective families were founded iu the pioneer
days. Thomas D. Howard was educated in the common
schools at Independence, Preston County, and at the time
of the Civil war he showed his loyalty to the Union cause
by enlisting in Company I, Sixth West Virginia Volunteer
Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war.
After the war he engaged in lumbering operations near
Newburg, Preston County, and with this important line of
industrial enterprise he continued his association until his
death, when his two sons succeeded him, both being still
actively identified with the lumber business at the present
time. Mr. Howard’s lumbering operations included de-
velopment work in the vicinity of Grafton, Taylor County,
and while a resident of that city he served as its mayor.
He was an ardent advocate and supporter of the principles
of the republican party and wag affiliated with the Grand
Army of the Republic. Of the three children Clarence D.,
of this review, is the eldest; Charles T. likewise is engaged
in the lumber business; and Nellie is the wife of J. B.
Hess, of Cowen.

Clarence D. Howard gained his earlier education in the
schools of Taylor County, and for one year was a student in
Simpson College at Indianola, Iowa. He became actively
associated with the lumber business when he was nineteen
years of age, and his career in this line of enterprise has
been one of continuous success to the present time.

He and his wife are zealous members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, at Cowen, and he is serving on its official
board. He is affiliated with Glade Lodge No. 205, Knights
of Pythias, at Cowen, and is one of the leaders in the coun-
cils and campaign activities of the republican party in
Webster County. He was an alternate delegate to the Re-
publican National Convention at Chicago when Hon. Charles
E. Hughes, the present national secretary of state, was
nominated for the presidency.

August 12, 1896, recorded the marriage of Mr. Howard
and Miss Audree Ford, of Taylor County, she being a gradu-
ate of the West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buckhannon,
of which school Mr. Howard has been a trustee for a
number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Howard became the parents
of five children: Edna, who since her graduation at the
West Virginia Wesleyan College, her mother’s alma mater,
has been a teacher in the Cowen High School; Agnes died
at the age of seventeen years; Helen is, in 1922, a student
in Wesleyan College; Harry F. is attending the Staunton
Military Academy at Staunton, Virginia, and Elsie is at-
tending the public schools of Cowen.

Eskridge H. Morton

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. 727

MORTON, ESKRIDGE H. (Democrat.) Address:
Webster Springs. Elected to Senate in 1914 from the Tenth
District. Born in Webster county June 18, 1866; educated
in common schools and the state University, where he studied
law; County Superintendent Webster county 1889-91;
Prosecuting Attorneyl893-7; AssistantProsecutingAttomey
Nicholas county 1887-1901; Sergeant-at-Arms House of
Delegates 1903-4; Democratic nominee for Attorney General
1908; delegate Democratic National Convention, Baltimore,
1912; committee assignments, 1917: Judiciary, Education,
Roads and Navigation, Insurance, Claims and Griev-
ances; Forfeited and Unappropriated Lands, Public
Printing, Forestry and Conservation, Virginia Debt.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

William Smith O&Rsquo;Brien

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
April 13, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 406-407

HON. WILLIAM SMITH O’BRIEN, former circuit judge of
the circuit composed of Webster and Upshur counties, has
been one of the prominent lawyers of Buckhannon for
thirty years. He is an editor and publisher, and at all
times exerts a forceful influence in polities and in com-
munity affairs.

Judge O’Brien was born in Barbour County, West Vir-
ginia, January 8, 1862, and is a son of Emmet J. and
Martha Ann (Hall) O’Brien. The paternal family runs
back into Irish history for many generations, and with
distinguished connections, including the famous Robert
Emmet. The grandfather of Judge O’Brien was Daniel
O’Brien, who was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1774
and came to America in 1796. In 1804 he moved to West
Virginia from Baltimore, and became a merchant at
Beverly. He died in 1844. In 1815 he married Hannah
Norris, daughter of Capt. John and Mary (Jones) Nor-
ris, of Lewis County. She was a relative of Gen. George
Washington, connected through the Jones and Ball fam-
ilies. She died in Upshur County in 1880. The Norris
and Jones families were from Fauquier County, Virginia,
and were of English descent.

Emmet J. O’Brien, father of Judge O’Brien, was born
at Beverly, and though he had only the advantages of the
common schools he excelled in mathematics, particularly
in geometry and surveying. He learned the trade of stone
cutter and mason, became a bridge building contractor, and
with his brother Daniel they constructed the abutments
of the bridge across the Tygart’s Valley at Philippi, West
Virginia. He was a member of the first Constitutional
Convention of West Virginia, and in 1867-68 represented
the Sixth District in the State Senate. Before the War of
the Rebellion he was commissioned a brigadier general of
the militia by Governor Wise of Virginia. He was offered
a commission in the Confederate Army, but refused be-
cause his sympathies were with the Union. He died in.
1888, near Weston. General O’Brien married Martha Ann
Vandervort, widow of Joseph Vandervort. She was a
daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Reger) Hall, and
was born and reared on Big Skin Creek, Lewis County,
West Virginia. Her great-grandfather, Jacob Reger, was of
German descent, and settled on the Buckhannon River,
near Volga, Barbour County, about 1776. Her paternal
ancestor, Joseph Hall, father of Jonathan Hall, was born
in England, and was a pioneer settler in the Reger settle-
ment. His wife was Ann Hitt, a French Huguenot from
North Carolina, who was married first to a Mr. Martin
and then to William Strange, who was lost in the forest.
His body was afterward found near the head waters of what
is known as Strange Creek, Braxton County, West Vir-
ginia. She next married Joseph Hall.

The other children of General O’Brien and wife were:
Alonzo Lee, who was a graduate of West Point Military
Academy and was a lieutenant in the Regular Army at the
time of his death; Daniel U., who attended West Virginia
University, was prominent in the Cadet Corps at the Uni-
versity, served as captain in the Spanish-American war,
and is now a farmer and stock dealer in Gilmer County;
Mary Lillian, deceased wife of the late William M. Arnold,
of Ravenswood, West Virginia.

William Smith O’Brien was a child when his parents
moved from Barbour County to Weston in Lewis County,
where he was reared on a farm. He did the work of the
farm, was employed in brick yards, attended public schools
and West Virginia University, and taught for about ten
years in Lewis County. While teaching he studied law,
his chief instructor being Judge John Brannon, of Weston,
one of the ablest lawyers of the state. He graduated from
the law department of West Virginia University in 1891,
and the following year began practice at Buckhannon. For
several years he was junior partner with Hon. William D.
Talbot, until his death in 1907.

In 1912 Judge O’Brien was elected judge of the Twelfth
Judicial Circuit, composed of the counties of Webster and
Upshur. Early in his term what is known as “The West
Virginia Bribery Cases” were removed from the Kanawha
Circuit Court to Webster County for trial. Five members
of the Legislature stood indicted for bartering their votes
for money in the election of a United States senator.
Judge O’Brien presided over the lengthy trials. They were
convicted and sentenced to serve terms in the penitentiary.
The Supreme Court of Appeals refused appeals.

The Upshur-Webster Circuit was heavily republican, but
the campaign was in a sense non-partisan. In 1920 the
state was redistricted, and Randolph and Upshur were
joined. The circuit was republican, and Judge O’Brien
went down in the landslide, but reduced his opponents’
majority very materially. After retiring from the bench.
he formed a partnership with Jerome V. Hall, and under
the firm name of O’Brien and Hall he again entered into
the active practice of the law. He is also editor and man-
ager of the Upshur Record, a democratic weekly newspaper
published in Buckhannon. Judge O’Brien has been active
in business and community affairs. He was one of the
promoters and organizers of the Peoples Bank of West
Virginia, one of the leading banking institutions of the
city, and was one of its directors for many years. He is a
member and trustee of the First Methodist Episcopal
Church of Buckhannon. He was president of the County
Sunday School Association for many years, and teacher
of the “O’Brien” Sunday School Class for nearly twenty-
five years.

He is a past chancellor of Buckhannon Lodge No. 54,
Knights of Pythias; is affiliated with Franklin Lodge No.
7, A. F. and A. M.; Upshur Chapter No. 34, R. A. M.;
and Buckhannon Commandery No. 24, Knights Templar.

He was commissioned captain of Company B, Second
Regiment of the State Guards. During the World war he
served as chairman of the Legal Advisory Board for
Upshur County, and was active in every war movement
as opportunity afforded. In politics he affiliates with the
democratic party.

On October 14, 1896, Judge O’Brien married Miss Emma
White, daughter of Alexander P. and Mary White, of
Camden, Lewis County. Mr. White is a first cousin of
Stonewall Jackson. Mrs. O’Brien was educated in the
common schools and in Broaddus College. Judge and Mrs.
O’Brien have four children: Perry Emmet, born August
2, 1898, a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College;
Daniel Pitt, born August 31, 1900; Mary Martha, born
November 30, 1902, and William Talbot, born August 29,
1904, who are now students in West Virginia Wesleyan

Sylvester P. Allen

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

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II
pg 92

Sylvester P. ALLEN, M.D., has the sterling personal characteristics, the
professional ability and the substantial practice that mark him distinctly as
one of the representative physicians and surgeons of Webster County, where he
maintains his home and professional headquarters at Webster Springs, the
county seat.

Doctor Allen was born in Doddridge County, this state, on the 20th of April,
1872, and is a son of Stephen and Mary (Frum) Allen, both representatives of
honored pioneer families of that part of Virginia which now constitutes the
State of West Virginia. Stephen Allen was born in Doddridge County, January
24, 1836, and his wife was born in Taylor County, March 16, 1838. The parents
were reared under the conditions that marked the pioneer period in the
history of what is now West Virginia, their marriage was solemnized in Taylor
County, and thereafter they established their home on a farm in Doddridge
County. In 1874 removal was made to Harrison County, and in 1880 the family
home was established in Braxton County, whence removal later was made to
Webster County, where the father continued his association with farm industry
until the time of his death. He was a republican in politics, and both he and
his wife were earnest members of the Baptist Church. Of their eight children
four are living (1922); Rebecca is the wife of Daman Ash; Samantha F. is
the wife of James W. McCray; Sylvester P., of this sketch, is the next
younger; and S.M.P. is the wife of David F. Heafner.

Sylvester P. Allen was reared to the invigorating discipline of the farm,
attended the local schools in the different counties in which the family
resided during the period of his boyhood and youth, and in the furtherance of
his higher education he entered the Central Normal College of Kentucky, in
which excellent institution he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of
Science. He depended entirely upon his own resources in defraying his
expenses at this college and also at the Kentucky School of Medicine at
Louisville, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1901 and
with the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

On the 11th of July, 1901, Doctor Allen opened an office at Webster Springs,
and here he has since continued in the successful general practice of his
profession, in which he has shown both marked ability and a fine sense of
professional and personal stewardship. In his various activities of study
and research that have kept him in touch with advances made in medicine and
surgery he has taken an effective post-graduate course in the medical
department of the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Webster
County Medical Society and the West Virginia State Medical Society. The
doctor is a stalwart republican, and in Webster County, which is strongly
democratic, he was elected county clerk by a majority of 166 votes, he having
retained this office six years and having given a most effective
administration. In the time-honored Masonic fraternity Doctor Allen is
affiliated with and is a past master of Addison Lodge No. 116, A. F. and A.
M. at Addison, Webster County’ Sutton Chapter No. 29, R. A. M., at Sutton
Commandery No. 16, Knights Templars, besides which he is a Noble of
Beni-Kedem Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Charleston and the Scottish Rite
Consistory at Wheeling. Both he and his wife are active members of the
Baptist Church in their home village.

In 1904 was solemnized the marriage of Doctor Allen and Miss Lenora Miller,
who had attended both the State Normal School at Fairmont and the University
of West Virginia and who had been a successful and popular teacher prior to
her marriage. The only child of Doctor and Mrs. Allen died in infancy.