Category Archives: Wood

Monroe J. Rathbone

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Pam Honaker
October 28, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume II
Pg. 465


MONROE J. RATHBONE, manager of the Camden Works ar Parkersburg for the
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, is a native of Parkersburg and
represents two prominent families of the state. He is a maternal grandson
of James Monroe Jackson, of the distinguied family of West Virginia. This
subject im more fully treated on other pages.

In the Rathbone line he is descended from Wait Rathbone, who was a New
England sea captain and also a captain of militia during the Revolution. A
son of Wait was William Palmer Rathbone, a native of Connecticut,
subsequently a business man of New York City, and for a number of years a
county judge in New Jersey. He settled at Burning Springs in what is now
West Virginia in 1843, and finally retired to Parkersburg, where he died in
1862. His wife was Martha Valleua.

Thier son, John Valleau Rathbone, was born in New York City in 1821
and accompanied his father to West Virginia. For several years he and his
brother wer general merchants, and in 1861 he became interested in the
pioneer phases of oil development and was one of the men conspicuously
successful in that industry. It is said that in spite of his wealth he
always remained a plain man of the people, enjoyed the companionship and
fellowshipo of his old friends and acquaintances in Parkersburg, and was a
wit and humorist. He died January 11, 1897, his old home becoming
subsquently the quarters of the Blennerhasset Club. In 1841 he married Anna
Maria Doremus, of New Jersey. She died in the same year and eight months
later than her husband. Of the eleven children the seventh in order of
birth is Francis Vinton Rathbone, who married Mary E. Jackson, daughter of
Judge James Monroe Jackson.

Monroe Jackson Rathbone, a son of Francis V. Rathbone, was born in
Parkersburg July 23, 1874. He was well educated, attending the Parkersburg
High School and the Virginia Military Institute. As a youth he bacame a
runner for the First National Bank of Parkersburg, also had some experience
in merchandising, and for a time was an employee of a local gas company. In
1895 Mr. Rathbone removed to Chicago, and for five years was assistant
manager of the lubricating sales department of the Standard Oil Company.

On his return to Parkersburg in 1900 he was purchasing agent for the
wholesale grocery house of Shattuck-Jackson Company, but in 1904 resuemd his
service witht the Standard Oil Company, and since 1907 has been manager of
the Camden Works. He represents the third generation of a family active in
the oil industry in West Virginia. Mr Rathbone is also a director of the
Citizens National Bank.

Other interests and activities betray the public spirited and
benevolent character of his citizenship. He is a member of the Board of
Governors of the Country Club, a director of the Blennerhasset Club, a
member of the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, an Elk, is president of the
local council of the Boy Scouts, and during the World war was a member of
the War Labor Board. He is a democrat in politics and a member of the
Protestant Epicopal Church.

October 19, 1898, Mr Rathbone married Miss Ida Virginia Welch, daughter
of W.M. Welch. Four sons were born to their marriage: Monroe Jackson, Jr.,
Richard A., William Vinton, and James Vinton. The youngest died in infancy.

Walter S. Link

WOOD COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: LINK, Walter S. (published 1923)
Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 12, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 226
Wood County

WALTER S. LINK, M. D., who died in the City of Parkers-
burg on the 6th of March, 1921, justified in able and faith-
ful service his choice of vocation, and by his sterling char-
acter and marked technical skill honored the profession in
which he achieved high standing and unequivocal success.
He built up a large and representative general practice in
the City of Parkersburg, and held rank as one of the leading
physicians and surgeons of Wood County at the time of his
death, in the very prime of his strong and useful life.

Dr. Walter Scott Link was born in Jefferson County,
West Virginia, on the 13th of July, 1870, and was a son of
Thomas and Elizabeth Jane (Melvin) Link. The lineage
of the Link family traces back to German origin, seven
brothers of the name having come from Germany and
settled in America prior to the war of the Revolution, and
from these founders descend the representatives of the
name now found in various states of the Union. Members
of the family were gallant soldiers of the Continental Line
in the War of the Revolution, and the War of 1812 like-
wise gained loyal soldiers from this family of American
patriots. Virtually every war in which this country has
been involved has claimed members of the Link family as
soldiers. Adam Link, an ancestor of the subject of this
memoir, was a patriot soldier in the Revolution, and in a
cemetery in Jefferson County, West Virginia, are the graves
of soldiers of the Link family who served in all other wars
of the nation in their day and generation. Thomas Link
was a gallant soldier of the Confederacy in the War be-
tween the States, took part in various battles and was
severely wounded while participating in an engagement
near Winchester. After the war he continued his activities
as one of the representative fanners of Jefferson County,
and there both he and his wife passed the remainder of
their lives, secure in the high esteem of all who knew them.
They became the parents of the following children: John
A., Edward M., Thomas O., Jacob Albert, Adam G. (a
minister of the gospel), Davis Beauregard, Charles W. and
Walter S.

Dr. Walter S. Link found the period of his childhood
and early youth compassed by the invigorating influences
of the home farm, and in the meanwhile he made good
use of the advantages offered by the public schools of his
native county. After his graduation in the high school at
Shenandoah he entered the University of West Virginia,
in which he was in due time graduated, with the degree
of Bachelor of Arts. In preparation for his chosen pro-
fession he was matriculated in the Baltimore Medical Col-
lege at Baltimore, Maryland, and in this institution he
was graduated as a member of the class of 1897. After
thus_ receiving his degree of Doctor of Medicine he further
fortified himself by an effective post-graduate course in
the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, in which great
institution he served three years as house surgeon. About
1900 Doctor Link established his residence at Parkersburg,
and while his practice was of general order in its earlier
stages, it was as a specialist in the diagnosis and treat-
ment of diseases of the ear, nose and throat that he gained
his major success and reputation. In this special field of
practice his fame far transcended local limitations, and
he gained authoritative status as a specialist along these

In 1902 Doctor Link showed his high sense of profes-
sional stewardship and his civic progressiveness by estab-
lishing a private hospital in his home city, and to this
institution came patients from the most diverse sections of
the Union to avail themselves of its advantages and of the
able service of Doctor Link.

As was to be anticipated in connection with a person
of so great patriotism and high ideals as those of Doctor
Link, he was among the first to tender his aid to the Gov-
ernment when it became apparent that the United States
must become actively involved in the great World war.
In December, 1917, he enlisted in the medical corps of the
United States Army, was commissioned lieutenant and
later promoted to a captaincy, and his arduous and un-
remitting work in connection with the development of the
nation’s medical department for war service was the pre-
disposing cause of his untimely death. He continued his
service in the medical corps until his impaired health made
necessary his retirement, and in the loved city of his home
he passed the closing days of his earnest and noble life,
loved for his kindliness and abiding human sympathy, and
admired for the splendid service which he had given in
his exacting profession. The Doctor was an appreciative
and valued member of the Wood County Medical Society,
and likewise was actively identified with the West Vir-
ginia State Medical Society and the American Medical
Association, as well as the Southern Medical Society. Doc-
tor Link was an exceptional Bible student and was a zeal-
ous member of the Presbyterian Church. His widow is
a member of the Catholic Church. He was a member of
the Parkersburg Chamber of Commerce, the local Kiwanis
Club, and the Parkersburg Lodge of the Benevolent and
Protective Order of Elks. In the Masonic fraternity he
received the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted
Scottish Rite, his maximum York Rite affiliation being with
the Parkersburg Commandery of Knights Templars, and
his Masonic activities having further been extended by his
identification with the Mystic Shrine.

On the 22d of July, 1902, was solemnized the marriage
of Doctor Link and Miss Mary Eleanor Prendergast,
daughter of Thomas and Julliette Burea (Cummings) Pren-
dergast. Mrs. Link was born in the city of Brooklyn,
New York, was graduated in Chestnut Hill Convent and
the New York Polyclinic Hospital as a trained nurse. Her
career, as was that of her husband, has been one of dis-
tinct consecration to high effort in the relieving of human
suffering, and she has seen much of hospital service, be-
sides rendering aid to those in distress wherever and when-
ever her efficient service was required. She proved a
devoted and helpful coadjutor of her husband in the main-
tenance of his hospital, and was his counselor in all de-
partments of his work. In continued service she finds the
greatest mode of consolation now that her loved companion
has passed to the life eternal. Dr. and Mrs. Link became
the parents of one daughter, Julliette Elizabeth, and the
pleasant home in Parkersburg is known for its gracious

Walter L. Danks

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

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

WALTER L. DANKS, whose technical and executive ability need no further voucher
than the statement that he is the efficient superintendent of the Parkersburg
Iron & Steel Company, at the metropolis and judicial center of Wood County, West
Virginia, claims the State of Nebraska as the place of his nativity and is a
representative of one of its sterling pioneer families, though it is to be
recorded that is father, a man of independent means and marked resourcefulness,
did not consent long to endure the ravages wrought by grasshoppers and drought
in the pioneer period of Nebraska history, but soon left that state in whieh
many other pioneers were compelled to remain, as they had no financinl resources
that permitted them to flee from the dcsolation wrought by the pioneer scourges.

Walter L. Danks was born at Cozad, Dawson County, Nebraska, on the 11th of
November, 1875, and is a son of John G. and Elizabeth (Vance) Danks, the former
of whom was born at Mount Savage, Maryland, and the latter at Muncie, Indiana.
Samuel T. Danks, grandfather of him whose name initiates this review, was a
native of England, where the family has been one of not minor prominence, among
its representatives in the past having been one or more distinguished musicians
and composers, one of whom composed music for many of the beautiful chants of
the Church of England. Samuel T. Danks was reared and educated in his native
land and there acquired his fundamental knowledge of the iron industry, of which
he became a prominent and influential pioneer exponent after coming to the
United States. He came to this country about the year 1847, and in 1849 he
became one of the argonauts of California, where the historic discovery of gold
had just been made. He made the long and perilous overland trip to California
and became one of the first to utilize hydraulic power in connection with gold
mining in that state. He did not long remain on the Pacific Coast, however, but
established his home at Mount Savage, Maryland, where he became prominently
identified with the iron industry, as a pioneer in its development in this
country. He was the inventor of the rotary puddling furnace that bore his name
and that did much to advance iron production industry in the United States.
Both he and his wife continued to reside in Maryland for number of years, and
thereafter he became superintendent an extensive iron manufacturing plant in
Cincinnati, Ohio, in which state he and his wife passed the closing years of
their lives.

John G. Danks seems to have inherited a predilection for iron industry, with
which the family name had been prominently identified in England for many
generations. He was reared and educated in Maryland, where he early gained
practical experience in connection with iron industry under the effective
direction of his father. As a young man he became mechanical engineer for one of
the large iron corpoations at Cincinnati, Ohio, where his father was
simultaneously serving as an executive in connection with the same line of
enterprise. After the father invented the Danks Puddling furnace John G., the
son, went to England to superintend the installation of these improved devices
in that country, and after his return to the United States he continued such
installation service, in which he met with much opposition and had many
remarkable experiences on account of the opposition of the historic organization
in Pennsylvania known as the “Molly Maguires.” In the early ’70s he made his
venture in connection with pioneer ranching enterprise in Dawson County,
Nebraska, but the adverse conditions previously mentioned in this sketch led him
to abandon his activities there and to return to Cincinnati. After his retirement
from active business affairs he removed to Los Angeles, California, and there his
death occurred in 1914, his wife having preceded him to eternal rest, and two
children survive them.

Walter L. Danks, the immediate subject of this sketch, passed his boyhood days
principally on a farm owned by his paternal grandfather near College Hill, a
suburb of the City of Cincinnati, and his early educational discipline included
that of the high school and also of a business college, which later he attended
at night. He gained under the direction of his father and grandfather his early
experience in connection with the iron and steel industry, and in this
connection he has well upheld the prestige of the family name, as his entire
active career has been one of close and effective association with this
important branch of industrial enterprise. He was for five years in the employ
of the Inland Steel Company at Indiana Harbor, Indiana, and with the same won
promotion to the position of assistant master mechanic. In 1906 he came to
Parkersburg, West Virginia, to take the position of master mechanic with the
Parkersburg Iron & Steel Company, and this alliance has since continued, while
he has served as superintendent of the company’s extensive plant since 1913.

Mr. Danks is found aligned loyally in the ranks of the republican party, and is
vital and progressive in his civic attitude. He takes deep interest in all that
touches the welfare and advancement, of his home city, and during the nation’s
participation in the World war he was able to give valuable patriotic service
both through the medium of his industrial association and through his personal
efforts in support of the various local war activities. He and his wife hold
membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in the Masonic fraternity he
has completed the circle of the York Rite, in which his maximum affiliation is
with the Parkersburg Commandery of Knights Templars, besides having received the
thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite and being also a member of the Mystic

The year 1902 recorded the marriage of Mr. Danks to Miss Hannah Stephens, of
Indiana Harbor, Indiana