Tag Archives: 15

James W. Finley

HANCOCK COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: Finley, James W. (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. 221
Hancock County

JAMES W. FINLEY. One of the best known and most
highly respected citizens of Hancock County, James W.
Finley has long been practically in charge of all the con
strnction work done by the big firm of Finley Brothers
of Chester. He has been identified with this line of work
for more than thirty years, and few men bear a better
record in business matters or as to citizenship.

Mr. Finley was born on the old Finley farm, one mile
from Chester, Hancock County, February 1, 1863, and be-
longs to an old and honored family, a complete record of
which will be found in the sketch of Mr. Finley’s brother,
Joseph N. Finley, elsewhere in this work. He was reared
on the home farm and secured a good educational training,
and was variously employed until he reached the age of
twenty-eight years, at which time he entered the trade.
Inside of the same month he was given the responsible
position of supervision of construction, a line in which he
has continued to the present time, being generally the
one in direct charge of all the construction work. The
Pinley Brothers continued as a partnership until August,
1903, when the business was incorporated, with a capital
of $10,000, the officers being Joseph N. Finley, president;
Joseph McCoy, vice president; R. Frank Finley, treas-
urer; and George A. Hasson, secretary. James W. Finley
assumed the duties of superintendent of construction. R.
F. Finley became vice president of the concern in 1916,
at the time of the death of Joseph McCoy, a brother-in-
law, whose widow is now a director in the concern. In
1921 the capital of the business was increased to $50,000.
The work of this concern is not confined by any means
to Hancock County, nor to the State of West Virginia,
for the reputation of the enterprise for honest represen-
tation, high grade of. workmanship and honorable fidelity
to contracts has extended to distant points, and work has
been done by Finley Brothers as far west as Moline, Illi-
nois. Much of the success of the business must be ac-
credited to James W. Finley, an expert in his line, a capable
executive in the handling of labor and possessed of much
energy and ideas of a modern character. He was for-
mally a member of the Chester City Council, where he
served on several important committees and worked faith-
fully in behalf of the welfare of his community.

While engaged in park work in Summit County, Ohio,
Mr. Finley met Miss Ustha E. Boughton, who later became
his bride. Mr. and Mrs. Finley have three sons: Richard
Dale, Clyde Ember and Elvet Franklin, all attending school.
At one time Mr. Finley belonged to thirteen fraternal
organizations and passed through the chairs in most of
these orders, of a number of which he was representa-
tive to the state bodies. Of later years, however, he has
not evidenced so much interest in fraternalism, and when
his business duties allow of a vacation he either spends
his time in his home or else takes a hunting trip in the
mountains of his native state or goes to Michigan in
search of deer and bear.

Robert C. And Jesse S. Evans

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 254
Hancock County

ROBERT C. AND JESSE S. EVANS. None of the mercantile
establishments at Weirton are better known or have gained
a greater success during a like period of years than the
general merchandise enterprise of Evans Brothers, the pro-
prietors of which are Robert C. and Jesse S. Evans. These
men have built up a large and flourishing business from
small beginnings, and while advancing their personal success
have contributed to the progress of the community not only
through the development of a worthy commercial venture
but through their constructive and helpful support of meas-
ures promulgated for the betterment of the city’s

The Evans brothers were born at New Cumberland, Han-
cock County, West Virginia, Robert C. on June 4, 1873,
and Jesse 8., June 24. 1879, their parents being James Madi-
son and Emma E. (Evans) Evans. Mrs. Evans, who was
born at Wheeling, still survives and resides at New Cumber-
land, at the age of eighty-four years. James Madison Evans
was born near New Cumberland, in 1841, a son of Jeremiah
C. Evans, an agriculturist, who passed his life in Hancock
County and was an extensive operator. On reaching man-
hood James Madison Evans adopted farming for his life
work, and spent his whole life in Hancock County, where
up to the time of his retirement he tilled the soil and was
a large grower of fruit. He resided at New Cumberland,
surrounded by the comforts attainable by the fruits of his
early industry and where he died in March, 1916.

Robert C. and Jesse S. Evans received good, practical
educational advantages as lads in the public schools of
Hancock County. They were reared as farmers’ sons, but
neither desired to lead an agricultural life, and accordingly
accepted positions as clerks, where they gained their intro-
duction to business methods. Robert C. Evans also served
two terms, or eight years, from 1904 to 1912, as assessor of
Hancock County, an office to which he was elected on the
republican ticket. In May, 1912, the Evans brothers
founded the Weirton Supply Company, a grocery and mar-
ket, their initial capital being about $2,500. The business
was continued in the same way, although with growing
success, until 1918, when it was connsolidated, with a store
at Weirton which the brothers had started in 1916 as a
branch of the original business. In the same year they
had erected a double store, three stories in height, of brick,
at the present location, coating $28,000, and in 1921 an-
other store was added, with lodge hall and two apartments
above, making the entire building cost about $37,000. The
first year’s sales were about $30,000, but have run as high
as $225,000, and the stock carried regularly is valued at
from $20,000 to $25,000, or more than ten times the original
stock. Eight employes are kept busy and the trade is by
no means confined to Weirton, many of the patrons of the
establishment residing in the rural districts and the nearby
towns and villages. The brothers are men of sound integ-
rity who have established excellent reputations for honor-
able dealing and honest representation. They are inter-
ested as good citizens in civic matters and give their moral
and material support to all measures which promise to be
of benefit to their community. They have several connec-
tions of a fraternal character, and their friends are numer-
ous in social circles.

Robert C. Evans married Miss Mary L. Mayhew, daughter
of J. H. Mayhew, who was superintendent of the Hancock
County Infirmary for a number of years. To this union
there have been born two children: Edna, a teacher in the
public school at Holliday’s Cove; and James Henderson,
D. D. S., a graduate of the Pennsylvania University at

Jesse S. Evans was united in marriage with Miss Vir-
ginia Wilson, of New Cumberland, and they have five chil-
dren: Emma Virginia, Dorothy, James L., Fred W. and

James L. Mayhew

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. 226-227
Hancock County

JAMES L. MAYHEW. The chief executive office in any
community is a responsible one, and the individual occupy-
ing it bears the responsibility on his shoulders not only
of handling the multitudinous details of municipal manage-
ment, but the accountability for its commercial and moral
integrity. As he is, so is generally his community, for it
soon reflects his character and manner of dealing with
large problems, and unless he keeps a firm grip upon
the reins of government and influences his associates to act
as he believes is right and just, his administration soon
shows the effect of lax principles. For this reason of
recent years the people of the enterprising communities
all over the country have been choosing their chief execu-
tives more and more from the sound business class, recog-
nizing the beneficial effect of example and action. Ex-
Mayor Mayhew, of Chester, West Virginia, is not only a
business man of proved ability and substantial standing,
but a man who has had former experience in public office
and who has shown his worth in securing the successful
bringing about of movements for the public welfare.

Mr. Mayhew was born at the old Mayhew farm home
at Pughtown, Hancock County, March 18, 1862, and is
a son of James N. and Mary Jane (Crawford) Mayhew.
James N. Mayhew was born near Florence, Washington
County, Pennsylvania, in 1827, and when seven years of
age was brought to West Virginia by his parents, John
and Elizabeth (Jackson) Mayhew, who settled adjoining the
village of Fairview, now Pughtown. John Mayhew owned
about 340 acres of land and lived in a brick house which
still forms a part of the residence on the property. He
followed farming until his death when eighty years old,
while his wife died when seventy-five or seventy-six years
of age. They had the following children: Rebecca, who
died as Mrs. Albaugh; Eliza, who became Mrs. Buchanan
and had a son, John Buchanan, an attorney at Beaver,
Pennsylvania; James N.; David Simeon, who died in Illi-
nois; Nancy, who became Mrs. Fulton and died at the
age of ninety-six years, being the mother of Rev. W. P.
Fulton, a noted Presbyterian divine of Philadelphia, Penn-
sylvania; John W., who died in Beaver County, that
state; William, who was last heard from in California;
Elizabeth who married a Mr. Travis; and Mary who
married a Mr. Custer.

After completing a public school education James N.
Mayhew turned his attention to agricultural operations,
in which he was engaged all his life, and became one
of the highly respected and esteemed men of his locality.
He was a democrat in politics, and he and his wife be-
longed to the Methodist Protestant Church. In Columbiana
County, Ohio, he married Mary Jane Crawford, and they
became the parents of thirteen children, all of whom are
still living in 1922, the youngest being now in middle life:
Thomas C., a resident of Nebraska; John H., of Chester;
David E., of Pughtown, who is engaged in farming the
old home place; William Lucas, a resident of Lisbon, Ohio;
Nancy Jane, the widow of Wesley Herron, of Pughtown,
who had thirty-two grandchildren in 1922; James L., of
this review; Charles C., his twin, who is a resident of
California; Ella, the widow of Howard Warren, of Cleve-
land; George, of Sebring, Ohio; Ira, residing on the
old home farm; Frank, of Salem, Ohio; Elizabeth, now
Mrs. Emanuel Thomas, of Salem, Ohio; and Noah, of
East Palestine, Ohio.

James L. Mayhew received a public school education
and remained on the home farm until reaching his twen-
tieth year, at which time he went to New Brighton, Penn-
sylvania, where he took up the trade of painting. He
followed that vocation for a long period, and was a
contractor in the same line for five years, following which
for twelve years he was the proprietor of a grocery and
meat market. In 1900, while residing at New Brighton,
he was elected one of the three county commissioners of
Beaver County, Pennsylvania. This proved to be the most
responsible position in the county, with court in session
all the time during the administration. At the time all
the bridges in the county were toll bridges, but in 1900
the commission of which Mr. Mayhew was a member
started the movement for free bridges by purchasing
the first bridge of this kind in the county. New Brighton
is located on the Beaver River, near its junction with the
Ohio, and there are bridges in every direction. The move-
ment for free bridges met with a turmoil of opposition
and the most strenuous objections, but later, after a start
had been made in this line, the enterprise met with grow-
ing favor, and finally became popular. Mr. Mayhew, how-
ever, met defeat for reelection by a small majority. Later
he conducted a hotel at New Brighton for about ten years,
and in 1915 disposed of his holdings and returned to Han-
cock County, settling at Chester, where he was elected mayor
in 1920 and served capably for two years his term expiring
April 1, 1922. He has been prominent in the ranks of
the democratic party and is a member of the committee
of his party for the congressional district, as well as a
jury commissioner, his associates being Capt. Harvey
Robb, of New Cumberland. As chairman of the congres-
sional committee he is one of the most active workers in
the conduct of campaigns and has frequently been a dele-
gate to conventions. At present, in a business way, Mr.
Mayhew is engaged in the handling of paints and wall
paper, and is contracting in work of this kind. He has
several fraternal connections and is accounted one of the
most energetic and public-spirited citizens of his com-

Mr. Mayhew married Miss Nannie E. Snowden, who was
born near Pughtown, daughter of the late W. D. Snowden,
who was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Hancock
County until his death. To Mr. and Mrs. Mayhew there
have been born two children: Ina, who is the wife of Theo-
dore McLain, of New Brighton, Pennsylvania; and William
A., who is associated in business with his father.


Robert R. Hobbs

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 250
Hancock County

ROBERT R. HOBBS. Included among the men who have
the responsibility for good government in Hancock County
on their shoulders is Robert R. Hobbs, occupying the posi-
tion of clerk of the County Court. Mr. Hobbs is well known
to the people of the county a.a an efficient, energetic and
conscientious official, for he is. now serving his second
six-year term in his present office, and prior to becoming
the incumbent thereof had acted in other public capacities.
He has spent his entire life in the county, where he has
been the architect of his own fortunes.

Mr. Hobbs was born at Fairview, Hancock County,
September 5, 1875, a son of John Wesley and Elizabeth
Jane (Brenneman) Hobbs. The mother of John Wesley
Hobbs was Margaret Ray, a daughter of Joseph Ray, said
to have been a Eevolutionary soldier, who settled on
Brown’s Island, six miles below New Cumberland in the
Ohio River, and reached an advanced age, being buried
at Pughtown. The father of John Wesley Hobbs was
Leonard Hobbs, who died at the age of thirty-four years
at Wellsburg. John W. Hobbs was sheriff of Hancock
County during the Civil war period, following which he
became a merchant at Pughtown. In 1881 he was elected
to the State Legislature, when the capital was at Wheel-
ing, and after completing his term of office returned to his
store at Pughtown, in which community he died at the
age of seventy years. Elizabeth Brenneman was a daughter
of Jacob Brenneman, a descendant of the original settler
of the county, Jacob Nessley, whose home was opposite
the mouth of Yellow Creek, Ohio, but over the West
Virginia line. There Elizabeth had been brought at two
years of age and was reared on the farm in the Ohio
Valley. She died at the advanced age of eighty-two

Robert R. Hobbs secured his education at Pughtown,
where he lived until reaching the age of sixteen years,
at that time becoming an employe of a merchant at
Hookstown, Pennsylvania. At the end of three years
he went to Pittsburgh, where he became a clerk for
Joseph Hern & Company, and then ran a store at Chester,
West Virginia, until 1909, when he was elected sheriff of
Hancock County. After spending four years in that
capacity he returned to his mercantile operations at
Chester, and applied himself thereto without interrup-
tion until elected clerk of the County Court for a period
of six years, on the republican ticket. When his term
expired the citizens, in looking back over his record, found
it so satisfactory that he was chosen to succeed himself for
another six-year term, and is still the capable, conscientious
incumbent of that position.

Mr. Hobbs married Miss Effie K. Knowles, of East
Liverpool, Ohio, and to this union there have been born
four children: Robert Knowles, who graduated from the
high school at Chester, West Virginia, in 1922; Ruth Louise,
who is attending high school; and Mildred Elizabeth and
Ralph Brenneman, who are attending the graded schools.
Mr. Hobbs has a number of civic and social connections,
and is accounted one of the progressive men of his com-
munity, where he has numerous friends.

James Bennett Porter

File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by
Valerie Crook
September 13, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 233
Hancock County

JAMES BENNETT PORTER is vice president of the Globe
Brick Company, representing one of the important industrial
enterprises of Hancock County, and since 1909 he has main-
tained active supervision of a portion of the old Mahan
fruit farm near Arroyo, this county, a property inherited by
his mother. In this latter connection he is one of the exten-
sive apple growers of his native county, and has on the
farm a finely productive orchard that receives scientific
care. Of both the Porter and Mahan families, representing
the paternal and maternal ancestry of Mr. Porter, adequate
record is given in other personal reviews in this volume,
he being a son of John and Carrie (Mahan) Porter and
having been born at New Cumberland, judicial center of
Hancock County, on the 14th of November, 1882.

Mr. Porter was afforded the advantages of the well or-
dered public schools of his native county, and as a youth
he became actively identified with the manufacturing of
brick, with which industry he has continued his association
to the present time, the Globe Brick Company, of which
he is vice president, being one of the largest concerns of the
kind in this section of the state. The family home of Mr.
Porter is maintained in the attractive and modern house
which he erected at Arroyo and which commands a fine
view up and down the Ohio River and also of the Ohio
shore district. Mr. Porter is liberal and progressive as a
citizen but has had no desire for political activity or public
office. He is affiliated with both the York and Scottish Rite
bodies of the time-honored Masonic fraternity.

The year 1912 recorded the marriage of Mr. Porter and
Miss Josephine Lovell, of Boston, Massachusetts, she being
a graduate of Wellesley College and having come to Han-
cock County, West Virginia, to visit a classmate, Mary
Anna Brenneman, daughter of Herman Brenneman. Romance
here became her portion, for here she formed the
acquaintance of Mr. Porter, whose importunities resulted
in her here remaining as his wife. Mrs. Porter was active
in Red Cross and other patriotic service in the World war
period, as was also her husband, and she is an active mem-
ber of the Nessly Chapel of the Methodist Protestant
Church at Arroyo. Mr. and Mrs. Porter have five children,
namely: James B., Jr., John Ethan, Josephine Natalie,
Helen Cross and Leah Lovell.

Robert Morrow Brown

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 253
Hancock County

HON. ROBERT MORROW BROWN. For several decades Hon.
Robert Morrow Brown has been a progressive, and for
much of that period a prominent, factor in the business,
journalistic, political and public activities of New Cumber-
land. His standing as a citizen is firm and broad and as
a leader of the republican party his reputation has extended
into state-wide influence. Mr. Brown was born at New
Cumberland, Hancock County, West Virginia, November 21,
1877, and is a son of Adrian Wilmer and Mary Virginia
(Morrow) Brown.

Adrian Wilmer Brown was born at Wellsburg, Brooke
County, Ohio. in 1854, his parents being John Danforth and
Lucie (Hewlett) Brown. John D. Brown, who was born
in what is now West Virginia, was a merchant for some
years at Wellsburg, where he died aged thirty-nine years,
while his wife. who survived him to the age of sixty-three
years; was born at Richmond, Virginia. Adrian W. Brown
passed his boyhood at Wellsburg, where he received a pub-
lic school education and as a young man secured a posi-
tion with the Wellsburg Herald. In 1877 he came to New
Cumberland, where he founded the New Cumberland Inde-
pendent, the first issue of which appeared January 10th
of that year, from the same building in which it is now
published. This republican weekly, published on an old-
fashioned Washington hand press, at once gained a good
circulation, due to its general worth and excellence and
to its championing of all worthy movements in the way
of modern progress and advancement. Mr. Brown remained
as editor of this newspaper until 1903, when he retired from
active affairs and turned its management over to his son.
He died three years later, greatly mourned by those who
had come to know his numerous fine qualities of mind and
heart. Mr. Brown was circuit clerk for Hancock County
from 1890 to 1896. He was a member of the Episcopal
Church at Wellsburg, and services were held in his own
home at New Cumberland once a month. At Pughtown Mr.
Brown was united in marriage with Miss Mary Virginia
Morrow, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Wilson) Mor-
row, of Pughtown, Mr. Morrow having been proprietor of
the old Virginia House at that place when it was the county
seat. He was also a justice of the peace for many years.
Mrs. Brown died in 1890, leaving two children: Robert
Morrow; and Lucie, now the wife of N. W. Ballantyne, a
sketch of whose career appears elsewhere in this work.
Later Mr. Brown married Ola M. Moore, who survives him,
but they had no children.

Bobert Morrow Brown attended the public schools of New
Cumberland, and after hs graduation from the high school
enrolled as a student at the West Virginia University, where
he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1902 and his
Bachelor of Laws degree one year later. Previous to this
he had seen service on a daily paper at East Liverpool, and
had also been on a paper at Morgantown, so that he was
not without experience when he took charge of the Inde-
pendent at the time of his father’s retirement in 1903. The
old hand press of former days has gone with other things
of its kind, and the office is now electrically equipped
throughout, with modern linotype machines and a Babcock
press, which has a capacity of from 1,500 to 2,000 per hour.
The paper circulates freely, not only in the immediate vicin-
ity of New Cumberland, but into sections of Pennsylvania
and Ohio. It is in high favor with its readers because of
its practical, well-written and timely editorials, its authentic
news features and its various interesting departments, and
because it has ever maintained the policy of its founder
in supporting all movements promising for advancement and
progress along all material and moral lines.

In addition to his newspaper activities Mr. Brown has
been engaged in the practice of law, having a large and
lucrative practice in all the courts. In 1905 he was elected
on the republican ticket as prosecuting attorney, an office
in which he served with an excellent record until 1909.
In 1912 President Taft appointed him postmaster of New
Cumberland, and this office he also held for four years.
During the World war period he was exceptionally active,
serving on the county committee in the Liberty Loan drives
and the Red Cross, and it is to be noted as a significant
fact that Hancock always stood high among the counties
when the final returns were in. In November, 1920, Mr.
Brown was elected to the State Legislature for Hancock
County, and during his term was a member of the follow-
ing committees: Judiciary, Rules, Printing, Forestry and
Conservation, Mines and Mining Labor, Medicine and Sani-
tation and Redistricting. His record was a worthy one, of
much value to his constituency and his state. For the past
eight years Mr. Brown has been chairman of the Hancock
County Republican Committee. He was in attendance at
the national convention that nominated Warren G. Harding
for the presidency. As a fraternalist Mr. Brown holds mem-
bership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of
Pythias, and he is also a member of the Kiwanis Club, and
Phi Kappa Psi College fraternity. He and his family are
entitled to membership in the Sons of the American Revolu-
tion and the Daughters of the American Revolution through
the service of one of his direct ancestors, Capt. Oliver
Brown, buried at Wellsburg, who participated in the win-
ning of American independence.

Mr. Brown married Miss Leora Scott, of Somerset, Penn-
sylvania, and to their union there has been born one son,
John Scott.

John Bentley Newell

HANCOCK COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: NEWELL, John Bentley (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. 225-226
Hancock County

JOHN BENTLEY NEWELL. The influence exerted by the
deeds of those who never seek publicity, but who are
ever ready to do their part in the world’s work for civili-
zation and progress, is a very potent one. Transitory
success comes to some who disregard the principles of
honor and morality, but once they are removed from
their scene of action the lack of merit in their work
is soon realized, and their names are used but to illus-
trate the uselessness of their manner of living. The man
who is remembered is the one who puts self last; who
endeavors to give to others a little more than the treat-
ment he wants for himself, and who is willing to make
some sacrifice for the good of his fellow-men. Such a
man can be depended upon and his life is a benefit to the
community. Judged by these standards, the late John
Bentley Newell, of Newell, West Virginia, measured up to
the highest ideals of good citizenship, and although a num-
ber of years have passed since he was called to his final
rest, he lives in the memory of his friends as the highest
type of manhood.

John Bentley Newell was born April 12, 1839, at the
old mill on Tomlinson’s Run, in Hancock County, West
Virginia, a son of John and Lydia Ann (Edie) Newell.
John Newell, father of John B. Newell, was born near
Burgettstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1796,
a son of Hugh Newell who with his brother had removed
to Vance’s Fort soon after the close of the Revolutionary
war. Hugh Newell built one of the first brick houses in
Washington County, Pennsylvania, and John Newell built
the first house of brick at Pughtown in Hancock County,
an old residence that is still standing. He also owned
a tannery, which he operated for some years, even after
he had secured what later became known as the Hart-
ford Flour Mill, on Tomlinson’s Run, about four miles
from the Ohio. He built flatboats, which he ran down the
Ohio River to New Orleans, carrying flour and leather,
and would then walk back to his home. About 1850 he sold
the mill to a man named Hartford and located on the
present Newell farm, to which he brought his wife, who had
been Lydia Ann Edie, of Fairview. This farm was a
part of the Greathouse tract or grant, and the old deed
to Greathouse is still held by the Newell family. The
original settler, named Greathouse, whose cabin was on
the left bank of Tub Mill Run; at the entrance to the
Ohio (the cellar being still visible), was killed by an
Indian floating down the river in a canoe. The place is
now included in the village of Newell. W. F. Lloyd, a
steel manufacturer of Pittsburgh, bought parts of four
farms, that of Newell, Wells, McDonald and Moore, but
sold out some twenty years later to the North American
Manufacturing Company, who really started the town,
the first step being to erect a bridge from East Liver-
pool. The farm extended to the Ohio and reached back
as far as the hill, which is some 500 feet above the
river level. The pottery, of course, was down by the flat
on the river. The farm had formerly been occupied and
rented by Alexander Edie, the brother of Lydia Ann
(Edie) Newell, and was purchased by John Newell from
a Mr. Glass and others. It contained 320 acres, on which
Mr. Newell made many improvements, including a brick
residence. He built his pottery on the site of the present
station at Newell, on the right bank of Tub Mill Run,
the first pottery on the West Virginia side of the river,
and in his two-kiln plant, with its thirty or forty em-
ployes, manufactured a creditable article of yellow-ware.
John Newell died in 1884, when eighty-eight years of age.
He married Lydia Ann Edie in 1826, and she died in
1844, the mother of seven children: Hugh, a sketch of
whose career will be found elsewhere in this work, in the
record of John F. Newell; William, of Berthoud, Colo-
rado; Rev. James, of Los Angeles, California; George, of
Delta County, Colorado; John Bentley; Lizzie, who mar-
ried Alfred Marks, owner of the old Marks farm at
Chester; and Rachel, who married George Harker, a pot-
ter at East Liverpool. Mr. and Mrs. Harker had a son,
William Harker, president of the Potters National Bank
of East Liverpool, whose son, Robert, still resides at Newell,
and is one of the owners of the Harker Pottery, founded
by his grandfather.

John Bentley Newell was ten years of age when brought
by his parents to the home farm and his education was
acquired in the public schools. During the Civil war he
served as a lieutenant in the Home Guards, and was twice
called into active service, once during the time of Morgan’s
Raid. With this exception his life was a quiet one, and he
was content to remain on his farm, where his industry and
good management, together with his intelligent application
of modern methods, won him success. His integrity and
probity were universally recognized, while he was also
a strong temperance man, and in this connection it may
be noted that Hancock County had never had a licensed
saloon within its borders. He never cared for public life.
He and his worthy wife were members of the First
Presbyterian Church of Newell, West Virginia, in the
faith of which Mr. Newell died October 21, 1914, and
Mrs. Newell, October 19, 1910. At the age of twenty-
six years Mr. Newell married the twenty-one-year-old
daughter of Dr. Robert A. Johnston, a physician of Wells-
ville, Miss Margaret Jane Johnston, who was born at
Noblestown, Pennsylvania, and to this union there were
born the following children: Carrie, a teacher in the
public schools of East Liverpool, who died unmarried
December 20, 1919; James, residing at home, who has
been active in promoting the Newell bridge and other
enterprises, married Maud Croxall, of East Liverpool; and
Charles B., Ada and Robert C. (Bert), all unmarried and
at home.

Robert C. Newell attended George Washington University
in, 1905, following which he pursued his law course at the
West Virginia University as a student in jurisprudence
and diplomacy. An amusing incident of his college
days, which he vividly recalls, is the following: On the day
succeeding the historic victory of West Virginia Univer-
sity over Washington and Jefferson College the students
desired to celebrate, and President Purington, seeing little
chance of keeping them from their desires, gave his con-
sent. The law students, raising a great yell on the campus,
succeeded in bringing out several classes from recitations
and the crowd became greatly augmented. Finally the
disturbance reached the class taught by Miss Johnson,
whose determined stand and uncompromising demeanor
abashed and bluffed the entire crowd of law students.

Mr. Newell was admitted to the bar in 1908, and
immediately engaged in a general practice of his pro-
fession, to which, however, he does not devote his entire
attention, being also a farmer and fruit grower. The
Newell Fruit Farm now consists of 254 acres, with some
five acres in small fruits and thirty-five acres in apples
and peaches. John Bentley Newell, who conducted this
farm as a sheep breeding property for a number of years,
later in life became interested in fruit and was the
originator of the Red Willow apple, which has become
one of the leading varieties and which is produced on
this farm, as well as Grimes Golden and Elberta peaches.
The old residence stands well up on the bluff, one-half
mile back from the river, but not with a view. It was
the center of the social life of the community for more
than a half a century, and its doors have always been
kept hospitably open. The Newells have ever stood for
high standards of citizenship, their influence always for
progress, advancement and betterment of conditions in
the community which honored John Bentley Newell by
the adoption of his name.

R. Osburn Johnson

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. 273-274
Hancock County

R. OSBURN JOHNSON while a young man learned and
worked at the plumbing and heating trade in all branches.
That is a business he knows from every standpoint. Some
years ago he became a traveling representative for one of
the largest and most exclusive houses manufacturing and
distributing plumbing goods and supplies, the Standard
Sanitary Manufacturing Company of Pittsburgh, and for
this company he established a branch jobbing house at
Huntington, of which he is the manager.

Mr. Johnson is a native of the famous Blue Grass District
of old Kentucky, born in Woodford County, January 29,
1889. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His grandfather,
Van Johnson, was born in Kentucky in 1838, and spent
nearly all his life in Woodford County. He was a distiller
by trade, and in that capacity he was in the service of the
Old Crow Distillery in Woodford County for a half century,
until finally pensioned by the company. He died in Wood-
ford County in 1912. His wife was a Miss Jennings, who
was born in Kentucky in 1840 and died in Woodford County
in 1910. William P. Johnson, father of the Huntington
business man, was born in Woodford County, was reared
and married there, and was a merchant in the county until
1903, when he removed to Lexington and continued in busi-
ness in that city until his death in 1907. He was a demo-
crat, a member of the Baptist Church and the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows. William P. Johnson married Clara
Williams, who was born in Woodford County in 1863 and is
now living at Lexington. She was the mother of three
children. Ola is the wife of George Compton, a bookkeeper
for the Second National Bank of Lexington. R. Osburn is
the second in age. Sampey is .the youngest, and is asso-
ciated with his brother at Huntington as warehouse superin-
tendent. He enlisted at Lexington as a mechanic in the
navy, was stationed at the Great Lakes Training Station
and then at Hampton Roads, became a second-class seaman
and was in the service two years before his honorable

R. Osburn Johnson attended rural schools in Woodford
County, but left school at the age of sixteen and for three
years was clerk in a dry goods store at Lexington. For
two years he was bookkeeper for Buford A. Graves, cement
contractor at Lexington, and then took up the business in
which he has made his real success. For seven years he was
in the employ of J. J. Fitzgerald, a plumbing and heating
contractor at Lexington, and while with him he acquired
every detail in the practical and technical knowledge of
heating and plumbing as a business.

Mr. Johnson went on the road as a traveling representa-
tive for the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company on
February 15, 1915. His territory was West Virginia and
portions of Virginia and Kentucky, with headquarters at
Huntington. His success in building up business for the
company led to the opening of a branch jobbing house at
Huntington in 1918, with Mr. Johnson in charge as man-
ager. The offices and jobbing house are located at tlie
corner of Second Avenue and Tenth Street. Through this
house an extensive business over the adjacent territory is
transacted in plumbing, heating, mill, mining and factory
goods, supplies and machinery.

Mr. Johnson regards himself as a permanent factor in
Huntington’s business affairs. He has acquired a home
here at 525 Seventh Avenue and the business building at
612 Third Avenue. He is a democrat, a member of the
Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, the Guyan Country Club, the
Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce and the Credit Men’s

In March, 1911, at Georgetown, Kentucky, Mr. Johnson
married Miss Grace Bice, a native of Fleming County,
Kentucky, and a graduate of Hamilton College, Lexington.

John E. Newell

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 245
Hancock County

JOHN E. NEWELL. It would be impossible to deal prop-
erly with the men of Hancock County whose names stand
out conspicuously in the banking interests of the county,
ami who through inherent characteristics and achievements
have contributed to the upbuilding and development of
the community of Chester without paying special attention
to John E. Newell, president of the First National Bank
of Chester and of the Hancock County Building and Loan
Company, for it is one that compels more than passing
mention. For a number of years he has been prominently
identified with financial, industrial and agricultural mat-
ters, and such has been his force of character and natural
inclinations that he has attained prominence, not only as a
thorough business man, but as manager of large affairs,
in which he has displayed marked executive ability.

Mr. Newell was born in Tomlinson’s Run, near Pugh-
town, Hancock County, where his grandfather, John Newell,
ran a mill, December 22, 1861, and is a son of Hugh
Newell. John Newell, the grandfather, was a son of Hugh
Newell, who built the old fort on his farm, and was him-
self the original settler of this section, from Cross Creek,
Washington County, Pennsylvania. John Newell was a
tanner by trade, and at the age of twenty-one years came
to Pughtown, where he operated a tannery in the village,
his son Hugh being born here in 1827. Hugh as a lad
assisted his father in operating a grist mill, which was
later sold, John Newell then building a mill further down,
known later as the Baxter or Hartford mill. This he also
sold to settle on a farm at Newell, a nice level property
on the “hill,” a part of which is now owned by the Vil-
lage of Newell. There he resided from about 1837 until
his death, at the age of eighty-six years, in 1884, being
laid to rest at Fairview Plats, Pughtown. His first wife
was a Miss Elder, who died without issue. His second wife
was Lydia Edie, of Hancock County, who was the mother
of Hugh Newell. His third wife was a widow, Mrs. Jo-
hanna (Hastings) Frazier, who survived him. They had
no children, but Mrs. Frazier had two sons who served
in the Confederate army during the war between the states,
while Mr. Newell had two sons serving in the Union army
at the same time. The children born to John and Lydia
(Edie) Newell were as follows: Hugh, the father of John
E.; Elizabeth, who married Alfred Marks and died in Han-
cock County; William, who was in the United States army
and later went to California as a freighter on the plains,
and died in the West; Rachael, who married George S.
Harker, a pioneer pottery man, and died at East Liver-
pool, Ohio; George, who went to Colorado after his parents’
death and died there; Benjamin, who lived on the old
home farm and for whom the Village of Newell was named;
and Rev. James, who served as a lieutenant in the Union
army during the Civil war, after which he became a minis-
ter of the Presbyterian Church, preached locally for a
time, then served in California, where he became pastor
emeritus of Bethesda Church at Los Angeles, Washington
and Jefferson College and Allegheny Seminary.

Hugh Newell, the father of John E. Newell, conducted
a mill until coming to Chester with his wife’s brother,
Alfred Marks, with whom he was in partnership for several
years. Later he bought land on Marks’ Run, a property
of about 500 acres, on which he lived from 1871 until his
death in 1903, breeding sheep and clearing up a good deal
of land. This old farm, the present residence of his son
John E., whose home is but a short distance from that of
his brother Samuel, at the old residence, lies about one-
half mile back from the Ohio River, up Marks’ Run.
Hugh’s residence was about one mile from the bank at
Chester. Hugh Newell was active in securing the building
of a bridge across the Ohio River to East Liverpool,
served as school trustee, acted as roadmaster and was one
of the organizers and the first president of the Hancock
County Building and Loan Company. His wife was Alizan
Marks, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Ferree) Marks.
Her maternal grandfather Ferree, of French origin, was a
manufacturer of guns at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and on
moving to Coryopolis, then old Middletown, Allegheny
County, Pennsylvania, was said to have manufactured the
first rifles to be made west of the mountains, these being
tested by his daughter Mary, according to her personal
statement some years ago to her grandson, John E. Newell.
Samuel and Mary (Ferree) Marks came to Hancock County
about 1818, and their old stone house is still standing, it
having been built when their daughter Alizan was about
thirteen years of age. Samuel Marks had a 100-acre tract
of land, patented by President Washington, including what
is now the upper end of Chester. A son, Alfred, suc-
ceeded to the ownership, and his old farm is now covered
by the Potteries Park, etc., including the old stone house.
Alizan Newell, who was born on this farm, in the same
year as her husband, died five years later. Her brothel-
Alfred, who passed almost his entire life in the old stone
house referred to, died as the result of an accident. Mr.
and Mrs. Newell were faithful members of the Presby-
terian Church. He was a Union man, an honorable citizen,
and a man who was greatly respected in his community.
He and his wife had five children: Mary, the widow of
Dr. Hamlin Barnes, of Cleveland, Ohio; John E.; Anna,
the wife of S. W. Root, of Los Angeles, California; Frank,
the owner of a fruit ranch at Bakersfield, California; and
Samuel, residing on the old home place as a partner of his
brother John E.

John E. Newell received a public school education and
as a youth adopted the vocation of farmer, one which he
has never relinquished, although numerous other interests
have also attracted his attention. In partnership with his
brother Samuel he is the owner of 450 acres of land, on
which he is carrying on dairying with a herd of Holstein
cattle, supplying milk by wholesale. He has also met with
success as a fruit grower, raising apples and peaches, with
twenty-five acres in fruit, mostly set on the higher land.
A few miles inside the “horseshoe,” partly surrounded by
the Ohio River, constitutes what is recognized as one of
the best fruit-growing sections in this part of the United
States. The hills are some 500 feet above the river and
are comparatively free from frost injury, and even in 1921,
a notoriously bad year for fruit, a good apple crop was
harvested here.

Mr. Newell is president of the National Bank of Chester,
having succeeded the first president, Judge Campbell. He
is also president of the Hancock County Building and Loan
Company. As a public-spirited citizen he has accepted the
responsibilities of public life, and as the regular party
nominee was sent to the State Legislature for the session
of 1902-1903, during Governor White’s term of office. He
has since served as county commissioner, the county jail
and residence of the sheriff being erected during his term
of office, and during the World war he was chairman of
the Hancock County Draft Board. With his family he
belongs to the Presbyterian Church at Chester, in which
he is president of the board of trustees.

Mr. Newell married Miss Minnie Rose, of Chester, daugh-
ter of Samuel F. and Martha (Pugh) Rose, Mr. Rose hav-
ing been an early merchant of Chester, now deceased. Mrs.
Rose was a daughter of John Pugh, of the family who
settled Pughtown, the old county seat of Hancock County.
The five children of Mr. and Mrs. Newell all reside with
their parents, being: Helen R., a teacher at Chester;
Martha M., a teacher at Newell; Frances E., a teacher in
the high school at Newell; Rachael E., a student in the
West Virginia University, from which she will graduate as
a member of the class of 1924; and John Roscoe, who
is attending the high school at Chester.

John R. Plattenburg

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. 274
Hancock County

JOHN R. PLATTENBURG. Three generations of the Platten-
burg family have had as their chief business interest the
editing and publishing of the Hancock County Courier,
now published at New Cumberland by John B. Plattenburg,
the grandson of the original founder. This newspaper has
been in existence for more than a half a century, during
which time it has become a part of the daily lives of the
people of the county, whose opinions it largely moulds and
whose actions it greatly influences.

John E. Plattenburg was born at New Cumberland, Jan-
uary 28, 1888, a son of Jesse T. and Lou (Lockhart) Plat-
tenburg. His grandfather, J. W. Plattenburg, was born in
Illinois, where his parents had been pioneers, and in young
manhood adopted the vocation of teaching. This he fol-
lowed for several years, in the course of which he went
to Wellsburg, West Virginia, and there learned the printer ‘a
trade. Later, as a journeyman, he set the first line of
type on the old Wheeling Intelligencer, His first newspaper,
the Wellsburg News, was founded about 1859, and. was
still being published when Mr. Plattenburg joined the Union
Army during the war between the states as a captain of
West Virginia infantry. He was wounded during his serv-
ice, being shot through the shoulder, but continued in the
army until the close of the war, when he resumed the
printer’s trade. In 1869, at Pughtown, then the county
seat of Hancock County, he established the first newspaper
in the county, known then, as now, as the Hancock County
Courier. It was a four-page, six-column publication, demo-
cratic in its policies, and while its form and style have
changed to some extent during the fifty-three years of its
existence, its politics have remained unswervingly the same.
The paper continued to be published at Pughtown until
1895, with Mr. Plattenburg as editor and publisher, but in
that year the county seat was removed to New Cumberland,
and the paper went with the seat of government. The
founder continued as its active head until his death in 1907,
at the age of seventy-seven years. A good newspaper man
and a capable writer, he made the publication well known
and its articles and editorials were widely quoted by con-
temporaries in the journalistic field. His widow, who was
Sarah Wetheral, of Wellsburg, survives at an advanced age.

At the time of his death J. W. Plattenbnrg was suc-
ceeded in the ownership of the paper by his son Jesse T.
Plattenburg, who died five years later, in 1912, after a
career which had been devoted entirely to the paper. While
attending Bethany College he met Lou Lockhar, also a
student, and they did not wait until their graduation to
be married. They became the parents of four children:
Joseph L., who is identified with the Weirton (West Vir-
ginia) Steel Corporation; John B., of this notice; Julia,
who is the wife of T. T. Bambrick; and Mary, the wife of
A. O. Dorman.

John R. Plattenburg received his education in the public
schools of New Cumberland and practically grew up in the
office of his grandfather’s and father’s newspaper. From
early youth he has been perfectly familiar with its every
detail of preparation, make-up and production, and since
the death of his father has taken over the duties of editor
and publisher. He is now producing an attractive, inter-
esting and thoroughly reliable eight-page, seven-column
paper, which has a wide circulation throughout Hancock
and the surrounding counties in this part of the state, and
which wields a distinct influence in directing public opinion
and action. Mr. Plattenburg is a democrat. He has a
number of business and social connections and has taken an
active part in civic affairs. During the World war he
served for thirteen months in the adjutant general’s depart-
ment at Camp Johnson.

Mr. Plattenburg married Miss Mary McDonald, and they
have two children: John W. and Mary L.