Tag Archives: 15

John L. Mahan

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 11, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 509-510

JOHN L. MAHAN. An early settler of Hancock County.
and for many years prominently associated with the river
traffic on the Ohio, the late John L. Mahan was also a
pioneer in commercial fruit growing in that district, and
part of his extensive property is still devoted to that

He owned about 600 acres in his farm, what is now
Arroyo Station, and during his lifetime he planted about
100 acres of that to a commercial orchard. His old home
was on the river bank, close to the station, which is four
miles north of New Cumberland. The old Mahan residence
stood near the Ohio River. Part of the property is now
occupied by his son-in-law, W. C. Aikin, whose residence
is a quarter of a mile away, on slightly higher ground and
commanding a fine view of the river. The background of
the home are the hills that rise to an elevation of from
200 to 300 feet. Arroyo is the center of the finest fruit
section in the Upper Ohio Valley, and hardly surpassed by
the fruit country of the Eastern Panhandle. Near Arroyo
are probably a dozen men who make apple growing their
leading industry. The higher ridges of land in this sec-
tion are especially fitted for the production of most ex-
cellent fruit.

John L. Mahan settled here in 1840. In early years he
operated a saw and grist mill, and he also built barges and
was part owner of the Cumberland Tow Boat Company.
He did a large timber and barge business. He was an
early convert to apple growing on a commercial scale, and
the efforts he put forth in this line of development have been
continued on his old farm ever since. He died in 1901, at
the age of eighty-seven, having lived retired for some

John L. Mahan married Barbara Brennaman, daughter
of Herman Brennaman. She died at the age of sixty-eight.
Of their ten children the survivors are a son, J. P. Mahan,
an insurance man of Pittsburgh. Another son, S. H.
Mahan, at Rochester, Pennsylvania. A daughter, Mrs. Car-
rie N. Porter, widow of the late Capt. James Porter, a
prominent character of the Upper Ohio Valley, whose his-
tory is given elsewhere. Another daughter is Mrs. George
W. dark, widow of an old steamboat captain on the lower
river. Her home is at Louisville.

Mary Mahan, another daughter of the late John L.
Mahan, died August 29, 1919, wife of W. C. Aikin, who
survives her. They were married in 1889. They lived at
the old Mahan residence until 1910. She and her sister,
Mrs. Porter, had purchased what remained of the old Mahan
estate, and Mrs. Aikin remodeled the house erected by her
brother, S. H. Mahan, on part of the old tract. Mrs. Aikin
was an active member of the local Methodist Protestant

W. C. Aikin was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania,
and at the age of fifteen came to Wellsburg, West Vir-
ginia. For three years he was employed in a drug store,
and he then became an office employe of a steamboat com-
pany, and was in the river traffic for about fourteen years,
part of the time as captain. He was on steamboats all
along the Ohio and Mississippi and their tributaries, and
once or twice went up the Missouri to Fort Benton, Mon-
tana. After leaving the river he was a bookkeeper in a
brick yard at New Cumberland, and for seventeen years
devoted his time to fruit growing and stock raising on the
Mahan farm. He developed a fine dairy herd of Guernsey
cattle. The manager of the orchard is William McDonald,
who lives with Mr. Aikin. Mr. Aikin has a life interest in
the farm and receives half of the profits. He has been an
active citizen in this community, and for twenty years has
been on the school board and has kept in close touch with
school developments in the district.

Oliver S. Marshall

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
March 19, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 362-363

OLIVER S. MARSHALL. Descended from one of the oldest
families in the Northern Panhandle, Oliver S. Marshall has
always made his home in that section, and as a lawyer
and legislator his reputation has become state wide; Hia
home is at New Cumberland, and his law offices in the
industrial town of Weirton.

He was born near Fairview, the old county seat of Han-
cock County, now called Pughtown, September 24, 1850.
He is a great-grandson of the pioneer Aaron Marshall, who
came from east of the mountains, from somewhere in Vir-
ginia, and is thought to have been a solddier of Braddock
and Washington in the famous campaign of 1755. About
1760 he located on Chartiers Creek in Washington County,
Pennsylvania, and about 1780 came to what is now Han-
cock County, West Virginia. His land was part of the
Johnson survey, granted in 1775, when Patrick Henry was
governor of Virginia. The grant was for 7,000 acres, but
when it was surveyed it measured 8,100 acres. Of this 205
acres was assigned to Aaron Marshall at ten shillings an
acre, payable in whiskey at the rate of five shillings a gal-
lon, flour and other forms of currency of that day. Aaron
Marshall had the fourth house on that tract. Some of the
land is still owned by Oliver S. Marshall, and the original
record of the title is at Louisville, Kentucky. The town
of Newell stands on part of the original grant. In his
minutes George Washington mentions the falls where this
tract borders the Ohio River, but the land of Aaron Mar-
shall is some five miles from that stream.

Aaron Marshall continued to live here until his death
in advanced years in 1826. He was a Baptist and fre-
quently preached on Kings Creek, where he was buried.

His son, John Marshall, was born in 1782 and died in
1859, spending his entire life in Hancock County. He was
a member of the Presbyterian Church.

James G. Marshall, father of Senator Marshall, was born
at old Fairview, Hancock County, November 21, 1826, and
died October 6, 1902. He left the farm, did considerable
surveying, became an attorney and for twenty-four years
was prosecuting attorney of Hancock County. He was
buried in the old Presbyterian churchyard at Fairview.
His wife was Lavina Miller, daughter of John Miller and
granddaughter of David Miller. David Miller settled on
Tomlinson’s Run, where he owned 400 acres, secured from
Dorsey Pentecost, one of the two last judges who held
court at Pittsburgh under the authority of the British
crown. David had the first house in Gas Valley, and died
in 1835, in his ninety-ninth year. His son John spent his
life as a farmer at the old place, and his daughter Lavina
was born there. She died when about sixty years old, and
her three children are: Oliver S.; E. D. Marshall, an
attorney at Santa Clara, California; and Ila, of New Cum-
berland, widow of Dr. J. W. Walton.

Oliver S. Marshall graduated from the West Liberty
Normal School in 1874 as valedictorian, and is the last
survivor of that class. He continued his education in
Bethany College, where he graduated in 1878, and in 1881
began a long term of service as one of the trustees of that
famous institution. One of his classmates at Bethany was
the late Judge Joseph R. Lamar of Georgia, for many years
a justice of the United States Supreme Court. Judge
Lamar married a Miss Pendleton, daughter of a former
president of Bethany College. Mr. Marshall was for a time
principal of the Now Cumberland schools, began the study
of law while serving as county clerk, and was admitted to
the bar and began his long and successful service as a
lawyer in 1890.

He is a member of the Christian Church and an active
republican, having been a delegate to the national con-
vention of that party in 1892. He was first chosen to
represent the First District in the West Virginia Senate
in 1896, served in the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth
Legislatures of 1897-99, and was elected president of the
Senate in 1899. Ho was again elected and was a member
of the Senate in the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth
Legislatures, 1905-07-08, and rounded out twelve years in
that body by representing the same district in 1913-15.

On September 8, 1880, Senator Marshall married Miss
Elizabeth Tarr, a native of Wellsburg and daughter of
Cnmpbell and Nancy (Hammond) Tarr. Her father with-
drew from the Richmond convention when Virginia passed
the ordinance of secession, and subsequently became a leader
in the movement for the creation of West Virginia, and
became treasurer of the provisional government and the
first treasurer of the new state. Senator Marshall had two
children, John and Olive, the latter deceased. John grad-
uated at Yalc and West Virginia University, and has
earned distinction in the law, business and public affairs
at Parkersburg.

Oscar O. Allison

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. 244-245
Hancock County

OSCAR O. ALLISON. The really valuable men of any com-
munity are not necessarily those whom fate has placed
in commanding political positions where they compel ap-
plause from their associates and the admiration and support
of their constituents, but rather the men who rise steadily
through sheer merit to governing places among commercial
and financial enterprises where their abilities are directed
toward the control or finances and the creation of better
conditions for the working majority. Such men are not to
he found everywhere. The requirements of the positions
they fill and the weight of the responsibilities they volun-
tarily assume are of such a nature as to bar out all but the
chosen minority who have proven themselves. When such
an individual has shown his worth, his value to the com-
munity cannot be overestimated. Judged by these standards
one of the valuable men of Chester is Oscar O. Allison,
cashier of the First National Bank of Chester and secre-
tary-treasurer of the Hancock County Building and Loan

Mr. Allison was born at Chester, March 31, 1872, a son of
Samuel and Eliza (Finley) Allison, natives of the same
community. Samuel Allison was born in 1837 and died
May 5, 1907, in his seventy-first year, while Mrs. Allison
was born December 3, 1840, and died March 17, 1910, on
the anniversary of her wedding day. She and her husband
had enjoyed fifty years of happy wedded life. Samuel Alli-
son was a son of Charles Allison, whose father, Jonathan
Allison, died in his ninety-sixth year, the latter’s father,
Datty Allison, being buried on his 100th birthday. Charles
Allison was eighty-six years of age at the time of his demise,
so it will be seen that this is a family somewhat noted for
its longevity. Samuel Allison lived at the old home two
miles south of Chester, at the head of Cunningham’s Run
or Creek. He followed farming for a long period and won
success through industry and good management, so that
he was able to retire in the evening of life, and tor
some years lived comfortably in his pleasant home at
Chester. He was a man of popularity and influence in his
community, and on two occasions was the democratic can-
didate for the office of sheriff, and on one occasion met
defeat by but seven votes, although in a strong republican
county. He and his wife were the parents of the follow-
ing children: Charles F.; Sarah Jane, the widow of John
L. Bernard, of Chester; Ida Mary, the wife of A. J. Glass,
a retired farmer of Chester; Oscar O.; and Olive E., who
was active in the First Presbyterian Church at East
Liverpool, Ohio, and died in young womanhood.

Charles F. Allison, brother of Oscar O. Allison, was bora
on the old home farm in Hancock County, and died in
March, 1921. He remained on the home farm until 1900,
at which time he was elected sheriff of Hancock County, the
only member of his party to be accorded that honor in
forty years. During President Wilson’s administration he
served in the capacity of deputy United States marshal-
Prior to 1900 he had made a special appraisement of real
estate in Hancock County. During the last years of his life
he was connected with the jewelry business. Mr. Allison
was one of the incorporators and a member of the board
of directors of the First National Bank of Chester. He
was an elder of the Presbyterian Church at New Cumber-
land. His widow, who bore the maiden name of Sally
Cameron, survives him as a resident of Chester.

Oscar O. Allison received his education in the country,
attending the Washington Schoolhouse, which was situated
on a corner of the home farm. On first coming to Chester
he became interested in a general store business, with which
he was identified for five years, the firm finally becoming
Allison & Hobbs. Mr. Allison disposed of his interests in
this enterprise to become one of the five incorporators of the
First National Bank of Chester, of which be was the first
cashier, a position which he still retains. A history of this
institution will be found on another page of this work, as
will also a review of the Hancock County Building and Loan
Company, of which Mr. Allison is secretary-treasurer. He
is a director in the Bucher-Smith Company, one of Chester’s
important industries, and in former years was a member of
the board publishing the Tribune of East Liverpool, Ohio.
He is a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce of
East Liverpool and a director of the Kiwanis Club of that
city. An adherent of progress and advancement, he has
been a helpful and constructive supporter of all worthy
civic, educational and religious movements.

As a young man Mr. Allison joined the Presbyterian
Church at Fairview (now Pughtown), and was a trustee
thereof until coming to Chester, where he became one of
the organizers of the church at Chester, of which he has
been an elder since its inception. He has also served as
clerk of the session and as delegate to the Presbytery. He
has likewise been prominent in political matters, and as a
stanch and uncompromising democrat has been a delegate
to several congressional conventions and was formerly a
member of the Democratic Executive Committee.

Mr. Allison has an unique distinction as a fraternalist,
having been the first member initiated in any fraternal order
at Chester, where, October 4, 1890, he was accepted into
the Junior Order United American Mechanics. He presided
over this lodge during the first year, and for twenty years
has filled one or another of its offices, in addition to having
passed all the state chairs. He was made an Odd Fellow
aa a charter member of New Cumberland Lodge, and was
the first noble grand of Pride of Chester Lodge No. 245,
being twice delegate to the Grand Lodge. He became a
charter member of Chester Lodge No. 142, A. F. and A. M.,
of which he was made treasurer at the time of organization,
an office which he still retains. In October, 1921, he was
crowned inspector general of the thirty-third degree in the
House of the Temple at Washington, D. C., and is the only
thirty-third degree Mason in West Virginia north of Wheel-
ing, there not being one even at East Liverpool. His mem-
bership is as a thirty-second -degree Mason in the Con-
sistory at Wheeling. Since 1910 he has been a Knight
Templar in the Commandery at Wheeling, belongs to Osiris
Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and on two occasions has been
a representative to the Imperial Council, in 1918 at Atlantic
City, and in 1920 at Portland, Oregon, and attended both.
Mr. Allison is a member of the board of directors of the
Scottish Rite Educational Association of West Virginia,
president of the Scottish Rite Club of Chester, treasurer
of the Shrine Club of Chester, a member of the Masonic
clubs of Wheeling and East Liverpool and a member of
the board of directors of the Masonic Temple Company of
Chester, and he and Mrs. Allison are charter members of
Chester Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. Mr. Allison is
greatly interested in tennis, baseball and all forms of whole-
some athletics and recreations.

Mr. Allison married Miss Anna Baxter, a daughter of
Absalom Baxter, a farmer of this locality. She was edu-
cated in the normal school at West Liberty, and prior
to her marriage was a successful and popular teacher in the
public schools. To this union there have been born two
daughters and two sons: Eunice M., a graduate of Wilson
College, Chambersburg, and principal of Newell High School,
who la active in the work of the Presbyterian Church; Helen
R., a graduate of the Pennsylvania College for Women at
Pittsburgh, class of 1922; and Ralph B. and Howard R..,
both deceased.

Phelps Can Company

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 6, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 455-456

THE PHELPS CAN COMPANY is one of the several estab-
lishments that have made an important industrial com-
munity at Weirton in Hancock County, practically
surrounding the historic old village of Holliday’s Cove
with factories, teeming population and all the institutions
and improvements of twentieth century existence.

This plant was established at Weirton in the spring of
1911 by the president of the original company, W. J.
Phelps of Baltimore. At that time the plant started with
a capacity of 350,000 cans daily and about a hundred em-
ployes. Subsequent additions and improvements have
trebled the capacity, and employes now number about 350,
with a payroll of about $6,500 a week. The tinplate is
obtained from the adjacent Weirton Steel Works, the an-
nual consumption being between 600,000 and 700,000 boxes
of tin plates. The plant at Weirton makes a specialty
of tin containers for evaporated and condensed milk, the
output being sold to condensaries all over the United States
and Canada.

The company is capitalized at $50,000. The president
and treasurer of the corpoartion [sic] at Baltimore is W. J.
Phelps, the vice president and secretary is Forest Bramble,
of the same city, while the executive in charge at Weirton
is J. Howd Phelps, assistant treasurer and manager. This
company maintains four plants, one at Baltimore, another
at New Philadelphia, Ohio, the one at Weirton, and another
established in 1921 at Clarksburg, West Virginia. Mr. J.
Howd Phelps and Mr. J. B. Dresel, the superintendent,
started the plant at Weirton and have been in active
charge ever since. The plant has floor space of 110,000
square feet, about two and a half acres, and a double rail-
road track runs the entire length of the factory.

The Phelps family have been pioneers in can manufac-
ture. W. J. Phelps as a boy made cans by the hand
process before the introduction of any of the complicated
machinery now used in can making. He started his first
can factory at Baltimore about 1890. The Phelps Can
Company now stands third in the United States in relative
size and importance, and is probably the first in a special-
ized output for packers.

J. Howd Phelps was eighteen years of age when he en-
tered the shops of the Baltimore plant, and has grown up
in the business. He is a Mason, is affiliated with the
Scottish Rite Consistory at Wheeling, is a member of the
Weirton Masonic Club, and belongs to the Scottish Rite
Orchestra at Wheeling and also a similar orchestra at
Steubenville, Ohio. Mr. Phelps, whose home is at Holli-
day’s Cove, married Sarah Marie Turner, a native of New
York State. Their four children are Dorothy, Howd, Jr.,
Marjorie and Virginia.

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.