Tag Archives: 15

Lorenzo Franklin Mahan

HANCOCK COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: MAHAN, Lorenzo Franklin (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. 231
Hancock County

LORENZO FRANKLIN MAHAN is one of the venerable native
sons of Hancock County, a representative of a sterling
pioneer family whose name has been one of prominence
in the history of this part of West Virginia, and he has
individually contributed his share to the civic and material
development and progress of the county that has repre-
sented his home from the time of his birth to the present.
This sterling citizen of the Arroyo neighborhood in Han-
cock County was born at Mahan’s Mills, on King’s Creek,
this county, November 17, 1838, and is the only surviving
son of John Mahan, the latter a son of William and Nancy
(Jones) Mahan. William Mahan had operated a line of
stage coaches out from the City of Baltimore, Maryland,
and upon coming to what is now the State of West Vir-
ginia he settled at Follansbee in Brooke County, his sons
John and Thomas later having established a grist mill on
King’s Creek in the present Hancock County. In 1842
John Mahan established his residence on the farm now
owned and occupied by his son Lorenzo P., of this review,
near the Village of Arroyo, and the saw and grist mill
which he here erected and operated was later used as a
vinegar manufactory. His landed estate here comprised
576 acres. He became one of the owners also of a line
of river boats, including barges and the steamboats “Oil
City” and “Iron City,” which were built in Hancock
County. Later he became one of the owners of the navi-
gation business conducted under the title of the Cumber-
land Tow Boat Company. He was one of the vigorous
and resourceful business men of his day and did much to
further the advancement of his home community and county.
He and his sons eventually converted the saw and planing
mill into a vinegar factory, which they operated suc-
cessfully. In 1852 Lorenzo F. Mahan assisted in setting
out the first orchard in a county that has since become
one of the foremost in the apple-growing industry of West
Virginia. Lorenzo F. Mahan married Mary H. Lowry,
whose father was mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, Penn-
sylvania, during the Civil war, and their ideal companion-
ship continued for thirty years, the gracious bonds being
severed by the death of the devoted wife and mother, who
is survived by two children, Grace and Frank Earl, the
latter of whom resides at Chester, this county, and is in
the employ of the Homer Laughlin China Company at
Newell. He is a republican in politics, as is also his ven-
erable father, who has been unfaltering in his allegiance
to the party during virtually the entire period of its exis-
tence. In 1897 was solemnized the marriage of Miss Grace
Mahan to William V. Powell, who is engaged in the gen-
eral insurance business in the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsyl-
vania. Mrs. Powell owns a part of the old homestead
estate, and after remaining eight years in Pittsburgh she
returned home to care for her venerable parents. She is
according to her father the utmost filial love and solicitude,
and resides with him in the fine old home-house which he
erected fully half a century ago and which, situated on a
slight elevation above the Ohio River, commands a fine
view of the valley for a distance of many miles, while
directly opposite, on the Ohio shore, is the beautiful Chil-
dren’s Home in Jefferson County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs.
Powell became the parents of five children. Franklin,
eldest of the five, is now engaged in the insurance busi-
ness in Pittsburgh, and in connection with the World war
he was in the nation’s military service in France for a
period of eighteen months. The younger children are Ed-
ward Hewitt, Mary Elizabeth, William Thomas and Bar-
bara Brenneman.

Other personal sketches in this publication offer much
additional data concerning the Mahan family, and the
general history of the county likewise makes proper recogni-
tion of the splendid part this family has played in con-
nection with the development and progress of Hancock


Lowry M. Stoops

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. 272-273
Hancock County

LOWRY M. STOOPS. Among the younger generation of
educators who have made rapid strides in their calling with-
in recent years and who have contributed through their
labors to the advancement of the cause of education in
Hancock County, one who is well and popularly known
is Lowry M. Stoops, superintendent of schools of the New
Cumberland Independent District. Since the start of his
career Mr. Stoops has applied himself to educational work
with the exception of the period when he was serving in
the United States Army in the World war, in which he saw
much overseas service.

Lowry M. Stoops was born at Tustin, California, April
5, 1892, and is a son of Rev. J. P. Stoops, a minister of
the Presbyterian Church. Reverend Stoops came orig-
inally from Pennsylvania and has filled pulpits in various
parts of the country, including his native state, California,
Ohio and West Virginia. In the last named he served
eight years, at West Liberty and Warwood, and at the
latter place organized the congregation and erected the
present church edifice. At the present time he is filling
a charge at Wooster, Ohio.

The early education of Lowry M. Stoops was acquired
in the public schools, following which he pursued a course
in the normal school at West Liberty and was graduated
from that institution in 1909. In that year he became
principal of the Ward School at Benwood, and remained
in that capacity for five years, or until 1914, when, feeling
the need of further preparation, he enrolled as a student
at the West Virginia University. While he was engaged
in his collegiate work he conducted an extension course.
Mr. Stoops had a brilliant college career and was duly
graduated in 1917, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
At this time his career was interrupted when the United
States became involved in the World war, and he enlisted
in the Fifteenth United States Engineers, with which unit
he saw two years of service, twenty-one months being in
France. This was a railroad organization, in which Mr.
Stoops held the rank of sergeant, and its work, principally
the building of railroad yards, new roads, bridges, etc.,
frequently brought them within range of the enemy’s
fire. Sergeant Stoops was with the Headquarters Com-
pany, and his record was one of conscientious attention to
duty. On his return, and after he had received his honor-
able discharge from the army, he again took up the pro-
fession of teaching, and during 1919 and a part of 1920
was principal of the Weirton High School. In the latter
year he was elected superintendent of the New Cumberland
Independent School District, which includes seventeen
teachers and a student enrollment of 500. Of these ninety
pupils are in the high school, and in 1921 the graduating
class consisted of twenty graduates. Mr. Stoops is greatly
interested in his work and is indefatigable in his efforts
to improve the system and elevate the standards. In his
labors he is being assisted by the teachers and pupils, with
whom he has become greatly popular, and his work is also
receiving the sanction and appreciation of his fellow-
citizens at New Cumberland. Mr. Stoops stands high in
the esteem of his fellow educators and is a valued member
of the West Virginia Educational Association and the
National Educational Association. He is partial to all
forms of out-door and indoor exercise, particularly basket-
ball and baseball, but primarily the latter. While a stu-
dent at West Virginia University he was a member of the
varsity team, and at present acts as coach for the local
school team at New Cumberland, which under his instruc-
tion and guidance has won several county championships
in contests with other Hancock County School clubs.

Mr. Stoops was united in marriage with Miss Mary L.
Williamson, of Ben’s Run, Tyler County, West Virginia,
whom he met as a fellow-educator at Weirton. Mrs. Stoops
has taken an active and helpful part in all work of local
progress and has been a leading figure in several move-

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.

Charles T. Hedges

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 24, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 274-275
Hancock County

CHARLES T. HEDGES is a native of Lumberport, and his
chief business experiences have been acquired in that thriv-
ing little city of Harrison County. He was formerly a
merchant but is now in the real estate and coal business.

He was born at Lumberport. April 6, 1890, son of Henry
Clay and Alice (Robinson) Hedges, the latter now de-
ceased. In the family were six sons and one daughter.
Henry Clay Hedges, son of Charles and Nancy G. Hedges,
was born on a farm at Worthington, West Virginia, July
30, 1844, had a rural training and common school educa-
tion, and on leaving the farm went to work’ as clerk at
Clarksburg and subsequently entered merchandising on his
own account at Lumberport. He was in business there
for a number of years and later engaged in the real estate
business. He still has interests at Lumberport, but spends
only his summers there, his winter home being at Orlando,

Charles T. Hedges was reared at Lumberport, attended
the public schools and completed a business course at
Buckhannon. Some five or six years of his early life were
spent in the West, as far as the Pacific Coast, and he had
a variety of experiences and employment. On returning
to Lumberport in 1911 he engaged in business as a member
of the general mercantile firm of Hedges and Oyster Com-
pany. He sold out to his partner in 1919, and since then
has concentrated his attention on the coal and real estate

Mr. Hedges is a Master Mason, an Elk and an Odd Fel-
low. He married Miss Mary Lamar, of Kingwood. She is
a trained nurse by profession. They have one daughter,
Elizabeth Ann.

Herbert Madden Brenneman

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. 230-231
Hancock County

precedence as one of the most important centers of fruit
culture in the State of West Virginia, and apples here
raised are known far and wide for their superiority, with
the result that they always command the maximum mar-
ket prices. The fine fruit farm owned and occupied by
Mr. Brenneman is here situated two miles distant from
Arroyo, an important shipping point, and is the place on
which his birth occurred, the date of his nativity having
been April 24, 1877. He is a son of Charles Christian
Brenneman, who was born at Kendall, Pennsylvania, in
October, 1836, a son of Jacob Brenneman. Christian Bren-
neman, his great-grandfather, who became a pioneer set-
tler in what is now Hancock County, served as a soldier
in the command of Gen. Andrew Jackson in the War of
1812, and incidentally walked home from New Orleans,
where he had been stationed with his command. He mar-
ried a daughter of Jacob Nessly, who was one of the very
early settlers of the present Hancock County and of whom
mention is made in other reviews in this history. Jacob
Nessly owned a very large tract of land along the Ohio
River, and it was on a portion of this land that Christian
Brenneman settled after his marriage, his old homestead
being the place now owned by George G. Brenneman, who
is individually represented on other pages of this work.
Christian Brenneman finally sold 209 acres of his land, and
his grandson, Charles C., repurchased the property shortly
after the close of the Civil war, the remainder of his life
having been here passed and his death having occurred on
the 1st of June, 1901. He married Mary Frances Brown,
daughter of Charles Brown, who was a son of Sir Richard
Brown, the latter having come from Scotland and settled
in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Charles Brown came to
West Virginia when his daughter, Mary F., was eight years
old, and purchased a part of the Jacob Nessly farm, ad-
joining the home place of Austin H. Brown. There Charles
Brown remained until his death, at the patriarchal age
of ninety-six years. His sons, Robert and William, became
owners of the old farm and at the death of Robert Brown
the property passed into the possession of Charles Brenne-
man, a son of John, another brother of George and Charles
C. The present house on this fine old homestead was
erected in 1823, heavy hewed timbers being utilized in its
construction, and hand work of the old-time enduring order
being in evidence throughout the structure. The house was
remodeled and modernized in 1915 by its present owner,
Herbert M. Brenneman, subject of this sketch. In con-
nection with the raising of cattle and sheep Charles C.
Brenneman here early began the development of an apple
orchard, and in the same there is still remaining one tree
that was planted in 1813 and that is still bearing fruit
of excellent quality. This venerable tree is one of the
original “Willow Twig” apple trees of a section now
renowned for the production of this fine type of apples.
Charles C. Brenneman planted an orchard of 5,000 trees,
and from his orchard he received in 1896 a yield of 6,000
barrels. It was a matter of great pride to him that he
lived to see the development of his orchard into one of
the most productive in this section. The present owner
maintains the integrity of the orchard by a careful system
of resetting or replacement, no vacancy being permitted to
appear in the lines of trees, and he having precedence as
the most extensive commercial fruit grower in his native
state. He has held to the celebrated “Willow Twig”
variety as the best type of apples to be raised under the
excellent conditions here in evidence, and no better or
more enduring type is to be found anywhere in the world.
The Brenneman orchards give an average yield of 2,500
barrels, and the place has storage facilities for the accom-
modation of 6,000 barrels. Mr. Brenneman buys from
other fruit growers of the locality sufficient quantities of
apples to reach the limit of his storage capacity. He for-
merly exported apples to Germany, Scotland and England,
but the product of his orchards is sold throughout the
United States almost exclusively since the close of the
World war. His fine farm comprises 209 acres—the origi-
nal tract owned by his father. The store house on this
model fruit farm is a stone structure, one of the finest
houses for the storing of fruit in the United States, and
preserves an even temperature. Mr. Brenneman has made
other improvements of the best modern order, and has rea-
son for taking pride in his splendid hillside farm, which
produces apples of finer flavor and color than do those
grown in the river bottom lands of this locality.

Mr. Brenneman was formerly retained as buyer for lead-
ing wholesale fruit dealers in Pittsburgh and New York
City, and in this connection he visited the fruit-growing
districts in all sections of the United States, with the re-
sult that he has become a recognized authority in this
field of industrial enterprise. He is a citizen of vital
progressiveness and liberality, has been influential in the
promotion of the good-roads movement, and raised through
private sources funds to improve a road in his native
county and district. He was reared in the faith of the
Methodist Church and his wife is a member of the Presby-
terian Church.

In 1902 Mr. Brenneman married Miss Anna Elizabeth
Unkel, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and her death oc-
curred ten years later, the one child of this union being
Gladys Elizabeth, who is a member of the class of 1923
in the high school at Newell. In June, 1915, was solemnized
the marriage of Mr. Brenneman and Miss Amy Viola
Cope, of Wellsville, Ohio, where she was born and reared
and where her father, the late Samuel S. Cope, was engaged
in the hardware business fully fifty years. Mrs. Celestia
Ann (Snowden) Cope, mother of Mrs. Brenneman, was
born at Hookstown, Pennsylvania, and still resides at Wells-
ville, Ohio. Mrs. Brenneman was for twenty years actively
associated with the business established by her father, and
was secretary and treasurer of the Cope Hardware & Supply
Company, in which connection she developed exceptional
business ability. Her social charm is equally pronounced.
and she is the popular chatelaine of one of the beautiful
and hospitable rural homes of Hancock County.

In conclusion is entered brief record concerning the
brothers and sisters of Herbert M. Brenneman: Alice B.
is the wife of E. W. Hewitt, of Arroyo, Hancock County.
Charles Howard, who died in 1916, at the age of fifty-
three years, was at the time proprietor of the Brenne-
man Baking Company in the City of Columbus, Ohio.
Jacob Edward was but a lad when he went to Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, where he made remarkable advancement and
eventually became the executive head of the Brenneman
Wharf & Bridge Company, which has done a large amount
of important work, including the erection of the wharves
of the navy yards at League Island. He is still presi-
dent of this corporation. Clarence likewise left the parental
home when he was a youth, and he is now secretary of
the Peerless Biscuit Company in the City of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. Willard was seventeen years of age when
he went to Pittsburgh, and there he is now president and
general manager of the Peerless Baking Company. Rev.
George E. attended Mount Union College at Alliance, Ohio,
and is a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he
being at the time of this writing, in 1922, pastor of the
First Methodist Episcopal Church at New Kensington,
Pennsylvania. Robert Baird, the next younger son, died
in 1918, he having been a principal in and general manager
of the Seaman, Irvin & Brenneman Construction Com-
pany of Homesdale, Pennsylvania, Herbert M., of this
sketch, was the next in order of birth. Frank Lawrence,
a traveling salesman for the Peerless Biscuit Company, of
Pittsburgh, died in December, 1917. He inherited a life
interest in the Robert Brown estate in Hancock County,
West Virginia, and was here maintaining his home at the
time of his death. Mrs. Eva C. Gardner, the youngest of
the children, resides at Columbus, Ohio. Each of the sons
made a record of substantial and worthy achievement, and
all have honored their native county and state.


Charles L. Campbell

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. 258
Hancock County

CHARLES L. CAMPBELL. In length of service Charles L.
Campbell is the oldest member of the teaching admin-
istrative staff of the Butler District of Hancock County.
His experience has covered nearly all the improvements in
school facilities from the crude one-room schoolhouse to a
real school system and educational plant. He is principal
of schools in the incorporated village of Holliday’s Cove,
which is included in the Butler school district, embracing
the unincorporated adjoining town of Weirton. Weirton
and adjacent community are the subject of more extended
comment and description on other pages. The postmaster
at Holliday’s Cove is D. M. Shakley, also president of the
Butler District School Board.

Mr. Campbell was born at Holliday’s Cove April 9, 1876,
son of George and Alice (Hammond) Campbell, still liv-
ing at the old homestead. The Campbells are one of the
oldest families in this section of West Virginia. George
Campbell’s father was Robert Campbell, and his grandfather
was Alexander Campbell. The pioneer of the family in this
section of Virginia was James Campbell, who secured a
grant of land from Patrick Henry, then governor of Vir-
ginia. Some of the old estate is still owned by the family.
Robert Campbell died at the age of seventy-eight. George
Campbell is now seventy-one.

Charles L. Campbell attended high school at Steuben-
ville, Ohio, the National Normal University at Lebanon,
Ohio, and also the State University at Morgantown. In
1898, at the age of twenty-two, he began teaching, taking
charge of the school at Holliday’s Cove when he was sole
teacher with about sixty pupils, all in one room. Prior
to that time there had been a school house of two rooms
with an opening making them practically one, and used
both for school and church purposes. This was replaced
by a one-room building on the site of the present eight-
room school house. That in turn was followed by a four-
room frame building erected in 1902. Mr. Campbell after
teaching at Holliday’s Cove taught in other schools of
the district, but in 1907 returned to his home community.
For three years he was a teacher in the Weirton School,
and since then has been in regular service at Holliday’s
Cove. The present eight-room brick building occupies the
site of the old frame school house which was burned. While
the main building contains only eight rooms, the school
population has so increased that fifteen rooms are now re-
quired, necessitating the leasing of temporary quarters.

Mr. Campbell married Ora Shimer, a native of Ohio.
They have six children, Leslie. George, Harold, Ruth, Wayne
and Alice. His family is affiliated with the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows and has held the chairs in the lodge.
For eighteen years he has been an enthusiastic advocate of
wholesome athletics in this community, and in the school
has encouraged a base ball team and otherwise stimulated
athletic competition.

Jacob Nessly Porter

Biographical Sketches of Members of Congress, Members of the Legislature,
Officers of the State Governement and judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals,
West Virigina, 1917

West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual and Official Register, 1917,
Compiled and Edited by John T. Harris, Clerk of the Senate,
The Tribune Printing Co., Charleston, West Va.
pgs. 719 – 770



PORTER, JACOB NESSLY. (Republican.) Address-
Newell, West Va. Representative from Hancock county.
Born at New Cumberland, August 28, 1885; educated in
the public schools and at Wellsville, Ohio; his ancestors
settled at what is now Arroyo, Hancock county, in 1785,
and they and succeeding generations were intimately
associated with the progress and development of the
county. Mr. Porter is now extensively engaged in the
manufacture of paving and fire brick, and also gives con-
siderable attention to fruit growing and stock raising;
elected to the House of Delegates in 1914, succeeding his
father, re-elected in 1916; committee assignments 1917:
Taxation and Finance, Insurance, Election and Privileges
and Labor..

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

David E. 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. 222-223
Hancock County

DAVID E. MAYHEW. The prosperous stockman and
farmer illustrates by his experience the ups and downs
of his vocation, its fascinating promises of fortune and its
equally abundant opportunities for failure. He has his
full measure of both, as a rule, but if he possesses the
qualities which make for success he emerges on the top
wave and achieves a permanent place among the substan-
tial men of his section. Among the agriculturists of
Hancock County who have been successful in their life
work, one who is well esteemed in his community as an
agriculturist and a citizen is David E. Mayhew of Pugh-

Mr. Mayhew was born at Pughtown, June 21, 1856, a
son of James N. and Mary Jane (Crawford) Mayhew.
James N. Mayhew was born near Florence, Washington
County, Pennsylvania, in 1827, and was seven years of age
when he came to West Virginia with his parents, John and
Elizabeth (Jackson) Mayhew, the family settling in Han-
cock County, adjoining the Village of Fairview, now Pugh-
town. John Mayhew, a farmer with about 340 acres of
land, lived in a brick house which still forms a part of
the residence on the property. He died when past ninety-
three years of age, while his worthy wife passed away
when seventy-five years old. They were the parents of the
following children: Rebecca, who died as Mrs. Albaugh;
Eliza, who married a Mr. Buchanan and had a son, John
Buchanan, who was an attorney at Beaver, Pennsylvania;
James N.; David Simeon, who removed to Illinois; Nancy,
who married a Mr. Fulton and died at the age of ninety-
six years, being the mother of Rev. W. P. Fulton, a noted
Presbyterian divine of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; John
W., who died in Beaver County, Pennsylvania; William,
who was last heard from in California; Elizabeth, who
married a Mr. Travis; and Mary, who married Mr. Caster.

James N. Mayhew received a public school education and
as a youth engaged in agricultural pursuits, which he fol-
lowed throughout life, being one of the well-known and
highly-respected men of his community. He married in
Columbiana County, Ohio, Mary Jane Crawford, and they
became the parents of thirteen children, all of whom are
living at this writing, in 1922: Thomas C., a resident of
Nebraska; John H., of Chester; David E., the subject of
this sketch; William Lucas, a resident of Lisbon, Ohio;
Nancy Jane, widow of Wesley Herron, of Pughtown, who
has thirty-two grandchildren in 1922; James L. and Charles
C., twins, the former mayor of Chester, West Virginia,
and the latter a resident of California; Ella, the widow of
Howard Warren, of Cleveland; George, of Sebring, Ohio;
Ira, residing on the old farm home; Frank, of Salem, Ohio;
Elizabeth, now Mrs. Emanuel Thomas, of Salem, Ohio;
and Noah, of New Brighton, Pennsylvania. All of the
members of this remarkable family still survive, the young-
est being now in middle life.

David E. Mayhew has passed his entire career on the old
farm and at the village nearby. He received a country
school education and when given a choice of vocations de-
cided upon agriculture as his life work, and has had no
reason to repent of his decision. He is now the owner of
a property of sixty-seven acres, on which he has made
modern improvements and erected substantial buildings,
and his progressive methods, industry and good manage-
ment have served to gain him a worth-while and well-
deserved success. His standing in the community is that
of a man of integrity, and his good citizenship has never
been questioned. A democrat in politics, he follows the
family inclinations, as nearly all of the Mayhews have
been supporters of democratic principles and candidates.
In 1896 fourteen votes from this immediate family alone
were cast for the candidacy of William J. Bryan for presi-
dent, including father, sons and sons-in-law.

Mr. Mayhew married Miss Lida A. Sproule, daughter of
Hugh and Nancy (Donehoo) Sproule, and granddaughter
of Hugh Sproule, of Ireland. Both Hugh Sproule the
elder and younger were agriculturists all their lives and
were men of probity and integrity, both being elders in the
old Plats Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Mayhew’s father
passed his entire life in Hancock County and died at the
age of seventy-five years. Her mother, Nancy Donehoo,
was a sister of Dr. R. S. Donehoo, the oldest physician in
Hancock County. Mrs. Mayhew was reared on the home
farm and educated in the public schools, and was eighteen
years of age at the time of her marriage. There were
two children born to Mr. and Mrs. Mayhew who died in
infancy, and they have a foster son, Hubert S. Mills, Mrs.
Mayhew’s nephew, who was taken into their home and
hearts at the age of 2-1/2 years and has been given every
advantage. He has passed his life on the farm and is now
twenty-three years of age, and accounted one of the capable
and industrious young agriculturists of the community.
The family are members of the old Presbyterian Church,
although Mr. Mayhew was reared in the faith of the Metho-
dist Protestant Church, of which his parents were members.

James A. Purdy

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. 256-257
Hancock County

JAMES A. PURDY. One of the most active and progressive
men of Holliday’s Cove, James A. Purdy, has contributed
to the growth and development of his community a sound
business ability, high principles of business practice and
commendable ideals of the responsibilities of good citizen-
ship. During his career he has risen from small beginnings
to a leading place among the men who have achievements
to their credit, and at this time is senior partner of the
prosperous general merchandise firm of Purdy & Marsh.

Mr. Purdy was born on a farm in the Holliday’s Cove
community, July 20, 1869, a son of James and Mary Jane
(Knox) Purdy, the latter a native of the same community.
James Purdy was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsyl-
vania, and at the age of four years was brought to West Vir-
ginia by his father, John Purdy, who was a cabinet-maker
by trade, but who in 1824 purchased a farm on which he
spent the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits.
James Purdy early took charge of the home farm in partner-
ship with his brother, John Purdy, who later retired and
went to Iowa, but James continued as a farmer, cattle
grower and sheep breeder until his death at the age of
ninety-one years. He was an active democrat in politics,
was a great reader, and a man who was well and thoroughly
posted on all worth-while subjects of the day. He kept
open house, entertaining every traveler who visited the com-
munity, and became widely known for his generous and
kindly hospitality. His word was as good as his bond,
and he was a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church at
the Cove, of which his wife had become a charter member
in her girlhood. She died at the age of fifty-two years,
and was greatly mourned as a woman of many admirable
characteristics and qualities of both mind and heart.

James A. Purdy had to leave school as a lad in order to
take charge of the home farm. His father had married
very late in life, and as James was one of the younger
children he was little more than a boy when he accepted the
responsibilities of a man. With his younger sister, Saman-
tha, as his housekeeper, he remained on the home farm until
the death of his aged father, in the meantime having added
the breeding of swine to the other activities of the farm
and becoming widely known as a raiser of Berkshire hogs.
Farming, however, he felt was not his forte, and when the
elder man passed away and the estate was settled Mr. Purdy
left the farm and became a clerk in a grocery store for
one winter. Subsequently he spent a few months in North-
western Idaho and then went on to the Pacific Coast, bnt
in 1910 returned to Holliday’s Cove, where he rented a store
and installed a general stock of merchandise. His original
stock was valued at $1,700, bnt during the first year he had
sales of $25,000. At the present time he carries a stock of
$15,000, and does an annual business approximating
$160,000. He sells close and depends on the volume of
business for his profits, and this necessitates the employ-
ment of six assistants. In 1914 he built the present build-
ing, which he has since sold, being now a renter. In 1920
Mr. Purdy admitted to partnership G. H. Marsh, and the
business has since been conducted under the firm style of
Purdy & Marsh. Mr. Purdy was one of the original directors
of the Bank of Weirton, and still holds a place on the board.
>From young manhood he has been interested and active in
civic affairs. While still residing on the farm he served as
a member of the School Board of Bertha District. After
locating at Holliday’s Cove he was elected mayor, but re-
signed from that office to act as a member of the Draft
Board during the war period, having been appointed to
that position by Governor Cornwall. He has also served
several times as a member of the City Council. Fraternally
he affiliates with the Knights of Pythias, and as a means
of recreation enjoys the sports of fishing and horseback
riding. All in all, he is one of the most active and progres-
sive men of the community comprising Holliday’s Cove and

Mr. Purdy was united in marriage with Miss Lura Bux-
ton, who was born in Brooke County, West Virginia, daugh-
ter of J. H. Buxton, who is now deceased, and to this
union there were born two sons: John, in the fourth gene-
ration of the name; and James G., the third generation to
bear the name.

Ralph M. Cowl

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

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 580

RALPH M. COWL is proprietor of one of the largest fruit
farms in Hancock County, an orchard developed by his
father, the late Rev. John Cowl. This place is at Cowl
Station, at the mouth of Tomlinson’s Run, three miles north
of New Cumberland.

Rev. John Cowl was born in Cornwall, England, in 1818,
and at the age of three was brought to the United States,
his father, John Cowl, locating at Maryland and some years
later coming to Wheeling, where he followed his trade as a
shoemaker. John, the son, was first bound out to learn the
trade of making sandpaper. The second time he was bound
out to a blacksmith, and had a six years apprenticeship.
He educated himself, and having early committed himself
to the ministry he diligently studied Latin and Greek and
other subjects in the intervals of his hard working days,
and at the age of twenty-eight entered the ministry of the
Methodist Protestant Church. He filled pastorates at Wheel-
ing and other places in the Pittsburgh Conference, and
about 1856 preached at Nessly Chapel, his home being at
Fairview. He continued to carry the burdens of serving a
circuit of several churches until past sixty, and even after
retiring was frequently called to preach funerals. About
1866 he bought land at the mouth of Tomlinson’s Run, and
kept up his plantings on the 150 acres until about half of
it was in bearing fruit. On this farm he spent his remain-
ing years and died in 1898. Rev. John Cowl was a man of
tremendous vigor and enthusiasm, gave himself heart and
soul to every undertaking, and was a thoroughly positive
character. He was a republican in politics.

Rev. John Cowl married Elizabeth Hunter, of Washington
County, Pennsylvania, and she died at the age of eighty-
four. They had seven children: William R., who became
a minister after serving as a soldier in the Civil war; John,
who went to Oklahoma and acquired a large farm; Water-
man, who was in the grain and coal business in Iowa when
he died; Sumner, who became a minister of the Methodist
Protestant Church and died during the first year of his
pastorate; Ralph M.; Sadie, living in California, widow of
J. O. Miller; and Mary, wife of George Brenneman.

Ralph M. Cowl was born in Allegheny County, Pennsyl-
vania, October 7, 1860, but since he was six years of age
has lived at the old homestead in Hancock County. He
married Kate Stewart, daughter of Samuel Stewart. They
have three sons. John S. was in service in France from
September, 1918, to July, 1919, with the S. O. S. Depart-
ment, and after returning home spent one year in the
Carnegie Steel Company’s plant at Clairton, Pennsylvania.
He graduated from Washington and Jefferson College in
1918. Ralph H., the second son, was a member of the
Students’ Army Training Corps during the war while at the
university at Morgantown. Stewart, the youngest son, is in
his first year at Washington and Jefferson College.