Tag Archives: 15

Geza Kokochak

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. 280-281
Hancock County

GEZA KOKOCHAK. The United States, where total
democracy is supposed to reign and where no lines of
distinction are drawn other than those of relative, proved
ability, have long attracted the ambitious youths of other
countries. In making their home here they find their
dreams of earnest labor well repaid come true and their
immigration is of mutual advantage. A fair example of
the ease in hand is found in Geza Kokochak, who has risen
to be a leading business man of Weirton, where he is part
»wner of the Leader-News and proprietor of a nourishing
real estate business.

Mr. Kokochak was born May 16, 1885, in Czecho-Slo-
vakia, then Hungary. When he was ten years of age he
was left in his native land by his parents, who in 1895
immigrated to the United States and settled in Jefferson
County, Ohio, not having sufficient means to take their
children with them. When he was only five years of age
Geza began earning a part of his living as a goose herder,
and continued until, when seven years of age, he had
charge of 500 geese on a nobleman’s estate, likewise being
overseer swineherd for the village. Later he was made a
shepherd and tended the village sheep, amounting to 1300.
Up to this time he received no wages, working merely for
his board, but eventually he secured a position with a
lumber company, where, in the mill, he was made foreman
of a bunch of twenty-five boys engaged in sorting lath,
and this employment paid him a small wage. His school-
ing, starting at seven years, consumed two and one-half
years, whereas the usual course was six years, but he was
palled upon to attend the examinations. During his resi-
dence in his native land Mr. Kokochak lived with an aunt,
who was interested in his advancement, and finally ar-
rangements were made, in 1897, for him to join his par-
ents, and in December of that year the family was
reunited. Geza secured work in the coal mines of Jeffer-
son County, where he remained three years, but it was his
desire to enter business on his own account, and in order
to prepare for a mercantile career he secured employment
as a clerk, a vocation which he followed for three and one-
half years. Mr. Kokochak made his initial venture into
the merchandise business at Connorville, Ohio, in partner-
ship with his father, Michael Kokochak, who is now de-
ceased, but lost all his capital on account of a coal strike
then existing.

It was at this time that Mr. Kokochak married Miss
Susannah Swartz, who had been born in the same vicinity
in Czecho-Slovakia as her husband, and had been brought
as a child to Steubenville, Ohio, by her father, Andy
Swartz, formerly foreman at the old LaBelle mines, and
now living in retirement at Steubenville. After their mar-
riage Mr. and Mrs. Kokochak settled at Steubenville,
where they embarked in the general store business, with
$6 cash and a $3,500 debt to pay. During the seven years
that they engaged in business at Steubenville they built
up an enterprise of $3,000 sales the first year to $100,000
sales the seventh year and paid off all debts. During this
time also Mr. Kokochak had been identified with all move-
ments and was a leader among his people. In 1913 he
opened a branch of his business at Weirton, then a village
of 800 population, with but one mill in operation. Mr.
Kokochak put in a general stock of merchandise and was
soon doing a thriving business. He had the foresight to
note how Weirton was to grow and develop, and, where a
man of less courage and self-reliance would have hesitated.
was prompt in disposing of his Steubenville business in
order that he might concentrate his full energies upon the
new enterprise. His judgment was also shown in the
choice of a location for his store, for when the community
grew up and developed it was found that his store was
located within a mile of the center of the city. For a time
it would seem that his foresight had been at fault, as his
store lost some money, but his business ability soon over-
came this obstacle and he made the mercantile effort a
decided success.

At this time there was somewhat of a boom on in real
estate, and Mr. Kokochak, a man of known acumen, was
frequently consulted as to property values. This opened
up a new field for his capabilities, and he soon was en-
gaged in the real estate business as the medium through
which could be transacted transfers of property. His in-
terests in this direction goon grew to such an extent that
he disposed of his store and purchased a real estate agency
from a Mr. Widing. With the growth of the town he
began to handle all kinds of property, and his deals grew
larger and larger, until at one time and another he has
probably sold as much property as there is in Weirton at
present, one of his deals involving the transfer of 340
acres of property, which extended the corporate limits
greatly. He became a salesman and also a stockholder for
the Weirton Home Building Company, which sells many
homes, and the Weirton New Home Building Company,
and acts as salesman for the Weirton New Home Company,
owned by the Weirton Steel Company, the leading industry
of the community. Mr. Kokochak has interested many new
people in the community and has encouraged them to build
and settle, and is the man in charge of the some eighteen
or twenty additions to the growing community of Weirton,
which during the past few years has shown an almost
phenomenal development.

Mr. Kokochak first entered the newspaper field in 1920,
when he purchased the Weirton Leader from James J. Weir.
On Mr. Weir’s return from the West he secured a half
interest in the Leader, and December 1, 1921, Messrs. Weir
and Kokochak bought the Weirton News from J. W. Jones,
who had purchased it in 1920 from Mr. Weir, its founder.
The two papers were thus combined as the Leader-News,
Mr. Weir being editor and manager and Mr. Kokochak,
treasurer. Mr. Kokochak is also president of the Weirton
Business Men’s Association. He has always been one of
the town’s best boosters, and has at all times been ready to
help progressive movements with his ability, his time or his
means. During the World war he was greatly active, par-
ticularly in the Red Cross, where he was a member of the
executive board, although he likewise did his full share in
other movements, being a member of all committees of
Liberty Bond drives and an assistant to the members of the
War Registration Board, in addition to working valiantly
in behalf of the Young Men’s Christian Association and
other drives. Largely through his work and that of other
public-spirited citizens like himself Hancock County was
among the first in every drive. He was appointed by the
director of War Risk Insurance to assist the Government
in gathering the necessary data to reinstate the service men
in retaining their Government insurance. When the Red
Cross first installed its local branch Mr. Kokochak gave
them the use of his offices free until the society had an
opportunity of erecting a building of their own. Mr. Koko-
chak is particularly well read in all Slavonic tongues, and
while a resident of Steubenville was frequently called into
the courts to act as an interpreter. He is the owner of a
modern home at Weirton, in which he has a well-selected
library of some 5,000 volumes. Taking a pride in his
adopted city and its institutions, he has helped to build up
all the churches, and not only aids all educational move-
ments, but is a regular visitor at the schools.

Mr. and Mrs. Kokochak are the parents of seven children,
as follows: Anna, who is attending the local high school;
Napoleon John, attending the graded school; Geza C., Alex-
ander Ferdinand, Olympia Josephine, Theodore Woodrow
and Lillian Susannah. Anna and Napoleon were the first
junior members of the Red Cross in Hancock County, in
the first branch, and the first chapter in Hancock County
was established at Weirton.

G. L. Buchanan

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
Hancock County

G. L. BUCHANAN. One of the important business in-
dustries of Holliday’s Cove, the Cove Valley Lumber Com-
pany, is an expression and example of a well worked out
plan of business procedure, based upon the solid foundation
of efficiency and thorough knowledge of conditions and re-
quirements. Back of the success of this concern has been
the directing mind and guiding hand of its president,
G. L. Buchanan, a man of sound ability and known integrity,
practical, energetic and result-attaining. He has worked
his own way to a place of business preferment, and while
so doing has contributed materially to the advancement of
the community through his business enterprise and his per-
sonal public service.

Mr. Buchanan was born at Wintersville, Jefferson County,
Ohio, June 10, 1869, a son of J. A. Buchanan. His grand-
father, Ebenezer Buchanan, was born in Ohio County, West
Virginia, and spent his life in this state and Pennsylvania in
agricultural pursuits. J. A. Buchanan, also a native of
Ohio County, passed his active life as a tiller of the soil
with the exception of the three years he spent in the Union
Army during the war between the states, when he was a
private in Company D, Twelfth Regiment, West Virginia
Infantry. He was wounded in the service, but recovered
and returned safely to his home, where he resumed his
farming operations. He made a decided success of his
business affairs and is now living in comfortable retirement
at St. Petersburg, West Virginia.

G. L. Buchanan received his education in the public schools
and as a young man learned the trade of carpenter, a voca-
tion at which he worked for about ten years. Coming to
Holliday’s Cove about 1899, during, the following decade
he built practically all the buildings erected at that time,
and many evidences of his mechanical skill and sound work-
manship are to be found still standing in this locality. In
1909 Mr. Buchanan founded the Cove Valley Lumber Com-
pany and established a lumber yard, and this he conducted
as a private enterprise until March 24, 1920, when the busi-
ness was incorporated with a capital of $100,000, the officers
being as follows: G. L. Buehanan, president; William I.
Graham, a practical mechanic and foreman of the plant,
vice president; and O. C. Talmann, secretary and treas-
urer, all of these being active in the management and oper-
ation of the business. The Board of Directors includes also
Eric Stern, of East Liverpool; and Daniel F. Sheckler, of
Holliday’s Cove, assessor of Hancock County, also active in
the business. Recently there has been installed in the plant
modern planing mill machinery for the manufacture of
interior equipment, fittings and ornaments for buildings.
The company acts as building contractor, furnishing any-
thing required by architects’ drawings in the way of build-
ing materials, exterior or interior. At times fourteen or
fifteen men are given employment, and the operations of
the company have not been confined to Holliday’s Cove,
but have reached to Follansbee and other communities. The
product includes all kinds of lumber, cement, lime, sewer
pipe, etc. Mr. Buchanan has other business connections
and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank
of Weirton.

>From the time that he arrived at Holliday’s Cove Mr.
Buchanan has been active in civic affairs. Not long after
his arrival he was elected a member of the Village Council,
a position which he held for a number of years, as he did
also that of member of the Board of Education. He was also
mayor of the city for two years, giving a very satisfactory
administration, and was elected on the republican ticket
as a member of the Board of County Commissioners. It
was during his term that the first good roads movement in
the county was put under way. With his family Mr.
Buchanan belongs to the Presbyterian Church of Holliday’s
Cove, and as a fraternalist he is a thirty-second degree
Mason at Wheeling, a Blue Lodge Mason at New Cumber-
land, and a member of Osiris Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

Mr. Buchanan married at Holliday’s Cove Miss Jessie
I. Gilmore, daughter of J. R. Gilmore, who has followed
carpentry all his life and is still a resident of Holliday’s
Cove. To Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan there have been born
two daughters: Virginia, who is attending high school; and
Evelyn, a student of the graded schools.

Harris Clinton Hawkins

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. 255
Wetzel County

HARRIS CLINTON HAWKINS is one of the energetic busi-
ness men of New Martinsville, a. young, progressive citizen,
who has succeeded in building up a widely extended and
prosperous insurance business.

Mr. Hawkins was born at Belington in Barbour County,
West Virginia, December 14, 1884. His grandfather, Wil-
liam Hawkins, spent the greater part of his life at Buek-
hannon, where he was associated with the Giffin Lumber
Company. He was in the Quartermaster’s Department of
the Union Army during the Civil war, and died at Buck-
hannon. His wife was Caroline Farnsworth, who died at
Sutton but is buried at Buckhannon. Thomas Henry
Hawkins, father of the New Martinsville business man,
was born at Buckhannon September 22, 1857, and was
reared and educated there. Shortly after his marriage
he was ordained a minister of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and for a number of years continued active in the
ministry, both in West Virginia and in Missouri. He also
engaged in business as a merchant in Belington, but in
1887 removed to Sutton, where he continued merchandising,
and in 1898 established his home at New Martinsville,
where he organized the West Virginia Monumental Works
and later resumed merchandising. He died at New Martins-
ville in October, 1912. He served two terms on the City
Council, was a republican, and after retiring from the
ministry kept up a deep and sincere interest in the working
affairs of his church and was especially prominent in the
first church of the Methodist Episcopal denomination at
New Martinsville. He was also a Knight Templar Mason.
Thomas H. Hawkins married Mary King Harris, who was
born in Henry County, Virginia, October 17, 1863, and now
lives with her only surviving child in New Martinsville.
Her older child, Bertha, died at the age of twenty-one

Harris Clinton Hawkins acquired his early education in
the public schools of Sutton and New Martinsville, and
spent two years in West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buck-
hannon. Leaving college in 1903, he was for six or seven
years employed by the Brast Hotel Company of New
Martinsville, but since 1910 has been giving his time and
talents to the life insurance business, and is now state
manager for the Masonic Mutual Life Association of Wash-
ington. The main offices are in the Federal Realty Build-
ing on Main Street, New Martinsville, and also branch
offices are maintained at Wheeling, Huntington, Charleston,
Bluefield, Clarksburg, Fairmont and Bramwell, West Vir-

Mr. Hawkins is a past master of Wetzel Lodge No.
39, F. and A. M., and district deputy grand master of
the Grand Lodge. He is affiliated with West Virginia Con-
sistory No. 1 of the Scottish Rite at Wheeling and Osiris
Temple of the Mystic Shrine in that city. When the
Kiwanis Club of New Martinsville was organized he was
elected its first president, in 1921. He is also vice presi-
dent and a director of the Ohio Valley Builders Supply
Company of New Martinsville. Mr. Hawkins is a repub-
lican and a member of the Official Board of the First
Methodist Episcopal Church. During the war he assisted
in all the drives for funds, and took charge of the Salvation
Army drive for Wetzel County.

February 27, 1913, at New Martinsville, he married Miss
Maude Amelia Funk, daughter of Thomas J. and Helen
(Fisher) Funk, residents of New Martinsville. Her father
is now retired after a long service with the Koontz Lumber
Company. Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins have four children: Mary
Helen, born February 7, 1914, Eloise Frances, born Decem-
ber 15, 1915, Harris Funk, born December 5, 1917, and
Betty Ann, born February 3, 1920.

Harry L. Brooks

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. 253-254
Hancock County

HARRY L. BROOKS. Under the modern conditions and or-
ganization the police department of a city like Weirton is
one of the most important in the municipal service, and its
management requires rare abilities of an executive nature,
good diplomaic powers in the handling of a force of men
so that the machine may run without retarding friction,
the bravery of a fearless soldier and the broad judgment
of an able general. All of these traits are possessed by
Harry L. Brooks, chief of police of Weirton and president
of the West Virginia Association of Police Chiefs.

Chief Brooks was born at Grafton, West Virginia, a son
of Richard Brooks, for over thirty years a locomotive engi-
neer on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, running out of
Clarksburg, West Virginia. He eventually retired, with a
splendid record, and died in 1921, at the age of seventy-two
years. He was also engaged in police work at Clarksburg,
and continued to give the merchants of that city protection
even after his son had become chief. A man of many ex-
cellent qualities, he had hosts of friends, and his loss was
widely mourned.

Harry L. Brooks was reared at Clarksburg, where he
received his education in the graded and high schools, and
in 1901 joined the police force. His promotion was rapid
and he soon advanced to the position of chief. In 1908, at
the solicitation of John C. Williams, general manager of
the Weirton Steel Corporation’s Plant, the building of
which about that time brought the City of Weirton into
being, Chief Brooks resigned his post at Clarksburg and
came to Weirton to become the first chief of police of this
place, with a force of ten men, this constituting the De-
partment of Public Safety. His initial duties also included
those of welfare worker, he being placed in charge of all
public improvements and the social betterment of the mill
employes. The Weirton Police Department now consists
of fourteen men. Weirton also boasts of one of the most
modern homes for its police department of any town in
the state, a modern structure which cost about $35,000 and
which is excellently equipped with all the latest devices,
and includes private offices, a court room, etc.

Chief Brooks, who was elected nine times by vote of the
people, is known as “the ideal chief.” Of powerful and
well proportioned physique, his mere presence is sufficient
to quell any ordinary disturbance, and he has long been
a terror to law-breakers, although a kind-hearted friend to
the unfortunate and a protector of the innocent. No third-
degree methods are tolerated in the Weirton Police Depart-
ment. cowardice and brutality are reasons for instant dis-
missal from the force, and merit is the basis of advance-
ment. Chief Brooks is at present president of the West
Virginia Association of Police Chiefs and a member of
the International Association of Police Chiefs, connections
which have proved beneficial to him in his quests as detec-
tive and police officer. In 1919. before the International As-
sociation of Police Chiefs, Chief Brooks was called upon for
an address, and his talk was one of the very few considered
worthy of publication, being reproduced in full in the
Washington Herald. Chief Brooks addressed the associa-
tion upon their duty to the Government, as to their share
in the raising of funds for patriotic purposes, and in regard
to the town of Weirton, which he stated had raised two and
one-half times its quota in Liberty Loans, Red Cross work
and the Y. M. C. A. drives.

Chief Brooks married Miss Calla Davis, daughter of
Evander Davia, who was formerly a teacher at Salem, West
Virginia. One son has been born to this union, Richard,
who at present is captain of a gun crew on the U. S. Battle-
ship “Idaho.” U. S. N. Chief Brooks is a member of the
Knights of Pythias.

Walter S. Bambrick

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. 562-563

WALTER S. BAMBRICK, who is United States postmaster
at Weirton, demonstrates in his life the truth of the saying
that real merit receives proper recognition, and the other
saying as well, that nothing succeeds like success. Persist-
ent, conscientious endeavor alone, along legitimate lines,
has resulted in his case in public advancement, and in his
official position he has discharged his duties faithfully and
rendered the people of his community splendid service.

Mr. Bambrick was born at New Cumberland, Hancock
County, West Virginia, September 19, 1888, and is a son of
Lewis S. and Sarah M. (Baxter) Bambrick, natives also of
Hancock County. The grandfather of Walter S. Bambrick,
Thomas Bambrick, was born, reared and educated in Ire-
land, where as a young man he was a teacher. He immi-
grated to the United States about 1820 and settled in West
Virginia, where he first engaged in teaching and later
turned his attention to farming, also carrying on surveying
work all over the state. As he was possessed of a superior
education, he was frequently asked to do work of a semi-
legal character for the pioneers, particularly before the
creation of the County Court. He was the father of the
bill which brought into being Hancock County, which was
cut off from Brooke County, and sat as a delegate in the
House of Representatives at the time the county was cre-
ated, in 1848. He named the county seat Pughtown, and
as such it continued for many years or until being removed
to New Cumberland. He was a stalwart democrat, and in
his death, at the age of eighty-four years, his community
lost a strong leader and a reliable and straightforward

Like his father, Lewis S. Bambrick was a teacher in his
earlier years, but later turned his attention to farming and
continued to be engaged therein in Hancock County all his
active life, with the exception of two years passed in Wayne
County, Iowa. He is now living in retirement, having
reached four-score years, but takes a lively interest in the
affairs of life and is a member of the Board of Equaliza-
tion. In politics he is a democrat. Mr. Bambrick married
Miss Sarah M. Baxter, daughter of Samuel Baxter, who
was born in Brooke County, West Virginia, and at marriage
came to Hancock County, where he spent the rest of his
life in agricultural operations, being a progressive cattle
and sheep breeder. He died when eighty-four years old.
Mrs. Bambrick died at the age of sixty-six years, after a
happy married life of about forty-five years.

Walter S. Bambrick received his education in the graded
and high schools of New Cumberland, and in 1912 came to
Weirton as an employe of the shipping department of the
Weirton Steel Company. He remained with this concern,
until named postmaster, the duties of which office he as-
sumed September 5, 1916. At that time the office boasted
of two employes, occupied a one-room building, 11×36 feet,
and had annual receipts amounting to $9,000. There are
now eight assistants, the post office occupies a rented build-
ing, 33×72 feet, and the receipts amount to $160,000 annu-
ally. Mr. Bambrick gives his entire time and attention to
the work of his position and has improved the service ma-
terially. At the present time there are no deliveries made
and no rural free delivery system, as the work of numbering
the houses on the various streets has not been done in
this fast-growing municipality. As soon as this work is
accomplished deliveries will commence. Mr. Bambrick has
the distinction of having his name on the Honor Roll and
sent to the postmaster general at Washington, D. C., as a
mark of special distinction. When the sale of War Sav-
ings Stamps and Thrift Stamps was discontinued the new
Treasury Savings Certificates were offered the public, and
Postmaster Bambrick was an entrant in the postmaster con-
test which closed December 31, 1921, in competition with
all other postmasters of the same class offices in the Fifth
Federal Reserve District, being one of the winners in this
state. A bronze honor pin of attractive design, bearing
the inscription “Honor Postmaster,” has been conferred
upon Postmaster Bambrick by Howard T. Cree, director of
the Government Savings Organization, Richmond, Virginia,
as a reward for patriotism and faithful service. Mr. Bam-
brick is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and during
his vacations humors his hobby of hunting.

Mr. Bambrick married Miss Myrtle Herron, of New
Cumberland, and they are the parents of two children:
Walter Lewis and William Herron.

Henry O. Miller

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. 220-221
Hancock County

HENRY O. MILLER. Perhaps no one man in the educa-
tional life of the Ohio Valley of West Virginia has exerted
an influence finer in quality and purpose than Henry O.
Miller, superintendent of schools of Hancock County, for
it is one proceeding from a character of quiet strength,
sanity and disinterestedness. Mr. Miller not only is a good
teacher, but a man of specialized training and comprehen-
sive learning, as well as capable and progressive executive.
The representative relation of the teacher to the pupil is
a close and intimate one, and few leave the schoolroom
without carrying with them the impress of the character
of the one under whom they have studied, so that it is very
important that the individual who trains the youthful mind
during the formative period be one whose example is worthy
of emulation, a position for which Mr. Miller’s qualities and
abilities equip him eminently.

Mr. Miller is a native of the Gas Valley, having been born
in Poe District, Hancock County, West Virginia, three miles
east of Pughtown, October 20, 1876, a son of John P. and
Margaret A. (Campbell) Miller, a grandson of Benjamin
Miller, also born in Hancock County, and a great-grandson
of David Miller. David Miller was born in County Tyrone.
Ireland, and as a young man immigrated to America and
settled first at Pittsburgh, where he spent a few years.
Later, about 1780, he came to the Poe District, where he
passed the rest of his life in agricultural pursuits, and his
old farm is still in the family possession. He was one of
the real pioneers of this locality and experienced the hard-
ships of such a life, including the clearing up of a farm
and warfare with the Indians, by whom he was forced to
leave the community on one occasion and seek refuge in
a more settled locality, but was also of the stuff of which
the pioneers were made, and lived to the remarkable age
of ninety-nine years.

Benjamin Miller, the grandfather of Henry O. Miller
was born in 1799 and spent his life on the same farm,
dying in 1876. The family landed possessions were ex-
tended under his management, and at the time of his death
the property was passed on to his two sons, John P. and
Martin Luther, who spent their lives on that property. A
brother, Morgan H. Miller, still resides on an adjoining
farm, at the age of eighty-one years. He is a veteran of
the Civil war, having fought as a private in Company I,
Ninety-second Regiment, West Virginia Volunteer Infan-
try. Another brother, Joseph Harvey Miller, died young.
A half-brother, Dr. L. M. Miller, who practiced at Toronto,
Ohio, died at the age of thirty-three years, and a half-sister,
Margaret, married Lawrence W. Glass and now resides
at East Liverpool, Ohio. John P. Miller married Margaret
A. Campbell, a daughter of Robert and Ellen (Young)
Campbell, who were of the same vicinity. John P. Miller
in addition to being a farmer, was quite a sheep breeder
and grower. He and the other members of the family were
democrats until the split between the states of the North
and South, at which time they joined the ranks of the
republican party. For many years the family has been
identified with the Presbyterian Church. David Miller was
an original member of “The Flats” Presbyterian Church,
about four miles distant, and his son Benjamin was an elder
therein, as was also the latter’s son, Morgan H. That
church was organized about 1800 and was the parent church
of all the Presbyterian churches of the vicinity. Since 1891
it has been known as the Fairview Presbyterian Church,
and is located about one and one-half miles from Pughtown,
on the Flats. David and Benjamin Miller were buried at
the site of this church, but John P. Miller, who died in
1907, at the age of seventy-five years, was laid to rest
at the Mill Creek Hill Cemetery, as was his worthy wife,
who passed away in 1903, at seventy years of age. They
were the parents of the following children: Joseph Harvey,
who died at the age of thirty-four years while an employe
of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Pittsburgh;
Elmer A. and B. S., partners on the old farm until it was
sold, and now both residents of Pughtown; William M.,
who is engaged in the practice of medicine at Clinton,
Pennsylvania; Robert Sherman, twin of Benjamin S., men-
tioned before, who left West Virginia as a lad and is now
a retired farmer of Summer, Nebraska; Margaret Ellen,
who died at Chester at the age of forty-five years as the
wife of Lawrence L. Stewart; Mary Jane, the wife of Frank
F. Mayhew, living near Salem, Ohio; and Henry O.

Henry O. Miller acquired his early education in the coun-
try schools, following which he attended the Tri-State
Normal School, then at Pughtown, of which the president
was J. D. Hull. At the age of twenty years he began
teaching, and spent the next eight years in Hancock County,
during four years of which time he was principal of schools
at Pughtown. In 1909 Mr. Miller was elected superin-
tendent of schools of Hancock County, and consecutive re-
electiona have brought him to his fourth term. In 1909,
when he first assumed the duties of this office, there were
fifty-eight schools and fifty-eight teachers, with two high
schools at New Cumberland and one at Chester. There are
now 125 schools, with four first-class high schools. The
enrollment in 1909 was 1,000 pupils, whereas now there
are 4,000 pupils, of whom about 300 are attending the
high schools. Much hard work was necessary to interest
the people in the advantages of high school training, but
a splendid sentiment has arisen in this direction. About
ninety-five per cent of the teachers have had normal school
training. The Tri-State Normal School continued only until
1906, but many of the high school graduates attend normal
schools elsewhere in West Virginia, as well as in Pennsyl-
vania and Ohio, and at the present time preparations are
being made for summer normal terms in Hancock County.
Mr. Miller is devoted to his work and is an earnest striver
after an elevation of standards. His labors have resulted
in arousing public interest and in gaining him the co-opera-
tion of teachers, parents and pupils.

In 1911 Mr. Miller was united in marriage with Miss
Sarah Wells, daughter of William H. Wells, of East Liver-
pool, Ohio, and granddaughter of George Wells, whose old
home stood on the present site of Newell. A blockhouse
once stood on the old Wells farm and Indian relics picked
up there are now in the possession of Mr. Miller. George
Wells was an old steamboat owner and followed the river,
and also followed farming until his farm was all sold to
the townsite company. His son, William H., who was a
carpenter by trade, died in 1920, age seventy-one years.
Mrs. Miller, who was born at East Liverpool, Ohio, is active
in the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Presbyterian Church, of
which she and her husband have long been members. He
belongs to the Blue Lodge of Masonry at New Cumber-
land and has attained to the Scottish Rite degree. Mr.
Miller is well known as a public speaker in the line of
educational work, and his services in this direction are
frequently in demand.


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