Tag Archives: 15

George Loren Bambrick

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 273
Hancock County

GEORGE LOREN BAMBRICK. Few members of the Hancock
County Bar have advanced more steadily to leadership than
George Loren Bambrick, of New Cumberland, the prime
secret of his uniform success being the union of remark-
able business judgment and a keen legal insight into the
most involved transactions. In addition to being promi-
nent in his profession he has also been active and con-
structive in civic affairs and at various times has been
the incumbent of public office.

Mr. Bambrick was born in Wayne County, Iowa, Sep-
tember 4, 1869, a son of Lewis S. and Sarah M. (Baxter)
Bambrick, natives of Hancock County, West Virginia.
Thomas Bambrick, the grandfather of George L., was born
in Ireland, where he received his education and as a young
man became a teacher and surveyor. He came to West
Virginia about 1820, and at first taught school, but later
turned his attention to farming, which he followed in con-
junction with his work as a surveyor and in which he
traveled all over the county. A man of superior education,
he was called upon to do much legal work of the period,
especially before the creation of the County Court, and
largely in this way came favorably before the people. He
became the author of the bill creating Hancock County,
which was cut off of Brooke County, sat in the Virginia
House of Representatives at the time the county was
created, in 1848, as a delegate, and named the county Han-
cock in honor of John Hancock, first president of the
Continental Congress. He was a stanch democrat. When
he died, at the age of eighty-four years, the county lost
one of its strong characters.

Lewis S. Bambrick, like his father, was a teacher in his
earlier years, but later turned his attention to farming
and continued to be engaged therein without interruption
in Hancock County with the exception of two years spent
in Wayne County, Iowa. He is now living retired at the
age of eighty years, but continues to take an interest in
matters, especially those pertaining to civic affairs, and
holds membership on the Board of Equalization. He is a
democrat. Mr. Bambrick married Sarah M. Baxter, daugh-
ter of Samuel Baxter, who was born in Brooke County
and at marriage came to Hancock County, where he spent
the rest of his life in progressive operations as a farmer
and sheep and cattle breeder, and died at the age of eighty-
four years. Mrs. Bambrick died at the age of sixty-six
years, a happy married life of about forty-five years.

George Loren Bambrick, as had his forebears, entered
upon his career as a teacher, and for two years engaged
in educational work in the rural districts. He then entered
the University of West Virginia, where he finished his law
course in 1896, was given his degree of Bachelor of
Laws, and at once engaged in the practice of his calling
at New Cumberland, where he has been successful in build-
ing up a desirable clientele and making steady advance-
ment in his calling. A stanch democrat in politics, he has
been active in public affairs, served eight years as city
attorney of New Cumberland and four years as prosecuting
attorney in a county which is normally republican by a
majority of two to one, and was special judge of the Cir-
cuit Court during the sickness of an incumbent judge.
In 1904 he was his party’s candidate for the office of state
senator, but met with defeat. As a fraternalist Mr. Bam-
brick is a thirty-second degree Mason, a Knight Templar
and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine.

Mr. Bambrick married Miss Christine Donehoo, and to
this union there were born two children, Eleanor McCown
and George Donehoo. Mrs. Bambrick is the youngest daugh-
ter of the late Hon. John R. Donehoo, who at the time
of his death, in 1917, at the age of eighty-two years, was
the oldest member of the Hancock County bar, of which
he had been a member for more than a half a century.
He had studied law under Charles Russell of Wheeling,
was at one time editor of the New Dominion at Morgan-
town, and served in various official capacities, including
state senator and member of the Board of Trustees of
the Romney State School. In politics he was a democrat.
Recognized as a master of the English language, he was
very able in writing opinions, as well as in translating
Latin and other languages, and his articles were widely
read. One of his sons, the late Rev. J. DeQ. Donehoo,
was a graduate of. Washington and Jefferson College and
became a minister of the Episcopal Church, serving various
charges in Louisiana and Texas. He was also an author of
some note, and his “Apocryphal and Legendary Life of
Christ” is well known. Mrs. Bambrick is a graduate of
the Washington (Pennsylvania) Seminary, and her mother,
who bore the maiden name of Eleanor McCown, was a
graduate of the Steubenville (Ohio) Seminary.

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.

Austin H. Brown

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. 228-229
Hancock County

AUSTIN H. BROWN resides in the fine old family home-
stead, a stone and brick structure on one of the well-im-
proved farms of Hancock County, and in this dwelling he
was born July 17, 1875, his father likewise having been
born in this house, which is situated 4-1/2 miles north of
New Cumberland, the county seat. The stone part of the
building was erected in 1821 by Jacob Nessly, who came
here as a pioneer of the year 1785 and who here became
the owner of 5,000 acres of land, which he obtained by
trading a rifle to an Indian. The historic old house faces
the Ohio River. The brick addition to the original struc-
ture was erected in 1865, and the entire building, of most
substantial order, is well preserved. The original tract
of land continued along the shore of the Ohio River and
extended as far as Georgetown, Pennsylvania, there hav-
ing been about forty miles of shore line and the tract hav-
ing been comparatively narrow. By the payment of 100
English pounds sterling Mr. Nessly later extended the
width of his holdings by the purchase of an additional
tract of 1,500 acres. Nessly came to this section from
Eastern Pennsylvania, in accord with the advice of his
father-in-law, who was a man of wealth. This young pio-
neer first erected a log cabin at the month of Yellow Creek,
but soon removed two miles further south, to the site of
the present house. Mr. Nessly developed a productive farm
and continued his general supervision of the same until his
death, at an advanced age, the closing years of his life
having been passed in the home of one of his daughters,
on the opposite side of the river, at Port Homer, Ohio.
It is related that on one occasion, when he was on a trip
on the Ohio side of the river he was pursued by Indians,
but saved his life by taking refuge in a rocky cave, across
the river from his own dwelling, he later having chiseled
on a rock at this cave his name and the date of this inci-
dent. Barbara, daughter of this sterling pioneer, became
the wife of Col. Richard Brown, who was of Holland Dutch
ancestry and who served as a patriot soldier and officer in a
Maryland regiment in the War of the Revolution, his wife
having inherited the old homestead and both having there
passed the remainder of their lives. Colonel Brown had
local renown as a fighter in personal contests, and many
tales are told of his prowess along this line. Adam Poe,
was at one time a dinner guest at the Nessly home, and
the two subsequently diverted themselves by engaging in
a spirited fight, the result of which was that Poe had to
be put to bed. A brother of Poe later appeared on the
scene, while Adam was still at the Nessly home, and when
he learned of the recent conflict and its result he boasted
of his own ability as a fighter, with the sequel that he
endured worse punishment at the hands of the doughty
colonel than had his brother, he likewise having been
cared for in the Nessly home after having thus failed to
best his antagonist. On another occasion Colonel Brown,
while on a trip back from Philadelphia, was followed and
challenged by a man, and in the ensuing fight the colonel
broke this man’s neck with a blow. The eldest of the
sons of Col. Richard Brown was Jacob Nessly Brown;
John, the second son, settled at the mouth of Tomlinson’s
Run and was a young man at the time of his death; George
continued his residence near the old homestead until his
death, when past eighty years of age; and James likewise
attained to venerable age, he having owned and occupied
a part of the ancestral farm estate.

Jacob Nessly Brown married Ann Myler, and they re-
sided on the old home farm. He owned and operated a
flour mill at Wellsburg, twenty miles distant from his
home, and on the farm he operated a distillery, besides
developing a clay bed on the place and supplying clay for
the manufacturing of jugs at Wellsburg, this having been
the initiation of the clay industry and the original jugs
having been used for the whiskey containers. On his farm
Mr. Brown originated and developed the “Willow Twig”
apple, he having planted a large orchard, having main-
tained his own nursery and being credited with the origina-
tion of the above mentioned variety of apples, which be-
came the standard in this section, his orchard having pro-
duced an average of 20,000 bushels of apples annually.
The old home farm of Mr. Brown now comprises only sev-
enty-two acres. Mr. Brown died in 1879, after having
passed the eightieth milestone on the journey of life, his
wife having passed away in 1865. Their daughter Barbara
became the wife of Archibald Hendrie; Virginia never
married, and she had charge of the old home farm for
thirty years, she having been seventy-five years of age at
death; Richard H. is more specifically mentioned in a later
paragraph; Ann became the wife of William L. Brown,
they purchased a part of the old homestead and there they
passed the remainder of their lives, a nephew, Charles M.
Brenneman, having succeeded to the ownership of the
farm; Alice was a young woman at the time of her death;
George, who became a representative lawyer in the City
of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died a bachelor, as did also
Jacob, who remained with his sister Virginia on the old
home farm; and Edward removed to Bloomfield, Ohio,
in which state he passed the remainder of his life.

Miss Virginia Brown showed marked ability in the man-
agement of the old homestead farm, as foreman of which
she retained a colored man, William Wilson, who came
from Albemarle County, Virginia, and who served as a
youthful soldier in the Twelfth West Virginia Infantry
in the Civil war, then commanded by Col. R. Hooker
Brown, father of him whose name initiates this review.
Wilson was about sixteen years old when, after the close of
the war, he accompanied Colonel Brown to Hancock County
and entered the employ of the latter’s sister, Miss Vir-
ginia, with whom he remained until her death. He then
purchased a part of the old Brown farm, and he is today
one of the highly respected and very substantial citizens
of Hancock County, his fidelity to the Brown family hav-
ing never wavered and his service to the family having
been of most conscientious and appreciative order.

Col. Richard Hooker Brown was graduated in the Duff
Business College in the City of Pittsburgh, and he dis-
tinguished himself as a gallant soldier of the Union in
the Civil war, in which he became colonel of the Twelfth
West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, his service having con-
tinued until the close of the war. In 1867 Colonel Brown
married Miss Elizabeth Pugh, daughter of David and Nancy
(Allison) Pugh, Mrs. Brown having been reared at Pugh-
town, Hancock County, a place named in honor of the family
of which she was a representative. Colonel Brown added
the brick portion to the old stone house in which he was
born, and he served as county commissioner prior to the
creation of Hancock County as did he also after the
organization of the new county. He served one term as
county sheriff, but in the meanwhile continued his resi-
dence on the old home farm. Here his death occurred on the
19th of March, 1910, and his widow passed away on the
20th of January, 1917. Of their twelve children all but
one attained to maturity: Walter died in young man-
hood; Anna is the wife of A. H. Bowker, of Rochester,
New York; King resides at Chester, West Virginia; J.
Campbell is a merchant at East Liverpool, Ohio; Austin
Hooker is the immediate subject of this sketch; Alice died
within a short time after her marriage to Frederick Por-
ter; Margaret is the widow of Joseph Hough and resides
at Chester, Hancock County; Frank is a mill man at War-
ren, Ohio, and his twin brother, Edward, died in child-
hood; Barbara is the wife of Harry Darrington, an oil
refiner, and they reside in the City of Chicago, Illinois;
Richard is a railroad man at Wellsville, Ohio; Benjamin is
a merchant at Toronto, Ohio.

Austin Hooker Brown was reared in his native county,
and after the discipline of the rural schools he received
that of the high school at Wellsville, Ohio, and was for
two years a student in the West Virginia State Normal
Schools at West Liberty and Fairmont, and attended the
University of West Virginia one year. He gained youth-
ful experience in the produce trade at Pittsburgh and
Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and from 1905 to 1913 was en-
gaged in the wholesale produce business at Steubenville,
Ohio. Since the latter year he has resided on and given
his attention to the management of the old homestead farm
on which he was born and where he has precedence as one
of the leading horticulturists in this section of the state,
his fruit orchards producing an average of nearly 1,000
barrels annually. He has excellent storage provisions and
has developed an appreciable business as a dealer in apples.
He is one of the liberal and progressive citizens of his
native county, was for nine years president of the school
board of his district, is secretary of the Farm Bureau of
Hancock County, and is a stalwart republican in politics,
as was also his father. He and his wife are active mem-
bers of the Methodist Protestant Church, and attend the
Nessly Chapel, which was named in honor of the pioneer,
Jacob Nessly, who donated the ground on which the chapel
is situated. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity,
including the Commandery of Knights Templars at Steu-
benville, Ohio.

In 1902 Mr. Brown wedded Miss Eleanor Gallagher,
of West Newton, Pennsylvania, she having been educated
in the Pennsylvania State Normal School at California
and having been a popular teacher prior to her marriage.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown have one son, William James, who
was graduated in high school and who is, in 1922, a student
in the University of West Virginia.

N. W. Ballantyne

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. 360-361

N. W. BALLANTYNE. Of the citizens of known business
ability who have been called to public office in Hancock
County, one of the best known is N. W. Ballantyne, a
member of the Board of County Commissioners, and one
of the proprietors of the West Virginia Fire Clay Company
of New Cumberland. Connected with this line of enter-
prise practically since youth, he has made a success of
his operations therein, in view of which fact it was thought
that he would be equally successful as a county official.
His record in office shows this faith to have been fully

Mr. Ballantyne was born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
and is a son of Alexander Ballantyne, a glass manufac-
turer, who died when his son N. W. was but fifteen years
of age. The latter then went to live with his maternal
grandfather, James L. Freeman, a son of Thomas Free-
man. Thomas Freeman was the original operator of a
plant taking out fire clay, which was under his own farm,
one mile south of New Cumberland, and James Freeman
was also engaged in the fire brick and sewer pipe business,
his plant being on the site of the present Freeman plant,
one-half mile below the above plant. James Freeman died
when past eighty years of age. His daughter, Irene (Free-
man) Ballantyne, who was the mother of N. W. and C. A.
Ballantyne, died at the age of sixty-eight years.

N. W. Ballantyne secured a good, practical educational
training, and with his brother, C. A., came into the owner-
ship of the old Freeman home place. In 1896 they started
a small plant of their own in partnership, and have con-
tinued to be associated together in their business ventures
ever since. In 1903 they founded the West Virginia Fire
Clay Company at New Cumberland, and in 1906 the busi-
ness was incorporated by them, with a capital of $50,000.
This plant manufactures fire clay, which is sold to the
manufacturers of fire brick and similar products, and has
a capacity of 300 tons daily, this coming from a vein of
clay of from eight to twelve feet thick under the hill on the
edge of the works. Something unusual and most opportune
connected with this plant is that immediately above the
vein of clay lies a three-foot vein of excellent steam coal,
the mining of which involves but slight expense, and which
supplies the fuel for the plant. Above this is the solid
rock forming a natural permanent roof. The average out-
put for one entire year was 6,000 tons per month, and
the securing and preparation of the product, done by elec-
trical machinery, necessitates the employment of from
twelve to eighteen miners, and from about thirty to forty
men in all. This clay goes into grinders to make it uni-
form, and is then shipped to the southern states, New
England and Canada, from 120 to 175 cars monthly being
utilized. The pay-roll approximates $2,500 monthly. The
selling office of the concern is at Pittsburgh.

N. W. Ballantyne is also interested in other plants,
manufacturers of fire clay products in Beaver Valley,
Pennsylvania, and in Ohio, with offices at Pittsburgh. He
has several civic and fraternal connections, and is actively
interested in all good movements for the community wel-
fare. In 1920 he was elected a county commissioner, hav-
ing been nominated by the republicans and receiving the
endorsement of the democratic party. The county is now
engaged in building good roads, keeping pace with other
sections, and in 1921 a new Court House was built, cost-
ing approximately $100,000, to replace the old building,
destroyed by fire, which was erected in 1884 and donated
to the county by the citizens in order to secure the county
seat from Pughtown, four miles distant. The sheriff’s
residence and jail are in a separate building, but in close
proximity to the Court House.

Mr. Ballantyne married Miss Lucie Brown, daughter of
the late Adrian W. Brown, for many years publisher of
the New Cumberland Independent and a leading and in-
fluential citizen. She was reared at New Cumberland,
graduated from the West Virginia University as a mem-
ber of the class of 1900, and for a time taught English
at the West Liberty Normal School and later at Marshall
College, Huntington, West Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Bal-
lantyne have two children: Robert and Irene Virginia.

A. D. Osborne

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. 227
Hancock County

A. D. OSBORNE. An active and unselfish life, based upon
high principles, animated by kindly impulses which have
been faithfully devoted to industry and directed to the
discharge of every duty and responsibility, may be justly
regarded as a successful one, without reference to pecuniary
results. Under such a searchlight A. D. Osborne may be
pronounced as being a successful man in every sense of
the phrase. He has held honorable and responsible posi-
tions, has faithfully discharged his duties wherever placed,
and has retained the confidence and respect of those with
whom he has been associated. For a long period he has
been identified with the cause of education, and as su-
perintendent of the Grant District schools at Newell is
carrying on a work that is bringing about excellent

Mr. Osborne was born in Meigs County, Ohio, where he
received his early education, and after attending the
Kent State Normal School pursued a course at the Ohio
State University at Athens. For five years previously he
taught in the rural schools and then for fourteen years
was principal of the Ward School at East Liverpool, Ohio,
then locating at Newell, West Virginia, where he has been
superintendent of the Grant District schools since 1916.
Grant District has ten buildings, with twenty-four teachers
and 704 pupils. In September, 1921, Superintendent Os-
borne’s report showed that the enrollment in the grades
totaled 299, while 104 pupils were registered in the junior
and senior high schools at Newell. The Newell Building
was erected in 1912, and consists of eight rooms, a basement
library and two portable outside rooms. The high school
course consists of a full four years, both junior and senior.
There are fourteen teachers, of whom seven are in the
high school departments. The matter of education is an
important one at Newell, as this is rapidly becoming a
place of importance. Newell is one mile below Chester the
two communities being separated by a bluff one-half mile
long, with just room between for a railroad and road,
which at places is very narrow. A bridge connects both
Newell and Chester with East Liverpool, Ohio, these bridges
being three-quarters of a mile apart, and a street ear line
crossing each. Newell has two important industries, the
Homer Laughlin China Company, the largest single china
plant in the world; and the E. M. Knowles China Company.

Mr. Osborne is secretary of the district school board,
and a member of the West Virginia Teachers Association,
the Hancock County Teachers Association and the Ohio
Valley Schoolmasters Club. He is also one of the three
members of the County Board of Equalization. He is a
Mason and has attained to the fourteenth degree in the
Scottish Rite. Mr. Osborne married Miss Annie Swan, of
Washington County, Ohio, and they have two children:
Vera, a graduate of Newell High School, who attended
the Kent Normal School of Ohio, and is now a teacher in
the first grade of the Newell School; and Gladys, a sopho-
more at the Newell High School. The family belongs to
the Presbyterian Church, in which Mr. Osborne is a mem-
ber of the Board of Trustees and an active Sunday School


Alexander E. Mahan

HANCOCK COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: MAHAN, Alexander E. (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. 230
Hancock County

ALEXANDER E. MAHAN is a native son of Hancock County,
a representative of one of the old and honored families
of this section of the state, and as a fruit grower is fully
upholding the prestige of the family name and that of the
county, his attractive orchard homestead being situated
near the Village of Arroyo and on rural mail route No. 4
from New Cumberland, the county seat.

Mr. Mahan was born at New Cumberland, this county,
on the 9th of October, 1879, and is a son of Captain W.
Chester Mahan and Margaret (Smith) Mahan, the former
of whom died in 1908, at the age of sixty-six years, and
the latter in 1921, at the age of sixty-eight years. The
father was a gallant young soldier of the Union in the
Civil war, in which he was a member of Company I, Twelfth
West Virginia Volunteer Infantry. He was captured by
the enemy and was held a captive of war at Anderson-
ville Prison for six months. He took part in many en-
gagements and did well his part in preserving the integrity
of the nation. After the war he became actively identified
with navigation service on the Ohio River as part owner
of packet boats. He served as captain on these river
steamboats, including the “John Porter,” which vessel
unfortunately carried the yellow-fever scourge as far as
Gallipolis, Ohio, at the time when the dread epidemic was
raging at Memphis, Tennessee. Captain Mahan later en-
gaged successfully in fruit growing on the fine place now
owned and operated by his son Alexander E., of this sketch,
who is the elder of the two children and whose sister,
Miss Helen M., likewise remains at the old home. Alex-
ander E. Mahan married Miss Sadie Brenneman, a daugh-
ter of George G. Brenneman, and the one child of this
union is Alexander E., Jr.

Alice Swaney

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. 224-225
Hancock County

ALICE SWANEY, M. D. The professional career of Dr.
Alice Swaney, which it is proposed briefly to sketch, embraces
a period of eighteen years, practically all of which have
been passed at New Cumberland. It possesses some
features of interest, inasmuch as it assisted in breaking
through the barrier of professional bigotry which had
to some extent before her coming excluded women from
practicing the healing art in a professional way. To her
example, winning by assiduous attention to her profes-
sional calls and by profound knowledge of the art and
skill in its practice a place among the reputable prac-
titioners of medicine and surgery in Hancock County,
has been due in a measure the rapid advancement made
recently by her sex in this field of effort.

Doctor Swaney was born at New Cumberland, Han-
cock County, West Virginia, and is a daughter of John
S. and Ella (Grafton) Swaney. The Swaney family,
which originated in Holland, has resided for many years in
Pennsylvania, where was born Isaac Swaney, the grand-
father of Doctor Swaney. He was a carpenter by trade
and was ten years of age when brought by his parents to
the vicinity of New Cumberland, where he spent his life
in working at his vocation. He died in Hancock County dur-
ing the Civil war period, at the age of fifty-five years, after
a career that had included only an industrious application
to his trade, without any public achievements. His wife,
who bore the maiden name of Margaret Summerwell, was
also a native of Pennsylvania, and died in Hancock County
in extreme old age.

John S. Swaney, father of Doctor Swaney, was born in
Beaver County, Pennsylvania, April 3, 1845, and as a child
was brought by his parents to Lexington, three miles
above New Cumberland. During his early years he mastered
the trade of stone mason, which he followed in connec-
tion with farming. During the Civil war he enlisted
in Company F, First Regiment, West Virginia Volunteer In-
fantry, which was later consolidated with other troops,
becoming the Second Veterans. Mr. Swaney’s brother, T.
R., served in the same company, and a younger brother,
S. D., served in the fourth West Virginia Cavalry. Both
are now deceased. Following the war Mr. Swaney resumed
his operations as a stone mason and farmer, but gradually
gave up the former vocation. He became interested in the
breeding of track horses and had a number of good
performers which brought fancy prices. One of these, “Sul-
tan,” was a noted prize-winner at the Pittsburgh Horse
Show. In 1881 Mr. Swaney was elected sheriff of Han-
cock County, serving in that office until 1884, and again
in 1889 was chosen for that position, and served until
1893. Later he acted for six years as a member of the
Board of County Commissioners, and his entire record in
both offices was a splendid one. He has always been an
active republican. In 1871, at the age of twenty-six years,
Mr. Swaney was united in marriage with Miss Ella Grat-
ton, who was born October 13, 1848, and died August 11,
1921, after fifty years of married life, their Golden Wed-
ding Anniversary having been celebrated at San Diego,
California. They were the parents of two children: Wil-
liam Grafton, who has medical courses at the University
of West Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania, but
became a business man and was Pacific Coast manager for
the Ingersoll Construction Company at Portland, Oregon,
when he died at the age of thirty-five years; and Alice.

William Hill Grafton, the maternal great-grandfather
of Doctor Swaney, was born April 13, 1787, in Harford
County, Maryland, and came to what is now Hancock
County West Virginia (then in Virginia) in the year
1806. On July 19, 1807, he married Nancy Baker, of
Virginia, born in February, 1789. William Hill Grafton
was the first postmaster of the Town of New Cumberland,
assuming the duties of that office in 1844. In the year
1840 he helped organize the Christian Church, the first
church organized at this place, and from 1850 until 1856
he served as sheriff of Hancock County. He and Thomas
Bousall were the first merchants of New Cumberland.
Mr. Grafton was the father of a large family, among
his children being Nathan Baker Grafton, who was born
April 3, 1819. On January 22, 1848, he married Rachel
Chapman. Nathan B. Grafton became the first school
teacher of New Cumberland, in 1845, and also followed
merchandising, traveling about once a year by stage and
canal boat to Philadelphia in order to replenish his
stock. He served as county supervisor, which corresponds
with the present office of county commissioner, and in his
later years was a justice of the peace.

Ella Grafton Swaney, the wife of John S. Swaney, and
Charles Edwin Grafton, the mother and uncle of Dr. Alice
Swaney, were daughter and son of Nathan B. Grafton.
Ella G. Swaney was born October 13, 1848, graduated from
Pleasant Hill Seminary, Washington County, Pennsylvania,
in the year 1865, married John S. Swaney March 23, 1871,
and died July 11, 1921. Charles Edwin Grafton, M. S.,
C. E.. brother of Mrs. John S. Swaney was born Septem-
ber 15, 1854, and in 1880 graduated from West Virginia
University, being the first graduate of that institution
to receive the degree of civil engineer. His work has been
largely confined to railroad construction, and during his
career he has held responsible positions with the Illinois
Central, Baltimore & Ohio and Union Pacific railroads
and others. During the past ten years he has been county
engineer for Hancock County, his present post. He is a
member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Alice Swaney, following her graduation from high
school, spent three years at Oberlin and then enrolled as
a student at the Women’s Medical College, Philadelphia,
from which she was graduated as a member of the class
of 1903, receiving her degree of Doctor of Medicine. For
one year thereafter she did post-graduate work in the
Women’s Hospital, Philadelphia, and then began the gen-
eral practice of her calling. She is a member of the
Hancock County Medical Society, the West Virginia State
Medical Society and the American Medical Association,
and acts as medical examiner in the public schools. While
not a suffragette, in the generally accepted meaning of
the term, she believes in equal suffrage for her sex. Her
own example is a stimulating one. She has arisen to
influence and has obtained recognition through solid merit,
founded upon good natural abilities, ripened by liberal
scholastic training and matured by thorough scientific study
and long, continuous and assiduous practice. With all her
acquisitions she has fully preserved the innate delicacy of
her womanly nature, and is none the less a lady because
she has become a physician. Her religious connection is
with the old Christian Church, the first church to be estab-
lished at New Cumberland.


Arthur G. Allison

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. 232-233
Hancock County

ARTHUR G. ALLISON. To succeed as a member of the
Hancock County bar requires more than ordinary ability
which has been carefully trained along the lines of the
legal profession, as well as an appreciable fund of general
information and keen judgment with regard to men and
their motives. In a pushing, growing city such as Chester
there is so much competition, events crowd each other in
such a way and circumstances play such an important
part in the shaping of events that the lawyer must neces-
sarily be a man capable of grasping affairs with a ready
and competent hand to effect satisfactory results. Among
those who have won recognition in the profession of
law at Chester is Arthur G. Allison, who is also serving
his thirteenth year as a justice of the peace.

Mr. Allison was born on a farm near Chester, Hancock
County, West Virginia, March 7, 1881, a son of Joseph
B. and Mary E. (Riley) Allison. There were two or
three original families of Allisons, as there were of Wells,
who settled in this part of the Ohio Valley. Joseph B.
Allison was born on the same farm as his son, November
21, 1859, and died April 22, 1915. He was a son of
Enoch Allison, the latter being a son of Burgess Allison,
who settled on a farm one mile from Washington School-
house in Grant District in 1801. He drove the first wagon,
of the “prairie schooner” style, into Hancock County, from
Cumberland, Maryland, and continued to haul freight and
passengers one way and freight the other for a number of
years. Freighting over the mountains was for many years
a profitable business. In coming from Maryland Burgess
Allison followed what later became the National Road,
which extended as far as Vandalia, Illinois, its destination
being St. Louis. More people went over that road to
Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa than
over all the other routes. Mr. Allison later secured a farm,
in conjunction with which he operated a blacksmith shop,
and, becoming prosperous, loaned money to his less for-
tunate neighbors and became something of a financier in
his locality. He lived to be ninety-three years of age,
his death then being caused by an accident.

Enoch Allison was born in Hancock County and here
spent his life as an agriculturist, his home being on the
north branch of Tomlinson’s Run. He was a man of
ability and accumulated more than 2,200 acres of land,
and was well esteemed in his community as possessed of
qualities of integrity and probity. He died in 1888, at
the age of sixty-three years. He and his wife, who bore
the maiden name of Mary Ann Barclay, were the parents
of six sons and one daughter: Bergess N., for more than
fifty years a carpenter in the employ of the Pennsylvania
Railroad, who died in September, 1921, at Wellsville,
Ohio; Waitman C., who is living in retirement at Chester;
Joseph B.; Ellsworth E., a Hancock County farmer, who
died February 11, 1909; Sherman C., who is still fol-
lowing farming on his Hancock County property near
Pughtown; Mary E., the wife of Leander Conant, of
East Liverpool, Ohio; and Walter C., engaged in milling
at Chester.

Joseph B. Allison passed practically all his life on his
700-acre farm in Grant District, where he applied himself
to farming and dairying. He was well thought of in his
community as to ability and personal qualities, but never
cared for public office, being content with his farm and
his home. He married Mary E. Riley, who was born in
what is now Chester, June 25, 1863, a daughter of Enoch
and Sarah (Daniels) Riley. Enoch Riley was born in
Staffordshire, England, and on coming to the United States
was first engaged in farming. Later he conducted a hotel
at East Liverpool and was also the part owner of a pot-
tery, and his thirty-five-acre farm is now included within
the city limits of Chester, where he died in August, 1890.
Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Allison: Arthur
G.; and Sarah A., the wife of Harry E. Hall, a dairyman
and fruit grower on the old farm.

Arthur G. Allison spent his boyhood on the home farm
and attended first the public schools in the country and
later the high school at East Liverpool, from which he was
graduated as a member of the class of 1901. He then en-
tered the law department of the West Virginia University,
where he received his degree in 1904, and since that time
has been engaged in a general practice at Chester. At
various times he has been called to public office, having
been city attorney, secretary of the Board of Education
and city tax collector, is a notary public, and for thir-
teen years has been a justice of the peace, now being in
his third term in that office. A republican in politics,
Mr. Allison has done some active and effective work in
his party and is accounted one of its influential members.
He is secretary of the local republican club and a mem-
ber of the county committee, and has been a delegate to
state conventions. Fraternally Mr. Allison is a charter
member of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He
is unmarried.