Tag Archives: 15

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.


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.

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.