Tag Archives: 20

William M. Welsch

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 380-383

WILLIAM M. WELSCH, superintendent of the Monarch Mines at Monarch, Cabin
Creek District, Kanawha County, W.Va., is a native of Germany, born there
April 5, 1876, and is a son of Nicholas and Theresa (Leipertz) Welsch.
Nicholas Welsch was born in one of the Rhine Provinces in Germany, where he
married Theresa Leipertzartd in 1888 the family came to America and located
at Ford City, Pa., moving from there to Ohio in the following year, and the
father securing work in the coal mines at Jacksonviue. He took out his first
citizen’s papers immediately after coming to this country, at Kittanning, the
county seat of Armstrong County, Pa., and his second papers in 1893, at
Athens, the county seat of Athens County, Ohio. While living there his wife
died. He survived her and now resides with his son, William, at Monarch.
There were many children beside William in the fam-ily, he being the eldest,
namely: Hubert; Nettie, the wife of William Heiser; Harry; Gertrude, the
wife of John L. Mandt; and others who died in infancy.
William M. Welsch attended school in Germany for seven years before coming to
America and for a short time afterward-long enough to learn the English
language-and in 1889 became a miner at Jacksonville, 0., where he was rapidly
advanced, being appointed a mine foreman in 1901. In that capacity be came to
Kanawha County in 1904, for the same company, the Ohio Sunday Creek Coal
Company, and continued in their employ until July, 1910, when he came to the
Monarch people. Mr. Welsch has been a hard working man all his life and has
exercised prudence and forethought and is in comfortable circumstances.
On December 31, 1901, Mr. Welsch was married to Miss Mary Hatfield, a
daughter of Theodore and Mary Hatfield, and they have two children, William
and Dorothea. He is a meniber of three imnortant fraternal organizations: the
Red Men, the Forresters of America and the Woodmen of the World.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William And George Keely

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 21, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 358-362

WILLIAM and GEORGE KEELY are among the well known and honored citizens of
Kanawha county, both reside in Loudon district on their home farms opposite
Charleston; both were born in Haverhill, Mass.,-George in 1839 and William in
1842, and were sons of Rev. Josiah Keely, A. M. and Eliza (Bradley) keely.
Rev. Josiah Keely was born in Northampton, England; landed in America in 1818
and located in Haverhill, Mass., where, later, he engaged in mercantile
trade, and was one of the forty shoe manufacturers of the town in 1837. It
was then the custom for the young man who put up his first business sign, to
“wet his sign;” Keely, Chase & Co., were the first business firm in the town
who 4id not “wet his sign,”-being active in the great temperance movement
that had been started in the country. In 1840 Rev. Keely entered the
ministry. In 1843 he settled in Wenham, Mass.; in 1852 he settled in Saco,
Me., pastor of the Main Street Baptist church, and for a number of years was
also supervisor of the public schools of the town and township; in 1863 he
was appointed chaplain of the Thirteenth Maine Infantry, then doing duty in
the Department of the Gulf, and he joined the regiment at New Orleans, saw
active service during the whole Red River campaign, was corn-mended by
Major-General N. P. Banks for his care and devotion to the soldiers, was
~aced in charge of the Hospital Steamer “Natchez” with the sick and wounded
for New Orleans, and shortly after, was stricken with malarial fever and died
(June, 1864), aged s8 years.
Mrs. Eliza (Bradley) Keely, his wife, was the daughter of Enoch and Abigail
(Hildreth) Bradley. Enoch was a drum-major in the war of 1812, and after the
war returned to his farm in Haverhill, Mass.; later, as his nine children
became of age, he built cottage homes for each on different sections of his
large estate,-to provide against possible need. Enoch’s wife was a near
relative of the Hildreths who settled Marietta, Ohio; their descendants are
among the most estimable of the present residents of Marietta.
William Keely entered early in life upon duties of a public nature: at 16
years, was librarian of the Sarco Athenaeum (Public Library); at 17, teaching
a rural school; at 17, was graduated from the Saco (Me.) High School, and
entered Colby (Waterville) Col-lege. Later, the Civil’ War was claiming the
young patriots of the Country, and he enlisted as a private in the i3th Maine
Vol. Infantry, of which Gen. Neal Dow was the Colonel; and while in camp, at
Augusta (Me.) was Adjutant’s Clerk at Headquarters. His regiment was ordered
to Ship Island, Miss., where he performed his share of guard duty and of
loading and unloading, and coaling U. S. Transports, preparatory to the
capture of New Orleans. This regiment was sent to cut off the retreat of the
Confederates, and two companies were ordered to garrison Fort Macomb, La.
Later, Mr. Keely is commissioned a Lieutenant, and Acting Post Quartermaster
and Com-missary at this fort. Later, civil government being restored in
Louisiana, he and other officers are ordered to await assignment of duty in
the regular army. Not desiring to enter the regulars, he resigned and was
honorably discharged in October, 1864. Soon after arriving home he was
appointed principal of the Peaks Island School,-a part of Portland, Me.
Clos-ing his school work, he accepted position as bookkeeper, and, later, as
superintendent of the Cannelton (W. Va.) Branch of the Union Coal and Oil
Co., of Maysville, Ky. This company mined cannel and bituminous coal, made
oil from the cannel coal, shipped the crude oil in barrels and an oil boat to
Maysville to be refined, and, also, shipped cannel coal to Cincinnati and New
York for gas purposes. The pay rolls and expenses of the company were about
$30,000 per month. When, in 1865, Mr. Keely was appointed postmaster at
Cannelton, he and his two sureties had to go horseback fourteen miles on to
Cabin Creek to the nearest magistrate, Matthew P. Wyatt, Esq., to qualify.
Upon the discovery of Rock Oil, the cost of making oil from cannel coal
became prohibitive; and, in i868, Mr. Keely was instructed to close up the
business of the Canneltown Branch. In 1869 he moved to Fayette County, on to
the William Buster farm, where the town of Mount Carbon now is; later, he
rents the Hogue farm below Charleston, and in the winter months we find him
working fire and life insurance in Kanawha, Boone and Logan Counties,
representing the Coldwell & Moore Agency. At the same time, he is looking
about for some place on which to permanently locate. In the meanwhile, he is
business manager of the Ba~ tist Record at Charleston, and, later, is local
editor of the Kanawha Daily,-the FIRST Daily paper printed in Charleston, and
also reporting the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1873;
later, this Daily, with its good-will, was merged into the Daily Courier, of
which Hon. H. S. Walker was proprietor.
Mr. Keely now accepts a position as Secretary, Bookkeeper and General Manager
of the Anchor Stove Works Co., of which Colonel T. B. Swan was the
President,-succeeding Secretary Randolph, of the firm of Boggs & Randolph.
This stove company was composed of local capitalists, and made a brave fight
to com-pete with the larger and stronger stove companies on the Ohio River,
hut having assumed the debts of a former company, it was “quit or lose more
For a year or more Mr. Keely was accountant for Mr. Charles Ward and The
Charleston Gas Co., of which Mr. Ward was the efficient superintendent, but
stringency in money matters compelled curtailinent in office force.
>From 1874 to 1876, business was very dull in Charleston, and, for the first
time since coming to the Kanawha Valley, Mr. Keely retired for a livelihood
to his mountain home on the wooded hills of the south side of the Kanawha
River,-this site having been purchased in 1870. He supplemented his poultry
and dairy operations by devoting his spare time to copy-ing “Briefs,” and by
occasional bookkeeping.
In August, 1876, through the kindness of friends, and unbeknown to Mr. Keely,
he was recommended to Dr. J. P. Hale, President of the Snow Hill Salt Co.,
who was planning to start the old Snow Hill Salt Furnace, the larg-est in the
Kanawha Valley; Dr. Hale wrote for an interview. Mr. Keely had never met Dr.
Hale, but, following the first interview, he ac-cepted the position of
storekeeper, bookkeeper and general manager. He was able to handle the work
in the store for a while with the young men who were assisting, but other
duties demanded more of his time, and he secured the services of Mr. B. F.
Mays of Charleston, who proved faithful and trustworthy in every respect.
Mr. Keely made a thorough study of the process of salt making, and
demonstrated that the business could be made a success. The furnaces were
running every hour of the six week (lays and Sunday, and he ascertained, by
experiments, that he could make as much Salt without running on Sunday, and
so give the men who were “Kettleteoders” a needed rest and the furnace was
run for three years on this plan :until 1882, when all the furnaces of the
Kanawha and Ohio rivers were closed out and shut out by the cheaper grades of
salt from Michigan and New York States, which monopolized the markets, the
Dickinson Furnace, only, running on the Kanawha, by holding the Kentucky
trade over the Chesapeake & Ohio RR.; and one or two furnaces on the Ohio
having their own market.
During his stay at Snow Hill, Mr. Keely was road commissioner, Sunday school
superintendent and school trustee; he also opened a reading room for the men,
which was well patronized and much appreciated: he had, also, Mrs. Keely as
his valued assistant in keeping up the bookkeeping and office work.
In 1882, Mr. Keely, having closed up the business of the Snow Hill Salt Co.,
moved to his mountain home; and, again, accepted position with Mr. Charles
Ward, whose business as inventor and manufacturer of the Ward Water-tube
Marine Boiler was becoming firmly established; and Mr. Keely, as accountant
and. later, as secretary of The Charles Ward Engineering Works has continued
with this firm for a period of thirty years. During this time, he has, also,
through the courtesy of this firm, been able to accept the position of
president of the Board of Education of Loudon Magisterial District, for four
years, and, later, for seven years, he has been the secretary of the same
He has been active in religious work since his conversion at fifteen years;
was superintendent of the Union Sunday School when at Cannelton, and after
taking his letter to the Charleston Baptist Church in 1870, he was clerk and,
later superintendent for ten years, of the Sunday School of this Church, also
a Deacon of the Church since 1876; also, clerk of the Kana-‘vha Valley
Baptist Association for thirty-two years, and West Virginia Transportation
Leader for the Conventions of the International Baptist Young Peoples’ Union
of America since 1895.
He is awake to all matters of public interest, -especially of good schools,
of good roads and of good farming. For a number of years he has been County
Correspondent of and Re-porter for the U. S. Department of Agriculture at
Washington, under a commission from the secretary of agriculture. At all the
general elections he is either a clerk or an election commissioner, and has
been a notary public for tvelve years. He is a Prohibitionist in principle
and practice, and a Republican in politics: -an upright, active, useful and
appreciated citizen.
In 1865, he married Miss Lucy Stacy of Saco; Me., whose ancestry, as well as
that of Mr. Keely, is traced back to the seventeenth century. Their six
children, all now in active callings, are Elizabeth and Madeline, teachers in
the City Schools; Josiah, for ten years principal of the State Preparatory
Schools at Montgomery, now superintendent of the Ownings Mine of the
Consolidated Coal Co., near Shinnston; John, a former bookbinder, now a
settled pastor in Massachusetts; Urania and Abby, teacher and accountants.

GEORGE KEELY, when quite a youth, was sent for a prolonged visit to an uncle
in Haverhill, who had a private school at his residence; and George combined
farming with a course of study. Returning to Saco, he continued his school
work,-his summer vacations being given to farming and harvesting for the
parishioners of the Rev. Keely; later, he was a student at Colby Institute
(Waterville, Me.). He was graduated from the Saco High School and entered
Colby (Waterville) College in 1859.
During his high school course he gave part time to medical study, while
employed as apothecary clerk; he taught school the winter of 1859 at
Charleston, Me., about 20 miles from Augusta, the capital of the State. The
neighborhood was primitive, and the 26 scholars had 24 different kinds of
readers,-requiring 24 recitations each day; his salary was meagre, and he
“boarded round.” Failing health in college compelled Mr. Keely to seek more
active employment; and going to the Aroostook country in the Northern part of
Maine, he engaged as clerk in a village store. Later, the Civil War being
already in progress and many of his student friends having enlisted, he
returned to Saco in the fall of 1861, and enlisted as a private with his
brother William in Co. K, 13th Maine Volunteer Infantry. In 1863, the
hospital steward of the regiment was made a surgeon, and Mr. Keely was
recommended for the position, and was hospital steward during the remainder
of his term of service in the Red River campaign and after the regiinent was
transferred to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He was honorably discharged
January 6, 1865,-having served more than his three years’ term.
Mr. Keely again took up his studies, entering the New Hampton (Vt.)
Theological Institute, and, later, completing at Hamilton Serninary; he
preached during the time to the small adjacent village churches in New York
State. Completing his studies he returned to the Aroostook country, and
engaged in colporteur and pastoral work at Linneus, Linden and Smyrna, Me.,
and remained in the county preaching and farming until March, 1876.
In 1868 he married Louisa J. Adams, an efficient and prominent school teacher
and teacher of music in Aroostook County. Her sister, Miss Marada Adams of
Portland, Me., has been principal for years of the Emerson Grammar Schools of
that city, and is a woman of remarkable tact and ability as superintendent
and instructor.
The experience of Mr. Keely and wife among the people as they went from place
to place revealed a primitive condition of things in some of the homes,-both
in want of culture and the the proper conception of pastoral support; so that
the pastor was often found without money or material to keep the wolf from
the door in the long severe winters in the Aroostook. Wonderful dreams began
to trouble the wife, and she had a vision of mysterious meaning, in which she
saw the words of Scripture recorded in the Revelation, “Come out from among
them, and BE YE SEPARATE,”-which decided their action in leaving the Baptist
faith, and they sought for new light.
An uncle learning of their extreme financial straits and of their
environments, and who had taken a deep interest in the two “boys” (George and
William) since the death of the father in the army, proffered help; George
also wrote his brother William about his decision religi-ously; later, the
brother taking up the matter and the situation with the uncle, it was decided
that Mr. Keely and his family should move to West Virginia. They arrived in
March, 1876, remaining on the farm of his brother William during the
management of the Snow Hill Salt Furnace, when he occupied his adjoining
property of 34 acres, which had been purchased,-on which the family of eight
living children have since resided. In their religious searching for new
light they were led to choose the faith of the Society of Friends. The
children were all matriculated at the Friend’s School at Westtown, Pa.,
except Frank, deceased, who was graduated from the Charleston High School,
and was fitting himself for forestry. George, the eldest, married, and is
with a Leather Belt manufacturer at Wilmington, Del.; Louisa and Jennie are’
at home; Mary, married, and has a nice home at Patten, Me.; Faith, a teacher;
Mercy and Truth are efficient graduate trained nurses; Thomas, married, and
is a truck-gardener; the wife and mother still teaches at the home, and many
of the neighbors’ children and grandchildren are pleased to say that they
went to school to “Aunt Louisa.”
As the years have gone by, either the father or the mother have alternated in
attending the Yearly Meeting of Friends at Philadelphia. The influence from
this good family is widely felt and appreciated.

William Redford Cox

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 19, 1999

History of Kanawha County
George W. Atkinson
p. 307-308


William R. Cox was born in Amherst county, Virginia, March 5, 1788. When he
was but three years of age his father died, and ten years later his mother
likewise passed away. William was the youngest of a large family, and the
estate which his father had left to his family was almost absorbed by the
elder brothers, under the excuse that they had to care for the younger
members of the fainily, and should therefore be entitled to the lions share
of the property. Such conduct was not satisfactory to William, and he
resolved that he would leave home and care for himself. This he did when
quite young. He went to Richmond, and engaged as a laborer on the line of
keel-boats running on the James river between Richmond and Lynchburg. After
laboring for about a year as a boatman, and having laid by a considerable sum
of money, one afternoon, while his boat was lying at the Richmond wharf, two
negro boys were being sold by an auctioneer-one of them was lame, and the
other had but one eye. The price at which they were going was so low that Mr.
Cox became their purchaser, at remarkably small figures. He took them with
him on a keel boat, and very shortly found that he had made a good investment
of his money. A year or two later he came west, bringing his two negro boys
with him; and in 1815 he arrived in Kanawha. Here he found an excellent field
in which to labor; and from the first his business undertakings proved
lucrative. For a time he worked as a laborer at a salt furnace in the
Salines; but the proprietors, the Steele brothers, seeing the energy and
enterprise displayed by young Cox, gave him the position of overseer of their
furnace. He continued in the Capacity of manager for the Messrs. Steele for
several years, until he had accumulated, from his own labor and that of his
two slaves, a considerable sum of money. He had, by this time, become pretty
well schooled in business, and therefore determined to start out for himself.
He bought property in Charleston, and each year made it a point to add
something to it, so that by the time he had reached the meridian of life, he
had accumulated a comfortable and handsome estate.

He was a man of limited education, but of good sense and extraordinarily good
judgment. He was honorable and upright in all of his dealings; and among
business men his word was as good as his bond. He had a pleasant disposition,
and was revered and respected by all of his associates. He died September 8,
1843, and his remains are enclosed by a stone vault on the brow of the high
hill which bears his name, in the rear of Charleston, and over them stands a
neat stone monument, which can be seen at the distance of several miles from
every direction. No more beautiful spot for the repose of the dead could
have been selected.

John Wheeler

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 19, 1999

History of Kanawha County
George W. Atkinson
p. 123


John Wheeler and family came to the Kanawha Valley about 1790 or ’91, and
remained for a year or two at the Kelly’s creek settlement. He decided to
move further westward, and accordingly came down the Val-ley to a point a
short distance below where Col. William Dickinson now resides, fourteen miles
above Charleston, where he bailt a log cabin and cleared a field of grdund.

The summer passed without disturbance, but the fall brought with it a band of
lurking Indians, who did much damage to all of the frontier settlements. One
night, as Wheeler and his family were sitting in the yard roasting chestnuts
in a fire, which was blazing brightly, they were fired upon by Indians, and
all were killed but one, “Nat,” who ran into the darkness and made his escape
to the Kelly’s creek fort.

The Indians scalped all their victims-husband, wife and three children and
piled their bodies in the cabin, which they then burned to ashes. When the
hunters came down the next day, they found nothing but the charred remains of
five unrecognizable bodies, piled in a heap. They buried them in an
extemporized grave, and returned to the settlement, which they closely
guarded during the remainder of the year.

William D. Shrewsbury

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 19, 1999

History of Kanawha County
George W. Atkinson
p. 320


W. D. Shrewsbury, son of Joel Shrewsbury, Sr., has been a citizen of
prominence in Kanawba county for a great many years. The greater portion of
his life has been spent in the manufacture of salt, and the business of
general merchandising. Mr. Shrewsbury is’a gentleman who possesses much more
than ordinary intelligence, and has always been regarded as strictly honest
and fair in all his dealings. He resides in Malden, and is the father of a
large family.

Wilber S. Norton

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
September 21, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 357-358

WILBER S. NORTON, who is a representative of a family that settled at Malden,
W. Va., before that town was laid out, has spent almost his entire life in
Malden District and is well known as a business man and citizen. He was born
at Maiden, January 15, 1865, and is a son of Moses and Emily M. (Reed) Norton
and a grandson of Moses and Mary (White-cotton) Norton.
Grandfather Norton came to Mason County, Va., from Ohio, and from there came
to Mai-den, Kanawha County, when his son Moses, was a child, the birth of the
latter taking place January 25, 1816, in Mason County. He spent his life in
Maiden District and was interested in the coal and salt industries. He was
married first in 1849, to Frances Putney, who died in 1862. They had three
children; Mary Ellis, James Henry, and Mary Frances. He was married secondly
on August 29, 1863, to Emily M. Reed, who died May 13, i868, survived by
their one child, Wilbur Springs Norton. Moses Norton survived his second
wife for many years, his death occurring January 13, 1896.
Wilbur S. Norton was educated in the public schools and a business college in
Cincinnati. He has been identified with the Camphells Creek Coal Company
since I 88o, being employed first as a clerk in the company’s store and later
becoming bookkeeper, having charge of this part of the business since 1904.
Mr. Norton casts his vote with the Democratic party but takes no very active
interest in politics, being no seeker for office. He belongs to several
fraternal organizations including the Knights of Pythias and the Red Men,
both at Maiden. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, in which he is a

William Wirt Branch

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 26, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 456-459

WILLIAM WIRT BRANCH was born in Kirtland, Ohio, September 5, 1835, and died
in Charleston, W. Va., April 12, 1907, at the age of seventy-one years, seven
months and seven days.
He was descended from Peter Branch of Kent County, England, who with his son
John emigrated to America in 1632. The father dying on ship-board, the son
landed on an island in Massachusetts Bay, which was afterwards called
Branch’s Island. On his mother’s side, his ancestry traced to Roger Williams.
His mother, Lucy J. Bar-tram, being also a direct descendant of the famous
botanist of that name.
William Branch, grandfather of the sub-ject of this sketch, enlisted in the
Conti-nental Army at the age of seventeen and served through the entire war,
being engaged in many of the most noted battles, Brandywine, Monmouth, Fort
Miffliii, and others. He was with Washington at Val-ley Forge. He was
present at the court-martial of Maj. Andre, and was one of the three guards
who removed the body from the gallows. Later, in the War of 1812 he was
commissioned a lieutenant.
William Witter Branch, the father of William Wirt Branch, was a man of much
prominence in Lake County, Ohio. Being a wagon-maker by trade, and later
being admitted to the bar in 1842, he arose through his own efforts, and was
elected to Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and served capably on the
bench for many years. He encouraged the building of railroads in his section,
and it was largely due to his influence that the opposition to the
construction of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern was overcome.
William Wirt Branch was the oldest of nine children. He had a common school
education, and after teaching for several years, during which time he studied
law, he was admitted to the bar in Cleveland. His tastes and talents led him
also to mechan-ical pursuits and manufacturing. He in-vented and patented
several labor saving devices, and becoming interested in the lumber industry,
he finally gave up the law. The veneer industry today owes much to him for
the many improvements he made in veneer cutting machinery. He was one of the
pioneers in the industry in this country, and was introduced at the first
meeting of the National Veneer and Panel Mantifacturers Association as “The
Father of the Veneer Industry.” He established the W. W. Branch Veneer and
Lumber Company, in Madison, Ohio, in 1867, and in 1884 moved to Charleston,
W. Va., where it soon grew to be one of the important business concerns of
the city.
A man of public spirit, he gave active support to all movements of a public
nature that his judgment approved, and was an especially ardent advocate of
educational enterprises. Politically, he was a Demcrat, but ever lifted his
voice in behalf of purity and honesty of government. He was prominent and
active in the Masonic fraternity, having his membership in Kanawha Lodge No.
20; Tyrian Chapter No. 13; Kanawha Commandery No.4; and in Beni-Kedem Temple
A; A. 0. N. M. S. In 1876 he was married to Miss Annie M. ‘Lewis in Utica, N.
Y. Three children were born to them. The wife, two children, two brothers,
and four sisters survived him.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

Wilbur F. Shirkey

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 26, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 427

WILBUR F. SHIRKEY, M.D., physician and surgeon at Malden, W. Va., where he is
an honored member of his profession, belongs to one of the old families of
Kanawha County, it having been established early by his grandfather, David
Shirkey, who came from old Virginia. The parents of Dr. Skirkey were John G.
and Martha (Matheny) Shirkey. His great grand-father came from Ireland about
1790 and settled in Virginia. He spelled his name “Sharkey.” The name was
changed to Shirkey by his grandfather. The father of Dr. Shirkey was born
near Sissonville, Kanawha County, in 1832, and he died on his farm on the Elk
River, in Elk District, in 1887. He was a farmer and also a school teacher.
He married Martha Matheny, who was reared at Pinch, in Elk District, and
still survives. They had five children, namely: Wilbur F.; David W., who is
an attorney at law; Sherrian, who is manager of a company store in this
section; Margaret, who died at the age of eight years; and Susan.
Wilbur F. Shirkey was a child when the family moved to the farm in Elk
District and there his boyhood was spent. He attended the public schools and
also had advantages at Carbondale Academy, and attended medical lectures at
the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Baltimore, Md., beginning his
practiceat Jarrett Ford and later returning to the medical college to
graduate with the class of 1894. Subse-quently he took a post graduate
course at the New York Polyclinic, and a second one at the Chicago Post
Graduate College, at Chicago, Ill. In 1890 Dr. Shirkey came to Malden, where
he has ever since been established, and here, through professional ability
and sterling traits of character, he has won his way to success in his
profession and to the esteem of his fellow citizens. He keeps fully abreast
with the times and is a member of the Kanawha County Medical Society, the
West Virginia State Medical Society, and the American Medical Association.
Dr. Shirkey was married April 14, 1881, to Miss Sarah Woody, a daughter of
Flem-ing Woody, and they have five children:
Ethel, who is accomplished in music, which she teaches; Wilma, who has turned
her talents in the direction of teaching; Sidney, who is a mining engineer;
and Wilbur F. and Sarah, twins, who are still in school. In his political
sentiments Dr. Shirkey is a Re-publican and is active in party councils,
be-ing a member of the County Republican Committee. He is identified
fraternally with the Red Men at MaIden and to the Ma-sons, belonging to Blue
Lodge No.27, at MaIden and to the higher branches at Charleston, being a

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William A. Bradford

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 410-413

MAJOR WILLIAM A. BRADFORD, deceased, for many years after the close of his
honorable service as a soldier in the Confederate Army, was a foremost
business man of Charleston and led in many of the enterprises which
contributed to the advancement of this city. He bore an ancestral name that
was distinguished even in colonial days but needed no luster from by-gone
forefathers to establish his place in the world. Major Bradford was born May
‘3, 1830, at Earlysville, Albemarle county, Va. His father was William
Ashton Bradford (2) and his mother was Eliza Mildred Lewis (Clarkson)
It is well established in the Bradford family that the immigrant settler,
John Bradford, who reached the shores of America as early as i60o, coming
from Scotland, was the uncle of William Bradford, who, twenty years later
became governor of the Pilgrim colony in Massachusetts. John Bradford left
descendants in Albemarle county, Va. One son, Alexander Bradford, was born
there July 22, 1729. He married Jemima, a daughter of John and Elizabeth
Jones, and they passed their lives in Virginia, his death being recorded in
1828 and hers in 1802. Fourteen children were born to them, seven sons and
seven daughters.
William Ashton Bradford was the sixth son and the thirteenth child of
Alexander and Jemima Bradford. He was born in Albemarle county, March 13,
1774. He served with the rank of Major in the War of 1812 and dis-tinguished
himself as a soldier. Like other members of his family he lived in lavish
style, maintained great plantations and owned hun-dreds of slaves and he was
also influential in public affairs in Albemarle county. His death took place
in 1859. He married Mrs. Ann
Coleman (Slaughter) Fry, a sister of Rev. Philip Slaughter, who was rector of
St. Mark’s Parish, Richmond, Va., and a niece of Capt. Philip Slaughter, of
Revolutionary War fame. She was the widow of Capt. Reuben Fry. who was
captain of a company in the Revolutionary War, a man of such military ability
and so highly considered by the army, that at one time it seemed possible
that he would be selected as commander-in-chief in place of George
Wash-ington. To Major William Ashton Bradford and wife four children were
William Ashton Bradford (2), son of Ma-jor William Ashton Bradford and father
of the late Major William Ashton Bradford, the third inheritor of the name,
was the only son of his parents and was born in Albemarle county, Va., and
died there June 25, 1830, when only twenty-two years of age. He was a man of
culture and education and had made something of a name for himself in letters
although his life was so early ended. He married Miss Eliza Mildred
Clarkson, who was born in Marlborough county, Va., in i8ii, and died in 1842.
They had but one child, William Ashton (3).
William Ashton Bradford (3) was educated in private schools and by tutors. In
1861, when the Civil War became a fact, he was much interested and not only
raised but also equipped a company made up of elderly men for temporary
service and after it was disbanded rejoined a regiment of cavalry that was
raised at Richmond. Shortly afterward he was assigned to the staff of Gen.
Humphrey Marshall, with the rank of major, and when General Marshall was sent
to Congress, he transferred to Gen. Preston’s staff, and when the latter was
sent on an important mission to Spain, Major Bradford, who it might appear,
carried good luck with him, was placed on the staff of General Breckenridge
and remained until the latter was appointed secretary of war. Major Bradford
participated in the battles of Wyandot, Jones-ville, Chickamauga, Cold
Harbor, Lynchburg, Fredericksburg and Winchester. Subsequently he was taken
ill with fever and was sent to a hospital at Wythesville, Va., and was still
confined there when Generals Lee, Kirby Smith and Johnson surrendered. After
sufficiently recovering he secured his parole and then returned to Charleston.
Major Bradford’s subsequent life was, as be-fore indicated, one of usefulness
and activity. He was interested in many lines and for years was one of the
city’s leading bankers. He was also the patentee of a valuable steam gauge.
Major Bradford was married to Miss Elizabeth Johnston McChesney, who was born
in Bath county, Va., and accompanied her parents to Charleston in 187 I,
where she was reared and liberally educated and fitted for the social circles
in which she has always been a figure. Her parents were Dr. Alexander
Gallatin McChesney and Sallie Gatewood (Moffett) McChesney, the former of
whom died in 1877 while on a visit to his daughter in Virginia and was buried
in Virginia; the mother died in 1881. Dr. McChesney was a graduate of
Jefferson Med-ical College, Philadelphia and became a prominent physician.
His father was James McChesney and his grandfather was Robert McChesney, who
was born in Scotland. James McChesney married Frances McNutt, a sister of
Governor McNutt, of Mississippi, a niece of General McNutt of Nova Scotia.
She was a woman of noted beauty and of great force of character. After her
husband had been killed by a maniac, she reared the children and provided
them with collegiate advantages and also managed a large plantation with its
many slaves.
To Major and Mrs. Bradford five children were born: Elizabeth Ashton, Mildred
Lewis, Mary Walker, Sallie Moffett, and Robert War-wick. Elizabeth Ashton
was graduated with honors from the National Park Seminary at Forest Park,
Md., and afterward became the wife of J. Edmund Price, a well known attorney
of Charleston. Mildred Lewis, who is a graduate of Hollins Institute, Va.,
is the wife of Daniel Kingston Flynn, a well known lumberman of Charleston.
Mary Walker is a stu-dent of Sweetbrier College, Va. Sallie Moffett died at
the age of six years. Robert Warwick, the youngest of the family, is making
excellent progress in the Charleston schools. Mrs. Bradford takes a great
deal of interest in the society of the Daughters of the Confederacy and holds
an official position in this organization.
Major Bradford passed away at his home in Charleston, on February 13, 1907.
He had been reared in the Episcopal church. To its various objects of
benevolent care he was continuously generous, while his broad mind and kind
heart responded to calls for charity whenever made. His ancestry, rearing,
surroundings and convictions made him a Democrat but the mere holding of
office offered little attraction to a man of his habit of thought and busy
m9de of life. For many’ years he had been identified with the Masonic
fraternity. His personal character was without reproach and his memory is
held in reverent regard.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange

William B. Donnally

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Sandy Spradling
September 25, 1999

History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative
W.S. Laidley
Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, ILL.
p. 387-390

WILLIAM B. DONNALLY, a well known business man of Charleston, where he is
engaged in the transfer and freighting business, and is also a dealer in
grain and feed stuffs, was born in the Salines, on Kanawha river, this
county, in 1851, a son of Van Bibber and Mary B. (Waggoner) Donnally.
He is a great grands6n of Col. Andrew Donnally, born in the north of Ireland,
who came to this country about the middle of the eighteenth century, at which
time there was a large Scotch-Irish emigration to the Val-ley of Virginia.
This early ancestor soon became a prominent man in his locality, serving as
high sheriff and county lieutenant, or military commander of Botetourte
County. This office of county lieutenant, or military commander, was a very
important one at that day and was borrowed from the Mother Country, where it
was usually held by a person of rank. It carried with it also the title of
colonel. Col. Donnally may have been one of the officers of Bote-tourte
County at its formation in 1770. The fort called Donnally’s was built in 1771
in that county. The colonel or county lieutenant was the person to
communicate with the governor and the secretary of the colony, commanded the
militia and presided at the county courts. He was appointed by the governor
with the advice of the council and was generally the most prominent citizen.
The office was held during good be-havior. Ccl. Donnally was subsequently
made county lieutenant of Greenbrier County and continued in that office
under Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, the two first governors of
Virginia. There is a story current in the family that he was with
Washington’s army at Valley Forge during the severe winter of 1777-78 and
par-ticipated in the awful suffering of that period, but, however this may
be, there is no further evidence of his being again with the Continental army.
About this time, however, he had his experience of Indian warfare. The murder
of the famous Chief Cornstalk by the whites, or rather, by some white men,
for it was an act denounced by the best men on the frontier, had greatly
exasperated the Indians and they retaliated viciously on the unprotected
settlers. In the spring of 1778 they
attempted to surprise and capture Fort Randolph at Point Pleasant, but
failing in that, they turned their attention to Fort Donnally. The occupants
of the fort were apprised of their danger in time by two men from Fort
Randolph, who succeeded in eluding the savages. Col. Donnally, who had been
absent, returned to the fort at night just as the enemy were investing it,
but succeeded in entering it without being noticed. The attack which followed
was disastrous to the Indians, who’ departed after suffering considerable
loss. Four white men in all were killed, two while on their way to the fort.
Among the defenders, Col. Donnally’s daughter Catherine took a conspicuous
part, though then but a young girl of twelve years. Another daughter, Katie,
helped to mould the pewter plate and’ spoons into bullets and poured hot
water through the puncheons on the heads of the savages. With perhaps one
exception, this was the last raid of the Indians to the Greenbrier. Says a
writer in the West Virginia Historical Magazine (Quarterly) for July, 1901:
“The responsibilities of Col. Donnally’s position were very great and the
work heavy. He felt personally accountable for the lives of the people in
the wilds of the Greenbrier, Meadow Creek and Kanawha’rivers and their
tributaries. The duties of his office called him constantly from home, but it
seems that he was ever at hand when emergencies arose. That he was a man of
great executive ability, history proves. Stories of his personal courage and
great physical strength are too well known to admit of a doubt and his racy
repartees became proverbial. . . . He had only 550 men in the militia at
his disposal, for the defense of this western frontier. Governor Jefferson
was now asking for some of these men to be sent to General George Rogers
Clark to aid in his expedition against his Indians of the West. The Assembly
also required of him more men for the Contin-ental army * * * The public
credit was at so low an ebb that no one would advance money. Ammunition was
scarce. The militia must depend upon the corn tax levied on the settlers. Yet
these brave men struggled on and fought for their country.”
Cot. Donnally resigned his comnaission as military commander on September 19,
1781. It was not accepted evidently, as he writes officially to Gov. Patrick
Henry in 1785. Cot. Donnalty was one of the trustees of Lewisburg at its
establishment in 1782. He did not come to reside on the Kanawha until after
the battle at Fort Donnally. He went directly to the mouth of the river and
lived just above the present town of Point Pleasant for a year or more. He
was one of those who denounced the murderers of Cornstalk, and on one
occasion meeting with a man who boasted that he had fired the fatal shot that
brought such desolation to the frontier settlements, he knocked him senseless
with a stanchion, so that when he recovered he hastened away from the
locality and was never more heard of. Colonel Donnally owned many negroes,
one of whom, Dick Pointer, distinguished himself in the fight at Donnally’s
Fort in 1778. A son of the latter was taken prisoner by the Indians in 1790
and was made a chief by them. He subse-quently aided the Americans in the war
of 1812.
Cot. Donnally lived a short time at the mouth of the Elk after leaving Point
Pleasant. Kanawha county was formed in 1789 and he was chosen the first
representative. The population at this time however, was so sparse that but
thirteen votes were cast, at-thought the polls were open for three days. He
again served his county as representative in 1803. From the mouth of the Elk
he moved to his permanent home, about five mites above Charleston, on the
south side of the Kanawha, where he lived in comfort and prosperity for many
years. He died about 1825. He had one brother, whose descendants reside in
New Jersey and Ohio
Of his own immediate family he had several daughters, who are represented by
the Slaughters, Hendersons and Wilsons, now living here and elsewhere, and
are prominently married and represented in the different professions and
trades. There has scarcely been a period in the last century that this
state, county or town was not represented by one of Cot. Donnally’s
descendants, either directly or indirectly through marriage. The renowned
Daniel Boone was neighbor for years to Colonel Donnally, re-siding on his
place up to the time that he left for Spanish Missouri in 1799. Daniel’s son,
Jesse Boone, who was Colonel Don-natty’s brother-in-law, resided in his
father’s home until i8i6, when he also went West.
Colonel Donnalty was one of the early salt manufacturers of the county, this
industry being an important one at that time on the frontier, as salt, while
one of the most necessary articles for the pioneer, was also one of the most
difficult ones to obtain, except in the immediate vicinity of salt springs,
where the salt was manufactured by the tedious process of boiling and
evaporation. The Colonel and his wife were Presbyterians in religious faith.
They died when between 60 and 70 years of age and were buried in what is now
the old family plat, where many of their descendants have found a last
resting-place. They had a family of four or five children.
Andrew Donnally (2d), son of the fore-going and grandfather of the subject of
this sketch, was born in Fort Donnally, ten miles west of Lewisburg and, like
his father, in turn became a prominent man in his com-munity, owning about
100,000 acres of land together with 150 slaves. Together with a Mr. Ruffner,
as the firm of Ruffner and Donnally, he owned and controlled the entire salt
output of the county, this being the first commercial monopoly known in the
his-tory of the tounty. At one time he lived in Charleston, where he owned
valuable prop~ erty, though he and his wife resided for nearly half a century
on the old homestead, which they improved and greatly enlarged in area. A
Whig in politics, he was twice high sheriff, was clerk of the courts, and
magistrate and a representative in the Virginia legislature. His death toQk
place in 1849 when he was about 70 years of age. In 1802 he had married
Marjory, daughter of Captain John Van Bibber, and they had six sons that
arrived at maturity, besides two daughters. The sons married into prominent
old families of the valley, and all were engaged conspicuously in business
interests. The two daughters married respectively, Henry Fry, great grandson
of Col. Joshua Fry, who commanded the Colonial army in 1754, and who had been
prominent in Virginia history for thirty years or more, and Col. John Lewis,
grandson of Gen. Andrew Lewis, the Indian fighter, and Colonial and also
Revolutionary officer of renown. The members of this family, which numbered
nine children in all, are all now deceased.
Van Bibber Donnally, father of the subject of this sketch, was the eldest
child of his parents. He was born in Charleston, W. Va., in 1809 and grew to
manhood in Kanawha county. His literary education was obtained in a college
at Athens, Ohio. Like his father, he engaged in the salt business and
continued in it most of the time until the breaking out of the Civil War. He
was an active member of the Democratic party and in religion a Presbytenan.’
His death took place in Buffalo, W. Va., when he had attained the age of 72
years. He had married in Mason county, W. Va., Mary B. Wag-goner, a native of
that county. She was born a little later than her husband and died later, at
the age of 75 years. Like him she was a Presbyterian in religion. Their
family num-bered ten children, of whom there are five still living, one
daughter being a widow and two of the children being yet unmarried.
William B. Donnally, the date and place of whose nativity has been already
given, was educated in the public schools, but endowed with a good brain and
an energetic nature he has since largely increased his mental equipment in
the domain of practical knowledge. Coming to Charleston in 1885 he
established here the freighting and transfer business, of which he is now the
head, and which has since grown to large proportions, giving employment to 25
people. A Democratic in politics, he was nominated for the office of sheriff
and twice for county clerk, but this being a strong Republican district, he
was defeated.
Mr. Donnally was married in this county to Sallie Ashton Cotton, who was born
in Charleston in i858, daughter of Dr. John T. and Sarah (Fitzhugh) Cotton,
one time resi-dents in Ohio, but who were for many years prominent in the
business and social life of Charleston, Va. Of this union there have been
ten children, of whom two died young. The living are as follows: Sarah is the
wife of L. L. Sheets and has one son, Donnally. John C., who was educated at
Phillips-Exeter Academy, graduating also from the law department of the
University of Virginia in the class of 1903. Frank Woodman died at the age of
9 years. William B. Jr., who is a well educated young man, is associated with
his father in business. The other children, Henry Fitzhugh, Van Bibber,
Dorothy, Fitzhugh and Robert, are attending the high school. Mr. Donnally
adheres to the religious faith of his ancestors, being a Presbyterian, while
Mrs. Donnally is an Episcopalian.

Sandy Spradling
State Contact for WV GenExchange