The aim of the publishers of this volume has been to secure for the historic portion thereof full and accurate information respecting all subjects therein treated, and to present the data thus gathered in a clear and impartial manner. If, as is their hope, they have succeeded in this endeavor, the credit is mainly die to the diligent and exhaustive research of that well-known resident of Ohio county, Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, of Wheeling, whose high character and recognized ability as a member of the bar of Ohio county have brought him prominently before the people of the Mountain State. His patient and conscientious labor in the compilation and presentation of facts is shown in the historical portion of this volume, This record gives an elaborate description of the land, it aboriginal occupants and its first settlements, and a comprehensive account of the organization of the county, and of the leading events in the stages of its development from 1776 to the present time, as set forth in the table of contents. Certain subjects which Judge Cranmer hoped to introduce have been omitted for lack of requisite data, but all topics and occurrences are included which are essential to the usefulness of the history. Although the purpose of the author was to limit the narrative to the close of 1900, he has deemed it proper to touch on some matters overlapping that period. For any possible errors that may occur in the work, the indulgence of our readers is asked.
The reviews of resolute and strenuous lives, which make up the biographical department of the volume, and whose authorship is independent of that of the history, are admirably adapted to foster local ties, to inculcate patriotism and to emphasize the rewards of industry, dominated by intelligent purpose. They constitute a most appropriate medium of perpetuating personal annals and will be of incalculable value to the descendants of those therein commemorated. They bring into bold relief careers of enterprise and thrift and make manifest valid claims to honorable distinction. If "Biography is the only true History," it is obviously the duty of men of the present time to preserve in this enduring form the story of their lives in order that their posterity may dwell on the successful struggles thus recorded, and profit by their example. These sketches, replete with stirring incidents and intense experiences, will naturally prove to most of the readers of this book its most attractive feature.
In the aggregate of personal memoirs, thus collated, will be found a vivid epitome of the growth of Ohio county, which will fitly supplement the historic statement; for the devolopment of the county is identified with that of the men and women to whom it is attributable. the publishers have endeavored in the preparation of the work to pass over no feature of it slightingly, but to give heed to the minutest details, and thus to ivnest it with a substantial accuracy which no other treatment would afford. The result has amply justified the care thus exercised, for in our belief no more reliable production, under the circumstances, could be laid before its readers.
We have given special prominence to the portraits of representative citizens, which appear throughout this volume, and believe they will prove a most interesting feature of the work. We have sought to illustrate the different spheres of industrial and professional achievement as conspicuously as possible. To those who have kindly interested themselves in the successful preparatio of this work, and who have voluntarily contributed msot useful information and data, we herewith tender our grateful acknowledgment.
Chicago, Ill., February, 1902.
All the biographical sketches published in this volume were submitted to their respective subjects, or to the subscribers, from whom the facts were primarily obtained, for their approval or correction before going to press; and a reasonable time was allowed in each for the return of the type-written copies. Most of them were returned to us within the time allotted, or before the work was printed, after being corrected or revised; and these may therefore be regarded as reasonably accurate.
A few, however, were not returned to us; and, as we have no means of knowing whether they contain errors or not, we cannot vouch for their accuracy. In justice to our readers, and to render this work more valuable for reference purposes, we have indicated these uncorrected sketches by a small asterisk (*), placed immediately after the name of the subject. They will all be found on the last pages of the book.