The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie County" written by Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.
The first newspaper sent out its initial number during the spring of 1856,under the name of the "Ritchie Democrat." It was edited and published by Enoch G. Day, who came from Bath county, Virginia, bringing his press and material with him. He continued to issue this paper until a few months before the breaking out of the Civil war, when he sold it to "Deck" Neal, who abandoned it at the opening of hostilities, and went South and took up his sword in behalf of the Confederacy. Mr. Day then again took charge and changed the paper to a religious publication, which he called "The Advocate;" and near the close of the year 1862, he sold out to Daniel F. Shriner, of Ohio, who issued it under the name of the "Ritchie Press."
Mr. Shriner was a member of a company of "Homeguards," and, he having just returned from a scout in the Southern part of the county, had written a graphic account of this trip for publication, and had the paper partly out of the press--the part containing this article--when General Jones, with a company of Confederate Calvaryman, made his appearance at Harrisville, on the morning of May 7, 1863,and paid a visit to the "Press Office." After pieing the forms, scattering a few cases of type, and distributing the half-finished sheet among themselves, these distinguished visitors took their departure, leaving Mr. Shriner, and his two employees, Alvin McClaskey, and J. J. Sigler, to gather up the fragments, which they did, successfully, and the paper resumed publication from this same press and type, and soon appeared again filled with strong denunciations of this act of vandalism.
During the spring of 1864, Mr. Shriner, having failed
to pay for this office, it passed into the hands of Miss Nancy Stevens, who purchased it of Allen and Catlett, of Bath county, Virginia. Mr. Shriner then sold his outfit (an old hand press with from one hundred fifty to two hundred pounds of second-hand type) to J. J. Sigler, and went to Weston, where he edited a paper for a few months, before going to Chillicothe, Ohio, where he still survived a few years since.
"The Ritchie Press" was then published by J. J. Sigler and edited by S. P. McCormick for the next two one-half years. Then Frank Miller of Steubenville, Ohio, owned it for a few months (in 1867) and he was succeeded by the late C. F. Scott, of Parkersburg, who died in Washington city in 1906, and John T. Harris, who changed its name to the "West Virginia Star." James Murphy then purchased it, conditionally, but Scott and Harris resumed control again after a few months.
Other owners from 1869 to 1872 were, J. J. Sigler, E. H. McDougal, (who put his son T. T. McDougal, now of the "Ceredo Advance" in the office to learn the trade), Leo J. Theiss, (a band teacher), T. E. Davis, T. Dawson and P. W. Morris.
In 1872, P. W. Morris, becoming the sole owner and proprietor, changed the name to the "Ritchie Gazette," and from that time until the summer of 1904, it was edited and published by the Morris family. The late E. H. Collins, of Berea, then became the purchaser, and from his hands it passed into the possession of a company, and was managed by W. R. Heaton. Watt Warren, an old newspaper man of Gilmer couny, then occupied the editorial chair, until September 1907, when it returned "to the house of its fathers," Robert Morris the present editor, becoming the occupant of the chair. Under his management it has now reached its maximum circulation, one thousand eight hundred.
P. W. Morris is a native of New Martinsville, Wetzel county, he having been born there on July 24, 1850. He began his career as a school-teacher, and in his early manhood, came to Harrisville, where he was married to Miss Lydia Patton, daughter of William Patton. In1872, he was admitted to the bar; he filled various municipal offices of the town; served
as a member of the Board of Public School Examiners; as County Superintendent, and State Senator. Since leaving Harrisville he has been the editor of the Parkersburg State Journal, and a candidate for Congress. He and his sons are now the sole owners of this paper which holds a high rank among the leading Republican organs of the state.
Mr. Morris is the father of five daughters and four sons, who have all had more or less experience in newspaper work; and the sons, Robert, Will, Ben, and Leland are thus interested at the present time. The daughters are: Mrs. Hortense M. Cooper, Mrs. Beatrice Henry, Mrs. Sue Devol, and Kathrine and Dorothy, who are still at home.
Robert and Mrs. Cooper have also been prominently identified in educational circles.
Mr. Zeveley was at this time the oldest newspaper man in West Virginia, he having been identified in this business for almost a half-century. He was born in North Carolina, in 1818, and there he was educated, and entered upon his journalistic career, by beginning the publication of the "Greensboro Beacon," in 1836.
He was connected with journalism in different states; viz., Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
After his death. the "Ritchie Democrat and Beacon Light" passed into the hands of his son, Van A. Zeveley, who continued it at Cairo until 1889, when he moved it to Pennsboro, and dropping the "Ritchie Democrat, "issued it under the name of the "Beacon Light" until it went out of existence, in 1893.
He then went to Lincoln county, where he edited the "Lincoln News" for six years, until his failing health compelled him to give up the newspaper work, which had engaged
his attention for a quarter of a century. He is now located at Cairo, where he has one of the best job printing offices in the state.
The elder Zeveley married Miss Charlotte Hinkle (l820-1886), and his other children besides Van A. are the late John H. Zeveley, Mrs. Malvina Soyster, Mrs. Zabenia Elder (deceased), and Mrs. Mae (H. N.) Sharps, Pennsboro.
Other Cairo Papers.--In 1895, C. H. Scoville started the "Cairo Times," but his office was destroyed by fire a few months later, and thus its brief history came to an end.
"The Cairo Enterprise" is the one publication here now. "The Enterprise" was launched by Dana R. McGlothlin and Charles Smoot, two Young men of Parkersburg. Mr. Smoot severed his connection with this paper in 1905, and it passed into the hands of a company, and Mr. McGlothlin was retained as editor and manager; but he sought "greener fields" a year or so since, and Earnest Prunty became his successor, but Robert Morris now the owner and Van A. Zeveley is in the editorial chair. (1910)
Weekly Review Founded.--In 1877, J. J. Sigler and T. T. McDougal purchased a small printing outfit and opened a job office at Harrisville; and after a few months, Mr. McDougal severed his connection with this office. amd went to Lincoln county, where he set the "Lincoln Clipper" afloat; and Mr. Sigler became the owner, and continued in the job printing business until the Greenback movement became a political feature in this state, a few years later. He then became the publisher of a paper called the "Greenbacker," which was launched by some of the leaders of this movement, and which was edited by R. H. Freer. At the close of the campaign in 1884, this publication was discontinued, and the "Weekly Review" came upon the stage in November of the same year, as a Democratic organ, with J. J. Sigler publisher, and Hon. L. G. Bennington, editor. Hon. R. S. Blair and other prominent Democrats being behind the movement.
Mr. Bennington only occupied the editorial chair for a few months, and he was succeeded by the late B. F. Ayres. This paper expounded Democracy for a little more than a year, and was on the eve of being discontinued when,
J. J. Sigler became the editor and proprietor, and changed it to a Republican sheet; and thus it continued to expound the "principles of the Grand old Party" until 1899, when it was purchased by the late F. M. Moats, and incorporated with the "Ritchie Standard"--The Review office becoming the Standard office, and the Review press, the Standard Press.
J. J. Sigler is a native of Evansville, Preston county, he having been born in l847. He is the son of the late J. R. Sigler, of Cairo, and the grandson of Israel Stevens.* who came from Prunytown to Harrisville, in 1850, and who served as post-master, deputy sheriff, and jailer, during the fifties.
Mr Sigler was reared by his grandfather and his late aunt, Miss Nancy Stevens, his mother having bade adieu to earth when he was but an infant. So Harrisville has been his home from early childhood.
He married Miss Florence McDougal an is the father of five children: Homer E. Sigler, deputy County clerk, Parkersburg; Mrs. P. Z. Musgrave, Marion county; George T., who is book-keeper for the Cypress Lumber Company at Loughman, Florida; and Miss Lelia and Byrl. All of the children spent most of their school vacation at the case in the Review office, with the exception of Mrs. Musgrave. Miss Lelia is regarded as one of the most efficient type-setters in this part of the state.
Mr. Sigler now has a job office at Harrisville.
The Ritchie Standard.--This paper came into existence near the year 1889, when S. S. Stewart founded the "Reveille," which he published for a few years, and which was continued by his wife, Mrs. Ella Haymond Stewart, until 1895, when it passed into the hands of H. B. Woods and W. R. Heaton, who became equal purchasers, and who changed the name of the paper--sending out the first issue of the "Ritchie Standard" on March 15, 1895.
Mr. Woods was the editor, and Mr. Heaton, the manager, but during the autumn of 1896, Mr. Woods sold his interest to the late F. M. Moats, who became the sole owner, a little later.
*Mr. Stevens was the father of the late Miss Nancy Stevens, Mrs. M. S. McKinney, and Mrs. Sarah A. M.. Heaton.
As before stated, Mr. Moats purchased the "Weekly Review, "in 1899, and incorporated it with the "Standard," and continued its publication until his death, in May, 1901. The plant was then sold to a company known as the "Standard Publishing Company," and was managed and edited by the late J. Willis Fiddler, and W. R. Heaton, until October, 1902, when it passed into the hands of Lewis Harvey Adams, a native of the "Buckeye state," who had been a resident of this county, since his early boyhood, and a prominent teacher, before stepping into the editorial chair. In September, 1907, he sold to Robert Morris, the present owner of both Gazette and Standard, and went to Parkersburg.
One interesting feature in connection with the history of this paper, is that it was founded by local talent--by a novice in the newspaper business; and, though no other local publication in the county has ever attained a higher degree of success, or reached its present circulation limit, it has been in such hands almost throughout its history.
Under the present management, the subscription list has been increased from thirteen hundred to two thousand, though the present editor cannot be styled a novice in this business, as he was "born and bred in a newspaper office."
Pennsboro Papers.--M. K. Duty, was the author of the first newspaper venture at Pennsboro, some time in the early '80's. He called his spicy little sheet "The Monitor," and after a brief editorial experience, sold out to T. A. Brown, who continued it for a time at Pennsboro, and then removed it to Elizabeth, Wirt county, in April, 1886, where he issued it under the name of the "Elizabeth Times." It later passed into the hands of the Gray Brothers, but is now owned by the "Messenger Publishing Company," and is known as the "Elizabeth Messenger."
M. K. Duty is a Tyler county product. In a hickory cabin of unhewn logs, with a puncheon floor, and with but one window, and one door, he was born, on December 8, 1855. He is of Irish lineage--the great-grandson of Mark Duty, who distinguished himself by being the author of an arithmetic, which was used in the schools of his day, and who was the father of Elizabeth Duty, the founder of the Woman's
Christian Temperance Inn; and of Mrs. Jennie Duty Spencer, wife of the celebrated Platt R. Spencer, author to the Spencerian penmanship system. His parental ancestors came from Cleveland, Ohio, and his maternal, from Monongalia county, to Tyler county, where his parents Andrew W. Duty, and Hannah Eleanor Jones Duty, were both born.
His father served as first sergeant of Company E, of the Fourteenth West Virginia Infantry Volunteers during the Civil war, being captured and taken prisoner at the battle of Cloy Mountain, on May 9, 1864. He died at his home in Tyler county, in 1910, and his wife has long been sleeping 'mid the scenes of her childhood at Centerville, where she was laid at the early age of thirty-three years.
M. K. Duty has been a prominent figure in educational, political, and business circles ever since he came to this county, perhaps near thirty years ago. He has been teacher, editor, lawyer, County Superintendent, member of the House of Delegates, candidate for Congress, and railroad magnate. He is President of the Lorama Railroad Company at this time, and is busily engaged in the extension of this road to Pullman.
He married Miss Ollie Howard, daughter of Henry Howard, of Tyler county, for his first wife, and they were the parents of three children, the late Okey, Price, and Jennie. His second wife was Miss Lora Crumrine, daughter of the late Dr. J. B. Crumrine.
The Zeveley Paper, whose history has already been noticed, was the second publication here. Then came Will A. Strickler with the "Lever," shich he sold to a man by the name of Smith, who changed the name to that of "Pennsboro News." His (Smith's) editorial career here, was a brief one, and he was succeeded by the late D. A. Fawcett, of North Carolina, who, after a few months' experience, gave his place to J. A. Wooddell, the present editor and proprietor, who had the misfortune to lose the entire contents of his office by fire early in the year 1906, but who soon installed a new outfit, and resumed his publication after a brief intermission. This is the only Democratic paper in the county, but, though much in the minority, its editorials hold a high rank among the other weekly publications of the state.
"The Republican" was another transient Pennsboro paper. W. B. Pedigo, the present Mayor of Parkersburg, was the editor for a time, and later, it passed into the hands of a company of Pennsboro's business men, who continued its publication until the spring of 1903, when it went out of existence.
In July following, the "republican" outfit was sold to Hons. Anthony Smith, R. H. Greer, and Sherman Robinson, and removed to Harrisville, where it was pressed into service in the publication of a paper styled "The Eagle," which was edited by Mr. Freer, and published by J. J. Sigler. The clammerous tones of this "glorious bird" attracted much attention for a time--its screams being heard far and wide during the campaign. But alas! at its close the lovely thing dropped its proud head and died. The late E. H. Collins, of the Gazette, purchased the outfit in July, 1904.
The identity of the first newspaper editor of the county is a subject of more than ordinary interest to us, since his venture into this unpromising wilderness laid the foundation for the weekly publications which play such an important part in our public affairs of to-day.
Enoch George Day was born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, on September 5, 1809, and there his youthful days were spent. His wife, Miss Julia Anne England, daughter of Andrew and Katherine Buckley England, was a native of Frederick county, Maryland, and from Bath county, Virginia, they came to Harrisville in 1856. He brought his press and material with him, and soon after his arrival launched the "Ritchie Democrat." He not only figured as newspaper editor, but as lawyer and post-master as well. He went from here to St. Mary's, perhaps, towards the close of the Civil war, and there practiced law for a time before removing to Wheeling, where he died on September 12, 1870, at the age of sixty-one years, and there in lot No. 371 in Peninsula cemetery, he lies at rest. After his death, Mrs. Day went West to live with her son, Thomas, and in Mexico, Missouri, on June 5, 1884, she fell asleep, at the age of seventy-five years.
Their family consisted of four sons and one daughter;
viz., Thomas E., Charles H., John Emery, W. Harry, and Mary C. Day.
The sons were all Union soldiers; all were wounded while in the service, and all are dead from the effects of these wounds, except Charles H. Harry, who died in Oklahoma, in 1900, was Captain of the "Home-gards." Emory was wounded at the battle of Bull run, and died nine days later. Thomas, who laid down the cross at Mexico, Missouri, in 1894, was a colonel; and Charles H., who lost an arm in the conflict, was captain. He now resides at Agnewville, Virginia, and is unmarried.
Mary C. Day, the only daughter (born on November 6, 1840), was first married to Peter E. Kerns, of Bath county, Virginia on November 8, 1859. Mr. Kerns was born on November 8, 1830, and died on July 18, 1862, from cold contacted during his service in the Union army; and Alda, the one child of this union (born on May 7, 1861, and died on April 29, 1862, lies by her father in the Harrisville cemetery.
On January 30, 1868, Mrs. Mary C. Day Kerns became the wife of J. B. Mallory, the marriage being solemnized at St. Mary's by the Rev. Mr. Belt, of the Methodist Episcopal church, and at Wheeling they resided until 1870, when they came to Ellenboro, where she fell asleep on October 6, 1984; and in the Ellenboro cemetery she lies buried. But Mr. Mallory still survives at the age of eighty years; he having been born at Geneva, Pennsylvania, on August 15, 1830; and with his uncle, the late Dr. M. M. Campbell, of Parkersburg, came to Fairmont, this state, at the age of seventeen years. He was a soldier of the Union army, and lost one eye in the service. He is a boot-maker by trade, and has had considerable experience as clerk in the stores at Ellenboro, and was at one time assistant collector of Internal Revenue for his brother-in-law the late General A. S. Core.
Mr. and Mrs. Mallory were the parents of six children; viz., Henry K. (1869-71), Henrietta (born and died in 1874), Harry K. (1875-1900), Wheeling, Joseph M., Wilsonburg; Edward, of the Jaricaki Manufacturing Company, Ellenboro, and Mary Day the eldest daughter, who is now Mrs. Perry Strickler, of Ellenboro. She and her brother being the only descendants of Enoch G. Day that remain in this county.
The Days must have crossed the sea early in the eighteenth century, though this fact has not been positively established; but they first settled in Anne Arundle county, Maryland, and from there scattered to different parts of the Union, the name being a prominent one in various sections of the country to-day. But our definite information begins with Thomas and Hannah Day, the grandparents of Enoch C. Day, who resided in Maryland as early as 1784, when their son, Thomas Day, junior, was born.
Thomas Day, junior, this son, was married to Miss Eleanor Thompson, who was born in 1786, and they were the parents of Enoch G. Day, and of the following named other children: Anne (born on November 10, 1810), John (born March 11, 1812), Gideon H. (May 18,1815), and Francis Asbury (June 4, 1818). Francis A. and Gideon were ministers of the Methodist Protestant church, and the latter resided at Baltimore. John was also of Maryland. But Francis Asbury was an early minister of the Harrisville community, and he finally removed to Philadelphia, where he fell dead on the street, while making pastoral calls, on April 17, 1890. He had one daughter, Emma, and perhaps other children.
John Day.--Another branch of this family which has been known in the county since the ante-bellum days, is that of John Day, who, though no positive proof has been established, was almost without doubt the brother of Thomas Day, senior--the grandfather of Enoch G. Day.
John Day, whose history begins in Anna Arundel county, Maryland, was the father of two sons, Thomas and Edward, and two daughters, whose names are missing.
Thomas Day, the one son, whose history is of interest to us was born near Baltimore, in 1800, and there he was married, in 1822, to Miss Sarah Ann Barnes, who was also a native of that city; and in February, 1832, they migrated to Ohio and settled near Barnesville, in Carroll county, where they remained until they passed to the other side.
They were the parents of eight children: viz., Joshua (1823-1902), Illinois; Francis (1824-1880), Adam Thomas (1827--), Edward (--1876), John (who died on April 8, 1864, while serving as a Union Soldier), Elizabeth (died in 1893
unmarried), Mary (who became Mrs. Kerns, died on October 28, 1890), and Joseph, who is unmarried, makes his home with his nephew, J. E. Day, of near Auburn.
Francis Day was the one son whose family are known in this county. He was born in Baltimore county, Maryland on October 27, 1824, and with his parents removed to Ohio, when he was but a child of seven summers; there he grew to manhood, and married Miss Eliza Meredith, eldest daughter of the Late William Meredith, of White Oak, on April 13, 1852, and seven years later (1858) removed to Harrisville, where he engaged in the mercantile business for about two years. But when the Civil war cloud threatened to burst forth in storm, he returned, with his family, to Lebanon, Ohio, and enlisted in the Union service for three years, and thus sustained disabilities which finally caused his death. At the close of the war he removed his family back to this county, and resided on White Oak until 1874, when he went to Kansas, going on from there to Alma, Marion county, Illinois, six months later, where he died on July 22, 1880. And there, in the Alma cemetery, by the side of his wife, who died on April 25, 1883, he lies at rest. Mrs. Day was born in Marion county, West Virginia, on July 14, 1837.
There five children were as follows: John William, who, with his brother, James Edward Day, resides near Auburn, on the Doddridge county side; Thomas Lincoln, Jasper G., and Sarah T., who first married William Howton, of this county, later John Wheeler of Illinois, and who is now Mrs. James Baldridge, are all of Illinois.
On October 2, 1880, James Edward Day was married to Miss Lou Stinespring, daughter of John Stinespring, of Doddridge county, and their only child is Miss Ella Day.*
*If no other evidence was at hand the strong similarity of the names in these families would be sufficient to establish the connection, but Francis Day often told his friends that he was distantly related to Enoch G. Day.
Harrisville is the oldest and most beautiful town in the county. It was laid out in the wilderness, in 1822, on land belonging to Thomas Harris, in view of having it made the seat for a new county.
The plat was made by John McKinney, and was recorded in the clerk's office at Parkersburg. Although lots were sold at this early date, but one was improved before 1837. On this lot, Stephen Stuart erected the first house, which was a frame dwelling; and his father, Joseph Stuart - a pioneer before mentioned, lost his life here by the falling of a lumber-kiln, before the building was completed. And in this building, the first store in the county was opened by Matthias Cline, perhaps, as early as 1825; who, in 1827, sold to William McKinney, who was succeeded by John Nicklin, son of the late Dr. Nicklin, of Middlebourne. On this same lot, near 1843, Mr. McKinney erected the old "Lincoln House," which served as a public hostelry until 1888, when it was destroyed by fire. The site is now owned by the Ritchie County Bank, and is marked by the handsome residence of E. M. Carver, the founder and cashier of Ritchie county's oldest bank.
At the same time that Mr. Nicklin (1840) came into possession of the McKinney store, O. and Granville Berkley, two brothers, built a store-house on the lot that is now the property of J. M. Hall; and both Mr. Nicklin, and Granville Berkley built residences. Harrisville was now a village of four houses.
In 1842, Daniel Rexroad built the first hotel, which stood but a few feet back of the present dwelling of T. F. Leach -- a portion of which is still standing.
Mr. Rexroad was the son of Henry, and a first cousin of Noah Rexroad. He married a Miss Wells, and went from here to Chicago, where he died a few years since, and where his sons, Isaiah and Harvey, still lived, at the last account.
The "Watson House" was built in 1843 by John Maulsby, who died here of typhoid fever, the following year; and Henry J. Fisher, of Point Pleasant, then purchased the property, and placed Phillip Cox, father of D. W. Cox, in charge. The next tenant was John Smith, of Virginia, who opened what was, perhaps, the first and last saloon in the county, in connection with this hotel. He went to Parkersburg, where he fell asleep, and where one of his sisters still survives.
On March 28, 1867, Mr. Fisher sold this property to Enoch G. Day, who, shortly after, sold to Jeremiah Nay; and on April 8, 1867, Mr. Nay transferred it to Mrs. Eveline Watson, who continued as owner until a few years since, when it passed into the hands of the First National Bank. The old building was then replaced by a handsome brick, and the name was changed to that of "National hotel." But its race was brief, a destructive fire having laid it in ruins early in the year 1906, while C. S. Corbin was the proprietor. A large three-story building of handsome architecture, which contains the post-office, the First National Bank, private offices, etc., now marks the site.
White Hall Hotel.- Near the year 1846, Robert Porter, came from New York and built the old "White Hall" hotel, and opened a store in the same building. But, he, becoming involved in debt, lost the property, and went to Missouri, where he died a little later; and W. M. Patton, became the owner, in 1850.
Mr. Patton employed Morgan Blackshire to run the hotel, and in the meantime, he became the Sheriff of the county; but he, too, becoming involved in debt, lost the property, and his father, William Patton, senior, then became the owner, in 1859; and the "White Hall" hotel has ever since been in the hands of the Patton family. At the death of the elder Patton, in 1879, his son, the late A. J., took control; and in the early nineties, he sold to his brother, the late B. F. Patton; and not long after this transaction, the old building was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt by the owner in 1893.
This now the largest hotel in the county, being three stories in height and numbering thirty-five rooms. It is practically the only hotel in town (there being a number of boarding-houses), and it is under the efficient management of Mrs. B. F. Patton, and her son, Frank.
As early as 1843, Spencer T. Bukey*, of Williamstown, built a residence and store house combined on the corner of Main and Court streets, on the lot that is now adorned by the palatial brick residence of W. W. Lawrence.
In 1850, Harrison B. Cunningham, son-in-law of the late Rev. James Hardman, erected a building on the corner of Main and Spring streets, and opened a general store; but he, failing in business, was succeeded by Hopkins Burlingham, who continued to sell goods here until his death, on July 10, 1852. A gentleman by the name of Dunlap, and perhaps, a few others then held this business in hand until 1859, when the late W. H. Peirpoint came forward with a small stock of groceries and confectionery, to which he added a general line of dry goods, a little later. And, with the exception of a year or so, he continued to serve his customers at this stand until 1904, when he sold to Harley and Carlie Moats, retaining his queensware department, which he rebuilt and enlarged, and sold to his brother, J. N. Peirpoint, shortly before his death, in 1906.
* (Footnote) The writer has in her possession a statement of a bill of merchandise, bearing the date of 1843, which was purchased by her late paternal grandfather of Mr. Bukey while in business here.
Among the many others who have been identified in the mercantile business in this town, we find the names of William McKinney, Burlingham and Rexroad (Daniel), Holt and Douglass, James McKinney and Noah Rexroad, Daniel Boughner & Co., John Hall & Son, J. M. Hall, Amos Culp, Samuel Kuykendall, J. M. Davis, A. J. & A. D. Patton, T. T. Flinn, J. K. P. Wooddell, C. C. Davis, J. F. Munsey, C. W. Winters, P. G. Brake, M. J. Crummett, J. H. Haddox,. and doubtless many others.
The present ones are W. W. Lawrence, Fisher and Stump, Andrew Moats and sons, Harley and Carlie, A. F. Wilcox & Co., and E. J. Taylor.
The First Tannery in the county was established here as early as 1827, by Thomas Chancellor, but in 1839, it passed into the hands of Zackquill M. Peirpoint, who continued to hold this business intact until his death in 1882; and shortly after this, it went out of existence, having been in continuous operation for sixty years. The D. B. Latimer flouring mill, which was erected by the Hardman Brothers - Fremont and Sheridan - in the early nineties, now marks the site of this old tannery.
Saddlery and Harness Business. - Joseph J. Vandivort, of Fairmont, brother of Mrs. Zackquill M. Peirpoint, and Thomas Reitz & Son launched the saddler and harness business here, which has principally been held intact by C. S. Martin and John B. Ayres for the past forty years. Mr. Ayres sold out his business in 1903, and went West, then East; but now rests in Oklahoma. C. C. McKinley succeeded him, and then came H. B. Curry, of Troy, for a brief time, but he sold his stock to C. S. Martin, who now holds full sway.
C. S. Martin and his wife, Mrs. Matilda Sturms Martin, came from Marion county, and are the parents of two daughters, Mrs. Cocoa D. Ailor, wife of Dr. C. W. Ailor, of Murphytown, and Della, who is now Mrs. Lester Snodgrass.
Thomas Reitz and his wife, nee Marshall, came here from Pennsylvania. He went to Pittsburg and finally to Kansas, where he died at the home of his son, the late Captain J. M. Reitz.
Besides the son above mentioned, he was the father of the late L. G. Reitz, of Ellenboro; Baltzer, of Florida; the late Mrs. Henrietta (W. H.) Peirpoint, of Harrisville, Mrs. Mary McGee, and Mrs. Virginia (John) Blackburn, Pittsburg.
The Post-office was established in 1830, under the name of "Solus," with William McKinney, junior, as post-master. The names of the other early post-masters are wanting, but the following named gentlemen have served in this capacity since 1863: Enoch G. Day, James M. Davis, C. S. Martin, the late T. E. Davis, J. J. Sigler, J. M. Hall, J. B. Ayres, J. M. Barbe, the late H. B. McKinley, H. C. Showalter, and the present incumbent, R. H. Freer - a number of these gentlemen have served several terms, or more than one, at least.
The Pioneer M. E. Church was erected near 1843, on the farm of the late Noah Rexroad, it having stood across the run just opposite the present R. E. L. Frymire residence. But the site was changed to the present one, near 1855; and a small parsonage was erected on this same lot at that time; but during the following winter, it was reduced to ashes, and the new church narrowly escaped a like fate - a timely snow having aided materially in saving it. This old church was replaced by a new and much larger frame structure, in 1877, but this building was destroyed by fire in 1888, when the Moats corner and the old "Lincoln House" went up in smoke. The fire having caught in the lattice work of the cupola, near sixty feet from the ground. A splendid brick structure now marks the site.
The First Baptist Church stood on the lot now owned by John Hulderman, and Mr. Davisson. The present church, which was built in 1891, is on Main street, west of Court street. The Rev. George A. Woofter was the first regular pastor of the new church.
The M. P. Church was built in 1858, and was remodeled in 1894. It also stands on Main street, opposite the school building.*
* (Footnote) For farther history of these churches see chapter on Churches.
The Court House came in 1844, and this old time building served until 1874, when the present brick took its place.
Not far from the time of the erection of the old court house, the first jail came into existence with Alexander Glover as contractor and builder. This antique structure was made of logs one foot square, laid compactly together, with a twenty-penny nail driven in every square inch. In 1869, this old prison with "its walls so dark and gloomy," gave place to the present two-story brick building.
The greater part of these old landmarks have gone "the way of all the world" - have returned to their native dust.
The School.- Harrisville, like all the other towns, had its old time school; and one of the early buildings used for this pupose, stood on the site now marked by the former P. W. Morris residence. But the first public-school building, which consisted of two rooms, came in 1864 - the school being opened this same year with S. P. McCormick, of Monongalia county, as principal. It remained a district school with a term of four months until 1872, when the length of time was extended; but since 1883, when the Harrisville Independent District was formed, its term has been eight months.
In 1878, the two-roomed frame building was replaced by a four-roomed brick; and in 1904, this building was remodeled and enlarged, by the addition of two rooms and an auditorium, which is a large, well-lighted and ventilated hall, seated with opera chairs.
The High School was established in 1894, under the direction of W. W. Tapp, and its graduates now number sixty-four (1909). The present enrollment is more than two hundred sixty, with fifty-seven of the number in the High School grade.
The present school course covers a period of twelve years, including the High School curriculum of four years, which embraces Greek, Roman and English history, Latin, Algebra, Geometry, American and English Literature, Music, Physical geography, and Physics, etc., the fourth year being added in 1910.
The school library numbers six hundred volumes; and the grounds have within the past year, been beautified by a cement walk that surrounds the building.
The following named gentlemen have occupied the position of principal here since 1880; George K. Scott, George W. Lowther, M. A. Hayes, J. H. Lininger, M. H. Willis, J. S. Cornwell, H. B. Woods, W. W. Tapp, J. F. Marsh, Robert Morris, B. H. Hall, H. E. Cooper, Elbert Jones, and J. H. Hickman.
Two new teachers have been added to the faculty (this year, 1910), which is now as follows: J. H. Hickman, principal; M. M. Powell, assistant; Miss Jessie Tresham, High School and eighth grade teacher; and Misses Jessie Hartmann, Mae Moyer, Ada Wilson, Nelle Fowler, Daisy Smith, and Eva Hall, the latter teacher of music.
I. W. Woods was an early artist here and W. S. Sherwood is the present one.
Mrs. I. W. Woods has been identified in the milliner business since 1876; and while there has been not a few other ladies engaged in this trade, from time to time, her connection has been by far the longest.
Mrs. Eli Heaton, Mrs. Maggie Moats Robinson, Mrs. Samantha Martin Holland, the late Mrs. Jennie Tarlton, and Misses Dora Reitz and Anna Leggett, and Mrs. J. W. Fiddler are among others who have been engaged in this business.
The Town Incorporated.- Harrisville was incorporated as a town, on February 26, 1869 - a corporation had existed before but for some (unknown) reason, had been abolished. Smith C. Hall was the first mayor, he having been chosen at the first municipal election in 1870. Since that time the following named gentlemen have served in this capacity, and some of them, for a number of years; John Hall, Dr. W. M. Rymer, John B. Ayres (served fourteen years), Gen. T. M. Harris, D. F. Haymond (who died during his term of office and the unexpired term was finished by the recorder, J. J. Sigler), C. K. Peirpoint, John Flesher, Thomas Hess, H. C. Showalter, Dr. W. E. Talbott, J. Willis Fiddler, Sherman Robinson, Homer Adams, W. W. Lawrence, P. R. Tharpe, Romeo H. Freer, and Anthony Smith, the present incumbent.
The Harrisville of To-day.- But let us turn from the town of the past, and take a panorama of the Har