Smithfield, WV


Smithfield is a town situated thirty-one miles east of New Martinsville. It has a population of about 1,200. The first settlement was made by Aiden Bales in the year of 1796. It has three hotels, Brown Front, J.A. Davis, proprietor; the Shuman, M.D. Shuman proprietor; and the Wilson, D. W. Wilson, proprietor. It has four dry goods and notion stores, owned by D. Carmichael, Howard and Calvert, L.G. Robinson, and W.A. Smith; one confectionery and news stand owned by T. J. Connely, and one barber shop, owned by Morris Sheon; the South Penn Oil Company has an office here; one blacksmith shop, owned by Geo. Beechman, and one meat market, owned by B.C. Ruggles. Among the prosperous farmers around the town are A.J. Slider, James Gump, F.C. Hays, H.S. Hays, L. Johnson, Henry Johnson, O.B. McIntire, C.A. Headlee, William Barker, Sr., William Barker, Jr., Charles Gilbert, J.J. Jackson, William Brewer, L.F. Cain, I.D. Morgan, Jas. A. Edgel, C.W. , Ezra, and Grant Edgel, E.E. Ice, T.V. Ice, Dave Shuman, Henry and Levi Shuman, P.Minor, W.A. Wade, James A. Wade, H.J. Miller, C.S. Lowe, J.W., J.T., and H. Headlee, Gus and William Wyatt, Mrs. W.P. Morris, Louis and L. Morris, Morris L. Wyatt, Richard, J.M. and Johnson Anderson, L.G. Robinson, H.L. Smith, Geo. Hannan, Marion Shrieves, John and J.L. Welch, Jasper, George and Jackson Shrives, David Ice, Albert, Sam and Dulin Edgel, L.E. and S.R. Cain, William Taylor, James Lively, John Leach, John Francis, John Showalter, William Carlin, Nelson Myres, John and Wash Carrol.

The town of Smithfield was settled in 1850's. It is situated on State Route 20 on the Sourth Fork of Fishing Creek, 30 miles Northwest of Clarksburg and 30 miles Southeast of New Martinsville.

The first settlement was made by Aiden Bales, a farmer. Other settlers arrived soon after that and settled along Fishing Creek. At that time, the place was known as Sodom.

Smithfield School, 1900A school was built in 1898 at the mouth of Sugar Camp Road, by William Wyatt. F.L. Harbert was the teacher. The school burned down in 1900, but a new one was started and completed in early 1901.

In 1899 railroad surveyors staked out the railroad through Smithfield. By May 10, 1900, the building of the depot was started and on February 7, 1901, the first loads of store goods were delivered by train. The first passenger train consisting of two coaches, arrived in Smithfield at 2:30 P.M., on February 14, 1901. Sylvestor Myres was the first railroad agent. The railroad began carrying mail a year later.

In 1903 the first Mass was held at the new church in February. Doc Lewis was hired as cashier for the new Smithfield Bank.

Smithfield was granted its Charter on May 18, 1904. The first town election was held January 5, 1905 and elected were: Mayor, C.A. Jones; Recorder, Carl Gifford; Councilmen, W.A. Lewis, _______ Chambers, George Berman, M.J. McNulty and William Carlin. The plat for the Town was recorded on February 24, 1904. This era was filled with activity (drilling-pumping) involving large numbers of oil wells around the vicinity. In 1904 the population was 1500.

Some of the prominent farmers and citizens were: William Brewer, Riley Snodgrass, Steve Shuman, I.D. Morgan, William Barker, Charles Gilbert, Ezra Edgell, E.E. Ice, Johnson Anderson, Henry and Levi Shuman, H.L. Smith, James Ice, L.G. Robinson, James Lively, William Wyatt and Henry Johnston.

Some country doctors were: Dr. Whisler, Dr. Bates, Dr. Jackson, Dr. McClelland, Dr. Kelley, Dr. Stanley and Dr. Dyer.

When the town was incorporated, there were four churches, two hotels, four general merchandise stores, four saloons, two confectionaries and news stand, three barber shops, a meat market, a drig store, a blacksmith shop, a bank, a South Penn Oil Company office, a Hope Natural Gas Company office and a Eureka Pipe Line office. The town was named for H.L. Smith, who established a store here at the beginning of the oil boom.

As the oil and gas was depleted, the town lost its population rapidly and its citizens had to seek employment elswhere. The most recent head count shows a the population to be 284 with 1-5 residents.

There are two churches in the community, St. James United Methodist and the Church of Christ. There are now no schools open in the the community. The high school was consolidated with Pine Grove and students are bussed 10 miles to Pine Grove. The elementary school was consolidated with other schools on Route 20 and the elementary students are bussed 14 miles to Reader.

There is one general merchandise store, three service stations, two beer gardens and a Laundromat. The citizens of the town are employed by the oil and gas industries, saw mill and timber industry. There are also coal miners, farmers and chemical workers; some people commute more than thirty miles to work.

The first Post Office was established in 1877. The Post Office at the present time employs one Postmaster, one rural carrier and a part-time flexible clerk. Jean Adams in the present Postmaster.

We are proud of our town. We have a low income housing development, a good water system, and just about all the conveniences of a larger town.

We have a Volunteer Fire Department. Ray Shaffer is the Fire Chief. We have a Mayor-Council type government. Mayor is Fred Anderson, Recorder is Garnet Shaffer, Wouncilmen are William J. Carlin, Earl Shuman, James D. Price, Robert Johnston and Ray Shaffer.

Article submitted by Robert Johnston and Alice K. Johnson.

History of Wetzel County, WV By John C. McEldowney, Jr. 1901
History of Wetzel County, WV 1983.

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