West Virginia State Site




Grant County West Virginia

Biographies



Joseph Wiley Aker
Joseph Wiley Aker, Superintendent of the Schools of Greenlee County,  (Ariz.) was born in Grant County, Va., July 7, 1881. His father, A. D. Aker, died the next year, leaving five children who were soon forced to support and educate themselves with the aid of a devoted mother. Their efforts in this respect have been well rewarded, as two of his brothers are successful ministers and the remaining one a teacher. Their only sister died at an early age. When but 1 7 years old, Wiley Aker joined the 4th Tennessee Volunteers and spent four months in active service in Cuba. Having been mustered out he returned to his home, and proceeded to the coal fields of West Virginia, where he was employed until in 1901 in a wreck he lost his right hand and right foot. The following September he began attending school at Princeton, W. Va., continued studying and in 1906 was graduated with a B. S. degree from Emory & Henry College. He next went to Lordsburg, N. M., where he served three years as minister of the M. E. Church, and was married to Rae Miller, a music teacher of that town. In 1909 he took charge of the M. E. Church at Clifton, Arizona, and when Greenlee County was organized in 1910, he was elected to the position he now holds, when he resigned his work in the ministry. For the present term he was elected by a large majority. Mr. Aker helped make the first school law of the State, and at a meeting of school officials at Tucson in 1912 was made a member of the committee to get up a course in moral instruction for the pupils of the State. Mr. Aker is deeply interested in school work. He is also author of several short stories, and one book of fiction, which is now in course of publication in New York City. His family consists of three sons, Malcome M., Cecil E. and Greenlee M. Mr. and Mrs. Aker are interested workers in all church and educational affairs. ["Who's Who In Arizona" Volume 1 1913 Complied and Published by Jo Connors]

Solomon Boner
Solomon Boner was born in Grant County, July 4, 1824, and was a son of William Boner, of German and Irish descent. In 1846 he married Jane, daughter of Thomas Bright, of Randolph County. His wife died in 1878, and the next year he married Sarah J. Vanmeter. Children: Seymour, Rebecca. Archibald, Mary, James, Martha, Ann Jemima, Virginia M., Sulpitius G., and Solomon P. He is a farmer and civil engineer, living on Dry Fork, 30 miles from St. George, where he owns 500 acres of land, one-fifth improved. He was county surveyor 18 years, and was the principal man in locating all the roads above Black Fork. The main Dry Fork road was commenced in 1863 and has just been completed. The first settlers on Dry Fork were William Boner, Rudolph Shobe, Daniel Poffinbarger, John Carr, Thomas White, Ebenezer Flanagan, John Wolford.  Henry Fansler was the first man to move his family into Canaan. He made a small improvement, and left. This was about the commencement of the present century; but the exact date cannot be determined. Some think it to have been as long ago as 1780. There is current a story that the first settler of Dry Fork went there during the Revolutionary War, to escape service in the army. But this is not sufficiently well authenticated to be accepted as history. However, it is certain that Dry Fork was settled at a very early day. Solomon Boner assisted in running the line between Tucker and Randolph. He has been a great hunter, and has killed, as he estimates, 50 bears and 500 deer. He killed a bear on Otter Fork that, when dressed, weighed 250 pounds, and Archibald Boner and James Davis caught one in Abel Long's corn field that weighed, neat, 325 pounds. [History of Tucker County, West Virginia by Hu Maxwell and Henry Clay Hyde, 1884 - Transcribed by AFOFG]

Samuel Cooper
Samuel Cooper, was born in 1826, in Grant County, married m 1849 to Elizabeth Wymer, of Pendleton County. He owns 413 acres of land on Red Creek, 25 miles from St. George; he has 180 acres of improved land; he has been in Tucker since 1874. Children: Mary, Martha, John W., Job, Mahala, Melvina, Daniel, Elizabeth, Melissa Jane, Adam, Rosetta and Abraham. [History of Tucker County, West Virginia by Hu Maxwell and Henry Clay Hyde, 1884 - Transcribed by AFOFG]

Emil Cosner
Emil Cosner, son of Solomon Cosner, born 1859; married in 1880 to Lydia A., daughter of Gustavus Muntzing, of Grant County. Farmer, 83 acres, 40 acres improved, 30 miles from St. George, in Canaan. Children: Ora G. and Ida Anice. [History of Tucker County, West Virginia by Hu Maxwell and Henry Clay Hyde, 1884 - Transcribed by AFOFG]

Hon. William H. H. Flick
Mr. Flick is a native of the Western Reserve of Ohio, where he was born in 1841. He was educated in the public schools and at Hiram College, near Cleveland. In July, 1861, he volunteered as a private soldier in the Federal Army and was dangerously wounded in the left shoulder at the battle of Shiloh, Mississippi, but continued in the service until the fall of 1862, when he was honorably discharged on account of said wound. He returned to his home and taught school for three years. Having read law in the meantime, he was licensed to practice in September, 1865. In March, 1866, he moved to West Virginia, and began to practice law at Moorefield, the seat of justice of Hardy County, and in March, 1867, he changed his residence to Franklin, Pendleton County. He had a strong legal mind, was an able public speaker, and soon became recognized as a forceful and successful lawyer. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Pendleton County in 1867, also of the adjoining county of Grant in 1872, and he was re-elected to the same office in Pendleton County in 1873-4. In 1874 he resigned the office of Prosecuting Attorney and located at Martinsburg, Berkeley County, where he spent the remainder of his life.
In the fall of 1868 he entered the State Legislature from Pendleton and Grant Counties, and was re-elected in 1869. He took an active part in legislation. He was the author of what was known as "The Flick Amendment" to the State Constitution, which removed all restrictions from all persons who had engaged in the Rebellion of 1861-5, which gave him a statewide reputation. In 1881 he was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Berkeley County, which he resigned in 1882 to accept the higher position of United States District Attorney for West Virginia. By this time he had become an unusually able lawyer, and one of the strongest and most successful prosecutors in the Commonwealth. We put it mildly when we state that he had but few equals, anywhere, as a trial lawyer. He was a very large man, and when he became aroused his reserve force was practically irresistible, because he apparently would break down all opposition and often sweeps things before him.
In 1876 he was the Republican candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court of Appeals of the State, but was defeated along with his entire party ticket. [Bench and bar of West Virginia edited by George Wesley Atkinson, 1919 Transcribed by AFOFG]

Hoffman or Hachmann Family
     The first member of this family to come to America was the Rev. (John) Henry Hoffman, or Hachmann, the latter being the correct name. He was born in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, near Severn, on the river Weser, May 28, 1814. His parents were Berend and Gescha Hachmann.
     Settling in Baltimore in the year 1831, his first occupation was in a shoe establishment, where he remained as one of its clerks for several years. Being of a religious temperament and realizing his call to the ministry, he studied theology, and joined the Baltimore Conference of the old Methodist Episcopal Church in 1840, being ordained at Charles Street Church, Baltimore. In 1845 and 1846 he was pastor of the Springfield, West Virginia, church ; preaching in 1847 at Sunbury, Pennsylvania; in 1848 at Bloodyrun, Pennsylvania; in 1849 at Frostburg, Maryland; in 1850 at Bald Eagle, Pensylvania; and from 1851 to 1859 at various Virginia churches. In the year 1860 he removed to the Rockingham, Virginia, District, and in 1862 joined the Southern branch of the Methodist Episcopal church. Coming to Keyser, then New Creek, West Virginia, in 1866, he founded the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at that place, and was compelled to resign from the active ministry in 1868 on account of failing health. He however gave his time and talents to the Conference and to the Keyser Church from that time on until his death, January 12, 1892, at Keyser. He was buried there in Queen's Point Cemetery. His widow, who was Miss Elizabeth Perry Huntley, was born at New London, Connecticut, in 1826, and is still living in Keyser at the age of eighty-seven, at the time of this writing. She is a direct descendant of Lord Huntley on her father's side, and on her mother's side was a descendant of the well-known Kimball family of New England. She is also related to the Huntington family of West Virginia, and to Commodore Perry.
     Dr. Olin Huntley Hoffman, of Thomas, West Virginia, son of Rev. Henry and Elizabeth Perry (Huntley) Hoffman, was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, November 6, 1860. He was educated at Randolph-Macon College, Virginia, graduating subsequently at Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began the practice of his profession at Old Town, Maryland, continuing there until his removal to Petersburg, West Virginia, where he built up a good practice, and served as secretary of the local board of health of Grant county. In the year 1887 he came to Thomas, in Tucker county, and has been physician and surgeon to the Davis Coal and Coke Company since that time. He has also been surgeon to the Western Maryland railroad for more than twenty years. He is a member of the local, state, and American Medical Associations. He is especially distinguished as being the first surgeon to use the up-to-date methods of antiseptic surgery in his section.
     Dr. Hoffman has been prominent not only as a medical man in this region, but as a public-spirited man in every way. He was one of the incorporators of the town of Thomas, and served as its first full term mayor, being active ever since in furthering every good movement in the town. He was the leading spirit in obtaining for it its schools, and also secured the consolidation of Thomas and Coketon as one school district. Though a member of the Democratic party, he is not what could be called a politician. He has been very prominent in temperance work in West Virginia, was a district superintendent of the Anti-saloon League in its great and successful prohibition amendment fight in 1912, and is a member of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church, having established its Sunday school at Thomas, of which he has been superintendent continuously for more than twenty years. He has been a steward and trustee of the church for the same period. In Masonic circles also, Dr. Hoffman is well known and esteemed, being a charter member of Thomas Lodge No. 123, A. F. and A. M., and he is also a member of Thomas Lodge No. 145, I. O. O. F.
     In 1892, Dr. Hoffman was married to Miss Minnie Clement Harman, who was born in Grant county, West Virginia. She is a daughter of Hon. George Harman, deceased, who was several times a member of the West Virginia legislature, was Republican nominee for congress in 1890, and one of the most prominent figures in the financial and political history of Grant county for a period of thirty years preceding his death in 1899, at the age of seventy years. Dr. and Mrs. Hoffman are the parents of four children, as follows:
1. Olin Henry, born in 1895; a graduate of Thomas high school; he has since graduated, in 1912, in the classical course of the Keyser Branch of the West Virginia Preparatory School, with the class medal for general scholarship, at the age of seventeen years. 2. Susan Harman, born in 1898; at present attending the Thomas High School, and taking the musical course in the Keyser Branch of the State Preparatory School. 3. Minnie Clemence, born in 1901, and attending the city schools. 4. Perry Huntley, born in 1903, also attending the city schools.
     Other members of this Hoffman family of West Virginia are Dr. Charles Summerfield Hoffman, of Keyser, West Virginia, founder and manager of the Hoffman Hospital at that place, and an ex-president of the West Virginia Medical Society. The members of his family are his wife, Mrs. Annie (Walker) Hoffman; his eldest son, Henry Huntley, a farmer and orchardist in Mineral county, and one of the state inspectors of fruit trees, and treasurer of the State Orchardist's Association; two daughters, the eldest, Miss Elizabeth Walker, and the younger, Miss Elsie Reese, the latter being in charge of the musical department of the Keyser Branch of the State Preparatory School; and a young son attending the Keyser city schools.
     The oldest son of Rev. Henry Hoffman was Richard Henry Hoffman, deceased in 1887, and, at the beginning of his fatal illness, the general manager of the Philadelphia branch of the Wanamaker stores. The eldest son of Mr. R. H. Hoffman is Dr. Charles Wilbur Hoffman, a practicing physician and surgeon of Baltimore, Maryland, and lecturer on gynaecology in one of the Baltimore medical colleges. A widow, Mrs. Martha S., and two daughters, Miss Elizabeth Huntley and Miss Edith Mary, residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a son, Mr. Edward Richard, of New York, are the survivors of Mr. R. H. Hoffman, deceased. [West Virginia and its people, Volume 3 By Thomas Condit Miller, Hu Maxwell, 1913 - Transcribed by AFOFG]

Thomas E. Schillingburg
Thomas E. Shillingburg, born, 1860, in Grant County, of German descent, and son of J. W. Shillingburg, is in the firm of Shillingburg and Duling; was married July 4, 1883, to Lina Chisholm, of Garrett County, Md. Elmer P., is his only child. [History of Tucker County, West Virginia by Hu Maxwell and Henry Clay Hyde, 1884 - Transcribed by AFOFG]

Isaac D. Smith, LL.B.
     Mr. Smith, son of Isaac D. and Mary L. Smith, is a native of Grant County, West Virginia, where he was born January 11, 1890, and was reared on his father's farm near Petersburg, the seat of justice of that county. After securing the best instruction obtainable, at the age of sixteen he secured authority to teach in the public schools of his native county, which occupation he assiduously followed for two years, with the sole purpose in view of procuring enough money to pay his way through college. In the fall of 1909 he became a student at the Preparatory Branch of the West Virginia University at Keyser, Mineral County, where he remained two years. In 1913 he entered the Law Department of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, and graduated in the class of 1915, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In the fall of that year he entered Emerson College of Oratory, Boston, Massachusetts, where he took part in the ranks of classes from the Sophomore to the Senior and Post Graduate classes, specializing in all studies that pertained to the art of public speaking, which he has found of great value to him since entering upon the practice of his profession. He returned to his native State and was admitted to the Grant County Bar in January, 1916, at Petersburg, and entered upon a most promising career as an attorney and counselor-at-law. He is industrious and honorable and is careful in the preparation or his cases; and being a trained public speaker he was not long in pressing his merits upon the minds of the people to an extent that his income has placed him on "Easy Street," and is still growing most encouragingly. His practice has extended into the adjoining counties of Hardy and Pendleton, which embrace the territory of the Upper South Branch Valley of the historic Potomac River, the really pictorial region of West Virginia.
      Mr. Smith from early manhood has been an adherent of the Republican party, and was its nominee for the office of Prosecuting Attorney of Grant County in the campaign of 1916, and was elected for a four years' term, beginning January 1, 1917. In that important office he is even more than making good. Being a moral, Christian man he discharges his official duties conscientiously and "without fear or favor." He is a member of the Presbyterian Church and has always allied himself on the side of the moral element of the people of his county. He educated himself by his own efforts, has lived a clean and upright life, is industrious, is kind, generous and cheerful. He tells us he is still unmarried, but "Her glorious fancies come from far, beneath the silver evening star." Hence we conclude that the serious moment is not far off, and is liable any " old day " to break through the shadowy gloom that now hems him in.
     Mr. Smith is a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows fraternities, both of which are moral, patriotic, charitable organizations. [Bench And Bar of West Virginia edited by George Wesley Atkinson, 1919 - Transcribed by AFOFG]



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