Kanawha County, WV
Community News Gleanings

CHARLESTON, W. Va., June 8 - Examination of Charleston dairies disclosed that only two are in first-class sanitary condition, according to City Chemist Wilson. Many are rated fair and a number poor. Wilson notified them they must clean up or get out of business.  [The Fairmont West Virginian. (Fairmont, W. Va.), 08 June 1915]

Man Providing Poles Describes First Electric Lights of City
By William H. Maginnis
The only man living who had part in furnishing poles for electric lights in Charleston when they were first installed in 1887 is H. J. Peal
(Harvey Jennings Peal) of Ruth, the little village in Washington district on RFD 7 out of South Charleston. Otto H. Michaelson is credited with being Charleston's first citizen to be convinced that a central electric light plant would add much to the city's institutions. It was Philip Frankenberger, however, who financed the project, according to R. G. Skinner, manager of the residential sales department of the Appalachian Electric Power Co, who said the town council in October, 1886 granted Michaelson and Frankenberger permission to furnish Charleston with lights and to supply electric illumination to residents and business establishments.
Generator Erected -- The Kanawha Electric Light Co, he said, erected on Alderson St, a 100 kilowatt generator belted to a steam engine. Electric service was available only during the dark hours before midnight. By 1888 the company was supplying electric, service to 150 customers. Service was supplied on a flat rate basis and all bills were payable at Frankenberger’s store, which was then on Kanawha St. "J. A. Wells, James Peal, my cousin, and I," said H. J. Peal a few days ago, "contracted with O, H. Michaelson to cut and deliver the poles at the wharf at Charleston. "We cut them on Rush creek one mile below Marmet, brought them to the river and floated them to town. "I remember that Wells and I shoved off a raft of 50 one morning at 4 a. m. The river was very high and when we hit the current it threw us across the river against a rock bar. We found a boat and shoved off.
Poles Scattered In River-- "Near the site of the present state capital, we met the big Kanawha packetboat running from Pittsburgh, Pa., and when it had passed there were no two poles still together. But we did not lose a pole. There were 150, 30-foot poles and one 40-foot pole, called the main pole. We were invited by Michaelson to be around his music store at 7 p. m. and were present when the first lights came on on Kanawha St, now the boulevard. Mr. Peal said he worked later in coal mines for 37 years, and in that period weighed many thousands of tons of coal for the Marmet Coal Co. "I helped to organize the- mines at Hernshaw," he said, "and had charge of supplies in a strike about 1902." Later he was engaged in painting and construction work. He was hoeing his garden when interviewed. Mr. Peal has been married 52 years. His wife, the former Miss Mary Susan Wells, is a niece of J. A. Wells, one of the three who supplied the poles for Charleston's first lights. Mr. and Mrs. Peal have four daughters and two sons. One son, Russell, is a Nazarene preacher at St. Albans. [Source: "The Charleston Gazette" Thursday, July 8, 1948 - Submitted by Michael Shaffer, great-grandson of Harvy Jennings Peal]


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