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McDowell County, WV
Genealogy and History

 

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Biographies
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Isaiah C. Herndon
Isaiah C., son of William Henry Harrison and Mary E. (Belcher) Herndon, was born in Mercer county, West Virginia, March 9, 1868. He attended the public schools of his native county and completed his preparation for college at the Princeton Academy. He entered Emery and Henry College, Virginia, in 1868, and graduated in 1890. In the fall of the same year he entered the law department of the University of West Virginia, graduating in 1892. He then began the practice of his profession in Welch, West Virginia. He is a Republican in politics and has held many offices. From 1894 until 1896 he served as assistant prosecuting attorney for McDowell county, under Major Henry C. Flesher. In 1896 he was elected prosecuting attorney of the county, being re-elected in 1900. In 1904 he represented his district in the house of delegates. He served during 1904-06 as assistant United States district attorney for the southern district of West Virginia. In this last year he was elected judge of the eighth judicial circuit. He is now his party's nominee for re-election. He is a member of the Baptist church; the Masonic Lodge, having attained the thirty-second degree; the Shrine, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
He married, June 7, 1904, Addie, born in Wyoming county, West Virginia, March 19, 1878, daughter of William B. McClure. Two children have been born to them: Zebe Hammill, born August 19, 1905; Mary Launa, born May 5, 1907.
[West Virginia and Its People Volume 3 by Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell, 1913 - TK - Transcribed by AFOFG



William Henry Harrison Herndon
William Henry Harrison, son of Edmund Watson Herndon, was born in Campbell county, Virginia, in 1841, died in that state in 1887. He engaged for a number of years in the mercantile business. He served in the Confederate army during the civil war in the command of General Jubal Early and took part in many a hard fought battle, being severely wounded at the battle of Cedar Creek. He was a member of the Methodist church. He married Mary E., daughter of Christian Belcher, a farmer in West Virginia, who died about 1897, at the age of ninety-three years. Her grandfather, Obadiah Belcher, was one of the pioneers of Mercer county. Virginia. He died at the age of ninety-five years. Six children were born to them: Edmund Watson, now engaged in the insurance business in Baltimore, Maryland; Arthur M., superintendent of the Louisville Coal Company, resides at Goodwill; Fred T., a merchant at Montcalm, Mercer county; Joe May, manager of the Pocohontas Coal Company, and a merchant at Dover, McDowell county; Mrs. Ida V. Neal, resides in Montcalm, Mercer county; Isaiah C., mentioned below.
[West Virginia and Its People Volume 3 by Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell, 1913 - TK - Transcribed by AFOFG]


Payne Family
This surname, written both Paine and Payne by descendants of the same ancestral head, is one of great antiquity, and in the latter form has been traced to Persian origin.
(I) John D. Payne died December 7, 1898. He was a merchant and also, as was sometimes the case in the earlier days, had a profession, that of the law. He married Clara Cornette, born in 1841. She survives him (1912). Among their children was William Burbridge, of whom further.
(II) William Burbridge, son of John D. and Clara (Cornette) Payne, was born in McDowell county, West Virginia, August 28, 1866. He was educated in the McDowell schools and at Concord Normal School. He commenced his business life as a merchant in Bradshaw, West Virginia, where he remained six years. He was elected clerk of the circuit court of McDowell county in 1892, and has held that office to the present time (1912). Mr. Payne is a Republican in political sentiment, and has always taken an active part in the political life of his community, lending his influence toward the promotion of the public good through that channel. He is affiliated with the Presbyterian church. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, and prominent in lodge affairs.
He married, May 20, 1896, Jennie Beaver, born in Union county, South Dakota, December 25, 1871, daughter of Alexander Beaver, a farmer, who died in 1895. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Payne: Hobert Elkins, born in Welch, March 28, 1898; Meldramn Dean, William Burbridge Jr., Bernice Alice.
[West Virginia and Its People Volume 3 by Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell, 1913 - TK - Transcribed by AFOFG]


William Walter Presley
The Pressley family is numbered among the early Colonial settlers in Virginia, the name of Colonel William Pressley, of "Northumberland House," appearing first in the Northumberland County records for the year 1657. His son, Captain Peter Pressley, was an officer in the Colonial Militia, and the family attained prominence in the affairs of the Colony.
William Walter Pressley, born at Sand Lick (now Birchleaf), Dickenson County, Virginia, was a son of Joshua D. Pressley, farmer and trader, and his wife, Eliza J. Counts, daughter of William L. Counts, who died in 1911, at the ripe age of ninety-six years. The Counts family, of German origin, was among the pioneers who took up land in Russell County, Virginia.
W. W. Pressley has attained a remarkable measure of success in business, considering his environment, and perhaps that success is due largely to the blending in his veins of those English and Teutonic strains of blood which for centuries have been the greatest moving force in the world.
Young Pressley attended the District Schools of his native County, and in 1896 was a student at the High School in Clintwood, Virginia. He taught school for several terms, and began his business career by entering the service of the Antler Coal and Coke Company, at Welch, West Virginia, as store manager. Realizing the value of a thorough commercial training and a knowledge of shorthand in business, he took a course at the Commercial College of the University of Kentucky, from which institution he was graduated in 1902. He then accepted a position with the Mahan Lumber Company, near Charleston, West Virginia, and was subsequently identified with the Clinchfield Coal Corporation at Clintwood, Virginia, for two years.
Mr. Pressley is a graduate of the American Institute of Banking and is a close student of the science of profitable management of money and monetary affairs, and of the systematic control and regulation of revenue and expenditure. On the 6th of January, 1906, he was elected Cashier of the Dickenson County Bank, Inc., a position he has continuously occupied with marked ability. The Dickenson Bank is one of the most prosperous financial institutions in the southwestern section of Virginia. It is capitalized at $25,000.00 and has now a capital and surplus of nearly $75,000.00, the increase being derived exclusively from the earnings of the Bank.
Mr. Pressley is recognized by his townsmen as a public spirited citizen who can be depended on to render useful service to the community when needed, irrespective of any direct benefit to himself. For twelve years he has served as Trustee of the Dickenson County High School, and for a like period has been a member of the County School Board.
He has given his political allegiance during his whole life to the Democratic party and has served as Chairman of the Democratic Committee for four years. In this section of Virginia, where political battles are waged most fiercely, a leader must be constantly on the firing line throughout the contest.
In fraternal circles Mr. Pressley is identified with the Masonic Lodge, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Red Men. His church connection is with the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he is one of the Deacons.
Mr. Pressley married, September 9, 1907, at Clintwood, Virginia, Miss Julia Colley, daughter of B. B. and Nannie Colley. They have two sons, Charles Burns and Harry Lee, both still young.
In the prime of life, Mr. Pressley occupies an honored position secured by intelligent and faithful service, and has before him the promise of a most brilliant career. His interest and work has been most useful to the community of which he forms a part, and he is already a locally prominent citizen of a State noted for the ability and achievements of its sons.
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Makers of America: Biographies of Leading Men of Thought And Action, The Men Who Constitute The Bone And Sinew of American Prosperity And Life, Volume 2 by B.F. Johnson, 1916 - Transcribed by AFOFG]


James French Strother
James French Strother, son of Phillip Williams and Nancy Strother (Pendleton) Strother, was born near Pearisburg, Giles county, Virginia, at the residence of his maternal grandfather. Colonel Albert G. Pendleton. His education was acquired at the Pearisburg Male and Female College, Virginia; the Agricultural and Mechanical College, now the Virginia Polytechnic Institute; and he then took up the study of law at the University of Virginia, under the preceptorship of that distinguished instructor, Professor John B. Minor. Prior to attending college he had studied telegraphy and for a period of several years he acted as agent for the Norfolk and Western Railway Company, a position he resigned in order to pursue his studies. For two years he held the position of deputy collector and cashier in the office of the United States collector of internal revenue at Lynchburg, Virginia, and he was admitted to the bar in 1894. January 1, 1895, he opened offices at Welch, McDowell county, West Virginia, and was successfully engaged in the practice of his 'profession for ten years, when he was appointed judge of the criminal court of McDowell county, succeeding L. L. Chambers, who had been elected circuit judge. In 1906 Mr. Strother was elected without opposition, for a term of six years, and was reelected in 1912. In business matters he has been as successful as in professional ones, and has accumulated a considerable fortune. He has made a specialty of corporation cases in his law practice, and many of the most important in that section of the country have been handled by him. His opinion is highly valued in business circles, and for the past ten years he has served as a director in the McDowell County National Bank. The Republican party has always had his consistent support, and he has served as United States commissioner from 1897 to 1901. Mr. Strother has never been in actual military service, but he was in the Virginia militia from 1891 to 1892, being a member of the Lynchburg Home Guard, and non-commissioned officer in Company E, Third Virginia Regiment, which company was organized in 1859 to repel John Brown's raid. His fraternal association is as follows: McDowell Lodge, No. 112, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and has been past master in this lodge; Lynchburg (Virginia) Chapter, No. 10, Royal Arch Masons; Ivanhoe Commandery, No. 10, Knights Templar; Beni Kedem Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Charleston, West Virginia; McKinley Republican Club, Welch, West Virginia; Colonnade Club, University of Virginia. While Mr. Strother is not a member of any church, he gives preference to the Protestant Episcopal. He is unmarried.
[West Virginia and Its People Volume 3 by Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell, 1913 - TK - Transcribed by AFOFG]



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