JACOB B. BLAIR
Blair, Jacob B., lawyer, jurist, congressman, was born April 11, 1821, in Parkersburg, Va. He was prosecuting attorney for Ritchie County for several years. In 1861-65 he was a representative from Virginia to the thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth congresses. In 1867 he was elected a representative in the state legislature; and was United States minister to Costa Rica in 1868-72. In 1876-88 he was associate justice of the supreme court of Wyoming territory. He died Feb. 12, 1901, in Salt Lake City, Utah. [Herringshaws National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States, by William Herringshaw, 1909 Transcribed by AFOFG]
JOHN T. GAINER
John T. Gainer, cashier of the Clay County Bank and one of the most prominent financiers and esteemed citizens of Clay Court House, West Virginia, was born May 31, 1871. in Auburn. Ritchie County, West Virginia. He is a son of Albert and Susan A. (Loudon) Gainer, the former of whom was born in January, 1848. and the latter on January 2, 1849. Our subject's mother was a daughter of Thomas Loudon, who removed from Virginia and settled in Upshur County, West Virginia. She was born in Gilman County and there was married to Albert Gainer. The father of the subject of this sketch is a son of John Gainer and a grandson of Bryan Gain er, of Irish ancestry, who removed from Barbour County to what is now Lewis County, West Virginia. Since 1879 Albert Gainer has been a traveling salesman.
John T. Gainer was educated in the common schools and was reared on his father's farm. From the age of 17 to 19 years he was engaged in clerical work in a general store, and then entered the Calhoun County Bank at Grantsville as assistant cashier, where he continued until August 20, 1902, when he accepted his present position. The Clay County Bank was organized June 4, 1002, with C. S. Pearcy as its first cashier, our subject succeeding him. Since taking charge, the capital stock has been increased to $50,000, and the institution ranks high with others of its kind with respect to its stability and to the safety and value of its investments.
Mr. Gainer was married July 28, 1805, to Minnie A. Jeffries. His second marriage was to Belle Ball, on August 18, 1901. One daughter, Madeline, has been born to this union.
Mr. Gainer is one of the leading Republicans of his county, in fact has been conspicuous in party affairs ever since he reached his majority. In Calhoun County he served on the Republican Executive Committee and has been elected from that county a delegate to many conventions. His interest is, however, only that of an intelligent and public spirited citizen. His business is banking, and few are more thoroughly conversant with its requirements than he, and he has never been willing to accept public office. His fraternal relations are with Eureka Lodge No. 40. A. F. & A. M., of Grantsville, Calhoun County; Jerusalem Chapter, No. 3, R. A. M., of Parkersburg; and Calvary Commandery, No. 3, K. T., also of Parkersburg.
In addition to the saddlery and harness business proper, he carries a large line of shoe findings and shoemaker's supplies. The public in general knows that he sells his goods at the right prices. The splendid success of nearly 20 years has fully demonstrated this. Mr. Popp enjoys a large mail-order business, and all orders intrusted in his care are highly appreciated and always attended to with great promptness and to the satisfaction of the customer. [Men of West Virginia by Biographical Publishing Company - Transcribed by Therman Kellar]
CLYDE BEECHER JOHNSON
The eldest son of James L. and Anna C. (Martin) Johnson, Clyde Johnson, was born June 17, 1871, on a farm in Pleasants County, West Virginia, near what was then Twiggs Post Office. His father, at the age of 74, is yet living at Ellenboro, Ritchie County, West Virginia, and has for many years been an active farmer and business man in that section of the State.
In conversation with the writer Mr. Johnson talked of little else than his mother, who died in 1909. He attributes to her any degree of success that has come to him, and among other things said: "My mother was a queen among women. She was one of the early female graduates of Marietta College, and I yet believe she was the most thoroughly cultured and educated woman I have ever met. Her knowledge was encyclopedic, her memory marvelous, and her judgment of persons and situations unerring. After her graduation she taught in Mississippi, and later in Texas and during a portion of the War Between the States she was principal of the Huntsville Female Academy, now, I believe, a Texas Normal School. After the close of the war she came back north to care for her aged parents, and in 1866 opened "The Cedars," one of the first exclusive finishing schools for young ladies west of the Allegheny Mountains. In January, 1870, she married my father, and in addition to her duties as a wife and mother she found time to teach what was in fact a private college almost up to the time of her death in 1909. I have spoken thus at length of my mother because she deserves it. She is by far the most important part of this sketch, as whatever of success has come to me is almost wholly due to her example and teaching, and to such of her high ideals and splendid mind as I inherited."
Mr. Johnson was educated in the common schools of West Virginia, later spending some time both at Marietta and at West Virginia Wesleyan Colleges, but is not a graduate of either. He taught public schools for a number of years, in the meantime devoting himself to the study of law, being admitted to the Bar in 1895. He is proud of the fact that Arthur I. Boreman, the first Governor of West Virginia, and then Judge of the Third Circuit, was the first Judge to sign his law license. His first year of practice was at Sistersville in Tyler County, at the end of which he returned to Pleasants County and was the nominee of his party for Prosecuting Attorney in the election of 1896. He says that his defeat in that election at once curing him of running for office, and forcing him to settle down to hard professional work was a blessing in disguise.
He practiced in the town of St. Marys from 1896 until July 1, 1913, when he removed to Charleston and formed a partnership with Hon. William G. Conley, who had just finished his term as Attorney-General of the State. This firm represents The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company in many matters in West Virginia, and has a wide general practice in both State and Federal Courts.
In 1898 Mr. Johnson married Miss Anna Grace Hart, of Randolph County, West Virginia, and with their two children Myra and Bosworth they reside in a pleasant home in the City of Charleston. At this home with his family and in his modest home library Mr. Johnson finds his greatest pleasures. Amid pressing duties of a general law practice he has found a few spare hours to devote to literary pursuits, and in addition to some editorial work has written occasional bits of verse. Some of these were published in 1914 in a little volume entitled "Rhyme and Reason."
He is a member of the American Bar Association, the West Virginia Bar Association and the local Bar Association of the City of Charleston. His highest ambition is to be remembered when his life is finished as a lawyer worthy of fellowship in these associations, which include the great legal minds of America.
In politics Mr. Johnson is a life-long Democrat of the school, he says, that trusts the popular judgment and believes that no cause or party emergency is great enough to demand a sacrifice of candor. While never himself a candidate for public office since 1896, until the present year, being the nominee of his party as a candidate for State Senator, he has always taken an active interest in the affairs of his party, and has as wide an acquaintance throughout the State as perhaps any man of his age. He is a believer in Government by party, and it is never difficult to know where he stands on any public question. He is one of the ablest stump speakers in the entire State in all of the political parties.
Mr. Johnson confesses of having lived the quiet life of the country lawyer who must live by his work, and assures the biographer that there is little to tell about it that would seem of importance except to his family and intimate friends. He is an orator of high grade, and is a trial lawyer of pronounced ability and is a sound pleader as well. [Bench and bar of West Virginia by George Wesley Atkinson, 1919 Transcribed by AFOFG]
LEVI MALEY, now deceased, was one of the pioneers of 1837, in the township of Sumner. He was born March 22, 1822, in Ritchie Co., West Virginia. His father, William Maley, was born in Lancaster Co., Pa., Aug. 1, 1780. The family is of Irish origin, the father of Mr. Maley last named having been born in that country, whence, he came to America about the time of the War of the Revolution. He entered the Colonial military service, and after his enrollment, while on his way to join his command, in company with the organization to which he belonged, was surprised by a detachment of British dragoons, taken prisoner and confined for some time on board a prison ship, in the harbor of New York. After the close of the war, about 1796, he went to West Virginia. He had become the possessor of a tract of land in that part of the Old Dominion which was located in Wood County, and by a subsequent municipal division was set off to Ritchie County. The condition of the route thither from the then limited bounds of civilization can better be imagined than described. The way was literally trackless from the county of Rockbridge, in Virginia, where he was warned of the insecurity of the place where he purposed to settle, on account of the Indians there. He heeded the advice and located in Rockbridge County, among the mountains. Their stay continued four or five years and then three of the sons, one of whom was the subject of this personal narration, pushed their way to Wood County. They took possession of their father's claim, erected a log cabin and proceeded to clear the land from the heavy growth of timber. As soon as the work of improvement was fairly under way they were joined by their parents and the remaining members of the family. The grandparents were included in the household, and their lives came to a close in Wood County, on the frontier farm.
William Maley married Nancy Wells. She was a native of Pennsylvania, and her father was one of the pioneers of Wood County. From him she received a tract of land which comprised 320 acres. Her husband cleared it and placed it in profitable condition for agricultural purposes. It was their home for many years and was the birthplace of their 13 children. In 1837 the household, including 15 persons, started for an overland trip to Illinois; the party made quite a little procession with their eight horses, two wagons and a carriage. They cooked and ate, and slept on the way in their wagons, and after a journey of four weeks arrived in Warren County. In the vicinity of Little York they found a vacant cabin, which they took possession of, and which was their home through the first winter. Meanwhile the father bought land in the Township of Sumner, on Section 31. It had no house and the family found shelter in a log house which stood on another farm in the immediate vicinity, of which they were the occupants until August of that summer, when their own house was in readiness for them. With the assistance of his sons the senior Maley improved a farm, and on it he passed the remainder of his life. He died in 1858. His wife's death transpired in 1838. She was a member of the Presbyterian church. He belonged to the seceding branch of the same denomination.
Levi Maley came to Warren County (IL) with his father, and was an inmate of the parental home until his marriage, Dec. 6, 1841, to Margaret F. Paxton. She was the daughter of William and Margaret Paxton, and was born May 1, 1829, in Greene Co., Ohio. Her parents were pioneers of Warren County. Her husband, associated with two brothers, bought land on section 20 in Sumner Township, on which they located at the time of their marriage. Their home was at first the pioneer log cabin, but this in time gave way to a large frame house, and soon after the other buildings on the place were made to correspond in value and appearance. Mr. Maley died July 15, 1866. His five children were born in the following order: William, born June 5, 1852; died Dec. 23, 1876, leaving a wife and three children. Margaret A. is the wife of William Berry. They live at Little York. Clarissa married B. S. Dodson, and they are residents of the same place, as is John P. Elizabeth married J. Allison. Mr. Maley united with the United Presbyterian church, to which his wife belonged before her marriage. Mrs. Maley is a resident of Little York, with her son John P., who is a stock dealer. [Portrait and Biographical Album of Warren County, Illinois, Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1886, p. 543-544; Sub. by Carol Parrish]
Hon. William Tecumseh Sherman Robinson, usually known as Sherman Robinson, was born at Grantsville, Calhoun county. West Virginia, September 4, 1870. His father, Francis Robinson, was an early settler and lived to the ripe old age of eighty-four.
Sherman Robinson's boyhood days were spent in hard manual labor on a farm, but even then he was studious, improving the educational advantages possible for him. He received a liberal education, and was able at the age of sixteen to teach a public school; and for five years he taught on a first grade certificate. During this time, he was studying law in his vacations. In October, 1891, he was admitted to the bar. He was then just twenty-one; and at once entered on the practice of his profession at Grantsville. He soon attracted attention and his practice grew rapidly. He was nominated by the Republicans, in 1892 for the office of prosecuting attorney of Calhoun county, the county being then, as now, largely Democratic.
Early in the same year he moved to Harrisville, Ritchie county, West Virginia,where he has since lived and practiced. For fifteen years he was the law partner of the Honorable Romeo H. Freer. Mr. Robinson has been very successful in his profession, and has the confidence and esteem of the members of the legal fraternity in general. Beside an extensive practice in the courts of West Virginia, he has had important cases before the federal courts in Richmond, Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; New York City, and elsewhere. He has defended every man accused with murder since he located in Ritchie county,and has secured acquittals or light sentences in every instance. His law library is one of the largest and best in West Virginia.Persevering in the studious habits of his youth, he has become fairly conversant with the Latin, French and Spanish languages. An attractive man, genial and generous, he is justly popular in his large circle of acquaintances. He is a member of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons.
Although his attention has been closely given to his legal studies and work, Mr. Robinson has held several public offices. He has been mayor and recorder of Harrisville. For eight years he was school land commissioner of Ritchie county.In 1908 and again in 1910 he was elected a member of the house of delegates of the state. Mr. Robinson is a Republican, and a Methodist. Sherman Robinson is regarded by those who know him best as being fearless in the discharge of his duties, and is incorruptible
Sherman Robinson married, May 29, 1892, Eva, daughter of Robert James and Elizabeth Jane (Knotts) Chenoweth, who was born at Minora, Calhoun county. West Virginia,November 3. 1872. The Chenoweth family is of Cornish descent, a younger branch of the extinct Trevelezick family, and is an arms-bearing family. John Chenoweth, born in Wales in 1652, married Mary Calvert. daughter of Lord Baltimore, and came to America in 1680 and settled in the colony of Maryland. From this immigrant couple to Mrs. Robinson the line is: (I) John Chenoweth, just named. (II) Arthur Chenoweth, born in 1688; came to Berkeley county, Virginia,in 1720; married Patience Calvert. daughter of the third Lord Baltimore. (Ill) John Chenoweth, died in 1770; married, at Japa, Harford county, Maryland, November 21. 1730, Mary Smith. (IV) William Chenoweth born January 8, 1732, died in 1772; married Elizabeth . (V) John Chenoweth born in 1745 served in the Revolution; married January 7, 1779, Mary Pugh. (VI) Robert Chenoweth, born April 19, 1782; came to Randolph county, Virginia,settling where Elkins has since been built: married (first) August 24, 1802, Rachel Stalnaker, (second) Edith Skidmore. (VII) Robert James Chenoweth, child of the second marriage, born October 29, 1829, died May 16, 1906; married, in 1853, Elizabeth Jane Knotts. (VIII) Eva; married Sherman Robinson. Mrs. Robinson is the organizer of the Ritchie county Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Children of William Tecumseh Sherman and Eva (Chenoweth) Robinson: Geraldine, born October 15, 1893; Nell, born March 7, 1896. [West Virginia and its people, Volume 3By Thomas Condit Miller, Hu Maxwell - Transcribed by Therman Kellar]
JOHN S. WOOFTER
There is probably no man in Creek County (Oklahoma) whose word and counsel are more esteemed in business and public affairs than John S. Woofter, who is secretary and treasurer of the Hammett Oil Company of Sapulpa. He is one of Sapulpa's leading business men, and particularly in republican politics is well known all over the state.
He was born near Auburn, West Virginia, October 25, 1860, a son of Andrew and Mary (Simpson) Woofter. His paternal grandparents came from Holland, first settled in New Jersey and afterwards on a farm in West Virginia. Sheriff Woofter's parents were born near Weston, West Virginia, and died there, the father at the age of eighty and the mother at seventy-eight. They died within three months of each other. They were substantial farming people and Andrew Woofter was a man of considerable prominence in his home county, where he served as county assessor and in several other positions of trust. In the family were six sons and two daughters: T. J., now deceased; George A., a minister of the Baptist Church at Bridgeport, West Virginia; Sarah, wife of Joshua Adams of Harrisville, West Virginia; Francis A., a farmer at Millett, Texas; Columbia, wife of F. M. Bush of Auburn, West Virginia; Clark, of Parkersburg, West Virginia; John S.; and Ellet of Charleston, West Virginia.
John S. Woofter lived on the West Virginia farm where he was born until he was seventeen years of age. He received an average education and for several years was a teacher himself. His first business experience was as a salesman in a wholesale grocery firm, but in 1903 he went to Texas, and became identified with the Beaumont Oil District. Since then he has been continuously identified with the oil industry in one capacity or other. In 1904 he moved to Houston, Texas, and since 1907 has been a resident of Sapulpa. He is now secretary and treasurer of the Hammett Oil Company, of which C. E. Barrett is president and W. W. Fondrew of Houston is vice president. This company has some valuable oil leases and is doing a good deal to develop and operate in the Oklahoma oil belt. Mr. Woofter is an expert accountant, and has given his services in that capacity to several business firms in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
For five years he served as treasurer of the Sapulpa School Board, and in the primaries of 1916 he received the largest vote of any man in Sapulpa for re-election to same office. In September, 1915, when the Creek County sheriff was temporarily suspended for investigation and exonerated, Mr. Woofter was appointed to the vacancy by the court, and he attracted a good deal of attention by his efficiency and vigor in cleaning up Sapulpa. During his first two weeks in office he destroyed liquor and gambling outfits to the value of about eleven thousand dollars. He served about five weeks.
Mr. Woofter is a republican, has served for several years on the state committee, and in 1910 was nominated at the primaries for clerk of the proposed Superior Court of Creek County, though the election never came off, since the court was not granted owing to lack of sufficient population. Mr. Woofter is a member of the Baptist Church, in Masonry has attained the thirty-second degree of Scottish Rite and belongs to the Mystic Shrine, and for two years was patron of the Chapter of the Eastern Star. He is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Loyal Order of Moose and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is past exalted ruler of Sapulpa Lodge No. 1118, and represented this lodge in the convention at Portland in 1912.
At the time of statehood Mr. Woofter was chosen as one of the committee of three to locate the county seat at Sapulpa and provide for the issue of bonds to the amount of one hundred and forty-five thousand dollars to construct the present courthouse. Everywhere he is known he enjoys esteem and confidence for his business ability and integrity, has frequently been consulted in regard to business deals, and has served as receiver for several oil companies. In 1914 he was on the republican ticket at the preferential primaries in Oklahoma as candidate for state examiner and inspector. [Source: A Standard History of Oklahoma Volume 4 By Joseph Bradfield Thoburn - Transcribed by B. Ziegenmeyer]