Grantsville Calhoun County WV 1942

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Note: The following article was written by Attorney Louis Reed, by request, for deposit in the corner stone of the new court house now under construction. This is a copy given Miss Nettie Stump by Mr. Reed, the original having been placed in the corner stone on February 28, 1942, for future generations to think about. The article follows:


Grantsville is one of the newer West Virginia Municipalities in point of time. The first settler, appears to have been one Archibald Burris who settled here about 1810, and gave his name to Burrows Run. He has left many descendants in Calhoun county. An early settler on the South Side was John Ball, who built a log cabin near the site of the present high school ruins, between 1835 and 1845. This cabin was torn down in 1919, to make way for the school building. The log cabin which is now occupied by the family of Eddie Barnes was built by Samuel Barr, a brother-in-law of John Ball, between 1835 and 1845. This house has the unique distinction of having been in three counties and two states without changing its location. As late as the time of the Civil war the present site of Grantsville, excluding the South Side, was a part of the farm of Simon P. Stump.

The founding of Grantsville as a Municipality was the result of a thirteen year dispute between the residents of the West Fork and the Little Kanawha valley over the location of a county seat. When Calhoun county was founded in 1856, the bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly provided that the court house should be located either at the mouth of Yellow Creek or at the Bigbend of the Little Kanawha River. (just below the mouth of Yellow Creek). This arrangement met with violent protest from the inhabitants of the West Fork country who wanted the court house located at Arnoldsburg. For a time court was held both at Arnoldsburg and at the home of Collins Betts, four miles below Grantsville. Then, a compromise move made Brooksville the county seat, and a frame court house was built there by a man named E. McClosky. Again legal proceedings were instituted in favor of Arnoldsburg, which resulting favorably, caused the construction of a stone-cut basement for a new court house there. Part of this basement is still standing.

In the meantime the Civil War had been fought to a conclusion. The name of General Ulysses S. Grant loomed large in contemporary minds, and the final move in the thirteen year old dispute was the founding of a new Municipality on the farm of Simon P. Stump, called Grantsville, in honor of the famous General.
The first Municipal officers of Grantsville were: Mayor, Albert Huffman Stump, the father of Nettie Stump and Charley Stump, present day residents of Grantsville; Reese Blizzard, Recorder. Reece Blizzard later became a Circuit Judge, and later still President of The Commercial Banking and Trust Company, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The town was not incorporated until 1887.

The court house now building is the fourth to stand on this site. The first built in 1869, burned before it was occupied; the second, a frame building, was torn down to make room for the third; the third, built of red brick, manufactured nearby, was completed in 1880, and stood for sixty one years, until it was demolished in the summer of 1941, to make way for the present structure. It may be of interest to succeeding generations to know that the first three court houses, above referred to, stood on a knob or eminence somewhat above the foundations of the present building. This knoll was leveled in the summer of 1941.

Although Grantsville was the county seat, and as such the only municipality in the county from 1869 to 1900, its modern growth began with the opening of the Yellow Creek oil field in 1901. The discovery of oil at Yellow Creek, and later of natural gas in other parts of Calhoun county, attracted outside capital, and oil and gas development is now the chief industry of Calhoun county and the basis for the growth and prosperity of Grantsville. One of the earliest operators was Godfrey L. Cabot of Boston, Massachusetts, who formed the company known as Godfrey L. Cabot, Incorporated, which now employes a large force of men in the gas fields of the county, and supplies natural gas to the inhabitants of Grantsville. State Senator, L. J. Morris, is the local Superintendent for the Cabot Company.
The Hope Natural Gas Company, with headquarters at Clarksburg, also employs a large number of men in the gas fields, many of whom reside in Grantsville. The local Superintendent at the present time is A. R. Wolfe. Amoung many independent operators are W. H. Bickle, L. P. Bickle, Z. N. Connolly, O. C. Howard, K. M. Hunt, P. P. Gunn, L. B. Carroll and Lyle S. Ayers. Also Southeastern Gas Company.

Grantsville has a high school, a graded school and a municipal building in addition to the Court House and jail now being erected. There are a number of stores engaged in the mercantile trade, three hotels, four restaurants, two cleaning and pressing establishments, one pool room, one moving picture theatre, one oil and gas well supply house and one junk yard in active operation. Amoung the merchants are, The Wiant and Barr Store, A. B. Harris, Manager; Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, George Lambiotte, Manager; W. B. Gibson; Amos Gibson; Raymon Boggs and Paul Barr; Pearl Kelly; G. L. Strader; W. J. Mathews; Grantsville Drug Company, J. B. Smith, Manager; Thompson Drug Company, John Burnell, Manager; P. P. Gunn; The Calhoun Super-Service, Inc., Ernest Mollohan, Manager; Stump's Service Station, Albert Stump, Manager; Bridge Filling Station, Lyle S. Ayers, Manager; Mountain Chevrolet Sales, O. H. Copeland, Manager; McJunkin Supply Company, W. H. Britt, Manager. The Moving Picture Theatre is operated by John Cook. The hotels are owned and operated by Bruce J. Lowe, Rainbow Hotel; Mrs. Ida Jeffreys, Jeffreys Hotel, and Mrs. Wesley Owens, Owens Hotel. The pressing shops are owned by A. A. Stemple and Burl Gainer, respectively. The pool room is owned by A. A. Stemple. The Junk Company is owned and operated by Isadore Mendelson. R. J. Knotts, Jr. owns and operates an automobile repair shop; C. C. Kingsbury operates the Ben Franklin Store; Edward Plant is a store manager for Amos Gibson; Donald Witt owns and manages The Witt Lumber Company, a planing mill; John Dandos manages the Coney Island Lunch; Woodrow Burch operates a restaurant on South Side, and Bernard Marshall manages a News Stand.

There are five barbers in Grantsville and three barber shops. Richard Marshall operates a shop in the Theatre building; Harvey Stout and Ebenezer Ferrell work togeather in a shop in the Smith building; Goff Conley and Howard Brady work togeather in a shop on the Smith lot. There are two beauty shops, operated by Evelyn Grudier and Beatrice Bell. The Francis Hardware Store is owned and operated by H. T. Francis.

There are three practicing physicians in Grantsville; Dr. S. W. Riddle, Dr. J. A. Morford and Dr. C. P. Artz, and one Osteopathic physician, Dr. H. C. Toepfer. Also one dentist, Dr. A. G. Gilreath.

There are five practicing attorneys: A. G. Mathews, Bruce Ferrell, L. C. Hamilton, Louis Reed and Stanley D'Orazio. Grantsville has two churches, the Bethlehem Baptist, with a history running back to 1810, and the Methodist Episcopal. Both churches are active, and contribute to the social and spiritual life of the community. Rev. Fell Kennedy is pastor of the Baptist Church, and Rev. C. C. Perkins is pastor of the Methodist Church. A new sect called Jehovah's Witnesses has lately caused some apprehension and civil disturbance among citizens.

There are two newspapers published weekly: The Calhoun Chronicle, Democratic, and the Grantsville News, Republican. R. L. Hamilton is Editor of The Calhoun Cronicle, and H. F. Leggett for Woodyard Publications, is Editor of the Grantsville News.

The financial system of the county centers about The Calhoun County Bank, in Grantsville, which now has assets totaling more than One Million Dollars. A. Hardman is President, A. G. Mathews is Chairman of the Board, F. F. McCoy is Cashier. The Finance Committee on Loans is composed of; A. Hardman, A. G. Mathews, F. F. McCoy, L. J. Morris and Tell McDonald.

The municipality of Grantsville owns its own water system, and has garbage disposal facilities. Its officers at the present time are, Mayor A. G. Burns; Recorder, Ralph Morris; Councilmen, A. B. Harris, Z. N. Connolly, C. C. Kingsbury, Herbert Hayhurst and Roy Kemper. Former Councilmen still living in Grantsville include Logan McDonald, Tell McDonald, Lynn S. Oles, A. E. Weaver, G. L. Strader, I. N. Snider, Ira N. Stump, Louis E. Ayers, Beulah Turner Bee, M. S. Peracy, Everett Proudfoot, F. F. McCoy, C. A. Witt and others.

Most of the elected county officials live in Grantsville. These include Ivan Umstead, Sheriff; P. P. Gunn, Circuit Clerk; R. P. Mollohan, County Clerk, and L. J. Wright, Assessor; L. C. Hamilton, Prosecuting Attorney; Lewis Smith, Member of the House of Delegates for Calhoun County lives at Big Bend, W. Va. L. J. Morris, Senator for our present Senatorial District in the State Senate, lives here. Members of the County District Board of Education are: Leavy Stump, Apple Farm, W. Va.; Doddridge Bailey, Minnora, W. Va.; Kenna Lester, Pink, W. Va.; F. F. McCoy, Grantsville, W. Va. and Everett Cain, Big Bend, W. Va.; Harold Proudfoot, County Superintendent of Schools, and M. T. Hamrick is Principal of the High School, recently replacing Don McGlothlin. Joseph Haught is principal of the Grantsville Graded school Members of the County Court are: W. C. Farrar, Losie; Foster Poling, Grantsville; and Fred Robinson, Russett.

The county has a Department of Public Assistance, now located in one of the brick buildings on Main Street, under the supervision of Miss Helen Gaynor. The County Health Nurse is Miss Margaret Arbuckle; the County Agricultural Agent is Harlan Hogue, and the head of the office of Farm Security Administration is Merle Faulkner. Grantsville is supplied with electricity by the West Penn Public Service Corporation, whose local Superintendent is F. B. Felker.

The only funeral home in Calhoun county is located at Grantsville, and operated by I. N. Stump and sons. Gerald Stump, one of the sons of I. N. Stump, is County Coroner. Grantsville's Post Office is located in the Albert Jackson building. The Postmaster is W. O. Umstead, Jr.

Since the foundations of the present court house were laid, the country has been plunged into war, and as a result there has been formed in Calhoun county what is known as The Calhoun County Civilian Defense Council, whose members are the following: Chairman, Louis Reed; Coordinator, Julia W. Hamilton; Member for Protection, Dudley Lutz; Member for Utilities, F. B. Felker; Member for Education, Fell Kennedy; Member for Veteran's Activities, I. N. Snider; Member for Public Health, Dr. C. P. Artz; Member for Defense Bonds and Stamp Sales, W. O. Umstead, Jr.; Member for Information, R. L. Hamilton; Publicity Director, H. F. Leggitt; Member for Labor, H. F. Rothwell; Member for Agriculture, Harlan Hogue. The Civilian Defense Council has appointed the following members of the Rationing Board: Holly Nester, Chairman; H. T. Francis and A. R. Wolfe.

The Selective Service Board for Calhoun county is composed of the following members: C. C. Kingsbury, Chairman; H. C. Toepfer and Louis Reed; L. L. Ferrell is Clerk.

The Master of the local Masonic Lodge is O. C. Hathaway, Accountant, employed by W. H. Bickel. Mildred Jarvis heads the Eastern Star.

The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary are quite active in Grantsville. The Legion hall is the center of Social activities and also houses the offices of the Selective Service Board. I. N. Snider is the present Commander, and Holly Nester is Adjutant. Lenna Marshall is president of the Legion Auxiliary.
Amoung the present and former residents of Grantsville who have achieved distinction are: John M. Hamilton, Grantsville lawyer who represented the district of which Calhoun county was a part, in the 62nd Congress; John M. Wolverton, who resides at Richwood, and has served several terms in Congress; Albert G. Mathews, Grantsville Lawyer, who was formerly President of the State Senate, and State Compensation Commissioner; S. P. Bell, Spencer lawyer, former President of the West Virginia Bar Association, who is listed in Who's Who in America; and Boyd B. Stutler, who served as Mayor of Grantsville at the age of twenty one years, and at present is Managing Editor of The American Legion Magazine in New York City.

Two Justices of the Peace have offices in Grantsville, and reside here namely, M. A. C. Board and Harry Stevens. M. A. C. Board, former Sheriff, is now inactive, due to prolonged illness. Constables are Columbus Carpenter and C. E. Offutt, former Sheriff. Other ex-Sheriffs residing in and near Grantsville, are G. A. Richards, P. P. Gunn and R. J. Knotts.

The telephonic communication is maintained by the Bell Telephone Company with a line to Spencer, and the Citizens Telephone Company, a local concern, of which W. V. Knight is President. The local telephone operators are Lillie Barr and Lida Hayhurst. Other business not heretofore enumerated, are: Hayward Francis, Radio repairman and Coda Morrison, automobile repairman. Ora Campbell is Superintendent of the city water plant, Dudley Lutz is Town Sergeant, and Lewis Ferrell, Jr. is Superintendent of streets and alleys.

Dudley Lutz also operates a shoe repair shop.

Grantsville is supplied with milk from three dairies, all of which have been given an A-rating by the State Health Department. They are owned and operated by Daisy Whipkey, Art Huffman and M. S. Gherke.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is active in Grantsville, and so are the Rebekahs. Orval Hathaway is Noble Grand of the Odd Fellows, and Alma Ice, daughter of C. E. Offutt, heads the Rebekahs. We have organizations of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, under the supervision of Joseph Haught and Miss Opal Hardman respectively The Rotary Club which meets weekly at Friday noon, in the basement of the Methodist Church, has sponsored a number of civic enterprises, amoung which is the recent Red Cross drive for donations. Grantsville over-subscribed its quota. Current President of Rotary is Dr. A. G. Gilreath. Another social organization is the Youth Forum, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. C. P. Artz, of which David Hathaway, a high school junior, is now President.

A number of Federal and State Administrative agencies maintain offices in Grantsville, notably the Works Progress Administration, The National Youth Administration and the State Road Commission though the latter has recently moved to new quarters near Mt. Zion. The Works Progress Administration maintains a public recreation room in the basement of The Calhoun County Bank, where shuffleboard, table tennis, cards and checkers may be played, under the supervision of Wilbur Wallbrown. County Superintendent of W. P. A. is Horace Haught. This court house is being built by W. P. A. labor under the supervision of P. E. Lewis, an engineer from Huntington, West Virginia. The National Youth Administration is administered locally by I. D. Smith and Mrs. Julia W. Hamilton. The County Maintenance Engineer of the State Road Commission is C. A. Witt. Ira Hardman, Districe Engineer for the State Road Commission, maintains a home in Grantsville, but his office is now at Parkersburg, W. Va.

While this manuscript was being typed, The Calhoun County High School was destroyed by fire. This occurred in the early morning of February 21st 1942. It is believed that the damage can be repaired and the school, rebuilt, but there is no other building large enough to be converted into a temporary high school. There are nearly five hundred students in the high school, many of whom come from distant parts of the county by bus.

The author of this brief history is a member of Eureka Lodge No. 40, and the preparation of material and transcribing the same was ordered by the Worshipful Master of the lodge, O. C. Hathaway, for the purpose of preserving to posterity some small account of the people who lived here at the time this court house was built, and their background. 
The author acknowledges his indebtedness to Brother Lenna L. Ball of Grantsville, for his invaluable aid in providing material and proof-reading the manuscript, and also to Miss Nettie Stump of Grantsville, for furnishing details of history not otherwise obtainable. Both Lenna L. Ball and Nettie Stump are direct descendants of the John Ball mentioned in the first paragraph hereof. The manuscript was dictated by Louis Reed to Miss Lenna Proudfoot, Secretary to A. G. Mathews and Louis Reed, who typed the same.

Louis Reed
Grantsville, West Virginia
February 23rd, 1942
The Grantsville News, March 19, 1942