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Meet
West Virginia's
History Heroes
For 2015

What is a History Hero?


JoLynn Ball has been a valued member of the Greenbrier Historical Society for many years. She served on the board of directors, 2000-2006, also serving as board secretary during that time. She has been a member of the Personnel Committee through which she contributed to annual staff evaluations and helped interview and select new staff. To facilitate access, JoLynn started the computerized index of the materials in the archives and library and organized the library’s physical space. She helped with the early sorting of Greenbrier County courthouse documents, and she currently is organizing photographs taken during the society’s 50-year existence.
Nominated by Greenbrier Historical Society

Jennifer Cline has been assistant curator of the Wyoming County Historical Museum since 2012 and a member of the board of directors since 2013. She also is head of the museum’s reference library, which she set up, and responds to out-of-state genealogy inquiries. Ms. Cline chairs the Civil War Christmas program and is co-chair of the annual Wyoming County Civil War Days, both of which provide educational opportunities for area children. She also serves on the Historical Sites Committee and is active in fundraising efforts. Recently, she played an important role in researching, locating, and documenting five petroglyph sites in Wyoming County.
Nominated by Wyoming County Historical Museum

Connie L. Cox has made important contributions to the Preston County Sports Museum and the Carolann Hooton Library. On numerous occasions she has spoken on the history of southwestern Preston County, which she researched for 15 years and on which she wrote a book published in 2005. Cox also is the compiler for Fellowsville School Memories (1884-2004). She has served as a volunteer at the sports museum on weekends, worked on school exhibits, and participated in the museum dedication program.
Nominated by Carolann Hooton Library and Preston County Sports Museum

A member of the Ohio Valley Chapter, NSDAR, Malinda Darlene Horner Davis recently worked with other chapter members to honor Vietnam War era veterans from Pleasants, Tyler, and Wetzel counties with a wall of honor. She encourages the proper display of the U.S. flag, and she and her daughters place flags on veterans’ graves each May and November. Davis also has presented programs on women behind the signers of the Declaration of Independence to local groups.
Nominated by Ohio Valley Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

In 2014, James H. Frey re-established the Fort Henry Chapter, National Society Sons of the American Revolution, which had been defunct since the late 1970s, and he is the current president. As a board member of the Friends of Wheeling, he initiated the idea of the Preservation Loan Fund to help owners of historic properties receive renovation loans. In addition, James assisted with the effort to secure the original recordings of the radio program It’s Wheeling Steel and have them sent to West Virginia University. He also has portrayed many historical characters in Wheeling history.
Nominated by Wheeling Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Leonard and Dolores Ginier became members of the Brooke County Historical Museum board of directors 12 years ago. They both also serve on the Operations Committee and spend many hours in the museum working as tour guides. The museum has received a number of donations through their efforts. In addition, Dolores serves on the Culture and Program committees, while Leonard serves on the Maintenance, Safety, and Security committees and also is the current vice president. With his electrical skills and experience from long service with the fire department and her hard work setting up and labeling displays, the Giniers provided invaluable service on the museum’s new facility.
Nominated by Brooke County Historical Museum and Culture Center

Patricia “P. L.” Grimm is a lifetime member of the Rowlesburg Area Historical Society and has served as society secretary for five years. She is a reliable and efficient volunteer for the museum and depot, proofreads materials for publication, creates new projects for fundraising, and has worked steadily and tirelessly for the viability and growth of the organization.
Nominated by Rowlesburg Area Historical Society

Food historians Martha R. and Richard S. Hartley have spent more than two decades researching the diet of western Virginia settlers and how they prepared food, and in 2014 they published The Frontier Table: A Treatise & Source Book on Western Virginia Foodways History, 1776-1860. The Hartleys have done hearth cooking demonstrations and serve as museum docents at Fort New Salem and Blennerhassett Island. They also spent several years building a 2-story log structure near North Bend State Park that they turned into a bed and breakfast.
Nominated by Ritchie County Historical Society, Inc.

A local expert on the early history of the Frankfort District, James M. Hoey is a charter member of the Frankfort District Historical Society. He has researched, developed, and presented multimedia programs to schools and service and historical clubs on a number of topics, and he has worked with local and regional historians on such projects as Wappacoma Road, Stewart’s Tavern, and topographic documentation of early land grant plats in Mineral County. Hoey is a docent at Ashby’s Fort and Stewart’s Tavern and currently is working on a history of Ashby’s Fort and the lower Patterson Creek Valley.
Nominated by Mineral County Historical Society

From May to October, David Huxtable serves as a tour guide at Arthurdale Heritage and is an expert on its history. He also uses his graphic skills to design and print postcards and other items that he donates for sale in the craft shop. Since 2009, he has been a member of the board of directors. David is a dependable worker who volunteers at fundraisers and, from set up to tear down, works with many events held during the year. He is always willing to do whatever is needed at the moment.
Nominated by Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.

Anthony Lee Kirk, who served the Logan County Genealogical Society as president for 10 years, is an avid participant in the preservation of family histories. He has been an officer in the Melungeon Heritage Association, chaired or co-chaired several gatherings, and participated in a documentary on Melungeon for the History Channel. He also has made presentations about gravehouses, their traditions and connections. In addition, Kirk has given cemetery tours, documented local cemeteries, and made headstones for graves without them.
Nominated by Logan County Genealogical Society

Roger Mackey has been instrumental in establishing a visible presence on the Internet for Parkersburg history. He maintains five Web sites and several Facebook groups devoted to Parkersburg and West Virginia history, and the Facebook pages boast 50,000 historical photographs of the area. Roger has tapped into a treasure trove of information from residents and former residents, and his use of social media has been an encouragement for young people to explore their history. He also assisted in development of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society Web page.
Nominated by Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, Inc.

Jack “Bo” McClure has been a member of the St. Albans Historical Society for several years. He has donated photographs and artifacts to the society’s two museums and serves on several committees. He helps with the annual Founders Day and the annual Morgan’s Kitchen Fall Festival, where he helps make apple butter and assists with preparations. Jack is always ready to volunteer for open houses. He works behind the scenes to get things done when it comes to sharing history in St. Albans.
Nominated by St. Albans Historical Society

Elaine Patterson has been a very active member of the Fayette and Raleigh Counties Genealogical Society. Over a period of 12 years, she worked with other society members to record more than 300 cemeteries. She also spent many hours in the Fayette County courthouse gathering information about veterans. She helped type, edit, and prepare seven books for publication and has spent hours filing newsletters, cataloging and shelving book titles, and caring for the society’s library resources. In addition to her work on various committees, Elaine served as vice president, 1997-2006, and treasurer, 2007-2008, and was recently elected for a 2-year term as secretary.
Nominated by Fayette and Raleigh Counties Genealogical Society, Inc.

For more than forty years, A. Michael and Henriella Perry have collected artifacts of Appalachian heritage, and in 1998 the couple founded Heritage Farm Museum and Village. Over the years, the Perrys acquired and/or built several structures on the 500-acre property to make the village an educational experience for students and other visitors to see a blacksmith, woodworker, potter, and other artisans dressed in period clothing working with period tools. The facility also is a working farm with a petting zoo, vegetable gardens, and beekeeping. An asset for the preservation and appreciation of West Virginia history, Heritage Farm received the Heritage Tourism Award from Preservation Alliance of West Virginia in 2014.
Nominated by Heritage Farm Museum and Village

John Richardson has dedicated himself to assisting with the restoration, preservation, and historical interpretation of the Historic Madie Carroll House. He is not just a dues paying member, he is an active member who contributes to the Carroll House by acting as a docent, promoting the project on and off site, and helping to maintain the project’s furnishings and artifacts. Richardson is a talented furniture restorationist who has donated that talent by, for example, reupholstering a chamber pot seat and restoring a kitchen table. He also serves on the Security Committee, answering alarm calls, and the Interior Committee, keeping the house maintained.
Nominated by Madie Carroll House Preservation Society, Inc.

Jeanette M. Rowsey has donated a large body of clippings, yearbooks, photographs and other material on the Barboursville area to the KYOWVA Genealogical and Historical Society. In addition, she has given three lectures at society meetings in the past two years, and she promotes the society and its importance whenever possible. In 2013, Rowsey published a history of Barboursville, The Lost Village of Barboursville. She also is a member of the Cabell County Public Library board of directors.
Nominated by KYOWVA Genealogical and Historical Society

Mark Sadd is transforming West Virginia through words and deeds. His work as a preservation land use attorney has protected historic resources while his efforts as a developer have revitalized local communities. Mark demonstrates how preservation is a feasible, important element to revitalizing the state, and his work with the former Glenwood Elementary School in Charleston is an example of how old buildings can have new uses. He served two terms on the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and currently is on the advisory board for Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, where he is providing insight into how the organization can grow and more efficiently serve the state’s historic resources.
Nominated by Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Inc.

Gregory W. Smith is a member of the board of directors and property manager of the Friends of Wheeling historic headquarters, and he oversaw the renovation of the outside of the building in the past year. He also is a member of the newly established Preservation Loan Fund Committee. Gregory has been recognized for his “outstanding efforts in historic preservation,” which include restoration of two Victorian homes and keeping the Third Presbyterian Church in Wheeling from being demolished. As a member of the Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission, he spearheaded a historic home plaque program for residents who document the history of their homes.
Nominated by Friends of Wheeling

Tommy V. Smith is both a promoter of historic preservation and an expert speaker on Civil War topics. Since moving to the state a few years ago, he has taken an interest in regional history. He serves as program director for the Gilmer County Historical Society, helping to arrange monthly speakers and giving presentations of his own on Civil War battles and related topics. An interpretive ranger at Bulltown Historic Area since 2011, Smith has expanded publicity for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ historical site and organized related heritage events.
Nominated by Gilmer County Historical Society

Kevin Eugene Spicer has been vice president of the Mercer County Historical Society since 2013. A member of Camp 1694, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Gen. Hugh Mercer Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, he participates in living history events. Spicer has researched and portrayed not only wartime characters but also characters from other periods. From 2001 to 2012, he was quartermaster for his SCV camp, and, from 2012 to 2014, he served on the historical society’s Heritage Festival Committee. He also is the historian for Bluewell United Methodist Church.
Nominated by Mercer County Historical Society

Robert Straub became a member of the board of directors of the Marshall County Historical Society in 2014. He served as society treasurer, 2009-2011, and has been treasurer for the Cockayne Farmhouse preservation/restoration project since 2006. Bob is not pretentious nor does he seek attention. He helps with funding ideas and participates in society events, but perhaps his greatest asset is his leadership ability. It was his idea for the society to partner with the local library to make the Foundation Finder database available to individual and non-profit grant seekers. Bob also has worked to make the Cockayne Farmhouse and Marshall County tourist destinations.
Nominated by Marshall County Historical Society

Melissa Moore Swisher is an energetic contributor to the preservation efforts of Roane County history. In addition to assisting with genealogical research and inquiries, she has dedicated many hours to researching and compiling information concerning historical events and persons significant to the area. Melissa also worked with other members of the Roane County Historical Society on digitization, preservation, and organization of the society’s printed publications, and she has helped expand genealogical materials in the research room at the Roane County Library. The current first vice president of the society, she previously served as second vice president and served on the Genealogical Fair and Essay Scholarship committees.
Nominated by Roane County Historical Society, Inc.

Through dedicated work, Joseph A. “Joey” Tellitocci and Joseph Tellitocci Jr. have shed light on the Benwood Mine Disaster of 1924, one of the worst mine disasters in West Virginia’s history. Joey conducted research to get an accurate record of the names of those who died and details of the event and, through public presentations, newspaper articles and other methods, has made this information public. Working together, this father and son team led an effort that resulted in permanent stone monuments, dedicated in September 2014, that preserve the names of 119 coal miners lost in 1924 and another 5 miners lost in 1942.
Nominated by Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library

Eston Harman Teter has been a member of the Pendleton County Historical Society for many years. He has written numerous articles for the newspapers on topics such as the history of the South Fork section of the county, the railroad from Moorefield to Brandywine, old mills, steam engines, and sawmills. Teter is a founding member of the Treasure Mountain Festival, where he exhibited and operated a steam engine and sawmill, and he was the grand marshal of the festival’s fortieth parade in 2008.
Nominated by Pendleton County Historical Society

Beginning with a project to preserve the history of Trap Hill High School after it closed in 1977, Roger Trail spent 18 years compiling an extensive history of the schools, post offices, and towns in the Trap Hill District of Raleigh County. He has mounted these histories on 45 display boards that are displayed at school reunions and other events. Trail’s effort is an important contribution to preserving the history of Raleigh County.
Nominated by Raleigh County Historical Society

Tom Walker came to a Guyandotte Civil War Days meeting in search of information, but he has given the group and the community the gift of his knowledge, his love of history, and his service to both. He has assisted with fundraising activities and researching historical events, and he has worked to strengthen the organization by bringing in new supporters and participants. A vital asset to the Education Day activities, Tom has not only manned his own station as a sailor but also has helped other stations. He strives to teach students through hands-on and inquiry-based techniques.
Nominated by Guyandotte Civil War Days and Raid on Guyandotte, Inc.

Betty Webber serves as treasurer for the Wyoming County Genealogy Society and is a member of the board of directors of the Wyoming County Historical Museum, where she volunteers. She helps look for historic sites in the county and locate older cemeteries. Betty helped compile the genealogy society’s book Heritage of Wyoming County.
Nominated by Wyoming County Genealogy Society

Glenn White has helped to preserve a very important piece of Wheeling’s history—the Hancher clock, a landmark fixture that has been standing in Wheeling since 1890. Built in 1889, the clock retains mostly original parts despite having been moved several times and struck by vehicles more than once. For the past 33 years, he has repaired and kept the clock working as it should without charging for his services. White also helped Wheeling National Heritage Area compile a history of the clock and create a manuscript that is pending publication.
Nominated by Wheeling National Heritage Area

Click here to view History Hero photographs taken by the division photographer

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For more information about the History Hero Awards, contact Joe Geiger.


West Virginia's History Heroes

West Virginia Archives and History