History enthusiasts gathered on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the West Virginia State Theater of the Cultural Center for the awards ceremony that kicked off a successful day of celebrating West Virginia history. Governor Bob Wise presented History Hero awards to 32 individuals from around the state for their contributions to the preservation, promotion and perpetuation of the state’s rich history. County historical and genealogical groups provided nominations for the awards. A complete list of this year’s History Heroes, along with their hometowns, is enclosed.
Throughout the day, the State Capitol Rotunda was filled with exhibitors and reenactors all eager to share their enthusiasm for the history of the state. The sixth History Day was a joint effort of the West Virginia Archives and History Commission, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, West Virginia Historical Society, West Virginia Historical Association, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia Inc., West Virginia Association of Museums, West Virginia Humanities Council, Mining Your History Foundation, and Friends of West Virginia Culture and History.
For more information about History Day or the History Hero awards, call Fredrick Armstrong at (304) 558-0220, ext. 164.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
History Heroes 2002
Kathern Allemong of Berkeley Springs was instrumental in the formation of the Morgan County Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc., in 1977. An avid historical and genealogical researcher, she has served the Society in every capacity. Her publications include “Ruppenthal Family in America & Europe” and “Graveyard History of Morgan County (Virginia & West Virginia).” She also co-authored “Johann Christian Habermehl, Morgan County (VA) WV.”
Hunter Armentrout of Troy has always had an interest in genealogy. That interest has evolved into his extensive photograph collection of individuals significant in the settlement and growth of Gilmer County. His commitment to clean up the old cemeteries located behind the Glenville State College campus has resulted in an area that is much more accessible to the public. As president of the Gilmer County Historical Society, he was instrumental in the establishment of the future home of the history center.
John A. Artzberger dedicated himself to the interpretation of Wheeling and West Virginia history all his adult life. He was curator of the Oglebay Mansion Museum from 1964 to 1975, director of the expanded Museums of Oglebay Institute from 1975 to 1998, and senior curator of the Museums until his death in November 2001. He designed the exhibition plan for the Oglebay Institute Glass Museum and served on the interpretation committee of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation board for more than 20 years.
Barbara Bacon of St. Albans is one of the original members of the St. Albans Historical Society, which was founded in 1972. She was instrumental in obtaining financial support to move Morgan’s Kitchen to its present location on MacCorkle Avenue. Over the past 30 years, she has served as president and treasurer of the Society. She was involved in saving the historic Chilton House from destruction and having it placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. She provided numerous articles for the “History of St. Albans” book and remains an active member of the Society.
Attorney William H. Bean of Moorefield has been committed to the preservation of the history of the state and the South Branch Valley for 25 years. He has been instrumental in historic preservation through research, public speaking and service to the community. He has chaired various committees and been a significant fund-raiser for local preservation projects.
Retired college professor Dr. Ancella Bickley of Charleston has worked diligently to research, interpret and preserve West Virginia’s history and heritage, particularly the African-American experience. She was instrumental in the establishment of several African-American organizations, including the Black History Conference and Carter G. Woodson Memorial Foundation. She presents programs on black settlement in West Virginia and the Underground Railroad, and has published, among other works, “Our Mount Vernons,” featuring African-American sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and “Memphis Tennessee Garrison.”
Sandra Moats Burke of Harrisville is a founding member of the Ritchie County Historical Museum and helped nominate the General Thomas M. Harris Museum building to the National Register of Historic Places. She has assisted with several publications of the Ritchie County Historical Society, including “The History of Ritchie County, West Virginia, to 1980 .” Her research on the Underground Railroad in West Virginia has drawn the interest of Dr. Ancella Bickley and other researchers.
Bill Carney of Wheeling has been an active member and vice president of the Wheeling Area Historical Society. He is an expert on the crime history of Wheeling and has presented various talks on the subject. He writes for the Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review and is a generous resource for researchers.
Olive Crow Dadisman of Grafton, along with her partner, took on the task of restoring the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum, working with their own funds to restore the house built in 1854 by the family of the founder of Mothers Day. After two years of restoration, the museum was opened to the public in 1996. Dadisman is busy seven days a week giving tours, cleaning and taking care of the house and grounds.
Lenore Ferrell of Hewett was a charter member of the Boone County Genealogical Society in 1975 and has held an office in the Society since that time. She is editor of the 26 volumes of “Kith & Kin of Boone County,” and a Boone County history book, all of which were published by the Society. She also authored two books: “1870 Boone County Census - Annotated” and the “Ball Family History.”
Kellis and Virginia Gillespie of Hurricane were co-editors of “The History of Putnam County, Volume II,” a publication of The Upper Vandalia Historical Society. Kellis also works with the Mining Your History Foundation to improve the storage of court house records in accordance with the West Virginia State Code. Ginny is the secretary for both the Foundation and the Society.
Wayne Huffman of Brandywine is 1st Lieutenant Commander of the Brigadier General James Boggs Camp 1706, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He participates in living history events and local Civil War re-enactments, and makes and erects markers for historical locations in Pendleton County. He is spearheading a project to mark the site of the Battle of Riverton, which occurred in March 1862, and was the first raid of Federal Regulars into Pendleton County.
Pamela Jackson of Peterstown is a social studies teacher at James Monroe High School. Through class activities and other school-related events, she encourages her students to learn about history. She sponsors the Junior Civitan Club, whose members act as tour guides at historic homes and which hosted a county bicentennial reception. The group has researched and prepared a database on the Peterstown Cemetery to contribute to the online US GenWeb Project. They are also preparing a publication for the Monroe County Historical Society. Jackson also has taught an adult class on conducting genealogy research through the Internet.
Charlene P. Leist of Huntington is the ultimate volunteer. As assistant corresponding secretary of KYOWVA Genealogical Society, she helps with every project of the Society, including work on “Cabell County Heritage 1996,” the 1900 Cabell County Census, answering mail, recruiting other volunteers, working in the library and collecting articles. She also has been abstracting obituaries from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
Foster Lipscomb of Rowlesburg has been an active member of the Rowlesburg Area Historical Society since it was organized in 1995, serving as vice president for two years. He does a great deal of local history research and has been successful at identifying possible funding from little-known sources. Over the years he has donated time, talent and funds to aid in the success of the Society’s projects.
Tim McKinney of Fayetteville is an accomplished historian. He has written and published five books on the Civil War in West Virginia and one book on the history of Elkem Metals. He has written newspaper and magazine articles, assisted with museum development, and spoken at numerous functions. He has been an active member and officer of several historical societies on both the county and state level. He has been instrumental in the erection of markers and interpretive signs at several historical sites and has worked to have two sites nominated to the National Register of Historic Places: the Glen Ferris Inn in Fayette County and the “Lee Headquarters” in Greenbrier County.
James Miracle of Wood County, president of the West Augusta Genealogical and Historical Society, has been instrumental in the project to expand the genealogy/history room at the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library.
Roscoe Plumley of Beckley has developed a booklet with pictures and the names of those interred in 63 cemeteries in Raleigh County and has donated copies to libraries and local groups. He also has documented the business meetings of the New Salem Baptist Church on Plumley Mountain from 1872 to the present and has traveled and recorded the genealogy and history of the Plumley family from 1635 through the Revolutionary war and land grants and purchases in Raleigh County.
Dr. James C. Price of Shepherdstown has shared his love and knowledge of Shepherdstown with groups of all ages and backgrounds. He began his effort to preserve the community’s history in honor of his son’s memory and his love for the town that has been his lifelong home. He has co-authored three books about Shepherdstown’s history, created a walking tour guide and works closely with the local schools to relate the history of the town through storytelling.
Otis Reed of Weston retired to his native home in Lewis County in 1994. In 1993 he wrote “Border Warfare,” a play depicting life in 17th century western Virginia, for the 200th McWhorter Family Celebration at Jackson’s Mill. He wrote and illustrated “The Building of the Jonathan McCally Bennett Mansion” in Weston in 1997, and annotated and published “My Recollections and Experiences of the Civil War or A Citizen of Weston During the Late Unpleasantness” by Thomas Bland Camden, M.D., in 2000. He identified and compiled a list of the more than 2,000 veteran burials in the county for a joint Hacker’s Creek Pioneer Descendants-Veterans of Foreign Wars Millennium Celebration. In 2001, on behalf of the Weston Historic Landmark Commission, he researched and drew a detailed map of historic Weston for a walking tour.
John A. “Jack” Sanders of New Creek is the author of “Guarding the River, the Canal, and the Railroad,” a book dealing with the Civil War papers of Captain B.B. Shaw. He is president of the Mineral County Historical Foundation; a member of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 7th WV Infantry Camp 7; Sons of Confederate Veterans, McNeill’s Rangers Camp #582; a life member of the Mineral County Historical Society; and a member of the Mineral County Genealogical Society. As circuit clerk of Mineral County, he helped preserve the historical documents of that county.
James Schaffer of Moundsville has served as president of the Marshall County Historical Society for four years. He was very much involved in the purchase of the Society building and now serves on its board of directors.
John Scott of Buckhannon, editor of The Record Delta, has raised public awareness of history in Upshur County. During 2001, Upshur County celebrated its sesquicentennial with a year-long series of activities, events and publications. Scott promoted the work of the Upshur County Historical Society, the Upshur County Commission, and the Buckhannon City Council, the agencies that sponsored the various commemorative activities.
Alberta “Bert” Scroggs of Grafton is treasurer of the Taylor County Historical Society. She has worked countless hours getting the group’s collections in order, volunteers every day at the library and works to raise funds.
James and Deloris Slawter of Preston County, a husband and wife team, work to collect, preserve and research historical items. They have worked with The Preston County Journal and The Preston County News. Articles and photos of their activities also have appeared in The Republican, in Oakland, Md.
Pauline Smith of Ravenswood had her interest in family history sparked early in life by listening to people reminisce when they visited her father, H.D. Somerville. She spent many hours with him when he was writing about families of Wirt, Jackson and Wood Counties and, along with her daughter, recently completed the task of publishing those writings. She also has helped many people research their genealogy.
Clarice V. Stanley of Martins Ferry, Ohio, has been an active member of the genealogy committee of the Marshall County Historical Society since 1985. She was instrumental in establishing the Genealogy Room of the Marshall County Historical Society’s Museum. She is also a long time member of the Wheeling Area Genealogical Society in Ohio County. She has spent countless hours organizing information from the extensive collection of Dorothy Rine Brown into the Rine Family Genealogy. She has served as registrar for the Daughters of the American Revolution for 12 years.
Cameron native and architect Tracy Stephens, now of Wheeling took up the work of Fredric Faris in 1956 on the Wilson Lodge at Oglebay Park. He assumed Faris’ office and has maintained a file of Faris’ projects throughout West Virginia. Stephens’ projects include the restoration of West Virginia Independence Hall, 1966-84, and restoration of St. Joseph Cathedral, 1995-96.
Lewis County native Hartzel Strader of Miamisburg is a charter member of Hacker’s Creek Pioneer Descendants and has served on its board of directors for 20 years. He has contributed significantly to the preservation of Lewis County history and genealogy by surveying and recording more than half of the county’s 280 cemeteries, transcribing and preparing for publication the official records of the births and deaths of Lewis County, creating an electronic database of more than 50,000 people living in Lewis County prior to 1880, and designing a map of homesteads in the Skin Creek District.
Eldean Wellman of Verdunville has been a member of the Logan County Genealogical Society for more than 15 years and has served on the Society’s board. Secretary for the Westmoreland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she just completed a history of her church.