Chester D. Hubbard

Extracted From An Inside View of the Formation of the State of West Virginia, by William P. Willey (Wheeling: The News Publishing Company, 1901), 242-45.


Hon. Chester D. Hubbard was of English ancestry, he being descended from William Hubbard, who landed at Plymouth in 1630, and settled at Ipswich, Mass. The subject of this sketch was the eldest son of Dana Hubbard, who came with his family to Pittsburg in 1815, Chester D. Hubbard, born in Hamden, Connecticut, November 25, 1814, being then but six months old, and reaching Wheeling in 1819, where he located. Chester D. Hubbard was but four and one-half years old when his father reached Wheeling, and hence he spent nearly seventy-three years of his life as a resident of that city.

In his childhood he attended the local schools until he was thirteen years of age, and then went to work, in mills, brickyards, etc., until he attained his majority. On his twenty-first birthday he began preparations for acquiring an additional education, and shortly afterwards he entered the Wesleyan University at Middletown, Conn., where he graduated in 1840, standing first in his class. He at once returned to Wheeling and engaged in business, being largely led to that career by his father's failing health. Thus were laid the foundations of a business career which remains a matter for emulation by all. Mr. Hubbard first embarked in the lumber business, which he carried on successfully until 1852, when he, with Mr. D. C. List and others, established the Bank of Wheeling, Mr. Hubbard becoming the President of the institution. He continued in that enterprise until 1865, later continuing the banking business through the German Bank, of which institution he was President at the time of his death.

In 1859 he organized a company which, under the title of C. D. Hubbard & Co., leased the Crescent Iron Mill and engaged in the manufacture of railroad iron for over a year. He was also one of the organizers of the Wheeling Hinge Company and was a director of that company at the time of his death. In 1871 he became secretary of the reorganized Wheeling Iron and Nail Company, which he continued to fill. He was also a member of the firm of Logan & Co. for twenty years and was president of the Logan Drug Company at the time of his death.

For years prior to 1873 Mr. Hubbard was active in attempting to secure the building of a railroad from Wheeling north along the Ohio river, and in the year named he became one of the incorporators of the Pittsburg, Wheeling and Kentucky Railroad Company, and in 1874 was chosen its President, which position he filled right along until his death. The success of that business enterprise is known to all, and much of it is due to the business sagacity and good management of the deceased. Mr. Hubbard was also interested in other business enterprises, and throughout his life was a firm believer in the advantages of Wheeling as a manufacturing and business center.

Mr. Hubbard was long prominent in public life. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1852-3, from Ohio county, and in 1861 he was a member of the Convention which passed the ordinance of secession, strenuously opposing that measure. He left the Convention immediately after the adoption of the ordinance, arriving on Friday, and at once issued a call for mass meetings at the Guards hose house (hook and ladder) and at American hall, on the South Side. By Sunday, two days after his arrival, he had the satisfaction of seeing two companies of soldiers organized and sworn in. In a week a full regiment had been organized, of which he was elected Colonel. Mr. Hubbard was a member of the Wheeling Convention, which met in May, 1861, and of the Convention which assembled in June of the same year, looking to the establishment of a restored government for the State of Virginia, and the formation of a new State. When West Virginia was formed, Mr. Hubbard was chosen to the State Senate. He was elected to the Thirty-ninth Congress, and was re-elected to the Fortieth Congress.

Mr. Hubbard was, throughout his life, an earnest friend of education. He was chosen a trustee of the Linsly Institute in 1848, and in 1873 was. elected treasurer, which office he continued to fill. He was active in founding the Wheeling Female College, was one of the trustees, and was President of the Board from 1865 up to the sale of the property.

Mr. Hubbard was married September 20, 1842, to Sarah Pallister, an English lady, a step-daughter of the late John List. Five children were the results of this union: William Pallister Hubbard, Dana List Hubbard, Chester Russell Hubbard, Julia A., wife of W. A. Tyler, of Triadelphia, and Anna G., wife of Joseph C. Brady.

Mr. Hubbard was a member of the Chapline Street Methodist Church at Wheeling, and at no time in the history of the society has the church been favored with a more warm and earnest worker.

In 1872 he was a lay delegate to the General Conference of the M. E. Church, which met in Brooklyn. He was a prominent official member of the Chapline Street M. E. Church, and that denomination had no member who was truer to its tenets than he. He was a religious man; not only a professor of religion, but a practical Christian, going to his church duties with the same earnestness and the same devotion that he put into everything his hand found to do. He was a liberal man, but conscientious in the extreme, and to his activity and zeal was due in considerable degree the prosperity of the church with which he was united.

His activity in the varied walks of life which his energy and his versatile talents peculiarly fitted him did not cease until death admitted him to the reward of the just man made perfect. In 1880 he was a delegate to the Republican Convention at Chicago which nominated Garfield and Arthur, and after his return home he made a speech in the Opera House at the memorable ratification meting of the Republicans of Wheeling, which had in it more fire and fervor, and which was received with greater enthusiasm than all the speeches made by younger men.

Four years later he was a decided partisan of Blaine, and took as active a part in the preliminary fight for him as anybody in the State. He was a member of the primary convention and of the State and district conventions, and never missed an opportunity to strike a blow for his man.