Livia Nye Simpson Poffenbarger

Charleston Gazette
October 28, 1937

Woman Historian, Civic Leader, Dies

Mrs. Olivia Poffenbarger, Also Lawyer, Editor, Ill Nine Weeks

Services for Mrs. Olivia (Nye) Simpson Poffenbarger, West Virginia historian, civic and Republican leader, who died at 3:05 o'clock yesterday afternoon at her home, 1128 Lee street, will be held at 2:30 o'clock tomorrow afternoon at the First Presbyterian church. Mrs. Poffenbarger was the wife of former Judge George H. Poffenbarger of the state supreme court.

The Rev. Ernest Thompson, D. D., pastor, will officiate and burial will be in Sunset Memorial park.

Mrs. Poffenbarger had been ill nine weeks. She became seriously ill last Saturday. Her death followed an arthritic condition.

Worked for Monument

For more than a half century she devoted her efforts in trying to prove the battle of Point Pleasant was the first engagement of the Revolution, and the past few years had labored to get an appropriation from the state so that the names of the 1,222 men who participated in the engagement might be inscribed on the battle shaft. She was president of the Point Pleasant Battle commission.

Mrs. Poffenbarger founded the State Gazette at Point Pleasant in 1888 and was its owner and managing editor until 1913.

She received her LL. D. from West Virginia university in 1919 and studied law in her father's office. Throughout her life she maintained a close contact with the legal profession.

Active Republican

Mrs. Poffenbarger was closely identified with both the state and national Republican party. She served as an advisor in the party's 1912 convention, was a member of the 1920-24 national Republican advisory council of 100, and a state elector at large in 1924. She also served as state director for the suffrage campaign.

She delivered the dedicatory address at the unveiling of the monument to the World war veterans in Charleston on Nov. 11, 1925.

Mrs. Poffenbarger was born March 1, 1862, at Pomeroy, O., the daughter of George Perry and Phebe Almeda (Kennedy) Simpson Perry and when a young girl moved to Point Pleasant. She and Judge Poffenbarger were married May 10, 1894. They came to Charleston to reside in 1914.

Headed Loan Drive

During the World war Mrs. Poffenbarger turned her seemingly untiring energies to the Liberty Loan drive and served as state chairman of the woman's committee for the third, fourth and fifth Liberty loans. She was a member of the American Legion auxiliary.

She organized the Red Cross chapter in Mason county and was active in directing relief work during the 1913 flood.

Mrs. Poffenbarger served as vice president of the National Star Spangled Banner association; advisory chairman and public speaker for the West Virginia good roads bond issue for $50,000,000; vice president of the Women's National Press association; department governor of the Sons and Daughters of Pilgrims; historian of the Colonial Dames of West Virginia, and was honorary life regent and honorary life historian of Col. Charles Lewis chapter, Daughters of American Revolution and Pocahontas Bell association.

She was a member of the Presbyterian church; the Phi Delta Theta auxiliary, Ohio Archaeol. historical society; board of governors of Morris Memorial hospital; the legislative committee of the West Virginia Society for Crippled Children; the Four Minute Men and the state board War Savings and Thrift Stamps.

Wrote Several Books

Books and histories of which the deceased was the author include: Industrial and Biographical Point Pleasant, Fort Randolph, Battle of Point Pleasant, First Battle of the Revolution, Pioneer History of Mason County, Romantic and Historic West Virginia. She also wrote many family histories.

At Point Pleasant, older residents still tell of the time brick masons rebelled while Mrs. Poffenbarger was constructing her newspaper building.

They recall she was angered by the delay, and donning her working clothes, she commandeered a wheelbarrow, loaded brick and proceeded with the work.

Services Widely Sought

She rarely turned down an invitation to lecture on state history or current events and her services were widely sought.

Surviving besides Judge Poffenbarger, are two sons, Nathan and Perry Poffenbarger who are partners with their father in a Charleston law firm; a brother, Dr. John Simpson, former dean of West Virginia university medical schools; a sister, Mrs. Mary Margaret Bryan of Morgantown; a niece, Mrs. J. F. Bateman of Columbus, O., who made her home with Mrs. Poffenbarger for more than 20 years, and a grandchild, George Poffenbarger, Charleston.

The body is to remain at the Johnson and Cunningham funeral home until funeral time. It will lie in state at the church a half hour before the services.

Honorary pallbearers will be Judge Frank Lively, Judge Haymond Maxwell, Gov. Holt, former Gov. Kump, W. G. Conley, William B. Matthews, C. K. Payne, W. S. Wood, Roy Bird Cook, Charles E. Hodges, Houston G. Young, W. E. Chilton, sr., C. C. Lewis, II, Col. John Baker White, M. D. Carrico, A. Spates Brady, Dr. W. S. Shepherd, J. A. Stubbs, J. Shirley Ross, Dr. J. Ross Hunter, Dr. E. J. Stahl, Joseph Holt Gaines, sr., Harrison B. Smith, sr., Staige Davis, Graham Painter, Ed Calderwood, E. A. Reid, George S. Laidley, and Charles M. Love, all of Charleston.

C. O. Weissenburger, Robert Heslop, E. J. Somerville, Dr. Ed McElfresh, C. C. Lewis and W. H. Vaught, all of Point Pleasant; W. C. McKell, Glen Jean; Dr. Gory Hogg, Lewisburg; Dr. Frank B. Trotter, Morgantown; Judge Ira Robinson, Grafton; former Gov. Henry D. Hatfield, Huntington.

Active pallbearers will be L. F. Poffenbarger, Joseph W. Lord, C. W. Hall, Alexander P. Gates, Dr. P. A. Haley and Dr. Claude B. Smith.


West Virginia Archives and History