Weekly Features

Historically Speaking–DC High School Class of 1923,1924 and 1925

On Monday morning, July 6, I received a phone call from a gentleman offering his delight at the photos featured of the 1st graduating classes of West Union High School and Doddridge County High School published in the June 24th issue.  He said that he enjoyed reading our weekly articles and expressed his thanks for the weekly column.  

   He added that three of his aunts were in the photo of the Graduating Class of 1935 and was gracious enough to offer the correct spelling for one of them, “Luella McIntire” (proper spelling), was spelled “Louella McIntyre.” This was the spelling given to me by the source I used.  I was so grateful for his corrections and hope that anyone else who reads our columns will offer us such corrections in the future.

   Because our readers were so pleased with our graduation article, I decided to add a couple earlier Doddridge County High School Senior photos with some history on many of the students again this week.  The first two photos are of the West Union High School Seniors of 1923 and 1924.     Unfortunately, we have no names for any of these precious individuals.  I am certain that many of our readers will recognize some of these students from old family photos.  If you know the names of any of these students, please email their names & information to the Doddridge County Historical Society at: [email protected] or call me, Patricia Harris, at 304 873-1540.  With your help we can place many names to these faces.  You can also contact the Herald Record Office and they will contact me.

   Our third photo is of the West Union High School Senior Class 1925.  Top Row, Left to Right: Pearl Thomas, Earl Smith, Earnest Stutler, Layton Gibson, Alden Spencer, Faye Barker;  Second Row, Left to Right:  Monroe Ireland, Pearl Bailey, Vivian Maston, Helen Engstrom, Helen Wallace, Merle Thorpe, Deloros Scott, Paul Hofelter.

Sadly, no definitive information could be found on many of these students.  Please contact us should you have information on any of them.    Those who did not have definitive information available include:  Earl Smith, Earnest Stutler, Layton Gibson, Faye Barker, Pearl Bailey, Vivian Maston.  The following information was found for the other ones. 

Alden Spencer was the son of Thomas and Clara Scott Spencer.  He was born on August 12, 1907 in Canton, Doddridge County.  He married Madge Davis Spencer in 1920 and worked for the C & P Telephone Co. at Salem before working for the Doddridge County Board of Education.  They had 2 children, Alden Spencer Jr. who died in 1999 and a daughter, Doris Law.  Alden Spencer died on December 29, 1982 in Stockton, CA at the age of 75 and is buried there.

   Second row begins with Paul Monroe Ireland Jr. who was the son of Paul and Julia Blair Ireland.  He was born June 24, 1905 at West Union, Doddridge County.  Monroe married his wife, Mary Margaret McGrady in 1939.  He died on July 31, 1990 in Hot Springs Garland, Arkansas. 

   Helen Engstrom is the daughter of Fredrik and Mary Parker Engstrom.  She was born about 1906 in PA. By 1910, Helen was living with her parents in Smithton near West Union, Doddridge County.  She moved to Highland Rd. in Charleston, WV by 1930 with her parents, where she became a stenographer for App. Elec. Co.  Helen died in September 1972 in Seattle, King County, WA.  No marriage record was found Helen.  It appears that she never married.

   Helen Wallace was the daughter of Samuel and Addie Burrows Wallace.  She was born on October 10, 1907 in Harrison County.  She was a math teacher at Doddridge County High School after attending West Virginia University.  On July 6, 1935, she married Oris Edwin Cox of Double Camp, Doddridge County.  The marriage took place in Wellsburg, Brooke County, WV. They moved to New Cumberland, Hancock County, WV by 1936 and had a daughter, Carolyn A. Cox (1936-2011) and son, Edwin W. Cox (1941-2008).  Helen died on August 8, 1962 in Doddridge County and is buried at the Masonic Memorial Park Cemetery at Crystal Lake near West Union.

   Merle Thorpe was the daughter of Hiram L. and Ora Ridgeway Thorpe.  She was born on October 23, 1905 in Waynesburg, PA and moved to the Smithton area by 1920. Myrle died on February 10, 1926 at West Union, Doddridge.  The cause of death was not given.  She is buried in the Archbold Cemetery near Smithburg, WV.  Merle was 20 years old at the time of her death.

   Deloros N. Scott (Delores?) was the daughter of James and Lucy Kinney Scott.  She was born on November 22, 1907 in Doddridge County.  She and her parents were living with James’ mother, Lucy at the time.  But by 1930, her parents were living in their own home along with their six children on Railroad Street in West Union.  Her mother-in-law, Sarah Kinney (77 yrs. old), and her sister, Sarah J. Swineford (50 yrs. old), were living with them.  Deloros was 22 at the time and had gained employment as a bookkeeper at the Doddridge County Courthouse.  She married Edward Blaine Underwood on December 23, 1934.  Deloros died on December 10, 1989.  She is buried beside her husband in the Freeman-Coleman Cemetery at Crystal Lake near West Union.

   Lastly, we have Paul Hofelter who was the son of oil field worker, William M. Hofelter.  His mother was May Grove Hofelter.  He was born on April 20, 1904 at Big Moses, Tyler County, WV and was living in DeKalb, Gilmer, WV in 1910.  He married Madge Virginia Wolfe on June 11, 1932 in West Union, WV.  Then, married Rena Stein in Van-dalia, IN on September 18, 1955 in Nashville, TN.  Paul was a school bus driver for 20 years in Los Angeles for 20 years and in New York. Paul Hofelter died on March 27, 1982 at the Bloomington Hospital after a 2-week illness.  His children were listed as William P. Hofelter of Bisby, AZ, Jeanette Hudsteth of Yreka, CA.  The location of his grave is currently unknown. 

   The lives that these early graduates lived took some of them to a multitude of faraway locations.  We can only imagine where our young graduates will travel as they engage in their life-long journey.

   Best of luck graduates.  Your county will always be home, no matter where life leads you. Do not forget who you are; from where you came; and the values your early life’s lessons have taught you.  We are proud of you!

God Bless and Stay Well

Patricia Richards Harris

Doddridge County Historical Society