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Group seeking old photos for local history

May 21, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - Any past or present Brooke County residents have old photos of themselves or family members shoveling out their streets following a major blizzard or using a row boat to navigate a flooded street?

How about pictures from good times spent watching Wellsburg's Oil Can Derby or a local parade or hanging out near a former diner, movie theater or other business?

Members of Brooke County Genealogy are looking for such photos and other depicting various aspects of life in the county over the years for a local history book they are planning.

Bobbi Jo Elliott, a long-time member of the group, said the group is looking to chronicle various aspects of life, including work, schools, churches and recreation.

Fellow member Marilyn McCord said she'd like to see all of the county's communities and churches represented and she has approached local ministerial groups about the project.

McCord said photos with a short story behind them are needed, and contributors are asked to include the approximate dates and names of people in the pictures.

Members said they understand many are reluctant to part with visual reminders of late family members and childhood memories but noted photos can be copied within minutes at photo developing kiosks found at various department and drug stores.

Elliott said the group also is working to obtain a photo scanner it may use to digitally duplicate the submissions on its own.

The group has set a tentative deadline of May 30 for the submissions. Anyone interested in submitting photos may bring them to the group's next meeting at 1 p.m. today at the Brooke County Public Library.

Potential contributors may stop by at 1 p.m. for the group's meeting or just after it at about 1:30 p.m. Individuals also may call McCord at (304) 737-1016.

Members also are at the library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday and Saturday to assist individuals researching their family's history.

The group has compiled extensive records of births, marriages, deaths and wills from the county courthouse, a list and map of those buried at Brooke Cemetery other local data.

A variety of information about local history can be found at its website at

Members of the group and guests enjoyed viewing an assortment of photos at a gathering there on May 7.

Jack Hoffman of Bethany brought a photo of his father and other Bethany volunteer firefighters using hoses from a late 1920s model fire engine. Because the men weren't in full gear, they appear to be testing the hoses.

McCord had a photo of horse-drawn buggy and milk wagon once used by her late husband's father, J.C. McCord, to deliver milk and other groceries.

The two old-fashioned vehicles are parked in front of the Panhandle Grocery and Kanawha Boat Manufacturing, two businesses that once sat across from Maloney's gas station, MCord said.

Brooke Genealogy member Red Hunter displayed a photo of the Buffalo Creek Bridge along state Route 2 that collapsed in 1936 after a heavy truck attempted to cross it.

He noted the tracks for a streetcar that once traveled between Wellsburg and Bethany can be seen in the background.

Hunter also showed a photo of troops at Bethany College, which became a makeshift training camp during World War II.

Emma Stoneking of Follansbee showed the group a scrapbook she has compiled in an effort to preserve her family's history.

It contained many photos and news clippings, including stories about her uncle Harry Jones, a Brooke County sheriff's deputy who was shot while investigating a domestic dispute in December 1922.

He survived the shot but died a few months later of pneumonia, and many family members have said he became weak following the shooting, she said.

Richard West of Wellsburg said he has many photos of a former Boy Scout camp operated near Bethany for many years.

(Scott can be found at

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