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The Centennial History of Hurricane: Meet Some of Hurricane’s Oldest Families

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. Since the Centennial History is now out of print, the Breeze is reprinting articles from the book as space allows. This week’s selection will be the 185th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Archie Oxley

Creed Peter Oxley was born May 16, 1828, in Virginia, being of Irish descent. In 1854 he married Mary D. Bell (who was born April 6, 1835). The couple moved to the Brown’s Creek area of Putnam County, West Virginia, about 1870, after a short stay in a part of Boone County (which later became part of Lincoln County).

Creed served in the Civil War, where he was wounded and left for dead in a tent, draped in a white flag. He was found by opposing forces and placed in a hospital where he later recovered.

Creed and Mary Oxley were parents of 5 sons and 5 daughters. They included: Layafette Harvey Oxley (m. Cyrena Hayslett [1st]: 5 children that all died); (m. Nancy Jane Mabe [2nd]: 4 children, 2 died), Octavie W. Oxley, Louisie (Ludy) West Oxley (m. Baxter Leland Bird: 10 children), Nathaniel Luther Oxley (m. Maggie Anne Russell: 2 children), Sarah Frances “Fanny” Oxley (m. Tass Behler: 10 children), Mary Cassy “Essie” Catherin Oxley (m. Claude Roberts: 6 children), Madison Lee “Brud” Oxley (m. Mary Lee Russell: 2 children), Rosie Leah Oxley (m. Thomas Jefferson Thornton: 6 children), William Walter Oxley (m. Lottie May Roberts: 5 children), John Peter Oxley (m. Harriet Ann Bird: 5 children).

Creed Peter Oxley died February 2, 1916, his wife, Mary D. Bell Oxley died June 19, 1885. About half of their children’s families settled in the Hurricane area of Putnam County. My grandparents were John and Harriet Oxley, who lived about 1.5 miles up Turkey Creek. John died at an early age, leaving Harriet with 4 children (one died). My father, Bernard Elmer Oxley, was one of their children. Harriet later remarried.

Bernard married Lena Garnet Bird and they had 3 children, Archie, Lula Bell, and an infant that was dead at birth. They also lived on Turkey Creek.

Most of the Oxleys were farmers by trade. They tended livestock (sheep, cattle, hogs, and chickens) and raised various crops (including tobacco, corn, and other vegetables). For several years, Bernard operated a corn grinding mill for the public as part-time work. He also ran a saw mill for cutting trees into lumber on Turkey Creek.

Bernard Oxley worked 14 years as custodian at Hurricane High School. He now lives with his family in retirement on Route 34 south of Hurricane. Some of his hobbies include the making of white oak woven baskets and gardening. Some of his poetic writings have been recognized as being quite good, although he does not compose much now. He also enjoys fishing. He and his family attend church at Cross Lanes’ Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church.


Much hard work and effort by many people went into the compilation of The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV. Published in 1988, the history incorporated family and business histories and local history. All this information was enclosed in a beautiful red and gold hardback volume, the pride of anyone wise enough to have purchased it. Unfortunately, the book is now out of print, so finding a copy will be difficult, if not impossible. It is a great shame that many do not know the existence of this fine book, so the Breeze is reprinting the articles in serialized form as space allows.

A digital copy of the Centennial History can be obtained from the Hurricane City Hall for a small donation. For more information, call the City of Hurricane at (304) 562-5896.

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