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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 186th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by all the Peaks

The George T. and Rose Slater Peak family settled in Hurricane, August of 1948, coming from a coal mining town of Decota, West Virginia. The Peak family consisted of sons: Henry, married to Mary M. Rose; George Jr., married to Willene Holzclaw; Archie, married to Rita Pauley; Meril and Raymond.

The Peaks located in Hurricane when Archie was attending Marshall University and became friends with the late Ronald Lee Coyner. Archie visited Hurricane with Ronald and saw a house on High School Avenue for sale by the late Hobert Sovine. Archie told George, Sr. what a fine place Hurricane seemed to be. So Hurricane became home for the Peak family. Meril and Raymond were attending Morris Harvey College, Meril was a senior and Raymond a first semester junior.

On graduating from college, Archie went to work at Carbon Fuel Company, Meril went to work at Greyhound Bus Company, and Raymond began his teaching career at Hurricane High, and his political career in City Government.

In the meantime, Archie and Mickey moved to Kanawha City and Meril married Jacqueline Thornton of Winifrede and moved to St. Albans. Henry and Mary lived at Kayford, George, Jr. and Willene lived at Decota. Raymond lived with his parents until 1954, when he married Gloria J. Sowards of Hurricane and they rented an apartment on Fifth Street. George, Jr. and family had moved to Hurricane in 1953, when he and Raymond bought out the M.L. Beckett Store and ran it as Peak Brothers General Merchandise until 1961, when the property was sold to the late Denver Hodges, owner of the A – Z. George, Sr. helped out as meat cutter and the business, actually ran by George, Jr. built up many friendships with our customers and neighbors, like the Forths of the Hurricane Breeze and the Sumners of Sumner’s Department Store.

Raymond was elected City Recorder in 1951 and again in 1953. Then in 1957, he was elected Mayor and kept his campaign promises to build a City Hall and to make the railroad underpass accessible all year round without filling up with water. Of course, this was accomplished with the help of an excellent Council and Recorder, as well as help from many good citizens. In September, 1959, Raymond resigned as Mayor to accept a teaching position in Wilmington, Delaware, and worked on extended training. George, Jr. was appointed by Council to finish out the term. George, Jr. ran for Mayor at the next election and won his own two-year term. In the meantime, Raymond, Gloria and family moved back to Hurricane after two years of education in Delaware and started teaching as band director at Hannan High School. In the meantime, George and Council, with volunteer citizens, built the second floor to the City building. With this finished, George, Jr. and Willene decided to move to Florida where he was stationed with the Navy during World War II. He resigned a Mayor and the Council appointed Raymond as Mayor to finish out the term.

Back to the five Peak boys – when Henry (the oldest son) retired from Bethlehem Steel, he and Mary moved to Hurricane, where they reside at this writing. They have two children: Suzette Marie, who married Bryant Seacrest and they have three sons: Bryant Jr., David and Chuck. Their son, Stephen Dale, married Adale War and they have a son, Stephen Henry.

George, Jr., the second son, and Willen had a son and daughter that went to Hurricane schools. Bill Baylor, Captain in the Special Forces, married Kim Nu. They have no children at present. Marjorie married Dr. Ralph Sladid and they have two children, Alexandria and John William.

Archie and Mickey have one son, George T., III, who is a Commander in the Navy and is married to Sue Hinman. They have a daughter, Beth.

Meril and Jackie have no children, but both have been very successful as CPA and Cost Accountant. Meril owns his own CPA firm.

The youngest son, Raymond and wife, Gloria, have three children: Veneta Rose, married to Gary Eggleton, who have two children, Christopher Keith and Carrie Rose; Raymond Douglas, married to Theresa Guthrie, who have two children, Kristina and Kimberly. Both Veneta and Doug lived in Hurricane. Jane, at this writing, is still single and lives in Fresno, California, where she is promotion manager of KMPH-TV.

George, Jr. served as Mayor three years and Raymond has served (so far) twenty-one years as Mayor and four years as Recorder.

The Peak families feel that Hurricane is a great place to live and bring up your families. They also believe that you get out of something according to the efforts you put into it.

Happy Centennial, Hurricane, and may the good Lord bless you and its fine people for years to come.


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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