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 192nd installment of the Centennial History.
POWERS AND McHENRY
Submitted by Phyllis McHenry Powers
In the year of 1961, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Powers purchased two homes at 2508 and 2508R Virginia Avenue, and according to Billy Henderson, making her the youngest landlady in Hurricane.
Lewis Edward Powers was born in Ashton, West Virginia, January 6, 1936, to Donald and Bessie Martin Powers. He had two brothers: Arthur Lee and Norman Lester and four sisters: Della Powers Jenkins, Phyllis Powers Hickman, Jeraldine Powers Ashworth and Donna Powers Cooper. Lewis was a graduate of Hannan High School in 1954. He was employed by the Blenko Glass Company where his father was also employed. A month later, October 14, 1954, his father met a tragic death by a sandpit cave in. Lewis is now foreman over the Antique Shipping. He also teaches a class on stained glass at night on the Adult Education Program. He is now serving on the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Hurricane.
Lewis’ hobby is old cars and he is now working on a 1939 and 1941 Ford and 1956 Dodge.
Phyllis Jean McHenry Powers was born July 6, 1939, to Robert Oirs McHenry and Thelma Mae Jenkins McHenry. He and his four brothers were selling honey from door to door when he met Thelma Jenkins. They were later married and came up with a “little honey” and called her Phyllis, believe it or not.
My grandfather, John H. McHenry and my grandmother, Iva Melvin McHenry operated and owned a Honey Business alone, until the four boys, Edson, Harold, Donald and my father, Robert, were old enough to share and work in the business.
The entire family was staunch Seventh Day Adventists. Grandpa McHenry was an Elder in the local church and was in charge of all conferences in the Tri-State Region. My father sang at all the church tent meetings.
I was only three years old when my father died on July 13, 1942. I was raised by my maternal grandparents, John Anderson Jenkins and Bertha Alma Cooper Jenkins. I was never lonely because my cousin, Bertha Pauline Short, lived with my grandparents also. Soon we were like sisters.
My grandparents had seven children, namely: Tennessee Jenkins Holton, Thelma Jenkins McHenry Pons, Della Marie Jenkins Jackson, Milford Jenkins, Harry Jenkins and two deceased children: Melvie and Betty Jenkins.
I also have a half sister and brother, Sandra Lee Hudkins and John Williams Nicklas.
I graduated from Milton High School, May 28, 1957, but not as Phyllis McHenry because on May 25, I changed my name to Mrs. Lewis Powers. After we were married more than a year, Lewis’ cousins, Arlie Powers, died, leaving a baby boy, Claude Franklin Powers, who we took into our home to love and care for. In February, 1960, we legally adopted him. September 30, 1960, Lewis Edward Powers, Jr. was born.
Soon after Eddie’s birth, we moved to 2508 Virginia Avenue, Hurricane, West Virginia. Here we lived four years, then bought a home at 2466 Virginia Avenue. Here Eddie started to school.
While living here, we became foster parents to two children: Richard Lee Graley and Caroline Graley. Later a cousin, Ronald Lee Jackson, came to live with us. We loved them because they were ours and still are. After Caroline was married and the two boys went into the service, we moved back to Milton for five years, but kept our rental property in Hurricane on Virginia.
One Saturday when we weren’t working, we returned to Hurricane to inspect our rental property on Virginia Avenue. While driving up the Avenue, we observed a For Sale sign in the yard of the old Wade Kirtley property. A few months later, we purchased it and were kept busy for years restoring the old cherry wood to its original beauty. All of the wood and beveled glass are done by hand from attic to basement (four floors). Many more features were added such as a complete cherry kitchen, a Cleopatric marble bath tub and crystal stained glass windows. Many more features have been added, too numerous to mention.
Once again we were traveling up Virginia Avenue when another For Sale sign popped up at 2800 Virginia Avenue. I told Lewis, “That’s exactly what we need for our stained glass shop.” Two months later we were in business there. This made the fifth building we have purchased in Putnam County, all being on Virginia Avenue and on the same side of the street (for the lighter side).
My hobbies besides glass are working on my 1948 MG, decorating, and antiques. I am a member of the Hurricane Woman’s Club.
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.