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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 196th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Venus Blake

Edward Felix Rappold was born in Clifftop, WV, on April 12, 1886. He died on May 11, 1964. His father, Joseph Rappold, was born in Pomeroy, Ohio, March 19, 1849, died September 12, 1938, a coal miner and later moved to Huntington, WV. His mother, Elizabeth Zwilling Rappold, was born in Wurzburg Bavaria, Germany, in 1854. She came to the United States when she was six weeks old and died on March 9, 1930. Joseph and Elizabeth had eleven children and Ed Rappold was their sixth child. Edward learned the barber trade in Huntington, West Virginia, and in 1906 Ed moved to Hurricane.

John Gilfilen lived at Oak Ridge, Putnam County, and married Rhoda Erwin. They had two children: Una and John Gilfilen. John and Rhoda Gilfilen are buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Una Gilfilen was born March 11, 1890, and died May 11, 1954. John and Rhoda moved to Hurricane and Una worked in a hotel, where Ed met and married her.

Ed Rappold had a barber shop on Main Street, a two story frame building, and lived upstairs for several years. Ed bought the Oxley house on Mam Street and had his barber shop on the porch of the house one summer. He had a brick building built where the two story building was and in the fall he moved to the brick building. He had a barber shop in the back and Faye Miller had a restaurant in front of the building.

Ed and Una had four children: Venus, Woodrow (Pete), Alwilda and Donald Rappold. Woodrow, Alwilda, and Donald graduated from Hurricane High School.

Venus was born April 28, 1910, the year that Halley’s Comet appeared. The star before Halley’s Comet was called Venus and my Dad called me Venus. I went to school on Second Street in a two story frame building. My teacher was Will Rogers. On the corner of Harrison Street and Main Street was a white house where I went to school to Nannie Rife.

Venus married John Blake from Culloden on December 22, 1927. They have six children: Jannine Broyles, Geneva Blake, Joh n E. Blake, Betty Bias, Doris Blake, and Donna Blake. We went into the store business February 1947 and on December 22, 1977, celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary and retired from the store business.

Woodrow (Pete) was born October 29, 1912, and died June 18, 1984. He worked in the barber shop until the Depression. He retired from Union Carbide at age 60. He married Ruby Beckett and celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary December 6, 1983. They had three children: Phyllis Swann, Darrell Rappold, and Carolyn Handley.

Alwilda attended Marshall College and taught school at Sycamore. She married Ree Groghan and he retired from Union Carbide. They have three children: Danny Groghan, Marilyn Covert, and Janice Priddy.

Donald served in the Army and finished barber school in Wheeling. He married Billie White from Culloden and worked with our Dad until Dad’s death. Donald was born February 13, 1922, and died September 24, 1965. Donald and Billie have two children: Steve Rappold and Deborah D. Stricklin.

Steve graduated from barber school in Huntington in 1966, taking over the Rappold Barber Shop after Donald’s death. Steve married Loraine Slater and they have two children: Roderick and Stephanie.

Ed, Una, Woodrow, and Donald are buried in Valley View Cemetery, Hurricane.


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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