Featured, Local History, The Centennial History of Hurricane

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 201st installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Laeuna R. Erwin

Curtis Melvin Rumbaugh (1892-1970) married Wilmoth Jane Hanna (1895-1970) in Charleston on October 30, 1916. They continued working in Charleston for a couple of years, then moved to the valley before their first daughter, Laeuna Margaret, was born in August 1918.

The family followed thus: stillborn son in March 1920, Lucy Jane in March 1921, Virginia Ann in August 1924 and Wilmoth Curtis in August 1937.

Wilmoth “Biltz” was kept busy caring for the family. She was conservative of necessity. Often garments were made of feed sacks or from hand-me-downs. She was a nutritionist before we knew what the word meant. Curtis was a good gardener and fruit grower. After all, he had four daughters to pick strawberries and vegetables.

In addition to farming, Curtis worked at various jobs until he went to work at Carbide in 1934. He worked there until his retirement in 1957.

First Baptist Church was an important activity for the Rumbaugh family. At one time Curtis was the custodian. He served several offices in the church, perhaps best remembered as teacher of a Sunday School class for young men. Wilmoth was an active participant in the women’s work. That activity is still important to the family, down to great grandchildren. Curtis and Wilmoth spent several winters in Florida after his retirement. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1966.

The four daughters graduated from Hurricane High School. They participated in music, drama, speech, school newspaper – you name it. They could always count on parental support.

Laeuna married her neighbor, Wayne Erwin. They lived in McDowell County, Wayne’s post as a West Virginia Trooper. After three years in the Navy during WW II, the family, now with Wayne Jr. and Lucy Joanna, returned to McDowell County. In 1948 Wayne was employed at Carbide so they came back home. He worked there until 1975 then enjoyed his hobbies until his death in 1983.

In 1960 Laeuna began a 24 year career in library work. She is now enjoying her hobbies.

Lucy Jane was teaching school on Big Creek when she met John Settle from Hamlin. They were married in 1943. John’s Navy career took him to the South Pacific. Lucy worked at Carbide while John was away. On return, he worked at Viscose.

Their family is: Jane Hanna, John Clayton, Valerie Jean and James Curtis.

After raising her family, Lucy completed her degree and resumed teaching until retirement. John retired from Carbide and they now spend their winters in Florida.

Virginia Ann began making music with Jesse Lazear in Hurricane High School Band. They were married in 1946. Jess has served in the Army during WW II so he and “Ginny” both worked at Carbide until their daughters were born. They are Anna Christine, Amy Curtis and Margaret Jane.

Jess’ career at Carbide has taken him all over Europe. Ginny’s career has kept her making music, beautiful hand work and travelling with Jess. Even in retirement, both are busy with their varied interests.

Wilmoth, better known as “Snooke,” married Charles O’Dell in 1956. They went to Berea, KY, while Charley finished college, then to Silver Springs, MD, while he earned a Master’s Degree. They have lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas but are settled in Blacksburg, VA. Charley is on the staff at VPI and they own and operate a pick-your­own farm. Snooke has participated in some musical group all her adult life, either singing or directing.

They have two daughters, Mary Jane and Leah Caroline.

Curtis Melvin and Wilmoth Hannah Rumbaugh Golden Wedding Anniversary
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