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 202nd installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Laeuna Rumbaugh Erwin

One hundred years ago, Soloman Lauffer Rumbaugh came from Butler County, Pennsylvania, to Hurricane and married Laeuna Myrtle Wise (12-13-88), oldest of Samuel David and Henrietta Ellis Wise’s thirteen children. They established a home on Cow Creek.

Four sons and two daughters were born to that union. They were Karl (1890-1976), Curtis (1892-1970), Annie (1894-1976), Charles (1896-1971), Arnold “Pete” (1899-1979) and Ethel (1907).

“Lauf” was known for his fiddling and played for dances in the area. Karl and Curtis fiddled some but baseball was their favorite pastime. The entire family was interested in vocal music and all had some talent. The brothers especially enjoyed singing together.

As young people, Karl, Curtis and Annie found employment in Charleston. Karl married Margaret Kerr and brought her to Hurricane. Annie came back home and married Dallas Erwin. Curtis married Wilmoth Hanna and returned to the valley. Charles enlisted in the Army, Pete in the Navy and left to see the world.

After World War I, Charles came home and married Annie Coleman. Arnold found his mate in Milton, Marion Smith. Sometime later, Ethel married Nolan Sansom from Huntington.

It is quite remarkable that five of the six with their spouses celebrated golden wedding anniversaries, Arnold being the exception.

It is also worth noting that the family lived most of their lives in Hurricane. Charles went west but came back. Arnold served again in World War II, went west and came back. Ethel left the area and learned the bane and blessing of being wife of a Methodist minister.

With little formal education, these fiercely independent people established homes and raised families. They provided by farming, carpentry, teaching, working on public works, journalism, serving in public office and preaching. The women were adept at conserving and preserving, painting, gardening – flowers and food, sewing and home-making. They produced a total of 22 children.

Of the 22, 19 graduated from Hurricane High School. The other three finished high school in other states. Several of these have pursued higher education. Not a doctor or lawyer among the clan, but this generation, mostly retired now, has made a difference in their communities. These cousins, their spouses and families are scattered all over but still in touch and each working toward his own goal. The family is well represented in churches, government, fraternal, educational and social organizations. Most of the cousins have those very special gifts, grandchildren, even more widely scattered but each one quite special.

One cousin served two terms as Mayor of Hurricane. His cousins are proud of that fact but prouder still that there are still enough Rumbaughs around to make a difference.


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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