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 203rd installment of the Centennial History.
THE LUTHER WINTON RUNION FAMILY
Submitted by Jackie Runion Hayes
Great-great grandfather Billie Runion moved his family by boat from Middleport, Ohio, down the Ohio River, then the Kanawha River to Winfield and over land to a farm in Tallman Hollow on Route 34. This was around 1876. At this time, Charles Dunbar Runion (1866-1952), Billie’s son, was 10 years old. They were farmers.
When C.D. Runion grew older, he married Ellen Francis Carpenter (1867-1909) and they rented a farm on Clymer’s Creek. Luther Winton Runion was born there. When Luther was still very young, C.D. took his family to the Charleston area to find work. In 1909, Ellen Runion died and C.D. moved back to Hurricane with his younger children and bought a small farm on Chicken Farm Road. Luther’s Grandmother Carpenter and Uncle Henry moved in to help keep house.
In 1912, C.D. was called to Dunbar to work as a foreman on a road grading project. Luther, then 15, worked for a time in a glass factory. Because of WWI, all men were required to work on something for the defense effort, so Luther and his father went to work for the Campbell’s Creek Coal Company. He worked there until the war ended, at which time he returned to Hurricane.
Luther married Nellie Eskew, daughter of Andrew Greene Eskew. They had four children: Darrell Lee Runion, Mary Ellen Runion Hughes, Margaret Runion Hacker and Charlotte Runion Curtiss.
Luther and Nellie both worked at the T.A. Nilan Glass Company on Main Street. Luther went to work for the Bischoff Glass Plant when Nilan closed down during the depression. Luther worked at Bischoff until his retirement in 1963.
Luther is a master story teller and can recall Hurricane as it was in days long gone. He remembers when “Old Dad Billups” lit the street lights at dusk and put them out at dawn. He recalls the mills that sat on Main Street. He tells about the excitement generated by the arrival of the #13 or the #8 train, how people gathered to see who boarded those trains or who got off. He talks about the Conner Hotel and the wooden boardwalk.
Luther has 14 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. His family is well-rooted in 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.