Featured, Local History, The Centennial History of Hurricane

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 205th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Carolyn Ann Wood (granddaughter)

Lonnie William Smallridge is a life-long resident of Putnam County. Born on October 3, 1894, he is the first child and only son of Cephas William Smallridge (March, 1873 – March, 1944) and Mary Susan Manning Smallridge (1873 – October, 1897). His mother died when he was a small child, and he and his sister Lena Margaret Smallridge Wood (June 7, 1897 -February 25, 1970) were raised by close relatives. His father eventually remarried Elizabeth (Betty) Carpenter on May 26, 1900. They were the parents of two daughters: Alta Mae Smallridge Johnson (August 16, 1901 – April 4, 1959) and Catha Mildred Smallridge Bird (March 29, 1903 -). His paternal grandparents were Sampson Smallridge (January, 1825 – May, 1909) and Mary Jane Arbaugh Smallridge (July, 1846 – October, 1899).

After serving his country in World War l, he came back home and married Lula Blanch Wood on March 28, 1920. She was born February 10, 1902 and died February 15, 1969. They bought a 100 acre farm on Lick Creek Road which he still owns. There they raised their five children: Velva Aline Smallridge Bird, born July 12, 1922; Vala Marie Smallridge Sloan, born May 11, 1924; Geraldine Icily Smallridge, born March 5, 1926; Sherman William Smallridge, born February 12, 1930; and Vannalene Ellen Smallridge Garrett, born April 8, 1932. Most of his closest relatives still live in the Hurricane area. He has not remarried and he is the oldest member of five living generations. He has 5 children, 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great­grandchildren.

Lonnie, better known to his neighbors as “Uncle Lon” and to his relatives as “Pap” is a quite reserved man. He has little formal education but can read and write. Joining Mt. Moriah Baptist Church on November 18, 1917, he has attended regularly until his health began to fail in the past two years. His livelihood has been that of a farmer but he has never owned any modem farm equipment. Tending his land with his farm horses, he raised such crops as tobacco, com, and hay as well as a large vegetable garden. Celebrating his 93rd birthday this past October, he has lived a long and prosperous life; loved and respected by family and friends.


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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