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 206th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Carol Rowsey and Marion Howell

Charles Otis Smith was born on February 9, 1887, in Putnam County, West Virginia, a son of William Austin Smith (1866-1928) and Edna Leadman Smith (1868- 1916). His paternal grandparents were Daniel Pleasant Smith (1838- 1929) and Virginia Jane Beckett Smith (1842-1912).

Charles Otis Smith had three brothers – Ernest died 1969; Clarence died in 1936; and Verner is also deceased. He had three sisters – Annie (1891-1912); Cora (1896-1914); and Edith Easter Roberts (born 1908) who lives in Hurricane where she owns and operates The Gift Shop.

Charles Otis Smith married Bertha May Scott April 9, 1907, after she came from Rocky Mount, Virginia, to visit her sister, Ruby Elizabeth, who was already married to Lewis Smith, a cousin of Charles Otis. The children born to this union are: Doyle Richard (1908) was the only one to die in infancy. Ruth Irene (1909-1985) married Albert Kinder and lived her later years in Hurricane. They had three children: Billy Ray lives in Ashland, Kentucky. Both Gwendolyn Ruth “Bobbie” Burdette and Charles Albert live in Hurricane. Thelma Mae (born 1911) married Howard Taft Savine and had five children: Marion Agnes Howell lives in Vienna; Carol Joyce Rowsey lives in Hurricane; Lois Jean White lives in Huntington; Bruce Lynn died in infancy; and Riley Smith lives in Craig, Colorado. Thelma Mae married Paul Dennis Wise, Sr. in 1944, and two sons were born to them – Douglas Scott now lives in Salida, Colorado, and Timothy David lives in Los Angeles, California. Paul Dennis, Jr. “Denny” is a step­son and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Basil Hobart (born 1916) married Mary Zetta Coyner. They live in Hurricane and are the parents of: Linda Faye Carte lives in Morgantown, Joan Gay Mclaughlin lives in Charleston, and Richard Coyner lives in Hurricane. Obie Henson (born 1917) married Mageurite Maddox and lives in Teays Valley. They had one daughter, Patricia Ann Morton, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland. Clarice Edna (born 1919) married John Millard Howard Bayliss, Sr. and they had four children: John Millard Howard, Jr. lives in Teays Valley; Jim David lives in St. Albans; Joy Cooksey and her twin, Jill Whitworth, both live in Florida. Dorothy Lee (born 1920) married Robert Herman Handley and has one son, Barry Dee, who lives in Portland, Oregon. Dorothy Lee lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Charles Otis Smith died August 25, 1953. He worked as a carpenter for C&O Railroad, but he loved farming and returned to that for the eighteen months left to him after retirement. Bertha May Scott Smith died September 22, 1986, at the age of 103. She was the oldest member of Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church which played a big part in the lives of several of her descendants. In addition to the 7 children and 18 grandchildren, there are 31 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Both Charles and Bertha May Scott Smith are buried in Valley View Cemetery 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.

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