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 212th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Carol Sovine Rowsey

Henry Sovine II came to Putnam County in 1838 and settled on Sleepy Creek near Hurricane. His family consisted of nine children from whom all Sovines are known to be direct descendants. Henry’s son, William Halpayne (1832-1910), also lived and raised his family in the vicinity of Hurricane. Riley Washington Sovine (1857-1917) was born to William, and he raised his twelve children in the Sleepy Creek and Hurricane area as well.

Riley’s son, Howard Taft Sovine (1905-1941), married Thelma May Smith (1911), daughter of Charles Otis and Bertha Mae Scott Smith, on June 11, 1927. Carol Joyce Sovine Rowsey was born on April I4, 1933, the second of five children born to Howard and Thelma. She married Donald Ray Rowsey, the son of Virgil Lee (1899-1974) and Hattie Lunsford Rowsey (1904-1979) of Milton, WV. Donald was born on December 5, 1931, and graduated from Milton High School in 1949. He worked for Union Carbide Corporation as an operator and electrician. He retired in February of 1987 after 36 years of service. Donald enjoys blue grass music and is well known in the Hurricane area for his “fiddle” playing and wit. He spent several years playing with the group “The Teays Valley Boys” which was made up of mostly Hurricane talent. Carol has spent the majority of her life in Hurricane and has many memories of the community as well as the people who have contributed to it over the years. As a child growing up on Virginia Avenue, she can remember the first time the street was paved, and rare shopping trips to Huntington meant a ride on the train as few people owned cars. Carol graduated from Hurricane High School in 1951 and spent the early years of her married life at home being a housewife and mother of three children. She has been employed by Carter’s Market in Hurricane for over twenty years as a cashier. She is very active in church and community functions and enjoys traveling and sporting events.

Carol and Donald became the parents of their first child, LaDonna Joyce, on April 3, 1952. “Donna” is now married to William Griffin Hammer and resides in St. Albans, WV. She was employed by Union Carbide for sixteen years. Howard Lee was the second child to be born to Donald and Carol. He was born on February 21, 1954, and graduated from Marshall University. Howard lives in Williamstown, WV where he teaches and coaches at Williamstown High School. Janet Lynn was born on October 18, 1957, and lives on Virginia Avenue in Hurricane in the house where Carol and her brothers and sisters were raised. “Jan” graduated from Glenville State College and is employed by Fletcher Data Systems in Dunbar as a systems analyst. All of the Rowsey’s are members of Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church where it has played a very active part of their lives.


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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