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 217th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Lillian Blevins

George C. and Nannie B. Sowards lived on Virginia Avenue, Hurricane, West Virginia. George was Hurricane Postmaster for many years when the post office was located in the Taylor Building on Main Street. The Taylor Building burned to the ground several years ago. The Taylor Building had not served as the post office for a long period of time before it burned as the post office had been relocated in the Henderson Building on Second Street sometime after Mr. Sowards’ retirement.

The former post office building had been used as a clothing store, a restaurant and as Lahoda’s Pizza Shop. It was occupied by Paul Wing as The Exotic Pet Shop on the first floor and as apartments on the second floor when it and Sumner’s Department Store next door were completely destroyed. The I.0.0.F. and K of P Lodge Hall to the west of the pet store and The Hurricane Breeze building to the east of Sumner’s also suffered fire damage. The Lodge Hall and Breeze office were repaired and are in use. Paul Wing purchased the Taylor lot and built a new pet store which he operates at present.

George C. Sowards is deceased; and Mrs. Nannie B. Sowards is living in Beckley. Mrs. Sowards was born in December, 1995. All of their children – one son and four daughters – grew up in Hurricane and attended Hurricane Elementary and Hurricane High Schools.

Their son, O’Dell Sowards, is married to the former Miss Billie Peters, also of Hurricane. They are parents of two children and four grandchildren. They are residing in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Their oldest daughter, Alma Sowards Gibson, is deceased. She was married to Herbert Gibson, and they lived in the City of Hurricane for a number of years, living at the time of her death at their home at the intersection of Hodges Branch and Big Hurricane Creek Roads. They had one child, a daughter who lives in Ohio, and two grandchildren.

A daughter, Neva, is married to Bert Pauley; and they live in Charleston. They have two daughters, one son and one granddaughter.

Lillian Sowards is married to Oscar G. Blevins; and they live in Huntington. They have two children and four grandchildren.

Mae Rose Sowards is married to Laird Coyner; and they are living in Lochloosa, Florida. Mae Rose has three step­children and one step-grandchild.


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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