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 221st installment of the Centennial History.
THE STOVER FAMILY (1924-1945)
Submitted by Gail White
In November, 1924, A.C. and Lena Stover moved from Charleston, WV, to the “Old Shepherd Place,” a three and one half acre tract of land situated west of Hurricane and just west of the City limits between Route 60 and the C&O railroad, into a house rumored to have been built during the Civil War. They brought 3 of their 5 children: Mabel, Geka, and Gail. Two older children, Elma and Howard, had finished school and were employed in Kanawha County. A.C. traveled, selling coal for the Stover Smokeless Coal Company, leaving Lena and her children to tend to the “farm.” Mabel graduated from Hurricane High School and then accepted a position as a bookkeeper for Coyle and Richardson Department Store in Charleston.
Geka graduated from the same school in 1933, studied at Marshall College and completed her B.S. degree at Morris Harvey College. She was employed as a teacher in Kanawha County.
Gail finished high school in 1936, went to Marshall College, earning M.A. degree in Elementary Education, and then taught in Putnam County for 32 years, retiring in 1981.
The family attended and was active in the Hurricane Methodist Church, but at that time there was so much cooperation between the Methodist and Baptist Churches, church was often dismissed at one church so that everyone could attend special events at the other, so the Stovers were often in the Baptist Church also.
During the late 20’s, Lena was one of the original organizers of the Stitch and Chatter Club, a club which endured for many, many years and cemented many great friendships. They met twice each month to do just as the title suggests-to stitch and to chatter. Other members were Anna Woodworth, Lula Withrow, Jean Wilkerson, Edith Easter Roberts, Wilmoth Rumbaugh, Annie Erwin, Elizabeth Roberman, Artie Sovine, Grace Burdette, Mary Kirtley, Marie Easter, Emmazetta Hodge, Laura Riddle, and Flora Fannin.
Lena always raised a large garden and had several producing fruit trees. From this effort her larder was always full, even during the period known as the Great Depression. She bought cases of salmon at 10 cents a can and dried beans and sugar in 50 or 100 lb. bags, so the family never went hungry. She also managed to send two children to college during this period.
Some of the events remembered were the hay rides, corn roasts, ice cream socials, quilting bees, wiener roasts, high school dramas, operettas, and just good, good friends getting together.
One very frightening time remembered was when the KKK paraded through the Methodist Church, apparently for a good cause, but certainly not understood by the youngsters present, who thought they were seeing GHOSTS.
Another fright came when Geka and Gail, after church one Sunday morning, were asked to go to Allen Funeral Home to identify a body that had been found on the railroad track, and rumored to be their brother, Howard, a rumor, thankfully that proved to be untrue.
The Stovers have been blessed greatly during their years in Hurricane and since. They all remained in fairly close proximity and have all stayed close to the values which were caught them both in their home and in the community of 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.