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Centennial History of Hurricane (1994 Edition): P.W. Arbaugh

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. In 1994, the Centennial Committee published a follow up book which included family histories which were not submitted in time for the 1988 Centennial History. This week’s section is the 1st history from The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV Continued – 1994.

P.W. Arbaugh

Arbaugh has been a familiar family name in the Hurricane area since the early 1800’s. Many of the early Arbaughs lived just 2 or 3 miles south of present day Hurricane and their graves are to be found in the old Charley’s Creek Cemetery.

One of the descendants of those early settlers was Pearly Walker Arbaugh. He was born January 1, 1886, the son of Preston and Susan Mitchell Arbaugh. Actually, as he told the story, he was born just before midnight on December 31, 1885, but the doctor in attendance said it was close enough to midnight that he could be called a New Year’s baby, so the January 1, 1886 date was generally used by the family, although his birth certificate does indicate December 31, 1885.

When P.W. (as he was called by family and friends) was still under six years of age, he lost both of his parents. This left P.W. and his two brothers and two sisters to be raised by relatives. P.W. grew up in the home of an uncle, Floyd Mitchell, who was his mother’s brother.

In September, 1909, P.W. was married to Anna Agnus Beckett who was born December 14, 1892, and was the daughter of John Charles “Charley” and Abigail Sowards Beckett. Charley Beckett was the son of Ahas and Mary Rayhill Beckett. Abigail Sowards had moved to the area from Scotttown, Ohio. P.W. and Agnus (better known as Aggie) lived for a time on Bee Branch/Sycamore Creek where most of their children were born. Son, Freddie, would later say that it was on this farm that he spent the happiest days of his life. (Most of us would say that about the first home we remember.) Eventually, they purchased a larger farm on Sycamore and lived there the remainder of their lives. Their “cash” crop, as on most farms, was tobacco, and Aggie’s butter and eggs were always in demand.

When the Laywell Church of Christ was organized in 1913, P.W. and Aggie were charter members. The church met for a time in an old school house but in 1924, decided to build a new building with most of the labor provided by the members. P.W. would later relate that any time it was too wet to farm or the work was caught up, they would go over and work on the church building.

P.W. and Aggie were the parents of five children:

  1. Hobart Ernest, b. May 12, 1911, who married Hazel Chaney and they have lived in Hurricane for nearly 50 years. They had one son, Aubrey Glen.
  2. Laymon, b. 1913, d. age 5 years.
  3. Alberta Marie, b. November 2, 1915. Alberta m. Martin Honaker and lived in Huntington. They were the parents of a daughter, Romona, and a son, Gary.
  4. Freddie Morrison, b. February 25, 1918. Freddie m. Dosha Helen Lawson and they were the parents of two daughters, Natella and Evelyn.
  5. Vaneta Jewel, b. October 6, 1919. Vaneta m. Forest Smith (d. 1992) and they were the parents of two daughters, Charlotte (d. 1993) and Joy.
  6. P.W. passed away November 25, 1983 and was preceded in death by Aggie March 14, 1968.
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