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A Picture from the Past: Who Is The Gentleman?

The above photo appeared in a 1920 or 1921 issue of the Hurricane Breeze. The gentleman pictured is long-time Lincoln and Putnam County educator Hiram A. Stover. Stover, born in 1865, was active in the Republican Party and was appointed as WV Department of Education Supply Clerk in 1920.

Gerry Stover, a great-great nephew of Hiram Stover, provided the photo and following information to the Breeze:

“The following is a story told to me (Gerry Stover) by R.H. Adkins of Hamlin. When I first met R.H. Adkins, I knew of his reputation as a “Wildcatter.” I encountered him at one of his favorite hangouts — the Bobcat Restaurant. When he was introduced to me, he said, ‘Your name Stover? So are you by chance any relationship to Hiram Stover the school teacher?’

“I replied yes, that was my great Uncle. He then said let me tell you a story about your great uncle and my grandfather Dingess. He (Dingess) was my mother’s father who was the trustee of the Hart Normal School in Lincoln County. Your great uncle was hired by my grandfather Dingess to be the teacher for this one room schoolhouse where my mother was a student. My grandfather Dingess decided to visit the school to see how your great uncle was conducting class and especially handling discipline. Mr. Dingess sat at the back of the classroom and remained quiet until Mr. Stover dismissed the school for the day to which my grandfather asked to speak to Mr. Stover privately.

“The conversation went something like this — Mr. Stover, you did not spank any boys today! At which Mr. Stover made no reply but nodded. My grandfather returned on the 2nd day to again observe and at the end of the school day requested a private audience with Mr. Stover in which he started the conversation with ‘Mr. Stover, you must not have understood me but I said you should be making an example of your discipline policy by spanking a few boys.’ Again, Mr. Stover nodded politely.

“On the 3rd day, my grandfather Dingess showed up to observe Mr. Stover and your two times great uncle elected to spank every child at the school including my mother. My grandfather never went back to the school again to counsel Mr. Stover on what he should be doing as a teacher. He respected your two time great uncle for his knowledge and teaching skills.

“I (Gerry) have heard similar stories handed down to me about my two time great uncle as he was a teacher to former Hurricane High teacher Slick Graham and Culloden Elementary Mrs. Tyree.”

Historical information: “I, Hiram Archibald Stover was born on Sunday October 8, 1865, near Bladensburg, Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.

“Francina (Frances), my mother, was the daughter of Abraham and Mahala Wooten Stover (Bladensburg Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio). She was born November 13, 1847, in Gilles County, Virginia. My father, Clarkson, the oldest of 13 children, was born February 28, 1942, to Irvin and Malinda Lena Williams in Giles County, Virginia.” — Family Bible of Hiram Stover.

H. A. Stover was appointed by WV School Superintendent George M. Ford to the Department of Education as a Supply Clerk — WV Blue Book 1921 edition.

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