Most local people are familiar with “The Daughter of the Elm” and know the name of Granville Davisson Hall as the author of this book of fiction. But Hall’s most important work was “The Rending of Virginia” that was published in 1902.
Hall was very interested in politics and worked for the Wheeling Intelligencer, a newspaper published in Wheeling, that used the “power of the pen” for political persuasion. He used his stenographic skills to record all the meetings and later used this material to publish “The Rending of Virginia.”
Hall also served as the first Secretary of State for the newly formed state of West Virginia.
Solomon Fleming moved to Shinnston in 1840. Politically he was a Whig. He was an astute businessman, public-spirited and held many positions of responsibility and trust. He was a delegate to the convention at Clarksburg on April 22, 1861 and the Wheeling constitutional conventions in 1862 and 1863.
He was also the first Mayor of Shinnston when the town was incorporated in 1852.
Felix Sturm was a successful farmer and owned 300 acres of land on the west side of the West Fork River that abutted the Hood land on the south and the McIntire holdings to the north at Viropa.
Sturm never held political office but had considerable influence. He was also an entrepreneur and had a cheese-making business and sold apples on his farm. Felix was an ardent Republican and was named one of the delegates to represent Harrison County to meet at Wheeling to decide what action the people of northwestern Virginia would take after Virginia voted to secede from the Union.
This movement culminated in the formation of the great state of West Virginia on June 20,1863. These three local men helped to shape the state of West Virginia.
Be proud Shinnston!