Upshur County Historical Society
P.O. Box 2082
Buckhannon, WV 26201

The Upshur County Historical Society is the county level private, not-for-profit organization that has as its mission the preservation, and perpetuation of all things historical on the county level.

No document or image whether printed, photocopied, electronic or otherwise may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of The Upshur County Historical Society.



29 West Main Street
Buckhannon, WV 26201
(across from the courthouse)

Open to the general public, year round, by appointment only at this time.

            The Upshur County Historical Society’s Document Repository is open to the general public, year round, only by appointment at this time.  Over time we have welcomed many individuals who are working on family research, have a local history question, need to purchase our various publications, or just stop in to donate some important historic document or artifact for the ever growing collection that we house there. If you want to do research at the Repository, we will set an afternoon appointment time for you.  This past year we have had a great many visitors both from the local area and some from other states.  We try to meet the needs of all who have Upshur County related family or historical questions. If you have specific questions (as many of you have presented to us) and want us to assist, please be as specific as you can and let us know what you have already looked at.  

            We are pleased to offer special assistance to educators, students, and organizations of our area.   We were honored this past fall to host a session to the current group of the Upshur County Leadership Academy. We have assisted several students from WVWC who were working on local history assignments, as well as advising local school children on social studies projects.  We always have several genealogy researchers in the Repository and have also shared our Museum Exhibit and Repository with other regional historical societies and museums including the Harrison County Historical Society, Helvetia Preservation Group, WVPreservation Alliance “Architects of West Virginia” project, Tennerton Methodist Church History group, the Fred Brooks Garden Club, Beckie Boyd from MyBuckhannon, and many more.

 Leadership Academy session, 2022 (staff photo)

More and more local materials have been added to the WV State Archives website and you may want to begin your research there if looking for vital statistics, census records, etc.  Upshur County courthouse records are beginning to appear online and that is an excellent research tool.  Of course, our book list still lists many research tools and the publication list is to be found in the center of this Journal.  We also highly recommend the Library of Congress [] digital online newspaper files “Chronicling America” for newspaper search.  Unfortunately, there are no Upshur County newspapers online at this time but a lot of Upshur County/Buckhannon stories do appear in online area newspapers like early Clarksburg, Wheeling, and other WV city papers.   It’s all free too!

            The Repository continues to acquire significant historic resources.  We have had several new collections over the past few months and many previously established collections were added to.   Some of the interesting documents and artifacts have included additional Spies family materials from the Bekki Lewis Leigh Collection; additions to the Albaugh, Virginia Bly Hoover, Linger family collections and a large collection of material from the Margery Ours estate. Because we have delved into the Casto 4-H collection for a major story in this Journal and although it had been sorted into folders, it is just now being thoroughly catalogued by our AmeriCorps member. We do appreciate all of these contributions.  All told, we have catalogued over 25,000 individual artifacts or groups of such. We are still working hard to catalogue all incoming collections so that they will be available for use by our visiting public. Cataloguing is usually handled by our AmeriCorps member so we are very glad that we have Beth on board since it is the most technical of the Repository activities and requires rather strict training.

            We are continuing to add items to our Upshur County History Digital Encyclopedia [A major project that will be ongoing for quite some time] where we will be digitally copying a vast range of research materials that we have put together at the Repository.  This format will allow various types of materials to be combined in such a way that will be much more user friendly.   It will also connect to our digital collections cataloguing and storage system known as PastPerfect®, and make working on future journals, upcoming summer exhibits, and many other research projects much easier.  We are also converting our “Bibliography” content to digital format and have added a great deal to each category including: books, periodicals, newspaper references and clippings, and other materials. There is still much work to do on this project and we do welcome volunteers who wish to assist.

            We have large amounts of uncatalogued original materials [called primary resources] in our holdings waiting to be entered into the system and we look forward to the time when our entire collection has been catalogued electronically.  We’re not sure just when this will happen as the collection keeps growing.  You will see in this Journal, published examples of many photographs, historic documents, newspaper scans, and content gleaned from these vast collections.  We are very appreciative of all the donors that have shared their treasures with us over the years.  We are now managing well over 600 individual collections, some small but some very large.  We are also very appreciative of Daniel Green for generously sharing from the Howard Hiner photo collection and for Don Henderson, Jr. who always assists and shares from his personal collections with the UCHS publications.

            There is always a great need at the Repository.  Of course volunteer assistance is certainly at the top of the list.  It is also very expensive to maintain the collection with correct archival processing and storage.  Archival supplies are very costly since they must have the special qualities that protect the artifact and, at the same time, remain stable for many years.  Acid free, ultraviolet protecting, materials are quite expensive and if you would like to make a donation, perhaps choosing one of the previously listed special gift items to allow us to maintain a constant stock of these supplies, please contact us.  We are also very happy to assist the public with any needs in their personal family archival storage and preservation tasks.


 Spotlight on Volunteer Veneda Mills Gower

            Veneda Gower has worked with the UCHS team for many years and her kind face and quiet voice is one that many associate with the efforts of the historical society.  She has always been dependable and does her work without coaching.   It is a tremendous duty to track our membership additions and updates along with the general mailing lists [now numbering more that 450] as well as preparing the financial spread sheets that are at the heart of keeping our income straight.  We usually average nearly 400 income transactions a year and accurate accounting of these transactions have to be used to pay the consumer sales tax, to prepare mailing labels, and to have an exacting base of information to be able to create our annual income report.   This information is extremely important when we speak with our members about contributions, used for grant applications, and to report our annual non-profit status to the IRS.

            Veneda keeps us straight.  Thanks a million to this long term and vital volunteer.


Veneda Mills Gower, Volunteer

            It does take an enormous amount of work to make the Repository a professionally operated research center, artifact and document collection, and center of the Society’s office operations.  A small, but very dedicated, core of workers including Veneda Mills Gower [who records all memberships, sales, prepares membership correspondence, and much more], Amy W. Tenney [she is involved in every aspect of the UCHS and specifically is in charge with all operations of the French Creek building project], Linda Wygal [she researches and writes for the Journal], Michael Phillips [he is our resident Civil War expert and always willing to assist], Diane Orsburn Hanline [she has worked for months cataloguing and arranging our vast research book collection, Don Henderson, Jr. [he advises and shares historic images on many occasions and assists with some of our retail sales. He also contributed to the “Holly Grove” story in this issue], and Noel W. Tenney [serves as Director of Special Projects and secretary/treasurer, he usually attends to the day to day operations, answers emails and ships orders, supervises volunteers and the AmeriCorps member, writes for and edits the Journal, and develops and curates the Summer Exhibit], and others as dedicated volunteers this year, all make up that team.  We are also extremely pleased to have the continuing advising of Karon King and Lemoyne Wentz.

            The Pandemic had curbed some volunteer work but we do appreciate everyone’s contributions and are certainly welcoming new and returning volunteers, working to make sure they have a safe and healthy environment in which to work.

            We are always happy that those of you who use our resources see the fruit of your effort with your writings and publications.  Many individuals have shared a copy of their finished work with the Repository and we always love being remembered in that way. Some of these works are also featured on our publication sales list.

            We are now in a position at the Repository to receive a wide variety of materials that relate to the rich history of Upshur County.  PLEASE! DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY THAT MIGHT SPEAK TO SOME ASPECT OF OUR COUNTY HISTORY UNTIL YOU LET US HAVE A LOOK. 

Remember, what you may consider valueless, we may consider priceless.



 Leadership Academy session, 2022 (staff photo)