FIRST PARKERSBURG BANKER BEVERLY SMITH
Mackey's Antiques & Clock
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101
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Parkersburg first banker Beverly Smith, born Oct. 28, 1809, in Fauquier county, Va., was the first banker of record in Parkersburg. Smith, with his bride, Catherine Arthur Sterrett, whom he married Jan. 27, 1836, at Columbia Furnace, Va., journeyed west to Wheeling where he became a teller in the NorthWestern Bank of Virginia. Leaving Wheeling, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their first child carne down the Ohio to Parkersburg in 1839 to open a branch of the bank, in which he would be the cashier.
The Smith 'family established their home in a large brick dwelling on Court St., now 3rd. For many recent decades this same building was the Salvation Army headquarters until it was demolished around 1965. Smith took part of the large structure for the bank quarters and the family lived in the rest of the house. When Mrs. Smith died in 1854 she left four daughters and two sons, the oldest, Frances was 16, the youngest child, eight. Five years later, Beverly Smith married Virginia Quarrier Snodgrass of Charleston, a widow with six children. They had one daughter whom they named Virginia.
A Full House Life must have been exceedingly difficult for the children, Smith's great granddaughter, Miss Katherine Burnside of Parkersburg smiled. Although family gossip says their step mother begrudged them two trousseaus, Frances and Laura Smith had a double wedding on Oct. 18, 1860, when they married Dr. Samuel A. Burche of Washington, and John O'Dell Talbott of Annapolis,Md., Miss Burnside told. Miss Burnside, a widely known artist, said that when she became a member of the Society of Collectors of American Art in 1940, she discovered a hitherto unknown fact about her great grandfather.
Mrs. Emily A. Travers, the director, wrote from New York saying that Beverly Smith of Wheeling, Va. had been a member 100 years ago. None of the family had ever known that he had any special interest in art before this, Miss Burnside related. The Parkersburg branch of the North Western Bank of virginia, was later chartered by a group of local men as, "The Parkersburg National Bank".
Soon after they decided to move from 3d St., up town on Market. At this time, Smith owned a large tract of land facing Market St. and had sold some of it for $80.00 to the Catholic Parish on which they built St. Xavier's Church. Miss Burnside said she had never looked it up, but often wondered if Beverly Smith had not given the bank the land it now stands on. Smith died in 1867, and after the children were all married and gone, Mrs. Smith moved up on 8th St. where the old' Y.M.C.A. once stood.
Miss Burnside told that some time later, The bank rented the old house on Court, or 3d St., to some disreputable ladies. This so angered Smith's daughter, Mrs. Burche, that she marched into the bank and demanded her father's portrait. Years later, it was returned to the bank, she added. As happened in so many Parkersburg families, sympathies in the Civil War were divided, Beverly Smith sided, with the south but his daughter Eva, married a Union officer.
On her honeymoon, Miss Burnside related, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad lost all her luggage containing her lovely trousseau. She immediately filed a claim. Nearly half a century later, in 1924, a few years before her death, the railroad honored the old claim. Talking with Miss Burnside makes the shadowy and little known figure of Parkersburg's first banker, come very much alive.
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