The Hufford Family in Doddridge County, WV

As I was working to solve the puzzle of Peter Hufford (of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716), it seems that the folks in the area where he lived his last years already knew how he connected to the Huffords whom I work.

John M. DeBrular, Suzanne Hadley, and Marla Jones wrote “The History of the Greenwood Community, 1798-1980.”  Here are their words:

The Hufford Family in Doddridge County, WV

During the twentieth century, one of the well-known families in Greenwood was that of Theodore and Lilly (Ellifritt) Hufford.   [Note from AMB: Theodore was of William, of Peter, of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716.]

Theodore’s parents, William and Mary (Cottrill) Hufford, were married in Harrison County, WV, in 1871. They brought their family to Doddridge County from Lost Creek, in Harrison County. William, born in 1847, was the son of Peter Hufford and Mary Ann (last name unknown). The Huffords were German immigrants who came to America (Pennsylvania) in 1729; the family name in Germany was “Hoffart”; after the family immigrated, the name evolved to “Huffert” and eventually to “Hufford.”

Mary Cottrill was the daughter of Calvin Cottrill and Lucinda (last name unknown), both believed to have been born in Virginia ca. 1820. Mary was born in 1850 in Muskinguum County, Ohio.

It is unclear precisely when or why the William Huffords moved from Harrison County to Doddridge County. The 1880 census recorded the family still living in Harrison County, and son Holly – born in 1877 – apparently was the last child born in that county. Lena (may have been “Tena”) – born in 1884 – apparently was the first child born in Doddridge County. (Notably, Tena was the only girl born to William and Mary; she lived to be just over one year old, dying in 1885.) The sons born to William and Mary were:

  • Theodore (born 1872 in Harrison County)
  • Worthington George (born 1873 in Harrison County)
  • Enoch Bert (born 1875 in Harrison County; died 1903 in Doddridge County)
  • William Hatfield (“Hat”; born 1876 in Harrison County; married Margaret Caroline Dotson; died 1938)
  • Holly W. (born 1877 in Harrison County; died 1914 at Greenwood)
  • Arthur C. (born 1886 in Doddridge County)
  • Clyde (born 1888 in Doddridge County; married Augusta Cottrill)
  • Harley C. (born 1905 in Doddridge County; died 1921 in Doddridge County).

Several of the sons continued to live with their parents until they (the sons) were well into their adult years. Thus, according to the 1900 census, Theodore (age 27), Worthington (age 26), Enoch (age 25), William (age 24), and Hollie (age 22) were still living at home, along with their junior brothers Arthur and Clyde. Even as late as 1910, Worthington and Holly (aged 36 and 33, respectively) were still living with their parents, as were Arthur and Clyde. On both of these occasions, the census recorded the family home as located in the Central District of Doddridge County.

In Harrison County, William Hufford appeared in the 1850 census was a “laborer,” but in Doddridge County, he was a farmer. The first deed recorded to William Hufford was made August 29, 1891. By this deed, Franklin Maxwell and Frances June Maxwell sold to William Hufford a tract of land at the “Cabin Lick fork of Cabin Run, a branch of the North fork of the Hughes River in Doddridge County.” The tract comprised 139 acres; the purchase price was $695.00, which was paid in cash.

William Hufford apparently was careful with his money. In 1918, he was among many West Virginia residents whose credit ratings were recorded in the “Credit Experience Guide.” William Hufford, Greenwood, was rated “P,” meaning “prompt pay” and “C,” meaning cash customer. (The Credit Experience Guide was published by the Merchants Mercantile Agency of Pittsburgh, PA. This copy is among the holdings of the Doddridge County Museum at West Union, WV.)

Mary (Cottrill) Hufford died at Greenwood on February 11, 1915. In 1916, William Hufford married his second wife, Mary Catherine Bee. William died in 1922, and is buried in Duckworth Cemetery, in a plot also containing his first wife and several of their children.

In 1900, Theodore Hufford, aged 28, married Lilly Maud Ellifritt, aged 22, eldest daughter of Winfield Scott and Martha (Edwards) Ellifritt. The Ellifritts were another of the leading families of Greenwood. At one point, believed to be around 1920, Theodore and Lilly kept a hotel at Central Station. An infamous event — a train robbery — occurred at Central Station while the Huffords lived there. It was the first train robbery in the U.S. over $1 million. The story is told that two of the Hufford children played an interesting role: they carried water to the robbers (who were awaiting the train along the track), for which the children were given a quarter.

At another juncture, Theodore had a service station at Wilsonburg, in Harrison County. During the period he operated the filling station, Theodore was a witness at the murder trial of “the Butcher of Quiet Dell,” a local man who was accused and ultimately convicted of luring several women into marriage and then murder. The accused had stopped to gas up at Theodore’s station; hence the need for Theodore’s testimony. Subsequently, Theodore and Lilly lived in Greenwood, where Theodore kept a blacksmith shop, and for 25 years, he worked for Hope Gas Company. As a result of an occupational accident at the gas company, Theodore was crippled, and he walked with a cane during the latter part of his life.

In Greenwood, Theodore and Lilly first lived in the “big house” built by Winfield and Martha Ellifritt. However, around 1946-47, this house burned to the ground, possibly due to an electrical problem. The burning of this house — with all the occupants’ possessions — is still vivid in the minds of those who witnessed it. The fire started at night; a passing trucker saw the flames and came running to give the alarm, but the house was a total loss, despite the best efforts of fire departments from as far away as Pennsboro. After the fire, for a time, the family lived in the small shed where Theodore kept his tools. Meanwhile, a new home was built — the small concrete block bungalow that still stands along Route 50 in “downtown” Greenwood.

Theodore and Lilly Hufford had five children, Harry Glenn (born 1901 in West Union, WV; died 1989 in Ravenswood), Elmer, Edith, Elsie (died in 1902, when less than one month old), and Georgia (born 1903). Georgia died unmarried at age 32, in Harrison County. Her cause of death was listed as “paralysis,” which may have been associated with polio. Elmer married and had two sons, Ron and Jim, the former of whom lives in Harrison County. Elmer was an expert carpenter and worked for the Clarksburg Casket Company. He was known to his friends as “Red Hufford.”

Edith Hufford married Pete Lewis, and from this union, a boy was born. Pete died ca. 1943, and Edith went to work as a B & O telegraph operator to support her family. Her son, Tom, was sent to live with his grandparents, Theodore and Lilly, at Greenwood, and Edith lived there as well until she remarried. Her second husband was French Wilson. Today, Grandson Tom and his wife Mae have on display in their home a fine collection of Theodore’s tools and Lilly’s kitchen implements.

Harry Hufford married Hazel Archer (born 1900 in Jackson County, died 1985) in 1921. The family lived for several years in Fairmont, but the majority of their years were spent in Grafton, where Harry became Chief Dispatcher for the B & O Railroad. A tribute to him was published by railroad colleague and noted author, Brooks Pepper, in the West Virginia Hillbilly (December 20, 1969, and subsequently, in the appendix to the West Virginia Encyclopedia). Excerpts from this tribute follow:

Mr. Hufford went to work for the B&O as a station agent at Central, in Doddridge County, when very young. He was soon on his way ahead, for in about two years, or a little longer, perhaps, he went on to the division office at Grafton where he became a clerk to the chief train dispatcher. And from this to dispatcher, then on to chief dispatcher …

as time went on and I worked with him more the decisions were mine to make. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. But whatever the situation, and in the event things did go sour, Mr. Hufford always stood firmly behind the dispatcher, often assuming the blame for things that certainly could not have been his. But he was that way. Always considerate, helpful, and often encouraging to any one whom he thought deserving …

He never interfered in the work of the dispatchers and with the experience most of us had, we rarely called upon him for help in our work. But it was always there, if needed, and willingly given.

When his time came to retire, I regretted seeing him leave. The afternoon of his last day, he came to my office to shake my hand and say goodbye. I am afraid I was just a little emotional. All of the pleasant things that had taken place flashed through my mind. How patient he had been. How, without harsh criticism, he had directed all of us when direction was needed. And then I thought of the very close relationship that had been ours for the last ten years just now coming to a close ….

The division officials gave an excellent testimonial dinner to honor “Slim” Hufford, but I didn’t get to attend the affair. This I regretted. But I had such memories of this kindly man, it wasn’t necessary for me to show up where so many people honored him.

I honor him here now and this is my testimony to a long and close friendship.

Eight children were born to Harry and Hazel Hufford: Geraldine (Mrs. Robert Graham – born in 1922; died in Topeka, KS, in 2000; Christina (Mrs. Benjamin Wilson – born in 1923; died in Nashville, TN, in 1974; Harry Jr. (born 1924; died at age 6, in Grafton, WV); Mary Lou (Mrs. Robert Thompson, of Wheeling, WV; born 1927); Abby (Mrs. Carl Ambro – born 1928; died in Ravenswood, WV, in 1992); Helen (Mrs. Charles Bartlett, born in 1931; died in Winchester, TN, in 2003); Frank (born 1934; married Judy Coughlin; they reside in Lilburn, GA); Sandi (Mrs. Wayne Phillips, of Princeton, NJ; born 1942).

The Hufford grandchildren frequently spent their summers with Theodore and Lilly at Greenwood. One grandchild recalled of Lilly that she was “easy going,” and “a wonderful cook,” with “never a bad word to say about anyone.” She listened to the radio a great deal — Arthur Godfrey was one of her special favorites. As for Theodore, he was said to be “very stern” — “when he said ‘no,’ that meant ‘no.’”

Grandfather Theodore died in 1957; Grandmother Lilly lived on alone until 1964. During her later years, she walked with two crutches, after breaking her hip. She kept a diary in a small brown-back school notebook, noting the weather, itemizing her expenditures, and recording notable events such as the assassination of President John Kennedy and visits from her grandchildren. Lilly and Theodore Hufford now rest in the Greenwood Cemetery.

PAGE NOTE: Peter Hufford’s older brother Christian Hufford III is at page 200 of 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. Peter and his descendants would be inserted after Christian III.

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