Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of Alexander CLOHAN


         Alexander Clohan was born at Hollytown, Scotland, April 8, 1846; emigrated to Preston County with his parents when he was 3 years old. He was the son of William and Agnes (Anderson) Clohan, a coal miner of Scotland. William continued that line of work for 5 years in Preston County and then moved to Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia, where he was in the trade of coal operator. He was, for many years, a justice of the peace in Ohio County, president of the Board of Registration of Wheeling during the Civil War.

         Alexander’s mother, Agnes Anderson, was the sister of the Rev. William Anderson of Old Calabar, Africa, who served there for 50 years as a missionary.

         Alexander Clohan was the youngest of six children. His oldest brother, William, enlisted in Company B, First Virginia Loyal Regiment under Colonel B.F. Kelly. After serving his three-month enlistment, William re-enlisted, becoming a member of Company G, First Virginia Regiment under Colonel Joseph Thoburn. He was promoted to Company K as first sergeant and was killed at Kernstown, near Winchester, Virginia, on Sunday, March 23, 1862. His body was returned to Wheeling where he was buried with military honors, he being the first Wheeling soldier to give his life for the Union causes.

         When a young man, Alexander Clohan went to work in the coal business with his father; he was later employed with LaBelle Iron Works as a puddler and then took a position with the Bellaire Iron Works. In 1878, he moved to Berkeley County with his wife and oldest son, 2-year-old William, in a two-horse wagon. He purchased the Clohan farm in the Gerardstown District and engaged in farming and truck gardening. In 1906, he organized the Highland Orchard Company as president; organized the Hart-Clohan Company on Opequon Creek (fruit and truck raising) as president, as well as the Gold Orchard Company, the Tomahawk Orchard Company, and the Cherry Run Orchard Company.

         In 1899, Alexander Clohan was elected president of the West Virginia State Horticulturist Society, an office he held for nine years. He was president of the Berkeley County Horticultural Society; appointed - in 1885 - by Governor William A. MacCorkle to be a member of the State Board of Agriculture; member of the Eastern Fruit Growers Association in 1888; delegate to each Republican State Convention for 10 years; appointed Deputy Sheriff of Berkeley County (1893) by Sheriff L.C. Gerling; and appointed postmaster of Martinsburg in 1898 by President McKinley and twice by President Roosevelt.

         In 1872, Alexander Clohan and Celia Crouch, daughter of Enos R. Crouch of Wheeling, were married. Their children were: William Clohan (deceased at time of writing); Herbert Clohan (deceased); Robert Clohan, Chief Postal Clerk in the Martinsburg Post Office; Louis Clohan (deceased); Lucy Clohan, married William S. Cline of Martinsburg; Bessie Clohan, married Prince Dunn of Martinsburg; Archie Clohan, soldier in World War I; and Elsie Clohan of Washington, D.C. Alexander Clohan died in Martinsburg.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928.

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