Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of the GANO Family


         The GANO family’s name was formerly Gerneaux. Frances Gerneaux was a member of the set of Huguenots or French Protestants who were so bitterly persecuted in that country. In 1685, Frances Gerneaux, after his family was destroyed, contrived to reach the Island of Guernsey and by friends there was secreted in a shipping hogshead for a fortnight awaiting the departure of a sailing vessel bound for America. In due course of time he reached Boston harbor. He proceeded to New Rochelle, New York, where there was a colony of Huguenots. When he arrived at the settlement, he exclaimed, “I have been expelled from my birthplace and my property has been taken from me for one aggression — a love for the Bible and its teachings. Let my name change with the circumstances.” He adopted the name of Gano, the English pronunciation of Ganeaux, which has been used by the family ever since.

         One of the descendants of Frances Gerneaux/Gano was James Gano, who emigrated to Back Creek Valley, Berkeley County, Virginia, and married Catharine Kitchen, sister to Congressman Bethuel M. Kitchen. They had three sons: Joseph Gano, Daniel Gano, and John Gano. Joseph had the following children: James T. Gano, Richard Gano, Daniel Gano.

         James T. Gano was a merchant at Tablers, Berkeley County, West Virginia, and was employed for 38 consecutive years in the employ of, first, the Cumberland Valley, and second, the Pennsylvania Railroad Companies. He had a general store and served as agent and postmaster. His son, Marion E. Gano, was employed as an assistant cashier at the Merchants and Farmers Bank.

         Richard Gano, another son of Joseph, was the father of Roland Gano and Richard Gano of Pikeside, farmers and market gardeners. The owned the old Tillotson Fryatt homestead at that place, Berkeley County. Richard Gano was a successful farmer in the county.

         Another son of Joseph was Daniel Gano, who was the father of William Gano, the originator of the famous Gano apple. William Gano found this apple, a seedling, growing on his farm in the Ozark region, Missouri, and saw that he had discovered a new variety of superior qualities. He began its propagation and added another to the long list of excellent varieties of apples. The Gano apple grows well in Berkeley County. Daniel Gano was the grandfather of Algernon Gano, John Gano, Berkeley Gano, and Liston Gano, all of Berkeley County.


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

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