Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of John J. HETZEL Sr.


         John J. HETZEL Sr. was born in New York City on February 1, 1849. He moved to Cumberland, Maryland, with his parents; was educated in the German Lutheran Parochial School and attended Allegheny Male and Female Seminary at Rainsburg, Pennsylvania. After completing his general education, he clerked in a general store at Bloody Run (now Everett), Pennsylvania. In 1875, he became part of J.B. Hoyt & Company, the largest leather manufacturers in the U.S. at that time, first as auditor and then as general manager of their 14 tanneries. He moved to Berkeley County, West Virginia, in 1901, where he purchased the wholesale grocery concern of Evans, Shaffer Grocery Company of Martinsburg, reorganized it under the name of the National Commercial Company and became president.

         John Hetzel organized the Bank of Martinsburg in 1902 and was elected president for a number of years; organized the Bank of Morgan County, located at Berkeley Springs, and became its first president; built the Berkeley Springs Telephone Company system in 1904; organized the Romney Wholesale Grocery Company of Romney, West Virginia, of which he was president and general manager; represented Morgan County in the state legislature, 1882-83, receiving 187 votes of the 190 cast at his home precinct of Paw Paw; was a worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Young Menís Christian Association; and was prominent in Good Templars, an organization which brought about the expulsion of the liquor traffic from the United States.

         In 1871, he married Anna Barndollar of Danville, Pennsylvania.


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

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