Berkeley County, West Virginia Bessie D. KILMER


         Bessie D. KILMER had the distinction of being the first woman in Berkeley County, West Virginia, to hold a political office when she was elected County Superintendent of Schools in 1922 and re-elected in 1926. She was a teahcer in the county, country and city schools before she became superintendent. She was educated in private schools in West Virginia and the New Summer School, Norfolk, Virginia, and taught in Southern Virginia for six years. She was District Supervisor in Arden District for three years; was a member of the National Educational Association, the State Educational Association, and President of the Eastern Panhandle Teachers’ Association.

         Her sister, Rebecca Kilmer, was a teacher in Berkeley County, stenographer and clerical assistant to the Hon. George M. Bowers of Berkeley County during his six years in Congress, and Secretary in the Chamber of Commerce, Martinsburg. Miss Kilmer’s brother, H. Raymond Kilmer, was a civil engineer for the U.S. government Geological Survey. Bessie Kilmer’s father, H.D. Kilmer, was a farmer and merchant, a soldier in the Civil War, Confederate service, as a private in J.B. Stewart’s Cavalry, and was captured and held prisoner in New York City.


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

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