Adding New Hours of Business

We are open every Wednesday (weather permitting) from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. and now we’d like to announce every Tuesday (weather permitting) from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Thanks to member Steve Ostaff, we’ve been able to offer more time for the public to visit our Holt House Museum and History Library. We’ll be making some renovations to our Annex in the next couple of months plus planning for our fall activities.

Feel free to stop in and enjoy the changes. If your a member, we’d like to invite you to join in on future planning meetings for improvements and upgrades. If you’re not a member, you may join in person. Tuesday and Wednesday, from 11-3. If it’s more convenient, just click on our Members link and mail in your application plus a check to

Gilmer County Historical Society, Po Box 235, Glenville, WV 26351

All this work brings to mind the story by Mark Twain about how Tom Sawyer finagled his friends into whitewashing the fence for his Aunt so he didn’t have to do the work. Unlike Tom, we’ll be there painting the handrails, scrubbing the floors and any other number of chores to make the old place shine again.

We sure could use your help and companionship while we do this labor of love. Everyone has that special something they excel at which, when combined with others, makes change progress faster and more well-rounded. We are all volunteers with the same vision of making the Gilmer County Historical Society a productive non-profit organization. We are committed to the preservation of our Appalachian culture, gathering old photos and other documents to aid in protecting the stories and traditions, and safely housing the arts and artifacts.

Labor Day Proclamation 1904

West Virginia’s Governor Albert D. White declared an official Labor Day Holiday on August 11, 1904

To get a good look at the original document and a PDF file, which may be easier to read, go to the link at the Library Of Congress:

To get a better feel of what West Virginia was like in 1904, check out the link to

WV University . You won’t be disappointed.

Chilson and Claytor Livery and Boarding Stable, Fairmont, W. Va.


Great Yard Sale Donations

Gilmer County Historical Society Aug. 26th & 27th. Yard Sale

Our Summer Yard Sale brought in donations from the items and sales from our kitchen. Chili Dogs, Perogies, Vegetable Soup and Corn Chowder. Pluss a Bake Sale. The weather was beautiful and shoppers were steady. Thanks everyone who pitched in. Special thanks to the young man who ran the Dime Toss tent. He literally ‘pitched in” !

The proceeds will help with our new roof, new A/C and Heating, ceiling lights and ceiling tiles which were damaged by the leaks. We’ll be planning another Yard Sale for spring because every quarter counts!

Members Sandy Hershey and Peggy Wentzell

Prohibition times in Gilmer County, West Virginia

Early 1920’s

‘The law looks over confiscated whisky-making equipment taken from illegal Gilmer County stills some time in the early twenties. Pictured, left to right, are Emmett J. Bush, Deputy Sheriff; James H. Hall, Sheriff; a Mr. Willis, prohibition agent; John R. Lynch, Justice of the Peace; Earl Bennett, Deputy Sheriff; and Bantz Craddock, Prosecuting Attorney. (news paper clipping)

The Historical Society is planning a Murder Mystery Benefit Dinner, at the Holt House Museum, at 302 E. Main Street, Glenville, WV 26351, on Saturday, October 22 of this year. The theatrical production is being written by Robin and Karen Pennebaker, members. Robin Pennebaker first became involved in the Society when she was about 9 years old. Now 30, she knows more of the history of the Holt House Museum than most other members do. She will be giving a tour of the house to set the stage for ‘Murder On Main Street’.

Our story will begin during the time of prohibition, 100 years ago in the year 1922. During the 20’s and 30’s there were drastic changes for the Victorian woman as a result of the women’s movements opening the door for the uninhibited Flappers to emerge. It also changed the lives of men and how they would look at woman in the years that followed. This is the exciting time in history we wanted to have a little fun with.

Some of our members will be in costume. We encourage everyone to dress up for dinner to try and win a prize for Most Popular Costume of the evening. What better way for the diners to feel the pull of living-history as they play their small parts in solving the mystery?

As we get closer to our production date, we will post more tantalising bits of info on the Roaring 20’s and 30’s and the evolution it create to our way of life in the United States.

All proceeds will go towards a new roof we desperately need on out Annex Library, and an air conditioning and heating unit which no longer serves. Donations are welcome and appreciated. If you would like to donate please go to the ‘About Us’ page located on the Home Page and click on the ‘Donate’ button at the beginning of the photos. It is well appreciated.

Baptism at Locust Knob

A short article written by Lawrence Montgomery, possibly in 2014

Locust Knob Church is located at the junction of three roads in Gilmer County, WV. In the picture above you can see Joes Run Road on the right. The two pictures below show Sliding Run Road which comes in from the left, and Heaters Fork Road where I took the picture of the church, directly across from it. Today, they are very narrow, and two of the three are still dirt/gravel roads.

I used to travel these roads daily, some of which were quite a challenge: Loggers, Oil Company trucks and hunters on their 4×4’s looking for the elusive buck, squirrel, and turkey. I’ve even seen bear, bobcat, coyotes, hawks and owls. The ferns would hang over the edge of the road and make a soft, lace canopy for the chipmunks to scurry under as I drove past. The wild Trillium, Laurel, Rhododendron and Blood Root would bloom in the spring, along with Daylilies in the low moist areas beside the creek. Butterflies would lift off the road in small swarms of color when I would approach in my Jeep. They were gathering to feast on the salty stones from the winter cinder trucks.

I knew Ellis Mick. He loved to tell tales of the life he and his family had lived on that hill. He was a rugged man with determination and grit. I never saw him without that stub of a cigar pinched between his fingers. Sharon Mick Taylor came home to take care of her father in his last years. When he could no longer ride the back roads and trails on his 4×4, she and her brother made it possible for Ellis to remain in his home until the day he passed. May everyone get the chance to live and die at home. God willing.

I love this spot high on the hill so much, my husband and I have chosen a plot in the cemetery and are having our tombstone set this summer at the head of our final resting place.

One of Gilmer County, West Virginia’s wild and wonderful nooks and crannies.

Benefit Yard Sale/Bake Sale/Hot Dogs & Soups

302 E. Main St., Glenville WV Corner of Main and College St.

Hot Dogs,
Homemade Chicken Corn Noodle and Vegetable Soup
(BYO container for soup take-home in bulk)
Homemade Baked goods
Bottled drinks

To Set Up contact:
Sandy 304-462-8390 or (message)

Hours: 8-6, Friday & Sat (rain or shine)

Antiques, tools, 3 bay stainless steel sink, glass ware, ladder, kitchen items, homemade soaps/lotions, books, children’s toys, clothing, plants, jewelry, arts and crafts and much more.

We will post pictures closer to the event.

Proceeds made by the Historical Society will go towards repairs to the buildings.

Thank you for your Support!

Fundraiser Yard Sale

Gilmer County WV Historical Society Open Yard Sale

The Gilmer County Historical Society is holding an (Open-for-the-public-to-set-up) Benefit Yard Sale. We will be in and around our Holt House Museum/Annex building  Friday and Saturday from 8 am – 6 pm.  August 26 & 27.  Rain or shine. 

 Proceeds from our sales will go towards repairs to the Annex Historical Library building.

Arts and Crafts are welcome. 

To be covered by our purchased Municipality Yard Sale Permit, you will need to keep within our boundaries.  We will not supply tables or electricity.  Please bring what you need. Restrooms available. 

To set up, we are asking for a donation of one item of medium value (no clothing please)  for us to sell at our table or a cash donation. 

When you leave at the end of the yard sale, you must remove everything from your spot.  Nothing may be left behind.

There will be a Bake Sale, cold bottled drinks, Hot Dogs & chili, Vegetable and Chicken Corn Noodle Soup.  Bring-Your-Own pint or quart containers for cold take-home soup!  

Bring your yard sale goodies for the group Yard Sale on the corner of Main and College Street.  We’ll be looking forward to seeing you there!  Watch for more updates. And please share this in your Social Media posts.  Together we will all benefit. 

Ludwig Glass Factory Painted Plates

Artist Rudolph (Ruddi) Sedlak

A woman painting a glass at Seneca Glass Co., Morgantown WV ( the link is below )Photo courtesy of ECONOMIC HISTORY
West Virginia Glass Houses

A special friendship occurred between Ruth Murin, a clerk at the Glenville, WV Post Office and artist Ruddi Sedlak during the time of WWII. Here is the story of two hand painted platters, which became reunited through the Gilmer County WV Historical Society and a visitor at our Holt House Museum this summer in 2022.

Story to Accompany a Photo of a Ludwig Glass Factory Plate

Painted by Rudolph Sedlak and Given to the Murin Family 

Story written by Julia Murin Lee

Submitted to the Gilmer Co. Historical Society, July 18, 2022

During World War II, in the early 1940s, my father and mother – Nick and Ruth Murin – found themselves setting up housekeeping in Sacramento, California.  They had met and fallen in love as students at Glenville State College back in West Virginia. Eventually, they got married in Reno, Nevada.  Now Dad was Sergeant Nick Murin in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was stationed at Mather Air Base where he worked in the control tower under the supervision of Captain Jimmy Stewart, MGM film actor who had left Hollywood to do training for the Army Air Corps.   

My parents had just gotten their family started – blessed with a son named Nicky – when they learned that Dad was to be deployed to Europe.  So Mom and Nicky headed back across the United States to Glenville where they would wait for Dad to return after the war.  Their temporary home would be with my maternal grandparents who lived in Glenville’s Northview Addition.  

Although Mom was a certified teacher, there were no teaching jobs open for her when she and Nicky arrived in Glenville.  There was, however, a job for her at the post office downtown.  There, she sorted mail and interacted daily with the townspeople. 

One person who Mom said she got to know was Ruddi Sedlak, an artist who painted plates for Glenville’s Ludwig Glass Factory.  He was nicknamed “The Old German” and was well-respected by others there who learned his skill.  Two of the factory workers who Sedlak trained were Ace Collins and Boyd Boggs. 

Mom eventually got to know The Old German who regularly picked up his mail downtown.   When she would see him making his way to the post office, she would quickly gather his mail and have it immediately available for him as soon as he stepped up to the counter.  He appreciated her service and told her one day, “I’m going to paint something for you.”

Sure enough, not long after that, Sedlak entered the post office carrying a gift to Mom – a beautifully hand-painted plate depicting a winter evening scene.  In the scene’s foreground, Sedlak had painted the figures of an adult and a little child making their way over snow-covered ground toward houses in the distance – houses with windows lit by a warm light.  Of course, Mom cherished that painted plate. 

As World War II came to an end, after completing his military service in 1945, Dad returned to his wife and son in Glenville. He became a teacher and coached high school sports while Mom kept house as the young family grew. 

By 1953, Nicky had three younger sisters: Marilyn, Mary Helen and me.  Many changes had come to Glenville. The glass factory closed and Ruddi Sedlak left town.  Some say he headed to Morgantown where a glass factory still thrived. 

As many more years passed, The Old German’s hand-painted plate was displayed in every house our family lived in.  Eventually my parents became “empty nesters” and then Dad passed away in 1995. Widowed and living alone now in a much smaller house with fewer possessions, Mom still kept the Sedlak plate.  After she passed away in 2011, the plate went to the youngest daughter, Mary Helen, who also proudly displayed it in her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  

Eventually, the plate traveled back to West Virginia with Mary Helen when she made her home in Vienna in 2015.  In 2022, I discovered another plate that Sedlak had hand-painted. It was on display at Gilmer County Historical Society’s headquarters.  During a tour of the headquarters at the Holt House, I found the plate propped on a fireplace mantel.  It depicted a winter scene similar to what our family’s treasured plate featured.  And it was signed “Sedlak.” 

I talked with Ace Collins’ son, Jim, and Glenville glass historian, Willard Wright; and I learned more about the glass painting artist known as The Old German.  Jim even showed me a Ludwig Glass Factory dish painted by his father who had clearly learned the art from Sedlak.  The Collins dish had the same content but with Ace’s own unique style.  You could see that Jim was just as proud of his father’s hand-painted dish as I was of our family’s Sedlak-painted dish.  So I decided to write my family’s “plate story” for the Gilmer County Historical Society.     

To this day, when I look at the winter scene on the plate The Old German painted for my mother, I like to imagine that the adult in the painting’s foreground is Ruth Murin, and the little child holding her hand is Nicky. They are headed home to Northview Addition, in Glenville. 

If you’re interested in more about our Glass Factories of West Virginia, here are a few links you might enjoy seeing. Happy discoveries!

WV State Folk Festival

Gilmer County Historical Society Welcomes you to

Downtown Glenville, West Virginia

Grab up that candy
Main St at the 2022 West Virginia Folk Festival, Glenville, WV
This years Bells

Decorating for West Virginia State Folk Festival 2022

Even the kitchen door entrance gets a little special treatment.

Thank you Robin Pennebaker! One of our youngest and very long time member. Grandma (Karen Pennebaker) influenced all her children and grandchildren in a positive way about being respectful of the past and community involvement.

This year Robin will help her sister Linda Pennebaker entertain the Festival goers by setting up a small petting zoo with her goats. Come on out and enjoy the show.

Thrs. June 16, 4:00-8:00 pm/ Friday 10:00-8:00 pm/ Saturday 10:00 -8:00 pm. /Sunday morning 9:00 Historic Job’s Temple log cabin church service and singing.


Just imagine never seeing a photograph before. Never seeing the sites from another country because it was too expensive for the average person to travel. Then imagine living in the Victorian era when the Stereoscope was affordable and they started entering homes for the first time. Now, the world was at your fingertips. In 3-D and maybe even color. Two almost identical photos, side by side, viewed through two lenses. Amazingly simple. Such a tiny glimpse of a place or a staged story in just one picture. You, the viewer had to fill in the blanks. Invent the rest of the story in your mind with just that single picture.

A far cry from what we experience today with visual entertainment and education. Everything is laid out for you. No imagination required. Which is better? The current way or the past?

To have a better understanding of what it was like for people living in the 1900’s, visit the web site, The Classic and read the thought provoking article titled, ‘What Did the Victorians See in the Stereoscope?’.

I also found another site with more info and today’s monetary values of the viewers and cards , Collectors Weekly.

Isn’t learning about how our ancestors thought and invented things enjoyable? Helping us to better understand what we use in our modern world?

History, it’s for the curious minds of today.

The Holt’s House Gets A ‘Spit Bath’

Remember when your Mom was sending you off to school and at the last second she’d make you stand still, wet her hanky with her tongue, then scrub a smudge of dirt from your face? Well that’s what’s happening, inside and out, at the Historical Holt’s House on Main Street, Glenville, West Virginia.

Check out this beautifully insightful article titled ‘Mom-spit Baths’ by Christy K Robinson in the link below:

A little spring cleaning is in order at the Historical Society. We have some wonderful helpers using that elbow grease to put a shine on the place.

Thanks goes out to some new helpers who we’d like to show recognition. Joe Putnam, a local resident from Glenville, for manicuring the lawn and putting some order to the flowerbeds. Our house museum is making changes a little at a time to represent a Victorian home like the time period it was built in. (1901)

The roses are still beautiful Mary Bland

Inside, we have Peggy Wentzel, new member and local resident from Sand Fork, putting in long hours washing, shampooing, dusting and sweeping all the nooks and crannies of this old house. The wood is starting to glow again. And the wavy glass windows are sparkling with sunlight filtering through the lace curtains.

Beautiful wood found under the paper in the entry way.

I stopped in to drop off a ladder for reaching the high ceilings which grace this house. It made me smile and my heart warm to see the windows opened and the curtains floating as a fresh breeze blew them about. We’re making ready for new ideas on decorating and displaying our artifacts which have been donated over the years by our patrons and members.

Renovating the parlor

Our metal roof over the Annex needed a coat of new shiny paint to help stop leaks. We want to thank Brian Pennebaker, Brad Pennebaker and Jessie Fraley for the manpower to make that happen.

Only one short month before the West Virginia Folk Festival comes to Glenville June 16, 17, and 18th. 2022. We’d like to remind everyone we’re located at the east end of Main Street. So drop in and take a look. Enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time. Don’t be surprised if you meet Peggy in our gift shop. She isn’t shy about handing anyone a dust rag along with a bottle of Old English or a bucket of warm water and Murphy’s Oil Soap!

Peggy washing down the sun porch.