Hall adds physician

INTENSE feelings about “red-handed rebels”were still seething 20 years after the Civil War ended as shown in the obituary of a physician who has been selected for the Martins Ferry Hall of Honor.

Dr. Simon B. West, described as “the oldest physician in this place as well as the first who located here,” is one of four persons to be inducted during a ceremony April 7 at 2 p.m. at Martins Ferry High School.

West’s obituary doesn’t mince words when referring to politics. During the Civil War, he was a surgeon in the Union army in West Virginia and Maryland, part of the time near Cumberland. (Spellings and capitalizations are quoted as printed in the obituary.)

“At the close of war, he identified himself with the Republican party because as he said, the other party contained too great a proportion of red-handed rebels, whose counsels would dominate and controll and although it claimed to be the party of his early love – the party in which he spent the early vigor of manhood, he could find no resting place among the men who had fought to destroy the Union,” according to the obituary.

This followed a paragraph which revealed that he, his father and all his brothers “were earnest and unyielding Democrats of the old Jeffersonian school, till the breaking out of the war of rebellion, when he at once identified himself with the Union Party and all through the war his voice and council was for any legitimate measures which promised a quick and speedy overthrow of what he deemed a damnable attempt of scheming rascals to overthrow the best government on earth.”

West, who is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, will be recognized for his service to others during the April ceremony.

Sponsored by The Citizens Bank, the HofH is “to acknowledge those citizens whose actions or accomplishments have affected, aided or brought fame to Martins Ferry. Those eligible for the honor must have been born, lived or worked in the city.”

In addition to West, other inductees this year will be C. Willis “Bill” Troy, first involved in the Martins Ferry Fire Department and later worked in public safety on the state level; Anthony Spear, whose space achievements include being project manager for the Mars Pathfinder; and James W. Everson, retired president and chief executive officer of The Citizens Savings Bank and now, the bank’s chairman of the board in addition to holding several major positions with the United Bancorp Inc.

West began his medical practice in Martins Ferry in 1836, continuing for exactly half a century. He completed his studies at the Ohio medical college in Cincinnati in 1836. Prior to that time, he studied medicine under his brother, Dr. Henry West of St. Clairsville.

Born in 1812 in Jefferson County near the Belmont County line, West is said to acquired the rudiments of an English education in a log schoolhouse and later studied Greek and Latin under a private teacher. His father was one of the early settlers of Jefferson County.

His obituary notes that the physician “was very successful in the practice of his profession which was very laborious, his field extending for miles up and down the river and over the hill and far back in the country.”

West was married to Mary Zane Martin, daughter of Martins Ferry’s founder Ebenezer Martin, and they had eight children.

His obituary describes West as active and enterprising, “always taking a prominent part in whatever he decided for the welfare of the country or the interest of the community.”

A director of the Ohio City Nail Co., he “was one of the most eminent men in his profession in this region and is also remembered as one of the most enterprising of the citizens of Martins Ferry, ever ready to aid in enterprises for the advancement of the material and social interests of the place,” according to the “History of the Upper Ohio Valley,” Volume II.

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.