Athens Becomes Incorporated

Little building took place in this area until after the Civil War.  However, since the Civil War, with the possibility of the Courthouse being permanently located here in the late 1860’s and the Normal School being located here in the early 1870’s, Concord Church (or Concord, now Athens) Athens Town Hall continued to grow as an unincorporatedcommunity.

After the turn of the century, it became quite evident that there was a growing desire of the citizens living in the immediate area for Athens to become incorporated.  The sentiments expressed by the citizens for incorporation were expressed in the following platform:

WE, the citizens of the town of Athens in mass-meeting assembled, realizing the need of a stronger local government, do hereby set forth this declaration of principles to which we pledge our heartiest support.

IN the event the town becomes incorporated, we will use our best endeavors to discharge the duties that devolve upon us either as citizens or officers.

WE agree to submit cheerfully to such regulations regarding the preservation of health and the general improvement of the town as the proper authorities see fit to make.  At the same time, we state the fact such regulations must be operative upon all citizens in equal degree.

WE favor the direct tax upon real and personal property, fees from shows, exhibitions, and lectures, when admission is charged, and fines for violation of municipal ordinances as the sources of revenue;  but, if necessary to lay a license tax, we favor pro rata levies upon all branches of business liable to license taxation under existing laws of the State of West Virginia, except that in the case of cigaretts (sic) or any other line of business which in the estimation of the people shall be or become a nuisance, the entire license tax shall become effective in full force.

WE believe it just and right to exempt any uncleared land or any farm land used strictly for agriculture purposes, included within the corporate limits, from payment of a corporation tax upon an assessment higher than that upon which state and county taxes are now levied.  However in the event such land be laid off into building lots, or disposed for such purpose, it shall then become liable for the regular corporation tax.

WE deem it proper that no man chosen to any office in the municipal government of the town, unless he be capable of discharging the duties of such office in person.

In the early part of 1906, boundaries were established in anticipation of Athens being incorporated.  J. H. Sydenstricker, a practical surveyor, completed a survey of the proposed corporate limits which encompassed an area of 215 acres ( see Exhibit 1 ).

On July 2, 1906, H. W. Matthews enumerated the citizens of the territory seeking to be incorporated as the town of Athens.  The enumeration listed the heads of families and the number of persons in each family, and it was taken, subscribed and sworn to before C. W. Gore, J. P.  The totals were 111 heads of families and 440 members of all of the families.  The list of heads of families with the number in each family in parenthesis is shown in Exhibit 2.

On August 4, 1906, voting upon the question of Incorporation of the said town of Athens was held in the office of C. W. Gore, J. P.  Of the 80 qualified voters who voted on the question ( see Exhibit 3), 74 were FOR incorporation, 5 were AGAINST incorporation, and 1 ballot was left blank.  Wade W. Appling and J. W. Robinett were clerks who tallied the votes, and Wade Dunn, F. M. Tilley and H. Hartman were commissioners of the election who certified the results.

On August 6, 1906, L. A. Martin, C. W. Gore and J. F. Holroyd applied and moved the Circuit Court of Mercer County to grant a Certificate of Incorporation, and on this day the Honorable Harold A. Ritz, Judge, ordered the Incorporation of the Town of Athens.

With the Incorporation of the Town of Athens, the citizens realized their need for a stronger local government and the need for the election of officers to serve as a governing body.  Click here for an incomplete list of citizens who served in this capacity.

Mayors of Athens

The following is an incomplete list of mayors who have served.  Mayors were elected, in odd years, for a two-year term.  Where mayors served consecutive terms of office, these terms are grouped into one period of time.  Mayors with (A) or (R) after their names were Appointed, resigned or both, if so indicated.  All others are assumed to have been elected.

Carol Bard (2012 - Present); Robert M. Richardson, Jr. (1983 – 2011);  John Baumgras (1981 – 1982);  Wilbur H. Johnson (1980, (A)), Dan Zirkle (1979, (R));  David E. Ambrose (1977 – 1978);  Wilbur H. Johnson (1975 – 1976);  Thomas H. Pendleton (1973 – 1974);  Keith Thompson (1969 – 1972);  W. M. Bondurant (1964 – 1968);  B. Rouse Cook (1961 – 1963);  John I. Scott, Sr. (1960, (A));  W. L. Hunt (1959, (R));  A. A. Hadden (1955 – 1958);  B. Rouse Cook (1948 – 1954);  S. G. Williamson (1941 – 1947);  John M. Bailey (1939 – 1940);  Dr. C. W. Holdren (1937 – 1938);  Frank Cutright (1935 – 1936);  R. R. Sage (1933 – 1934);  Frank Cutright (1930 – 1932);  B. H. Reed (1929);  L. B. Parker (1927 – 1928);  H. M. Riffe (1926, (R) and F. H. Daugherty (1926, (A)); J. D. Stennett (1925, (R)) and J. J. Martin (1925, (A));  C. W. Grimm (1921, (R)) and D. B. Wagner (1921, (A));  N. A. Boggess (1920, (R)) and J. M. England (1920, (A));  W. J. Lilly (1919, ( R)) and G. S. Pierce (1919, (A));  C. W. Gore (1917 – 1918);  D. L. Thompson (1915 – 1916), (Unknown: see Note) (1913 – 1914);  R. G. Oxley (1911 – 1912); (Unknown: see Note )(1906 – 1910).

Note:  Mayors who served during the periods 1906 – 1910 and 1913 – 1914 are yet to be determined.  According to the biographical sketch of Dr. Samuel R. Holroyd which appears in the West Virginia Blue Book, he served as mayor of Athens for two terms, but to date his terms of service have not been confirmed.  It is possible that he was mayor of Athens from 1906 – 1910, and that R. G. Oxley also served a second term from 1913 – 1914.


Exhibit 1:  The following are the boundaries of the proposed corporate limits for the town of Athens by courses and distances laid off by J. H. Sydenstricker, a practical surveyor, to-wit:

Beginning at the Southwest corner of the cemetery on the Princeton road, and with the cemetery line N. 80d 30’ E. 438 ft. to the S. E. corner of the same, and with the East line N. 12’ W. 518  ft. to a stake in H. E. Martin’s field, and in the beginning line of the original survey and with the same N. 56d 30’ E. 965 ft. to a Black Oak in line of Sarah J. Reynolds and H. E. Martin, near the end of Concord street, N. 38d E. 1195 ft. to a stake on S. T. Vermillion’s land, N. 11d 30’ E. 400 ft. to the Red Sulphur road, and with the east line of W. J. Wright’s lot same degree in all 816 ft. to the N. E. corner of the Fletcher Bro’s lot, N. 57d 30’ W crossing Pipestem road near the end of street passing B. Z. Burch’s house at 1300 ft. in all 2885 ft. to a station in hollow on S. R. and W. H. Holroyd’s land, N. 41d W. with back line of Dayton Meador’s lot 272 ft. to the corner double chestnut corner to the Free School lot, N. 30d  W. 272 ft. to the north corner of the Tilley’s lot, N. 66d 30’ W. 360 ft. to the right-hand gate post in the low gap on the Oxley road, S. 2d E. 1375 ft. to a station in a street crossing from the corner of the Campbell lot near the corner of the Meador lot, S. 29d 30’ W. passing near Poindexter’s lot and crossing Missionary ridge road at bend near Mrs. Wirts’ house at 1060 ft. in all 1300 ft. to a station in W. Raymond’s lot, S. 46d 30’ E. passing up a hollow 1620 ft. to a large White pine in line of J. F. Holroyd and the Shumate heirs, S. 8d W. 392 ft. to a locust on J. F. Holroyd’s land S. 35d 30’ E. 413 ft. to a small locust in line of J. C. Reynolds’ lot near S. W. corner, S. 37d 50’ E. 540 ft. to the beginning and containing 215 acres.

Exhibit 2:  Citizens of the territory seeking to be incorporated as the town of Athens as enumerated on July 2, 1906 by H. W. Matthews.  Shown are the heads of the 111 families with the number of family members in parentheses.

J. H. Wright (2);  J. D. Wright (1);  L. W. Fletcher (6);  C. W. Fletcher (1);  W. C. Fletcher (1);  W. L. Richardson (3);  C. S. McKenzie (7);  W. C. Linkous (3);  W. J. Lilly (3);  J. B. Reid (2);  J. W. Robinette (9);  H. W. Matthews (4);  B. Z. Burch (5);  W. C. White (5);  Wade Dunn (3);  H. B. Sweeney (6);  W. I. Gautier (7);  W. R. Kegley (3);  Sextus Steele (4);  R. S. Umbarger (6);  J. B. Coburn (7);  Alloway Ham (3);  R. G. Meador (3);  E. S. Crawford (1);  F. A. Bolin (1);  J. P. Pennington (1);  W. T. Appling (6);  K. C. Allen (2);  H. A. Shumate (2);  P. W. Massie (7);  L. C. Rogers (1);  D. C. Pettrey (8);  G. L. Pettrey (1);  A. S. Thorn (6);  L. V. Martin (2);  K. K. Martin, Jr. (1);  C. W. Martin (3);  W. B. Caldwell (4);  J. C. Wyrick (4);  W. B. Williams (3);  Joseph Caldwell (7);  M. B. Caldwell (1);  J. F. Brown (5);  M. A. Lowe (3);  W. L. Williams (3),  W. S. Reid (4);  D. H. Thornton (6);  W. H. Jennings (1);  Mrs. L. J. Ashworth (2);  J. L. Sydenstricker (3);  B. W. Bird (6);  J. H. Sydenstricker (7);  J. F. Holroyd (9);  L. A. Martin (6);  George B. Martin (6);  Arthur Martin (1);  J. A. Rowland (2);  J. C. Reynolds (8);  G. E. Owen (2);  H. E. Martin (8);  D. E. Wright (6);  W. R. Belcher (5);  H. D. Karnes (4);  W. W. Appling (1);  G. W. Goode (4);  F. M. Tilley (5);  O, D. Meador (3);  J. B. Meador (7);  J. K. Peck (9);  S. R. Holroyd (5);  Mrs. M. A. Wheeler (1);  A. L. Bowling (7);  Henry Hartman (3);  C. W. Gore (8);  J. P. Campbell (4);  A. T. Maupin (5);  W. H. Holroyd (6);  Sarah Sherrard (1);  W. J. Lyon (9);  William Houchins (2);  R. A. Sloan (2);  Angeline Martin (3);  C. A. Vaught (3);  A. H. Williams (3);  W. Sherman Cook (7);  D. Morgan (3);  Miss Mary Sue Daniel (1);  M. H. Belcher (2);  William Griffith (3);  G. W. Martin (1);  J. S. Hall (6);  J. J. Martin (5);  Joe Poindexter (1);  G. W. Scott (11);  J. W. Wirtz (3);  H. K. Martin, Sr. (4);  S. S. Kessinger (5);  A. A. Hartman (1);  Jackson Sherrard (1);  David Martin (1);  J. H. Martin (1);  J. E. Williams (3);  J. R. Hall (1);  J. T. Faulkner (3);  T. R. Faulkner (3);  and T. R. Fulton (7).

Exhibit 3:  Names of all persons voting at Athens in the district of Plymouth in the county of Mercer in the State of W. Va. on August 4, 1906 upon the question of incorporation of the said town of Athens: 

1.  W. J. Lilly,  2.  R. G. Meador,  3.  C. W. Gore,  4.  B. Z. Burch,  5.  J. R. Hall,  6.  G. W. Martin,   7.  J. J. Martin,  8.  W. T. Appling,  9.  Wade Dunn,  10.  H. Hartman,  11.  J. F. Holroyd,  12.  Wade W. Appling,  13.  J. W. Robinett,  14.  J. L. Sydenstricker,  15.  W. L. Williams,  16.  W. C. White,  17.  B. W. Bird,  18.  P. W. Massie,  19.  D. E. Wright,  20.  W. J. Lyon,  21.  F. A. Bolin,  22.  J. H. Wright,  23.  W. I. Gautier,  24.  O. D. Meador,  25.  J. H. Martin,  26.  H. E. Martin,  27.  Geo. B. Martin,  28.  H. A. Shumate,  29.  Sr. R. Holroyd,  30.  J. P. Pennington,  31.  W. R. Belcher,  32.  G. L. Pettrey,  33.  M. A. Lowe,  34.  James B. Reid,  35.  H. B. Sweeney,  36.  G. W. Scott,  37.  William Houchins,  38.  L. V. Martin,  39.  A. L. Bowling,  40.  J. B. Meador,  41.  A. T. Maupin,  42.  Jackson Sherrard,  43.  J. H. Sydenstricker,  44.  J. C. Reynolds,  45.  L. C. Rogers,  46.  L. A. Martin,  47.  H. W. Matthews,  48.  W. C. Linkous,  49.  A. A. Hartman,  50.  W. H. Jennings,  51.  F. M. Tilley,  52.  W. B. Caldwell,  53.  C. W. Martin,  54.  J. J. Lyon,  55.  S. S. Kessinger,  56.  J. P. Campbell,  57.  J. F. Brown,  58.  J. T. Faulkner,  59.  Joseph Caldwell,  60.  H. K. Martin,  61.  A. H. Williams,  62.  D. W. Martin,  63.  J. S. Hall,  64.  J. D. Wright,  65.  D. Morgan,  66.  J. K. Peck,  67.  J. W. Wirtz,  68.  B. B. Meador,  69.  J. W. Sampson,  70.  H. K. Martin, Jr.,  71.  L. W. Fletcher,  72.  Sexton Steele,  73.  E. S. Crawford,  74.  C. A. Vaught,  75.  M. H. Belcher,  76.  D. C. Pettrey,  77.  William Griffith,  78.  G. W. Goode,  79.  C. W. Fletcher,  80.  A. L. Martin

Results of voting:

74 votes FOR Incorporation.
5 votes AGAINST Incorporation
1 BLANK ballot

Commissioners:  Wade Dunn, F. M. Tilley and H. Hartman

Clerks:  Wade W. Appling and J. W. Robinett

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