Agnes (Hanshaw) Hoge was born on Nov. 4, 1856 in Evansville, Preston County, WV, the daughter of Hiram B. and Catherine (Miner) Hanshaw.
Agnes and her husband were prominent residents of Wheeling, Ohio County, WV, and owned a successful hardware store in the center of town.
As a young girl, Agnes relocated with her parents to the railroad town of Independence, Preston County, where they ran a hotel.
On March 15, 1876, at Evansville or Independence, the 18-year-old Agnes married 29-year-old merchant Theudas Alvin "T.A." Hoge (1848-1917), a resident of Wheeling since boyhood. They were 11 years apart in age.
They lived in Wheeling at 14 Zane Street at the time the 1880 federal census was taken. That year, T.A.'s' mother Elisabeth Hoge resided in their household, as well as servant Annie Huffman and boarder William Hoge. The Callin's Wheeling Directory of 1880 shows that T.A. and William worked at Hoge & Co., a hardware and cutlery enterprise at 1068 Market Street owned by F.A. and Kenworthy J. Hoge.
Wheeling was such an active, dynamic city in the late 1800s that Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper devoted several pages of feature coverage to it in January 1891. It would have provided T.A. with quite a market for hardware goods to feed a seemingly ravenous business community. Wrote Leslie's Illustrated:
Certainly no State occupies a more advantageous geographical position than West Virginia, being not far distant from the West, nor distant from the East; the Great Lakes in the north are within easy reach, and in the most southern point the invigorating breezes of the Atlantic can almost be felt... Wheeling, nearly as well known by its sobriquet of "The Nail City," affords unquestionably the best illustration of the possibilities of the State of West Virginia. Pre-eminently a self-made city, hardly a dollar of outside capital being invested in any of its mammoth enterprises, it stands a fitting monument to the vim, thrift, and prosperity pervading this favored State. It is the biggest little city on earth... Today it is the greatest and most prosperous manufacturing centre of its size, its iron and steel plants, potteries, glass works, cigar factories, etc., ranking among the most noted in the country.
By 1896, the Wheeling City Directory shows that T.A. had purchased the business, and had renamed it "T.A. Hoge & Co.," owning it outright for two decades until his death. The company sold "hardware, cutlery, guns, agricultural implements, bicycles, seeds, &c." Son Raymond was a clerk in the store. That year, the family lived at 9 South York Street. One of the former owners of the business, Kenworthy J. Hoge, was an owner and attorney with K. Hoge Co., an apparent competing hardware dealership, just down the street at 1113 Market.
The Wheeling Register once said that T.A. "was one of the pioneer business men of this city" and that during his 20 years of running the company, "supplied the farmers of this district with implements and supplies and was known to every farmer throughout this section."
T.A. was a member of the Spritualist Church and belonged to the Welcome Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workman (AOUW).
Agnes, said the Register, "was of a charitable, sunny disposition, and had a host of friends."
Sadly, at the age of 49, Agnes suffered with a fatal case of cirrhosis of the liver. She passed away at their home in the Altenheim section of Wheeling on Aug. 12, 1906. The funeral was held at the Hoge home, followed by burial at the city's prominent Greenwood Cemetery. Pallbearers were E.C. Flaccus, James Henderson, H.P. Wilkinson, C.E. Van Keuren, E.W. Zinn and Dr. George N. Wells. In reporting on the detail of the services, the Register said:
The services opened with the singing of a hymn by the Wheeling quartet after which Dr. S.V. Leech, pastor of the North Street M.E. church, read a scriptural passage from the fifteenth chapter of Corinthians, after which he delivered an impressive funeral address, paying a touching tribute to the life of Mrs. Hoge. Then followed a prayer by the pastor and a closing solo by one of the ladies of the quartet. A great many beautiful floral tributes were presented by friends of the deceased, attesting the esteem and respect with which the deceased was held.
In March 1907, the spring after Agnes' passing, the Ohio River overran its banks and flooded the main business district of Wheeling and cities and towns all along the Ohio River Valley. It's not known specifically how the family business was impacted, but it must have been disastrous for T.A. in one way, shape or form. The business eventually rebounded and continued in successful operation.
Tragedy struck the family in September 1912, when 33-year-old son Stack, who had a young wife and daughter, died of a lingering case of tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, Franklin County, NY. His remains were brought back to Wheeling for burial.
T.A. became ill in about 1913, but his condition was not considered as serious. He made son Raymond a partner in the business by 1915, and renamed it T.A. Hoge Hardware Company, located at 1018-20 Market. By that time, the family had moved their residence again, to a house along the National Road in the Leatherwood or Woodsdale section of Wheeling.
However, as T.A. aged, his health took a turn for the worse and declined rapidly in the fall of 1917. He died at the age of 72 on Oct. 27, 1917. The Register said "The passing of Mr. Hoge was received with regret throughout the community, and especially of the northern section of this state and the eastern section of Ohio, where he was widely known."
He was laid to rest with his wife and son in the Hoge family plot at Greenwood. Today, a large stone marks the plot, but only Agnes' name is shown.
In his will, written in November 1914 and on file today at the Ohio County Courthouse in Wheeling, T.A. left all of his property to son Raymond and to his Stack's daughter Agnes Elizabeth Hoge.
Raymond thus was left with ownership of the family hardware store. He must have chosen to dispose of the company, because by 1919, he was listed in the Wheeling Directory as a buyer with C.F. Braunlich & Co., and rooming at 83 16th Street.
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