Humboldt Yokum House
This Queen Anne style home was built by Dr. Humboldt Yokum, a son of Dr. and Mrs. George W. Yokum, in 1890. Humboldt went to West Virginia University and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia to further pursue his studies, graduating from Jefferson in 1885. Humboldt grew up in the house next door to this two story home in Beverly, WV. The building just south of the Humboldt House was Dr. Humboldt's office and was built to mimic the style of his home. The Humboldt Yokum House is located in the Beverly Historic District and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
Dr. Yokum's house was located on the west side of Main Street in the town of Beverly. The house was built in 1890 with 2 1/2 stories. Some of the many features of the house included a slate hip roof with a three-sided hipped gable dormer, a two-story cylindrical turret with scallop fishscale shingle siding and a one-story wrap-around porch. Dr. Yokum's office was located just south of his house with a wood shingle mansard roof with gable dormers. The concrete porch which is now on the house was a modern-day addition to the location. He did not put windows on this house due to the fact that he wanted to provide privacy for whoever he was caring for inside. After Dr. Yokum died, this house was turned into a residence by his wife and was used for rental income.
Dr. Yokum was a key figure in the Randolph County Courthouse War of the 1890s. Beverly, WV, had been the Randolph County seat since the county's founding in 1787, but with the development of the railroad junction in Elkins, the county seat had to be moved. Industry and commerce flourished after the incorporation of Elkins in 1890, therefore there was a movement to replace the county seat. In hopes of keeping the county seat position, Beverly built a new courthouse in 1894, however the new building was destroyed by fire in 1897. This fire was extremely suspicious seeing as there was a second movement to relocate the county seat immediately after the building burned down. The Elkins community felt so strongly about moving the county seat that they gathered with weapons and fire with the intent of moving the records themselves.
Dr. Humboldt Yokum was able to talk down the Elkins protesters, and ultimately avoided bloodshed. It seems as though Dr. Humboldt was neutral to the situation because he owned properties in both Beverly and Elkins and did not want to see harm done in either town. In the end the county seat was moved to Elkins in 1899. The Beverly courthouse is now a prominent feature in the Beverly Heritage Center.
“Bands of armed men were trained to defend their towns,” says the Elkins version of the story. “Beverly residents heard of the plan and gathered to defend the courthouse and town” is the view from Beverly.1
2. “Humboldt Yokum House Historical Marker.” 2006. Accessed September 1, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=24789.
3. “Historic Beverly: The Humbolt Yokum House.” Accessed September 1, 2016. http://www.historicbeverly.org/builds/yokum.htm.
Dr. Humboldt Yokum. Find A Grave. June 22, 2012. Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/92372017/humboldt-yokum.
Humboldt Yokum House. Historical Marker Project. . Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/HMGGJ_humboldt-yokum-house_Beverly-WV.html.