Clio Logo
West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail

Zone 1 of 10: Wheeling

You are vieweing item 2 of 40 in this tour.

909 Main Street was the home of businessman George K. Wheat and state suffrage leader Fannie Josephine Doane Wheat. George K. Wheat is known for his involvement in the Wheeling pottery, brick, iron, and banking industries. Fannie J. Wheat was an officer of the Wheeling Political Equality League and served as president of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association.


Portrait of Fannie J. Wheat from the Wheeling Intelligencer, May 1, 1916

Head, Jaw, Font, Rectangle

George K. Wheat

Hair, Nose, Head, Chin

Location of 909 Main Street

Plant, Sky, Electricity, Road surface

From, History of Women's Suffrage Trilogy, Part 2.

Font, Screenshot, Paper, Publication

From, Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, February 1898

Font, Publication, Paper, Paper product

Wheeling Pottery Letterhead, c. 1881

Font, Circle, Paper, Paper product

Wheeling Pottery seal, c. 1881

Font, Emblem, Symbol, Crest

Wheeling City Directory, 1898

Font, Parallel, Document, Paper

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia, 1890

Rectangle, Schematic, Font, Map

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia, 1902.

Rectangle, Font, Map, Schematic

George K. Wheat obituary, June 27, 1913, The Washington Post

Font, Number, Document, Paper product

Wheat family monument at Greenwood Cemetery, Wheeling

Plant, Tree, Headstone, Cemetery

George K. Wheat headstone at Greenwood Cemetery, Wheeling

Plant, Cemetery, Leaf, Headstone

Fannie J. Wheat headstone at Greenwood Cemetery, Wheeling

Plant, Cemetery, Font, Headstone

George K. and Fannie J. Wheat were married on June 6, 1855 and had seven children: Henry Lawson, Kate Doane, George K., Jr., Albert Allen, Archie Laurance, Frank Renick, and Fannie Josephine.

George K. Wheat

George K. Wheat was born in Berkeley Springs on January 25, 1825 to James M. and Martha Brewer Wheat. The family moved to Wheeling in 1832 and George received an education at the Lancasterian academy. The Wheats then moved to South Wheeling (Ritchietown) where James Wheat established a tannery. As a young man, George K. Wheat worked at a shipyard, H. Milton Miller’s glass factory, and the Hughes & Martin sawmill. George Wheat began working for merchants J & T Hornbrook in 1844 until the company dissolved in 1849. In 1850 Jacob Hornbrook sold his part of the business to Wheat and his partner, Alexander C. Chapline. Wheat & Chapline continued until 1855 when Chapline died, then George K. Wheat purchased the entire company and continued the business until the 1880s.

George K. Wheat is credited with beginning the pottery industry in Wheeling, based on the example of East Liverpool, Ohio. He established the Wheeling Pottery company in October 1879. Wheat was elected president of the company with Charles W. Franzheim as Vice President, W.A. Isett as Secretary, and E.M. Pearson as General manager. Wheeling Pottery’s first plant was located at 31st and Chapline streets, with eight kilns, and a second plant was constructed at 31st and Woods streets in 1889. Wheat also founded the Suburban Brick Company in December 1898 with George O. Robinson, E.H. Carpenter, and E. B. Bowie. Over his career George Wheat was connected to the West Virginia China company, the Warwick China company, and the Wheeling Pottery company, as well as the Benwood Iron company, the Belmont Iron works, the Wheeling Iron and Nail company, and the Wheeling Steel plant.

George K. Wheat was one of the founders of the Citizens’ Deposit Bank of Wheeling in 1858 that merged into the First National Bank of Wheeling in April 1864. Wheat served as president of both of these banks. In addition, he was a founder and stockholder in three insurance companies, Wheeling Fire & Marine, Franklin, and National Insurance.

George K. Wheat died June 27, 1913 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Fannie J. Wheat

The Wheeling Political Equality League was organized on November 14, 1895 in the home of Dr. Harriet B. Jones (on 15th Street). At the inaugural meeting, Fannie Wheat was elected as treasurer of the league. In 1896, Wheat attended the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention in Washington, D.C. along with four other representatives from West Virginia. That year she was also elected as vice president of the Wheeling Political Equality League and served on the committee advocating for women’s suffrage in the new Wheeling city charter. At the second state convention of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association (WVESA), held at Fairmont, WV in 1897, Fannie J. Wheat was elected as the second president of the organization, succeeding Jessie G. Manley in the position. Fannie Wheat attended the 1899 NASWA convention in Grand Rapids, MI. That year, Wheat was elected a member of the national executive committee for the WVESA and Beulah Boud Ritchie took the position of president.

Fannie J. Wheat died August 8, 1906 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Wheeling.

First location of National Bank of W.V.

In a 1902 biographical sketch of George K. Wheat it notes: “His present home was originally the Northwestern Bank Building, at No. 909 main street.” The North-Western Bank of Virginia was opened in June 1819 at this location on Main Street. Noah Zane was the bank’s first president, and the first commissioners were Archibald Woods, George Knox, Samuel Sprigg, John White, and Noah Zane. The bank operated here in a two-story building until 1850 when it moved locations to Twelfth and Main streets. The bank was “nationalized” in 1865 as the National Bank of West Virginia and the current building on the site was opened in 1915. After the bank’s move in 1850, the house occupied by George and Fannie Wheat was constructed on the property. 

Ancestry.com. West Virginia, U.S., Deaths Index, 1853-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed January 28, 2022.

Anthony, Susan B., and Ida H. Harper. History of Women's Suffrage Trilogy, Part 2. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://books.google.com/books?id=yJxxDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Cranmer, Gibson Lamb, ed. History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens. Biographical Publishing Company, 1902. [page 350-351] Accessed January 28, 2022. https://books.google.com/books?id=BIUXop7VtNUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Effland, Anne Wallace. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in West Virginia, 1867-1920.” M. A. Thesis, West Virginia University, 1983.

"George K. Wheat Dead." The Washington Post, June 28, 1913. Newspapers.com. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/2736981/george-k-wheat-obit-1913/.

History of the Upper Ohio Valley, with family history and biographical sketches. A statement of its resources, industrial growth and commercial advantages. Vol. I. Illustrated. Madison, Wis: Brant & Fuller, 1890. [page 470-472]. https://books.google.com/books?id=csoxAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed January 28, 2022.

Hoge, Florence. “Miss Florence Hoge Tells of the Forming of Suffrage Organizations in Ohio County; Their Contest for Recognition has Been Most Spirited.” Wheeling Intelligencer, May 1, 1916. Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote. A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit. Accessed January 28, 2022. http://129.71.204.160/history////exhibitsonline/suffrage/suffragewheelinggroup.html.

“Wheeling Pottery Co.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5873.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

The Wheeling intelligencer. [volume], May 01, 1916, Page 8, Image 18. Chronicling America. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092536/1916-05-01/ed-1/seq-18/#date1=1900&sort=relevance&rows=20&words=Anna+Hall&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=1&state=West+Virginia&date2=1928&proxtext=anna+hall&y=7&x=16&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=2.

Cranmer, Gibson Lamb, ed. History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens. Biographical Publishing Company, 1902. [page 350-351] Accessed January 28, 2022. https://books.google.com/books?id=BIUXop7VtNUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Google Maps. Accessed March 7, 2022.

Anthony, Susan B., and Ida H. Harper. History of Women's Suffrage Trilogy, Part 2. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://books.google.com/books?id=yJxxDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Woman's Rights Convention at the Columbia Theatre, Twelfth and F Streets, Washington D.C. February 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 1898. Philadelphia: Press of Alfred J. Ferris.

“Wheeling Pottery Co.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5873.

“Wheeling Pottery Co.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5873.

Wheeling, West Virginia, City Directory, 1898. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed January 27, 2022.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia. Sanborn Map Company, 1890. Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn09470_002/. Accessed January 28, 2022.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia. Sanborn Map Company, 1902. Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn09470_003/. Accessed January 28, 2022.

"George K. Wheat Dead." The Washington Post, June 28, 1913. Newspapers.com. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/2736981/george-k-wheat-obit-1913/.

"George Keiter Wheat." Find A Grave. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131027410/george-keiter-wheat.

"George Keiter Wheat." Find A Grave. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131027410/george-keiter-wheat.

"Fannie Josephine Doane Wheat." Find A Grave. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131027520/fannie-josephine-wheat.