Ephraim Bee

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Ephraim Bee (December 26, 1802 – October 23, 1888) was an American pioneer, blacksmith, and inn-keeper of Doddridge County, West Virginia, which he represented in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1863 and 1866-1867.


Ephraim was born to Asa and Rhoda (Cox) Bee in Salem, New Jersey. He moved with his parents around 1820 to western Virginia, settling in what later became Lewisport. There he built his own cabin and blacksmith shop. He later opened an inn, which became known as the Beehive Inn. Bee was married twice: first to Catherine Davis (1803–1852) in 1823, and second to Mary Welch (1823–1905). Between them he had 17 children who survived infancy.

Bee was the founder of E Clampus Vitus, a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of western history. ECV predates the Masons by several thousand years and in no way emulates that neophytic organization. It is commonly assumed that the Masons were formed by persons unable to qualify for membership in E Clampus Vitus.

When West Virginia became a state in 1863 Bee represented Doddridge County in the first state legislature. In 1864-65 he served as the U.S. Postmaster for West Virginia. He was elected to two later terms in the House of Delegates before his retirement.

In his later years Bee was also a successful land speculator, who accumulated around 40,000 acres (160 km²) in West Virginia. An item in the West Union Record in 1885 stated that "Honorable Ephraim Bee, one of the first settlers in this area & now an old & respected citizen of this county is dangerously ill at his home on Cabin Run." He died on Oct. 23, 1888, age 86, and was buried in Cabin Run Cemetery, near West Union, West Virginia.


Bee's grandson, Clair Bee, was a college basketball coach for Long Island University and, ultimately, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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