Livia Simpson Poffenbarger

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Olivia Nye Simpson Poffenbarger (known as Livia) (born Pomeroy, Ohio, March 1, 1862; died Charleston, West Virginia October 27, 1937[1]) was a newspaper owner/editor, historian, social activist, civic leader, and Republican politician in West Virginia. Her family moved to Point Pleasant, West Virginia when she was a young girl. In 1888 she purchased the struggling State Gazette newspaper in that town and ran it successfully until selling it in 1913.

She served the Republican party as an advisor working on the 1912 convention, was on a national Republican advisory committee from 1920–24, and was an elector in 1924. She was the state director for the women's suffrage campaign in West Virginia. She chaired an advisory committee on a bond issue to improve state roads, speaking statewide for its adoption.

Having organized the Mason County chapter of the American Red Cross, she directed relief efforts during a flood in 1913. During World War I she chaired three statewide Liberty Loan drives, with techniques that were adopted nationwide. In 1919 she received an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University.[2]

She frequently wrote about the Battle of Point Pleasant, arguing that it should be regarded as the first battle of the American Revolution. Her view has received little support from historians, but her efforts led to the creation of Tu-Endie-Wei State Park and the erection of a monument on the battle site. She wrote a number of other books and pamphlets on West Virginia history.

In 1894 she married George Poffenbarger, a prominent lawyer who later served many years on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; they had two sons, Nathan and Perry. Her brother, John Simpson, was a dean of the West Virginia University medical school.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Livia Nye Simpson Poffenbarger: Charleston Gazette obituary". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. 
  2. ^ "Time Trail, West Virginia October 1997 programs". West Virginia Division of Culture and History.