John Rinehart Blue

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For other people named John Blue, see John Blue (disambiguation).
John Rinehart Blue
Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
from the Hampshire County district
In office
Preceded by William L. Thompson
Succeeded by William Basil Slonaker
Personal details
Born (1905-10-13)October 13, 1905
Romney, West Virginia, United States
Died May 27, 1965(1965-05-27) (aged 59)
Romney, West Virginia, United States
Resting place Indian Mound Cemetery
Romney, West Virginia
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Madeline McDowell Blue
Relations John David Blue (father)
Mary Buckner Rinehart (mother)
Lt. John Monroe Blue (grandfather)
Children John McDowell Blue
Julia Tait Blue Weir
David Stanford Blue
Residence 261 East Main Street
Romney, West Virginia
Alma mater Presbyterian College (B.S.)
West Virginia University
Profession Schoolteacher and merchant
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942
Rank Private
Battles/wars World War II

John Rinehart Blue (October 13, 1905 – May 27, 1965) was a Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates representing Hampshire County, West Virginia from 1953 through 1959. Blue was also a prominent schoolteacher, variety store owner, and community leader in his hometown of Romney.

Early life and education[edit]

John Rinehart Blue was born on October 13, 1905 in Romney, West Virginia to John David Blue and his wife Mary Buckner Rinehart Blue.[1][2][3] Blue's father John was a son of Lieutenant John Monroe Blue (March 25, 1834 – June 30, 1903), a prominent member of the 11th Virginia Cavalry of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Blue received his primary education in the public schools of Romney and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina and later completed graduate studies at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.[4]

Marriage and children[edit]

On September 6, 1938, Blue married Madeline McDowell, daughter of Angus and Madeline Stanford McDowell of Camden and Montgomery, Alabama.[4][5][6] Blue and his wife Madeline had three children: John Angus McDowell Blue, Julia Tait Blue Weir and David Standford Blue.[3][6][7]


Military career[edit]

The old Romney theatre building (photographed here in March 1938) which later served as the second location for John Rinehart Blue's Ben Franklin store.

Blue served in the United States Army during World War II.[3][8] He enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army at the age of 37 on November 20, 1942 in Clarksburg, West Virginia.[9] Following his enlistment, Blue was inducted into the U.S. Army in Columbus, Ohio.[10]

Business career[edit]

In the early 1950s, Blue opened a Ben Franklin five and dime variety store in Romney.[3][11] Initially the store was located in a building owned by his father, John David Blue, which was later razed for the construction of the Pioneer Restaurant.[11] Blue relocated the store between 1955 and 1956 to a three-story building that had previously housed Romney's theater.[11] Following Blue's death, the Ben Franklin store was owned and operated by his wife, Madeline, until it ceased operation and closed in 1991.[5][6][11]

Educational career[edit]

Blue was the superintendent of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind for 20 years.[3]

Political career[edit]

Blue's residence, known as the Blue House, at 261 East Main Street in Romney, West Virginia.

Following the resignation of William L. Thompson from the West Virginia House of Delegates on August 28, 1953, West Virginia Governor William C. Marland appointed Blue to fill Thompson's vacant delegate seat representing Hampshire County on September 23, 1953.[12] Blue was nominated for re-election to his delegate seat by Hampshire County Democratic voters in August 1954, a primary election in which he received 729 votes compared to 536 votes for James W. Short and 517 votes for Harold L. Welker, both Democratic opponents from the Romney area.[13] Blue subsequently ran in the general election on November 2, 1954 for his delegate seat and won, receiving 1859 votes compared to 1355 votes for his opponent, Republican candidate Earl A. Loy of Augusta.[14] Blue filed for inclusion on the ballot in the Democratic Party primary election in 1958, but later lost in the primary to William Basil Slonaker of Dillons Run who went on to win Blue's delegate seat in the 1958 general election.[15] Blue attempted recapturing his delegate seat in 1962, but was defeated in the Democratic Party primary election by incumbent Slonaker, 579 to 1430 votes.[16]

Gravestone at the interment site of John Rinehart Blue and his wife Madeline McDowell Blue at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney, West Virginia.

Later life and death[edit]

Blue died on May 27, 1965 of coronary thrombosis caused by coronary artery disease on his farm in Augusta.[2][3] His funeral service were conducted by Rev. L. T. West at the Romney Presbyterian Church, and he was interred at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney on May 29, 1965.[2][3] Blue was survived by his wife, his three children, and his sisters Mrs. Bruce Whitfield and Mrs. Henry Hollenberg.[3]


Blue was a member of the Romney Presbyterian Church affiliated with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).[3][4] He served on his church's board of deacons.[3] In addition to his church, Blue was a member of the Moose Lodge, Lions Club, and Hampshire Post 91 of the American Legion.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Birth Record Detail: John Rinehart Blue". West Virginia Vital Research Records. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Death Record Detail: John Rinehart Blue". West Virginia Vital Research Records. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "John R. Blue.". Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland). May 28, 1965. p. 20. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d West Virginia Legislature 1957, p. 188.
  5. ^ a b "Obituary for Madeline M. Blue". Cumberland Times-News (Cumberland, Maryland). March 13, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "Obituary for Madeline M. Blue". The Journal. Martinsburg, West Virginia. March 15, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Romney Woman Heads W. Va. PTA Congress: Mrs. John R. Blue Wins Top Position". The Cumberland News (Cumberland, Maryland). October 27, 1961. p. 24. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 179.
  9. ^ "Display Full Records: John R. Blue". Access to Archival Databases (AAD). National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ "News From Frostburg And Nearby Tri-State Sections: Romney". Cumberland Evening Times. Cumberland, Maryland. November 23, 1942. p. 10. 
  11. ^ a b c d Pisciotta, Marla (March 18, 2009). "Madeline McDowell Blue: 'She was a Grand Dame – the grandest of them all'". Hampshire Review. Romney, West Virginia. 
  12. ^ West Virginia Legislature 1980, p. 345.
  13. ^ ' (August 4, 1954). "Martin Loses In Hampshire Demo Voting". Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland). Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Demos Score Victory In Hampshire". Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland). November 3, 1954. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Deadline For Candidates Set Tomorrow". Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland). May 2, 1958. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Hampshire School Unit Vote Close". Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland). May 9, 1962. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 


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