Ephraim Bee – 1802-1888
Ephraim Bee was born December 26, 1802 in Salem, New Jersey, and died October 23, 1888 on Cabin Run, Doddridge County, West Virginia. His parents were Asa Bee and Rhoda Cox. Asa was a Revolutionary War soldier and Seventh Day Baptist Preacher.
He married (1) CATHARINE DAVIS June 19, 1823 in Salem, Harrison County, Western Virginia by Rev. John Davis, daughter of JOSEPH DAVIS and HANNAH SUTTON. She was born June 10, 1804 in Virginia, and died June 27, 1852 in Doddridge County, Western Virginia. They had 10 children who lived past childhood.
He married (2) MARY MELISSA 'POLLY" WELCH March 27, 1853 in Wirt County, Western Virginia, daughter of ISAIAH WELCH and RACHEL INGRAM. She was born December 02, 1823 in Harrison County, West Virginia, and died October 26, 1905 in Doddridge County, West Virginia. They had seven children who lived past childhood.
Ephraim’s family moved to Western Virginia when he was nineteen years old. He was a self made man, having but four months of schooling in all his life. Ephraim was the first Clerk of the Middle Island Seventh Day Baptist Church.
In 1828 Ephraim & Catherine established a log home on Meathouse fork of Middle Island Creek, now West Union, West Virginia. They built an Inn at Lewisport, below the Blockhouse on the Northwestern Turnpike. It became a very popular place for travelers and locals to meet, revive themselves and to re-provision supplies for their journeys. He operated the first Blacksmith shop. His farm, stables, tannery and a horseracing track were also added to increase the family income. Ephraim became involved in land speculation and owned some 40,000 acres of land.
Doddridge County Militia (Ephraim Bee smoking pipe in center)
When Doddridge County was being formed out of parts of Harrison & Ritchie Counties, Ephraim rallied to locate the County Seat at Lewisport. His brother-in law, Nathan Davis, Randolph and others, won the County Seat for West Union, across the Middle Island River.
At the age of 60, he was a Captain of the Doddridge County Militia, which protected the area from roving Confederate forces, horse thieves & outlaws. He became a candidate for the First West Virginia Legislature in 1863, at Wheeling, the first Capitol. His opponent was Joseph H. Diss Debar, a talented French Alsatian who had settled in the area about 1843. He was an artist who drew caricature sketches of Ephraim Bee and some of these are now in the State Capitol at Charleston, WV. It is some irony that it was Mr. Diss Debar who one day proclaimed that Ephraim’s Inn, which was buzzing full of the Bee children, was a “Beehive”. The name stuck.
Diss Debar was apparently elected and presented himself at Wheeling on June 20, 1863 to take his seat. Ephraim Bee also presented himself, filed his petition contesting the seat of Mr. Diss Debar. A committee of the house passed on the merits and the claims of each and after an impassioned speech by Ephraim, decided in favor of Mr. Bee. Bee then served in the First West Virginia Legislature of 1863.
Honorable Ephraim Bee of Doddridge County was returned to Wheeling to serve his beloved County for two more terms of office in 1866 & 1867.
Ephraim Bee was United States Postmaster for West Union and Grand Lama of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E. Clampus Vitus, a secret order for playing jokes, which he originated about 1845 and initiated all prominent people at Richmond, Virginia, when he was sent there on a political mission. He did the same in Wheeling when it became the Capitol of the new State of West Virginia.
Joseph Diss Debar was not entirely overlooked. Being an artist, he was commissioned to design the State Seal for The State of West Virginia, which is still being used without change.
After serving his terms of office Ephraim Bee retired from public life. He is buried under a beautiful monument at Cabin Run Cemetery, with his second wife, near where they lived.
"A precious one from us has gone, a voice so loved is stilled. A place is vacant in our home, that never can be filled"
"God in his wisdom has recalled the precious boon his love had given. Although the body molders here, his soul is safe in heaven."
"O Death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy Victory."
At the foot of Ephraim’s Monument is a small stone block inscribed with the letters “ECV”. This was placed by members of the “Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampsus Vitus”, the Fraternal Order founded by Ephraim.
A Historic Monument is planned to honor him on the Bi-Centennial of his Birth.
Children of EPHRAIM BEE and CATHARINE DAVIS are:
JOSIAH H. D.7 BEE, b. April 07, 1824
KEZIAH BEE, b. February 21, 1826.
AMOS BEE, b. February 28, 1828
STINNETT BEE, b. May 09, 1830
WICKLIFF BEE, b. May 25, 1832.
EPHRAIM W. BEE, b. March 16, 1834
HOUSTON C. BEE, b. April 10, 1836
AUGUSTUS JOHN SMITH BEE, b. September 12, 1837
MARTHA LOUISE BEE, b. February 24, 1840
EDMOND SEHOS BEE, b. April 25, 1842
Children of EPHRAIM BEE and MARY WELCH are:
MARY ELIZABETH7 BEE, b. June 27, 1855, Doddridge County, Western Virginia; m. JAMES MALEY,
JONATHAN S.C. BEE, b. April 15, 1856
HANNAH BEE, b. April 06, 1857; m. LATHROP RUSSELL CHARTER GRAY
SUSAN A. BEE, b. January 17, 1859; m. MARK BRITTON
RACHEL JANE BEE, b. March 04, 1861 xvi.
(WEST) VIRGINIA BEE, b. January 01, 1863; m. BENJAMIN F. ZINN
Notes for (WEST) VIRGINIA BEE:
West Virginia Bee was born on the Same Day President Lincoln signed the Bill for the erection of the State of West Virginia. She was called "Gin Zinn"
TABITHA BEE, b. September 23, 1866; m. MARTIN ANKROM
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