Doddridge County Roots

A West Virginia Genealogy

Ephraim BEE

Male 1802 - 1888  (85 years)


Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Ephraim BEE 
    Born 26 Dec 1802  Salem, Salem Co, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Census 1830, 1840  Harrison Co, VA (now Doddridge Co, WV) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence 1845  Lewisport (now Blockhouse Hill), Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Census 1850, 1860  Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Census 1870, 1880  Southwest District, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation farmer, blacksmith 
    Residence Cabin Run, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 23 Oct 1888  Cabin Run, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Buried Cabin Run Cemetery, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Notes 
    • Ephraim Bee played a prominent role in the establishment and early development of Doddridge County and West Union. He was born in Salem, New Jersey, on December 26, 1802, and he died in Doddridge County at Cabin Run on October 23, 1888. His parents were Asa Bee and Rhoda Cox. His father was a Revolutionary War soldier and a Seventh Day Baptist preacher. His family moved to western Virginia when he was nineteen years old, staying briefly in Preston and Taylor Counties before settling in Salem, Harrison County.

      Two years later, Ephraim married Catharine Davis in Salem. In 1828, they built a log home on Meathouse Fork of Middle Island Creek, now West Union. They also built an inn at Lewisport (now West Union) below the blockhouse on the Northwestern Turnpike. It became a very popular stop for travelers and locals alike. One of those travelers was Joseph H. Diss Debar, designer of the West Virginia State Seal. He wrote of the excellent quality of food, saying that he had a smoking hot dinner of boiled ham, greens, mashed potatoes, dried peach pie and store tea, all of a quality to be gratefully remembered. When he settled his bill and learned that the proprietor's name was Bee and observing the number of children playing about, he said that it had never before been his pleasure to dine in a "Bee Hive." For years afterwards, the inn was known by that name.

      It is likely that the Beehive Inn was the location referred to by the "Richmond (Va.) Enquirer" in an article on Mar 27 1840 summarizing recent acts passed by the Virginia Legislature: "180. An act to change the place of holding a separate election in the county of Botetourt, and one in the county of Harrison; to be held in Botetourt at the Hobhouse hotel in the town of Buchanan, and in Harrison at the house of Ephraim Bee in the town of Lewisport."

      Ephraim and Catharine had ten children. When Catharine died in 1852, she was buried in the then-Lewisport section of West Union in the cemetery of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, of which she and Ephraim were members. That SDB cemetery is now part of what has become known as the Blockhouse Hill Cemetery. The following year Ephraim married Mary Melissa "Polly" Welch, who bore him seven more children. Their grave is at Cabin Run Cemetery, near Oxford Road in Doddridge County. Ephraim's descendants are still plentiful in Doddridge and surrounding counties.

      Ephraim Bee was a blacksmith by trade. For 35 years, he had a blacksmith shop near the present-day railroad bridge in West Union, making everything from guns to cowbells to augurs. The first bridge across Middle Island Creek was of hewed logs with a center abutment of stones. In the great flood of 1835 it was washed away. In 1842 a contract was awarded to build a new covered bridge. Ephraim Bee at that time had a hotel and blacksmith shop on what is now known as Blockhouse Hill. He made all the bolts and bands for the bridge, which was completed in 1843 and stood for the next 107 years as one of the town's most prominent features, until destroyed in the Great Flood of 1950. Even now, its memory remains a source of pride to the local citizens.

      In addition to his primary business, Ephraim also established a farm, stables, tannery and a horseracing track to enhance his income. He also served as postmaster and magistrate. A shrewd land speculator, he owned about 40,000 acres of land.

      At the age of 60, Ephraim Bee was a Captain of the Doddridge County Militia, which protected the area from roving Confederate forces, horse thieves and outlaws. Along with Luke Jaco, he was a key member of the Underground Railroad, helping to hide slaves in Jaco Cave on their flight for freedom.
      http://www.urrfreepress.com/index_files/2009_Survey_Report.pdf

      In 1863, with the formation of the new state of West Virginia, Ephraim was elected to represent Doddridge County in the legislature at Wheeling, the first capital. When a daughter was born to him on January 1st of that year, the same day that President Lincoln announced the statehood proclamation, Ephraim proudly named her West Virginia Bee. He was re-elected to two more terms and was thus instrumental in the formulation of the new state's first laws.

      Another contest that Ephraim won was being named the Ugliest Man in the State of West Virginia. For that victory, he was awarded a beautiful pocket knife. However, he was forced to relinquish it a few years later when the State found a man whom it deemed to be even uglier.

      According to H. H. Hardesty's History of Doddridge County, "To the people of Central West Virginia, Ephraim Bee was a personage combining the qualities of a shrewd wit and love of fun, with a keen eye for value in a horse-trade or a deal in land. To the younger generation he has become something of a legend, so great and widespread was his fame." Ephraim had a reputation as a great story teller and practical joker. Hardesty wrote: "Lincoln & Bee had more in common than a sense of humor. They were both long, lean and lanky and with faces that could not be termed handsome by their dearest and closest friends. They were saved from ugliness by a sense of humor and softened, kindly eyes that lit up and redeemed an otherwise unprepossessing appearance."

      "Along this line of having fun, Ephraim established a secret order of his own, called E. Clampus Vitus and with a ritual similar to existing orders. His goal was to produce a grin where only a grouch had flourished. This order had quite a success, too lengthy to describe here. It was started at West Union perhaps as early as 1850. By 1853 it was being introduced to other towns and had won a very considerable following of zealous members." A report of the activities was recorded in the Weston Herald for Nov. 28, 1953. ECV has grown to become an active fraternal organization throughout the nation, particularly in the western states.

      A news 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 October 23, 1888 at age 86, and was buried at Cabin Run Cemetery.

      http://www.doddridgecountyheritageguild.com/ephraim-bee-e-clampus-vitus
      http://www.wvculture.org/history/sesquicentennial/biobeeephraim.html
      https://sites.google.com/site/researchingfamilies/story-of-ephraim-bee
      http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wvdoddri/who/bee.htm
      http://www.ephraimsclampingvipers.com/
      http://www.ecv5917.com/
      http://www.ecv5917.com/PDF%20files/DarlingsECV.pdf
      http://www.mountaincharlie1850.org/west_virginia_ecv.html
      http://www.eclampusvitus.com/a-little-more-ecv-history.html
      http://www.eclampusvitus.com/additional-ecv-history.html
    Person ID I20587  Doddridge County Roots
    Last Modified 15 May 2017 

    Father Asa BEE,   b. 28 Aug 1756, Salem, Salem Co, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1826, Preston Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Mother Rhoda COX 
    Married 5 Aug 1793  Gloucester Co, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F7584  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Catharine DAVIS,   b. 10 Jun 1804, Virginia (now West Virginia) Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Jun 1852, Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years) 
    Married 19 Jun 1823  Salem, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Notes 
    • 1840 Census, Harrison Co, Virginia (now West Virginia):
      Household of Ephraim Bee:
      1 free white male, age 30-39
      1 free white male, age 10-14
      2 free white male, age 5-9
      3 free white male, under 5
      1 free white female, age 30-39
      1 free white female, age 10-14
      1 free white female, under 5
      1 slave female, age 24-35
      1 slave female, under 10
      Persons employed in agriculture: 3
      Persons employed in manufacture & trade: 1
      Total free white persons under 20: 8
      Total free white persons 20-49: 2
      Total free white persons: 10
      Total slaves: 2 (one female under 10, one female 24-35)
      Total all persons: 12
      NOTE: Nearby households were those of George J. Davis, Elijah Summers and Joseph Jeffrey.

      1850 Census, Doddridge Co, Virginia (now West Virginia), enumerated on Aug 23 1850:
      Ephraim Bee, 46, b. New Jersey, farmer, value of real estate $43,500; Catharine, 45, b. Va; Amos, 22, tanner; Stinnett, 20, farmer; Wickliff, 18; Ephraim W, 16; Augustin J, 13; Martha S, 10; Leah F. Hansford, 4; Morris Kyner, 30, b. NJ, tanner, value of real estate $600; Charles Dowd, 23, b. Pa, mulatto, laborer, value of real estate $200.
      (Note: Leah F. Hansford, whose widowed father had not yet remarried, was the daughter of David W. Hansford and Julia Cooper. In 1860, Leah was enumerated in the household of Nathan J. & Keziah Davis, Keziah being Ephraim's sister-in-law.)

      The 1850 Federal Census Slave Schedule for Doddridge County, enumerated on Jul 16 1850, contains the following entry:
      Slave owner: Ephraim Bee. Description of slave: Black female, age 45.

      1860 Census, Doddridge Co, Virginia (now West Virginia), enumerated on Jul 23 1860:
      Ephraim Bee, 57, b. NJ, farmer, value of real estate $41,000, value of personal estate $2,125; M. (female), 36; Smith, 23; M.E. (female), 6; John S, 5; Hannah, 3; Susan, 1. All born in Virginia except for Ephraim, born in New Jersey.
    Children 
     1. Josiah H. BEE,   b. 7 Apr 1825, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 May 1876, Wirt Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
     2. Keziah BEE,   b. 21 Feb 1826, Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Dec 1893, Cabin Run, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
     3. Amos BEE,   b. 28 Feb 1828, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Aug 1904, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)
     4. Stinnett BEE,   b. 9 May 1830, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Mar 1923, Parkersburg, Wood Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 92 years)
     5. Wickliffe BEE,   b. 25 May 1832, Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Oct 1917, Pennsboro, Ritchie Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
     6. Ephraim W. BEE,   b. 16 Mar 1834, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Feb 1915, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     7. Huseton C. BEE,   b. 10 Apr 1836,   d. 24 Oct 1836  (Age 0 years)
     8. Augustus J. Smith BEE,   b. 12 Sep 1837, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 May 1885  (Age 47 years)
     9. Martha Louise BEE,   b. 24 Feb 1840, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Apr 1908  (Age 68 years)
     10. Edmon Sehon BEE,   b. 25 Apr 1842,   d. 19 Oct 1844  (Age 2 years)
    Family ID F7583  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mary Melissa "Polly" WELCH,   b. 2 Dec 1823, Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Aug 1905, Joy (Cabin Run), Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Married 27 Mar 1853  Wirt Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Notes 
    • 1860 Census, Doddridge Co, Virginia (now West Virginia), enumerated on Jul 23 1860:
      Ephraim Bee, 57, farmer, value of real estate $41,000, value of personal estate $2,125; M. (female), 36; Smith, 23; M. E. (female), 6; Jno S, 5; Hanniah, 3; Susan, 1. All born in Virginia except Ephraim, born in New Jersey.

      1870 Census, Doddridge Co, WV (Southwest Twp), enumerated on Aug 29 1870:
      Ephraim Bee, 67, farmer, value of real estate $73,460, value of personal estate $6,000; Mary, 47; Mary E, 16; John S C, 15; Hannah, 13; Susan, 11; Rachel J, 9; West Va., 7; Tabitha F, 3; Benj Welch, 40, farm laborer.

      1880 Census, Doddridge Co, WV (Southwest District), enumerated on Jun 1 1880:
      Ephraim Bee, 78, farmer, medical condition bronchitis; wife Mary, 56; son John S, 25; dau Susan A, 21; dau Rachel J, 19; dau Virginia, 17; dau Tabitha F, 13; servant Mark Britton, 26, farm laborer.
    Children 
     1. Mary Elizabeth BEE,   b. 27 Jan 1854, Barbour Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 May 1928, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     2. John Snyder Carlile BEE,   b. 15 Apr 1855, Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Jan 1934, Canton, Stark Co, OH Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
     3. Hannah BEE,   b. 6 Apr 1857, Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Dec 1945, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
     4. Susan A. BEE,   b. 17 Jan 1859, Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft Feb 1917  (Age 58 years)
     5. Rachel Jane BEE,   b. 6 Mar 1861,   d. 9 Dec 1943, Medina Co, OH Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years)
     6. West Virginia BEE,   b. 1 Jan 1863,   d. 15 Mar 1953, Grafton, Taylor Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years)
     7. Tabitha BEE,   b. 23 Sep 1866, Doddridge Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Nov 1950, Tyler Co, WV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
    Documents
    20587_EphraimBee_MaryMelissaWelchClevinger_MarriageBond_WirtCoWV_26Mar1853.jpg
    20587_EphraimBee_MaryMelissaWelchClevinger_MarriageBond_WirtCoWV_26Mar1853.jpg
    Family ID F7582  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 26 Dec 1802 - Salem, Salem Co, NJ Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 19 Jun 1823 - Salem, Harrison Co, (W)VA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1845 - Lewisport (now Blockhouse Hill), Doddridge Co, (W)VA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Cabin Run, Doddridge Co, WV Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 23 Oct 1888 - Cabin Run, Doddridge Co, WV Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Cabin Run Cemetery, Doddridge Co, WV Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    20587_EphraimBee_Oval.jpg
    20587_EphraimBee_Oval.jpg
    20587_EphraimBee.jpg
    20587_EphraimBee.jpg
    Stump speech against Henry A. Wise's invasion
    Stump speech against Henry A. Wise's invasion
    20587_BEE_Ephraim_BeehiveInnMonument_WestUnion_DoddridgeCoWV.jpg
    20587_BEE_Ephraim_BeehiveInnMonument_WestUnion_DoddridgeCoWV.jpg
    20587_BEE_Ephraim_BeehiveInnMonument_Closeup_WestUnion_DoddridgeCoWV.jpg
    20587_BEE_Ephraim_BeehiveInnMonument_Closeup_WestUnion_DoddridgeCoWV.jpg

    Documents
    50443_SamuelBMontgomery_OliverWorthyWest_VisitToWestUnion_DCRepublican_11Nov1915.jpg
    50443_SamuelBMontgomery_OliverWorthyWest_VisitToWestUnion_DCRepublican_11Nov1915.jpg
    20587_BEE_Ephraim_Made-Bolts-Bands-for-Covered-Bridge_1843.jpg
    20587_BEE_Ephraim_Made-Bolts-Bands-for-Covered-Bridge_1843.jpg
    20587_E-Clampus-Vitus_Reprinted-from-Parkersburg-Times_Wheeling-Intelligencer_15Jul1870.jpg
    20587_E-Clampus-Vitus_Reprinted-from-Parkersburg-Times_Wheeling-Intelligencer_15Jul1870.jpg
    Probably written by Joseph H. Diss Debar, a political rival of Ephraim Bee and affiliated with the Wheeling Intelligencer.
    20587_E-Clampus-Vitus_Ladies-Lodges-Proposed_Wheeling-Intelligencer_14Feb1867.jpg
    20587_E-Clampus-Vitus_Ladies-Lodges-Proposed_Wheeling-Intelligencer_14Feb1867.jpg
    96398_HowardFountain_Dedication_DCRepublican_8Jul1915.jpg
    96398_HowardFountain_Dedication_DCRepublican_8Jul1915.jpg
    34165_BEE_Azariah_Nephew-of-Wephwaim-Bwee_Visits-Daughter.jpg
    34165_BEE_Azariah_Nephew-of-Wephwaim-Bwee_Visits-Daughter.jpg

    Histories
    999999_Ephraim-Bee-and-Early-Doddridge-County-Part1_by-Jennifer-Wilt.txt
    999999_Ephraim-Bee-and-Early-Doddridge-County-Part1_by-Jennifer-Wilt.txt
    105209_Elizabeth-Burnside_1826-1901_Scandalous-Allegation_by-Jennifer-Wilt.txt
    105209_Elizabeth-Burnside_1826-1901_Scandalous-Allegation_by-Jennifer-Wilt.txt

  • Sources 
    1. [S83] Davis - The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia, Susie Davis Nicholson, (Gordon Printing Co, Strasburg OH, 1979 (Revised & Enlarged) < www.wvgenweb.org/harrison/books.htm >), p. 55.

    2. [S1563] Doddridge County Death Records, West Union, WV.

    3. [S1792] Harrison County WV Marriages 1785-1894, (Wes Cochran, 2515 10th Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26101 (1985)).

    4. [S2289] Wirt County Marriage Records, Elizabeth, WV, MR : http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11154780&Type=Marriage.
      The marriage record is in the form of a handwritten narrative document, which reads as follows:
      Know all men by these presents that We Ephraim Bee and S. Sheppard are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Virginia in the just and full sum of one hundred and fifty dollars N. the payment of which well and truly to be made unto the said Commonwealth, We bind ourselves jointly and severally our joint and several heirs &c firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 26 day of March 1853.
      The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas marriage is intended between the above bound Ephraim Bee and Mary Clevinger, widow, of Wirt County. Now if there shall be no legal cause to prevent said intended marriage then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in force and virtue.
      /signed/ Ephraim Bee ((seal))
      /signed/ Saml Sheppard ((seal))