HINTON, (Hinton News) – Many different types of businesses have come and gone over the years in Summers County. This list includes general stores, restaurants, and utility companies. There was a time when most utilities were all locally owned and operated. In this week’s edition of A Peek into Summers County’s Past, William Jones has provided two stock certificates for the Hinton-Clayton and Glenray Telephone Company that operated between 1907 and 1955.
“Around the early 1900s, electricity began to be more common in homes and rural parts of the United States. The same can be said for telephones,” Jones said. “Before you heard of large companies like Chesapeake and Potomac, Bell Atlantic, AT&T and Frontier Communications, you had companies like the Hinton-Clayton and Glenray Telephone Company which later became the Hinton and Judson Telephone Company seen with these two stock certificates.”
Similarly to many items in Jones’ collection, these stock bonds hold a family tie and historical significance. He said, “My great great grandfather L.W. Thompson, who lived in Talcott, purchased capital stock in Hinton-Clayton and Glenray Telephone Company.”
Going back to the history of the business Jones said, “First, I’ll address Hinton-Clayton and Glenray Telephone Company before its name was changed. It was incorporated as a business in July 1907. L.W. purchased the stock in 1908.”
Later on, a change took place for the company. According to Jones, “A notice of ‘Trustee’s Sale’ was placed in the Independent Herald (a newspaper in Hinton at the time). This advertisement said that all lines, poles, franchise and rights, switchboards, wires, and attachments for the company would be offered at public auction on the courthouse steps on December 24, 1914. Its official dissolution date as a corporation was April 10, 1915. And the West Virginia Secretary of State Office says its name changed to Hinton & Judson Telephone Company on the same day.”
Little information is available on the telephone company after the early 1900s. However, Jones notes a few articles from the 1940s describe its decent. He said, “Little is known about this company from the early 1900s until it was terminated as a corporation on June 23, 1955, except for various articles in the 1940s. One in particular in the Hinton Newspaper in 1948 that refers to the company’s assets as ‘practically non-existent’ and ‘the phones are the old crank type’. It was mentioned again in the Post Herald in a 1949 article about the Public Service Commission holding a special meeting to allow the telephone company to discontinue service to their 15 existing customers. It must have been held together by show strings until officially being dissolved as a company in 1955.”
Finally, Jones stated, “It can be assumed that, after it was dissolved as a corporation, a larger company such as the aforementioned Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, more commonly known as C&P Telephone Company, took it over. These two pieces of paper would be just garbage to many people, but to me, they are priceless because of the family connection and the local historical significance.”
Are you familiar with the Hinton-Clayton and Glenray Telephone Company/Hinton and Judson Telephone Company? We would love to hear your stories! Email us at email@example.com with any local history stories you want to share.
Check back next week for the next edition of A Peek into Summers County’s past.
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