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Hugh Isaac Shott, Sr., known as “Hugh Ike” (September 3, 1866-October 12, 1953), was born in Staunton, Virginia, where he learned the printer’s trade. Moving to Bluefield, West Virginia, Shott worked as a railway mail clerk on the Norfolk & Western Railway, then purchased the weekly Bluefield Telegraph in 1896. He began daily publication and prospered along with the bustling southern West Virginia coalfields whose news he reported.

Shott ultimately built a business empire around the Daily Telegraph Printing Company, including the morning Daily Telegraph, the afternoon Sunset News (1926–72), Telegraph Commercial Printing Company, and WHIS radio, a pioneer Appalachian station which broadcast his initials as call letters from a penthouse studio atop the West Virginian Hotel.

Long a Republican activist, Hugh Ike Shott spent 11 years as Bluefield’s postmaster, served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the old Fifth District and briefly as U.S. senator in 1942. Shott’s sons and grandsons—including three sets of male twins—presided over an extensive array of businesses after his death, adding WHIS-TV and broadcast companies in South Carolina and Iowa. The Shott family was represented on the boards of directors of many of southern West Virginia’s most powerful businesses. When the Federal Communications Commission questioned the near-monopoly on public information held in Bluefield by the Shotts, the family sold many of the firms, most notably the Telegraph, in January 1985.

In 1984, the Shott family endowed the Hugh I. Shott Jr. Foundation, which has been influential in many of the region’s philanthropic efforts and economic development activities. The Shotts hold the annual Shott breakfast community gathering, a holiday event for Bluefield’s close-knit business community.

This Article was written by C. Stuart McGehee

Last Revised on December 08, 2015

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Sources

Miller, Thomas Condit, and Hu Maxwell. West Virginia and Its People vol. 2. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1913.

Mercer County Historical Society. Mercer County History 1984. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Pub., 1985.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph Semi-Centennial Edition, 12/12/1939.

Obituary. Bluefield Daily Telegraph, 10/13/1953.

Clipping file. Eastern Regional Archives.

Shott Papers. West Virginia & Regional History Collection, West Virginia University Libraries.

Matthews, Garret. The Shott Family. Eastern Regional Archives

Cite This Article

McGehee, C. Stuart "Hugh I. Shott." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 08 December 2015. Web. 20 April 2018.

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