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McClain Printing Company

McClain Printing Company of Parsons, Tucker County, has printed many books of West Virginia history and lore. The company was incorporated in 1958 as an outgrowth of the weekly newspaper, the Parsons Advocate, which was then 62 years old. Ken and Faith Reynolds McClain had bought the newspaper in 1943. McClain was approached about 1957 by West Virginia University professors who feared that early West Virginia histories would be lost if they were not reprinted. The newspaper reprinted Alexander Scott Withers’s classic history, Chronicles of Border Warfare, as its first venture in book publishing, about 1958.

When Ken McClain retired in the early 1970s, his son-in-law and daughter, George and Mariwyn Smith, moved to Parsons. He took over the printing company and she the newspaper. When George Smith retired in 1997, son Kenneth E. Smith became the third generation to run the printing company.

In the first 35 years, McClain Printing Company produced comprehensive county histories of more than 35 West Virginia counties, as well as thousands of other titles. They include bestsellers such as Roy B. Clarkson’s Tumult on the Mountains and Howard B. Lee’s Bloodletting in Appalachia; the works of West Virginia poet laureate Louise McNeill and folklorists Ruth Ann Musick and James Gay Jones; and reprints of classic histories by Wills DeHass, W. C. Dodrill, and others.

McClain continues to publish numerous works of local history and genealogy, as well as reprints, through its commercial printing and book publishing services.

Written by Mariwyn McClain Smith