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The prolific historian and forester Hu Maxwell (September 22, 1860-August 20, 1927) was born in St. George, Tucker County. Until he turned 15, Maxwell was educated at home by his mother, Sarah Bonnifield Maxwell. He later graduated from Weston Academy (1880) and won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, but poor health forced his resignation.

Maxwell returned to West Virginia, where he taught school and learned the timbering business. He became editor and part owner of the Tucker County Pioneer newspaper and devoted much of the rest of his life to writing and publishing.

Maxwell wrote histories of Barbour (1899), Hampshire (1897), Randolph (1898), and Tucker (1884) counties and contributed two short articles to History of the Mingo Indians (1921). With Richard E. Fast, he wrote The History and Government of West Virginia (1906), and he co-authored the three-volume classic, West Virginia and Its People (1913), with Thomas Condit Miller.

Maxwell combined his knowledge of timbering with his passion for study and traveled throughout the country conducting surveys for the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to government bulletins, he wrote Idyls of the Golden Shore (1889), a collection of poems about California. He also published A Tree History of the United States (1923).

This Article was written by Christine M. Kreiser

Last Revised on December 07, 2015


Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vol. 14. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.

Turner, Ella May. Stories and Verse of West Virginia. Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Pub., 1925.

Cite This Article

Kreiser, Christine M. "Hu Maxwell." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 07 December 2015. Web. 20 July 2024.


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