Six leaving as Wood County’s longest-serving clerk

PARKERSBURG -With 26 years service, Wood County Clerk Jamie Six leaves office as the longest serving clerk the county has seen.

The next nearest clerk in longevity of service was James Hardin Neal, the county’s second clerk.

Born in Green County, Pa., in 1784, Neal was Justice of the Peace and served as Clerk of the Wood County Court. He was clerk from 1806 to 1831.

He was one of the original incorporators of the Parkersburg Manufacturing Co., which made tissue, meal, castings, lumber, steam engines in 1829 in Parkersburg. He was clerk of the superior court between 1831 and 1850 in Wood County. He was the son of Capt. James Neal, early area pioneer and Revolutionary War Army officer. Capt. Neal was the leader of the first permanent group of settlers who came to Parkersburg from Pennsylvania in 1785.

The third longest serving clerk was L.C. White who served 20 years, from 1946-1966.

The first clerk of Wood County was John Stokely, but his road to office wasn’t an easy one.

According to an interesting footnote in the county’s history, there were initially rival courts, one on the south side of the Little Kanawha River, another in Vienna.

According to “A River to Cross: The Bicentennial History of Wood County, W.Va.” by Philip W. Sturm, the Vienna Federalists had named Stephen R. Wilson as county clerk. While the other group, referred as the Phelps faction, appointed Elias Lowther clerk.

Later the acts of both were rescinded and John Stokely was ultimately elected clerk.

A frontier businessman, Stokely served in the Revolutionary War in the Westmoreland County (Pa.) Militia.

He was married in 1780, but his wife, the former Naomi Little, died a few years later and they had no children. Stokely also represented Wood County in the Virginia Legislature for four terms He then traveled westward and died in 1829.

The term “county court” was later changed by the state Legislature to the county commission. Duties of the county clerk include: management of records of the county commission and certain election duties. According to the West Virginia Association of Counties the clerk serves as the fiscal officer of the county commission and receives fees charged for documents filed and recorded within the county, issue marriage licenses, birth and death certificates; record births, marriages and deaths in the county; acts as chief voter registration official for the county; registers qualified voters; maintains custody and integrity of the county voting machines, ballot boxes and other election supplies; conducts training sessions for poll workers and other election officials prior to their service; serves as the recorder of all documents; keeps records of the county commission’s transactions; is to keep minutes of the county commission meetings, and probates wills. The county clerk serves a six year term in office.

Wood County Clerk Jamie Six has announced his resignation will be effective July 31. The county commission will appoint a replacement for Six.

The appointee must be of the same political party. Six is a Democrat. Six has said he will recommend deputy clerk Mark Rhodes as his replacement at the clerk’s post.

Any appointee would serve to 2014. In January anyone interested in running could file to run for the office. Once that election is certified, whoever wins would become clerk for the next two years and some days, the unexpired remainder of Six’s term in office.

In 2016, the office will be on the ballot again for a full six-year term.