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Biography: Harry Walter Gee


▶ Birth: April 18, 1880, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
▶ Death: September 27, 1971, Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia; buried in Greenwood Cemetery 
▶ Spouse: Elizabeth (Stifel) Gee
▶ Marriage: June 29, 1907, Wheeling, West Virginia, First Presbyterian Church (view marriage certificate


-From "The History of West Virginia, Old and New, Vol. II," The American Historical Society, Inc., 1923, pg. 281.
 

Harry Walter Gee


HARRY WALTERS GEE was an enthusiastic student of everything connected with electricity, and soon after leaving school and before reaching his majority he opened the small shop which by subsequent development has become the Gee Electric Company, a manufacturing and jobbing concern that now does business over half a dozen states.

Mr. Gee, who is secretary and general manager of this company, was born at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1880. The grandfather, George Gee, was a native of Nottingham, England, and as a young man came to America and settled near New Richmond in Clermont County, Ohio. In later years he became one of the large farm owners of that section, and lived there on his farm until his death. He married Anna Gregg, a native of Pennsylvania, and of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. She also died on the homestead at New Richmond. These grandparents had five children: Raymond, who was a Washington wheat farmer and died near Spokane in 1913, at the age of sixty-eight; Maria, wife of Andrew Castlen, still in business as a general merchant at New Richmond; Charles E.; Annie, of New Richmond, whose first husband was Benjamin Reece, a farmer, and she is now the wife of George Ebaugh, also a farmer; and Horace, a farmer near New Richmond.

Charles E. Gee was born on the farm near New Richmond in 1848, was reared there, and as a young man went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and entered the service of the Singer Manufacturing Company. Later he was in the service of the same company at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and in 1885 was transferred to Wheeling as his headquarters, where he continued as general superintendent of the Singer Manufacturing Company for thirty-five years. During his last years he was connected with the Gee Electric Company, and died at Columbus, Ohio, in November, 1916. He was a republican, but outside of his home and business his unflagging interest was in the First Presbyterian Church of Wheeling. It was largely through his work and support that the Eighteenth Street Mission of that church enjoyed its prestige as an instrument for good in the city. He was connected with the mission thirty-five years and was superintendent fifteen years. Charles E. Gee married Lueida McFarland, who was born at New Richmond in Clermont County, Ohio, in 1847, and is still living at Wheeling. Of her five children the oldest, a daughter, and the youngest, a son, died at birth. The other three are: Eugene C., who was a first-class sergeant in the Signal Corps in the Porto Rican campaign in the Spanish-American war, and is now an electrical engineer with the Pacific States Telephone Company at San Francisco; Minnie Ellsworth is the wife of Dr. Charles F. Bowen, an X-Ray specialist at Columbus, Ohio; and Harry Walters is the youngest.

Harry Walters Gee was about five years of age when the family removed to Wheeling, and he received his education in the city schools, graduating from high school in 1896. The following two years he was employed by the George K. McMechen Company of Wheeling. Then, at the age of eighteen, he opened a very small shop for electrical supplies at 1124 Market Street. At the beginning he did practically all the work of the business, but his enterprise had the promise of great development in it, and before long his shop was crowded and he removed to 1126 Market Street, later to 1215 Main Street, where he took over an adjoining storeroom at 1217, and in 1910 established the business at its present location on Main and Fourteenth streets. The Gee Electric Company was incorporated March 3, 1909. The officers are: Otto Schenk, president; Henry G. Stifel, vice president; while Mr. Gee is secretary and general manager and A. A. Wheat is treasurer. In its manufacturing and other departments the company employs seventy-five men, and as jobbers and manufacturers the products are shipped throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland.

Besides the responsibility of directing this business Mr. Gee is a director in the Fidelity Investment Association of Wheeling. He is a director of the West Virginia State Fair Association, of the Wheeling Country Club, and is vice president and director of the Industrial Relations Association. He is a member of the Fort Henry Club and the Old Colony Club, of the First Presbyterian Church and in politics is a republican. He was a leader in war movements in Wheeling, being a member of the Pershing Limit Club, and helped in all the drives for funds for Liberty Loan, Red Cross and other causes. He received a medal of honor for selling Liberty Bonds.

Mr. Gee owns a fine modern home, with well-kept grounds, on Stamm's Lane, National Road, Wheeling. He married at Wheeling in 1906 Miss Elizabeth A. Stifel, daughter of Louis C. and Elizabeth (Stamm) Stifel, both representing old and prominent families in this section. Her father was a partner in J. L. Stifel & Sons, calico manufacturers, one of the big industries of Wheeling. Mrs. Gee is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College for Women at Pittsburgh. Five children were born to their marriage; the first, a daughter, dying at birth; Charles Louis died at the age of sixteen months; Eleanor was born August 24, 1915; William Stifel on August 26, 1917; and Harry W., Jr., on October 8, 1919.


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