Dr. Harriet B. Jones

First licensed female physician in W. Va.
One of the first women to serve in the West Virginia Legislature.

Compiled and researched by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.
© 2003


     Dr. Harriet B. Jones, who has attained prominence as a practicing physician of Wheeling, is a woman of great force of character and has made her influence felt in elevating the social and moral tone of the city and community. She was born in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, June 3, 1856, and is a daughter of John P. Jones.

     John P. Jones was born in Cardiganshire, Wales, June 21, 1832, and came to the United States when six years of age with his parents, who located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He moved to Ebensburg, where he engaged in general merchandising. He was an elder in the Presbysterian church, and in politics was a Republican. He moved to West Virginia in 1862 and located at Cranberry Summit, now known as Terra Alta. There he was a general merchant and lumber dealer. He took an active part in politics, and represented Preston county in the state legislature, serving one term in the upper branch and two in the lower. He was a very active, enterprising and public-spirited man. He was superintendent of his Sunday school continuously for twenty-five years. He died September 18, 1900, and lies buried at Terra Alta. He married Hannah Rodgers, a daughter of George and Catherine Rodgers. She was born September 28, 1832, and died November 28, 1894.

     At an early age Harriet B. Jones entered seminary at Wheeling and graduated there-from on June 3, 1875. She received the advantages of a fine musical education. May 1, 1884, she graduated with honors from the Women's Medical College at Baltimore, Maryland, as a physician and surgeon. She commenced the practice of her profession in Wheeling in September, 1885, after spending a few months in travel. In 1887 she was elected by the board of trustees as assistant superintendent of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane at Weston, and served with credit for three and a half years. She then returned to Wheeling, and has since applied herself diligently to the practice of her profession, in which she has met with unqualified success. Dr. Jones has been prominent in temperance matters, having organized the Society of the White Cross at Weston, Virginia, and was president of the W. C. T. U. and the United Chautauqua Circles of Wheeling. Ten years ago the Doctor interested herself in the welfare of homeless girls, and drafted a bill, which through her representative she presented to the state legislature for passage. It took six years of constant and persistant personal endeavor and lobbying at the state capital to gain her ends. In 1897 she was triumphant and had the intense satisfaction of seeing the measure pass without a single amendment attached thereto. With the bill was an appropriation of $10,000. The construction of the building was begun in 1899, when a further appropriation of $30,000 was made, and at the last sitting a further sum of money was set aside for the same purpose. In May, 1899, the home was opened and there are now 16 inmates. Soon this institution raised by the efforts of Dr. Jones will be ready to accommodate 50 inmates. Every session of the legislature finds her on hand to secure ample provision for the institution. She lectures occasionally on temperance, social purity and literature. She is a member of the First Presbyterian church. She belongs to the Women's Club; the State Medical Association; the Ohio County Medical Society; and the American Medical Association.

Source: "HISTORY OF WHEELING and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens."
Edited & Compiled by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer.
Biographical Publishing, 1902; p. 365-366.

1870 Census, Portland Twp., Preston County, West Virginia
John P. JONES, 38, Merchant Retail, $8000, $112,000, b England
Hannah JONES, Wife, Keeping House, b Pa.
Hattie B. JONES, 14, Attending School, b. Pa.
Scott L. JONES, 12, Attending School, b Pa.
Adeline JONES, 10, b. Pa.
Mollie JONES, 8, b Pa.
Cora JONES, 2, b W. Va.

     A biography of Dr. Jones in "History of Marshall County, 1984," submitted by S. A. Terrill and published by the Marshall County Historical Society, describes that Dr. Jones worked extensively with Pioneer Nurse Francina McMahon. Together they helped to establish "Girls Industrial Home, Tuberculosis Sanitorium, Tuberculosis Sanitorium for Colored People, and Children's Home. - The doctor and Francina traveled throughout West Virginia for months advocating health education and humane treatment for all. Traveling in a Ford with no starter, through places where it was difficult to secure gas and oil and on almost impossible roads, they carried their message for humanity."


Women's Hospital,
80 Fifteenth Street, Wheeling
Established by Dr. Jones in 1892.


This postcard says, "Dr. Hattie Jones' Cottage, Terra Alta, W. Va."
Postmarked Terra Alta, W.Va., 1908.


This postcard, postmarked September 1907, is addressed to Mrs. Charles Rinard ("Aunt Cora") at 80-15th Street, Wheeling, W. Va., the same address as the hospital Dr. Jones' opened in 1892. A note says, "Hattie's second home in Glendale." The home in Glen Dale was located at 706 Wheeling Ave., according to information in the Moundsville-Glen Dale city directory, provided by Naomi Lowe Hupp. Dr. Jones lived in Glen Dale until her death in 1943. The house was raised and the Glen Dale United Methodist Church Educational Building was built on the lot.

     These cards were the property of CORA JONES RINARD, sister of Dr. Jones. Two were mailed to her by a niece, name illegible. One was mailed to Cora at the address of the Women's Hospital in 1907, although Cora was married to Charles Rinard; perhaps she was visiting with Dr. Jones. A card postmarked 1908 was sent Cora in Kentland, Indiana. The 1910 census of Newton County, IN, shows Charles Rinard, a jeweler, married to Cora, with one daughter, Virginia. The Death Index of California indicates that Virginia's real name was Harriet Virginia Rinard. She was born 28 Mar 1898 in IN and died 1 Dec 1990 in Los Angeles.

(Picture Postcards owned by Linda Fluharty.)