The life of abolitionist John Brown (above)
was dutifully recorded by Calhoun's Boyd Stutler

By Bob Weaver

John Brown is one of the most divisive figures in American history, his life and times being brought to life with the works and collection of former Calhoun resident Boyd B. Stutler.

Over 150 years ago, Brown's 1859 abolitionist raid on the armory at Harpers Ferry was a major contributing factor to the Civil War.

The West Virginia State Archives placed online a new electronic database of materials pertaining to Brown from the Boyd B. Stutler (1889-1970) Collection.

Stutler, who launched his formidable journalistic career in Calhoun County, was a recognized authority on Brown, creating the most important John Brown collections in existence.

He started from the ground floor, working as a type-setter for the short lived Calhoun Signal, then purchasing The Grantsville News at age 18 in 1907. He was publisher and editor until he went to serve in World War I.

Sutler married the daughter of A. J. and Margaret Morris Huffman in 1911. His parents, Daniel E. and Emily Bird Stutler, are buried in Bethlehem Cemetery.

During those years in Grantsville, he was mayor of the town in 1911-12, and president of the Board of Education of Grantsville Independent District, 1915-16.

Boyd Stutler owned and edited the Grantsville News at age 18

Stutler went on to work for several West Virginia newspapers, regional magazines and was an editor of the American Legion Magazine in New York.

He was a war correspondent during World War II, and author of several West Virginia history books, including "WV in the Civil War," and co-authored "WV Yesterday and Today," and several books on John Brown.

Stutler's contribution to the passing parade, from his humble beginnings in Calhoun County to receiving the "Award of Merit" for historical articles on the Civil War in 1962, have been enormous.

He is responsible for recording much of what we know about the Civil War in Calhoun County.