|By Dianne Weaver 2008|
Von and Freda Yoak proudly display the historic suite
A mammoth, artfully-crafted three-piece bedroom suite that belonged to the first governor of West Virginia, Arthur I. Boreman, found a spot in Calhoun County several years ago.
It has graced the home of Von and Freda Yoak of Pleasant Hill, who acquired the set from his sister, Oleta Yoak Lamp Hill about 35 years ago.
The hand-carved, bed, armoire and dresser have walnut inlays on solid mahogany.
A carved top piece, identical to those on the bed and dresser adorned
the armoire, but had to be removed and stored because of the height
David and Lois Lutz bought the suite at the Boreman estate sale in Parkersburg. Lorraine Borman Hays, daughter of the Governor gave the Lutz's the history behind the suite at the time of the sale. Mrs. Hays died in 1959 at the age of 92. The Lutz's gave it to Oleta Lamp (Hill) in the 1960s after they could not move the large pieces to Florida.
Von Yoak said a few years ago he and Freda decided to take the bed to Grantsville for a Wood Festival and put it on display. "We'll never do that again," he said. "It took half the community."
"Museum collectors have traveled to Calhoun to look at the set, and lots of them would like to have it," said Yoak. "But we've really enjoyed it."
The masterful suite was a gift to Governor Boreman from a personal friend in 1865. It took seven months to be shipped from England, across the Atlantic and down the Ohio River to the Capital House in Wheeling.
(Von Yoak is now deceased)
The Governor was married to Laurane Tanner Bullock Boreman (1830-1908) she was the daughter of Wheeling physician Dr. James Tanner and the widow of a Union soldier killed during the Civil War. She married Arthur I. Boreman on November 30, 1864.
The Governor and Mrs. Boreman had two daughters, Lorraine and Maud. Mrs. Boreman had two sons by her first marriage, Tolbot O. and John O. Bullock.
Boreman, born in Pennsylvania, moved with his family to Tyler County when he was four years old. In 1845 he was admitted to the Virginia bar and established a law practice in Parkersburg.
Entering politics and serving as a circuit judge, he was a member of the Reorganized Government of Virginia. becoming West Virginia's first governor in 1863.
Boreman contributed effectively to the government of the new state, supporting legislation which instituted the West Virginia Code, Board of Public Works, and the public school system.
The Boreman House
The Arthur I. Boreman home stood on the northwest corner of
Fourth and Avery Streets in Parkersburg. Boreman died in 1896.
The house was torn down in the 1960s.
During the Civil War, he organized state militia units to combat Confederate guerrillas in the southern part of the state.
In 1865, he encouraged legislation which prohibited former Confederates from voting or holding public office, guaranteeing Republican control of the state for five years.
In 1869, Boreman resigned from office to join the United States Senate six days prior to the end of his term.
After one six-year term in the Senate, he returned to Parkersburg to practice law. In 1888, Boreman was again elected as a circuit judge, serving until his death in 1896.
All the while, he was sleeping on the giant bed that reposes in the Yoak house on Pleasant Hill.