I'm a library worker in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
A little less than two centuries ago a New York merchant, Richard Despard (born in Ireland and married there to Diana Burton) invested in northwestern Virginia land and then relocated to Clarksburg, the seat of Harrison County, now in West Virginia.
I assume that Despard failed in New York. As a Virginian he was careful not to vest title to property here in his own name. (The partners in Despard & Co. were his three daughters; he acted as their agent...) Presumably this was because there were creditors somethere. In Clarksburg the building that housed Despard's store was bound in trust to Wheaton Bradish of New York City, a friend of the family; by this means it was protected from attachment by less friendly enemies.
Despard named a son (who died young) Wheaton Bradish.
In the next two generations the local Despards prospered, and for the sake of local history I'd like to know more of their background. I'd also like to know who Wheaton Bradish might have been.
In recent times a certain Wheaton Bradish Byers was a CIA agent (says an online database), and a Wheaton Bradish Kunhardt was born (I forget where) in 1914, so the name has clearly been passed on. Still, I see no references to the original.
Oh, well. Perhaps I have more curiosity that decency allows.
Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library
404 West Pike Street
Clarksburg WV 26301
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