Bishop George Peterkin died in Parkersburg on September 28, 1916, at age 75. The Maryland native had joined the Confederate Army at age 20, participated in Robert E. Lee’s ill-fated Western Virginia campaign of 1861, and was present for the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.
After the war, Peterkin was ordained as an Episcopal priest and served in churches in Virginia and Maryland. After the Diocese of West Virginia was created, he was elected bishop for the entire state and consecrated at Wheeling in 1878.
Headquartered in Parkersburg, Peterkin visited every county in West Virginia during his 24 years as bishop. He consecrated 37 new Episcopal churches, ordained 49 priests, and confirmed more than 5,000 communicants in West Virginia. He also presided over nearly 1,400 confirmations in other states and foreign lands. In 1887, he founded Sheltering Arms Hospital at Hansford in eastern Kanawha County, pioneering health care for early coal miners.
Bishop Peterkin helped erect a monument at Mingo in Randolph County to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who’d died on Valley Mountain in 1861. The Episcopalian Peterkin Center retreat near Romney is named in his honor.