Guinn Tells Manson’s Biography

Marshall County is likely to receive some unwanted notoriety stemming from a new book about its most infamous former resident.

Author Jeff Guinn’s latest book, “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson,” was published Tuesday, Aug. 6, by Simon and Schuster. The book is available in hardcover and electronic formats.

Online publicity for the book described it as “the most authoritative account ever written of how an ordinary juvenile delinquent named Charles Manson became the notorious murderer whose crimes still shock and horrify us today.”

Reportedly, in this volume, Guinn traces Manson’s criminal career back to his childhood. Online press material stated: “Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates and even some members of the Manson Family have provided new information about Manson’s life … In addition to stunning revelations about Charles Manson, the book contains family photographs never before published.”

Of course, it’s well-known local lore that the future notoriouscrime leader spent some of his formative years in Marshall County. Manson lived with relatives in McMechen after his mother went to prison.

In 1983, Manson, who is serving a life term in a California prison for his role as the mastermind of the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969, requested a transfer to the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, purportedly to be nearer to his family. His request was denied.

In unrelated biographical news, Dr. John Harris, executive director of continuing medical education of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, has written a new biography of Wheeling Hall of Fame member Dr. James Edmund Reeves.

Harris is planning to visit Wheeling to do research and meet with Kate Quinn whose research started Harris on his quest. He also plans to meet with Dr. William Mercer (the current public health officer for Wheeling and Ohio County) and tour the city.

Reeves (1829-96) was a pioneering physician who advanced public health and proper sanitation.

He was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame in April 2011, in the category of business, industry and professions.

“It is so apt that Dr. Reeves, Wheeling’s first public health officer, has finally been recognized and that the author is excited to see where Dr. Reeves lived and worked so long for our city,” said Quinn, who is a member of the Hall of Fame board.

During a program on Wheeling’s Mount Wood Cemetery at the Ohio County Public Library earlier this month, the conversation turned to the topic of the current condition of the old burial grounds. Mention was made of a serious vandalism spree that occurred at the cemetery in the 1970s.

Dr. Jeanne Finstein, president of Friends of Wheeling, related that city workers who tend the cemetery say that three of the people involved in the 1970s vandalism have met unfortunate ends. Hmmmm … let that be a warning to any potential vandals …

On a cheerier note, Pittsburgh author Rudy Dicks praised the Ohio County Public Library’s staff and programs during his July 30 speaking engagement at the facility’s Lunch With Books series.

“I envy you for having such a terrific library,” Dicks told the Wheeling audience.

A large group of culinary-curious patrons turned out Thursday evening, Aug. 8, for the final installment of the Summer Reading Coffee House at the Ohio County Public Library.

The concluding session of the adult summer program, “Groundbreaking Reads,” was dubbed “Groundbreaking Eats!” and featured an array of international food. After sampling the delicious fare, several guests quipped that they had eaten their way around the world, without ever leaving Wheeling.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: