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Prominent people of color come from Preston County

KINGWOOD — Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Preston County has had many prominent Black businesspeople and educators. Sarah Goines was the first woman of color to serve as a justice of the peace in Preston County, and her family was instrumental in building the Love Chapel Church, the first Black church in the county.

On Jan. 2, 2022, Kingwood lost one of its prominent businessmen when Russell Goines Jr. died. Goines was born Feb. 17, 1952, in Morgantown. He was the son of the late Russell and Marietta Jane (McDonald) Goines Sr. He was a graduate of Kingwood High School and later attended Fairmont State.

Goines was part of the 1969 Kingwood High School football team that defeated the No. 1 state-ranked Monongah High School team, 8-6. He was invited to do a walk-on tryout with the University of Notre Dame’s football team. Instead, he decided to attend what was then Fairmont State College, where he set a freshman weightlifting bench press record, his son, Jeremy, said.

Goines also played baseball and was invited to try out for the Kansas City Royals MLB team, but decided to remain close to home. He worked with the American Legion baseball program and with all levels of the Kingwood Youth League, and coached junior high football for a while.

According to his obituary, “Russ followed his mother’s ways and would give to others before meeting his own needs. He enjoyed coaching baseball, football and basketball. He would refer to Blackwater Falls as a second mother and enjoyed time there fishing with his family. Russ loved music but most of all he loved cooking, which led him to own and operate his business, Russ’ Ribs, which he was so well known for.”
During an earlier interview, his son John said his father had operated Russ’ Ribs for more than 25 years and marketed his own barbecue sauce.

According to Find-A-Grave. Goines mother, Marietta, was born in Kingwood on Oct. 20, 1929. She was the daughter of Jesse and Laylor Jane (Younger) McDonald Sr.

She studied teaching through West Virginia State College and taught at the North Central West Virginia Head Start in Howesville for many years before retiring in 1998. She was the operator of Ms. Mary’s Corndogs for over 42 years in Kingwood, also running a stand with the business during the Buckwheat Festival for many years.

Goines also ran the Ms. Mary Loves Way Food Pantry from 1999 until the time of her death. She was a member of the Love Chapel Methodist Church and the recipient of the State of West Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award through the All-Black Hall of Fame in Charleston.