Charles H.Uncle CharlieHartley, a pioneer in the development of the West Virginia 4-H program and the Cooperative Extension Service, was inducted posthumously into the National 4-H Hall of Fame during a recent ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
Hartley and 19 other outstanding contributors to the 4-H movement from across the country were selected for the fourth class of inductees.
As a member of the 1913 W.Va. Legislature, Hartley worked for passage of the act that created the Agriculture Extension Department at West Virginia University. As assistant director of Extension in 1915, he organized and directed the Farmers’Institutes, which took agricultural education directly to rural communities. In 1920, he helped select Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County as the site for the first state 4-H camp in the nation.
Hartley served as state 4-H club agent from 1933 to 1952 and as director of WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp from 1937 to 1951. Known for his astute organizational and administrative abilities,Uncle Charlie,as he was called, was aharmonizer, trouble shooter and problem solver,according to his nomination.
For Hartley’s retirement celebration, an Extension Service administrator in the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote:The influence and guiding force of Uncle Charlie will remain in West Virginia for decades to come for the improvement of generations to follow.After his retirement, Hartley and his wife, Ruth, lived in Morgantown, where he died in 1961 at the age of 76.
A native of Cottageville, Jackson County, Hartley was enshrined in the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame in 1975. He was also a member of the inaugural class of the West Virginia 4-H Hall of Fame.
Three generations of Hartley’s family attended the induction ceremony held Oct. 3 during National 4-H Week. His son, Robert L. Hartley of Morgantown, accepted the plaque. Also participating were his grandsons, Richard and Charles Hartley; his great-grandson, David Hartley; and Debbie McDonald, WVU Extension 4-H youth development director.
Hartley joins five other West Virginians in the National 4-H Hall of Fame: V. MiltonMiltBoyce of Stephens City, Va.; Mildred Fizer of Morgantown; Polly Hanst of Grantsville, Md.; the late WilliamTeepiKendrick; and Eleanor Wilson of Falls Church, Va.
Also inducted this year was the late James O. Baker, former WVU Extension agent in Fayette and Ritchie counties, who was state 4-H leader in Delaware, the state that nominated him.
The National 4-H Hall of Fame is a project of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. The group’s Web site,www.nae4ha.org/hof, contains biographies and photos of the honorees.
4-H, the nation’s largest youth development program, involves nearly 7 million youths. West Virginia’s 4-H program, operated by the WVU Extension Service in each of the state’s 55 counties, reaches more than 56,000 youths led by 7,200 adult volunteers.