The death mask of a well-known man in Wheeling’s history—William P. Hubbard—was gone for years.

Now it’s been found and given to one of his descendants, Cindy Hubbard of Wheeling.

A death mask is a likeness of a person’s face made by taking an impression after their death.

This one ended up in a home in Elm Grove for years.

It came to light when a person from that home called and offered it to the Ohio County Public Library for their historical archives.

“I was quite surprised when she said it was a death mask,” said Laura Carroll, assistant director and archivist of the Ohio County Public Library. “This is not something I have ever encountered in my work as an archivist! And what is more bizarre is that her grandmother inherited it in a house in Elm Grove and they weren’t sure where it came from.”

“But when they were growing up, he used to sit on the stairs and they called him the creepy guy on the stairs,” said Cindy Hubbard. “And they would dress him up on holidays, put a shirt on him—there’s only a head on the base. And they would put a shirt and pants on him and they would sometimes put a cigarette in his mouth and they just had a great time with the creepy guy on the stairs!”

The mask didn’t have a name on it, but was finally identified because of the birth and death dates.

Cindy Hubbard now has the death mask.

“He’s in my living room,” she noted.

She plans to give him to her nephews, who actually have the death masks of several other ancestors.

William P. Hubbard was a statesman, legislator and Civil War veteran.

He died in 1921.

Death masks were most common from the 17th century through the mid-20th, although they actually date back to the 1300s.