FREED, WEST VIRGINIA

 

Submitted by Geri Smith.

 

Freed was situated on Leading Creek in District One.  Route Two passes through the community, which grew up in the last years of the nineteenth century.  Its early businesses included a post office, blacksmith shop, coal mine, physician's office, law office, telegraph agency, hotel, general store, wheelwright, flour mill, and a grain and livestock dealership.

 

A disastrous fire destroyed most of the community in 1933.  It swept Freed on February 9, 1933.  A gas explosion ignited a fire that claimed four of the seven buildings in the community.  The buildings owned by B. B. Sinclair, included a store building, a grist mill, a two-story dwelling and a five-room bungalow.  The small post office building is the only one to remain today.  The schoolhouse was moved.

 

Jacob FREED Sr. was born in 1807 and married to Margaret Swesey. They lived in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and raised six children there before she died.  He then married Elizabeth Trover and had a number of children with her.  Jacob and Elizabeth and family moved to Calhoun County, WV, in the late 1850's where they made their home.  Jacob JR. also had a number of children one of whom was Gertrude.  The little town of Freed was named for this FREED family.

 

Gertrude married George W. Ferrell.  They owned and operated a two-story hotel at Brooksville, West Virginia.  Brooksville is now known as Big Bend because it is located in a big bend in the Little Kanawha River.  The two-story hotel had front porches on both levels which were decorated with what is called gingerbread on both sides of the seven posts which support the upper porch and roof.  The upper porch had banisters that made it safe for all those who resided upstairs.  A picture in the book "History of Calhoun County, West Virginia" shows the hotel with L. L. Ferrell, Nelly Ferrell, Emily Ferrell, George Washington and Gertrude Freed Ferrell sitting on the front

lower porch.

 

SOURCE: "History of Calhoun County, West Virginia"