HANCOCK COUNTY WV SETTLERS


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PHILIP BEALL was born in Prince George County, Maryland in 1747, an heir of an ancient Scottish family. His bloodline could be traced back to the powerful MacGregor and Campbell Clans of Scotland.

As a young man he came to the King's Creek Valley (present Weirton) and took up a tomahawk claim of six hundred acres. This being the early 1770's, and Indians being numerous, Philip along with neighboring settlers endeavored to construct a fort for the safety of their families. To legalize his tomahawk claim, Philip spent his time clearing his land and tending his crops. He and his wife raised nine children to adulthood in a hard and often dangerous time. Philip Beall was reportedly a very large and strong man having inherited this trait from his predecessors, he took to pioneer life and became a successful farmer.

Two of Philip's daughters married two of James Campbell's (another early settler of King's Creek) sons, Margaret marrying Robert Campbell, and Jane marrying Alexander Campbell. Philip and his wife having lived into the early 1800's, were laid to rest in Three Springs Cemetery at Hollidays Cove (now part of Weirton), their descendants still inhabit the area.




JAMES CAMPBELL was born in Scotland in 1719 and emigrated to "The Colonies" as a young man. He took as his profession the dangerous vocation of overland pack merchant. He would routinely travel across the Allegheny Mountains through Indian Territory delivering badly needed supplies and news to settlers in the frontier.

James first settled in Chartiers Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania on three vast tracts of land, two of which were named Saint James, and James' Fancy. The wilderness drew James and his family west into the Kings Creek area where he marked out his "tomahawk" claims and set out improving his land. It was during this claiming process that James and his wife Patience lost their oldest son John. While being pursued by Indians, John was drowned in Harmon's Creek, and another son James Jr.narrowly escaped being captured. Despite the hardships, James and Patience settled and began farming. He built a mill on Kings Creek, (then called Indian Creek) and would guard the mill at night to ward off any Indians that might be interested in burning the mill. James eventually acquired many large tracts of land and owned several thousand acres of present day Weirton, as neighboring settlers moved on, or became uncomfortable with Indian activity and sold their land.

James Campbell was an avid Presbyterian and family man and so set aside five acres of his land for the building of a church and cemetery, and donated a large sum of money for the establishment of a minister and congregation. In 1790 the new church petitioned the Redstone Presbytery for a preacher, and in November of that year the first sermon was taught at Three Springs Presbyterian Church by the Rev. John Brice. James was a successful farmer and entrepreneur and owned the land on which the Peter Tarr Furnace was built. James and Patience raised six children and brought life to many descendants, of which some are still occupying some of the original Campbell land. James Campbell died in 1805 and was buried at his beloved Three Springs Presbyterian Church.

There is a Historical Marker in Weirton showing the location of the original Three Springs Church, and a dedication to James for his generosity. There is also a Historical Marker naming James as the owner of the land at the Peter Tarr Furnace.


ABRAHAM CROXTON was born in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1732. His grandfather had been granted land in Pennsylvania by William Penn, and during the 1690's, he moved onto his grant. The family followed the Quaker religion and were all members of the Society of Friends in Chester County. Abraham married in 1754, and he and his wife Esther, produced at least six children. By the 1780's, Abraham had taken up a claim of 400 acres along the Ohio River, in present day Weirton. He farmed his land and established a ferry on the Ohio River that shuttled settlers across the river into Ohio. This business was passed down to Abraham's son William, and was run for years. Abraham's daughter Rebecca Croxton married John H. Edie who served in the Virginia Legislature as a State Representative for nine years, and was later Justice of the Peace for Brooke County, VA. Many descendants of Abraham and Esther Croxton have lived within the panhandle of what is now West Virginia.

ALEXANDER EDIE was born in Adams county, Pennsylvania in 1739, the son of David Edie, who had come to this country from Scotland as a young man. Alexander had been blessed with an adventuresome heart, and a love of family. He was married twice and had sixteen children, eight with each wife. The frontier seemed to call to Alexander, and it wasn't long before he left the Gettysburg area, and ventured over the Alleghenies in search of a new life. He moved around western Pennsylvania for a while finally settling at "Cat Fish Camp" in the Territory of Virginia. This area is known today as the city of Washington,Pennsylvania.

In the year 1781 Alexander served as Judge of Election for the office of Sheriff at Cat Fish Camp, and was appointed Justice of the Peace on July 15, 1781. In 1782 he served as Foreman of the first Grand Jury of Washington County, Pennsylvania, and was involved in the laying out of the first streets for the Village of Cat Fish Camp, (Washington,PA). On March 10, 1785, Alexander Edie received a pre-emption land grant of one thousand acres from the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Patrick Henry. With the city of Washington growing, Alexander moved his family to a parcel of his land along Kings Creek, in present Hancock County West Virginia, near the area known as Hollidays Cove, (present Weirton).

In 1786 and again in 1789, Alexander sold large tracts of his land to another early pioneer by the name of James Campbell. Alexander then moved his family up the Ohio River a few miles to the present site of New Cumberland, WV., where he established the Edie Homestead, and many generations of Edies have flourished.

Alexander's experience as Justice of the Peace and his interest in politics were past onto his oldest son John H. Edie, who served nine years as State Representative, in the Virginia Legislature, (1812-1821), served as Sheriff of Brooke County, and as Justice of the Peace of Brooke County. Alexander Edie Esq. lived to be 87 years old, and was buried in Highland, Ohio.


JOSEPH RALSTON-- Several stories have come down to us concerning Joseph Ralston's early life, and until I'm sure of one version being true, I won't elaborate on his youth, however, we do know that Joseph came from Scotland and had within him a pioneer's heart. Joseph settled for a short time just east of the Allegheny mountains, but it wasn't long until the lure of the wilderness brought him and his young family to the Kings Creek area,(near present day Weirton). Joseph Ralston and his sons Joseph and Samuel staked out "tomahawk claims" along Kings Creek as early as 1775, making them some of the earliest settlers in the region.

Joseph saw duty in the French and Indian War, and in Dunmore's War, and he and his sons served in the American Revolution. After the war, the Ralstons returned to their land on Kings Creek and expanded their farms and homesteads. Joseph built a grain mill on the creek which lasted for generations, the area around it becoming known as Ralstons Mill.

Joseph and his wife lived to a good old age and were laid to rest at Three Springs Cemetery. Both sons married and raised large families, producing generations of Ralstons living in the Hollidays Cove, Kings Creek area to the present. Joseph married Ann McCready of Hookstown, Pennsylvania, and after her death, married Sarah Greer of Caroll County Ohio. Samuel married Martha Tucker, daughter of John Tucker, the founder of the Tucker M.E. Church in Hanover Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.



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Copyright© by Janet Waite and Dale Patterson 1997 - 2004; Julia A. Krutilla- 2004-2008.


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