Clarksburg Exponent Telegram
Wednesday, April 21, 2004 

A note or two on Indian Cave at Good Hope 
by Bob Stealey

Several weeks ago, I made mention in Bob'n'Along a book that was written by Jean Rapking of Good Hope and printed by Book Masters of Mansfield, Ohio. It showed a copyright of 2002. The book was titled, simply enough, "Good Hope History."

Therein is a section about the Indian Cave, which is located on the John McDonald farm, on the right-hand fork on Two Lick, according to information described by author Rapking in the work.

Campbell's Run, which was named for earlier settlers in that area near Good Hope, runs between the hills in back of the McDonald farmhouse. It empties into Two Lick Creek.

"The cave is on the hillside above the run, but situated in such a way as to be invisible from any distance," the author wrote.

Mrs. Rapking borrowed some information from "Hammond's History of Harrison County." G.F. Queen and L.F. McWhorter, it said, contacted the director of ethnology at Washington, D.C. in 1889, and W.H. Holmes was sent to examine the cave. 

"He described the drawings in the cave, called petroglyphs," she wrote, "but came to no conclusion concerning their origin."

Blen Law provided for the author a newspaper article dated 1984 that was written by former Good Hope resident James Pool.

"He had researched the cave through the writings of William B. Price of Salem, WV," Mrs. Rapking wrote. "It is thought the cave was used by the Cat Indians, perhaps as early as the fifteenth century. Price said the Cat Indians were of superior intellect for that time. Their totem symbol was the panther, which they worshiped."

She went on, "They believed all life came from the sun and the Great Spirit should not be met face to face, so in the etchings they put in the cave, the sun's face is covered with a red mask."

It's believed that the red paint of the mask and other drawings in the Indian Cave was made by mixing red hematis iron ore with a substance to make it adhere to the stone, the author said, adding that it was also believed that the substance was human blood. 

"The Cat Indians believed the seat of all life was in the heart," she wrote, "so they have a red line leading from the mouth to the heart of the two panthers depicted in the cave. A turkey, bobcat, rattlesnakes and turtles were some of the animals to be seen etched in the cave, so all these were probably common in West Virginia in the 1400s and 1500s."

In the article, Mrs. Rapking described the cave as measuring four feet high, 16 feet deep and 20 feet across at the opening. The carvings, or petroglyphs, are at a depth of a quarter inch, she said.

"In the 1920s and 1930s, the author remembers the cave and nearby area was a popular place for picnics and visiting the cave," she wrote. "Fires have been built in the entrance and caused some of the overhead stone to crumble."

She concluded the article, "There is some deterioration generally, but the Cave is still quite a mystery and interesting place to visit right in the Good Hope community."


Clarksburg Exponent Telegram
Saturday, April 3, 2004 

West Milford church rich in history

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Saturdays, The Exponent Telegram 
occasionally features the area's historic churches. 
Today's article is about the West Milford Methodist Church.

by Kim Mines

WEST MILFORD -- On Nov. 10, 1840, a group of Methodists wanted to build a church and parsonage at West Milford. 

They formed a committee of five people: A.L. Patton, Hiram Lynch, David A. Rider, Edward Prichard and Samuel Clemons. The committee purchased a half acre of land near the West Fork River Bridge from Robert Simonton for $200. The Methodist Circuit was established in 1841, and the church was built soon after.

According to Berta Lynch, who has written a history of the church that was edited by Lucille Hess, the first parsonage was a two-story log building that later caught fire. 

"The people were so excited, as the story goes, that they threw their china and wash bowls and pitchers out the upstairs windows and carried feather pillows down the stairs," Lynch said in her history. 

The first church was torn down in 1901 to build the present church, which was dedicated in 1902.

Lynch noted that while salaries were small, generous donations of food were given at receptions at the parsonage. These included bacon, potatoes, homemade butter, sacks of wheat, maple syrup and onions. Non-food items included loads of coal, split wood for open fires, lamp oil and a jug of whiskey. 

The latter, Lynch said, was the leading medicine at the time and was used to treat colic, "middle-aged headaches" and rheumatism.

A Sunday school was organized for the children as well as an Epworth League, which was active for many years. In 1920, a Ladies Aid was organized and the women began to take an active part in the work of the church. 

In 1920, the West Milford Circuit was admitted to the West Virginia Conference, Buckhannon District. The Milford minister also preached at Good Hope, Titchnell, Sycamore and Duck Creek. 

According to Lynch's history, a revival meeting was held every winter at the church, and people came from miles away. Many people were converted. During a revival in 1947 or 1948, about 180 men, women, and young people were converted or renewed, Lynch said.

In 1946 a basement was added to the church at a cost of $6,000. The women of the church raised a good bit of the money by having suppers and selling various items. Most of the work was done by the men of the church, the Lion's Club, and other men from the community. 

The church was redecorated and rededicated in 1949. In 1965, a religious education building was added. Much has changed since then.

A lot that was formerly a barn and garden space for the preacher is now the church parking lot, Lynch's history says. Another lot that was used for raising chickens and a hog was sold and is now a homestead. 

Additionally, the minister's salary has risen from less than $100 in 1840 to $6,776.88. 

The church first known as the Methodist Episcopal Church also has been known as Southern Methodist, Protestant and United Brethren.

James R. Malick is the current pastor of the West Milford Charge, which also includes Sycamore United Methodist. The church has 106 members and 50 friends who attend regularly. 

"Worship attendance has been steadily growing over the past six months with a record high of 100 people in attendance two weeks ago," Malick said. "Truly the Holy Spirit is working within and among this community of believers."

Malick said the mission statement of the charge is "To serve God as we serve others." The congregation lives out their mission through various outreach ministries. 

"Besides outreach, nurture and worship is vital to the spiritual growth of the congregation and this community of believers," Malick said. "The worship style is traditional, drawing on the liturgy, prayers and traditions of our faith."

The worship service is held each Sunday at 11 a.m. Prayer, praise and Bible study begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

Small group studies are held seasonally on faith and beliefs of the congregation, as well as about how to integrate faith and belief into daily life.