Point Pleasant Church  and the "Twin" LynchHouses

Donated by William S. Boggess
 
 


Twin houses and Point Pleasant Church, ca 1910
Courtesy of Lillian Dye via Les Carpenter.



 
 

Historical Comments on Maken
1830 – 1926
by
Susan Ritter Lynch


     Maken, a prosperous and thriving little community is located just east of Brandy Gap Tunnel where the old Northwestern Turnpike and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad cross Tenmile Creek.  The fact that this creek has such an eccentric name is due to the fact that the Pike’s first crossing is exactly ten miles from the Harrison County Court House.

      Early records show that a tract of land belonging to Hiram Lynch was divided between two of his sons, John Perry and William B. Lynch.  Wesley C. Lynch, also a son of Hiram Lynch, purchased from Judge Lee’s tract adjoining these said tracts on the southwest.  By hard work and rigid economy these men became prosperous farmers and cattle dealers.  Descendents of these families can be traced to the present generation of school children in Tenmile District.

     Among the pioneer settlers of this community was a family from eastern Virginia by the name of Stonestreet.  This family purchased from C.W. Smith a tract of land that adjoins the Lynch tract on the south.  This property is still owned by heirs of the original family of Stonestreets. 

     The above mentioned Mr. Smith was an uncle of James Price who settled at the source of Wizzardism Run.  Mr. Price’s land titles date back to patents of 1848 granted by the Governer of Virginia, John B. Floyd.  Mr. Price married Anna Williams, the daughter of a prominent family of Tenmile, and their descendents also can be traced to the present generation of school children.

      Continuing with the old pioneers, George W. Daken, a Baptist minister, owned the farm on Hall’s Run directly east of Number 2 Tunnel.  This farm was later owned by Jeremiah Daken and family, descendents of the former minister.  On this farm was located an old land mark known as Daken’s Mill.  The old mill dam was just a few hundred yards down Hall’s Run below Lake Floyd, a pleasant little summer resort recently constructed by the Floyd Development Company.

     Space forbids mentioning all of the old families who formerly owned small divisions of the above described farms, and who sold and moved to other localities.  Among them would be the Ritters, Varners, McCuens, Mundays, and Coffmans whose descendents are listed today among the foremost business, professional and educational people of the country.

       The right-of-way for the Northwestern Railroad Company, now know as the Baltimore and Ohio, was purchased from the property owners in 1855.  Subsequently the present railroad was constructed.  This work bought several Irish families into this section.  A few of the more substantial of these remained as influential citizens.

      Prior to this, the old Northwestern Turnpike furnished the only means of transportation.  A stage line connecting Parkersburg and Grafton was maintained similar to our modern bus line.  Cattle dealers drove their stock to eastern markets by this thoroughfare.  Instead of the present system of taxation for the upkeep of the roads, money was collected from the traffic through a system of toll-gates, one of which was located in this community at Hiram Lynch’s store.

      The Point Pleasant M.E. Church, the first to be organized from the old Wilsonburg Circuit, was located on the Northwestern Turnpike about ¼ mile east of Maken station.  Due to the course of the railroad, the church and graves were moved to the present site and a more modern building erected (and later, in 1903 another) which stands as a monument to the old pioneers, some of whom sleep in the quiet little cemetery in the rear.

      Enon Baptist Church, which has since been rebuilt in East Bristol, was located on top of Tunnel Hill.  The cemetery there is still used by the church and cherished and respected by the descendents of some of the cornerstones of this community. 

      The old School Baptist Church, located down Tenmile Creek, stands stalwart and unassuming as evidence of the strong Christian character of the early settlers.

      The earliest school on which we can get any data was a subscription school taught by Mary Colvin Ritter back in the early 1830’s.  It was taught in an ancient log structure located at or near the same place that the old Point Pleasant free school # 7 was later established.  Among the first teachers of this free school were Elias Hickman, James Wood, and his sister Sarah Wood Boggess, Mathias Davis, Burton Rose, Stillman Lowther and Columbia Denham.

      During the Wood’s term of school, the old log house burned and he continued his school in the church.  The fire, however, was not the greatest tragedy to occur in this same school.  On a windy day in the spring of 1868 two school girls were coming up the hill with a pail of water.  A tree fell and killed Missouri Lynch instantly and injured Jenny Stonestreet so that forever after her mentality was impaired.  Her long life of more that 50 years was a very pathetic one.

      School was conducted in this old building until 1915 when a consolidation of the schools closed its doors and pupils went to the more modern schools, Wolf Summit and Bristol.

     The first election in Tenmile District was held in an old log house on the farm of John Perry Lynch in the late 1840’s or early 50’s.  This house was razed when the railroad was built.

      The opening of the new oil field in this community in 1899 marked a new era in its development.  This naturally increased the inhabitants until it led to the establishment of a post office and railroad station named Lynch and Lynchburg, respectively.  The post office was located in Hiram Lynch’s store, another old land mark established in 1878.  Due to the confliction of shipments with Lynchburg, Virginia, the B&O Railroad caused the name of the station to be changed to Maken.  The post office was later discontinued when the R.F.D. was established from Wolf Summit. 

      Having mentioned the developments begun by the early settlers, the following are some of the men who continued the improvements and interests of the community:  Alexander Stonestreet, Samuel Stonestreet, Thornton A. Rumble, Wright B. Carpenter, Hiram Lynch, Jr,, William B. Lynch, and Jeremiah Daken.

      As spontaneously as the call of the oil boom was answered, it died away.  Property owners refusing to sell and the desires of the transient people to travel on caused the population to decline as rapidly as it builtup, thus leaving Maken once again wrapped in the solitude of its former originality. 
 
 

Written by Susie R. Lynch


 
 
 
 
The Twin Houses of Maken




     Over two hundred years ago, Peter Lynch, of Irish birth, and his wife, Hester Saffron settled in Harrison County along the banks of Buffalo Creek, Union District, raising a family of 10 children.   One of his sons, Hiram, married Nancy Sommerville, and they settled in the Clarksburg area now known as Adamston.  Hiram was a teamster who at the time of Northwestern Pike construction, hauled stone for the base of the Clarksburg/Parkersburg section. Road and bridge work in Harrison Co. seemed to be his calling.

       Hiram had many children, 11 to be exact, one of whom was son, William Burnside Lynch.  William Burnside, who  married  Mary Catherine Lambert of Virginia, had four children, three of whom grew to adulthood in the old Lynch homestead at Maken,  the “House in the Pines”.

        William Burnside Lynch suffered from poor economic conditions during the latter years of the 19th century.  He ultimately faced bankruptcy and did, if fact, lose his farm in 1887 to the lien holder, The Merchants Bank of Clarksburg. 

        William and Mary Catherine’s three living children were Hiram, Jr, a son, and two daughters, Anna and Byrd.  Hiram was a bachelor at the time of these financial reversals, making his living as a stockman on his dad’s farm, working his Uncle Wesley Lynch’s Wizzardism farm, and for a brief period as a weighmaster at the Reynoldsville Coketon mine.  Nathan Goff, President of the Merchants Bank of Clarksburg, offered to resell the family farm to Hiram rather than put it on the very weak real estate market of the time.  Hiram borrowed what cash he needed, closed the deal, the farm then being transferred from the bank to him, the year being 1887.

        The next significant phase of life at Maken was the oil boom.  This occurred just prior to the turn of the century.   Hiram, who by then had married Susan Virginia Ritter, was living with his parents in the “House in the Pines”.     Hiram’s sisters, both married to B & O railroad engineers, were living out of state, Byrd in Philadelphia, married to Hugh S.Barbee whose health had failed;  Anna in Wilmington, Delaware, married to John F. Clayton.

        But back to Maken. The exciting, yet stressful days of the booming oil field era of 1895 to 1900 brought overnight change to the entire Ten Mile District.  Many oil rigs on the Lynch farm were generating large sums of cash.  By 1906 the Hiram Lynch farm included 640 acres, made up of a merger of the W.B. Lynch farm (1887) , Wizzardism farm of Wesley C. Lynch (1889), and the Carpenter farm (1906) located at the head of Wizzardism. 

        In late 1899 or early 1900, Hiram was notified that his sisters and their families would plan to return to the family farm at Maken.  There were responsibilities at Maken, for which Hiram needed assistance, not the least of which was the management of the store and the community post office.   Hiram also committed to building each sister a home near the original family homestead. 

       That is exactly what Hiram carried out and by the year 1903 or 1904,(exact date unsure) the Twin Houses  were ready for occupancy.  While the Barbees by this time(1904) had returned to Philadelphia due to an alleged cash drawer dispute with the Claytons, the Claytons occupied one of the  houses until both became deceased.

        Hiram intended to construct a third home at Maken, replacing the original homestead, but he and his sisters became involved in a lawsuit and shortly thereafter Hiram took ill with stomach cancer.  Hiram lived for one year, with his life ending intestate, several years before the legal dispute was resolved.  Susie went on to raise the 8 children, most of whom, because of their young age and the pending legal action, were assigned a court appointed guardian.  That guardian was attorney David Carter, who was the son of Susie’s sister, Rebecca.  All issues that affected the Lynch children (not yet of legal age) were matters for the court to decide purposely to protect the their rights within the law as well as the parameters established by the contested estate. 

      By the late 1920’s  Susie’s oldest daughter Byrd and her husband, Stanley C. Butler purchased the front acreage from Susie.  They lived in the twin house originally occupied by John and Anna Clayton.  Susie remained in the twin house closest to Jarvisville Rd. 

      Eventually, upon Susie’s death in 1958, her twin house was sold by all Lynch heirs to their brother, Frank C. Lynch.  This same dwelling is now fully restored and has now become the beautiful, authentically restored home of Bud and Bertha Webb. 

      The sad coda to this story is that the principals in the legal action gained very little.  Susie lost 2/3 of the farm, including the mineral rights.  In fact, a Philadelphia law firm acquired a large portion of the original farm of 640 acres, which included a superb cutting of timber,  as their payment for representing the plaintiff in the legal procedure.
 
 

  Hiram W. Lynch, IV


 
 
 
Point Pleasant Methodist Church



       The Point Pleasant Methodist Church at Maken in Ten Mile District, Harrison County, West Virginia, is a branch of the old Wilsonburg Circuit and was probably established in the early part of the nineteenth century.  It was originally a log building and was located about a quarter of a mile east of the present site on what is now a part of the right-of-way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

        In order to clear the right-of-way for the railroad, the old log church building and some graves were transferred from the original location to the present site.  The exact date of this transfer has not been ascertained, but the right-of-way given to the Northwestern Railroad by William B. Lynch is dated July 12, l855.  Since the Lynch property joined the church property, it therefore seems reasonable to assume that the church was moved about that time.

       At least two grave stones in the present cemetery (there may be others) are dated 1855 and mark the graves of Columbia L. Lynch who died February 4, 1855 and Elizabeth J. Fultz, who died September 24, 1855.  These graves are known to occupy their original locations and therefore serve as evidence that the present cemetery was in existence in that year.  At least one other stone, that of Jacob Fultz, bears an earlier date.  His death occurred November 12, 1853.  This may indicate, and probably does, that the cemetery existed as early as 1853.  If this is true, Point Pleasant Methodist Church may be observing its one hundredth anniversary as well as the fiftieth anniversary of its present building.

       Among the graves known to have been moved from the old location are some of the Young family’s which occupy the lower right hand corner of the present burial ground.  It seems that no stones mark these graves at the present time.

       Sometime following its removal from the original site, the old log church building was replaced by a frame building which served the people of this community until the present one was dedicated on May 31, 1903.

       The pastor of the church at that time was Rev. George E. White of Kingwood who was very active in organizing the building committee and in helping to advance the work.

     The church was dedicated by Rev. B. B. Evans, pastor of the First Methodist Church of Huntington, W.Va. who was assisted  by Elder David E. Ash of Clarksburg, W.Va.  and Rev. O.U. Marple of West Milford.  Rev. George E. White, minister of the church was in charge.

      The building committee consisted of Thornton A. Rumble,  Wright B. Carpenter, and Hiram J. Lynch.  The contractor and builder was James L. Robinson of Salem and the cost of the building was $4500.

      This information contributed by Susie R. Lynch, Wolf Summit, W.Va.  upon the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the present building, May 31, 1953.  It is subject to correction.