Submitted by: Sandra Carpenter
|Nicholas Carpenter was head
of one of the pioneering families to settle in what is now known as present-day
Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia. Nicholas Carpenter was
a pioneer in many respects when he came to West Virginia in the later part
of the 1700s. He was a gunsmith, blacksmith, hunter, merchant, trader
and raised cattle. He was appointed Sheriff, Coroner and one
of the Commissioners of the Harrison County Court. In his later years
he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Randolph Academy.
There are several areas in Harrison County that bare his name, such as: “Carpenter Hallow” where he has a hunting camp that is near present day Salem, just outside of the city of Clarksburg. He was a hunter of buffalo, elk, deer and other wild game. This camp was also used as a station between Clarksburg and the Ohio River for weary travelers seeking shelter and safety from the Indians. This area was also tamed by Carpenter, who with his sons cleared a trail for driving cattle to the eastern markets in Ohio. Mr. Carpenter raised his cattle to be sold to the Army and other markets, and this trail is roughly the path of what is now known as U. S. Highway 50.
His name appears on the first personal property tax list for Harrison County in 1785. He was appointed to a commission to cut a trail for a road on or near the mouth of the Little Kanawha River in present day Parkersburg. On January 7, 1789 he was one of several men who voted from Harrison County in the first presidential election. He sat on the jury of the first meeting of a Superior Court for Virginia that included Harrison, Monongalia and Randolph Counties.
On Oct 4, 1791 he and several men including one of his young sons were taking a drove to cattle to Ohio were attacked and massacred on a placed now referred to as “Carpenter’s Run”. An Indian war party led by Chief Tecumseh. This story repeated several times in print and according to the legends, Carpenter had befriended Tecumseh as a child and as an act of kindness towards him he fixed the future great Chief’s rifle. After recognizing his old friend, Tecumseh ordered that Nicholas and his son not be scalped. He ordered that the Nicholas be wrapped in a blanket, new moccasins be placed on his feet and as a sign of great respect his rifle was to be buried with him. The bodies of he and his young son Nicholas Jr. were buried in present day Wood County along the bank of the Ohio River.
Nicholas and wife Mary Wolfe Carpenter raised thirteen children in the West Virginia wilderness. They were honest hard working people who weren’t afraid to venture out into a land unknown. With hard work they prospered and left a legacy for us the generations who were to follow.
This is but one of hundreds
of stories of brave pioneers who were instrumental in the settlement of
the State of West Virginia. Nicholas descended from Swiss/German
immigrants who came from Europe in search of a better life and he left
this world making it a better place for all who followed his path.
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