The colonization of the Mill Creek Valley did not begin until after Wayne’s victory at Fallen Timbers had forever broken the power of the red man in the upper Ohio Country, and the treaty of Greenville, August 3rd, 1795, made it safe for the pioneers to settle away from the protected radius of the forts.

There had been a fort at Point Pleasant since 1774, and one at Belleville above the mouth of Pond Creek, established on the 16th day of December, 1785, but the settlers had not ventured beyond the reach of their walls.

Now the whole fertile valley of the Ohio and all its tributaries was opened for settlement, and the hardy pioneer could push as far inland as he chose, without fear of molestation from his wily foe.

His own desire or ability was the only limit to the expansion of his crude, yet rugged, civilization.

Land titles were insecure, to be sure, but that made but little difference with the scouts and hunters who composed the first wave of colonization that swept over the newly opened territory.

A place to build his pole cabin and a patch of ground to raise a little corn for roasting ears and johnny cake, and perhaps some flax to provide the necessary clothing, a garden spot and wide range for himself, his dogs and rifle, was all the first settler asked or desired, nor did he much care in whom the title of the land reposed.

With peace and safety assured, the pioneers were not slow in scattering out from the stations, and the spring succeeding the treaty of Greenville witnessed the planting of a settlement at the mouth of Mill Creek, though just where the first cabin was built, it would perhaps now be impossible to determine.

There were three principal sources of settlement in Jackson County, from the Kanawha, Greenbrier, Rockbridge and Botetourt Settlements by way of Point Pleasant; from Green County, Pa., Morgantown and the Lower Monongahela, down the Ohio River, and from Cheat Valley River, Buckhannon, Hacker’s Creek and Harrison County, first by the upper or lower route, but later, say after 1804, overland on packhorses.

Such furniture of household utensils as it was thought desirable to move were balanced on each side of a wooden frame, tied on the horse’s back. Sometimes small children were deposited in huge pockets improvised from bed quilts or blankets, or perhaps from the mother’s stout linsey petticoats, and carried with safety, if not with comfort, through a judicious disposition of bedding and pillows, if available, rendered even this element more than might be expected.

Frequently, a child would be carried on the lap of mother or sister, on a feather tick, for if the family were well-to-do, feathers being an article of home production, were, like the coarse woolen and linen clothing of the pioneer, plentiful.

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In the month of May, 1796, William Hannaman, Benjamin Cox and Samuel1 McDade planted their cabins somewhere on the wide bottom reaching from Letart to Willow Grove, and indefinitely referred to as “Mouth of Mill Creek” and “Warth’s Bottom”.

These were the first settlers of the Mill Creek Valley, and of Jackson County.

It is said that a son born to Hannaman the following year, 1797, was the first white child born in the bounds of Jackson County.

I have been able to ascertain nothing more concerning Hannaman, and nothing of Cox appears to be now in existence but the name.

Edward McDade, who died at Letart, Ohio.

Susie McDade, who married John Casto, a pioneer of Tug Fork, and Gracey McDade, who married John J Casto, also of Tug Fork, are said to be children of this pioneer.

There is a William Hannaman in early Wood County settlements, both before and after 1796, so I presume the Mill Creek settlement was temporary. The name does not appear in later history of Mill Creek.

The next recorded settler is Captain William L. Parsons, whose name stands out most prominent of any of the Mill Creek pioneers.

He came to “Warth’s Bottom” in 1796 or 1797, and built a half face pole shanty by the side of a very large hollow sycamore tree, near the spot where the house of the late Hiram Douglas now stands, just above the mouth of Mill Creek.

This made him a two roomed house, for, while the shed served as living room and kitchen, the sycamore tree was utilized as a bed room, and in the tree was born in 1797, John Fink Parsons, for whom the claim of first white child is also put forth.

Captain Parsons’ father, Charles Parsons, came to Mill Creek with him, or soon after.

In 1800, or near that date, Joseph Parsons, Cornelius King, and John Douglass were added to the little settlement.

The latter was probably the founder of the Douglas family, still living near the same spot.

Joseph Parsons was a brother of Charles, and an uncle of William L. Parsons. He was a member of the first Methodist Class, organized in Jackson County. This church was established at his house in 1803, by Reverend Noah.

It is on record in Deed Book No. 1, of Jackson County, in the Clerk’s Office, in Ripley, that Joseph Parsons, on November 28th, 1831, sold to Alexander Warth, a tract of five and one half acres of land lying between the mouth of Big and Little Mill Creek, described as beginning on the River, just below the mouth of Big Mill Creek, on two elms on the line of the Washington Survey, and running with said line to the corner of a tract patented to John Harvey. The price paid was Twenty Dollars per acre.

One account says that three brothers by the name of Warth came to the Colony in 1800 or 1801. The names Alexander, John and George are given. However, since Robert, a brother of John Warth, was killed by the Indians on Harmer Hill, Marietta, while the Warths were acting as scouts and guards for the colony, there at Fort Harmer, I conclude that four brothers in all must have come to this section.

John Warth hunted over the forests of what is now Jackson County, with Daniel Boone. He was later connected with the salt works at Jackson, Ohio, and the Kanawha Salines (Malden) on the Kanawha River. He later purchased a large tract of land of Andrew Park, who was the husband of Harriet Washington, a niece of General George Washington. This land came into the possession of the Parks through inheritance from his estate. After the purchase of the land by John Warth, the place became known as Warth’s Bottom.

Other early settlers to Mill Creek and surrounding points along the river were, Isaac Hyde, Joseph Hall, David Sayre, Thomas Hughes, Asa Long, Gideon Long, Robert and Benjamin Wright, William King and Abram Staats. Some of the persons named came about the time Warths came, and others around 1810. Many other names could be added to this list, names which still appear in the citizens of the section.

The new county of Jackson was formed from parts of Kanawha, Mason and Wood. The act creating the county was passed on March 1st, 1831.

When Jackson County was first formed, John Warth was one of the ten Justices of the Peace, and being the oldest Magistrate, he was made the first sheriff of the new county. His Commission was signed by John Floyd, Governor of Virginia, and he gave a bond of Ten Thousand Dollars, with Nehemiah Smith, James Smith, Ira Lindsey, John McKown, and Gideon Long as sureties.

Ira Lindsey and John B Greer were his Deputies, and Benjamin Wright was the first County Clerk. Thomas A Hereford was appointed Prosecuting Attorney, George H Warth, Assessor, and George McGarvey was made Constable, with Nehemiah Smith and Joseph Rader as his sureties.

The first session of the county court was held at the residence of John Warth, on the 31st day of May, 1831.

Isaac Morris, Thomas A Hereford, Charles Henderson, James M Stephenson and Henry J Fisher formed the first Jackson County Bar.

Jackson Smith is said to have cut the first road from the river to the mouth of Sycamore. An old man named Davis, who had lived all his life on Lower Mill Creek, told me that he had heard when a boy, old folks tell of the first wagon that passed up Mill Creek, and how the people came for miles to look at the wagon tracks.

The first school house was built in 1806, and the first school taught by Andrew Hushan, in 1807.

The school house was of the typical backwoods pattern, about fourteen by sixteen feet in size, and of round logs, with huge fire place at one end, a log cut out of one side and greased paper pasted over the opening for a window, weight pole roof, etc.

There was said to be in existence in 1887, a record showing that fifteen pupils attended the first session of this primitive academy.

Above the mouth of Mill Creek, and extending up the creek perhaps three miles, was a large tract of land, said to contain 4,395 acres, patented by George Washington, February 19th, 1754, as a partial payment for his services in the defense of the Colony of Virginia.

A boundary on the hills above Mill Creek, and known locally as “Big Woods”, remained in its primitive condition for some time. Then it was purchased by a company of Jackson County businessmen, the timber taken off of all but a reservation of a few acres left for a park on which the primeval forest is still standing in all its majestic grandeur.

The remainder of the tract was cleared out, and was well sodded in blue grass in 1904.

The village of Millwood lies between Big and Little Mill Creeks. The name is derived from Mill Creek and the “Big Woods”. It now extends from the railroad station, which is out at the foot of the hills, to the river, and down to the mouth of Little Mill Creek. It has three churches, four or five stores, a roller flouring mill, lumber yard, and planing mill, several houses, and about one hundred fifty to two hundred inhabitants.

The river bottom above Mill Creek belongs tot he Douglas farm, the bottom fields and gently sloping green hillsides below to Monroe Miller, an old man of seventy years, and half brother of Judge Warren Miller, of Ripley.

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It was not long after the first clearing was made in the wilderness until the restless backwoodsmen began to reach out and push farther and farther back from the river. As early as 1801, Benjamin Wright, an enterprising colonist from Pennsylvania, noting the excellent opportunity offered by the water power, where Mill Creek descends from the flatlands, decided to at once take advantage of the same, and erect a mill at that point. Securing a piece of land for a site, he returned to Greene County, Pennsylvania, for the necessary machinery, which was brought down the Ohio River on keelboats.

The first mill built was a horse mill. The next year, 1803, he built a sawmill. It was one of the primitive kind, with upright saw with pit man attached to the wrist of the wheel, a pattern that prevailed for fifty years. On this, the planks were sawed nearly through, and afterward split apart. Much of the little lumber, which was made to suffice the needs of the pioneer, was manufactured by ship saws. The logs were rolled on a scaffold about six feet high, and the planks cut by two men, one standing on top of the log, the other beneath. A grist mill was attached to the water power soon after. Benjamin Wright and his son-in-law, John Brown, were interested in this milling enterprise, which proved not only profitable to the proprietors, but a great blessing to the colonists, who had before to depend for their supply of meal on the rude mortar and hand mill, or take their grain by boat to Point Pleasant, Neil’s Station, or other inconvenient points.

It is related that while Wright was bringing the material for his mill down from Pittsburg, accompanied by his sons-in-law, Brown, Black and White, their boat running in hailing distance of some up river town, some men standing on the bank called to know who was in the boat. The reply was “Black, White and Brown.” The men on the bank then wanted to know with what the keelboat was loaded. The answer was “Millstones, grindstones, and whetstones”. Both answers were strictly true, but the parties on shore, thinking they were being guyed, took offense and hurled rocks and ugly words after the boat, until it drifted out of hearing, and out of sight around a bend in the river.

The Wright mill, after having started as a horse mill, in 1801, and enlarged in 1803 to a sawmill for producing the building materials so needed, was rebuilt and added to from time to time, as necessity demanded and opportunity permitted. It was at one time, after the year 1812, either rebuilt or added to by Joshua Woodruff, a pioneer artisan of the county.

So successful was the place as a milling location that there has ever since been a mill there.

It was long known as Wright’s Mill, and then Moore’s Mills. The mill later came into possession of Daniel D. Rhodes, and in 1858, he laid out the town and gave it the delightful name of Cottageville.

With the introduction of the more modern method of processing flour, the mill attracted more and more of the farmers within reach, to grow the grain for commercial purposes, where before it was grown only for the variation of their table diet of corn pone and corn dodgers.

The products of the mill began to be sold “outside”. The flouring mills of Rhodes and Son has now long been the most extensive in the county, and their products are shipped by boat and rail to points the entire length of the river valley from Pittsburg to New Orleans, and through to the eastern markets of Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York.

“The Village of Cottageville is situated on the upper level at the falls of Mill Creek, where the stream breaks from the plateau known as the Mill Creek flats, into the lower level of the backwater lands.

The first post office in Jackson County, was established at Wright’s Mills.”

The place is thus quaintly described by a writer in “The Gazetteer of Virginia”, a book published in 1834.

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“Wright’s Mills, post office, three hundred fifteen miles northwest by west of Richmond, and three hundred fifteen miles southwest by west of Washington, situated at the falls of Great Mill Creek.

This place deserves notice from the singular freak nature has here played. The creek, which is generally eighty yards wide, is here contracted to the space of forty-five feet, flowing between two ledges of rock which constitute the banks, to the height of sixteen feet, over a bottom of solid rock. Immediately below this narrow passage, the creek widens to its usual size, and the falls commence. The descent is seven feet in one hundred twenty yards.

At the lower end of the falls the creek widens to one hundred yards, and affords one of the best harbors ever known in a stream of this size, being about one hundred yards in diameter, of a circular form, and on the north side protected from ice, etc., by a high point of rocks projecting a considerable distance in the creek. From this to the Ohio River, the navigation is good, during spring freshets, a distance of four miles. (The railroad time table puts the distance at three miles, other authorities at three and one half.)

At this place are situated, on extensive manufacturing flour mill, two saw mills, one grist mill, eleven dwelling houses, three school houses, one mercantile store, and one smith shop. Population fifty-five.”

The first Sunday School at Cottageville was organized in 1848 with Phillip Baker as Superintendent, and twenty-eight scholars were enrolled. In 1826, the Virginia Assembly passed an act “creating a separate poll at the house of Benjamin Wright, at Wright’s Mills, Mason County.”

At Cottageville occurred during the Indian Wars a terrible tragedy. Different accounts of this incident are related, but I shall endeavor to give it as accurately as can at his date be ascertained, following largely the recital of the late Thomas Benton Coleman, of Muses’ Bottom, son of Thomas Coleman and grandson of the murdered man, himself one of the pioneers of Jackson County, who died at his home later.

As related a the Centennial Celebration, at Ravenswood, July 4th, 1876. Michael (some writers say Malcom) Coleman was a pioneer, scout, and Indian fighter. He had forted at Pittsburgh, Wheeling, and Marietta, before coming to Belleville with Wood’s colony, January, 1786.

Coleman was of Scottish descent and came to the Ohio Valley from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with his family.

In those days, the settlers kept no hogs, but depended on their trusty rifles to keep up a supply of bear meat and venison.

They would paddle up and down the river, from the Belleville fort in canoes hollowed from hewed poplar logs. When they thought they had come to a suitable hunting ground, they would push up some small stream falling into the river, hide the canoes, and hunt until they had procured a sufficient quantity of meat, with which they then returned to the fort. They usually went in parties of three to six, and would camp in the forest sometimes being several days on the expedition.

In February, 1793, Michael (or Malcom) Coleman, John Coleman, his son, Elijah Pixley, and James Ryan (otherwise “a man named Savney”) went on a hunting expedition. Descending the Ohio in a piroque, they ascended Mill Creek about four miles, and established their camp. Several days were passed very pleasantly, and successfully, hunting over the Mill Creek hills and valleys through the day, and returning to the camp at night.

Soon the canoe was nearly loaded with meat, but meanwhile the water in the creek had fallen so low as to prevent the passage of the boat over the falls, and the weather which had been fine, set in cold, with a light fall of snow. John Coleman and Pixley had returned to the fort for a supply of salt and other necessaries, and their companions having little thought of their wily savage enemies being in the neighborhood, failed to keep due watch or take the necessary precautions to prevent a surprise of the little camp.

On the third morning after the departure of their comrades, Michael Coleman, and Ryan had risen very early and prepared the morning meal, as they were anxiously expecting the return of their companions that day. Just as the old man was invoking the blessing of Heaven on the homely meal, a rifle shot rang out from a nearby thicket, the bullet passing through his shoulder. It was quickly followed by another report, the ball this time going through his head, and he fell dead by the side of his companion, who was also wounded, but succeeded in making his escape to the fort.

The same day, Joel Dewey arrived at the scene of the tragedy and found the body, stripped and scalped, the camp plundered, and the equipage, with the canoe and venison, carried off.

Concealing the body of his friend, he hastened back to the fort, being the first to carry the terrible news.

John Coleman, with his party consisting of seven men coming up, found the body and buried it near the spot, but the Indians had made good their escape to Canada, where they sold the scalp to a British Commandant, who paid a premium for Yankee scalps, afterward boasting that for Coleman’s, who had two “crowns” to his head, they got double pay. Such at least is the family tradition. It is said that when Coleman’s body was found, his dog “Trusty”, although nearly dead from starvation, was standing guard over it, having through all the long, dreary hours, faithfully watched by the remains of his dead master.

An incident of the earlier life of his grandfather is given by Mr. T. B. Coleman, as follows.

One day in the summer, the family were out in the field hoeing corn. In those days, the women and children all helped with the field work, with them was a little maiden of five or six years, too little to hoe corn, yet too young to leave by herself at the house.

The child, trained in habits of watchfulness from her cradle by the many perils surrounding the cabin home, seeing some Indians in the forest beyond, gravely asked, “What would you do if you were hoeing corn and seen the Indians coming?” “Why, we’d drop our hoes and run,” was her answer. “Then drop your hoes”, she said, and they dropped their hoes and by strenuous exertions, succeeded in reaching the shelter before the Indians caught them.

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John Warth came with his brothers to the Mill Creek section about 1800 or 1801. His father is said to have been John Warth, and to have been of German descent, and to have migrated from the Valley of Virginia to the Kanawha River about 1796.

John Warth lived at Warth’s Bottom, which had been named for him, after he bought land and settled there. He was a wealthy man in his day, and held many positions of trust and honor. He enjoyed the confidence of all who knew him.

John Warth was born in 1771. He married Priscilla Cox, and died in 1837. Of their children, I have the following:

Judge John A. Warth. He was one of the leading legal men in the Kanawha Valley, and was author of Warth’s Code. He died at Malden, Kanawha County.

Hannah Warth, married Bartholomew Fleming, one of the earliest pioneers of Ravenswood.

George H. Warth.

Priscilla Harriet, married Isaac Tavenner, who lived at Elizabeth. Judge L.N.Tavener was their son.

George Warth, brother of John, married Ruth Fleehart, who was probably of the Belleville Colony. They lived across the river from Ravenswood, in Ohio.

Of their children, I find the name of one Robert A. Warth, who was born in 1800. He is said to have been born at Newton, in Roane County, and he lived in Jackson County, where he died at the age of 92. He had two daughters, one of whom married a Douglass, and the other a Thorn, who was living in Ravenswood, in 1905.

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Isaac Hyde, with his brothers, James and George, migrated to Virginia when he was about grown. They probably came with their father. They came from England, and were six months in passage. They first came to this section and settled at the mouth of Mill Creek. Isaac later lived about where Murrayville now is. Mrs. Carder, a granddaughter, tells me she has heard her grandfather often speak of "Devil's Hole", and thinks it may have been a place in Hardy County.

Isaac Hyde married Nancy Sims, a cousin of Martin Sims. Their children were:

John Hyde, married Nancy Flesher, daughter of Andrew Flesher, who lived on the Ohio River.

Delila Hyde, married Ike Hall, and lived at the mouth of Mill Creek.

Sally Hyde, married Spencer Carney, having met him at the home of Tom Carney.

Elizabeth Hyde, married a Dixon and went to Indiana.

Catherine Hyde, married a Sneed.

Ben Hyde, died while a "chunk of a boy" as Mrs. Carder expressed it.

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Joseph Hall came to Warth’s Bottom about 1800. He was an Englishman by birth, and moved from near Baltimore, Maryland, to Mill Creek. He had a large family, some of his children being:

Mary Hall, married Thomas Flowers, and lived on Cow Run.

Diana Hall, married Cornelius King.

Sarah Hall, married Daniel Sayre.

Robert Hall, lived in Ohio.

Philip Hall, was a Methodist preacher, in Ohio.

Joseph Hall, married Mary King. They lived on Little Mill Creek. He is supposed to have built the Wright mill, which is likely, as he was an artisan, though some accounts claim a David Woodruff built the mill. Anna, a daughter of Joseph and Mary Hall, married Robert Wetzel.

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Monroe Miller’s grandfather, Kitts Miller, came to America from Germany after he was grown. He served in the Colonial Army, in the War for Independence. He married and located in Meigs County, Ohio. He remained there a few years, then crossed the river and bought land below the mouth of Mill Creek. He raised a large family of children, of whose names I find:

“Becky” Miller, married Charlie Shinn, who was an uncle of George Shinn, who lived on Grass Lick. Charles Shinn lived on Cow Run.

Nancy Miller, married Washington Rader, who was a son of Michael Rader, Jr. Wash Rader sold goods for Nehemiah Smith in the first store in Reedy, in 1841.

Lewis Miller, married Lydia Sayre, whose parents lived in Meigs County, Ohio. He later married Elizabeth (Betsy) Shinn, whose parents were native of Meigs County, Ohio, but who had settled on Mill Creek. Lewis Miller was for several years a member of the County court of Jackson County. His children, by his first wife:

Rosalie, Perry, Hampton, and Monroe.

By his second wife:

Warren, Leander, Columbus, and Sarah E.

Monroe Miller, the oldest son of Lewis Miller, was in 1905, a widower of seventy, and talked of “going west to grow up with the country.” He laughingly told me there was no chance for him to get married here, as he was related to nearly all the women and girls on both sides of the river for many miles, they being of Sayre descent.

Warren Miller was for a time in Athens University. He studied law, and was admitted to the Bar in 1871. He was Mayor of Ripley in 1884, was Prosecuting Attorney from 1880 until 1884. He also served in the House of Delegates, State Senate and Congress.

The first settler at Buffalo was Joe Miller, who married Caroline Parsons. Afterward, he lived on the Davis farm, on the Right Fork of Reedy, above Greenbrier, being the first settler there.

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Benjamin Wright, who built the mill at what is now Cottageville, came from Greene County, Pennsylvania, about 1800. He married Sarah Casto, as his first wife, and later married a Flowers. Of his children, if the river story is to be credited, he had three daughters who married respectively, a White, Black and Brown. Of others, I find:

A daughter who married Squire Evans, for whom the town was named.

Benjamin Wright, Jr, who was the first Clerk of the County Court of Jackson County. Benjamin Jr had children: Ruenna who married Hart Rader, Dr. “Bib” Wright, of Ripley and a daughter who married Ed Butcher.

Another daughter of Benjamin Wright, Sr, married Joe Bibbee. To this, another historian adds a daughter who married Robert Shively.

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The founder of the Sayre family in Jackson County was David Sayre. He was a noted hunter and Indian fighter who came to Mill Creek in 1801, from Greene County, Pennsylvania. He and his wife became members of the Methodist Class, which was organized at the home of Joseph Parsons in 1803, by the Reverend Noah.

Of their children, I have:

Daniel Sayre, born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, on May 22, 1783. He came to Mill creek with his father in 1801. He married Sarah Hall, daughter of Joseph Hall, and located on the Mill Creek Flats. He died in 1880, at the advanced age of 97 years. Of their children:

David Sayre was born on Mill Creek, October 20th, 1810. He was married four times, his first wife being Minerva Stone, and the second was Marthena Hill. He died at Pleasant View, in 1904, aged 93 years.

Daniel B. Sayre, born in 1823, died in 1874.

Thomas Sayre, married Agnes Harper, and lived on West Creek, a few miles below Letart.

Joel Sayre, another son of David Sayre, lived one mile below Ripley, on what is known as the old “Sears” farm. He married Amelia Rice, a daughter of Shadrach Rice, who was in Wayne’s campaign against the Indians. They raised a large family, among whom were:

Jacob Sayre.

Charles Sayre.

Ann Sayre, married a Little.

Rachel Sayre, married John Harpold.

Catherine Sayre, married John Flythe.

Jacob Sayre, mentioned above, was the oldest child. He was born on the farm in sight of where Ripley was later built, in 1816, and moved to Sissonville, in 1858. He lived one year in Charleston and later went to Indiana. He returned to Ripley about 1890, when his sister, Mrs. Little, kept house for him.

Before his death in 1904, he moved to East Liverpool, Ohio. After his death there, his remains were brought back to the old Ripley Cemetery. His wife died in Indiana, and hi children grew up and remained there.

Jacob Sayre was noted, in his younger days, for his strength and activity. It is related of him that once on the occasion of the visit of a circus and menagerie to Ripely, a resident having become the worse from “one drink too many”, had gotten himself engaged in an altercation with some of the employees. Six or eight of them had pitched onto him, and were belaboring him sorely, until Sayre, who had vainly tried to keep his friend out of difficulty, interfered, and not only whipped the men who assaulted him, but cleaned out the whole fighting force of the circus. He could and would hit hard if necessary, but is described as a peaceable, inoffensive and sensible citizen.

Charles Sayre lived on the home place for a while. It was in the hewed log residence of Joel Sayre, near him, in which court was ordered held at the second session in June, 1831.

William Bonnet was jailer, and William Bonnet, Jr. and Silas Carney were guards. It was their business to keep the prisoners on their own side of the “dead line” which marked the limits of the jail, separating it from the court room.

Rachel Sayre, daughter of David, married John Harpold, and lived on Mill creek, above Ripley.

Catherine Sayre, a daughter of Joel, was a deaf mute, and married a man named John Flythe, a like unfortunate, with whom she had become acquainted while attending the State School, at Staunton, Virginia. She died on Clay Lick, a few years ago. It was said, by those who witnessed it, to have been a most affecting sight to see her husband “all fenced around by an eternal silence”, take his last farewell from his companion.

Ann Sayre Carter was a daughter of Thomas, and a grand daughter of Daniel and Sarah Hall Sayre. Hugh Sayre, of Reedy, Roane County, was her brother. She married first a Flesher and second, Dr. Carter, of Reedy.

Another record mentions Elijah Sayre, who was born in 1817, married Mary Hunt, who was born in Jackson County. Their children were:

Sarah Ann Sayre, married Allan Shinn and lived at Angerona.

John O. Sayre, lived at Evans.

Jasper Sayre, lived on Cow Run.

Daniel Sayre.

Elijah Sayre, lived at Evans.

Belle Sayre, married James Barnett.

Wesley Sayre, married Ann Wink. Their son Theodore was a lawyer.

There is another family of Sayres living in the Great Bend, on the Ohio side of the River, about Apple Grove and Letart, quite extensive in numbers, and connected with the Sayres on the east side of the river, though no one with whom I have talked could say in just what way they were connected.

It is quite possible they may be descended from the same David Sayre, or reaching further back to a former generation. The Sayre fammily tradition is that originally four Sayre brothers came to this county as soldiers with Braddock’s Army.

A Daniel and Benjamin Sayre were the first settlers at Sandyville, a more detailed account of them and their families will be found in the Sandy Valley section of this history.

Copy of Tax Receipt for land lying on Mill Creek.  

1826.    Joel Sayre to the Sheriff of Mason Co, VA.          Dr.
            To revenue on 37 3/4 acres of land                   $0 .04
            Same two horses                                                   .25
            To one County levy                                             1.25

Received payment. R. Mitchell
D’p’ty for M. Kouns, S.M.C.

This was probably the land just below Ripley. Tax on this land in 1857 was $4.49 and in 1866. It was $68.89.

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Cow Run is the first considerable stream falling info Mill Creek on the south side.

It is a country basin shaped with low hills gradually ascending from the bottom lands, running back perhaps a half mile or more, to the tops of the ridges. The hill sides are not steep or bluffy, and are all cleared out and green with succulent pasturage, timothy, blue grass and red top, and along the roadway at the base of the hill nestles cozy white farmhouses surrounded by orchard and garden, truly a beautiful picture as seen from a train window on a hot day in early August, 1904.

Cow Run Valley early attracted the attention of the hardy pioneers who at first clustered like bees on the rich bottomlands of the Ohio River, at the mouth of the creek, but soon becoming cramped and crowded for elbow room, pushed out up Mill Creek.

Thomas Flowers, who came to Warth’s Bottom in 1806, married Mary Hall, a daughter of Joseph Hall, and shortly after located on Cow Run, is the first recorded settler.

Thomas Flower’s daughter, or sister, was the second wife of Benjamin Wright, Sr.

Other names identified with the early history of Cow Run are King, Boswell, frequently spelled “Bozzle”, and Hartley. Descendants of all of these still live in the vicinity.

Francis and John King, who live on Cow Run, are sons of Elijah, who was a son of the Francis King who came to Mill Creek with James Wolfe, in 1821.

Francis married Ruth Baremore in Wood County, in 1852, and has nine children.

John married Julia Carter in 1862. He had two children, Susan E. and Charles T.

Gilbert, sometimes called “Bird” (Bert) Boswell, was a magistrate at the organization of Jackson County, and was appointed a school commissioner at the second session of the County Court, June, 1831.

Another family of Boswells, connected with the Squires people, came from Rockbridge County, Virginia, to Mason, at an early day. A daughter, Jane, married John Carter, who purchased land and settled about seventy-five years ago. It is related that he used to walk barefoot to the Court House to settle his taxes, so economical did he have to be while saving money to pay for his land.

Huntsville Post Office is up near the head of Cow Run. It is one of the six post offices in Union District prior to 1887, the others being Ripley Landing (Millwood), Cottageville, Angerona, Willow Grove and Pleasant View. In the past twenty years have been added others.

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“Uncle” Thomas T Hartley described as “one of the honest, sturdy and prosperous yeomanry of Cow Run, “ who lived near Huntsville, died in 1905, aged 89, the eleventh of the preceding October.

He was born in England, October 11th, 1815, came to Harrison County, Ohio, with his parents in 1819, when about four years old. He married Lydia Tomlinson, and lived in Ohio until 1854, (April), when he moved to Jackson County, Virginia, settling on Cow Run, when he died December 12th, 1904. He was postmaster at Huntsville from 1872 until 1893, a period of twenty one years.

His wife died September 13th, 1889, at age of 72. They had eight children.

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Three miles by railroad above Cottageville, is the village of Angerona, situated on the south bank of Big Mill Creek, the most prominent of the early settlers at this point was Daniel Sayre, who first located here, and an account of whom is given before under the head “Sayre Family”.

Angerona was laid out by Nathan Ong, in 1847, and doubtless there is some kind of a history attached to the peculiar name given the village.

It had in 1887, two stores, one saw and grist mill, a blacksmith shop, and tannery.

There was a “silver mine” discovered about a mile above Angerona in 1872, which created quite an excitement at the time. A company of Pittsburg Capitalists undertook its development, and sunk a shaft some four hundred feet, with several side tunnels, but like so many of its kind, it proved a hole to put money into instead of taking it out, and the enterprise was abandoned.

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The Hon. George Crow located near Angerona in 1847. He was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, March 27th, 1804, but removed with his father’s family to the “Dark Hills of Monroe” County, Ohio, while a boy, and continued a resident of that county until his removal to Mill Creek.

He was a Democrat in politics, and represented Jackson County in the General Assembly at Richmond one term, and was again elected in 1872 to the House of Delegates, being debarred by service in the Confederate Army, from voting or holding office, until the passage of the Flick Amendment.

He died December 11th, 1899, nearly 96 years old. His children were: Hon. George B. Crow, who has served as a member of the Constitutional Convention, County Superintendent of Schools, and State Senator, and three terms as Clerk of the County Court of Jackson County.

William Crow.

Charles Crow.

Michael Crow.

Martha Crow, married a Hardman.

A daughter, married William McCoy.

A daughter, married Owen Roseberry.

Peter Crow, a brother to Georg B. Crow, had a mill on Dent Creek, Noble Cunty, Ohio.

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John Douglas married Elizabeth Richards.

They settled at the mouth of Mill Creek, at a very early date. They came there from Harrison County. He at first followed keelboating, making trips to Charleston, also to Pittsburgh.

Later he bought a farm of five hundred acres, lying on the river, where he lived until his death.

They raised ten children, some of whom are:

Reuben Douglas

Alfred Douglas

Miranda Douglas

Hiram Douglas

Nancy Douglas, married John Rand, of Wyoming.

Elizabeth Douglas, married Bartlett Pickens, of Crooked Fork.

Reuben Douglas was born in September, 1818, spent most of his life as a farmer and a stockraiser, though in his days of vigor and strength, he followed boating to some extent.

He was married to Sarah Stone in 1842. His wife was a daughter of George Stone, of Jackson County. They lived on a farm on Mill Creek.

The wife died in 1864. Later he married a Widow Blake Mary Morehead - of Wood County.

In 1887, he moved on to a farm near Ravenswood.

His children were:

George T. Douglas

Oscar Douglas

Hiram R. Douglas

Elizabeth Douglas, married William Seamon.

Minerva J. Douglas, married A. O. Aultz

Ellen Douglas, married Spencer McKay.

Elizabeth Douglas, married Stephen Hayman.

Lucinda Douglas, married C. B. Brown (Cyrus)

Sallie Douglas, married C. T. Kneeream (firm of Kneeream and Douglas)

Reuben Douglas has been a Justice of the Peace, and a prominent figure in the Ravenswood Bank.

Hiram Douglas was born in 1836. He was in the mercantile business at Ripley Landing prior to 1863, and again from 1865 to 1870. After sixteen years of farm life, he again resumed the store, also bought timber, etc. He married Marietta, daughter of Hamilton Parr, of Meigs County, Ohio, in 1864, and raised six children. He was long the postmaster at Ripley Landing.

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Two miles up the creek is the village of Evans, named for a family of that name, who were among the first settlers here.

Ephraim Evans, who was probably the founder of the family, or a son of his, was appointed one of the first nine magistrates, when Jackson County was organized in 1831.

Ephraim S. Evans (perhaps the same man) was one of the first school commissioners of the new county, and also a “commissioner to examine the polls”, George Casto and George Stone being the other commissioners.

It is said Squire Evans married a sister of Benjamin Wright, Jr, daughter of Benjamin Wright, Sr.

Margaret Evans was born in 1788, married Abraham Staats.

Sarah Evans was born in 1803, married William Starcher.

There seems to be little known about the Evans family. Some say the old man’s name was William, but the information is hazy, and unsatisfactory.

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The village of Evans is a pleasant hamlet lying in one of the most beautiful sections of Jackson county. There appears to be two runs coming into Mill Creek, one a small stream with bottom or flats a half mile wide, up which the railroad follows, skirting the foot of the hill on the left, which is not more than a few feet high, and of such gentle ascent as to resemble the swells in the rolling prairies of Kansas.

The other is a couple of miles long from where it reaches the flatlands, a half mile across from Evans. It reaches up into a hilly broken country to the right, heading against the right fork of Parchment near the Mountain Flower Schoolhouse.

About a half mile below Evans is the Staats graveyard (Evans Church), enclosed on two sides by the high board fence of the fair ground, and on top of the hill, a gentle swell, may be seen the roofs of the buildings pertaining to the race course, which , were the ground steeper, would overlook the resting place of the dead.

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Abraham Staats was born in New Jersey, of Dutch ancestry, and came to the mouth of Mill Creek, where he and his wife joined the First Methodist Class, organized in 1803, at the house of Joseph Parsons.

Some time afterward, he moved up Mill Creek to what is known as the old Staats farm, at Evans.

Here it is said he died about 1816, though it many have been some years later.

It is very difficult to get correct dates concerning the older pioneers, except from their tombstones, a thing with which few of their graves are provided.

Abram Staats, as he is usually called, was twice married, the name of his first wife is variously given, but a thorough investigation has convinced me her name was Anna King. His last wife was Sarah Tilghman, a girl of French extraction.

It is probable that Staats came from Harrison County to Mill Creek , his sister Betsy being the wife of Adam Flesher, a member of a family prominent in the early history of Harrison and Lewis Counties.

Isaac Staats, who came to Warth’s Bottom about 1805, may have been a brother, and Daniel and Elijah Staats of Grant District are said to have been brothers of Abraham.

“Abram” Staats had five children in his first family:

Elijah, who lived on the home farm, was four times married, and raised twenty one children.

Sarah, married Henry Runyan.

Jacob Staats married Nellie Evans.

He brought the first circular sawmill to Middle Mill Creek Valley, but never got it in running order, having the misfortune to cut off his fingers, which threw him into the lockjaw, and killed him. He lived on the farm immediately west of Ripley, on Mill Creek.

Mrs Colonel Ben Williams (Margaret) and Ann Smith, wife of George W Smith, were his children.

Cornelius Staats, the oldest, born in 1790, married Anna Carney, daughter of Thomas Carney. He was a soldier and was killed in the War of 1812. His wife later married Enoch Thomas. Cornelius Staats had two children:

Isaac, married Elizabeth Tolley.

Polly, married James Chancey, and lived on Grass Lick.

Abram Staats’ children of his last marriage were:

Anna Staats, married Jacob Starcher.

Hannah Staats, married Alexander Ables, and lived up on Sycamore, at the Greer farm.

William Staats, married Margaret Ables, sister of Alec Ables, and daughter of Martin Ables, who lived on Sycamore, at the Straley farm. He moved to Indiana.

John Staats, the youngest child, was born in 1819, and died in 1859. He married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Carney.

Elijah and Sarah Warth Staats’ children were:

Calvin, married Caroline Riley, sister of R. Riley, and lived on Cow Run.

Mary, died young.

Malinda, married Joseph Sayre, son of Daniel Sayre.

Matilda, married first Jake Hughes, and second Ben Flowers. She died November 19th, 1892, aged 77 years.

Minerva, died unmarried.

Catherine, married Nic Bonnet.

Wilson, married Mary Kay.

Mark, married Hannah Harpold.

Elijah’s children by his second wife, who was an Evans, were:

Lewis, married Catherine Roush of Mason County.

Riley, married Mary Roush, of Mason County.

Young, married a Mason.

Sarah, married Nic Bonnet as his second wife.

Caroline, married G.S. Matson King.

Harriet, married Newton Poling.

Adaline, married a preacher named Stutler.

Elias, married Ross Evans, on Elk Fork.

Hon. George W., marred first a Drennan, and second a Waugh.

Benjamin, married a daughter of Amos Riley.


Elijah Staats’ children by his third wife, Sally Burdett, widow of Graham Burdett, were:

Laverna, married Ben Poling of Kentucky.

Rebecca, married Bill Hughes.

The children of Jacob Staats, son of Abram Staats, were:

Joshua, married an Alkire, and was sheriff of Jackson County. He had children, Coley Staats and Mary Staats, who married Ephraim Brown.

Anna, married George W. Smith. Their children were: Addison, Clay and others.

Margaret, married Col. Ben Williams.

Whitten, married a Coleman.

Bet, married a Frey.

The children of Isaac Staats, son of Cornelius Staats, were:



J. Frank, married a daughter of David Casto.

Anna, married Francis Asbury Casto.

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Two miles above Evans, still on the south side, a large creek flows into Mill Creek, which bears the name of Parchment, said to have been derived from an old man of that name, who lived at the mouth of the creek in pioneer days, leaving his name to the stream, which is the only trace of his existence I have been able to discover.

There was a Mr. Parchment, his wife and two sons, John and Jacob, in the colony at the mouth of Lee Creek, in 1785. This man may have been one of the sons. There are on Parchment waters, five post offices, and ten or twelve schoolhouses.

The fall of 1896, I crossed from Ripley to Parchment, a few miles from the mouth, the country is rough and hilly, with narrow bottoms, but appears fertile.

Among the names identified with the early history of Parchment, are:

John McKown

Solomon Harpold

John Harpold

William Parsons

Henry Parsons

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John and Robert Deweese came to America as French soldiers under Marquis LaFayette, with whom they served. Both married and settled in Pennsylvania. John married a French lady, Mary Updegrave (Updegraff or Updegrove), and lived near Uniontown, PA. They raised six children:

Isaac Updegraff Deweese, married Catherine, daughter of Balas (Bayliss) Carr. Their children were:







Daniel S. Deweese, author of history of Steer Creek and West Fork settlements, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Boggs. Was born at the mouth of Steer Run, on Steer Creek, March 11th, 1821.

Mary Deweese

Elizabeth Deweese, lived at George Click’s, above Ripley, in 1839.

Sarah Deweese, lived on Mill Creek with Samuel King’s famly, in 1839.

Balas Carr Deweese, born August 25th, 1828, on the divide between Grassey Run and Horse Fork, on Parchment, southwest of Ripley.

Balas Carr, father of Catharine Carr Deweese, was drowned in the Monongahela, at Dunkard’s Bottom, was at that time a resident of Monongahela County.

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