The large stream known as Big Sand Creek enters the Ohio River some miles below the mouth of the Little Kanawha, a few miles above the mouth of Mill Creek. Some miles from the river, a large branch known as the Left Hand Fork comes at nearly right angles, heading back to the north of Limestone hill.

The basin drained by Big Sandy, as it is called in common parlance, contains an area of many square miles.

It is about nineteen miles, by road, from the head of "Sandy", near the Stalnaker schoolhouse in Roane County, to Ravenswood, at the mouth of the creek, on the Ohio River.

The distance by water is much greater, as there are two long cut_offs between the forks of the creek at Sandyville and the river.

The soil of the Sandy valley is greatly diversified, much of it being extremely fertile, while another considerable amount is hickory and white oak land of medium quality, and some, especially in the lower valley, is a white, leachy, soapstone clay of little value for cultivation. This soil, with low crawfish bottoms and low rolling hills, and comparatively smooth "flats" and chalky "second bottoms", prevails as far up as Sandyville. About the mouth of Straight Fork, from Crooked Fork to Cherry Camp, the Mud Run flats, and for a mile or more up Trace Fork and the Right Hand Fork of the Main Creek. Near the mouth of the stream, much of the soil is almost a pure sand, hence the name of the creek.

Next the head of Right Sandy and its numerous branches, the soil is fertile, but rough and hilly, while Left Sandy heads back in Limestone ridge, a region noted for the fertility and the endurance of its soil, its high, sheer, hills, "black waxy" clay, locust thickets, bluegrass, herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and above all, for its orchards of apple and peach trees, which hardly ever fail to produce bountifully year after year. It is the wheat and fruit belt of the west central part of the state.

All the Sandy valley was heavily timbered, oak, poplar, beech, hickory, maple, etc., being the prevailing species.

Panthers, bear, deer, wolves and the smaller animals common to this region were plentiful when the country was first settled.

One of the peculiarities of the Sandy valley, in the early days of its history, was a dreadful scourge which came to be called the "Sandy Fever". Just what it was, or the cause of it, has never been satisfactorily explained, but for a half century, it prevailed, numbering its victims by the score, sometimes blotting out a whole family in a few weeks, or, again, taking one here and other there. Scarcely a household in the valley escaped from a sacrifice to the plague. At times, say the old pioneers whose memories extend back to those unhappy visitations, the pestilence was so virulent that it attacked the cattle in the woods, many of whom were carried off by it, even calves after sucking a stricken dam, being seized with vomiting and dying in great agony. One old man with whom I talked claimed that the disease was often transmitted through the use of milk from diseased animals.

Another theory advanced is that the epidemic was caused by poison in the water, which is probably the true solution of the dying of the cattle. There is a spring on the John Somerville farm, on the Brushy Fork of Left Sandy, far up among the limestone hills, in which some poisonous principle (supposed to be arsenic) is so abundant that cattle have to be fenced away from it in dry weather when the water is low. And there are, or used to be, places on Trace Fork and perhaps neighboring streams, that the people had to keep their stock away from the water a certain seasons of the year, although, when the streams were flush, the poison was so diluted as to be harmless. In this connection, I will mention that I have been told that "Patrick Bord was in knowledge of a lead mine in the south west bank of Sand Creek, not far from Sandyville, and about two feet under water". I think this was on the Right Fork. Pioneers used to get lead there, it is said, sufficiently pure to mould bullets for their rifles.

The real "Sandy Fever" was probably malarial in its origin, and more prevalent, as well as more virulent, on Sandy than the neighboring streams, because of local conditions, such as lower altitude, sluggish and stagnant water, low, wet bottoms, assisted, perhaps, by poisonous mineral substances in the water when at a low stage.

To this day, typhoid and malarial fevers are far more prevalent, and the death rate higher, on the waters of Sandy than on either Mill Creek or Reedy.

The principal streams falling in to Sandy are, on the left, Lick Run, Straight Fork and Beatty's Run, and on the right _

Crooked Fork, which heads against the west branch of Sycamore, and was so named as a "companion piece" for Straight Fork, which comes in from the north at Silverton, a little lower down the creek.

Cherry Camp, Mud Run and Trace Fork, so called from an old Indian trail, which led up this stream, and down one of the upper branches, still known as Little Trace, and thence over to Reedy, and the Little Kanawha.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


The history of the Sandy valley begins with the voyage made by George Washington down the Ohio River, in October and November, 1770, for the purpose of selecting the lands which the Colony of Virginia, proposed to grant him as a renumeration for his services in the French and Indian war. There were two canoes in the party. The first was occupied by Col. Washington, Col. William H. Crawford, who was burned at the stake by the Delaware Indians, in 1781, Dr. Craik, Robert Bell, William Harrison, Charles Morgan, a boy named Rendon, and the interpreter, Joseph Nicholson. The second was full of Indians.

On October 29th, 1770, the expedition was at the mouth of Big Sand Creek, of which Washington wrote in his journal:

"Just below a pavement of rocks, on the west, comes in a creek with fallen timber at the mouth, on which the Indians say there are wide bottoms and good land. The river bottoms above, for some distance, are very good, and continue for nearly a half a mile below the creek."

On the 6th of November, the party, which had gone as far as the Great Kanawha River, arrived at the mouth of Sandy on its return trip, which was then the site of the encampment of a hunting party of Indians, of the Six Nations, under Kiashutas, an old acquaintance of Gen. Washington's, with whom they stopped for the remainder of the day. (The Indian mentioned Guyasuta, a Seneca Chief.)

The entry for this day in his journal was, in part _

"This bottom, through which the creek comes, may be about four or five in length, and tolerable wide, grown up pretty much with beech, though the soil is good".

And for the next day _

"Wednesday 7th _ We set out at half an hour after seven, and, leaving the bottom through which the creek with the fallen timber at the mouth runs, and which I believe is called Buffalo Creek, we came to a range of hills, a mile or more in length, upon the river, etc."

This is at the Roliff farm, explains C.L. Brown, in an interesting article in the Ravenswood News, in which he also contends that the "Cherokee Path" leaves the Ohio at the mouth of Mill Creek, instead of Big Sand Creek.

The following spring, Col. Crawford returned under a commission as "Special Surveyor" of lands for Virginia soldier, his appointment having been secured by his friend, Col. Washington, and in return, he located several large bodies of the best land for the latter, among them a tract of two thousand four hundred and forty eight acres at the mouth of Big Sand Creek, described as "lying and being in the County of Boteourt, and bounded as followeth, to wit:

Beginning at or near the upper end of the fourth large bottom on the east side of the Ohio, and about sixteen miles below the Little Kanawha, at a water oak and sugar tree standing on the river bank, at a point below a small run, and about six hundred yards below the point of an island, with all woods, underwoods, swamps, marshes, low grounds, meadows, feeding, and his one share of all veins, mines and quarries, as well discovered as not discovered, within the bounds of the aforesaid, and being part of the said two thousand four hundred and forty eight acres of land, and the rivers, waters and watercourses therein contained, together with the privilege of hunting, hawking, fishing, fowling, and all other profits, commodities and hereditaments whatsoever, to the same, or any part thereof, belonging or in anywise appertaining."

Washington tried in 1794, owing to financial pressure, to sell all these lands, at the rate of three acres for $1.00. A year later, he raised the price to $5.00, and in 1797, to $8.00 per acre, but found no buyers. By a schedule affixed to his will, his nine thousand, seven hundred and forty four acres of land in the Ohio River bottom was valued at $97,440.00, and was divided by his executors among his numerous heirs.

"The Ravenswood Bottom tract", says C.L. Brown, "fell to Thomas, Peter and Ann Ashton's heirs, the dividing line between them being now the north corporation line of the town of Ravenswood. Ephriam Wells bought all the land north of Ravenswood, being one thousand, four hundred and forty and a half acres, of said Peter, and then conveyed to Charles P. Wells the upper three hundred and seventy three acres, being the Proctor land, and to Bemont Hubbard, the three hundred and fifty one acres next below same (since the late Robert and William Park farms), and retained for himself the seven hundred and fifteen acres next to Ravenswood".

John Nesselrode built the first cabin at the mouth of Sandy, not far from the year 1808.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Bartholomew Fleming was a permanent settler at Ravenswood, in 1820. He is said to have had some kind of a lease, under the heirs of Gen. Washington, who owned the land. He kept a wood yard, to supply fuel to passing steamboats, and as early as 1831, kept a ferry across the Ohio River, which was licensed by the Virginia Legislature, in 1841, and in 1844, he and Walter Holmes bought a wharf boat at Bull Creek, above Marietta, and brought it to this point. The wharfboat at Ravenswood is still (1906) in the hands of the Fleming family.

The first voting place was at Mr. Fleming's house, and the first election held at the close of the Harrison's "hard cider campaign", in 1840.

The firm of "Fleming and Stanley", consisting of "Bartle" Fleming and David Stanley, was the second to open a mercantile trade in the village.

Mr. Fleming was one of the most important business men Ravenswood ever had, and lived to the ripe age of eighty three years. He is well spoken of by those who remember him.

As nearly as I can make out from numerous conflicting statements and memorand _

Bartholomew Fleming married first Miss Seelye, and second, Hannah Warth, a daughter of John Warth.

In the flood of 1832, Fleming took his wife out at the roof of his cabin, which was down on "the point".

The town of Ravenswood was laid out in 1840. (This date is given by Nicholas, son of Henry Fitzhugh, the founder.)

Some accounts say the first post office was established in 1846, with Thomas Atkinson as postmaster, and names Sandville (now Ravenswood) as the location.

A sketch of Jackson County given in "A Gazzetteer of Virginia", published in 1833, mentions Reed's Post Office as situated ten miles north of Ripley. My conclusion is that Warren Reed, who lived at New Era at that time, was the first postmaster in Ravenswood District, but the post office of Sandville was at Sandyville, and not, as some records say, Ravenswood. Ravenswood is not mentioned in the Gazatteer for the good reason that there was no place of that name from three to seven years later.

Had it been a village at all, it would have been Fleming's Ferry. The Atkinson post office may have been established in 1846.

Joseph Holdren, George Warth, Bartholomew Fleming, Thomas Coleman, John Thorn, Thomas Slagle, and David Stanley purchased the first lots in the town.

The first merchant was Joseph Holdren, in 1837, the second, Fleming and Stanley, and the third Henry Fitzhugh.

The first sermon was at Fleming's house, by Rev. J. C. Brown, a Presbyterian minister, in 1834.

The first church was the Methodist Episcopal, who had ministers and an organized class at Mr. Fleming's house as early as 1828.

In 1845, the Rev. Sam Black organized a Southern Methodist Church.

The first hotel was opened by Thomas Schlagle, in 1839.

The first resident physician was Dr. James Henry, and the first blacksmith John Clark.

The first sawmill was built by Henry Fitzhugh, in 1837, a set of buhrs for grinding being added in 1838.

The first school in Ravenswood was taught by a man named Smith, in 1837.

There are two conflicting accounts as to the origin of the name Ravenswood. One is that Mrs. Payne named the village Ravensworth, in honor of relatives of that name in England, but somehow it was changed to Ravenswood, through a mistake in engraving a map of the state. The other that Mrs. Fitzhugh was an ardent admirer of the works of fiction being written by Sir Walter Scott, and gave the place its name from that of the hero in the "Bride of Lammermoor".)

The first newspaper, not only of Ravenswood, but of Jackson County, was the Virginia Chronicle, first issued by W.P. Frost, September 1st, 1853, and continued its publication until he went into the Union Army, in 1861.

The second venture in this line was the Ravenswood Press, established by a Mr. Wells, of Athens County, Ohio, in 1866.

In 1867, the Press was sold to S.R. Klotts, who two years later moved it to Cottageville, and then sold out to Mr. Huggins, who published it until 1870. In August, 1868, the West Virginia News, edited and published by Andrew Flesher and S.J. Gregory, made its first appearance, and under various managers has been issued continuously ever since, though known as the Ravenswood News for the past thirty years.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


The founder of Ravenswood, Henry Fitzhugh, was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1783. He moved to Kanawha County in 1834, and engaged in the making of salt. He married Henrietta Fitzhugh, who was born in the District of Columbia, in 1789. She was daughter of Major Nicholas Fitzhugh and Sallie Ashton Fitzhugh. Sallie Ashton's mother, Ann Ashton, was a niece of General Washington. Thus, through the wife's inheritance, the Henry Fitzhughs came into possession of the land on a part of which Ravenswood now stands.

Henry Fitzhugh moved to the land near the mouth of Big Sandy about 1840, and lived in the vicinity until his death, in 1855. He was, during his life, one of Jackson County's leading citizens. They raised a large family of children, among whom were:

George N. Fitzhugh.

Theodore B. Fitzhugh.

Mary H. Fitzhugh, married A. A. Quarrier.

Henrietta Fitzhugh, married D. M. Barre, of Charleston.

Sarah A. Fitzhugh, married J.F. Cotton.

Nicholas Fitzhugh was born in 1823, attended Marietta College and Washington and Lee University. He was admitted to the Bar in Jackson County, but later moved to Charleston. He was in the Confederate Army, and a Delegate to he Continental Convention. He was twice married. His first wife was Martha D., daughter of Samuel Shrewsbury, and his wife Laura, was also a daughter of Samuel Shrewsbury. The wives' grandmother was also an heir of General Washington, her name being Harriet Washington.

Children of Nicholas Fitzhugh were: Hugh, Edit and Norman.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Ephriam Wells had, in 1835, purchased the large tract of land above Ravenswood, which had been inherited from General George Washington, by the Parks, through Harriet Washington Parks. He had disposed of part of it, but retained for himself seven hundred and fifty one acres.

Ephraim Wells was born in 1801, in Brooke County, and died in 1874. He married Margaret McIntire, and for many years held the position of Justice of the Peace, and member of the County Court. Of their children, I have:

Charles P. Wells, who had purchased a part of the tract of his father. He had a son, J.D. Wells, and a daughter, who married Judge R.S. Brown.

His father is said to have been named Absolom Wells.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Christopher Click, born in Germany, was a son of Christopher and Barbara Rabhold Click. He came first to Pennsylvania, and to Ravenswood in 1859. Their children were: Christopher, Henry, Andrew, George, Philip, Jacob and Sarah.

Other early settlers in the vicinity of Ravenswood were the Stanleys, Rowleys and Andersons on Lower Sandy.

William Flesher, at Silverton.

Uriah Gandee, who lived “on the banks of the Ohio river above Ravenswood” in 1804, when his daughter, Susan Gandee Allen, was born.

Eli Gandee, on Little Sandy.

Shermans, at the mouth of Little Sandy.

Tapley Beckwith, on the head of Bar Run, in 1830.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Many, many years ago, when the silence of the forest was yet unbroken by the sound of the woodsman’s axe, while the wild animals and wilder redmen roamed hill and vale at will, in undisturbed security, Andrew Anderson left his home in New Jersey, to seek the adventures of a life in the unbroken wilderness of the Ohio Valley. He crossed the mountains and drifted down the “Beautiful River”, as far as the Big Bend, below Ravenswood, where he established himself in a camp, made in the hollow of a huge sycamore tree which stood in the fertile Ohio bottom. This tree was his home for several years, while he hunted and trapped among the neighboring hills, raising corn enough to provide his Johnny cake, roasting ears, and hominy, and making occasional canoe voyages to some fort or station to dispose of his furs or venison ham, and lay in a supply of salt, powder and lead. Finally tiring of this solitary life, he left his strange, yet roomy and comfortable abode (it is said the hollow in the tree was sufficiently large to turn an eleven foot rail in), and moving further up the river, entered a piece of land, married and settled down for the remainder of his days, bringing up around him a large family, of hardworking industrious sons and daughters whose descendants are thickly scattered over Meigs and Jackson counties. So runs the family tradition.

Here history comes in and relates a story, different, yet easily reconcilable, if one only knew how.

In 1785, Captain Tilton and Judge Wood planted a colony (mostly Scotsmen) at Belleville.

in 1787, Joel Dewey, Joseph Dewey, Stephen Sherrod and family, from Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Malcolm Coleman and family, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Andrew Anderson, from Wheeling, joined the colony.

Some years before the Belleville settlement, David Lee, a native of Pennsylvania, a famous hunter and trapper, had camped for a time on the banks of the stream which still bears his name, and , hunting until after Wayne’s treaty with the Indians at Greenville, in 1795, brought security to the frontier. He married a sister of the Anderson’s, and with peace, purchased a tract of land on Tygart’s Creek, and raised a family of five sons and three daughters. Many of his descendants are still inhabiting that part of the state.

Andrew Anderson may, like Lee, have visited this section before the building of the fort at Belleville, afterward returning to Wheeling, or he may have drifted to the wilds of the Big Bend forests from the colony, preferring this wild, free life to the companionship of his fellow men.

Who he married has not been preserved, but it is known that he settled down to quiet farm life until swept away with the many victims of the Cholera Scourge that visited the Ohio Valley in 1832.

Andrew Anderson’s children were:

Joseph Anderson, married Nancy Stanley, a daughter of one of the early Sandy pioneers. He was married about 1822, and located on the creek one and half miles below the John Haynes farm, then the home of John Stanley, his wife’s father.

James Anderson (Jim), married Susy Hughes (it is said she was a niece of Jesse Hughes), and lived at the “Flatwoods”, below Ravenswood.

John Anderson, married a Boice.

Andy Anderson, married a sister of John’s wife, and lived on Straight Fork. His son, Lewis, married Sydney Bishop.

Polly Anderson, married John Woodruff, and lived near her father’s home, at Big Bend, Ohio. William Woodruff was one of their children.

Sarah Anderson, married John Stanley, a brother of Joseph Anderson’s wife, and lived on Sandy, in the same neighborhood.

‘Lizbeth Anderson, married Robert Pickens, of the Big Bend, Ohio, where they continued to reside. A son, Bartholomew Pickens, lived on Crooked Fork for a while before his death.

Andrew Anderson had another daughter whose name my informant was unable to recall.

Joseph Anderson married Nancy Stanley, about 1822. They lived a mile and a half above Haynes, and raised a family of four sons and four daughters.

Elizabeth married Josiah Stanley, a son of James Stanley, and presumably her first cousin.

Elmira (Miry) never married.

Priscilla (Prissy) married first a Shannon, and second, Sanford Richards, who lives on Trace Fork.

Mary married Bill Romine, and lived on the creek below Sandyville. They lived at one time on the north side of Sandy. At the mouth of Bearry’s Run, in one of the two cabins where so many fell victim of the Sandy Fever.

John Anderson married Elizabeth Pruden, and lived on Sandy.

Lewis Anderson never married.

George Anderson married Hester, a sister of John Vannoy.

Joseph Anderson married Hepzibah Rowley.

Joseph Anderson was born in 1829, and was married to Hepzibah, daughter of Harry Rowley, in 1854. His death occurred in 1907, on Cabin Run, about a mile north of Liverpool.

He was a large man, physically, but had been in poor hearth for several years before his death.

Mr. Anderson was a good talker, and related many interesting reminiscences of pioneer life on Sandy, when I visited him in 1904. He remembered many of the early settlers of this section, and I am indebted to him for much information.

He had known Dr. Adams, Parsons, Edwards, Little, and Bonto and all the early settlers of the Trace Fork, as well as Reed, Magee, and the Sayre family at Sandyville, Jim Smith, the guerilla captain and many others.

Uncle Joesy, as he was familiarly called by all, was a crack shot with his famous deergun.

He had shot with the noted Patton Carder rifle, with which someone is said to have killed Boone, in the siege of Spencer, in 1860, at a distance of a hundred yards, and fondly described it as a “honey darling”. The old hunter was, until his death, as fond of a good gun as the horseman is of his steed.

The first school Anderson went to was taught by a man named Copen, in a log hut on Crooked Fork, probably about 1836 or 1837.

He remembers going with an older brother on a fishing expedition one winter.

It had been very dry that summer, and the fish had some up the creeks in the spring as usual, but owing to the low stage of water on the bars, had not returned, and winter caught them in the deepest pools. Winters in the early days were much more prolonged and severe than they are now. A heavy freeze had formed ice several inches in thickness, and the brother, who was grown, made a harpoon with which to spear the fish through holes they cut in the ice with an axe. The fish taken were white suckers, and they took enough to make a twelve gallon sugar kettle full of dressed fish.

The rock bar at the mouth of Bar Run was a favorite place for taking fish. He had seen fish and “tortles” so thick in the Bar Run hole that they almost “hid the water”.

After his marriage, Anderson lived some years on Mud Run. In 1861, he moved to Trace Fork, living below the Adams, now Hawk, farm. About 1896, he bought a piece of land at the mouth of Cabin Run, and put up a corn mill, and a few years later, moved up on the run to the farm now owned by his son, Jeff Anderson.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Who John Stanley was, and when or whence he came to Sandy, I have been unable to ascertain, only that he was living in a cabin on the high plateau in the bend of the creek, across from John Haynes place, in 1822, when his daughter, Nancy was married to Joseph Anderson, of Big Bend, Ohio.

Who his wife was is equally in darkness, with his ancestry and date of his birth and death.

Probably he was of the same family as David Stanley, the Raveswood pioneer. His children were:

James (Jim) Stanley, married a Runner, and lived on the flats below Mud Run, in the forties.

William (Bill) Stanley married a Bibbee, died at Silverton.

Henry Stanley died unmarried.

Jonathan Stanley married first a Hanshaw, and second, Mazella Parsons, a daughter of George Parsons, on Trace Fork. They never owned land, but lived in different places on Sandy. The Parson record given his name as Noah Stanley.

Elias Stanley married a Runner (probably these girls were daughters of Elijah Runner.)

Noah Stanley, name only given.

Levi Stanley went off and never returned.

Nancy Stanley married Joe Anderson, and lived one and a half miles below her father's home, at the Haynes farm.

Besides these names, which were furnished by the late Joseph Anderson, Chris Stutler mentions:

Tom Stanley, who died at Silverton.

A daughter married "Zeke" Vernon.

Whether these were children of John Stanley, or of one of his sons, I cannot say.

A farm on the bend of the creek below Mike Boso's mill was at an early day known as "The Old Stanley Farm", from John Stanley having once lived there.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Probably Robert Pickens, who married Elizabeth Anderson, was of the following family:

John Pickens, a Revolutionary soldier. His children were:

James Pickens, a soldier in the War of 1812.

John Pickens, born in 1806, in Mason County, married Mary Lawrence. Their daughter, Samantha, married Ed Greathouse.

Also, Elijah Pickens, whose children were: Ben, Dave, Sam and Joe.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


William Henry Rowley had two brothers, but their father dying when he was small, they became separated, and he lost sight of them. W.H. was “bound” to a shoemaker on Long Island.

It is not stated whether he came to West Virginia or not. A son, however, did, and his daughter married Joseph Anderson, as previously related. This son’s name was Harry Rowley, and he may have been the “old man Rowley” who was living on the east side of Sandy, between the mouth of Trace Fork and the bridge, about 1835. He and his wife both died with the Sandy Fever afterward.

Of his children:

Thomas Rowley married Tabitha Parsons, daughter of George Parsons (Trace Fork George), and they went to Ohio.

Huldah Rowley married John Smith Carder, and lived for a time on Trace Fork, and later of Joe’s Run.

Nancy Rowley married first Philip Adams (probably son of Dr. Adams), who died in Middleport, Ohio,. Was said to have been the smartest man J.A. ever knew, to have had no education. Her second husband was Jacob, son of Thomas McGlothin.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Jesse Hughes, the renowned scout and Indian fighter, spent the last years of his life on the Ohio River, near the mouth of Big Sandy. He first bought land at Sandyville, but lost it through a former patent.

It would appear that Hughes came to this section a few years before the closing of Indian hostilities. He had three daughters, Nancy, Agnes, Massie and Luraine. Nancy and Massie were hunting cows on Turkey Run, which enters the river a mile above Ravenswood, when they were discovered by a party of Indians, who made a capture of the latter, and carried her off and kept her in captivity for two years. After the Treaty of Greenville brought peace to the border settlements, Jesse went in search of his daughter, but did not at first recognize her, as she was dressed in Indian fashion, with rings in her ears, mouth, and on all her fingers, her face and body smeared with paint, and she carried a bow and arrows.

Nancy Hughes married George W. Hanshaw, who lived in a cabin on the site of the house occupied a few years since by W.S. Proctor, on the old Proctor farm, above Ravenswood.

Jesse Hanshaw, who lived near the mouth of Mill Creek, was born there about 1830.

G.W. Hanshaw at one time owned the Blake, or Varner farm on Sandy.

Jesse Hughes’ other daughter, Luraine, was married to Uriah Sayre, and lived at the mouth of Ground Hog, on the Ohio side of the river.

Her daughter, Lura Sayre, married Lafayette Cozart, of Jackson County, who relates that his wife’s grandfather, Jesse Hughes, after he became old, wandered off into the woods. He was found on either Tureky or Lick Run, and though not dead when found, died very soon after. He was buried on the Proctor farm, some say, at the “old graveyard” but it is uncertain whether the exact site of the grave can now be located.

Massie Hughes, daughter of Jesse and heroine of the Indian capture married Uriah Gandee, Jr, and lived near Gandeeville. It is said that the wife of the famous Indian fighter, Grace Tanner Hughes, spent the last years of her life with them, and at her death in 1839, was buried there.

There are numerous persons in Jackson and adjoining counties who claim descent from Jesse Hughes, or his near relatives.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Other choice parcels of land farther up the river were allotted to Washington's compatriots, George Muse, and a Mercer, and were colonized about the same time as the Ravenswood tract.

Buffington's Island was settled by Joseph Buffington. (I think Joseph, and not Joel, is the correct name), who had three sons.

Philip, whose marriage to Sarah Hughes is named as the first wedding in Union District.

William, who lived in Wirt County.

Solomon, who was one of the Union Home Guards, and died on Pond Creek, a half mile below the mouth of Jerry's run, shortly after the close of the Civil War.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


The first settler at Muse's Bottom was John DeWitt (some of the old settlers pronounce it Doo_it), who built the first cabin, in 1807.

Soon after, Thomas DeWitt, John Powers, Thomas Coleman, Ellis Nesselrode, and John Boso came. It is not at all certain that these parties all came the same year, but they were all among the very early pioneers.

Where the DeWitts were from is not given, but the name recurs several times in the early history of Mill Creek and Sandy, and parties of the same name are still to be found in Grant District.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


The Coleman family has been, from the first, the most prominent in the vicinity of Muse's Bottom.

The Thomas Coleman mentioned above was a son of Michael Coleman, who was killed by the Indians, at Cottageville, in 1793.

Thomas Coleman was born in the wilderness of Kanawha County, in 1801. He was a son of James and Nancy Anderson Coleman. His father and mother both died when he was quite young, and he was raised by a maternal uncle. He was bound out to a blacksmith at the age of fourteen, but ran away the next year and went on a keel boat on the river, which was hauling salt from the Kanawha to Wheeling. Later, he operated boats of his own. He married Sarah Roush, in 1823, daughter of Henry and Hannah Roush, of Meigs County, Ohio. He settled later at Muse's Bottom. Their children were:

Samuel H. died as a child.

David S. went to Missouri.

Reverend H.R.

Thomas B. lives on the home place.

Eliza married P. D. Williams, lived at Muse's Bottom.

Virginia married R.S. Morgan.

Maria married James Morgan.

Thomas Coleman was appointed first postmaster at Muse's Bottom.

A brother of Michael was John Coleman. He was an Indian fighter and scout at the Belleville fort. What became of him after peace came is not stated.

The first marriage in what is now Grant District was that of Margaret, daughter of Mary and John Coleman, to William Harrison. Whether this was the same John, his son, or a son of Michael (Malcolm, some give the name), I have no means of knowing.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Charles J. Rector was born in 1848. He was a son of Steptoe Rector, who was born in 1816. They came to Jackson County when Charles was young. In 1869, Charles married Elizabeth Sherman. He lived on Little Sandy or at Sherman.

Levin Rector was a brother of Steptoe Rector. He was born in 1814, and married Sarah B. Sherman. She was a daughter of Isaac B. Sherman and Nancy DeWitt Sherman. They lived at Sherman in 1883. Mrs. Susan Kyger was his sister.

Charles Rector, who married Sallie Rust, was the father of Steptoe and Levin Rector.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


William M. Roberts, of Muse's Bottom, was a native of Wood County. He was born in 1823. His father, John Roberts, came from North Wales. He was born in 1787, and married Sarah Sargent. He served in the British Navy for several years. Their children were:

William M., Thomas P., John, Robert, Henry E., Rowena, Adelaide, Sarah and Elizabeth, who married Abram McKay.

William and Thomas lived at Ravenswood.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Ambrose Atkins is authority for the following statement:

“Ellis Nesselrode lived at the mouth of Little Sandy (about 1855). From his appearance he would suppose him to have been born about 1800 or 1805. He was a noted hunter and had a camp under a rock below John Slaven’s which is known as Ellises Rock.”

If this was the pioneer mentioned as a first settler, he was either much older than Mr. Atkins supposes, or came much later than the date given.

Israel Nesselrode lived on Little Sandy. He had sons: Peter, Frank, Ed and Shelton.

David Nesselrode, who kept the post office on Little Sandy, beyond Utah Hill, called Israel “uncle”.

There was also an Elias Nesselrode living in that vicinity, in 1900, then an old man past three score and ten.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


The Boso family was forty years ago the most numerous race on the two Ponds Creeks.

The first of the name to come to these parts, and the father of the line, was one John Boso, who was living in the block house at the mouth of the Hocking River, about 1790, and who settled at Muse’s Bottom in 1807.

Where Boso came from is not known, but he was French descent, and the family were intimately connected with the Flinns, another family prominent in the pioneer history of Pond Creek.

John Boso had four sons, whose name I have been given - Charles, Joe, Jake and John.

Joe and Jake married girls by the name of Fancher, Joe went to Indiana, and Jake is not mentioned further.

John Boso’s wife was a daughter of the Michael Coleman who was killed by the Indians. Their children were:

Mike Boso, married a Mills, sister of George. He had a mill on Pond Creek, below the Flinn ford, at the mouth of Cabin Fork.

John Boso (Curly John), married a Smith, sister of Sam Smith.

Charley Boso, married a Flinn, sister of “Old Johnny” Flinn. He died in St. Louis. S. Greene Boso is his son.

Nancy Boso married Joe Hale, and lived on a branch of Lee Creek.

Barbara Boso married a Burdine.

“Polly” Boso marred a Hall and lived in Ohio.

Bent Boso married and lived in Illinois.

“Kins” Boso (Kinsman) married a Brown.

“Lafe” Boso was “in the Army”.

France Boso lived in Pomeroy.

John Boso, afer the death of his first wife, was married to a sister of “old Johnny” Flinn, who lived at the mouth of Cabin Fork.

Charles Boso, known for miles around as “Old Charley”, was born in the Big Hocking Block House, some time toward the end of the Eighteenth Century, probably early in the nineties.

He died at the age of one hundred and six, said his son, Isaiah.

His wife was Mary Anderson, perhaps a sister of “Mike” Anderson, who lived on upper Pond Creek. Their children were:

Isaiah married Mary E. Orem, a sister of Joe Orem. He was born in 1833 and died February 16th, 1908.

John A. Boso married Debby Mills, a sister of Bill Mills.

Nelson Boso married and Ingalls. He was the father of Charley Boso. Nels Boso was born about 1828. Probably John was the John A. who was seventy five in 1900.

Willard Boso went to Indiana.

Charles Boso.

Eliza Boso married John Orem.

Jane Boso married a Ferguson.

“Uncle Charley Boso was born near the mouth of the Big Hocking River, on a houseboat, spent the early years of his life flatboating on the Ohio River. Died about three o’clock, on the morning on June 5th, 1898, at age one hundred and eight years.

Was father of seven children, six of whom survived him, was in good health until two weeks before his death. Died at his son John A. Boso’s on Little Pond Creek. Four hundred people attended burying.” So wrote C. T. Pilchard, of Lone Cedar, in Jackson Herald for June 10th, 1898.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


The Hyde family were originally from England, whence came three brothers, George, James, and Isaac, the latter a boy just verging on manhood's estate. Probably the father, whose name is through to have been Isaac, and the rest of the family were with them. They were six months in crossing the ocean. They first came to the eastern part of West Virginia, and to Jackson, probably from Hacker's Creek. Isaac Hyde appears to have first came to Little Mill Creek, and moved from there to where his brother-in-law, Alexander Alkire had settled, they having married sisters named Sims. Mrs. Jane Carder, a granddaughter of Isaac Hyde, says she has heard her grandmother talk of the "Devil's Hole". In the early days, the mouth of Shade River was a wild rocky place, gloomy, dark and cavernous. An Indian trail from the Clarksburg settlements to their towns on the Scioto crossed the river here, probably giving a name to both Trace Fork, of Sandy and Mill Creek, and many were the bands that crossed here with prisoners, scalps and plunder. The place was known to the settlers as Devil's Hole. Isaac Hyde married Nancy Sims. He came to Jackson County probably about 1806.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Alexander Alkire lived near the Hydes, in Grant District. His wife was a Sims, and a sister of Hyde's wife.

An Adam Alkire lived at Muse's Bottom.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


One of the most prominent families on Little Sandy for the past sixty five years are the descendants of one William Slaven, who came there in 1843 or 1844.

Prior to his removal to Jackson County, Slaven had served as sheriff of Randolph County, and had represented Lewis County in the House of Delegates at Richmond. He was a magistrate, or Justice of the Peace, for many years, and a prominent buyer and shipper of cattle in Randolph, Barbour, Harrison, Lewis and adjoining counties.

He was a son of Jacob Slaven, a soldier in the Revolution. Of his brothers and sisters, there were -

Jacob and John, who lived in the eastern part of the state.

Nancy, who married and went to Ohio.

Margaret, who married Stewart Wooddell, at one time sheriff of Pocahontas County. Joe Wooddell, the newspaperman, was their son.

William Slaven was almost ninety two when he died, in 1889 or 1890. He was twice married, his first wife being Margaret Wooddell. After her death, he was again married, to Nancy, daughter of Old Johnny Cline.

William and Margaret Slaven’s children were:

Charles was a forty niner, went to California and disappeared.

John W. married Mary Cline, John Cline’s daughter. He was born in 1825 and lived on Little Sandy for many years.

William W. married Fidelia, daughter of Robert Warth, and lived on Little Sandy.

James Slaven married Emmeline, daughter of James Somerville.

Margaret Slaven married Andrew Somerville, and lived on the head of the left fork of Sandy.

Nathan Slaven was in the Confederate Army, and was wounded at Fort Donelson and died.

Henry Slaven was also in the Confederate Army, and lost a leg at the Winchester fight. He married Sarah Flinn, and lived on the Nesselrode place.

Elizabeth M. Slaven married Joseph Yeager Springston.

The children of the second family were:

Francis was a chaplain in the Confederate Army, married in Ohio.

Mary married first Jake Gough, and second a Bell.

Roland married Lucy Davenport.

Harriet married Harry Wilkeson, and lived near Cottageville.

“Carline” married George, son of Bill McFee.

Martha married a Cawthorne and went to Michigan.

Sarah married Tom Ingram and lived on Pond Creek.

Lucy married Dave Pickens, and lived on Sandy.


Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


In 1785, a party from Wheeling took possession of an old Indian improvement of about twenty acres, above the mouth of Lee Creek, and built a blockhouse. Among these were an old man named Flinn, a widower, and Thomas and John Flinn, his sons, and a daughter who married John Barnett. Owing to the hostilities of the Indians, they moved, for greater security, to the fort at Belleville, in 1787.

This blockhouse was called Flinn’s Station, and the Flinn family were descended from this old man.

Old Billy Flinn was born about 1790, and was up in the nineties when he died. He married Polly Staats, a sister of Dave Staats, and daughter of Noah Staats. He lived at the mouth of Meat House Fork of Little Sandy.

Their children were:

William Flinn (“Cap”) married a Hostleton.

Sarah Flinn married Henry Slaven.

David Flinn married a Cox.

Kale Flinn married Baxter Howard. (R.B. Howard, near LeRoy)

Nancy Flinn married George Howard.

Jane Flinn married Newton Hicks.

Other children were Joe, George, Lafayette.

Old Johnny Flinn, a brother of Old Billy, lived on Pond Creek, at the mouth of Cabin Fork.

George Flinn once lived at the first place below John Flinn’s, on Pond Creek.

Sisters of these Flinns married Old John Boso, and his son, Charles.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Elijah, Daniel and Noah Staats were probably nephews of Abram Staats, who settled on Mill Creek about 1800.

Noah Staats lived on Little Sandy, about a mile from the mouth. His children were:

David Staats lived on Skull Run.

Henrietta Staats married Sam Rardon.

Rowena Staats married Tom Rardon.

Christina Staats married Peter Derenberger.

Mary Staats married a Moorhouse.

Louisa Staats.

Peggy Staats.

Sarah Ann Staats.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


Peter Derenberger married Christina Staats, and lived on Little Sandy, below the mouth of Meat House Run, where there is an old orchard, below Tack Derenberger’s house at the lower end of the place. Their children were:

W.T. Derenberger, born in 1836.

Elija Derenberger.

Geroge Derenberger.

Annette Derenberger, married Albert Lockhart.

Caroline Derenberger married a Safreed.

Margaret Derenberger married a Safreed.

“Californy” Derenberger married first Alex Trotter, and second Joe Leep.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home


John Rardon married Charlotte Dewitt. Their children were:

Nancy Rardon was a school teacher, married first a Hubbard, and second a Lange.

Tom Rardon married Rowena Staats.

Margaret Rardon married Sam Landon.

Sam Rardon married a Moorehouse.

John Rardon, who made the first improvement at the Bush place, above Peniel, was probably a son of John Rardon.

David Rardon was a noted exhorter and class leader. He married a Barringer. Their children were:

Mary, married Tom Gardner, and uncle of Clint Gardner.



Another daughter married Abel Syoc.

Top of Page    Return to Index     Home (C) 2001