The Middle Fork of Reedy is the second in size of the three branches. Near the mouth the hills are high and very steep, toward the head, however, they are low - with flat tops of rahter thin white oak and chestnut land.
From about two and one half miles up the Middle Fork there begins a region of flat land, which reaches through by the head of the left branch of Seaman Fork, Little Creek, Big Run, Buffalo and Frozen Camp, in which the tops of the hills are frequently broad and nearly level. These flats are either white clay or sand, resting on a subsoil of stiff red clay, which frequently crops to the surface.
Three miles up the Middle Fork is a hill lying between Big Run on the south and Salt Block Run and Seaman Fork on the north, which in some respects, is peculiar. It was formerly known as Chestnut Ridge, but in the past twelve years has received the appellation of "Dutch Ridge" from a colony of Germans who moved in from Ohio about that time.
At about a certain level the ridge is a mass of coarse sandstone, which shows in the bottom of every hollow and drain breaking over the edge of the flats. Near the brow of the hill and for some distance down the sides, the soil is largely composed of sand from the disintegrated rock, black on the north and east sides, where it is mixed with loam, yellow on the south and west.
On the top of the main ridge, much of the land is a stiff red limestone clay on top, falling away to spurs between the hollows and runs which drain its sides, which are usually a hundred feet lower. On the edges of these spurs the sandstone shows. The tops of these spurs are many acres in extent, and were covered with chestnut trees, sometimes four and five feet in diameter. Every place a hollow crosses the rim of the tableland, there is a spring, the water of which often never fails in the least, no matter how dry the weather may be.
The wells on the farms are lasting, and the best of water. They soil is light and does not grass well, but the depth of ten or twelve inches of red clay seems peculiarly well adapted to fruit. The apple and peach crop on this ridge rarely misses.
The government measurement on the highest point of the ridge is given as 1,003 feet, and many points around would not be more than fifty feet lower.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
The first farm above Reedy was settled by Hiram Chancey in 1819 or 1820. It was a part of a Clayborne lot.
Hiram Chancey was a son of Commodore Chancey, who lived in New York City. Hiram drifted west to Pittsburg, in search of adventure, came down the Ohio River in a keel boat and went out to the Kanawha salt works, where he found employment. While there he became acquainted with a Miss Isabel Meadows, and they were married.
Two or three years later he moved to Reedy, then in Wood County, building a cabin in the woods at the place where N.F. Butcher now lives. This first cabin stood down in Mr. Butcher's garden. The road to the Three Forks settlement then went up the hill beyond Butcher's orchard, and came down the point back of Charley Cottle's place.
Chancey's orchard, however, was up the Fore Run, and upon the hillside across from the house. Every home built in the wilderness had its orchard planted, the trees not being procured from some nursery, but dug up where they were sprouting from the roots of other apple trees. Peach trees, which in the early days when protected from freezing by the heavy surrounding forest, produced abundantly almost every year, were obtained by planting the seeds.
Chancey cut a road to his place from the Three Forks when he moved to it. Willis Burdett, who lived above, either came later or moved in the other way.
Chancey was a Whig in politics, though most of his neighbors voted the other way. The voting place was then at Elizabeth. The Chancey family were all Union men, and voted the Republican ticket to the third and fourth generation.
Hiram Chancey and his wife are buried at the Roach graveyard, back the ridge from where they lived. They have no tombstones, so no dates are given. Their children were:
James Chancey (the oldest) married Polly, daughter of Isaac Staats.
Calvary Chancey, born in 1821, married first, Hetty Westfall; and second, Rebecca Hall Wolf.
Jackson Chancey married Margaret Russell, and lived on the Ohio River.
Roswell Chancey married Violetta Coon.
William Alexander Chancey married Sarah Rhodes.
Calvary Chancey had sons: Alec and William.
Alec Chancey, Sr., died at his home on the Middle Fork, in 1873, from the effects of a wound received in the Union Army.
Andrew B. Chancey was born two days before Christmas, in 1825, and married Mary Stewart, a daughter of William and Mary Stewart, in 1850. They lived together until her death in April, 1884. That same fall he was again married to the Widow Lester on Left Reedy, but they separated after a short time. A.B. Chancey died on the 27th of July, 1905.
He had a prominent part in the war days on Reedy, and his house and farm were looted again and again by Confederate Soldiers and "bushwhackers."
At the time of the seven day siege of Spencer, the guerillas who were conducting the siege confiscated his yoke of work oxen, killing them, and carrying the meat away in baskets. Another time, the soldiers ran a bayonet through his door.
Chancey was prominent in the organization of the new state government in Roane County. He served as Deputy Sheriff under Capt. Spencer just after the war, and was a member of the Board of Supervisors of the township.
A.B. Chancey, W.P. Stewart and Shreeve relocated the Middle Fork and other roads in 1884. He lived at the lower end of the Chancey farm, one mile above the Three Forks.
During the war, his mother's sister, widow of David Green, lived in a little hut on the Harvey Chancey place, above.
Andrew B. Chancey was born Dec. 23, 1825. He married Mary Stewart. Their children were:
Martha Chancey married Noah Westfall, and lived on Bear Fork awhile, then in a cabin near A.B. Chancey.
Elvira Chancey married James Hartman, lived a while on the Moss place, then moved west.
Elizabeth Chancey, died unmarried.
Irena Chancey married George Fore, the eccentric school teacher and auctioneer.
Roswell R. Chancey was born in 1824, and died in 1876. He lived on the Chancey farm, across the creek from the narrows just two miles by road from Reedy. His wife was Violetta Coon. One of his mother's sisters married a Coon, and lived on Poca River. Roswell Chancey was long a Justice of the Peace, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of all his neighbors.
Calvary Chancey was born in 1821, and died, says his tombstone, on August 11, 1894, aged seventy three years. He was an eccentric and picturesque character. His first wife, Martha, daughter of Andrew Westfall of Elk Fork, died a few years after their marriage.
The next fall, about 1850, he married Rebecca Hall, somewhere on the West Fork. She was a widow, her husband's name being Wolf. She had one child by the first marriage whom Chancey raised, she was Jane Wolf, and married Frank Bord in April, 1873, and lived a year or so on Long's Run, where she died.
A son, William Chancey, was killed at a tobacco house raising on the David Wetter farm on Dutch Ridge, in 1875. Another man, named Bise, died a few months later from injuries received at the same time.
Alec Chancey lived on the farm now owned by Gordon Lawson. His wife was a daughter of Old Sammy Rhodes, of near Ripley. He received the wound from which he died at Cloyd's Mountain.
R.R. Chancey, Hiram Chancey, A.B. Chancey, S.B. Seaman, Joe Graham, Dempsey Flesher and Samuel Wyatt were, during the war, called "The Apostles." To this, one might suppose might be added the names, John Remley, Thomas A. Roberts, Charles W. Boggs, Franklin Bates and William Callison, to complete the twelve.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
The next settlement above Chancey was made by Willis Burdett. He settled by the creek just back of where John Lester now lives.
Some think he came before Chancey, but there is no authentic date given. Willis Burdett was born on Wolf Creek in Monroe County, where his father, William Burdett lived. His grandfather is also thought to have been William. (It was James, says one account.) He came from England to Fauquier County, Virgijia, between 1720 and 1740. His wife was Sarah Cornwell.
William Burdett's wife is said to be a descendant of the hero, Daniel Boone. Her name is not given.
Willis Burdett came to this place about 1820. The farm was absorbed in the Roach farm, and he lived for a time in a little cabin on the Milt Seaman place on Right Reedy. He lived at the old Billy Hardman place, above where Martin Argabrite moved about 1837, and had three small patches cleared.
William Burdett had ten sons and five daughters, part of whom were: Elijah, Willis, John, William, Isham, Miles, Archibald, Alexander, Lewis, Clark, Rachel, Margaret and other daughters.
Willis, John, Elijah and William Burdett, also Margaret and Clark, came to Reedy.
Willis married Nancy, daughter of John Boone, a nephew of Daniel Boone. Their children were:
William married a daughter of Moses and Susanna Doolittle.
Elihu married Nancy Campbell, daughter of John Campbell, who lived on the Stalnaker farm.
John W., married Margaret, daughter of Joel Anderson, and lived on Pond Creek. Her grandfather was Peter Anderson. Alec Burdett was their son.
Parkinson married an Anderson.
Lowell married Elizabeth, daughter of Sam Hall. She died January 12, 1910.
Peggy married Silas B. Seaman.
Sally married Barnes Smith.
Elizabeth died at the age of five years.
(Jesse Anderson died Oct. 6, 1834, at the age of twenty two. His was the first grave in the Roach graveyard on Middle Fork.)
Elijah Burdett married Nancy Hopkins, daughter of Lawrence Hopkins, on Mill Creek. He first settled on the Middle Fork above Hardman's. Then went to Ripley for some years, but returned to Middle Fork to what was afterwards known as the "Poor Farm" below Peniel. This was about 1840. Their children were:
Morgan Burdett married Sarah F. Cain Boggs, Hawk Boggs widow.
William Burdett married Josephine Kyger. He was born in 1840.
Elizabeth Ann Burdett married James Robinson Amic.
Sarah Jane Burdett married first, William Cain; and afterward, Gamaliel Bord.
James Monroe Burdett married Mary, daughter of Girard Cline, and granddaughter of Alf Cain.
(Elijah Burdett was born November 2, 1805; and died February 7, 1875.) John Burdett lived about Reedyville, and was a school teacher. He married a Swope. Their children were:
Sally married James Graham, and went to Indiana, where he died. She came back and lived across the creek from Luke Parsons. She afterwards married Elias Parsons, and for the third time married Elijah Staats at Evans.
William married a Doolittle, in Jackson County. (Maybe this was John's brother.)
Archibald married a Wine, daughter of John E. Wine.
Dickson married Caroline Callison, and lived on Wagon Run in 1872.
Alec married Sarah, daughter of Old Ben Hardman.
Milt lived on Mill Creek below Ripley.
Thompson married Matilda, daughter of Isaac Argabrite.
James Ellison, married Ann H. Thomasson, and got the farm at the mouth of Tucker's Run.
"Wash" (G.W.) Married Maria Keeney, and lived on Mille Creek.
William Burdett married Margaret Doolittle in Kanawha County. Their daughter was:
Sally Burdett married Jeff Simmons in Greenbrier County.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
Two of the earliest settlers on the Middle Fork were John Keeney and William Walker.
Walker, Keeney and Willis Burdett probably all came together. There is nothing to fix the date, but it may have been before 1820.
Some credit Keeney with being a preacher. Others, who knew him in later life, say he was anything else. John D. Keeney married Rachel Burdett. He first settled on the Deem place on Middle Fork, and stayed there a few years. He died in Ripley in 1855, at the age of sixty five. His wife died Sept. 11, 1861, aged sixty seven. Their children were:
D.J. Keeney (Jack) married a Koontz. He was once Sheriff of Jackson County.
Alec Keeney married Elvira Rader, daughter of Mike Rader, Jr.
Caroline Keeney married John Mackintosh. John A. Mackintosh was their son.
Maria Keeney married Wash, son of John Burdett.
Lewis Keeney married a Staats.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
William Walker was born in Greenbrier County. His father, John Walker, came from England, and was a member of the First Baptist Church, organized in Greenbrier County in 1781.
James Walker was a brother of William.
William Walker settled at the Armstrong farm at the mouth of the stream where the Spencer pike leaves the Middle Fork about five and one half miles above the town of Reedy. He did not live there many years, but moved to the Elk River. (Someone said Greenbrier County.)
William Walker married Margaret Burdett. She and Rachel Keeney were daughters of William Burdett, Sr. Their children were:
Sally Walker married Preston Burdett, a cousin.
Betsy Walker married Wiley Ashley.
Delilah Walker married first a Prebble; and then, Ben Mounts.
Wiley Walker was living on Big Sewell Mountain, Fayette County, a few years ago.
Macklin Walker married Maria Rader.
Madison and Pattison, twins, died young; as also did Robinson Walker.
Mcklin Walker married Maria Rader in 1833. He bought the land where Luke Parsons now lives, on Mill Creek, and built his cabin. He died in 1841, as nearly as can be ascertained. He failed to pay for the land before his death, and his widow moved back to her father's. His oldest child was born in 1835, and as it is not probable that he could have kept the place nine years without paying for it, the conclusion is that the child was born before he moved to that place, probably on Elk Fork. He was living there in 1839. Macklin and Maria Rader Walker's children were:
William Parkinson married Mary Jane McClung.
Samantha burned to death when a child.
Elizabeth Catherine married J.B. Smith.
Susan Margaret married A.H. Sheppard.
Rossalyn married Henry Sims.
William Parkinson (Park) Walker was born somewhere about the Rader settlement on Elk River on May 14, 1834. After his father's death, his mother went to live with her father, Joseph Rader, who moved to Reedy in 1846. A few years later his mother remarried, and young Walker set out for himself, though at a very early age.
He worked his way at various occupations to the river, and finally took passage on a tug boat. This life he liked so much for its variety and adventure, but the river became so low in 1854 that boat traffic was halted. So young Walker returned home to Reedy for a time; and there, met Mary Jane McClung, at the home of her brother on Folly Run, and they became engaged.
He returned to the river for a few months, but the adventure had lost its attraction so he left steamboating, and, traveling overland to Nicholas County where his bride lived, was married March 9, 1855.
He farmed on the shares with his brother in law, M.A. McClung, that summer, but it happened to be the year of the June freeze before mentioned, and his crops were mainly a failure.
They returned to the vicinity of her former home, built a cabin and lived among her people. While here he became interested in the church, probably in part due to the influence of his wife, who was a devout church member.
He was converted, united with the Baptist Church, and in 1855 attended Allegheny College in Greenbrier County, beginning his studies for the ministry. In 1866 he moved to Wood County, being there most of the time until 1877. He did much for the organization of the Baptist Church in that county, and was founder of the Baptist Banner in 1887. He rapidly rose to a leading position in the Baptist Church, and became one of the most famous preachers the state has ever produced. His last pastorate was in the city of Huntington. He died there in 1905.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
William Roach was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1795. (Squire Jesse Roach says the dates on the tombstone are in error. That reads, "Died Feb. 10, 1861, aged 61 years.") He died at the age of sixty six.
When he was seventeen, he ran away from home and enlisted in the American Army. He was in the Battle of Lundy's Lane, and within fifty yards of the lamented Gen. Zebulon M. Pike, when he was killed. Roach himself was wounded in the battle, receiving a buckshot when he carried to his grave with him. He was in the Hull surrender at Detroit, and was held prisoner of war at Montreal.
After the war, he was in Pennsylvania a year, and then went to the salt works at Kanawha Licks. The first man he met on his arrival was Charley Carney, his future father in law.
Roach later went to Indiana, forty miles east of Indianapolis, and stayed in that section three years, spending two months with the Delaware Indians.
Returning to the vicinity of Charleston, he bought a horse and wagon and stock of wares, and started out peddling. On one of his rounds he fell in with Carney again, went to his house, and there met his fate and Delilah Carney in the same person. After a time they were married, wintered one year with her parents, and then moved to Reedy. This date some things seem to indicate, was a little earlier than 1830. Jesse Roach says his father bought 200 acres of land on the Middle Fork of William Reynolds, who lived on the Kanawha below Charleston.
Soon after coming, he built a new hewed log house up to the left of Salt Block Run, on a slope. This old house was a fine one for its day. The joists were sawed, and the upper floor was ob planed whip sawed lumber. The building itself was two stories high, and built of wide poplar logs. There was a cut stone chimney and all in all, it was a fine mansion.
It was still standing when Jesse Roach built his new house down by the road, which had been changed to its present location from the bank of the creek. When the new house was finished a few years later some of the plank from the old house was used in ceiling, old though it was. George Campbell, who first built on the point where Shreve lived at the Early Staats farm, built the house, and Henry Prudens built the stone chimney.
The branch next above Briar Run received the name of Salt Block from a log which had been a shallow trough, hewed in the top for salting the cattle which ran in the woods, on the hills between the Middle and Seaman Forks.
Roach, said his son Jesse, bought his land of "Bill Runnells." (Wm. B. Reynolds) He had a horse mill about the late Forties and early Fifties. He owned quite a large boundary of land. At one time, he bought the Hugh Kyger farm, but Kyger - having a claim on it - they went to law, and Roach compromised for Three Dollars.
About the time Roane built his new house, there was great excitement through the country about runaway negroes. A fugitive had been caught somewhere down on Lower Reedy, and his captors had received a reward of Fifty Dollars. So every one of the faithful was on the watch to "go and do likewise."
There was a corn shucking at Tom Carney's one day in the fall, and John Roach, thinking to have some fun, slipped off and went down home, donned a Sunday suit of glazed black broadcloth Prudens, the man who was working on the chimney, had there.
He tied up a budget in a handkerchief, blacked his face, pulled an old cap down over his head to cover his face as much as possible, and about sundown came trudging past Carney's. He had his bundle on a stick over his shoulder, and was walking like he was nearly given out. At the house he called from the yard fence, to inquire the way to the Ohio River, and of course looked just like a "run-away nigger" to the excited women, Roach trudged wearily on, apparently unconscious of the excitement he was leaving behind, until a crowd of flannel shirted, jeans trousered men appeared in his wake, whooping and yelling. Still the fugitive plodded on, until the yelling, hooting men were nearly up with him, when he appeared to become suddenly aware that he was being followed, and struck out down the road with surprising agility for a negro who was footsore with traveling all the way from the cotton states.
He ran until he came to a cornfield, which, as was common in those days, was filled with cockle, burrs and spanish needles, which stood higher than a man's head and so thick on the ground a rabbit could scarcely get through them.
Here, throwing away his bundle, he sprang over the fence among the burrs, which slid from his slick shiny broadcloth like hard pellets of snow from a slate roof. Over the fence bounded the gang of wool clad men, Bill Carney in the lead. Now Carney was a small man and a good runner, so he soon outdistanced the other pursuers. His hat fell off in crossing the fence, and his curly haired head bobbed up and down among the weeds like a little dog in tall oats. He circled round and round over the bottom after the supposed fugitive slave.
Finally the rest of the crowd, having so disposed themselves so as to cut off every avenue of escape, while Carney was right at this heels. Roach was brought to bay by the creek, and stopping, quietly turned around, took off his cap and remarked: "Bill, it's time this foolishness was stopped." Maybe "Bill" wasn't mad – and burry.
Roach used to have an old mare he called Blaze, who, with four or five colts of different ages, ran in the woods back of Dutch Ridge. He had a saw pit up Salt Block for whip sawing plank.
There were conflicting claims among those whom I interviewed as to who came first to Middle Fork, William Roach or Thomas Carney. These I have carefully examined by search of the court house records of land transfers, etc.
So near as I can ascertain, Roach came first, followed later by Carney, Staats, and Brown. A deed on record shows Carney bought the land on the Middle Fork of Henry Clark on April 14, 1830. Clark bought this land from William Tucker. However, I believe Carney moved to Reedy about 1834, for in that year he sold Charles Carney his place on Mill Creek.
The early name for the Leary Run was Tucker's Run, because of the path of Tuckers at the Ellison Burdett place.
The Roaches, Tuckers and John wrigth being neighbors, a parth up this stream to Tuckers was the natural way of travel. Later the stream became known
as Johnson's Run from Fielding M. Johnson, who lived in a cabin a short distance up from the creek.
About 1831, John Armstrong, a brother of M.B. Armstrong, bought the Moss farm known locally as the "Runnell's tract", and built a cabin in the upper bottom, probably not far from the site of the old Pleasant Grove school house. Roach claimed the land, also, and after a tedious lawsuit the land was adjudged Roach's. Later Jim Hartman rented the land, and lived on it a year or so before moving west. There was an old hut stood up a little way in Moss's orchard, in which John Shedd and others taught school. After his marriage, Charles Roach got the land.
William Roach was a plain, honest, liberal man, and is spoken of as a good citizen, but was not ambitious or aspiring, and I have no account of his ever having held any office. He was just a plain unassuming farmer - -
"Who loved his horses and his herds,
The smell of earth, the songs of birds,
And his brook with its water cresses."
William Roach married Delilah Carney. Their children were:
Charles Roach married Ellen Skidmore, whose father, Archibald Skidmore, lived across the creek from the Vandyne farm. He lived at the Moss farm at the mouth of Big Run. His daughter married Hez Rowan. Her name was Eliza.
John Roach was born in 1824, and died July 17, 1875. He never married, although it is said he wanted to marry a daughter of George Campbell.
Margaret Roach was born February 1, 1836; died February 21, 1896. She married Silas B. Leary, who was born June 10, 1828, and died November 11, 1888. He was a harness maker and saddler by trade, and lived across at the mouth of Leary's Run.
Malinda Roach married E.B. Knotts of Palestine. She was born in 1840, and died at the age of nineteen.
Sarah Roach married John Bishop. He was born in 1830, and died in 1875 or near that date. They lived on the Willis Burdett place many years.
Jesse Roach married Anna Watson, daughter of Maria Ingram. He got the home farm and bought John's share of the farm on his death. He sold out in 1895, and went to Missouri for a few years, but has been running the hardware store in Reedy for about four years. His wife died October 16, 1916. (He died in 1921.)
Mary Roach married John Corder. They were the parents of Ed Corder, the Spencer historian. Mary Corder died in 1868, and her husband died in 1873.
Thomas Roach was born in 1830 and died five years later.
Anna Roach married Edward Combs and lives near Ripley.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
Jim Brown, who married Dorcas Carney, lived at different places in the neighborhood, but did not own land. He lived a while at a house on Leary's Run below Alec Chancey's.
It was Brown who gave the name to the Devil's Tea Table, a huge flat rock on the point back of where John Candler lives. He had been attending muster in the meadow below Siley Seaman's and started to go home after night by the path over to Chancey's place which led past this rock. When he got this far, the corn juice he had been imbibing got the better of him and he imagined that the lightning bugs were devils with lanterns hunting for him and that the bull frogs in the dark, dank, hollow below were big devils with deep bass voices urging on their little minions in the search, with calls of "Be–own, Br-r-own, Br-r-r-ow-n-n." He lay down under the edge of the rock, and remained in hiding until dawn, when he sprang up and rushed, hatless, to Hiram Chancey's to tell of his hair breathe escape.
There is a story told which serves to illustrate the childish simplicity of the man. Once, after they had begun to work the roads by digging them on the banks, while the squad of men were sitting resting from their labors, someone chanced to remark that when they got the roads made good, people could drive wagons over them. When Brown heard this, he exclaimed vehemently: "I hope I will never live to see the day when they have wagons on Middle Fork."
Nevertheless, Squire Roach contends that his father moved to Reedy in a wagon several years before.
Brown is also credited with making the first improvement at what was long known as the "parsonage", where Ben Rhodes now lives. The first house there was burned in a woods fire, when Jim burdett lived there. Archie Thomas, a pioneer preacher, lived there afterwards.
Jim Brown later bought twenty acres of land, and built the house where Alec Chancey, Sr., lived afterwards.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
When John Staats was first married he went to housekeeping in a little cabin across the road from what is known as the George Brown place, at the mouth of Long's Run, about 1836. He lived there several years and then went to Indiana. He came back to keep the old folks, (Carneys) and bult at the Lawson place. He later built at the Sam Riddle place.
John Staats was given the farm on Staats' Run for keeping the old lady by her son, Charles Carney, who had been obligated for his parents' maintenance. Staats returned from Indiana, whither he had gone to this place, about 1854 or 1855. Mrs. Carney stayed with him until his death, which occurred in 1859, when he was only forty two years old.
The old lady may have stayed with his widow awhile longer, but was with her son Charles on Mill Creek at the time of her death in 1863.
After John Staats died, his widow and family continued to reside on the Staats Run farm until her children were all grown.
John Staats married Margaret Carney, who died in 1881, at the age of sixty one years. Some of their children were:
William Staats married a Straley, who died January 3, 1876.
Hannah Staats married Jacob Straley, born February 22, 1837, and died December 28, 1895. They lived on the left branch of Staats Run. Later they moved to the old home stead where Sam Riddle now lives.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
One would probably be reasonably safe in hazarding the guess that Thomas Carney came to the mouth of Staats Run not later than April, 1834, when he bought the land of Clark. Carney was then a resident of Wood County.
He was born in 1768, and was eight years a state scout in the Buchanan country. He came to Mill Creek in 1811, settling on the Charles Carney farm below Chase's Mill.
He had been a wealthy man while living on Mill Creek, but had given his children a part of his land, and now, in his old age, found himself in reduced circumstances. Perhaps, too, the growing scarcity of game was inducement for the old man to come back farther among the hills.
A man named Campbell had built there before Carney came, but did not stay long. Years afterward, a cook pot, an ax and some other things were found hidden under a log where he had placed them when he went away.
Bill Staats says he can remember his grandfather leading him by the hand when he was small.
Mrs. Carney used to stay at Roach's and take care of the children. She had, says her granddaughter, a custom of giving to each of her cows a piece of bread and butter every Sunday morning when they came out of the woods to the milk gap.
"Granny" Carney had gone down to stay awhile with her daughter, Mrs. Joe Stout, in the fall o f 1846. She had been gone several days, and Carney went down to bring her home. He got to Charles Carney's, and being chilly, sat down by the fire to warm. One foot began to get strangely numb, and the numbness spread to his limbs and body, and despite all the rubbing and home remedies that could be applied, it terminated in a paralytic stroke, and resulted in death in about eight or ten days.
He died October 15, 1846, aged seventy eight years. His wife, Polly Parsons, a half sister of Charles and Elias Parsons and a full sister of Capt. Billy and Nancy Bord Parsons, was born January 1, 1773, and died December 4, 1861. They rest side by side in the Harpold graveyard on Mill Creek, above Ripley.
Spencer Carney was Thomas Carney's youngest son. He married Sally Hyde, who was working at Charles Carney's. He lived awhile at the Sam Miller farm (on Stover perhaps) and then built where Jeff Brown now lives. Later he took a ten year lease of Fisher on the Badgett farm on the hill; after staying eight years, he moved to Indiana. Of his children;
William Carney married Elizabeth, daughter of William Bonnett.
Enoch Carney married Mat Vandyne.
Delilah Carney married Abe Knopp.
Jane Carney married Patton Carder.
Elizabeth Carney married Jim Stewart.
The others, mostly married in Indiana. Their names were : John, Isaac, Jim, David, Weedon, Catherine, Levi and Charlie.
Jane Carney lived for many yearson Buck Run, near Liverpool. She died the latter part of July, 1911.
Mrs. Straley, a granddaughter of Thomas Carney and his wife, tells many interesting reminiscences of the old folks, from her memory and as related to her by her mother, Mrs. Staats.
Once Carney had a sow who nested with her litter of pigs under the rocks across one end of the point from the mouth of Staats Run. One night he heard the hog squeal. As the moon was shining brightly, he took his trusty old flintlock rifle and went out to investigate. By the time he got half way across the bottom, he saw in the moonlight a large bear with the sow hugged up in his arms, walking away from the rocks. It was but the work of a few minutes to shoot the bear and let the sow go back to her pigs, more scared than hurt. (A corner of the Clayborne Morlan survey was close these rocks.)
Once when Carney was sick, his wife and Dorcas went to hunt the cows. Sometimes the cows would be found up on Carney's Run, and sometimes back on Badgett Ridge. After the women had been out a while, they thought they heard someone calling, and fearing that Carney, who was alone, might be worse, they returned to the house. They found him better and walking around. When they told their story, the old woodsman knew what they had heard to be a panther, and seizing his rifle started in haste in the direction from which they had come.
When he got into the upper coves of Carney's Run, his dog grew very restless and uneasy, and he knew the animal was not far away. The dog, which was a small one, seemed to want to get away from its master and return home. He encouraged it softly, and proceeded very cautiously for a time, watching closely, until at last he discovered the tawny body of a large panther stretched basking in the evening sun upon the top of a large rock on the side of a knob on the ridge dividing Carney's Run and Greenbrier waters. He fired, but the distance was so great that the ball fell too low, striking the rock. The panther leaped down, and bounded away through the woods.
The bullet mark was plainly visible on the rock for many years. The date of the occurrence was probably between 1830 and 1840. This was the last panther seen in that section. The rock is still known as "Panther's Rock" and is on the southwest side of Panther's Knob, a high peak on the divide between Middle Fork and Seaman Fork at the head of Greenbrier.
The rock is level with the ground on top, but several feet high on the lower side. Since the incident of the shooting of the panther, someone has taken away a part of the rock for building stone. However, it, with the large pine tree growing by its side, still marks the spot where the last panther in this section was seen.
When Mrs. Straley's mother, Peggy Staats, was a young girl, she saw one day when she had gone down to the creek a "string of big dogs" passing along the other side of the stream. When she told her mother about them, her mother said they were wolves instead of dogs.
Mrs. Straley remembers that when she was young she used to take corn down to her uncles, Spencer Carney's, to grind for the family bread. Carney then lived where Jeff Brown now does. The mill was a hand mill and was made of two flat stones like grindstones, set in a frame with a windlass above, which turned round and round. This was perhaps about 1847 or 1848. Sally Carney had a cedar keeler she set her bread in, and put it in the spring house over night. Every morning the bread would be worked out, ready for baking.
When Staats moved on to the Straley farm the bottoms were all cleared up to the Valley Forge school house, but the hills were all in woods, left for hunting grounds.
There used to be preaching at the Staats house. Mrs. Straley said, "Mother used to move the furniture into the little house to make room for the people.." A Rev. Mr. Potts of Pittsburgh was the first Protestant Methodist preacher there. Old Benny Hardman was also a Methodist preacher, who held meetings at the Staats place.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
Old Johnny Parsons lived up on the steam above where Joe Carpenter lives, and Joe Miller lived at its mouth.
The Parsons family, which makes up such a large portion of the pioneer settlement of Jackson County, naturally appears now and then in the family records of Roane County, as the young people scattered about and families intermarried.
A fairly complete record of the large Parsons clan will be found in the book on the early settlement of Mill Creek.
Johnny Parsons came from Cheat River. He had a brother, George Parsons, who never came to Roane County, and William Parsons, who lived on Upper Reedy. Parsons was a Methodist exhorter and a Union man.
William (Billy) Parsons married Drusilla Goff, a siser of Salathiel Goff. Their children were:
Rebecca married Wiley Argabrite.
Hyder married Mary Ann Argabrite, daughter of Martin Argabrite and sister of Wiley.
The Parsons name also appears in the Middle Fork settlement. The first farm above Reedyville was settled by George Parsons, a brother of Capt. Billy Parsons. His wife was a Sleethe, and was related to the Fleshers. She was a daughter of his father's second wife.
Ballard Parsons, one of the sons, married Katy Ingram. After his death the widow married Dr. Nelson.
Ballard Parsons daughter, Melissa, was the wife of Dr. Boone. (The family genealogy is given in the Mill Creek Valley history.)
Travis Parsons moved to Reedy about 1848. His house was on the high ground between two little drains below the Baptist Church. The old path from the Middle Fork came down the point past his house. He bought the land of Col. Armstrong of Ripley.
Henry Parsons, a son of Travis, lived in a house below the road, up the Right Fork, where Lottie Tatterson now lives. He married Sarah Ann Boyer. His son, Dr. T.I.C. Parsons, of Ripley, was born in the Fifties at the Tatterson place, The house stood across the road from the present dwelling, and below the little run. There are rocks yet there which were used for the foundation.
Henderson, a son of Travis Parsons, built at the mouth of Greenbrier. Dr. Parsons remembers being at the house when very small (1861) when his parents were hoeing corn and a heavy shower drove them to shelter. They raised corn and flax at the mouth of Greenbrier.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
"Uncle" Joe Lee
At the mouth of the large run on the right below the Moore farm, J.J.P. Armstrong and "Bens" had a still house about 1848. They made the raw, rank whiskey for the natives. It was in a house up this run that McCarthys lived in 1872 and with them sojourned their ex-slave, Uncle Joe Lee.
Joseph Lee was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, about 1842, he thinks, which would make him now sixty six years old. He looks to be older than that by at least five years, though infirmities and deformities may make him appear older than he is.
He told me his mother was Cora Lee. She was the slave of a very wicked man by the man of McCormick. When he was two or three years old, his mother was sold to a slave dealer and taken to the cotton fields of the far south. He has a dim recollection of having seen her. When he was about twelve, his master died. He was sent for a doctor five miles away, and when he returned his master was dead.
He became, after the death of McCormick, the property of one of the daughters, who married a man named McCarthy, who lived in Fauquier County. There were some slaves in that neighborhood who learned to read and write, notwithstanding the fact that it was against the law to teach a slave to read.
After he was grown, he married a slave belonging to a neighbor by the name of Wigfall. There was no objection to or interference with his marriage. He was always fairly well treated by the McCarthys, so far as his physical comfort was concerned. His wife's name was Nancy Ann. He never heard any other name for her. She was, he said, "jist a brown color." They had two children, Joseph Anderson, and a girl they named Henrietta.
In the fall of 1860, the McCarthy family moved to Spencer and stayed there a year. Peter Burke, a neighbor, had moved to Roane prior to that date, and he thought his master followed, Joe and his wife were very loath to part. It was much harder for Joe than when his mother was taken from him in his childhood, for then he was too little to fully realize his affliction.
Uncle Joe was told he should return in the spring to his family, and made arrangements privately at their stopping places on the journey to put up again on his return. He still thinks the promise was made in good faith, possibly so, but it is not at all probable that they would either give him his freedom or set a valuable piece of property wandering alone across the mountain.
He expected to walk the three hundred miles, but he never returned. The next spring the war broke out, and they told him it would be dangerous for him to travel. He had abundant opportunity to have run away, but stayed on with his master for some years after his liberation.
Burke carried news between him and his wife for a time but as the years passed they gradually lost sight of each other and drifted apart. After the war he heard that his wife was married again, so, lest he should "cause some trouble to someone" he refrained from going back. He never saw his wife or children after the day they parted. His son used to write to him after the war, and said he was a shoemaker and carpenter by trade.
The McCarthys lived a year at Spencer, and at or near Reedyville during the remainder of the year. Once their yoke of work cattle was impressed to haul provisions to Spencer, and Joe was taken along as driver. A man by the name of Chenoweth, who taught school at Reedyville after the war, boarded with the McCarthys, and at night he would teach Joe, who, he said, learned very fast. Joe got so he could read in the First Reader, but has now forgotten most he learned.
In person, Uncle Joe is small and narrow chested, with shriveled features and shrunken limbs. He says that as a child he was especially lusty and vigorous, and gave promise of developing into an especially stalwart and valuable slave, but at about fourteen he was sick, and came near dying, and grew puny, weakly and deformed. In mind, he is ignorant and superstitious, with all the simplicity of a little child, and too trusting and confiding to hold his own in the world. He holds the even tenor of his way in innocence, poverty and humility. He still votes the Democratic ticket because he was trained to do that by those whom he trusted. In religion, he is fervid and pious.
Sometime in the fall of 1905, Uncle Joe had a paralytic stroke from which he never fully recovered. He continued to reside alone in his house on the site of the old Carney home. In the spring of 1907, after growing more feeble, he died, He is buried in the Roach graveyard,
Top of Page Return to Index Home
Middle Fork - Miscellaneous
When I knew the Middle Fork of Reedy in the summer of 1872, Dempsey Flesher was the first man living above Reedy. He was a middle aged man, and I presume was the first to build at that place. His wife was Eleanor Murray, and was living at that time. They had three daughters, who were young women: Jennie, Ida and Florence, and a number of growing children.
Jennie married a Corbett, and lived on the home place. She had long been a widow.
In the next house lived A.B. Chancey. He had two grown daughters, and a son, Harvey, who was a large sized boy, fairly in the hobble de hoy stage.
Minerva Jane Chancey married Buenos Ayres, who taught a select school at Reedy the summer of 1874 or 1875. They were married perhaps about the fall after Ayres was elected County Superintendent of Schools for Roane County in 1875. Later he went to Ripley.
Sude Chancey, the other daughter, married Will Ayres, about 1882.
There was a little log building up the Middle Fork, in which Joe Butcher lived. Butcher was married to Phebe Neff, a girl who was working in the neighborhood. He moved here about 1874 or 1875. He built the large two story frame house where N.F. Butcher lives. Butcher was married to Joe's widow, after the latter's death, which occurred in June, 1887.
Joseph Anderson Butcher was rather dwarfed in stature. He was sixty inches in height, and 24 inches chest measure appearing to be much smaller than he really was.
George Fore, another school teacher, auctioneer, sleight of hand performer and general utility man, owned a farm up the crooked run which comes in at the Butcher farm. He was in great demand in debates, Sunday School addresses, and the like, and was counted quite a humorous speaker.
George Washington Fore was from Kanawha County. He came to Reedy in the late Forties, taught school, rain a Punch and Judy show, and the like. He married Miss Irene Chancey, and lived on Fore Run on a part of the old Chancey farm.
Next above Butcher's was Squire R.R. Chancey, who lived in the little old frame house across the creek from the narrows. Chancey was a Justice of the Peace in 1872. He bore a prominent part in the reconstruction period and was popular even with the opposition.
He had three grown children. Jacob Tichnell Chancey was perhaps twenty five years old, and was a local preacher in the Methodist church. He taught a summer school at Pleasant Grove in 1874, and the fall after he married Miss Alcinda Graham. He lived several years in a house he built on the left side of the creek, below Calvary Chancey's.
Dutch Ridge and all that ridge nearly to Reedy was in heavy woods. The opposite ridge was mostly woods. There was some cleared land up the Calvary Chancey Run, and one field on the left of the road up the hill. A field on the Tom Boggs farm also came to the top of the hill, as did one in the cove at the Emmadela Smith farm. The remainder was still in woods, unless it was a little field on the point above where Tichnell Chancey built.
It was about the winter of 1873 that Dick Parrill killed a wildcat with a stone on the ridge between Boggs and Smith's Run.
Siley Leary lived in a cabin some distance up the Leary Run, He afterward built a hewed log house on the little flat below.
Old Josey Graham, a Pennsylvanian, lived almost in the woods, far up the run. His children at home were: Alcinda, Dave and Joe. He owned all the head of the run, his land reaching across the next stream and joining Clarissa Riddle. He had a house across on that stream not far from where Lowell now lives.
His son in law, Dulin, had cleared a field on the ridge at the head of the run. It is now grown over with saplings and bushes, and the Dulin pine, long a landmark for all the country side, is now only an old stub.
Hez Rowan bought a hundred acres of Fisher land on the flats of Chestnut Ridge, and moved on it in the woods, about 1875.
Old Jimmy Rowan, his father, lived with him. He was from Connecticut, and an old field school teacher. He kept store with a few dollars worth of goods in the smoke house at the Moss place.
The other settlements on Chestnut Ridge came later, or about 1878. Rowan sold his farm to Frank Cottril, who was living in Ohio. Lon Noyes, also from Ohio, bought the Fisher tract, and built on it. Garvin settled on the George Six tract and Ed Crop, who had married Belle Eagle, on the point opposite the new house of colossal proportions which Art Thorne started but never finished, on the new road which was laid out on the ridge about 1878 or 1879.
These settlements were all made about the same time. William Beach also bought fifty acres of Ezra D. Anderson, who then owned the Dan Bartlett farm on Staats Run. He moved about 1878. There was land cleared to a greater or less extent around each cabin.
The so called "Parsonage" was a little log building where Bun Rhodes lives, a little nearer to the creek than the present house. Uncle John Rhodes had moved to it by 1875.
In 1872 Calvary Chancey's son, Andy, who married a Rhodes girl, lived in the little log house across the creek below the mouth of a little stream which come in well up to the upper line. He and Joseph Graham were in law about the land in 1872.
Green Valley Church was built in 1887 or a little later.
Flesher Chapel was built in 1867.
Beech Grove, in 1887. The sills were laid on the Fourth of July.
Mount Bethel Church was built in 1899.
Baptist Grove Church was built in 1884.
In 1872, Clarissa Riddle was then living where she now does. Her husband, Al Riddle, a son of Ben Riddle, Sr., had lived there. Jemima and Sam, her grown children, lived there with her.
I suppose O'Hara lived on Long's Run in 1872. John C. Long, from whom the name was received, moved to the Rothlisberger farm about 1872 or 1873. Most of the land on the head of the run and out the ridge toward the head of Mill Creek was then in woods.
John Long was born at the forks of Cheat River. His wife was a daughter of John and Hannah Corder Pickens.
Alf Ball lived on the Ripley pike near the head of Peniel Run. He came about 1876 or a little later. His wife was Sarah Elliot. Her father and Porter Elliot's father were cousins. Porter Elliot was a school teacher.
The Murrays, Elliots, Mitchells, Balls, Coopers and Lyons were all a little colony from Greene and Washington Counties in Pennsylvania.
William W. Curtis was born in Lewis County in 1832. In 1850 he married Rebecca Wetzell, and about 1857 came to Roane County. He lived on the head of Middle Fork. Reno, Albert and Lyda Curtis were his children. He was a Second Lieutenant in the 11th West Virginia Infantry. Lieutenant Curtis was killed at the fight of New Creek.
David Wetzell lived in Lewis County. He married Regina Fultz. He was a descendant, tradition says, of Lewis Wetzell. He was in the War of 1812. His daughter, Rebecca, married William W. Curtis, in 1850, and James Riddle in 1867. Riddle died in 1876.
William B. Wetzell, a son of David, lived on the Raleigh Kyer farm in 1861. He was a Captain of Company "G" 9th West Virginia, and was killed at Cloyd's Mountain, May 9, 1864.
Aaron Wetzell, another son, was in some company, and was killed at Maryland Heights, August 26, 1864.
George Wetzell, also a son, lived in Jackson County. Jake Wetzell was his son.
Top of Page Return to Index Home
Old Charleston Road
There used to be, in 1875, on the ridge back of Reedyville, an old trail, washed deep enough in places to bury a horse in. It led across the divide, in the woods, down onto the left branch of the stream which comes in a the Moore farm.
This was known as the old Charleston Road, and was used in the early days as a pack horse trail in carrying salt from the Kanawha salt works to the settlements.
A deed made by Enochs to John Boggs in 1825 and other patents of near that date call for "crossing Jackson's Run and Trail". (Now Tucker's Run: Trail was the old road and pack horse trail.)
For local redress of those whose habits of living or moral conduct had so far offended as to arouse the citizens, there were, in almost every neighborhood, some organization banded together for the purpose of metering out punishment outside the law.
In the deep south it was the Ku Klux Klan. Here on Middle Reedy it was the Red Men.
On various occasions night raids were made, and the offending ones punished by severe whipping by the Red Men. Some of the victims attempted to retaliate by law, but it was not a success, and the offenders mostley moved elsewhere.
Top of Page Return to Index Home