The right fork of Mill Creek is formed by the confluence of Bear Fork and Grass Lick, two considerable sized streams, which unite twelve miles from the junction of Tug Fork with the Left Hand, or Trace Fork.

There are two origins assigned to the name of the stream.

The one, that because the path, trail or “trace” leading from the river settlements to Harrison County and the regions beyond, led up this branch, it was called Trace Fork, and the settlers who commonly used bark or rawhide tugs in their primitive harness, instead of chain traces, gradually came to apply the name Tug Fork to the right branch, to distinguish it from the Trace Fork.

The other legend is that in the early days when settlers were crowding in and game began to be scarce, markets were distant and inconvenient, and the people, many of whom had not become adapted to the new style of making a living, thought they had a hard tug to live, and so called their home the “Tug Fork”.

The name is said to have been first used by Enoch C. Thomas, when he moved up on the creek.

The country along Tug Fork is mostly rough and hilly. There is much fine rolling tableland on top of the hills, and good bench and cove land in the runs and small streams, and the bottoms are of fair width and fertile, but the hills bordering the valley are high and often steep.

On the upper reaches of the creek, the hills are so rocky and precipitous and the stream zigzags back and forth from hill, hugging the rocky bluffs so close that there is not room for the road to pass around it. In consequence, the fords were numerous, and owing to the rocks and the rapidity of the current, very inconvenient to the traveler.

The left branch of Tug Fork runs far up into Jackson County mountains, which attain an altitude of eleven hundred feet, and abound in sheer cliffs and wild rocky ravines.

The right branch, on the contrary, includes the finest rolling uplands of Jackson County, especially towards the head of Grass Lick, the hills are low and the ascent gentle with wide tops, often level or only slightly rolling.

Parts of Bear Fork are a miniature edition of the Allegheny mountains with its cliffs, bluffs, rocks, clefts, caverns, fissures and silvery, leaping rills flashing through the sunlight down the hillside.

Often as on Laurel Fork, there are rocks as large as a smoke house, and from that down to boulders no bigger than a salt barrel, scattered over the narrow bottoms below the cliffs, from which they have fallen away.

Some miles below the confluence of Grass Lick and Bear Fork, near the Falling Water Church, a little stream coming down through the hills leaps over a sheer cliff of rock eight or ten feet high, into the valley below.

Tug Fork is twelve miles to the forks and from there to the head of Bear Fork is eight miles, and to the sources of Grass Lick twelve and one half miles, at Garnes Knob, a lofty hill eleven hundred feet above sea level.

The right branch of Grass Lick, in going upstream, curls back nearly to the main stream. If a drop of water were to fall on a knife edge set on the top of Salt Lick Hill, so as to divide it, one half would reach Mill Creek within less than a half mile, the other flowing by way of Grass Lick would reach the same spot, after a journey of twenty three miles, or more.

By water, the valleys are, respectively, Tug Fork, about six miles, Bear Fork, six or seven miles, Grass Lick, eleven miles. By road, the distances are a few miles shorter than by following the course of the very crooked streams.

Tug Fork Valley is about seventeen miles long, Trace Fork, or so called main Mill Creek, some twelve and one half miles, counting the longest branch of Buffalo Fork.

The villages on Tug waters are Staats Mills, seven and a quarter miles up the creek, Belgrove, five miles up on the Bear Fork, and Fair Plain, near the head of the right branch of Grass Lick, and Kenna at the head of main Grass Lick.

There was a Buffalo “stomp” on Buffalo Lick at Lick Springs two or three feet deep, at the upper side, sixty years ago.

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Next was Stephen Westfall. His father was a brother of Zachariah Westfall. He lived here for a space of years and later moved to Elk Fork to a farm three or four miles above the Rader settlement.

I give these settlements according to locality, and not necessarily with regard to date of settlement.

The next cabin was that of George Casto, who moved from the Salt Lick farm about the 1820's. His history is given elsewhere in this history.

George Casto was a brother-in-law of Stephen Westfall, whose sister had been his first wife.

John Ours, a brother of the George Casto’s second wife, owned the next farm, which was about a mile and a half from Mill Creek. He came out from the Buckhannon River, and married Mary Bonnet, a daughter of William Bonnet, who lived above Ripley. After a few years he sold the farm to Enoch C. Thomas, and he crossed into Ohio to make his home.

Then came Jesse Slaughter, who married Polly Rollins, a sister of Elijah, J.O., Zachariah Rollins, from Lewis County, and settled one mile above Staats Mill.

Later he sold this farm to George Casto, before mentioned, and it was the home of his son, Nicholas, till 1905.

John J. Casto, or “Big John” Casto, was a son of John Casto.

He lived on the Elijah Rollins farm for a number of years, but sold it and moved to another place just above George Casto’s.

His wife was Gracey McDade, supposed by my informant to be a daughter of the Samuel McDade who was one of the first settlers at the mouth of Mill Creek.

They had five sons in the Union Army.

Jesse Slaughter, when he sold his first farm to George Casto, bought what has since been known as the Slaughter farm on Bear Fork.

His son, Silas H. Slaughter, settled just above him, and James C. Slaughter immediately below his father.

Daniel Casto, brother of the man who was shot in the woods, settled first on Grass Lick, on the farm where Henry Winters now lives, but moved on to the head of Bear Fork.

He married Polly Shamblin.

I think Nic Casto was my informant that Thomas Carney had been there five years (in 1816).

William Bonnet about 1811.

Isaac Flesher, Lige Rollins and John Casto the same.

Jacob Hyre about 1810.

Michael Rader before 1810.

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Among the first settlers on Grass Lick were the following names:

John Parsons, who married a woman named Greathouse, and settled at the mouth of Stone Lick, on what is now known as the Green farm.

He lived there a while, and moved farther up on Stone Lick, where his grandson, A.G. Parsons, lived in 1904.

His son, Charles Parsons, and about 1860, Joshua, lived on Stone Lick.

Abraham Pfost, a German, next came into the possession of the farm at the mouth of Stone Lick. He lived there until his death in the 1850's, and his son, Marion Pfost, lived on the home farm until his death in 1873. In 1855, Marion Pfost married Chlora Koontz, a daughter of Henry Koontz, who lived on the creek above. In 1876, the widow Pfost, he dying in 1895, married Edward Greene, and his wife being one of the victims of the Morgan tragedy in November of 1897.

Aaron Pfost, a brother of Abraham, at first owned a share in the Stone Lick farm, but sold to him and went to Ohio.

James Chancey came from Reedy, married Polly, daughter of Cornelius Staats, and settled about a half mile below Stone Lick, at or near the mouth of Plum Orchard.

Old Neddy Casto lived yet below that, just after the war, whose wife was a widow Anderson, her maiden name being Casto.

Above the mouth of Stone Lick, the first settler (in point of locality, not time) was James (Old Jimmy) Rollins.

His wife was Elizabeth Shamblin, a daughter of Jesse. He was a connection of Elijah's.

Henry Koontz lived in the early days on the farm now owned by James Fisher, but first by his father, Old Billy Fisher.

Below this, and between it and the James Rollins farm, on what is known as the Henry Winter's place, owned after the war by his father, James Winters, who came from Harrison County, is the spot first settled by Daniel Casto, who moved to Bear Fork.

Isaac Crites settled at the forks of Grass Lick, where Leonard Fisher now lives, and his father, John Crites, the first place up the Right Fork, on the Abraham Casto farm.

Jacob Casto, who lived above him in 1870, was a brother of Abraham Casto, and married a daughter of James Winters.

At the head of the creek lived Jonathan and James Casto, the former on the Jonathan Post farm, it is said and the latter on the farm now known as the George Shinn farm at Fairplain.

James M. Reynolds, father of Taylor Reynolds, lived in the cove at the head of one branch of this stream. His father, Bill, who lived at Kyger farm, on Reedy, is said to have once lived at the mouth of Stone Lick, probably as a tenant or lease holder.

The left fork of Grass Lick is much the longest and largest stream.

Of the pioneers, Jesse Shambllin was the first. It is probably his sister Polly who married Daniel Casto.

Solomon Wallace Harpold or George W. Shamblin's heirs now own the land.

Above Shamblin came Edward Green, who moved in 1876 to the Pfost farm at the mouth of Stone Lick.

Above this was James Rawlings, no kin of Elijah L. Rollins, and next above the Rollins' farm was first settled by Isaac Pfost, the father of Abraham and Aaron Pfost.

Olf Jimmy Greer owned this place after the war, and it is now known as the homes of James O. and R.P. Shinn, sheriff and ex_sheriff of Jackson County.

This appears to be as far as the pioneer settlements extended. About 1870, Greer lived on the Shinn brothers' farm. He had a son Webb Greer, who was found killed in the woods.

After the war, the settlers were:

Jeffers at the Eli Simmons place, and Tapley Garnes on the left above that.

Garnes married Anna Parsons, a sister of Joshua, above this lives George Garnes, son of Tapley, and son of "Jacky" Garnes.

A mile directly over the hill from George Garnes is Stone Lick, a considerable stream yet at the place.

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Old family traditions say that two boys were on a Spanish ship captured by the English years ago. All the crew were killed but the two boys, who, so versions say, were brothers. These boys were brought to America and sold as slaves or servants in the colony of New Jersey. The name of one was Casto, and that of the other Castro, or says one account, when set free at twenty one, one assumed the other’s name of Casto. If not brothers, the boys had a brother’s regard for each other. They became somehow separated and the descendants of the real Casto are next heard of on the Buckhannon River, where David Casto was a pupil in the first school taught in Upshur County.

There was a large colony of the name in the Buckhannon Settlement, and several of them were soldiers in the War of 1812.

Soon after that, some of them emigrated to Jackson County, settling in the valley of Big Mill Creek, above the mouth of Sycamore.

There were three lines, headed by John, William and George, respectively.

Between the mill and the mouth of Tug Fork, on the right side of Mill Creek, George Casto settled in 1816, or near that date. He was sheriff of Jackson County in 1834, and helped to locate the county seat in 1831. He was a Justice of the Peace when Jackson County was organized and for many years after. He was a Methodist, and sometimes preached, was a Whig in politics. He was born in 1781 and died in 1845.

He was a soldier in the second war of Independence (1812) and came to Jackson County from the Buckhannon River, where he was born and raised, after the close of the war.

His first wife was a sister of Stephen Westfall. She dying, he married Sarah, daughter of Godfrey Auers.

There was a Peggy Casto who married Thomas Cunningham, a brother of Joel Cunningham, who was a child of the first marriage.

George Casto, the second son of the last marriage, was a man of porminence in county affairs. He was in the Union Army. He married a daughter of Robert Raines.

Nicholas Casto married Lilletha Casto, daughter of William Casto. The two families were in some way connected, and both came from the valley of the Buckhannon River.

The schoolhouse where Nicholas Casto attended was of poles about twelve by fourteen, without joists, and about as high to the square as a man’s head.

Nicholas was a man of intelligence and progress, and lived on Tug Fork. He was captain of Home Guards, member of Legislature, Justice of the Peace, and three times President of Board of Supervisors, also publisher of “Social Songster” Hymn Book.

His son, George N. Casto, long a school teacher and four years a Justice of Washington District, is now serving as deputy sheriff.

Mary Casto married Joel Cunningham, and was living in 1904 with her son Robert, at Clendenin, on the Elk River, at the age of ninety years.

Pheobe Casto married John Greathouse (commonly called Prophet John) and lived on Spring Creek.

George Casto moved from the farm near Thomas’s Mill, up on Tug Fork, about one and a quarter miles from Mill Creek, probably about 1831 or 1832, and later to a farm one mile above Staats Mill, where he was residing a the time of his death.

His brother, John, married Susie McDade. They lived on the Windon farm opposite the mouth of Tug Fork. A brother, David, never came to Jackson County.

John Casto and William Casto are said to be brothers of each other, and perhaps cousins of George Casto.

John lived “on Mill Creek not far above Ripley”, just where does not appear.

He was married and his children grown when he came to Jackson County.

His children were William, John J. and Daniel.

William Casto married Susie Rollins, a daughter of Elijah J. Rollins. He lived a the first place up Tug Fork. William Casto was found dead in the woods, having been shot.

The body was lying by a log, and the supposition was that he had been sitting on the log imitating the call of the wild turkey, to attract the attention of those birds, when some other hunter, hearing him, and not fairly seeing him, mistook him for a turkey and shot him. He lived where Holly Staats does now.

He probably moved out to Mill Creek not long after 1816, and was from Buckhannon River settlement.

He left five children, one of whom, John Casto, married Elizabeth Reynolds, and lived at the mouth of Bear Tree Run, in 1839. He died leaving only one child. It is said he was killed by a handspike at a logrolling.

John J. Casto (known as Big John) married Gracey McDade, a daughter (It is said) of Samuel McDade, who was one of Mill Creek’s pioneers. [James McDade, not Samuel. . .bb]

He lived at the Elijah Rollins place at the mouth of Tug Fork.

Daniel Casto married Polly, sister of Jesse Shamblin, and settled first on Grass Lick above the mouth of Stone Lick, and later on Bear Fork.

William Casto was the founder of the largest of the Casto families.

He came from Buckhannon about 1816 or 1817, and lived in the bend north of Mount Calvary Church.

Some of his children were married before he came to Mill Creek.

One of the oldest of his family was Lucretia, a daughter who married Elijah J. Rollins.

Jonathan married Magdalene Wetherholt, was in the War of 1812, and came to Jackson County about 1816. He lived at Fairplain, on Grass Lick, and died about 1850.

His widow was yet living in 1885.

Benjamin Casto, married a sister of Sam Shinn. He lived in Mason County, and it is said afterward went west. His son Joseph was living in 1898 at the ripe old age of four score years.

James Casto was a highly reputable citizen of the Grass Lick country, who lived on the flats at Fairplain.

He was born about 1786 and died in 1866. He was in the War of 1812.

He married Sydney Kessel, daughter of Jonathan Kessel, who lived on the divide between Mill Creek and Grass Lick. She died in 1883 or 1884. They had one son, who lived a the head of Parchment and was eighty eight years old in 1906.

Levi Casto, another son of William, was born April 2nd, 1808, and died January 27th, 1880. He first married Sarah Wright, widow of Daniel Wright, who was a son of the founder of the Cottageville mills. Her maiden name was Woodruff, probably she was a sister of the Mill Creek pioneer, David Woodruff.

He then married Hannah Carney.

John Casto, who married Nancy Parsons, was a son of William. He had but one child, Anna Casto, who married “Jim” Rhodes, and lived at one time on Frozen Camp.

J. C. M. Rhodes was a son of Chris Rhodes of near Gay, and lived at the Dave Knopp farm.

The widow married John Bord, after John Casto died.

David Casto, who died at Buckhannon, may have been the pupil of Mr. Maddox’s school, mentioned formerly.

Isaac Casto lived at the mouth of Buffalo Lick, on Tug Fork, after Andrew Westfall had moved to Elk. Through him, A. A. Skidmore, who married his daughter, acquired the farm.

William Casto, usually spoken of as “Devil Bill”, was a son of William Casto, and lived on Tug Fork at the mouth of Grass Run, one mile below Staats Mill.

His wife was Martha Parsons, a sister of Captain Billy Parsons, the pioneer of Ripley. He had eight sons and four daughters. Three sons, David, Jacob and Augustus were in the Union Army.

One of the daughters married Nicholas Casto.

William Casto lived to be one hundred and three years old. Many are the droll storied told of his mischievous humor.

A daughter of George Casto, Elizabeth (says Harold Staats), married Elias, a son of William and brother of Lillitha.

William Casto, Jr., was usually spoken of as “Devil Bill”, because of his mischievous disposition and habits of playing pranks.

The Casto’s being a large family and the same names appearing often in the different families had a descriptive name attached to distinguish them, as did many other families, such as “Turkey Bill”, “Devil Bill”, “Big John”, etc.

An outline of the Castos of Jackson County shows that the family in this county descended from three men by the name of Casto who came from about the same place in Lewis or Upshur Counties. They were John and William, who are generally supposed to be brothers, and George, a cousin. At least there can be no doubt the families are connected.

George married a Westfall. By this marriage, they had one daughter.

Peggy Casto married Thomas Cunningham.

Later George married Sarah Auers (a German name). Their children were:

John O. Casto married Catherine, daughter of Andrew Westfall.

George Casto married Nancy, daughter of Robert Raines.

David O. Casto married Sarah, daughter of Robert Raines.

James L. Casto married Sarah, daughter of James Bradley.

Joel Casto married Mary Magdalene, daughter of James Bradley.

Nicholas married a daughter of “Devil Bill” Casto.

Mary Casto married Joel Cunningham.

Phebe Casto married Prophet John Greathouse.

Sarah Casto married a Rollins.

Elizabeth Casto married Elias, son of William (Devil Bill) Casto.

Louisa Casto married Dave L. Casto, son of John Casto.

Matilda Casto married Joe Skeen.

John Casto, wife’s name not learned. His children were: William Casto, married Susy Rollins, Their children were Elijah, Barney, George, Grace, G. R., and John, who married Elizabeth Reynolds.

John J. Casto married Gracey McDade. Their children were Jacob H., Edward, Jesse, Jonathan, James M. who married a Tolley, and David L., who married Louise Casto.

Daniel Casto married Polly Shamblin. He had two sons and several daughters.

William Casto (wife’s name not learned). His children were:

James Casto, born about 1786, died about 1866, married Sydney Kessel, daughter of Jonathan Kessel. Their children were:

Elmore, married Phebe, daughter of William Cunningham.

Nathan, married Margaret Parsons.

George, married Minerva Davisson.

John Riley, married Ruth Boles.

L. Dow.

Nick L., married Margaret Koontz.

Charles C., married Martha, daughter of George Shaw.

Minerva, married Thomas Stout, son of Joe Stout.

Mary, married a Foglesong.

Jonathan Casto, son of William Casto, married Magdalene Wetherholt. Their children were:

Benjamin Franklin, married Matilda Craig.

Isaac, never married.

Barbara, married Billy Goodwin.

Jacob, married a daughter of James Winters.

Elizabeth, married a Barnett.

Abraham, married Becca Crites.

Isaac Casto, son of William Casto, wife’s name not learned. His children were:

Earl, married a widow Sheppard.

Absalom was a preacher.


Modlin, married Al Skidmore.

Ben Casto, son of William Casto, had a son Joseph.

David Casto, son of William Casto, lived in Buckhannon.

Delila Casto, daughter of William Casto, married George Kessel.

Phebe Casto, daughter of William Casto, married John Harpold.

Rhoda Casto, daughter of William, married Johnny Pringle.

Lucretia Casto, daughter of William Casto, married Elijah Rollins.

Nancy Casto, daughter of William Casto, married Nicholas Ours.

John Casto, son of William Casto, married Nancy Parsons. Their daughter, Anna, married Jim Rhodes.

Levi Casto, son of William Casto, married first Sarah Woodruff, daughter of the pioneer Woodruff who had formerly been married to a Daniel Wright. After the death of his first wife, Levi married Hannah Carney. His children were Daniel W., George, Charles G, Clayton, Than, who married Tennessee Crow, James who married a Powers, and Francis Asbury, who married Anna Staats.

Abraham Casto, son of William Casto, married Rebecca Crites, daughter of John Crites.

William (“Devil Bill”) Casto, son of William Casto, married Martha Parsons. Their children were Elias, Charley, Martin, Wiley, David, Augustus, Jacob, Mary, John, Anna, and Lillillia, who married Nick Casto. [Telitha. . . bb]

Information given me by one member of the Casto family gave Levi Casto as a son of Thomas Casto. If so, he was a descendant of still another Casto line, as the name does not appear in any of the other families as given me.

The Sarah Casto who married Benjamin Wright was of some family connection.

The Joe Skeen who married Matilda Casto came from the eastern part of the state, and was an early day hunter and pioneer of Kentuck.

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There were several of the Rollins family who came to Mill Creek, brothers and sisters, but there is no record of either of the parents ever having lived here.

The first and most notable of these is Elijah, who was raised in the Buckhannon settlement, and came to Mill Creek about 1811. He was the first white settler on Tug Fork, settling there about 1816. He and George Casto were local Methodist preachers, “preached a great deal”, and formed the first Methodist classes in the upper Mill Creek valley. He died about 1854, at the age of ninety years.

His wife’s name was Lucretia Casto, a sister of Jonathan, Levi, etc.

It is related that when these boys were growing up, they had the misfortune to acquire that unpleasant malady caused by a burrowing mite, Jesse Carney coming past one day, undertook to prescribe for them. He directed them to strip off and bathe in a large trough of brine standing in the smokehouse, in which meat had been pickled the winter previous. Two or three of the boys obeyed instructions and plunged into the brine, only to spring out again with the greatest alacrity and racing headlong to the deep hole at the mouth of the creek, as if forty legions of demons were after them, leaped off the high bank to the bottom of the cold swirling flood.

This heroic remedy, it is said, accomplished its purpose, but has never become popular among the people.

Benjamin Rollins, Elijah’s son, kept a hotel at the Anderson stand in Ripley, twenty five years ago.

Captain Columbus Rollins was a son of Jonathan Rollins. He went to Kentucky after the war.

A brother of Elijah Rollins, by the name of Zachariah, came from Lewis County, and settled at the first place below Staats Mill. He married Elizabeth Howell before coming out to Mill Creek.

To Wash Rollins and Becca Rollins Price, I am indebted for the following outline of the Rollins family, as well as much of the foregoing account fo the family.

Elijah Rollins married Lucretia Casto, sister of Levi Casto. Their children were:

Isaac Rollins married Betsy Westfall, and lived on Tug Fork. Of their children, there were Nathaniel, Andy and Cretia, who married Pete Murphy. After the death of his first wife, Isaac married Polly Parsons, and a daughter by this marriage married James Kelly of Little Creek, in her later years.

Benjamin Rollins married Phebe, a sister of Joel Cunningham. He died at Ripley in 1893, when eighty two years old. His wife, Phebe, was born in 1810 and died in 1832. (Some accounts say he married a second time to Polly Meadows, who was a widow Coon with a large family of children by her first marriage.)

Becca Rollins was born in 1820. She married Abraham Price (not related to the Wirt County Prices). He came from Greenbrier County. They had two children.

Rhoda Rollins married Sam McKown, and lived on Mill Creek.

Jemima Rollins married John Vandyne. He came to Mill Creek in 1835.

John Rollins, born in 1812, was four years old when they moved to Tug Fork. He married Mary Hannan who lived on Parchment. Their son Watt was born in 1831. A daughter, Louisa, married Clint Morgan.

Aerli Rollins married William Armstrong, brother of Ben Armstrong. Their daughter, Marseline, married John Bonnet. After the death of her first husband, Aerli married Lias Stone. A son by this marriage was Perry Stone, of Spencer. As a third husband, Aerli married John Goodwin.

Levi Rollins married Elizabeth Murphy, a sister of Pete Murphy.

Jabel Rollins married a Janet Parson, and lived on Mill Creek above Ripley.

Jonathan Rollins married Sarah Casto.

Watt and William Rollins never married.

The above name are given in order with the exception of Jonathan, who was the seventh child.

Zachariah Rollins, a brother of Elijah, married Elizabeth Howell. Their children were:

Eli Rollins.

Barney Rollins.

Johnson Rollins.

Adonijah Rollins.

Cideon Rollins.

Wesley Rollins.

Cyrus Rollins.

The names of the other brothers’ children were not given by my correspondent. Of the girls:

Susie Rollins, a sister of Elijah, married William Casto.

Polly Rollins married Jesse Shamblin.

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Jesse Slaughter settled permanently on Bear Fork. His children were Jacob, Andrew, Silas, Michael, Asa, James C, Mary, Rosanna and Elizabeth.

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Godfrey Ours lived in the Buckhannon settlement.

His daughter, Sarah, married George Casto, and moved to Mill Creek.

Her brother, John Ours, came out to his brother-in-law’s, married Mary Bonnet, and located on a farm on Tug Fork, about one and a half miles from its junction with the main creek, and after a few years sold it to Enoch Thomas, and went to Ohio.

There were two other brothers, Nicholas, who married Nancy, sister of Jonathan Casto, and Henry, neither of whom came to Mill Creek.

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Zachariah Westfall was another of the pupils in the first Buckhannon school, along with Thomas Carney and David Casto.

He came from Hacker’s Creek to Mill Creek in 1827, and settled on Buffalo Lick Run of Tug Fork. (Perhaps he was a son of James Westfall, of Beverly.)

He had several sons, among them Andrew, Owen, Clark, John, and George.

Andrew Westfall came with his father, and made the first improvement at the Skidmore farm, at the mouth of Buffalo Lick. He later moved to Tug Fork.

He married Mary Hyre, a sister of Jacob Hyre, Sr. Their children were:

John H. Westfall, married Marinda Green, and lived on the head of Elk Fork.

Noah Westfall, married a daughter of Old Davy Litton, and lived on Wolf Camp, later he married Martha Chancey, and built the first cabin where the late A. S. Chancey lived, near Reedy.

Abraham Westfall, married Mollie Harper. He lived on the lower flat fork of Poca. James and Andy Westfall are said to be his sons.

Susanna Westfall was born on the Buckhannon River, in 1815. She died in 1846, married Stephen, son of John Carpenter, of Lewis County. Their daughter, Lucretia J., married Samuel B. Hinzman.

Rachel Westfall, moved west.

Katy Westfall, married John G. Casto, oldest son of George Casto, by his last marriage.

Mary Westfall, married George, son of Uriah Gandee.

Betty Westfall, married Calvary Chancey, on Reedy. They had two sons, Andrew and William, both in the Union Army, the latter was killed at a tobacco house raising at the place now owned by D. Wetter on “Dutch Ridge”.

Debby Westfall, married Henderson Harper.

Lizbeth Westfall, married Isaac Rollins, whose second wife was a daughter of Captain Billy Parsons.

Barbara Westfall was born August 26th, 1826, married Andrew Stewart, and lived at the Three forks of Reedy.

Virginia Westfall, married Fielding Parsons, a son of George Parsons, of Trace Fork.

In 1772, James Westfall settled at the present site of Beverly. His son, George, married Roxhanna Cutright, and raised a family in Randolph County, probably a brother of Zachariah above.

Andrew Westfall was a man of a good deal of local influence in his community, and like Nimod, was famous for killing the wild beasts of the forest.

His wife died when Mrs. Stewart was but five or six years old, and later he moved his family onto a hill on the flatwoods of Elk. After remaining there a few years, he bought a farm on Elk Fork, one half mile above Tolley’s mill.

Clark Westfall, brother of Andrew, lived on Frozen Camp, about a mile from the mouth. He owned the Elias and Sam Parsons farm.

He is described as a “school teacher and a good one, too”. He taught in different little cabin schoolhouses, or vacant dwellings, during the 30's and 40's.

Clark Westfall sold his farm to Charles Parsons in 1846, and moved “to the west”.

Granville Westfall, who married Captain W. W. Parsons’ widow, was his son.

Steven and Jacob Westfall, who settled on lower tug Fork, were sons of a brother of Zachariah. Jacob died unmarried.

Steven moved to Elk before 1833.

George Casto’s wife was his sister.

Watt Rollins claims Stephen Westfall was a son of John Westfall.

One of his sons, Isaac N. Westfall, born in 1841 and died in 1879, from the effects of a wound received at Cloyd’s Mountain. He married Catharine Tibble, daughter of James and Margaret Calbraith Tibble, of Athens County, Ohio.

John B. Westfall, of Elk Fork, another son, was a carpenter and a noted athlete.

Henry Knopp, of Mill Creek, relates that when he was a boy, Westfall built a new hewed log house for his father, George Knopp. This was considered at that time quite a fine residence, since, it has been weather boarded, ceiled, and painted, and is the same house in which Mr. Knopp now lives.

When Westfall finished nailing on the roof, he threw his hatchet to the ground, and sticking his feet up into the air, walked along the comb of the building on his hands to the other end, where he could climb down.

There was a Job Westfall, one of the first settlers of Sherman District, Calhoun County.

Peggy Westfall married Abe Litton.

Jemima Westfall married first Richard Hite, and second Ches Tenney, who was killed in the Confederate Army.

Ellen Westfall married William Green.

John Westfall, of Lewis County, married Elizabeth Allman, and their daughter, Barbara Westfall, born 1829, married Isaac Montgomery, of Roane County,

Manuel Westfall was killed by the Union soldiers with Andy Cottrill, on Spring Creek, above Spencer.

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Another name prominent in the history of Tug Fork and of Jackson and Roane Counties is that of Cunningham.

The history of the Cunningham family is given, as follows:

James Cunningham and a brother (possibly Hugh) came from Dublin, Ireland, to America, landing in Virginia, and James made his home somewhere beyond the Blue Ridge.

One of his sons, James Cunningham, came across the Blue Ridge and located in Pendleton County, where he lived and died.

His wife was Keziah Barnett, who was born in 1766, and came with her children to Mill Creek, and died at Ripely, aged eighty six.

Their children were James, William, Isaac, Joel, Thomas and Phoebe.

James Cunningham married Sarah Parsons, whose mother was a Flesher before marriage.

They lived at the mouth of Bear Run on Tug Fork.

Matilda Ann Cunningham married Sam P. Tolley, and lived on Bear Fork.

Benjamin R. Cunningham (Rath) lived near Ripley, where he is buried. His wife was Jane Graham.

Isaac Marshall Cunningham married Isabel Skidmore, was drowned at Cincinnati, Ohio.

William P. Cunningham married Emily Andrew.

Thaddeus (Nic) Cunningham was in the Ninth West Virginia Infantry. He had three wives, the first Margaret Powers, second, Saranna Casto and third Charity Boggs, a widow Wilson. He lives on the head of Joe’s run, and is seventy five years old.

Elias Cunningham married Mary Roush.

George B. Cunningham was a soldier in the Twentieth Indiana, and was killed in Richmond.

Lezy Cunningham married Joe Humphries.

Emily Cunningham married Calvin Huffman in Mason County.

Martha Cunningham married Elias Huffman in Mason County.

Of the other Cunninghams, the most famous family is that of Joel, who lived on the Middle Fork of Poca.

Joel Cunningham married Mary Magdalene Casto, a daughter of George Casto, afterward sheriff of Jackson County.

Joel Cunningham died at Buffalo, VA., in 1862. His wife died at the age of ninety two years, at the home of her son Robert Cunningham, at Clendenin, on the Elk River.

The children of Joel and Mary Magdalene Casto Cunningham were: Nathan, Robert, Keziah, Caroline, Matilda, Dan, Miriam, Phoebe, and Sally.

Their son, Nathan Cunningham, was born in Jackson County, on the 9th day of February, 1839. In August 1858 he wedded Parmelia Ray, daughter of William Ray, also of Jackson County.

When about twenty three years of age, he enlisted in the Eighty West Virginia Infantry, and served about one year as Second Lieutenant of Company E of that Regiment, and served two terms of four years each as Justice of the Peace, and four years as Assessor in Jackson County.

During the war, he made himself particularly obnoxious to the bushwhackers and their friends, and on the 10th of August, 1877, he was shot by some of his many enemies, from a wagon, while returning from Ripley.

Dan Cunningham married Beulah Greenleaf, a daughter of Elliot Greenleaf. He taught school for several years, and is now a successful U.S. detective and Deputy Marshall, residing at Charleston.

Robert Cunningham married a Coon, a sister of Chess Coon.

Keziah Cunningham married George H. Duff, on June 26th, 1856. He was born in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1831, and was of Scotch Irish descent. In April of 1844, he came with his parents to Jackson County, settling on Mount Tell, on the head of the middle fork of Poca, when that region was yet all a wilderness. The only cleared land close was a patch which “Devil Bill” Parsons had cleared around a little hut he had built on the land the elder Duff had purchased. The latter agreed to give Parsons three bushel of corn for his claim and improvement.

George Duff succeeded in getting a good education for that day, and in 1853 taught his first school on Spring Creek, near Spencer. June 22nd, 1856, he married Keziah Cunningham. He died in 1898.

His sons, Robert and George, were both teachers, as were some of the younger children.

Phoebe Cunningham married Noah Comer, who is sixty three years old, having been born in Kanawha County, in 1842. One year later his parents moved to the Left Fork of Poca, in Jackson county.

His parents were William Comer, raised on Poca in Kanawha County, son of George Comer, a son of Daniel Comer, who came from Germany to the Kanawha Valley among its first pioneers.

Noah Comer’s mother was Delila Dawson, a daughter of Noah and Ruth Fisher Dawson, and granddaughter of John Dawson.

Caroline Cunningham married Isaac Duff, a brother of George H. Duff.

Matilda Cunningham married Joe Booth.

“Marm” Cunningham married Anderson Alderman, and lived at the head of Wolf Creek.

Sally Cunningham married “Zay” Vandyne.

Isaac Cunningham lived on Mill Creek a few years. His second wife was Anna Sayre, daughter of Joel Sayre.

William Cunningham lived on Mill Creek, below Ripley.

He married a widow Smith, and had seven children.

Phoebe Cunningham married first Elmore H. Casto, and later Isaiah, one of Nathan Ong’s sons.

Thomas Cunningham married Peggy Casto, who was a sister to Nic Casto. Theri children were:

Emeline, who married Mason Casto, Daniel’s son; George, Ben and Phoebe.

Phoebe Cunningham married Ben Rollins, son of Elijah J. Rollins.

It does not appear what relationship this family has to the Cunninghams who were so conspicuous in the Indian Wars on the western border of Virginia.

The Phoebe Cunningham who was captured by the Indians on Bingamon Creek in 1785, and suffered such hardships at the hands of the savages before being ransomed by the notorious Simon Girty, may have well been of the same line, when we consider that the name is repeated in every family of the Jackson County Cunninghams.

The Hugh Cunningham who was the head of that family might easily have been the brother of James who came from Ireland with him.

An outline of the family runs thus:

Hugh Cunningham came from Dublin, Ireland, to Fairfax County, Virginia. He lived on Bingamon Creek and later in Harrison County. He had sons, Thomas, Edward, Adam, Walter, William, Joseph, and Benjamin.

Of these sons, Adam was an early settler of the South Branch of the Potomac.

Thomas and Edward resided on Bingamon Creek in 1785, Thomas having married Phoebe Tucker. William, son of Thomas, was a Methodist preacher.

The Leah Cunningham who married Ben Hardman (see History of Reedy Valley) was a descendant of this family.

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Edward Green, familiarly known as “Old Neddy Green” by his neighbors, was present and a participant in one of the most appalling tragedies with which Jackson County has ever been visited. His father, Charles Green, settled with his family about the beginning of the century, on the Trace Fork of the Poca River. A neighbor, Reuben Harrison about the same time settled on Mud Lick, a branch of Thirteen Mile Creek. He had several sons, among them Josiah and Alexander, and a lad of about twelve years, name Zebulon.

In the spring of 1813, when Edward Green was about ten years old, his father allowed him to accompany him on one of his hunting expeditions on the waters of Eighteen, which he and the Harrisons often made together.

The elder Green and Alexander Harrison had gone out in the morning, and, having killed, dressed and hanged up a deer, found a tree, which, from the marks made by scratching they supposed to contain a bear. Hastening to the Harrison home seven miles distant, they procured axes for chopping the tree, and accompanied by the boys, hurried back, but found no bear when the tree was felled.

As it was now too late to return that night before it became dark, they decided to camp in the woods, as was a common custom. A little search discovered a large sheltering rock, under which they could bestow themselves very comfortably on a bed of leaves the boys prepared while the men built a fire under the outer side of the cave, and prepared supper, after which they lay down to slumber, little dreaming of the terrible fate awaiting them. During the night, the combined effect of the heat and frost caused the rock overhead to burst and fall upon the sleepers below. Both the men were crushed from the hips down, both men died in great agony after two or three days suffering, but the boys, owning to their smaller size, and the mass of rock being partially supported by a rock under the end where they lay, were, though badly bruised, able to extricate themselves, and were found by the neighbors, nearly famished, on the fourth day after the accident.

Both recovered and grew to manhood.

Two of Charles Green’s daughters, Sally and Betsy, married Jesse and Charles Carney, respectively.

Edward Green married Chlora Koontz Pfost, daughter of Henry Koontz.

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Old Sammy Shinn, born in 1804 and died in 1884, came and settled on Parchment, before 1830. He was probably one of the Harrison County Shinns. He lived at the mouth of Grass Run. His wife was Aerligh Heuman, a sister of John Rollin’s wife. His children were:

Jim Shinn, married a Morrison.

Analiza Shinn, married John Stone, brother of Fred.

Rolly Ann Shinn, married Elias Stone, cousin of Fred Stone.

George W. Shinn, married “Liz” Stone (widow Sayre), sister of Fred Stone. She was born in 1834 and died in 1897.

Charley Shinn, married first a McCarthy, and second Nancy Miller Rader.

Elizabeth Shinn, married Eli Simmons.

Katy Shinn, Sam’s sister, married George Bush, in Gilmer County (uncle of Mrs. Ludwick).

Charley Shinn was a brother of Sam. He married Becca Miller, and lived on Cow Run. His daughter, Liz Shinn, married Henry Bush.

Betsy Shinn, Sam’s sister, married Solomon Harpold, brother of John and Adam. Another sister married Benjamin Casto.

“Mire” Shinn, Sam’s brother, lived in Mason County.

George W. Shinn’s children were:

Samuel F. Shinn.

James O. Shinn, married Mary, daughter of Charles Krebbs.

Permelia F. Shinn, married Archie Skidmore.

Reuben Perry Shinn, married Artemisa Shamblin.

James S. Shinn.

Nathan W. G. Shinn.

John Shinn.

Elizabeth Stone was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, April 16th, 1822, and died February 14th, 1907, at the age of eighty four. George Stone and wife, Lucinda Miller, and three daughters, Minerva, Sally and Elizabeth, left Greene County in October of 1823, and floated down to the mouth of Big Mill Creek. They brought two horses, two cows and household goods, settled at the Elias Stone place two miles below Ripley. Fred and Elias, her brothers, survived her. Her first husband was Enoch Sayre. J. W. Sayre and Samantha, wife of one of the Harpolds, are her children.

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