UPPER MILL CREEK

From the forks of Mill Creek, at what is now known as the Windon farm, to the extreme head at the low gap on the Ripley and Spencer pike where the road crosses the divide, on to the waters of the Little Kanawha, is twelve and one half miles.

This left branch, formerly known as the Trace Fork, is now considered the main stream, and is call Mill Creek only.

There are seven important branches emptying into it, two from the right and five from the left side.

The earliest settlements were made on the lower stream, along the bottomlands of the creek itself, and its tributaries gradually extending upstream, as the tide of immigration flowed in.

The country is good for farming along the streams where the bottoms are usually of good width and fertile, the hill land is broken and in places very steep. Again, the hill sides go up very gradually, and there are often fine tracts of rolling or flat lands on top of the ridges.

There is the greatest diversity of soil, all kinds being present, from the black waxy red clay, and deep, black sandy loam, to the poorest of white clay and yellow sand, and often a ten acre field will show several different kinds of soil.

The rougher surface is as a rule on the northern and eastern face of the hills, and the smoother, and generally poorer, on the opposite.

As a whole, the hill country is better adapted to grazing than to farming purposes, as most of the hillsides are bad to wash when plowed.

Between the mouth of Sycamore and Station Camp, the road makes a short cut, across a point, leaving the bend of the creek a few miles to the right at Chase's Mills.

This is known as the Ripley Mill, and it is about four and a half miles from town to the intersection of the creek road.

Around the stream, the distance would be farther.

At the mouth of Elk Fork, there is a stretch of one mile in a bend of the creek without any road, except the one which comes down Elk Fork. It passes down Mill Creek a couple of hundred yards, and crosses at the mouth of a little ravine which it follows a quarter of a mile to the top of the hill, joining the pike at the Mount Olive Church.

There do not appear to be any old improvements on this ridge, the most of it being cleared since the war, and a great part in the last ten or twelve years.

Off a mile to the left from the Ripley pike, and on the same ridge, is the Leonard King farm, referred to earlier.

The surface of this land, although much cut up with hollows, is rolling, and the effect pleasing to the eye, but it is a most tiresome road to travel. The different streams putting into Mill Creek on the one hand, and Sycamore and Station Camp on the other, lap past each other so often that the pike which follows the top of the ridge turns and twists and zigzags between them in a manner most bewildering to a stranger.

The soil is white and thin, but fruit seems to do well if the trees are planted while the ground is fresh.

The first and largest branch of Upper Mill Creek is Elk Fork, which enters on the right about five miles from the forks of the creek.

It received its name from the fact that two elk, the only ones known in this section after its settlement by the whites, were seen on its waters.

They were discovered by a colored man, Adam, the slave of Michael Rader, Sr., while deer hunting, and though he followed them all day, he failed to get a shot at them. Many say the elk were killed. Abe Litton said that he had seen the horns at Raders.

Elk Fork is thirteen miles long, and the principal streams flowing into it are Wolf Run, Scale Run, Baby Hollow, Welch Run, Clay Lick Run, Spruce, Haw and Forked Runs, and the tree large branches, Billy's Run, which heads at Red Knob in Roane County, and the Right and Left Forks.

Billy's Run was named for "Old Billy" Allen, the father_in_law of James Rader, who got lost while hunting, and camped one night on the run.

Station Camp is a smaller stream which empties into Mill Creek from the left perhaps a half mile above Elk Fork. It heads against the right branch of Sycamore.

The name suggests its own origin, but I have never heard the incident from which it was derived.

Joe's Run is a good sized run which, while not long, spreads out in a fan shape and drains a large boundary of land. It has two main branches and several large brooks flowing into it. It heads against Station Camp, Sycamore and Trace Fork of Sandy.

Just beyond Joe's Run, at the head of Sycamore, and on the Mill Creek Sandy divide, are two large sand rocks standing on top of the hill, known as the twin rocks. One of them is an extension of the top of the ridge, and the other has by some convulsion of nature become detached from it, at some time. They now stand about ten or twelve feet apart, giving scant room for the road which passes between them. The outside rock is about eight feet high.

The name of Joe's Run was derived from Joe Parsons, a wild and picturesque character who came to Mill Creek from the settlements on the Buckhannon, about the same time the other Parsons did. Just what relation he was to them does not fairly appear, some call him a cousin to Captain Billy, others just first cousin once removed, and others make the kinship still more distant.

He was a hunter only, and did not try to permanently locate on a farm or earn a living, other than by hunting and trapping. His wife is said to have been a wild untamed creature named Mat, who, though scalped and left for dead by the Indians at the destruction of the Buckhannon fort, was not half so easily killed as that, but recovering, came to Mill Creek and lived for many years more. There is much confusion as to Joseph Parsons and his son, who is universally known as "Devil Bill", for both led wild roving lives without a fixed habitation, simply building a pole cabin and "squatting" at a place as long as suited their convenience.

The cabin of Joe Parsons is said to have stood on the left of the creek, near the old ford below the Center View Church, but whether it was there or across the point on the run itself, it could have given a name to the stream, for the other Parsonses at Sycamore, if hunting among the hills at its head, would naturally have distinguished it from the other streams by the appellation Joe's Run.

This cabin was built about 1812, or not long thereafter, and was standing in 1828.

Joe Parsons afterward squatted at the mouth of Little creek, farther up stream.

About 1820, he was living on what is now the Knopp farm, at that place, and there we lose sight of him.

The only one of his children of whom there is now any knowledge is the aforementioned Devil Bill. He lived the same wandering, vagrant life his father had before him. When game became scarce he substituted fishing and digging "sang" for the old means of livelihood. He wore garments of skins and furs, when obtainable, or coarse linen or woolens, and lived in rude pole huts, sometimes without floor or door, and with rudest and scantest of furniture and utensils, even utilizing, as one informant says, large chips for plates. He appears to have been thoroughly imbued wit the "camping out" spirit. Every few years, he would make a pilgrimage to the West Fork, Cherry or Birch Rivers, to hunt fish and "sang", the family walking and carrying their household goods on their backs.

The next stream of importance entering Mill Creek above Joe's Run is Frozen Camp, which comes in from the right, about two miles farther up.

It forks at about one and half miles above the mouth, both branches heading against the Middle Fork of Reedy.

A party of hunters were out on an expedition, years before the upper Mill Creek valley was settled. It had been arranged to meet at a certain spot on this run, to camp for the night, one man says, near the head, another near the mouth. It was winter, and the ground was covered with snow.

The first to arrive on the ground, instead of constructing a camp, waited for their comrades to come in. These arrived later, but seeing there were no preparations made for camping, they became angry and would not assist, moreover it was found there was no axe with the party. So, as the night was fair, with neither rain nor snow threatened, they concluded to postpone camp building till the morrow, so scraping away the snow, they build a fire against a large poplar log, prepared supper, fixed a sort of bed with leaves taken from under the edges of the log, and lay down to sleep. The night, however, turned terribly cold, the fire of sticks and rubbish had soon burned out, and the log did not hold fire, so the party were nearly frozen.

Billy Parsons and Adam were among the party, which consisted of several of the hardy pioneers. Adam, after his adventure with the bear, had been counted not very bright, but this time he proved the most sensible of the lot, for he succeeded in wedging himself under the log where a dry streak had burned out, and fared comparatively well. Some of the men had their feet and limbs so badly frozen, their friends had to procure horses and carry them home.

Ever since that memorable night, the stream has borne the name of Frozen Camp. There are varying forms of the Frozen Camp incident, but the basic facts are similar.

Nearly three fourths of a mile above this is another creek of about the same size comes in from the hills to the left.

It has two principal branches, and drains a large scope of country.

Just above is a larger stream, and whoever bestowed their names on them thought the first too little to be a creek, and the other a little too big to call a run, so they named the one Big Run, and its neighbor Little Creek.

There was a good deal of trouble at the mouth of Big Run during the Civil War. There was a harboring place of the bushwhackers in the woods next the head of the stream. A part of the logs where they had a shed to keep horses in until ready to run them south may still be seen, and there are two places shown where the guerillas and returned southern soldiers used to camp under the rocks. The bridge over Big run was cut down and Captain Baggs' company were fired on while going from Ripley out to Spencer. One man, it is said, was killed or wounded, so he died. In return, Baggs burned several buildings, and there was a fight on the point between Gravel Run and the pike, back of the blacksmith shop at John Dukes.

There has been a camping ground of the Indians or some previous race in the wide bottoms between the mouth of Big Run and Little Creek. There have been hollowed rocks with other smaller ones worn smooth, like mortar and postal for cracking grain, picked up, and darts, knives and spearheads were common when the fields were first plowed. There are some low mounds which may have been conical in form before the ground was tilled.

One of these elevations was opened in September, 1898, by a party consisting of Frank Knopp, Dr. S.W. Bull, Eldridge Parsons and perhaps others.

This mound was in the bottom on the west side of Big Run, on the farm of Mr. C.A. McVey. The mound had an elevation of four or five feet, and was about flat on top. They commenced the excavation on the west side and dug a trench towards the middle of the mound. Burned clay and rock and ashes were first struck and next the feet of a skeleton which was uncovered complete. This appeared to be a man of what would have been five feet, seven or eight inches tall, and by his side had been buried a child that might have been two or three years old.

There were several other skeletons of grown persons of smaller stature, and one of an infant which had only cut two or three teeth at the time of its death.

Most of the bodies were thought to have been buried sitting up, the bones being in heaps, the heads were shaped something like a dog's skull, with low forehead and heavy protruding jaws, showing a people of low order of intellect.

The body of the supposed chief lay extended, the head being toward the north east, and feet to southwest. There were many implements of flint, stone and deer's horn found in the mound.

The above is written from a verbal account given by Mr. Parsons from memory five years after the opening of the mound.

There was a terrible boiler explosion at a sawmill on Frozen Camp, about a mile up from the mouth, in 1899, in which two men were killed, and others badly wounded.

Three fourths of a mile, or less, above Little Creek flows into Mill Creek from the northeast. It is two and a half miles to the forks, and each branch is about one and a half miles long.

Poplar Fork heads against the head waters of Sandy, and Walnut Fork rises in Roane County in a hill which stands between the sources of Sandy, Right Reedy and Little Creek.

The most of this region was a wilderness until comparatively recent times, or say, about fifty years ago.

Buffalo is a smaller stream rising against the Middle Fork of Reedy, and being mostly in Roane County.

It empties into Mill Creek at the village of Buffalo City, which is about two mile from the head.

Another village is Frozen Camp, which consists of a store and post office, and four or five dwelling houses. There used to be a carding machine plant, but it was burned by the soldiers, and never rebuilt.

Frozen Camp lies on the second bottom above the mouth of Big Run.

The Baptist Grove Church, built in 1881, and graveyard are near this place.

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PARISH FAMILY

There is a village known as Parishtown at Joe's Run, and Gay is on Elk Fork a few miles from its mouth.

The Parish family were descended from one William "Parrish", who came from England and was connected with the "celebrated Morgan Family". His son, William, born near Fairmont, West Virginia, in 1804, married Elizabeth Hamilton, died at Ripley in 1896. He moved to Wirt County in 1855, and to Ripley in 1868.

Calder H. Parish, his son, was born near Mannington, in 1848. He lived near the mouth of Joe's Run, and married Mary Frances Parsons, born at Middleport, Ohio. Their children were:

Clero A. Parish.

Della Parish, married Francis Huddleston.

Libbie Parish, married Benjamin Stats, a Spencer baker.

Homer C. Parish.

Grace E. Parish, married A.B. Gainer, a Spencer butcher.

Marie Parish, married E. M. Sinnett, of Spencer.

Isabelle Parish, married Henry D. Goff.

John C. Parish.

Children of William Parish, Jr., were Nancy, wife of Wils Parsons, Hamp Parish, and Charley Parish.

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WINDON FARM

In a raised piece of ground, directly opposite the mouth of Tug Fork, and well back from the creek, is one of the most beautiful building sites in Jackson County. The bottom here from the creek to the road is some thirty poles wide.

Upon this knoll stands the ruins of an old house, now fallen under the crumbling hand of time, though once a stately mansion. It is surrounded by a field of over twenty five acres of beautiful bottomlands.

The first settler here was probably John Casto. Later, Thomas Carney, Jr., lived here.

On the hill is the pioneer graveyard, but the exact site is long since lost. Here lie Elijah Rollins and wife, and probably William Casto, the victim of the accidental shooting, and others of the earliest settlers.

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KEENAN FARM

A short distance above this, the creek divides the bottom into two more or less equal portions, and somewhere in this bottom the first cabin on Trace Fork was built, save a hut in which the hunter, Joe Parsons, lived.

So far as we can ascertain, the first occupant of this cabin was Jacob Hyre, who came from Hacker's Creek to Mill Creek, in 1815, and lived here two or three years before moving farther up the creek. The land may have belonged to Carney, as claimed by some, and possibly there had been a squatter or tenant occupant before Hyre came, thought I do not think it probable.

The road or trail in the early days followed the creeks usually, and there used to be a large beech tree, which died a few years ago, and has fallen down, on which was carved J. H. 1815, which was cut by Jacob Hyre the year he came out here, when he was only a little past twenty one years of age.

Who next lived on this farm is not given, all being blank until some time in the early thirties, when it passed into the hands of Thomas Bord, who had married a daughter of John Harpold, who lived at the ford above Ripley.

Bord was a son of Patrick Bord, the pioneer of Reedy, being four years old at the time of the emigration from Greene County, Pennsylvania, to the wilds os western Virginia.

He lived on this farm several years, and was one of the most ingenious blacksmiths, gunsmiths and mechanics ever in Jackson County.

It is said he experimented a long time with the problem of perpetual motion, and there used to be a story extant that he once constructed a flying machine, with which he rose from the top of a neighboring hill and soared majestically over Ripley, unfortunately breaking his machine.

From a habit of always expressing assent to a proposition by a phrase, "That's a fact, sure", he was known every where as "Fact Tom" or "Fact-sure Tom Bord", which served to distinguish from two others of the same name.

He was born in November 1811, and died in the summer of 1869.

The farm belonged for a time to a man by the name of Grant, from Lynn Camp, in Wirt County. Next, about the middle of the war, it was bought by an Irishman named Keenan, since which time it has been known as the Keenan Farm.

Keenan came from the green isle of Erin to Kanawha County, in 1861. He moved to Calhoun County, but only stayed there one year, owing to his neighbors who, because of his ourspoken and radical union sentiments, made it too hot for him there. Driven away from home, he found an asylum in the wide and pleasant valley of Mill Creek.

There is a graveyard on this farm, in which are buried some negroes who were slaves of Charles Carney.

One hot, dusty, summer's day, while passing, I stopped for a drink at an old well out in the field from the road a bit. The proprietor who was working near said he knew nothing of the history of that well, probably it was the site of the old house in which Bord lived.

The Keenan house is a double log cabin, still standing, on the opposite side of the creek.

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HYRE FAMILY

Next above the Keenan farm is that owned by Jacob Hyre.

He owned the bottomlands along the creek for a mile or more.

His cabin was on the south side of Mill Creek, above where Philip Shato now lives. He built there about 1817, and continued to reside at that spot until an old man.

He died in 1855, and is buried near the mouth of Joe’s Run, in the Ben Bord graveyard.

The first place above the Keenan farm was settled by Jonathan Hyre, son of Jacob, who married Elizabeth Wright, and built on the lower part of his father’s farm, while the bottoms were still in woods.

When clearing the heavy beech bottom below the Shatto house, he found the bones of the buffalo shot by his father years before.

It was perhaps about 1820, or earlier, that Jacob Hyre discovered a large buffalo drinking at the Lick Spring, below where Mr. Roush now lives. He shot it, wounding it severely, and following it, the dogs brought it to bay in the lower bottom, where he killed it, and taking its “robe”, left the carcass.

Up next the upper end of the Hyre place, the creek makes a bend to the right. A brook comes in and, though only about a yard wide and not over a mile long, spreads out in a fan shape, draining the one side of the half of Ripley hill, the circumference of its drainage basin being over three miles.

At the foothills, at the spreading of the fan, on the right side of the road, is the residence of David Hyre.

A large stone house with wooden “L”, and all surrounded by fruit trees and grapevines, for the present owner makes a specialty of fruit growing, it is one of the most pleasantly situated dwellings in the country.

The house was mostly built by Jonathan Hyre, while living, and completed by his son.

Just across the road, and a little lower down, stood the cabin in which lived George Parsons, a son of Charles Parsons, Sr.

He appears to have sown and perhaps harvested a goodly crop of wild oats, but settled down before his death, joined the church and, it is even said, preached.

Jacob Hyre was born in what is now Lewis County, on Hacker’s Creek, January 1st, 1784.

He married Mary Beath, and moved to Mill Creek in 1815. He died in 1855, and his wife, who was nearly five years his elder, in 1859.

She was an energetic sort of a woman, and when her husband became discouraged trying to make a living and declared they would be sure to starve, she replied, “they were not going to starve either”. She hadn’t come to Mill Creek to starve, so, shouldering her axe or mattox, she would go to the field and work bravely by the side of her husband all day, and at night would spin the wool or flax for the manufacture of clothing for themselves and children, often sitting up till the middle of the night, with no light to work by but what was afforded by split pine knots in the middle, or a rag wick in a cup of grease in the summer.

Grandmother Hyre had a nice little pet bear about the size of a cat, which was very interesting and playful. One day she had churned a large churn full of cream in one of the old fashioned wooden churns of the day, and having completed the churning, left the lid off while she took a pail and went to the spring for a bucket of water, with which to rinse down the churn before gathering her butter. While stooping down to dip the water, she heard a mighty splash at the house, followed by a terrible splattering. Hastening back, she found the bear had climbed up the churn to investigate, and, losing his balance, had tumbled in, head over ears, and was now bobbing up and down in her butter.

Jacob Hyre had six children.

Jonathan Hyre married Elizabeth Wright, daughter of Benjamin Wright. She died in 1901, at nearly seventy nine. (I rathre think it was Dorcas Wright, daughter of Levi Casto’s wife.)

Jacob Hyre married an Aultz, who lived on Poca, and she dying, next married Dorcas Casto (Erilla D.) , daughter of Levi Casto. He died in 1854, aged thirty five years, she a year earlier, when but nineteen,

Mary Hyre married David Harpold.

Rebecca Hyre married Michael C. Rader.

Two sisters married in Upshur County, the one a Hebler, the other a McNulty.

Jonathan Hyre died in 1880, aged sixty eight. He and his wife are buried at the Mount Olive burying ground.

In the early days, the settlers made their own powder, of dogwood, charcoal, salt peter, and other home ingredients the wilderness afforded. This answered a very good purpose for use in their old-fashioned flint lock deer guns, but they had to buy a finer article for use in priming. In the Mill Creek Valley this was usually procured at Point Pleasant (or “The Point”, as it was called), or from Charleston when they went after salt.

It is related that when Jonathan Hyre was a little boy, he saw, when out at play one day, “an animal with a big head”, as he told his father on running to the house. Investigation disclosed a panther in a neighboring tree. Sending the boy up to his brother-in-law, Wolfe, who lived a mile up the creek, for priming powder, of which he chanced to be out, he, seeing the animal evinced an intention of attacking him, knocked it out of the tree with a rock, and then dispatched it with a club, before the child, who had run all the way, arrived with the powder and help.

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WOLFE FAMILY

The next farm is a mile or more above Hyre's and just below Elk Fork, and was known as the James Wolfe farm. It has for many years been the residence of Summerfield Thomas.

James R. Wolfe was born and raised near the ort on Hacker's Creek, not far from the present village of Jane Lew.

Here is a "curious incident" related in Withers' "Chronicles of Border Warfare', page sixty seven:

"Jacob Wolfe, in digging a well on Hacker's Creek, found a piece of timber, which had evidently been cut off at one end, twelve or thirteen feet in the ground, --- marks of the axe were plainly visible on it."

James R. Wolfe married Frances Beath, a sister of Mary Beath, who married Jacob Hyre. One informant says that after her death, he returned to Lewis Count, and married the widow Straley.

He died on the farm above mentioned, and was buried on the point back of the house. There are several persons buried at this spot, but are now no markers, and it has long since ceased to be used for burial purposes. It is even said that some years ago, the then owner commenced to plow it up, but became frightened and desisted, fearing ghosts would retaliate. Mrs. Thomas (Hogsett) Rader says there used to be a gravestone marked "Lizzie".

The children, as given by the widow of the late James Wolfe, were:

Abe, Joe, Jake, Tommy, Jim, Lon, Mary, Katie, Nancy, Peggy and George.

James R. Wolfe and wife moved to Mill Creek in August, 1821, bringing with them eight children. With them came Francis King and wife and Jacob Wolfe, thirteen persons in all, and they brought all their goods and everything on five horses. They were four days on the road, and never inside of a house in that time.

They first settled at the Wash Rader farm, near the mouth of Station Camp, now the residence of Mr. Charles Shinn.

The immediate object of the move was to find a better hunting ground.

Jonathan Wolfe, who came with Tanner to Spencer in 1812, is said to have been a brother. He married Bridgett Runyan, a sister of Henry Runyan.

James R. Wolfe's children were:

Abraham Wolfe was born March 25th, 1811, and married Emily Boswell, in 1835, lived for many years on Parchment, and died the spring of 1904. His children were C.M., Nohemiah, Adam, John, Jane who married Isam Rhodes, and Virginia, who married G.P. Morrison. The O.J. and C.S. Morrison, merchants, were their sons.

Joseph Boath Wolfe, born in 1819, married in Lewis County, at Hacker's Creek, to Elizabeth Alkire, a daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Bonnet Alkire, in 1842, and a year later moved to Roane County. He died in 1895, and she died March 21st, 1911. Elizabeth C., their daughter, married John W. Daniels.

Jacob Wolfe, born in the early 1800's, married Sally Boswell. Aunt Sally died at the age of seventy seven years.

George Wolfe built the first house where John Rader now lives, 1907. Mrs. Ludwick says his first wife was a Crites, and his second a Bord.

James G. Wolfe married Lizzie Straley, and lived on Station Camp. He was born in 1826, and died December 26th, 1889. She died December 22nd, 1911, aged eighty four years.

Thomas Wolfe married Susan Garnes and went west.

Margaret Wolfe married Isaac Crites.

Rebecca Wolfe married Charles Parson, Jr.

Nancy Wolfe married Elijah Baker, of Reedy, and lived at Leroy, on Sandy. Their children were Dal Baker, who married a Johnson, Frank who married Alice Stout, and America, who married John Spencer.

Mary Wolfe married Lenox Armstrong.

It is stated that the grandmother of Elizabeth Alkire Wolfe was a daughter of Jesse Hughes.

A Lewis Wolfe lived on Elk Fork at the place above Ellet Hyre's, no date given.

Reece Wolfe was a local preacher from Monongahela, who settled on the Little Kanawha before 1799. He was probably not connected as his name was at first spelled "Woolf".

C. M. Wolfe was a son of Abram, whose second wife, Jemima Kessell, died in 1872.

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RADER FAMILY

Michael Rader lived on the first farm up Elk. He owned at one time several thousand acres of land, including the lower part of Elk Fork and Mill Creek, up to above where Hamp Parish now lives, all lower Station Camp, and a large part of Frozen Camp.

He lived at the Mackintosh farm, about a mile up from Mill Creek, where he moved from Mason County before 1810, probably 1808.

He was born in the Shenandoah Valley, of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. It is related of him that he talked a very broken English.

The house Michael Rader lived in was just below where the Mackintosh house now stands, the latter is the Joesy Rader house.

He built a mill on Elk, the first excepting Thomas’s mill, on the creek above Ripley.

Rader was wealthy and kept several negro slaves, as did his sons after him.

One of these, Adam by name, was mostly employed in hunting, and kept up the supply of meat for the family.

It was he who found the elk from which the stream received its name.

Michael Rader went from the Shenandoah Valley to Greenbrier County, thence to Mason, and to what is now Jackson County.

Michael Rader was a member of the first County Court of Mason County, a the time of its organization in 1804.

In 1835, Michael Rader was receiving a pension from the State of Virginia, as a Militia man. County and date of enlistment not given.

While I have not the date of his death, he was eighty three years old in 1835, which makes the year of his birth about 1751.

Rader Family Record, copied from the family Bible in 1903:

Michael Rader, born March 8th, 1751, married to Catharine Long December 25th, 1769. Their children:

Elizabeth Rader, born December 28th, 1771.

Catharine Rader, born December 29th, 1773.

Susannah Rader, born December 23rd, 1776.

Abraham Rader, born January 20th, 1779.

James Rader, born January 28th, 1782.

Philip Rader, born March 26th, 1784.

Polly Rader, born February 18th, 1786.

Michael Rader, Jr., born February 12th, 1788. He had a pension for service in the War of 1812.

Joseph Rader, born October 21st, 1790. (Died in 1880.)

History of Ritchie County gives the name of Joseph A. Rader.

Copy of Family Record of James Rader’s Family:

James Rader, born January 28th, 1782, died June 12th, 1839. Married Hannah Allen on June 6th, 1805. She was born January 19th, 1781, and died April 27th, 1861. Their children were:

William Allen Rader, born April 8th, 1806, died June 23rd, 1860.

Lizzie Allen, died April 3rd, 1860.

Michael Campbell Rader, born November 29th, 1807, and died April 14th, 1880.

John Rader, born November 26th, 1810, died April 15th, year not known.

Robert Rader, born November 18th, 1812, died unmarried.

Miriam Rader, born August 1st, 1816, died June 4rh, 1850.

Edward Hart Rader, born April 14th, 1819, died October 31st, 1909.

Emily Rader, born March 20th, 1822.

James Miller Rader, born 1824, died 1842.

James Rader married Hannah Allen, a daughter of William Allen, of Mason County. The latter is buried at the Rader graveyard, as is James Rader and his wife.

Possibly the Lizzie Allen on the family record is the wife of William Allen.

James Rader was wealthy and a man of influence in the county. He was a Justice of the Peace, and held other positions of trust.

Of his children, there is no record of any marriage of William A., the oldest son.

Robert and James M. died unmarried.

Miriam married John A. Hyre. He was born December 20th, 1812, and died January 29th, 1852, aged thirty nine years.

They lived on the Allen farm, and John Hyre of Frozen Camp is their son. Both are buried at the old Rader burying ground.

Emily married Pleasant H. Thomasson, son of John P. Thomasson, and lived on Left Reedy.

Dr. John Rader was a physician. He married Polly Ruddle, and lived on Frozen Camp, at the Sam Parsons place, afterward moved to Elk Fork.

Some of his children, and probably his wife, are buried with him in the old graveyard on the Mackintosh farm.

Edward Hart Rader lived on the home place, where he was born, for over eighty one years, but finally lost it all, and when over four score years went to Sandyville to live with a daughter.

He was at one time very wealthy, possessing vast bodies of land, and one of the most beautiful homes in Jackson County.

The hill lands are clean and well sodded with bluegrass, and the bottoms are poles wide, smooth and fertile.

The house stands on a gentle elevation, overlooking acres and acres of wide bottom lands, and barns, carriage and tool houses and all convenient out buildings stand close.

It is the old James Rader homestead, and stands on the left of the road, less than a half mile above Scale Run, and about one and a fourth miles from Mill Creek.

“Uncle Hart” Rader served one term as Assessor of Jackson County, and proudly says he rode over the whole county himself, taking the assessment without any assistant.

He served in the Legislature of 1871, and was two years County Surveyor.

He died at Sandyville, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Emily Patterson, in 1909.

His wife was Ruanna Wright, daughter of Ben Wright, Jr., born April 10th, 1827, died July 3rd, 1911, aged eighty four years. They were married December 22nd, 1842, by Rev. Daniel E. Merrill, and raised twelve children, three of whom were living in 1911.

Most of their children have preceded them to the Great Beyond. Seven of them are lying in a row in the shadows of the old graveyard. Each had a neat and modest little slab of marble at the head, but since the building of the railroad, these have been replaced by a single monument more ostentatious. The malady which took so many of the children in the same year was, I believe, diphtheria.

The children of Hart Rader, copied from their family Bible, is as follows:

Emily Jane, born in 1844, married Marion Clifford, who died. She then married a Patterson.

Sarah Elizabeth, born in 1846, died 1875, married Henry Bord.

Mary Isabel, born in 1850, died in 1855.

James Benjamin, born in 1852, married Mary Sergeant.

Isadore Trainer, born in 1849, died in 1869.

Edward Clinton, born in 1854, died in 1860.

Cora Ann, born in 1856, married George Armstrong.

Lena Augusta, born in 1859, died in 1861.

Lida Fenton, born in 1861, died in 1876.

Ferdenand Ferrando, born in 1863, died in 1876.

Dr. William Cordett, born in 1867, died in 1876.

Michael Campbell Rader, the second child of James Rader, was born in Mason County, in 1807, and when James Rader moved, which was at the same time his father came, or soon after, the child’s mother carried him on a feather bed in her lap.

The child would have been over a year old, and it must have been before the birth of John Rader in 1810.

This fixes the date of coming to Elk at 1808 or 1809.

M. C. Rader owned one thousand acres, including the Ben Bord and Jesse Allen (H. Parrish) farms. He moved to the Mill Creek side of the hill in 1837, and built his cabin at the end of the long low point, above Mr. B. B. Bord’s, where the big cedar trees are standing. Later he built on the site of the residence of Mr. Bord. The silver maple tree in the front yard, he set out in 1869, the white pine in 1842.

Soon after moving to Mill Creek, M. C. Rader built a little water mill against the high rocky hillside where the spruce pines grow, across from where he built his first cabin.

This mill was washed out by floods two or three times, and as often rebuilt.

There is a millstone to be seen at the Tom Rader house up on the point from the ford, where Joe Parsons is said to have built his cabin. It is twenty two inches across, and four inches thick, and may have been used in the mill above mentioned.

It has, so the story goes, done service in a horsemill, in grinding corn for the manufacture of johnny cake and corn dodgers, which were eaten with bear meat ninety years ago. Now it is degraded to the baser service of a doorstep, at the gate.

There is a pleasant fiction that the Michael Rader farm was traded for these hand mill buhrs.

An Anthony Rader, living in Nicholas County, made a “bear trap”, Isaac Fitzwater also made one. These were used by Anthony McClung, of Nicholas, and were both in existence at Summersville some years ago.

Michael C. Rader married Rebecca, daughter of Jacob Hyre. He was born in 1807, and died in 1880, and his wife born in 1813 and died in 1882. They were married in 1832. A copy of their family record, is as follows:

Michael C. Rader, born November 29th, 1807, died April 14th, 1880. Married Rebecca Hyre who was born August 26th, 1813, and died May 11th, 1882. They were married June 7th, 1832. Their children:

Jacob Webster Clay Rader, born April 18th, 1834.

Nancy Margaret Rader, born October 14th, 1835.

Mary Rader, born in 1837, married Ben Bord.

Sandusky V. Rader, born October 12th, 1837, died September 28th, 1838.

Elizabeth Catharine Rader, born August 16th, 1839.

Nancy Ann Rader, born March 21st, 1841, died January 9th, 1848.

There were sons born in 1833 and 1844, who died in infancy.

Inscriptions on gravestones which are in Ben Bord Cemetery read:

M. C. Rader, born Nov. 29, 1807, died April 14, 1880, age 72 years, 4 months, 15 days.

Rebecca, wife of M. C. Rader, born Aug. 26, 1813, died May 11, 1882, aged 68 years, 8 months, 15 days.

Michael Rader, Jr., lived on Mill Creek below the mouth of Joe’s run. He was a drummer in Captain Billy’s company in the War of 1812.

He married Catharine Roush, of Mason County, and lived on the farm above the mouth of Station Camp. One informant places the site of his first cabin at the old apple trees by the ford where the Joe Parsons cabin is said to have been located. Afterward, he lived in the low gap up on the point, west of the ford.

This land all belonged to his father, who sold it to him, as witnessed by two deeds, on record at the Clerk’s office, at Ripley:

December 18th, 1828, Michael Rader sold to Michael Rader, Jr., for Three Hundred Dollars, one hundred and fifty acres of land lying on Trace Fork of Big Mill creek, above the old cabin formerly occupied by Joseph Parsons, and joining lands of Andrew Lewis. The deed is executed in Mason County.

Witnessed by:                                 (Signed)                                Michael Rader
John Rader                                                                                          her
Michael Rader                                                                        Catherine X Rader
                                                                                                          mark

Another deed is for two tracts, and is dated May 29th, 1834.

One hundred acres of land patented to Michael Rader, July 18th, 1815, by Governor W. C. Nicholson, described as beginning at a black gum near the path at the first fording of the creek above the mouth of Station Camp, and running onto Station Camp. The other, patented by John Tyler, in June, 1826, lies north of this, consideration Ten Dollars.

In the early days of the settlements, the road crossed the creek above J. A. Parsons, and went up through the low gap, crossing again at the old Joe Parsons cabin, instead of following around the creek, as now.

Hart Rader, says Mike Rader, first built a few rods below the ford, at the mouth of Joe’s Run.

Children:

“Wash” Rader (George W.) Born in 1814, died in 1868, first built where store is at Joe’s Run, afterward moved to the Charley Shinn farm. He was clerk in a store at Reedy, in 1844 or 1845, where there was already a small improvement.

Abe Rader married Polly Aultz first, second Mary Bush. He lived first at the Charley Shinn farm, and moved to Sycamore about the 1890's. He was born in 1817 and died about 1897.

Will Rader married a Dye, and lived at the Low Gap across Mill Creek, below the old ford.

Elvira Rader married Alec Keeney, and lived where the old apple trees are, below Cal Parishes. He sold groceries and whiskey. Rebels raided his store and burned the goods. Whiskey ran in a blaze down on the creek.

Bet Rader married Wash Pfost.

Joseph Rader owned the home farm for a time. He married Martha Rayburn, of the Mason County flats, a few miles out from Point Pleasant. (For history, see Reedy history.) Both Joseph and Michael, Jr., were in the War of 1812.

George W. Rader was born (from record on tombstone) July 9th, 1814, and died September 18th, 1868, aged fifty four years. He married Nancy Miller, a daughter of Kitts Miller, and Aunt of Judge Warren Miller.

George W., commonly called Wash Rader, lived on the Charley Shinn farm, on Station Camp, where his daughter Ellen, who married Shinn, now lives. It is said that he built a cabin near where the pike crosses Joe’s Run, when he first married.

In letters to Abe Rader, who was in the west, written just after the war, he mentions a son, Alonzo, and two daughters, Ellen, who married Charley Shinn, and Eliza.

These letters throw light on the conditions in Jackson County, just after the war. Wash and Abe Rader were Union men, the remainder of the family all being Confederates.

Under date of May 21st, 1865, he writes –

“We have had a very early spring, and we have had some very high waters. On the 9th day of May, the creek was over my floor, as it was in 1852. It was twenty three inches over my house floor (probably an old house nearer the water). I had a nasty time. It only took off three hundred rails for me.

I am nearly done planting. I have about two acres to put in a the Gabbert place yet, and then I’m done. I have some corn that is large enough to work. My wheat and grass all looks well. Stock is high.

I sold my big oxen the first week in May, for One hundred fifty dollars. They would have weighed a thousand pounds a piece. That was seven and a half cents a pound.

The thieves is still a stealing horses, grain, chickens, meat, etc.

I have Bill Harper’s Charley, and two weeks ago Thursday night, some rascal stole him and took him off. I don’t know where, and the next morning about seven o’clock, he came back. Two weeks ago they stole two horse from Tom Wilkerson, and I have not heard of them since.”

Under date of July 3rd, 1868, he writes –

“The weather here is extremely hot for the last two weeks and very dry for two weeks today.

I have been cutting wheat for two days, and I have just one hundred dozen cut. I will have fifty more, I think.

Our county is almost taxed to death, my tax last year was Seventy three Dollars, and this year we are building a new bridge at Ravenswood, and we will have to pay Nine thousand dollars for the bridge. In the last two years, we have had to pay over Sixteen thousand dollars for bridges in the county.

My taxes for township purposes is Thirty eight dollars this fall. I will be strapped, I know.

There is a great deal of party strife here at present. Our Rebels feel very big since Johnson’s trial is over.”

On the 4th of October, 1868, Charley Shinn wrote Abram Rader to announce the death of Wash, on the 18th of the previous month, after “laying sick” “about five weeks”, he first “took” the “information of the brain”, followed by “billious feaver” and “newmonia”. Dr. “Bectal” “on Grass Lick” “tended on” him three weeks.

He also states that the fall was so wet that “corn has pretty near all rotted”. The water had been fifteen inches higher than ever before known.

Copy of Patent of Rader Land made from original parchment.

“Patrick Henry – Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to All to Whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Know Ye, that by virtue and in Consideration of part of a Land Office Treasury Warrant Number Seventeen Thousand Five Hundred and Four and Issued the Twenty seventh day of June One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Three
there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto the said Albert Gallatin apee of Stephen Lacoste — a certain Tract or Parcel of Land, containing Fifteen hundred acres by Survey bearing date the Sixteenth day of August (worn away) one Thousand seven Hundred and Eighty four lying and being in the County of Harrison adjoing (Savary) (worn away) Valcoulous 12th entry and bounded as followeth:

To wit, Beginning at a black oak corner to said Savarys 25th Survey and thence with a line of Savarys 20th Survey South forth Degrees East Nine hundred and Ninety Six Poles crossing the 2nd left hand ford of Mill Creek and a branch of Mill Creek to a poplar. Thence North Three Degree West Eight hundred poles crossing two Runs to a Maple. Thence with a line of Savarys 25th Survey south Eighty Seven Degrees west Six hundred poles crossing the 2nd left hand fork of Mill Creek and two Runs to the Beginning - - -
with it Appurtenances TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said tract or parcel of Land with its Appurtenances, to the said Albert Gallatin and his Heirs and Assigns forever. IN WITNESS where of the said Patrick Henry, Esqr. Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his Hand, and caused the Letter Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond, on the 10th day of February, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Six and of the Commonwealth the tenth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                P. Henry
Virginia Seal
(Reverse side)

Albert Gallatin is Intitled to the within mentioned Tract of Land – -
John Harris (or something else)
Re. L. Off.
(and)

No. 2 (apparently figures worn away)

Harrison
Land Warrant issued         June 27, 1783
Survey                              Aug. 16, 1784
Patent                               Feb. 10,1786

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JOHN H. RADER

John H. Rader came to Mill Creek in 1852, and bought fifteen hundred acres of land extending from a few poles north of Little Creek to the waters of Frozen Camp, and crossing both Buffalo and the head of Mill Creek. There was a house at the George Custer place which may have been on this tract – the Jim Stewart, Captain Parsons house, – where his brother William Rader lived for a time. John Rader lived in the Stewart cabin while he was building on the hill. His farm comprised the Rhor, Webb, Morrison, Rollins or Patterson, Noyes, Dunn, Golden, Paugh, and other tracts of land reaching on the Frozen Camp waters. When he first came to Mill Creek, he moved into the old house at the turn above Ben Bords. He went on his land the spring of 1853. Later, John Rader sold his farm to George Street, of Barbour County, and went to Oiltown.

Joseph Rader, his son, married a Cottle, and made the first improvement where the widow Dunn now lives. He was killed by the soldiers about November, 1863, and his was the first grave in the new Street graveyard.

There are three of his children buried under a large hickory tree in Rollins meadow, and his grave was commenced there, but the rock interfered before the grave was deep enough, and the site was changed to the knob east of there.

Harvey Rader made the first opening at the Morrison or Payne farm, except the slashing for the squatter Davis. He sold out to his brother-in-law, John Broughey, and went to Oiltown. Jonathan Griffin, another son-in-law of John Rader, first settled at the Jack Paugh place on Mill Creek, after several years, he sold to his wife’s brother, Adam Rader, who married a Riddle.

George Rader first cleared the Webb farm.

Frank Rader built the hewed log house on the Noyes farm, but never completed nor lived in it.

Four hundred acres in the northwestern corner was sold to Wash Huddleston later.

John H. Rader was born in Greenbrier County. His wife was a McClung.

The father of John Rader was George Rader. There is a difference of opinion as to whether he was a brother or a cousin of Michael Rader who settled on Elk Fork.

He and his wife, whose maiden mane was Sarah Craig, were both from the Valley of Virginia. Of their children:

Robert lived in Braxton.

George moved to Missouri.

Adam lived with John, at Camden on the Gauley, before the latter came to Mill Creek. His son, Hayes Rader, was once Sheriff of Nicholas County.

William lived awhile in the house on the Custer farm, adjoining his brothers, and it is said, built the house across the road from where Frank Ludwick now resides.

He married the widow Huddleston, and was killed on the Great Kanawha River.

There was a Rader settlement in Rockingham County, in 1864, and a church called the Rader Church.

George Rader moved to Greenbrier from some point in the Valley. He is said to have been wealthy, and lost Ten thousand dollars, as surety for a son-in-law. He bought land at the mouth of Stroud’s Creek.

The George Rader mentioned above, Anthony Rader, and Abigail Rader, were children of Michael Rader of the Greenbrier Kanawha section, and who was a nephew of the Michael Rader of Elk and a cousin of Old Joesy.

George Rader’s children were:

Sinnett Rader.

Dr. Anthony Rader, prominent in state politics.

Miriam Rader, married Jim Atkinson, in Kanawha County. Their son was Governor Atkinson.

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GREENLEAF FAMILY

George Greenleaf lived in Harrison Count, Virginia, twelve miles from Clarksburg. His father's name is thought to have been Peter.

He married Nancy Barnes, a daughter of Daniel Barnes. In 1832, he moved to Gilmer County, near Normantown.

George Greenleaf's children were:

Noah, married a Townsend.

James, married a Farence.

Rev. John, married first Sarah Norman, and later a Cox.

Mary, married Felix Norman.

Rebecca, married John, son of Thomas Marks.

Lucretia, never married.

John Greenleaf, his son, was born on the third day of August, 1816, and was sixteen years old at the time of the migration to Gilmer County (then Lewis County), and lived at Normantown nine years.

He married Sarah Norman, a daughter of James Norman, for whom the village of Normantown is said to have derived its name. She was a sister of "Sis" Ludwick's mother.

In May, 1843, John Greenleaf moved to a farm of over one hundred acres he had bought at Gay, on Elk Fork of Mill Creek. There was some improvement on the land when Greenleaf moved to it, but he did not tell me at the interview I had with him one day in July, 1904, of whom he bought. Being nearly eighty eight years old, and very frail, the old man's memory was bad, and having lost his land recently and been left in his old age without a home, his mind was affected, or, as he expressed it, 'he was "shook up" in his head'.

The first summer he lived on Elk, he made a light crop of corn on account of the lateness in the year of his arrival.

He worked for some of the neighbors to get grain for bread. David Litton, John Bord, and John Tolley were among his neighbors when he came. He helped John Bord, who lived on Frozen Camp, where Miles Bord now lives, to reap his wheat crop that summer.

When Greenleaf came to Elk Fork, he moved on pack horses. There was at that time an abundance of game in Gilmer County, but in Jackson County, it was already becoming scarce.

There were some deers and a few wild turkeys yet.

While moving, he passed a night with William R. Goff, long one of the leading citizens of Spencer. He was then for five years a resident of the Goff homestead, had a small improvement, and a family of four children. Uncle Hi Goff, of Tanner's Run, was then a babe of two months of age.

It is said there were then only two other families living at Spencer, those of Samuel Tanner and Samuel Miller.

John Greenleaf was a minister of the Gospel, Southern Methodist Church.

He was Justice of the Peace for twenty two years, by appointment of the Governor, and four years President of the County Court, elected by the people. He retired late in the 80's.

John Greenleaf and Henderson Harper were about the same age. They died about the same time, and were buried the same day.

Elliot (C.E.) Greenleaf, of Elk Fork, one time assessor of Jackson County, was a son of John. He was born in Gilmer County a year before his parents moved to Elk Fork.

Beulah Greenleaf, who married U.S. detective, Dan Cunningham, was a daughter of Elliott.

Other children of John Greenleaf were:

J. W. Greenleaf, died unmarried.

S. E. Greenleaf, of near Red Knob, Roane County.

"Rua" Greenleaf, married Charles L. Bradley.

Caroline Greenleaf married John M. Bradley.

Riley Greenleaf was the oldest son, lived near Red Knob on Wolf Camp.

Ben T. Greenleaf was John's youngest son, died in the asylum, November 7th, 1910.

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BRADLEY FAMILY

The Bradleys were sons of a Mr. James Bradley, who came to Jackson county about 1843. He was a miller by trade, and worked at the Cottageville Mill a while, afterward, he married Nancy, a daughter of Peter Rhodes, and lived on Forked Run.

John and Charles Bradley married daughters of John Greenleaf.

Sarah Ellen married Dr. Jim C. Casto.

Mary married Joel Casto, son of George Casto.

Sophronia married Jake B. Casto.

Robert married Barbara Rhodes.

Elizabeth married Miles Bord.

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HORNER FAMILY

About 1772, the Horners came to Sharp Peak Mountain. They migrated from about twelve miles from Harrisburg, in Pennsylvania. William was the father's name. He had two sons, William and David.

David married Phebe Michael, and located in Rockbridge County, Virginia. About 1840, he "came west", lived a year at Reedy, (which may not mean Three Forks), then near Red Knob, and on Coxes Fork, about the 50's, he moved to "the Flats". He raised a large family.

Louisa Virginia married Abe Litton, July 3rd, 1864.

Will H., their first child, was born July 3rd, 1865.

Sarah and Mary, twins, grew up, but died.

William died at eighteen, unmarried.

Alice married Thomas Shouldis, lived at Gandeeville.

Cornelia married William Gandee, a son of Samuel Gandee.

D. Irvin married Annie, daughter of Robert Hopkins.

William, David Horner's father, built a house in Rockbridge, and rove black pine shingles for the roof. This was in 1776. It was first re-roofed in 1890, one hundred and fourteen years afterward.

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NORMAN FAMILY

The Normans are of Scottish or Scotch_Irish Stock, and lived near Normantown, in Gilmer County. Squire Greenleaf said that James Norman married Mary Emmet. Their children were:

Sarah Norman, married John Greenleaf.

Felix Norman, married Polly Greenleaf.

Isaac Norman.

Seymour Norman, married a Stump.

William Norman was a brother of cousin James. He lived at Normantown. His children were:

Sally, married Peter, son of Paulser Bush.

Andy, married twice and went west.

Emmet, married a Riddle, Hugh's wife's father.

Seymour.

Mary, married George Riddle. Their children were Jerry, Merch, Sylvanus, Nancy, and Simpson.

Maria, married Theodore Givens, a Baptist preacher.

Seymour Norman, brother of William, married Sally, daughter of Paulser Bush.

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BUSH FAMILY

Paulser Bush married “Lizzie” Backard, and lived in Gilmer County. Their children were:

Peter, married Sarah Norman.

Sarah, married Seymour Norman, uncle of Sarah.

Adam, married Matilda Griffin.

Daniel, married Nancy Riddle, sister of Jerry and March.

David.

John, married a Cox.

Henry, married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Shinn.

George, married Katy Shinn, sister of Sam and Henry.

Nancy, married George Brannon.

Margaret, married Jake Arnold.

Mary.

Peter Bush’s second wife was Mary Brannon, niece of George.

Paulser Bush’s sister, Margaret, married Peter McCune, and lived on the West Fork. Their children were Peter, Timothy and Paulser.

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