Submitted by Phyllis Slater.
Nathan Masters was the first white man to discover the Old Bear Wallow. He was a prisoner of the British army and he escaped and made the forest his home and in the year of 1777, one evening in September, walked into this swamp and found it alive with bears. It was the crossing point from Big Grave Creek to Fish Creek. The bears had a road that the early settlers used to carry their corn on horses to an old water mill on Big Grave Creek to be ground.
Nathan Master built a cabin here in 1777. Then came John and James Riggs, James Freeman; Benjamin Fish settled in 1790. The Bakers, the McClains and Roberts came early, too. Zeke Lewis built a house at Round Bottom in 1798.
In 1805, the Nixons, the Holmes, the Williams and Jones came. The Jeffersons located here in 1810, then came along the Martins, the Bonars and Evans; Henry Holmes, Sr. who came here with his parents from Maryland, passed a long and useful life at this spot. He remembered the bears, deer, and wild turkeys.
Compiled by Mrs. J. D. Schaffer from Moundsville Echo 8/30/1955.
Copied from History of Marshall County, 1984.
Moundsville Daily Echo, Wednesday, January 23, 1929
"B'ar Wallow" Of Revolutionary War Days In Marshall County Is Pictured
(A picture of the "B'ar Wallow" as it is supposed to have appeared, is in the Echo office.)
The picture is a clever piece of burnt woodwork, done by Jesse Holmes of near Rosbys Rock. The board on which it is burned and the twigs which form the frame, are from the oak tree which stood near the bear wallow and which blew down in November 1921. The grain of the tree indicated that it was about five hundred years old.
The bear wallow is a swampy place below a spring near the intersection of Roberts and Bowman ridges, and it is said that the bears would come there to wallow in the mud. Tradition says that it was on a trail which crossed from Fish creek to Grave creek, and used by both Indians and bears, and later, after the white settlers came they followed the trail when taking their corn to have it ground at a water mill on Big Grave creek. It was also an Indian hunting ground, and it is said that a red man was killed there in later years by a man named Freeman.
Nathan Masters is said to be the first white man at the bear wallow, and he built a cabin about 75 yards west of the tree and spring. Tradition also says that he was a prisoner with the British army and escaping, made the forests his home. It was in 1777 that he walked by the swamp and saw many bears there.
Mr. Masters was followed by John and James Riggs. James Freeman and Benjamin Fish settled near there in 1790. The Bakers, McCleans and Roberts families came early too. Zeke Lewis built a house in Round Bottom in 1798, and in 1805 the Nixons, the Holmes, the Williams and the James came. The Jeffersons located there in 1810, and soon came the Martins, Bonars and Evans.
The late Henry Holmes, Sr., came from Maryland with his parents, and spent a long and useful life here. Many people now living in the neighborhood remember of hearing him tell of the bear, deer and wild turkeys that abounded the forests in his childhood:
The foregoing history is neatly penned on the back of the picture.
The oak tree stood sentinel over the bear wallow for many centuries. May this rugged picture rom the wood of the tree keep green the history of pioneer days for many more years.