Lewis Bonnett House, Wheeling Creek

Submitted by Barbara Blake Goddard.

Article from Wheeling Intelligencer, Nov. 21, 1938.

Old Logs and Stones of Ancient Dwelling Are Historic

(Picture is from "Landmarks of Old Wheeling" by Charles Milton, 1943)

(Under the photo in the newspaper is the following caption: The quiet lines of window frames and ??? of this log house on the old Bonnett farm in Marshall County, were fashioned in 1807 when the house was erected and may be seen today. This land was secured by a tomahawk from the King of England's representative in 1770.)

(Picture of the barn with the following caption: If these old stones encased in the stone barn built on the Bonnett farm in 1807, could talk, it would sound like the long murmur of the past breaking on the shores of a modern world.)

As a dweller in modern houses without histories, the imagination of the average person is fired by the historic lore attached to a landmark like the Lewis Bonnett homestead on Wheeling Creek, Marshall county, which is noted as one of the oldest farms in the Panhandle of West Virginia.

Lewis Bonnett was born in 1737 at Paoli, Pennsylvania, and came to Wheeling Creek in 1764 with his brother-in-law, John Wetzel and other pioneer settlers and started homesteading on Wheeling Creek near the site now occupied by Britt Run school. John Wetzel settled about 7 miles further up the creek on what is now known as the E. J. Wilson farm.

Lewis sold out his land on Big Wheeling Creek in 1773 or 1775 and moved to the Monongahela country. Some years later he moved back to the old homestead on Big Wheeling Creek in 1781 or 1782 and resided at the old home-place until his death in 1808. His mortal remains are buried on the farm he tilled and ploughed. His son, Lewis Bonnett, jr., was born March 13, 1778 in the Monongahela country. The senior Lewis Bonnett had three sisters, the oldest being Catharine who married John C. Sickes, the second, Mary married Captain John Wetzel and the third sister, Susannah, never married, but remained an old maid and died in Shenandoah county, Virginia.

French Émigrés

The Bonnetts were of French extraction, having emigrated to the American colonies from French Flanders. French thrift and belief in close family ties characterized the Bonnett relationship. When the elder Lewis was 18 years old he enlisted in the Virginia Rangers and was under George Washington at Braddock's defeat. When quite young, he married Elizabeth Waggoner, who was also of French descent.

The historic barn and house built by Lewis Bonnett on the land he secured by a tomahawk right from the King of England's representatives in 1770, are still standing and are occupied today by the Messrs. Britt. Captain Bonnett brought an old distiller from Germany and the underground tunnel leading from the distillery to the creek is one of the landmarks of the old place.

On the exterior of the old house now owned by the Britts, may be seen, intact, the old ladder used to mount to the second floor. When the Buchanan brothers built the old stone house they expected to do much entertaining so they selected that crest of land for the house site due to the beauty of the scene. In its day, the old stone house was considered one of grandeur and style.

(Following this are excerpts from Lewis Bonnett's will, which can be found in it's entirety on the Will's page. The Will of Lewis Bonnett)