Marshall-Wetzel Line Markers

Submitted by Joseph Parriott. Typed by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.

Wetzel Democrat and Moundsville Echo, July 5, 1929


A very interesting monument, very little known (if known by any of the present generation at all), was uncovered a few days ago in Dry Run, just north of Proctor, where there is being constructed by the West Virginia Pipeline Co. an oil pumping station close to the state highway. The monument is of limestone and marks the boundary line between Wetzel and Tyler Counties as well as gives the distance from it to the Pennsylvania state line. It is located just at the rear of the big tank and was uncovered by Clarence Snow of the C&P Telephone Co. and his crew of workmen. Only the top of it was protruding from the ground, but after digging down two or three feet some beautiful carved lettering was uncovered. The dirt was taken out of the lettering with a knife, and photographer Sam T. Kerr was called and made some very good photographs of the stone, which is triangular in shape. Mr. Kerr now has the photographs in his studio. The western side bears the inscription: County Line - 17 Miles & 50 poles - surface measure - from Penna. Corner - Joseph Mccoy - and - John Gilchrist - Commissioners - May 27, 1833.

The southern side bears the inscription: Tyler county - Now - Wetzel - Co. April 6th - 1846 -- The lettering, "Now Wetzel Co. April 6th, 1846" was, evidently, done after the words "Tyler County" were inscribed, the style being different and having the appearance of having been added at a later date.

On the northern side are the words: Ohio County - Erected by - C. P. Wells - And - J. Gilchrist - Now - Marshall - County - May 1st A. D. 1835.

The words, "Now Marshall County May 1st A. D. 1835" were doubtless cut in the stone after the preceding words. Ohio County was formed in 1776 from the "District of West Augusta" and Tyler County was formed in 1814 from part of Ohio. Marshall County was formed in 1835 from part of Ohio; and Wetzel County was formed in 1846 from part of Tyler. The stone is an interesting monument and is well worth going to see. Further digging may reveal some more interesting inscriptions.

Moundsville Echo, July 31, 1931


The county line monument just above Proctor is not a Mason and Dixon line marker and never was. The Mason and Dixon Line stopped at Board Tree, at the corner of Pennsylvania.

In early days, when counties were being formed in Virginia. or later in West Virginia, it seemed a natural thing to run one of the county lines westward from the end of the Pennsylvania line.

There may have been further hidden reason in the selection of one county line there, because there always has been a little sentiment in the northern panhandle for becoming a part of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is the metropolis to which the section gravitates, rather than to Cleveland, Cincinnati or Baltimore.

There There has always been a lot of myth about the Mason Dixon survey. The facts are that theywere commissioned to survey a certain distance and stopped when that limit was reached. That was the extent of the grant of the land to William Penn.

It is probable that there was belief when theof the territory was roughly outlined that the Ohio River ran southwest from Fort Duquesne at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongalia Rivers and would pass where the corner of the state is now. Instead oof flowing southwest it flows northwest for many miles and that means that the river along here is farther west than a guesser in Philadelphia or London thought it was.

Or there may have been some truth in the little-credited story that was to be "so many days travel afoot" to the westward and that a runner was secretly trained for the purpose and that he stretched by scores of miles what was thought to be possible for a man to travel afoot.

The Proctor monument, however, is historic and deserves being reset along the present state highway with fitting ceremony. It marks the line between Marshall and Wetzel Counties.

Another warping of history is the spelling of Board Tree. When Mason and Dixon's party was surveying the wilderness they kept moving camp as the work progressed and the last one was designated in their records as Bored Tree Camp. That was because there not enough low limbs on a tree where the camp was located to trim into pegs to hang camp equipment upon and it was necessary to bore holes in the big tree and drive pegs in.

In course of time settlers thought more often of split clapboards and sawed boards than they did of bored holes. Dwellers in the backwood, even until the closing years of the last century, picked out oak trees that they could see by the bark and branches would split well into shingles or clapboards as they usually were called. A good board tree was always saved for that purpose.

Moundsville Echo, August 18, 1931


Friend Wells was interviewed again Sunday. He was misunderstood at New Martinsville recently. He did not see the monument moved from the riverbank where the 1852 flood undermined it, but his father did see it moved and told the present Mr. Wells.

Moundsville Echo, September 22, 1931


The undiscovered lower portion of the Marshall-Wetzel county line marker is no longer unknown. The monument was dug out yesterday. The entire stone is about five feet high. The dressed portion is nearly three and a half feet, the lower end being rough as it was quarried. It is sandstone, but much harder than our native stone.

No lettering was found on the monument beyond what was uncovered several weeks ago. Until workmen dug down beside the monument in midsummer to read all the inscription there had been only about a third of the letters above the surface of the gorund. It had been that way for many years because of the wash from the nearby hillside gradually depositing soil in the bottom land of Dry Run.

The biggest job yet to be done in connection with the ancient county line marker is to get permanently fixed in the minds of several intelligent people, including some newspaper writers, and this paper is not excepted, that that old monument never was a Mason & Dixon Line monument and never came west of the corner of Pennsylvania.

There is not one word about Mason & Dixon on the ancient stone.

On the bronze tablet that will be placed on the base will be a few words to enlighten travelers who stop to look that the monument is on the line where the Mason & Dixon Line would have come had it been extended beyond the William Penn grant.

The monument will be located 133 feet west of its old location.

Again recalling history, the road a century ago was along the river bankand the Great Flood of 1852 so undermined the road and monument that both were moved back to the hill and even farther at the place where Dry Run reaches the river bottom, for the road turned sharply and went up the run a few hundred feet before crossing and then curved west again and then north and up the river bottom near the foot of the hill.

Many years later the road abandoned the sharp curve and crossed on a bridge even with the foot of the river hill. That left the monument several hundred feet up in a field and it was fast becoming covered with soil from the hillside. Now the state road has been made straight and moved a little further west. The monument will rest on the east side of of the present concrete road where evey traveler can see it.