by Scott Powell, 1925
Contributed by Linda Fluharty.
ROADS & RAILROADS Pages 87-90.
ROADS & RAILROADS
THE first roads in country were horse paths, more commonly called bridal paths. In making these roads logs and bushes were removed so people could ride through the forest and where the timber was considerably scattered and the woods open, trees were blazed on two sides so that persons not familiar with these trails could find the way without difficulty. All the merchandise for many years after the first settlements were made, was carried on pack-horses. Thirty years after the first settlements were made in Marshall County not a wagon road had been made in it.
In the year 1800 the county court of Ohio County ordered a road opened down the river to Middle Island Creek, but it was not done for several years after ordered.
Between that date and 1810 a road was located from Wheeling to the Flats of Grave Creek. It was surveyed by A. McMahon. A road was located to Fish Creek soon after under the directions of Morgan Jones, one of the early settlers at Grave Creek and a pioneer surveyor.
In the year 1811 a road was ordered by the county court of Ohio County, opened from Parr's Point to the Pennsylvania line and was continued to Waynesburgh in that state and became the Waynesburg Pike, a famous drove road about the middle of the last century. Drove stands along this road were at one time numerous. These drove stands consisted of the usual wayside tavern of the day with ample stock yards and pasture fields to accommodate large droves of cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. Much of the surplus corn grown along this road was fed to stock in the fall, especially to hogs.
Large droves of stock of all kinds were driven from the country west of the Ohio River to Baltimore over this road. Frequently droves of mules from western Kentucky were taken across part of Indiana, Ohio and struck the drove road at Moundsville and followed it to Baltimore, which was at that date the great stock market of the United States.
The writer of this article saw many droves of mules from Kentucky on this road en route to the east.
It is safe to say that more of the western stock was ferried across the Ohio River at Moundsville than at any other ferry on that river. A steam ferry boat would freuqently run as rapidly as it could be handled from early in the morning until near midnight to clear the road on the Ohio side of the river of stock. The drove road from the ferry landing on the Ohio side of the river has been filled, at times, with droves of cattle to the village of Businessburg on Pipe Creek, a distance of more than five miles.
After the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was completed to the Ohio River on the last days of 1852, it began to carry stock and by the close of the Civil War, droves ceased to travel the old drove road and the drove stands became a thing of the past.
Much stock was shipped over this road for many years to Baltimore, the principal stcok market for a number of years after the war, but the great packing houses in Chicago and other western cities cut off the western shippers and soon after that the packing industries at Wheeling purchased the stock from this section and it is probable that at the present day a hog from Marshall County never enjoys a ride in the old-time stock cars to some city.
In years long gone by, farmers in settlements remote from rivers or railroads, paid much attention to stock raising of all kinds. The land being fresh and fertile, large crops of corn were raised and fed to hogs in the fall and they were driven to market, giving very good returns to farmers for their work. Farmers in those sections would remark that the distance to market was too great to haul grain but it was not to drive it to market in beef and pork. Today the few hogs that are raised for market are hauled there in wagons; soon they will be taken there in automobile trucks.
Roads were hard to make and in opening them at an early date crossing streams was a matter not to be overlooked. In crossing large streams the location of a ferry was one of the important matters to consider and in crossing small streams such as creeks and runs, a shallow place or ford, was one of the important matters to take into consideration in locating roads. Bridges were few and, it may be added, far between.
About the year 1840 the county court of Marshall County passed an order to build a bridge over Big Grave Creek at the mouth of it, which has ever since been known as Lindsey's Bridge. It was a wooden structure; iron or steel bridges at that date were unknown. It was not until the year 1882 that an iron bridge was erected in this county by the order of the county court. Three iron bridges were erected that year by the order of the county court consisting of W. J. Burley, J. W. Bonar and J. H. Baird. One was over Big Grave Creek to replace a wooden bridge, one at Hornbrook's Mill, now Graysville, over Fish Creek, and one over Big Wheeling Creek below Birch Run. The bridges were erected at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars each.
Many citizens thought that the county would be ruined by the recklessness of the county court in expending public money. They thought and expressed their thought, that it was too much to build three bridges at that price at one time; one at a time would be far better. One each year would not be too heavy on the taxpayers, but three was entirely too heavy a burden for them to bear. A few appeared to look upon such extravagance in improvements about the same as a Kansas farmer did a visitation of grasshoppers. Those so seriously affected soon recovered from their shock and the improvement continued and steel bridges span the creeks in many places and even large runs are bridged today. Many miles of county roads have been macadamized or paved with brick of late years and the work of improving county roads is yet in its infancy.
THERE are three lines of railroads in the county. Two are steam roads and one electric railway. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first to reach the Ohio River, laid the last rails that closed the last gap in the road on the twenty-fourth day of December 1852 just east of the village of Roseby Rock, completing the line from Baltimore to Wheeling.
It has about thirty-six miles of main line in the county, and aided materially in developing the county as it passes through a fertile section of the Ohio Valley and brought the people in closer communication with the cities on the Ohio River with which they did most of their business.
The Ohio River Railroad was completed in 1884 and com. menced operations early that year. It has about twenty-eight miles of main line in the county and passes through the fertile river bottoms.
An electric railway connects Moundsville with Wheeling and intermediate towns. It was commenced in 1895 and in 1896, was in operation to the northern part of Moundsville.
It was first known as the "Benwood and Southern Electric Railway" and was a Marshall County enterprise but later purchased by a company that had acquired the electric roads in Wheeling and those that centered in Wheeling and for a number of years it has been known as the Moundsville Division of the Wheeling Traction lines.
It is a first class road and furnishes transportation for passengers and also freight. It is in line with the other improvements of the day of which Marshall County is struggling to get to the front as in all other matters of interest and importance in the developments of the present century.