HARTFORD

a.k.a. HARTFORD CITY

 

Jackson Furnace

Hartford, WV named for Hartford, Connecticut because the new owners of the Mason County Mining and Manufacturing Company were from there. GEORGE W. MOREDOCK arrived at Hartford in 1853, when he was chosen by the Company (later the Hartford Salt and Coal Company) as their agent.

The land, 540 acres, included Sliding Hill. When GEORGE MOREDOCK looked around, he saw wilderness. He hired workers to start clearing the land to make room for houses for miners, as they intended to start mining coal first. MR. MOREDOCK had the town surveyed by THOMAS GORY HOGG and the first houses built were company houses at West Point. Many remained company houses for some years, although the workers were eventually given the opportunity to purchase them.      

 
   Residents of Hartford parade through town on Labor Day in 1919

ROBERT L. WINKLEBLACK was the boss carpenter. He was described as a large, swarthy man, with jet black hair. He wore about work a fine white shirt and black string tie.

Many of the early miners who occupied the houses on West Point came from Wales and England. A building was furnished by the Company and was used as the Welch Baptist Church.

Three other churches were established early in the town, the Methodist, United Brethren,

 

 UB Church, Sunday School portrait, circa 1910 click on the picture for additional information and a bigger picture

and the American Baptist. ERASMUS CHAPMAN came to Harford in about 1860 from Winfield and founded the Hartford Baptist Church. His son JOSHUA MORRIS CHAPMAN was the superintedent of Sunday School for 52 years.

The Virginia House was the first hotel, owned by W. W. HARPER. It was more like a boarding house, but used the more elegant name of hotel.

DR. JAMES MEEKS was the town's first doctor.

Salt making and coal mining were the most important early businesses. The Hartford City Salt and Coal Company was probably the largest. ERASMUS CHAPMAN was the original foreman of the Hartford Saltworks. The Valley City Salt and Coal Company was the second organized, owned by WILLIAM HARPOLD. This later was purchased by the A. E. SMITH family, and its name was changed to the Liverpool Salt and Coal Company. The Jackson Furnace was located between Hartford and Mason, and furnished work for men from both towns.

The salt companies owned their own mines. One independent mine was the California Coal mine, with its own company store. It was owned by CHARLES CHRISTIAN JUHLING and his sons. They owned and operated three boats for transporting their coal.. The entrance to this coal mine was back of the present grade school.

Salt was shipped in barrels, so each company had its own copper shop. The Hartford Salt Company had a stave mill located at the mouth of Sliding Hill Creek.

Bromine was a by-product of the salt plants. This was made from the bitter waters after the salt was extracted. This became a very profitable business during the First World War.

THE NEWTON HOUSE

This house was built by G. W. Moredock on Front Street around 1865. His only daughter, Jennie, married Douglas Newton. The Newton family lived here many years.

In 1868, the town was incorporated with G. W. MOREDOCK as the first mayor. Among the problems facing the early town councils included keeping the livestock from roaming the streets and gardens of the town, maintaining the bridge across Sliding Hill Creek, caring for the poor of the town.

The first public school in Hartford was established in 1866 in a building formerly used by the Franklin Academy, which was a private school.

Floods have been a problem for the town in the past. The first one on record was 1883, followed by the one in 1884. The two largest and most destructible were the 1913 and 1937 ones. The products of the salt companies were destroyed and the mines were filled with water. There was also a great deal of damage done to houses and other businesses, and many never fully recovered.

With the loss of the main businesses, the town settled down to a residential area.

 

 1908 Hartford Ball Team (Unidentified Players)

Frank Chapman identified by Judy Righthouse Free
 Can you identify any of these men? If so, click on the picture for a bigger picture and identify by the number on the player, by sending information to me via e-mail and as soon as I have a player identified, will add the names. Original postcard photo property of and submitted by Marvalene.

The Hartford Baseball Team was really big league stuff, in 1910 the Cincinnati Reds were the visiting team and were beaten by the Hartford team. But whest the Reds came back in 1911, I guess they won the game. I hope to get more about this in the future.

 

 The Joseph Mazarine Chapman Famiy outside their Hartford home, circa 1910 For a larger image and names of each person click on the picture Thanks to Tom Chapman for the picture and information.

Post Offices of Mason County

Brown Cemetery

2005-2011 Copyright and Maintained by Suzie Crump

 

Last update: May 26, 2011