NEW CREEK EARLY BUSINESSES

MERCHANTS AND BLACKSMITHS IN NEW CREEK

Thornton C. DYE was listed in the 1880 census of Mineral County as a merchant. It is know he was a resident and businessman here many years.
J. H. SWISHER, merchant and postmaster for several years, came to Mineral County in 1890. He conducted a general store at Ridgeville for 15 years. After the death of Henry TROUT, Mr. Swisher came to New Creek and took over duties April 1, 1904, establishing the New Creek Company Store Company, where he also ran the post office. The Swisher family lived in the home now owned by O.O. Rogers, three houses from the present day Lauren Swisher store. Laurin replaced the old store which was a large two story building featuring a long porch, with the modern concrete block structure in the 1940's.
The CUNNINGHAM family also had a store in a building no longer standing at the corner of the Henderson property and near the Henderson Motel.
William A. CORBIN and his son Thomas {1879-197 ) were blacksmiths in this community for more than 100 years. Mr. Thomas Corbin was the last blacksmith in Mineral County and was active in his trade until a few years prior to his death. The Corbin blacksmith tools are still in the family's possession and the shop stands beside Rte 220 in the village.

THE TANNERY

The Rees Tannery or Union Tanning Company owned by the J.B. & Samuel REES families must have been in operation since the 1870's, if not before. The 1880 census records for the New Creek District show many families with the husband's occupation as "tannery worker", "foreman in tannery" etc.
Just when it was discontinued is also a bit vague, but evidence leads us to believe it was in operation until about 1915. Local residents recall the tanner was closed due to the ooze that flowed into New Creek and caused pollution of the steam.
Many people of the older generation remember the village of New Creek being referred to as "The Tannery", for it is common knowledge in the 1800's Keyser was known as New Creek.
The tannery consisted of several vats which were on the grounds where the homes of Mrs. Laura Flint, Mrs. Pearl Berg, Mr. & Mrs. Kermit Martin now stand. Another vat was located where the IOOF Lodge Hall once stood beside the home of Mrs. Ethel Ashby.
The Paul ASHBY home was the scale house where bark was weighed. Farmers from the area and from as far away as the Martin and Antioch communities drove loads of bark with their teams of horses, cutting deep ruts on the often muddy country roads. The big barn behind the scale house was the stable for the horses.
The Ethel Ashby home was built for her husband on part of the tannery site. A stone wall left over from the tanning days stood there. the homes "in the alley" that stretch of road leading up to the school, were company houses for tannery workers.
The story has been handed down within most of the MOTT family of James W. MOTT (1836-1900) being hired to removed one of the smoke stacks at the Tannery. He charged $50 for the job which the owners objected was too expensive, for stonemason Mott simply removed some of the lower bricks of the smoke stack and let it collapse. He wrote out the bill "Five dollars for the job and 45 for knowing how."
After the tannery closed, Harry HENDERSON built the present day home of the Matthews and operated a pin mill at the location, behind the home. The "pins" made from locust wood, were for use on telephone poles, about 10-12 inches long, screwed into the telephone post with an opening for the wire to pass through.

This information was taken from "Mineral County WV Traits Tracks and Trails". Special thanks to Betty Bane Dzubba, Author and Robert Rummer, Editor for granting permission to use this information on the Mineral County GenWeb Site.