Typed by Susie Koehrsen.


Incorporated - Original Surveys - Description of Early Wheeling - Topographical, Geographical and Climatic Characteristics of Wheeling in 1803 - Diseases Incident to the New Settlement - Identified Localities in 1815 - Our Market House - Early Racing and Race Courses - The City as a U. S. Port of Entry - Custom House - City Water Works - Town Clock - Military Companies - Washington Hall - Transit Between the City and Island - Wheeling & Belmont Bridge Company - The Gas Company - Know Nothing Party - Printing Establishments - the Press - Panhandle Railroad - Old Residents.

Wheeling was laid out into town lots in the year 1793 and in December, 1795, was established as a town, the following persons being names as trustees, viz: Andrew Woods, Archibald Woods, John McIntyre, James Nelson, Henry Smith, William Waddle and Absalom Martin. It was incorporated on the 16th of January, 1806, and became the county seat, which was removed from West Liberty. The first court held in Wheeling was convened in the inn of John Gooding, May 7, 1798.

At a court held on this date, James Caldwell, Ebenezer Zane, John Boggs, Robert Woods, Benjamin Biggs, Robert McLure, William Skinner and Andrew Woods, a majority of the justices of the county being present in pursuance of an Act of the General Assembly passed December 27, 1797, “it is ordered that the Town of Wheeling be henceforth the place for holding Courts in this county, it is also ordered that Ebenezer Zane, Andrew Woods and Henry Smith be appointed Commissioners to determine upon and purchase a proper site whereon to erect public buildings for the use of the said county, and that until such public buildings shall be made the house of said Henry Smith in the occupation of Mr. John Gooding, innkeeper, in the said Town of Wheeling, be the place for the meeting of this Court.”

At the following term of the court, the said commissioners made their report, and at the same time it was ordered “that Andrew Woods, Moses Chapline, John McIntyre, Moses Shepherd and George Knox be appointed, and any three of them be authorized to act, to contract with any person or persons as they shall appoint to erect a Court House, Jail, stocks and whipping post on the ground as has been purchased and laid off in the Town of Wheeling by Ebenezer Zane, Andrew Woods and Henry Smith, Commissioners appointed for that purpose and admitted to record by this Court.”

In obedience to the order of the court, the persons named therein selected a site on Tenth street about midway the square between Main and Market streets and erected thereon a two-story building of square free stone blocks, some of which were hewn and others in their rough state. It was surmounted with a small square box out of proportion to the remainder of the building, reminding one, as was affirmed by a Kentuckian - a traveler passing through the city, and who was struck with its oddity - of a chicken coop, which had been placed there in a mischievous prank.

The first record of the proceedings of the officers of the town of Wheeling appears to have been on Tuesday, the 15th day of April, 1806, on which date, pursuant to a call issued by the mayor, recorder, Joseph Caldwell and William Irwin, aldermen, and Noah Linsly, William McConnell, Frederick Beymer and John Gooding, councilmen.

“On motion of the Recorder, it was Resolved, that a Committee be appointed to examine the documents containing a statement of the election of the officers and to report to the Council whether the election had been regularly holden, and whether the respective officers have taken the oaths according to law, and thereupon Mr. Linsly from the Committee appointed to examine the same made a report to the effect, that on the 17th of March, 1806, the majority of the freeholders and housekeepers of the Town did meet at the Court House in said town and appointed Mordecai Yarnall, Moses Shepherd and George Miller to receive the votes. That having balloted for 12 freeholders and housekeepers of said Town to be Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen and Common Councilmen for the same, it appeared that 84 votes had been cast, of which the following persons received, respectively, the number opposite their names, to-wit: Noah Linsly 74, George Miller 54, William Miller 53, Dennis Capat 53, William McConnell 50, John Carr 49, Joseph Caldwell 49, Charles Hammond 48, James Ralston 45, Frederick Beymer 46, John White 45, and William Perrine 44.

“That said George Miller, William Miller, Dennis Capat, William McConnell, Charles Hammond, Frederick Beymer, Joseph Caldwell and William Perrine did on the 22nd day of March, 1806, meet at the house of Frederick Beymer in said Town, and proceeded to ballot for Mayor, Recorder and four Aldermen, and upon counting the ballots it appeared that George Miller was elected Mayor, Charles Hammond, Recorder, and Dennis Capat, who had eight votes, and William Irwin, who had seven votes, Joseph Caldwell, who had six votes, and John Carr , who had six votes for aldermen, were declared duly elected.

“That on the 24th day of March, 1806, the said George Miller took the oath of office as Mayor before Joseph Kerr, one of the Justices of the Peace for Ohio County. On the same day Hammond, Capat, Carr, Perrine and Beymer took the oath of their respective offices before the Mayor. On the 25th day of March, Linsly took the oath and on the 29th of the same month McConnell did the same. Ralston and White having declined to act as Councilmen, on the following 12th of April, John Gooding and Andrew Woods were duly elected to act as Councilmen.

“George Pannell was appointed by the Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen Town Sergeant. On the 7th of May following, Andrew Woods having declined to act as Councilman, Samuel Beall was unanimously chosen in his stead.”

At this time Wheeling was a small town, comparatively, having a population in the neighborhood of 400, nor did it make much progress in growth for several years thereafter. When it did start to grow, it was not by reason of any “boom”, but on account of its advantages as a manufacturing point, hence its progress may not have been so rapid as that of other places, yet if slower, it has been more steady and permanent. For the first fifteen or twenty years of its existence, it was compelled to meet many obstacles and difficulties of various sorts, which at last it happily surmounted.

The original surveys show that from what is known as Jonathan’s ravine, the northern limit of the city at the present time, and then down to Seventh street, was in a settlement containing 140 acres, made by Jonathan Zane.

South of this survey of Jonathan Zane’s and bounded by the creek on the south and east, and to the Ohio River on the west, was the settlement of Ebenezer Zane containing 400 acres. Two surveys were made of the Island for Ebenezer Zane, the first containing 285 acres, and the second containing 54 acres, made several years after that of the first survey.

James Smith claimed the Peninsula, the Carter and Reyman Long farms.

Caldwell claimed two 400-acre tracts, bounded by the hills on the east, and extending from the mouth of Wheeling Creek along the line of the river bank southward to what is commonly known as Caldwell’s run.

William Bogg’s and John Bogg’s , his father, claimed the present Eighth ward of the city and a portion of Marshall county, extending as far south as the Riverside mills.

The original town consisted of 120 lots. We have looked in vain for a plat of the original town, but the records show nothing of such an one.

About 1797 Jonathan Zane laid out an addition, extending from Fifth street to Seventh street, a plat of which a few years since was placed on record. Other aditions are as follows, viz: Noah Zane, East Wheeling Company, Michael Graham, Israel Updegraff, North Wheeling Company, Bedlaire, Shriver, Chapline & Eoff, Eoff, Bushfield & McMechen, John McLure, Jr. , John McLure, Sr., Daniel Steenrod, Parker Brothers, Baker & Carrol, Emily A. Zane, Trustee, J.& C. Ritchie, J.& J. R. Baker, W.W. Shriver, Beverly M. Eoff, Executor, Sprigg & Ritchie, M.W. Chapline’s Heirs, Thomas Oman, Z. Jacob, J. & J. R. Baker, Philip Reilly, Jno. P. Gilchrist, Henry Moore, Trustee, Armstrong & Coen, Daniel Zane, Orloff A. Zane, John A. Armstrong, C. L. Zane, A. G. Robinson, William Armstrong, Armstrong & Hunter, Theodore Fink, J.W. Zane, Baker, McCortney and others, and Paunell Laughlin & Handlam.

We give the impressions of an English traveler by the name of Faux, who about this time visited Wheeling, whose observations and remarks were published in the London Quarterly Review, and who was endorsed by that periodical as being an “honest man,” who tells the truth, and who produces good authority for every word and fact that he utters, but in our researches we have failed to find any authority for his scurrilous attack, except his own unsupported vile vituperations.

But to his statement; he says: “The pasengers met with in the pockets and stages are all comical creatures, of uncleanly habits, and grossly indelicate in language.”

“The ladies will not look at a dark complexioned man lest he should have a dash of black blood in him.” (Perhaps his complexion was of the color he mentions.)

He thus continues: “The American considered as an animal is filthy, bordering on the beastly. All vices and imperfections seem natural, - those of the semi-barbarian, - and he is ashamed of none of them.”

The very oldest settlers on the Western side of the Alleghanies, those of Kentucky and along the banks of the Ohio River who occupy the largest and choicest tracts of land can do no more with all their industry than barely exist.” (How flattering a picture this “honest?” and “truthful?” individual draws.)

Again we quote from this veracious observer and truth teller; he says, “Soap is nowhere seen or found. Hence dirty hands, heads and faces everywhere.”

And yet again: “A corpse is no sooner laid in the earth, than it appears to be forgotten. There is no tear of sorrow shed for the friend, the parent or the relation.” It is exasperating to read such bare-faced falsehoods. He out-Trollopes Trollope. Such, however, were the expressions of a professedly intelligent Englishman concerning our Western settlers and people generally in the earlier part of the last century.

We now resume the continuation of the history of Wheeling. One hundred and twelve years ago the number of people living in what is now the city of Wheeling was between 200 and 250. It was then composed of cabins and log houses covering the streets in scattered positions. The only house south of Tenth street at that time was the house of Col. Ebenezer Zane. By the close of the last century, some changes had been made. The frontier at this time had been removed a long distance westward. With the consequent increase of population, new clearing and improvements were made.

The first brick building erected in Wheeling was built by Jacob Gooding, and occupied the site of the present Windsor Hotel. It was known as Gooding’s Inn. In a few years Zachariah Sprigg became its proprietor and was known as Sprigg’s Tavern.

In the year 1815 there were about 300 houses of Wheeling and a population amounting to about 1,500. The first house north of the corner of Main and Union (now Eleventh) streets was a frame house with a porch on the south side, occupied by Thomas Conard, who carried a cigar shop and factory in a portion of the lower story. Then the ground was vacant as far north as Market alley, on the corner of which stood a log building, which was used as a Friends’ meeting house. Above this was an open space, and then came a frame building belonging to Josiah Updegraff, Next was a large frame building belonging to Mr. Chapline, the father of Judge Chapline. Next to this were other frame buildings, and in the corner one, being the nearest one to the old Court House where the old Virginia House stood, was the shop and dwelling of Moses Thompson, a tailor. The Court House, as already stated, occupied the middle of the street, and some distance back was the jail, and back of that near the base of the hill flowed a spring already mentioned, to which many of the people resorted for water. North of the present Tenth street, where Mr. McClellan had a shoe store, was a large frame store, then there were two or three small frames and then came the store of John McLure, and near it was Samuel Irwin’s house. Next to this last was Mr. Harkin’s hat store and the tinshop of William Dulty; then a log house in which an old woman kept a bakery. “Black Rachel” had a millinery shop in a small house, with a large lot adjoining, in which was an abundance of fruit of different kinds. Her son, James, played the fiddle for all the dances. Next was the residence of Neil McNaghten, then a large brick store in which Peter Yarnell carried on business, and next the store of Mr. Caldwell, the father of Judge Joseph Caldwell. The next was a gunsmith shop located in a log house. Then a person by the name of Goldenberg had a bakery in a large frame house. Then came another hat shop. The next house on that side was a large frame one in which Noah Linsly, the distinguished lawyer and the generous donor to the cause of education, lived and died. In a two-story brick above this, Thomas Johnston conducted a grocery store. Next to this was Mr. Sockman’s residence and butcher shop, and next was a large log house, in which Mr. Burkett, an Englishman, lived, and carried on cabinet-making. He was for some reason offensive to the patriots of the day, probably on account of his nativity. After Perry’s victory on Lake Erie, Captains Dulty, Irwin and McLure, together with a large crowd, gave him a mock serenade, and fired a cannon in front of his house. This cannon was taken from the river bank of Fort Henry, having been thrown from the Fort after the cessation of the Indian wars. It was quite rusty, but the first fire broke all the windows in Burkett’s house. There were bonfires all over the town and a general frolic was engaged in. Soon after these happenings, Burkett committed suicide by hanging. Next came a bakery and cake store kept by “Granny Ralston,” as she was familiarly called, which was a great resort for the boys who had pennies. On the opposite corner of Main street and the “pike” was a large frame house, property of William Miller. Then above this was a brick house in which Jonathan Zane lived. Then came the place of Mr. Cott, a heavy coal dealer. Then Mr. Greathouse’s tannery. Mr. Vennum lived near here. There was also a hatter by the name of Joseph Carr and a Mr. Woods, who kept a large store.

On the west side of Main Street was a brewery, and a hop field extended down to the river. Mr. Pannell, father of Alexander and Jack, had his home and carpenter shop below here. A fat shoemaker named Reed followed, - he was a good story teller. Then came Mr. Ryan, an English Quaker; then Mr. Irwin, a captain of a light horse company, - he was a blacksmith as was his son. Samuel. He was a member of the Legislature in 1811, and saw the theater burned at Richmond; he often talked of the terrible scene, and of the shrieks of the dying. Thomas Hughes lived on the corner of the “pike” and his gunshop stood below his house. There was the main ferry across the river. Mr. Clarke, tailor, lived and had a shop on the other corner, below which was some open space and the residence of Mr. List, grandfather of D.C. and Eugene Henry. He, and afterwards his son, John, kept school in a log house farther down. Mr. Mandale lived in a frame here. He died and his wife and daughter became milliners. A saddler shop was in a large frame below, name forgotten. There also was a small paper mill, run by a Mr. Armstrong. In this square was also the residence of Mr. John McLure, a fine brick for those days. There was also a large frame business house. There a street ran down to another ferry, and then came the Beymer House. Sam Beymer, who was in the War of 1812 and was surrendered under Hill, came home, with another man down the Alleghany River; for three days in this journey their only food was a squirrel. Such incidents of the war were numerous. There was a vacant space, and then came the old burying ground, where were many Indian and some white persons’ graves. The remains of the white were removed in 1814 to the East Wheeling ground, where the Hempfield depot now is. Among them a Mr. Gill and wife are remembered. In this ground was built the Northwestern Bank, which was rebuilt in 1835-36 and had the sperm candles (as they were called) in front. Next below was a log building kept as a postoffice by Richard McLure. He remained postmaster until 1837. Below this was a tavern, kept by the father of Charles Knox. His grandmother was quite blind, and yet could do the work all over the house as well as if her sight were perfect. Below the tavern lived an Englishman named Fox, who had a large family. There were a few small log houses between his and the street where the bridge is, and where the anchorage of the bridge now is stood the Market House, with six brick pillars, - great resort for pigs and cows. All the country west and north of the river was covered with old forest trees. Where Peter Zinn’s confectionery was, on the corner of Tenth and Main Streets, stood Dilley’s Tavern, and my informant was sometimes employed by Mrs. Dilley to aid in bringing passengers across the river in a skiff. There were sundry vacant lots and another tavern kept by a Mr. Jones and at his house were quartered officers and soldiers, prisoners taken by Perry on Lake Erie, who were being taken to Staunton, - one of them played a bag-pipe for the amusement of the boys. This was a little above where Colonel Knox’s house stood. A vacant space, and then came a three-story frame, owned by a Mr. Whitehead. He had a son, long and think shanked, who, when mustering as a soldier, filled out his calves with cotton and the boys called him cotton legs. The boys are more polite now and don’t make any fun of the ladies who use cotton in that way. The space from there to the road to the river opposite Zane’s was all locust trees, and from there to the old Sprigg House, now the St. James, there were two forwarding and commission houses, one long and one frame. The wings of the old Sprigg were built afterwards. For some distance below the Sprigg House was the boat yard of Mr. Palmer, who built flat and keel-boats, one schooner and told anecdotes; also kept tame bears for general amusement. There was but one small frame between the boat yard and the mouth of the creek, where stood the old log garrison, a building over 100 feet long with 100 rooms. In 1812-13 a wooden bridge was built across the creek, where the stone bridge is now. It was built by Peter Yarnall, Noah Zane and a man named Shreve, who then went to Louisville and was engaged in removing the rafts from the Red River. From him Shreveport derives its name. Right below this bridge, the steamer “Washington” was built, in 1814, among the first on the Upper Ohio. My informant says he cannot be mistaken, for he often crawled into the boilers before they were put aboard. He went down to Marietta for a raft used in building it, and helped some men bring her up. The whole people of the town, men, women and children, were down to see her fired up and such a “skedaddling” as there was when the steam was let off he never saw. They thought her boilers had burst, sure. He does not remember whether the first steamer arrived before he left or not. I believe the one that brought up the dry hides and mosquitoes came in 1813. The Ohio became famous for boats at an early day. In 1801 Miller experimented with steam on a boat on the Thames. Nothing was done in England, after that, until a Mr. Bell put a boat on the Clyde in 1813, and ran her for some years. But in this country Fulton ran up the Hudson from August 1807, onward, and he came next in 1811 and built the “New Orleans,” at Pittsburg.

As a matter of local as well as general interest connected with Wheeling’s early days, we make some excerpts from “Sketches of a Tour of the Western Country through the States of Ohio and Kentucky. A Voyage Down the Ohio and Mississippi, And a Trip Through the Mississippi Territory, and part of West Florida. Commenced at Philadelphia in the Winter of 1807 and Concluded in 1809 by F. Cuming.”

The author says: “On the 8th day of January, 1807, I left Philadelphia on foot, accompanying a wagon which carried my baggage. I preferred this mode of travel for several reasons. Not being pressed for time, I wished to see as much of the country as possible; the roads were in fine order, and I had no incentive to make me desirous of reaching any point of my intended journey before my baggage. With respect to expenses, there was little difference in my traveling in this manner, or on horseback, or in the stage, had I been unincumbered with baggage; for the delay on the road, awaiting the slow pace of a loaded wagon whish is not quite three miles an hour, and not exceeding 26 miles on a winter’s day, will occasion as great expense to a traveler in a distance exceeding two such day’s journey as the same distance performed otherwise in less than half the time, including the charge of horse or stage hire.”

He traveled but a few days on foot, for he tells us that when he reached the mountains, where he became lame and his foot pained his badly, he “met a traveler who had two horses at the door, one of which he had offered to my fellow pedestrian, on condition of his being at the expense of feeding him on the road. He was declining the offer as I entered, so I embraced it gladly, and the young man agreed to take me up as soon as he should overtake me on the road, as he had to await his brother who was to accompany him, and I expressed a wish to walk before over the Tuscarora mountain, both to enjoy the scenery and to avoid the danger of riding over it three miles, with the road in many parts like glass from the freezing of the snow after a partial thaw.

“At the western foot of the mountain I stopped at Ramsey’s, an inn-keeper, farmer, saddler and distiller. It was noon and Mr. Ramsey, with a stranger, was seating himself to dinner. I contented myself with a tumbler of egg punch, which I had just swallowed as my horsemen rode past, calling out that they would await me at the distillery, where I accordingly joined them, drank a dram of new whiskey with the hospitable distiller, mounted my mare, threw away my cudgel and trotted off briskly with my new companions. We stopped to feed our horses at an inn about six miles from Ramsey’s, which was the residence of an old man named Hull. The large fire, cleanliness and air of plenty which I found within was the more enjoyed from the contrast with the wretched appearance without.

“On remounting, my mare started and a bag of rye for provender which was on the saddle under me falling off, I fell with it. One of my companions checked his horse suddenly and threw himself off to assist me, and I was under both horses’ feet for some seconds, but seizing the fore feet of the horse from which I apprehended the most danger I pulled them towards me, threw him down and at the same time scrambling from under him I providentially escaped with only a slight bruise on my left leg and a rent in my pantaloons. My gun, which was loaded and which I carried slung at my back, was thrown some distance from me without injury.”

“Apropos of traveling - A European, who had not experienced it, could form no proper idea if the manner of it in this country. The travelers are wagoners, carrying produce to and bringing back foreign goods from the different shipping ports of the Atlantic, particularly Philadelphia and Baltimore; packers with from one to 20 horses selling or trucking their wares through the country; countrymen, sometimes alone, sometimes in large companies, carrying salt from McConnelstown and other ports of navigation on the Potomac and Susquehanna for the curing of their beef, pork, venison, etc.; families removing further back into the country, some with cows, oxen, horses, sheep and hogs, and all their farming implements and domestic utensils, and some without; some with wagons, some with carts, and some on foot, according to their abilities. The residue, who make use of the best accommodations on the roads, are country merchants, judges and lawyers attending the courts, members of the legislature, and the better class of settlers removing back. All the first four descriptions carry provisions for themselves and horses, live most miserably, and wrapped in blankets occupy the floor of the bar-rooms of the taverns where they stop each night, which the landlords give them the use of with as much wood as they choose to burn in consideration of the money they pay them for whiskey, of which they drink great quantities, expending foolishly for that which poisons them as much money as would render them comfortable otherwise. So far do they carry this mania for whiskey that to procure it they in the most niggardly manner deny themselves even the necessaries of life; and as I was informed by my landlord, an observing and rational man, countrymen while attending the courts (for they are generally involved in litigation, of which they are very fond) occupy the bar-rooms of taverns in the country towns for several days together, making one meal serve them each day, and sometimes two or even three days, - but drinking whiskey without bounds during the same time.”

While prosecuting his journey from Somerset, Pennsylvania, he did so in a sleigh, and says “one of my companions was a Mr. McKinley, of West Liberty, near Wheeling, in Virginia, one of the representatives in the state assembly, retuning home from Richmond.” In the early part of February he reached Pittsburg, from which place, accompanied by a friend, he departed July 18, 1807, “in a batteau or flat-bottomed skiff, 20 feet long, very light, and the stern sheets roofed with very thin boards, high enough to sit under with ease, and long enough to shelter us when extended on the benches for repose, should we be benighted occasionally on the river, with a side curtain of tow cloth as a screen from either the sun or the night air. We had a pair of short oars, or rather long paddles, for one person to work both, and a broad paddle to steer with, and a mast and a lug or square sail to set when the wind should favor us; we had a good stock of cold provisions and liquors.” Our traveler reached Wheeling July 21, 1807, in his descriptions of which he says Wheeling is situated on so high a cliff, with the avenues from the river so steep, that on account of the apparent difficulty of getting our baggage carried up we preferred going on where the cliff was considerably lower, landing just under Sprigg’s Tavern, near the shipyards, a little above the confluence of Wheeling Creek with the Ohio.

“This being a great thoroughfare on account of its situation, where the great post roads from Philadelphia, Baltimore and the northern part of Virginia unite and cross the river on the route through the states of Ohio and Kentucky to Tennessee and New Orleans, we found several travelers of various descriptions in the house, and after partaking with them of a good supper we went out to saunter until bedtime through the town, into which we had to ascend a steep but short hill. It appeared very lively, the inhabitants being about their doors or in the street enjoying the fresh air of clear moonlight evening, while two flutes were playing en duo, the simple but musical Scot’s ballad of Roy’s wife of Aldwallock, the prime part very tastily executed. Yet, notwithstanding appearances, our impression of the town was not the most favorable, nor after tolerable beds and a good breakfast next morning had we reason to alter out opinion when we examined by daylight.

“It contains 120 houses of all descriptions from middling downwards, in a street about half a mile long, parallel to the river, on a bank of 100 feet perpendicular, which the face of the cliff almost literally is; of course the avenues to the landing are very steep and inconvenient. The court house of stone, with a small belfry, has nothing in beauty to boast of. The jail joins it in the rear.

“It is probable that Mr. Zane, the original proprietor, now regrets that he had not placed the town on the flat below at the conflux of the Wheeling and Ohio, where Sprigg’s Inn and the shipyards now are, instead of cultivating it as a farm until lately, when a resolve of Congress to open a new public state road from the metropolis through the western country, which will come to the Ohio near the mouth of Wheeling Creek, induced him to lay it out in town lots, but I fear he is too late to see it become a considerable town to the prejudice of the old one, notwithstanding its more advantageous situation. The present town does not seem to thrive, if one may judge of the state of new buildings, two only of which I saw going forward in it. The stores also appear rather thinly stocked with goods, and the retail prices are high. When the new road is finished it will doubtless be of great use to Wheeling, as it will be a more direct route to the western states than any of the others hitherto used, and besides there are no material impediments to the navigation of the Ohio with the usual craft below that town in the driest seasons, when the river is at the lowest.

“The surrounding country in sight is hilly and broken, but I am informed it is very rich and plentiful at a short distance from the river.

“Wheeling Island, in front of the town, is about a mile long and half a mile wide in its broadest part. It is very fertile and is all cultivated as a farm by Mr. Zane. The post and stage road to Chillicothe in Ohio goes across it, which occasions two ferries, an inconvenience which will be remedied by the new state road crossing by one ferry below the island.

“Indian Wheeling Creek, a fine mill stream, joins the Ohio from the northwest, opposite the middle of the island, and Mr. Zane has lately laid out a new town there named Canton, which has now 13 houses, but from its proximity to Wheeling it never can become considerable.” On his return from his southern tour he makes some further observations concerning Wheeling and its neighborhood , as follows: “On the banks of the Ohio” (already mentioned by him) “is a new town called Canton* (* The name has been changed to Bridgeport.) laid out by Mr. Zane last year, which has now 13 houses. We have crossed a ferry of a quarter of a mile to Zane’s Island, which we walked across, upwards of half a mile through a fertile, extensive and well cultivated farm, the property of Mr. Zane, some of whose apples, pulled from the orchard while passing, were very refreshing to us while we sat on the bank nearly an hour awaiting the ferryboat. At last the boat came and we crossed the second ferry of another quarter of a mile, to Wheeling.

“Here my fellow traveler took leave of me, purposing to go five or six miles further ere night, though it was now five o’clock and we had already walked upwards of 30 miles since morning.

“I stopped at Knox’s Inn, where I asked for some beer, not daring to drink wine or spirits. They had none, so I walked out to a small house where I had observed on a sign, ”Beer and Cakes.” On entering, I found my traveling companion making a hearty meal on a cent roll and a pint of beer. He appeared as glad to see me again as if we had been old acquaintances and had been long parted, and was easily prevailed on to make a second libation with me to the prosperous termination of our journeys in that humble, wholesome and refreshing beverage. I then returned to Knox’s , where I supped and slept. Next morning at dawn I took a plunge in the river, and after breakfast, finding my strength invigorated and my spirits renovated by my cold bath, I continued my journey on foot by the most direct road to Washington, Pennsylvania, instead of waiting for the stage, according to my first intention, as it had to go 10 miles out of the direct road to deliver the mail at Charlestown.** (** Wellsburg.)

“I set out at half part nine o’clock and soon gained the top of the hill immediately over Wheeling, from which there is a handsome birds-eye view of that town, Zane’s Island in fine cultivation, the two ferries across the Ohio and the village of Canton beyond, while on the left the Ohio is seen winding among hills five or six miles below, and the view is bounded in that direction by one ridge rising behind another to a great distance. Turning round on the ridge over which the narrow road leads, I had Wheeling Creek directly under me at the foot of the precipice, it running in such a manner as to make the site of the town with the hill behind almost a peninsula between it and the Ohio.

“I had proceeded about a mile, when, meeting a traveler of whom I inquired, I found I had taken a wrong road, in consequence of which I had to descend a steep precipice on my right, letting myself down with my hands from one tree to another to the bottom. Here I got into the right road, which follows the meanders of the creek up a fine valley, which has been settled about thirty years, and is now in a state of excellent cultivation.

“At two miles from Wheeling I passed a very handsome house, a fine farm and a mill of a Mr. Woods on the left. Here I could not help being struck with the difference of appearance of this wooden house painted white, with green jalousie window shutters and red roof, and the stone and brick houses of Ohio and Kentucky, much in favor of the former, however, better in reality the latter may be. A mile farther I passed Mr. Chapline’s fine merchant mill, and about a mile and a half beyond that, where the valley narrows, I observed on the left some very remarkable large loose rocks, which seem to have fallen from a rocky cliff which impends above.

“Half a mile beyond this I stopped at a Mr. Eoff’s neat cottage and good farm, where everything had an air of plenty and comfort. Four or five genteel looking young women were all engaged in sedentary domestic avocations, and an old lady served me with some milk and water which I had requested, after which I resumed my walk.

“A Mile up the side of the creek brought me to Mr. Shepherd’s mill and elegant house of cut stone. Here the creek forks and the road also, one of the forks called Big Wheeling coming down from the southeast and the right hand road leading along it to Morgantown; the left fork, called Little Wheeling, which forms Mr. Shepherd’s mill race, coming from the eastward, and my road towards Washington leading along it through a narrow valley with small farms, wherever a bottom or easy declivity of the hills would permit.

“I was here overtaken by a man on horseback, who very courteously insisted on my riding his horse while he walked about a mile. He was a County Tyrone man on the North of Ireland, settled twelve years in America, the last six of which has been in this neighborhood, where he cultivated a farm with good success. Indeed industry and sobriety is all that is necessary in any part of the United States to the westward of the mountains to insure a comfortable independence in a very few years.

“My companion stopping at a house on the road, I again proceeded alone to McKinley Tavern, four miles from Shepherd’s. I here left the creek on the left, crossing a smaller one which falls into it from the right, and I then ascended a steep and high hill, called Roney’s point, from its being the point of a ridge, and first owned by one Roney. It was about half a mile to the top of the hill, from which a fine, thickly settled and well cultivated but very hilly country broke on my view, beautifully variegated with cornfields in tassel, wheat and oat stubble, meadows, orchards, cottages and stacks of hay and grain innumerable, with a small coppice of wood between every plantation.

“Descending a little, a mile and a half further brought me to William Trusdale’s cottage, where I rested and refreshed with some buttermilk and water, and then went on through the same kind of country four miles from Trusdale’s to the Virginia and Pennsylvania boundary line, half a mile beyond which I entered the village of Alexandria* (* West Alexander.). A gust approaching fast, I stopped about half an hour at John Woodburn’s Tavern. This village is named from a Mr. Alexander, the proprietor of the soil, and is nicknamed Hardscramble, either from the hilly roads by which one arrives at it or from the difficulty experienced by the first settlers to obtain a subsistence. It contains about a dozen houses and cabins, a meeting house and three taverns, but it does not seem to thrive.

“I would not mention so often my mode of living and treating myself while on this journey only to show the good effects of temperance and cleanliness which enabled me, though in so warm a season, to travel either on foot or on horseback without fatigue or injury to my constitution.”

We quote as follows from a letter to a medical periodical published in New York in the year 1805, written by Dr. Gideon C. Forsyth, a physician who located in Wheeling about the year 1803, concerning the topographical, geological and climatic conditions of this place.

He says: “The town of Wheeling, where I now live, stands on a very high bank of what is called made ground, and was once no doubt the bed of the river; so that we are obligated to sink our wells as low as the river in order to have permanent water. We find mud, logs and petrified substances , with rolled pebbles as far as the made ground extends downwards, say upwards of 40 feet. The river water is generally pure, as the bottom is sand and rolled pebbles, and seldom muddy. The earth is so light that if the bank falls in by the undermining of the water the light sand and earth are soon carried away, and nothing is left but pebbles and course sand. Our climate is much more mild in the same degrees of latitude than eastward of the Alleghany mountains. This is caused by the winds, which are mostly up the river, or from the southward and westward. I have rarely known a northeast storm here; that wind seems to know that its bounds are the Alleghany mountains.

“The soil on the north side of our hills is by far the richest. this is no doubt owing to the winds blowing so constantly from the southward, carrying the leaves and lodging them on the north side, which by rotting have at length made the soil rich. This you know is quite the reverse of what is the case in New England, where the north sides of the hills are cold and frequently unproductive. Although the climate is more mild, yet it is much more unsteady, and you can never prognosticate what the weather will be twelve hours beforehand.”

In the same year in which the above letter was written we quote from the “Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains, by Thaddeus Mason Harris.”

Mr. Harris, who was a minister, being in poor health, thinking it would be conducive to the restoration of same, started from Boston in March, 1803, in his own conveyance, to make a tour of the Western country. He took the Post road from Boston through New York and Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and thence through Carlisle and Shippensburg to Strasburg at the foot of the Alleghany mountains. On the 12th of April he left Fort Ligonier, which was built by General Forbes, of His Majesty’s forces, in the year 1759, and named for Mr. Pitt’s beautiful but erratic daughter - Lady Ligonier. Passing the mountains, he followed the road down the Youghiogheny River and speaks of Williamsport, 19 miles below Redstone, now Brownsville, as being the direct road from Philadelphia to Wheeling after some days spent at Pittsburg, of which he gives a short account with a paragraph describing Seneca oil, or, as he says, petroleum, and calls attention in connection to Pliny Liber 11, Chapter 105.

On Thursday, April 19th, he crossed the ferry over the Monongahela opposite the glass houses, dined at Canonsburg, then to Washington to lodge and on the 20th he dineD at Shepherd’s mills on Wheeling Creek, “having traveled along a most romantic valley, between high mountains, and repeatedly crossed (17 times in five miles) the beautiful stream (Little Wheeling) running through it. The proprietor of these mills resides in one of the best built and handsomest stone houses we saw on this side of the mountains.

“Quitting the secluded vale, we passed over a high chain of mountains, when we overlooked the town of Wheeling and enjoyed fine and extensive views of a hilly and well-wooded country, intersected by the Ohio River.

“And in passing I may say that Louis Phillipe, King of the French, said to General Lewis Cass, when Minister to his Court, that when he and his brothers were on their way down the river in a keel-boat from Pittsburg to Louisiana, about this time, they were stopped by the ice, and were for three days in Wheeling. On the third day, tired of their forced inaction, they went for a walk on the hill and soon saw the ice giving way, and joyfully they hastened down and reembarked.”

Mr. Harris continues, “Wheeling is a post town, in Ohio county, Virginia, healthy and pleasantly situated on the sloping sides of a hill gracefully rising from the Ohio. It is laid out principally on one street, and most of the houses are handsome, several being built of brick and some of faced stone. It is 12 miles southwest of West Liberty and 54 miles from Pittsburg, 332 from Philadelphia and 12 miles above Grave Creek.

“It is increasing very rapidly in population and in prosperous trade, and is next to Pittsburg the most comfortable place of embarkation for traders and emigrants any where on the Western waters. During the dry season great quantities of merchandise are brought hither, designed to supply the inhabitants of the Ohio River and the waters that flow into it, as boats can go from hence when they cannot from places higher up on the river.

“Boat building is carried on in this place to a great extent, and several barges, keel-boats and some vessels have been built.

“Opposite the town is a most beautiful island in the river, containing about 400 acres, interspersed with buildings, highly cultivated fields, some fine orchards and copses of woods. It appears to great advantage from the town, and forms a very interesting part of the prospect. After the eyes have been strained in viewing the vast amphitheatre of country all around, or dazzled by tracing the windings of the river, they are agreeably rested and refreshed by the verdure and beauty of Wheeling Island.”

This description of Wheeling, as given by Mr. Harris as it then was, is substantially correct. The entire town was all on the bluff or high ground. The landing for boats was at the foot of Ninth street near the old Beymer House at the corner of Ninth and Main Streets, which was about the center of the town. The grade of Main street must have been changed about this time, as the log houses on the west side of the street were from two to three feet below the road. A spring near the upper part of the Second Ward Market House filled with its overflow a small rivulet, which flowing along Market Street was lost in a gully just back of the Zane house, which stood on the southeast corner of the present Eleventh and Main Streets. Between this rivulet and the river the ground ascended in a slight ridge until it had its highest point where the fort stood originally. As it was in those days all below the hill was fields, principally corn. In the year 1803 the keel-boats had the river to themselves, all travel going down in keel or flat-boats. In returning, many came by horseback, buying horses in Kentucky and coming back from Limestone (Maysville, Kentucky) across the country to Wheeling, but some came up the river. Keel-boats were at that time the only means of locomotion against the current. Slightly built flats or broadhorns, so-called, were built on the Monongahela and floated down with the emigrants, who founded the broad states of the west and after serving the purpose of freighting their owners and belongings were broken up into useful lumber.

In continuation of Mr. Harris’ account he says that below the town stands an old fort, at the point of land formed by the junction of Wheeling Creek and the river.

This fort stood in a decaying condition for many years. It was built of logs and occupied the site of the present Baltimore & Ohio Railroad depot and where the cotton mill and iron works afterward stood.* (* The name of this defense was Fort Randolph. It had been erected by the government in the latter part of the eighteenth century.) It was in fair repair until a time when an unruly ox, being led by John Wiseralls and Henry Sockman, butchers, started to run from them, the cattle being much wilder in those days than now; Sockman held on to the steer with a rope until he reached the fort, when he took a hitch on the rope on the end of a projecting log. The log was pulled out and soon afterward the fort was all a ruin. Some of the logs of this old fort were used in a building formerly occupied by William Moyston, now deceased. Henry Sockman was in his day quite a character and somewhat the associate of the Spriggs, Goods and others, his love of racing sports being shared by them.

In a few days Mr. Harris left his carriage and, taking a keel-boat, proceeded down the river. He speaks of passing the fort as if considerable distance intervened from the landing and the mouth of the creek. There were no houses on the lower ground, as malarial fevers were common on all the low grounds.” The passage down the river was extremely entertaining, exhibiting at every bend a change of scenery. Sometimes we were in the vicinity of dark forests which threw a dark shade over us as we glided by; sometimes we passed along overhanging banks, decorated with blooming shrubs, which timidly bent their light boughs to sweep the passing stream, and sometimes around the shore of an island, which tinged the water with reflected landscape. The lively carols of the birds which sing among the branches entertained us exceedingly and gave life and pleasure to the woodland scene. The flocks of wild geese and ducks which swam upon the streams, the vast numbers of turkeys, partridges and quails we saw upon the shore, and the herds of wild deer or some other animals of the forest darting through the tickets, afforded constant amusement.” Mr. Harris arrived at Marietta on Saturday morning, April 23rd., and remained for a fortnight. On May 4th he notes: “There passes the schooner ’Dorcas Sally’, of 75 tons, built at Wheeling and rigged at Marietta, and on the following day there passed down the schooner ’Amity’, 103 tons, from Pittsburg, and the ship ’Pittsburg’, of 275 tons burthen, from the same place, laden with 1,700 barrels of flour, with the rest of her cargo in a flat alongside; and in the evening the brig ’Mary Avery’, of 130 tons, built at Marietta, set sail, all going out on a 15-foot raise.” After some stay at Marietta he started on his return by horseback through what was then a wilderness, and on June 7th he reached Tomlinson, a small settlement near Grave Creek, lodged there that night, and Wednesday June 8th, he started to examine the mounds, and commencing with

"Behind me rise a reverend pile,
Sole on this desert heath, a place of tombs;
Waste desolate, where ruin dreary dwells,
Brooding over sightless skulls and crumbling bones.”

“We went out this morning to examine ancient monuments about Grave Creek. the town of Tomlinson is partly built upon one of the square forts. Several mounds are to be seen. I think there are nine within a mile. Three of them, which stand adjoining each other, are of superior height and magnitude to those that are commonly to be met with. In digging away the sides of one of them in order to build a stable many curious stone implements were found - one resembling a syringe or tube. There were also a pestle, some copper arrowheads of an oval shape, and several other articles. One of the mounds in Colonel Briggs’ garden (the tavern where Mr. Harris was entertained) was excavated in order to make an ice house. It contained a vast number of human bones, a variety of stone tools, a kind of stone signet of an oval shape, two inches in length, with a figure in relievo resembling a note of admiration surrounded by two raised rims. Captain Wilson, who presented to stone to my companion, Mr. Adams, observed that it has exactly the brand used to brand the Mexican horses. This singular stone was dispatched to Mr. Turell’s cabinet in Boston. One of the mounds was surrounded by a regular ditch and parapet, with only one entrance. The tunneling was about 12 feet high. The big grave, as it is called, is a most astonishing mound. We measured its perpendicular height and it was 671/2 feet; by the measurement of George Miller, of Wheeling, it is 67 feet. Its sides are steep; the diameter of the top is 55 feet, but the apex seems to have caved in, for the present summit forms a basin three or four feet in depth (all mounds not entirely finished presented this appearance); it is overgrown with large trees on all sides; near the top is a white oak of three feet in diameter, one still larger grows on the eastern side about half way down; the mounds sound hollow and as there were no excavations near the mounds and no hills or banks of earth we infer** (words missing) must have been formed principally of sods skimmed from the surface of the earth, or of earth brought from a great distance.” On the 9th our traveler went to Wheeling again, stopping at Gooding’s, which he says is a very good house, and on the 10th of June he took his carriage again and went via Washington, Uniontown, Somerset and Chambersburg to his home in Washington, Pennsylvania. He has the Indian Queen Hotel and Hawkins’ Hotel marked best in the itenerancy. On April 20, 1803, at Wheeling, the thermometer was at 3 p.m., 70 degrees; at 6 p.m. 68 degrees, and on June 9th, at 7 a.m., 64 degrees; at 12 M., 73 degrees, and at 5 p.m. 72 degrees. Hops grew wild in profusion on the island; he picked up native sulphur on some creeks, he does not say which.


We gather the following additional particulars from a letter addressed to a friend by a physician residing in Wheeling in the year 1808, on the diseases incident to the new settlement.


“In the first settlement of this country the inhabitants were under the necessity of living in small log cabins, say 12 to 15 feet wide and perhaps 16 feet long, with a small hole which served as a window, and one door; the floor of split logs or puncheons, and the side walls filled in with mud. In these large families were crowded together like so many sheep in a pen. The living was principally fresh meat and vegetables. Several years would pass before a sufficient improvement could be made to let the sun have its necessary influence, and winds to pass off freely. Under such circumstances, where vegetables grow so luxuriantly, their sudden decomposition must afford much miasma, which could not be carried off by the winds sufficiently to keep the air pure; so that by day they were exposed to this unfriendly air; and at night confined to their own effluvia in those unventilated cabins. Add to this the unreconciled state of their minds by coming so far from their native homes and settling among strangers created a degree of home-sickness, as it is called, could not otherwise than have a sensible effect on their diseases. All these causes have a tendency to give a typhous state to them.

“For the four first years after I came here I found fevers of the nervous type, and very obstinate. Whole families would be laid up frequently from four to eight weeks before any symptoms of convalescence appeared, except those who called for medical aid in the forming state of their fever. The difficulty of procuring comfortable clothing, food, necessary wine and almost every comfort combined to render the efforts of the physician unsuccessful, and it was only by changing the action by powerful stimulants that success could ensue. Calomel, opium, camphor, bark, valerian, epispasticks and smapisms, often venesection, emeticks and catharticks, and changing the linen frequently were the principal and almost only remedies. Much benefit likewise arose, in many instances, by diverting their attention from their present situations to the anticipation of their future ease and prosperity; contrasting these prospects with those they had left; telling them how much easier they would live in a few years, than on the other side of the mountains. Here they could raise 40 or 50 bushels of corn and 25 or 30 of wheat per acre, and where they formerly lived one-half of that quantity would have been considered good crops and require double the labor; that this was only a seasoning to the country, etc. These and other similar ideas suggested to them would seem to cheer their desponding spirits and almost drive away their pains.

“But in proportion as the country has become cultivated, the inhabitants better clothed and fed, their houses enlarged and a more free circulation of air the diseases are less frequent and their type materially changed.

“In all newly settled countries, I believe, the practice of drinking ardent spirits to excess is common; at any rate it has been the case here. The low price of whiskey and peach brandy favors it very much; so that while we are getting, in some measure, rid of the diseases consequent to a new settlement another more formidable evil is growing. So common is this practice that many heads of families will rise in the morning, bring out their bottle and call all their families around them to taste the potent liquor as regularly as the good man does his family to join in their morning devotions.

“We have no wells; so that the people use spring and river water; the former is called hard, as it does not wash well. The lower class of women wear no shoes for a considerable part of the year; of course they are liable to frequent obstructions of the catamenia, and perhaps for the same cause to hysteria. Smoking tobacco is a common habit among the country women; their reasons for it are various, but the most common is ’to drive away sorrow.’

“On account of the very damp and changeable atmosphere cynache trachealis, cholera infantum and hydrocephalus internus are very common complaints among children; and I have frequently seen each of these diseases alternate with each other in the same patient, which has induced a belief that there is a great affinity between them. In the neighborhood of the river we are peculiarly liable to catarrhs and colds. There is, perhaps, no river in the United States so subject to sudden rising and falling of its waters as the Ohio and the rivers which form it; sometimes it can be forded with ease; and again will admit of large vessels to pass with safety. I have observed that its sudden rise is generally attended with affections of the lungs. The influenza appeared general in this country twice last year, viz., May and October. In my note book of May 20, 1807, I find the following remark; ‘For several weeks past the influenza had prevailed in this and the adjacent counties, supposed to be caused by the sudden melting of the snows in the mountains, which produced a very great rise of water in the Ohio; the air very damp and cold, wind north and northwest. Its symptoms are cold and shivering pain in the head, generally across the eyes, full nose, sore throat, an ichorous discharge from the nose and eyes, cough, and pain in the limbs. The chronick diseases which followed, phthisis pulmonalis and swellings of the tonsils.’

“Goitre is likewise a very common and endemick complaint here, but especially at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. Its cause appears to be a particular state of the atmosphere in this district of country.

“May not those causes which so frequently produce affections of the tonsils, trachea and throat, likewise produce by long application an enlargement of the thyroid gland? I am induced to believe that all those causes which have a tendency to bring on obstructions in other parts have also a tendency to cause the disease of goitre.

“I must now close my remarks on the disease of this country. They have necessarily been short, but still I hope you will find some of them interesting; and if you ever should be induced to remove to a new settlement they may be of service in directing your practice.

“In my last letter I mentioned the valerian plant growing here. Last year I procured several pounds of it; and although it was not quite so strong as the imported on account of its being gathered in the low grounds, yet it answered equally well by giving it in larger quantities.

“In my last I mentioned that our hills run sometimes in the direction and sometimes at right angles with the rivers; but I neglected to observe that the dividing ridges always run parallel to the Alleghany mountains. I would further observe that the bark of the common maple was found at the depth of 57 feet below the surface in digging a well in this town. I have also been informed that there is in one spot in the state of Ohio a large body of flint stone. The river bank and hills on each side uniformy correspond to each other, and if we have a large bottom on one side, on the other the hill comes near the river.”


A further identification of certain locations we are able to give as they were in the year 1815. At this last named date from the present stone bridge up Main street, there was a frame house, then Miller’s pottery, a log house, and another frame house about where the National Bank of West Virginia now is, and on the east side was a brick house, afterward occupied by John McCortney as a tavern. Mr. Sockman had a brick yard not far from the creek. East of this and near a small ravine was a brewery, of which Mr. Updegraff was proprietor, and near it a brick house built in the year 1814. Mr. Graham had a rope walk near the old graveyard. This graveyard occupied the site of the old Hempfield yards. Between there and where McCortney’s Tavern was situated a Mr. Hall lived in a log house. These were the only houses then on the bottom or south of Zane’s house, which stood at the corner of the present Main and Eleventh streets. The balance was corn, grass and woodland. Some distance from the corner of the present Chapline and Twelfth streets in a northerly direction and near the hill was McConnell’s tanyard, his house, and further back a log house. Where the Second Ward Market House now stands was a pond which was supplied from a spring on the side of the hill. Wild ducks often settled there and many were shot by Hugh Nichols and other young men, who also hunted foxes and squirrels on the hill.

The only house between the pond and the hill was a frame in which queer noises were heard at night, and no one would live in it. Groans, grunts and screams were heard in the cellar until some one more brave than the others made a desperate charge on it, and found that the hogs had turned it into a rooting place. A few stones were laid upon it and the ghosts were laid also.

Market street was not graded and there was no other dwelling house except that of Mr. Church at the corner where the National Bank turns to the river. He burnt lime, and, as was the custom, sold a half bushel for a bushel, but was brought up with a round turn when he made a contract to furnish a large amount to the road for they demanded full bushels. Mr. Steenrod was then a large contractor on the National Road and did his farming besides. The hill close to the road from which McCulloch leaped was all woods, with only a horse-path to West Liberty.

South of the creek was all farmed except Dr. Eoff’s stone house near the Belmont Mill. There was a little ferry house at the bridge over the creek at the stone quarry. Daniel Zane’s brick house was commenced about 1815. That was for many years the only house upon the Island. There was no other in 1835.

The Cumberland or National Road first gave Wheeling an impetus, and it grew very rapidly from 1815 to 1837. It would have grown much more rapidly in subsequent years if the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad had built their road through the sand-patch, but there is yet much undeveloped mineral wealth on that road and its connections that promises well for Wheeling if she only had the creek and hill out of the way, giving her room to build. Thaddeus Stevens used to say, “Your members vote so ______ badly. You will change that when your people in the interior find that it is more profitable to raise sheep than dogs, and that a plow is more valuable as an agricultural implement than a shot gun.” In this year (1825) wheat could be bought for 25 cents per bushel on a year’s credit, and the best of farm hands could be hired at $5 per month. Those were the days when people worked hard and lived very poorly. Coffee was not seen in every poor man’s house as it is now. Instead of it an imitation drink was made out of burned bread, and many families for lack of sugar sweetened it with molasses. Genuine coffee was worth 37 1/2 cents per pound, and calico 50 cents per yard. This, too, when wages were down to zero compared with the present.

In 1828 there stood on the creek bank a cotton factory. It was first owned or controlled by a gentleman of the name of Hull, but in later days and different times Robert Woods and George R. Tingle operated it and had more success than the earlier proprietor because at a more favorable period. At any rate, Mr. Hull and his supporters had to succumb to the times and financial difficulties. Farther up the creek were the brick yards of John Galley.

The reader will pardon us for digressing to relate an incident that occurred here about this time. At the time of which we write there was a covered wooden bridge across the creek near its mouth, where it empties into the Ohio. One dark night a wiry Irishman was riding a large black horse, humming a tune as he rode, when he was suddenly attacked by two able-bodied men who had concealed themselves on the bridge. He, however, resisted so successfully as to get the better of them, as they each threw up the sponge and ignominiously fled, notwithstanding the Irishman fought at a disadvantage from the fact that one of his feet was mashed and he carried two China pigs in the respective ends of a grain sack, but he also carried in his hand a peacemaker - a shillalah - to the use of which he was no stranger, and therefore he used it upon his assailants in the most loving and caressing manner and with such effect as to result in his promoting peace and harmony amid the dangers and darkness of the gloomy bridge.

Sometime previous to this battle on the bridge, “Sam”, a slave and lifelong playmate and faithful servant of William Chapline, Esq., had run away to Canada on account of ill usage suffered by him, not from his master but from some member of the family, and had left behind him a free wife and a free family. This wife and family after a time desired to move to Mount Pleasant, Ohio, or a short distance beyond that place, and the Irishman had busied himself in collecting money to aid them in so doing, and had given his own team for the purpose of removing them. This exasperated a certain class in the community who swore vengeance on him, which in a boomerang kind of way had exploded on the bridge in the manner related, to the discomfiture of his assailants, as aforesaid. Some time after it leaked out that the head upon which he had played his tune with his shillalah was none other than that of Josiah Chapline, a son of the salve’s master.

But times have changed since then and men have changed with them, and many of those who were in the majority then, and especially their descendants since, now shout for freedom and human rights.

But to resume our reminiscences of fifty-eight years with which we started out before making the foregoing digression, we remark that beyond the brick yards of Mr. Galley up to the intersection of Linsly (Nineteenth) street was the training ground for race horses, of which “Dolly Piper” and others belonging to a man named Victor were the favorites of most of the boys in that section.

Following the line of Linsly street westward along the creek bottom, about midway between Sixth and Seventh (Woods and Jacob) streets there was an abrupt rise to about the present grade of the street, and a short distance beyond and to the south lived John Galley; further west beyond Sixth (Jacob) street, but on the north side of Linsly street, were two small one-story brick houses then belonging to John Gilchrist.

There are but few of the old citizens who cannot recall the tenements of Jacob Amick, who for many years was the street commissioner of the city, but who at the era of which we write was engaged in the manufacture of brick and also in dealing in ice, with a yard immediately in front of his residence and an ice house at the north end of the first lot east of Fifth (now Eoff) street, his dwelling being located about the middle of the lot eastward of that.

On Clay (now Eighteenth ) street Thomas Smith kept a shoemaker’s shop in the brick house on the second lot from the corner, and this house and the two which belonged to Daniel Gilchrist on the first lot east of the alley, together with the James Campbell and Otto Hess tenements, was the only ones westward of Sixth (now Jacob) street and north of Clay (now Eighteenth ) street.

Eastward of Sixth (now Jacob) street, not regarding the side of the street, were the swellings of Martin, Haley, Huseman, Robinson, Simpson, Thomas Hogg, Reppeto and Smith, and the Lutheran church.

Many of the houses on Seventeenth (formerly Zane) street were built before the street was graded and were perched above the level of the thoroughfare.

On Main street about where John Bishop afterward built, there formerly appeared the names of J. & C. Ritchie, Ritchie & Wilson, Plunkett & Miller and others, but it was in East Wheeling, where the Fourth Ward School building now stands , that the life of their business was manifest. The flint works, as they were called, stood near the corner of Zane and Sixth (now Seventeenth and Jacob) streets, and the crown works were farther west and near the alley line. The flint glass was not, as now, made of lime and the cheaper materials that characterize the modern, but was what was called “lead glass,: and was not molded as now, but largely produced by blowing and more dexterous handling, and consequently more skilled and practical labor. To produce anything like the quantity now turned out required a greater number of master workmen, as well as assistants thereto.

The flint glass has only been referred to by way of contrast, but in the crown there is a remoteness and an antiquity. I had almost said which “makes it of the past,” in nearly every phase in which it may be viewed. It was said that only two works had been put in operation for making crown glass within the United States, one of these being in Boston and the other in Wheeling, and therefore its processes were among the novelties of that time.

The double brick structure just westward of the Fourth Ward School property, was built by Messrs. Dare & Hoge, the old-time hatters, who kept their store in the building which occupied the site of the now Pittsburg, Wheeling & Kentucky Railroad passenger depot, and the frame building in the rear of their same half lot was then occupied by a family named Westwater.

The old East Wheeling Company’s wooden bridge spanned the creek where the recently erected affair now does duty, but the street leading toward it was not then graded to it.

The old graveyard was then in use, and its fences, house and the stable of Mr. Burt, the sexton, extended from the alley south of Fifteenth street to about the north line of Seventeenth street, and its high ground ran about on a level with the site formerly of the Rogers property southward about 300 feet, when it sloped to about the present grade of Eighteenth street at the Flaccus factory. John street of East Wheeling was probably named for, or as a complimentary to, John Fawcett, one of the members of the East Wheeling Company and was the longest and first street of their addition. The late George Forbes’, formerly the Houser, building, the Salsbury ‘s row; Moffat’s, formerly Samuel Neal’s, Adam’s, formerly Joseph Morrison’s, and what was formerly Colonel Thompson’s adjoining thereto, with the Exley brick, and two or three tenements near it, almost completed the list here.

Eastward scarcely anything is recognizable except the Pumphrey residence and two or three frames in this block, and the former Butts’ brick and several frame tenements in the blocks further toward the creek.

An old landmark was a white lead factory on the northeast corner of Seventh (now Woods) street and John ( now Sixteenth) street, then called the Baker & Roberts factory, but it long since gave place to dwelling houses.

On Quincy ( now Fourteenth ) street, east on Fifth ( now Eoff) street, the houses were then few, and still fewer remain in the same guise, although under their old coats, and their new one might pick out a dozen and resurrect the names of citizens who went west in the times of Wheeling’s greatest financial difficulties, or eastward in the beginning of the late unpleasantness. The entrance to Allman’s field at Quincy street was about where McCulloch street is now, but the road soon left the present street route and wound around the base of the hill, coming in below an old brick spring house and going thence to the creek crossing.

We come now to the year 1840, when the prominent hotels in the city were the United States, where the Hotel Windsor now stands; the Virginia, latterly the Grant House, and McCourtney’s on the corner of Main and Quincy streets, and the Powhatan House on Monroe street. McCourtney’s was the favorite resort of drovers and cattle men, as there were ample accommodations for the great droves of horses, sheep, cattle and even turkeys that were driven over the mountains via the great thoroughfare.

On these premises in the present center of the city where the Intelligencer office is now located, were the circus grounds, where Dan Rice, Stickney and other pioneers of the sawdust ring delighted the young and old of those days in their astonishing equestrian feats and athletic sports.

The only Methodist church in the city at this time was the old Fourth Street church with its spacious galleries extending around three sides of it, the choir immediately facing the gallery. “Bobby” Hamilton, as he was familiarly called, led the singing, with his tuning fork. Here Cooke, Kenney, Babcock, Hudson and others who have long since gone to their reward uttered their eloquent sermons. A dirty little old school house occupied the site of the present North Street Methodist Episcopal church, and in it a Sabbath-school was conducted for years, of which “Uncle Billy” Wilson was superintendent and John Irwin was the librarian. Here worship was sometimes held, also a prayer-meeting, which was the germ from which sprang the present society.

There were also the First Presbyterian, the Associate Reformed, the United Presbyterian, the Roman Catholic, the Episcopal and the Baptist churches and a Friend church in South Wheeling (now Center Wheeling), and a few societies of other denominations.

One of the earliest industrial plants, the traces of which are now wholly obliterated, was a flourishing glass works, with a number of dwellings, and a company store situated along the river back north of the Top Mill, which was operated by a gentleman of the name of Eusell. Sweeney’s glass house was also in operation at this time and had a fine reputation for their excellent cut glassware. A Mr. Anderson had a glass manufactory in East Wheeling, while the Plunkets were located in South Wheeling. At this time the Sweeney’s, however, were the only ones having plants in operation.

The building of steamboats and engines had been carried on by Arthur M. Phillips and sons. At this time the Sweeney brothers engaged in an extensive foundry business, and later Hobbs & Taylor’s machine shops were started. Hubbard’s sawmill, the cotton factory, Gill’s silk factory and the paper mill were later important industries.

Great financial distress prevailed during nearly the whole of this period; there was a stagnation in business and hopeless bankruptcy swept away the fortunes of the rich and the scanty means of the poor alike. Many persons left the city and the population was greatly decreased.

In those days there were no postage stamps, the first of these having been issued in 1847. Hence the prepayment of letters was not a necessity. The rate for postage were five cents for every 300 miles and five cents for every additional 300 miles or fraction thereof. Envelopes were not in use; instead , a sheet of paper was folded up and fastened with a wafer of sealing wax. Often a letter would remain in the office for days, because the person to whom it was addressed had not the ready money to pay the postage, money was so scarce in those days.

We had no gas works, railroads, public schools, seminaries, kerosene, sewing machines, cook stoves, base burners, clothes wringers, telegraph lines, telephones, street cars, church organs, lady clerks, and no saloons. There were taverns in those days, with entertainment for man and beast, and accommodations for boarders where the bar was a secondary affair, but an establishment for the sole purpose of selling intoxicating drinks had no existence.

The first tidal wave of temperance to sweep over the city was the great Washingtonion. Immense and enthusiastic meetings were held which were addressed by prominent reformers. Numbers signed the pledge and many habitual drinking men and drunkards became total abstainers. An immense celebration was held on the Island on the Fourth of July, where a free dinner was given to the various delegations, which came with flying colors and bands of music from the surrounding towns and country.

The political excitement in this community in the years of 1840 and 1845 was intense and everyone, young and old, male and female, were more or less affected by it, and the cry of “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too”, resounded throughout the country. Log cabins and hard cider was the party shibboleth. A tri-state meeting was held on the slope of Wheeling hill, which was not then denuded of its trees and which was an excellent spot for the holding of an out-of-door meeting. Here were gathered large delegations from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, and some of the most eminent speakers were imported from the state named and from others. An immense crowd had gathered for the occasion and a barbecue had been prepared, which was partaken of by the thousands who had thus come together to express their loyalty and allegiance to the tenets of their party.

The late court house, which occupied the site of the new opera house in course of erection, was just finished at that day, and on the open space which was opposite on the corner of Monroe and Fourth streets, where the Odd Fellows’ hall is now, there was erected a Whig pole, tall, strong and mast rigged. At the foot of this pole a speakers stand had been erected, where songs and addresses were made to amuse and incite the multitude.

At this time barbecues, conventions and political gatherings were the order of the day, at which partisan leaders and their followers came and went in vast processions, in every possible rig and conveyance within a radius of 30 or even a greater number of miles, hauling log cabins, hard cider, great balls 15 or 20 feet in diameter suspended between poles, and on every available portion of their surface were emblazoned the names of the states with appropriate mottoes, and the popular political sayings of the chiefs to whom they were wedded, and whom they honored. The different industrial trades were represented in gaudily decorated wagons, in which artisans plied their various trades and vocations, carrying banners on which were burlesqued the sayings and declarations of their political opponents, or such as illustrated and emphasized the views and opinions entertained by the members of the profession. At that time there was no uniform election day in the states and hence great suspense was experienced concerning the result.

Wheeling was intensely Whig then, and keenly alive to the benefits of a protective tariff which would build up her young manufacturing interests, but in this her hopes were blasted and the blight of misfortune overtook her, from which it took years for her to recover.

The business depression herein referred to commenced in the year 1837 and was similar to the one experienced in 1893-1894. The occasion of this depression from which Wheeling suffered so severely was attributed to the removal by President Jackson of the government deposits from the United States Bank which disturbed the business and confused the currency of the country. The result was a loss of confidence and the prostration of every business interest. Distrust prevailed among friends and neighbors. A staple currency ceased to circulate, and the citizens of Wheeling had to resort to such shifts as were adopted by the people of other portions of the country to meet the condition of prevailing affairs. Hence a system of currency was introduced for the public relief by certain individuals in the community, which in a degree alleviated the financial pressure. Fractional notes were issued by private individuals for small sums of the following denominations: Six and a quarter, twelve and a half, eighteen and three quarters, twenty-five, thirty seven and a half, fifty and seventy-five cents. They were printed on flimsy paper, but they answered a good purpose. They were styled in the popular language of the day, “shinplasters”. They continued in circulation until public confidence was restored, and were redeemed by the individuals by whom they were issued. The writer, then a boy, well remembers what a pleasure thrilled him when he possessed one of these shinplasters and the assurance with which he visited a candy shop to invest his fortune in the coveted sweets.

One of the issue of these original notes would now be a curiosity, but they have gone to the grave with all perishable paper money. Real estate became a drug on the market and entire houses without number were tenantless and deserted. So great was the number of these that in many instances they were offered by their owners rent free to those who would take care of and protect them.


Shortly after the organization of the town government of Wheeling in the year 1806, one among the numerous improvements then agitated was the necessity of taking measures to erect a building for a market house. In the course of events the project was realized by the erection of one, regardless of any particular style of architecture, as this latter consideration did not enter into the calculation. Hence while the one erected did not tickle the pride of the inhabitants in the character of its design and the display of its beauty in its proportions, yet for all practical purposes it answered the end for which it was intended.

It was located on the brow of the bluff on the river bank at the east end of the present suspension bridge, which spans the river at that point, on Tenth street, in the space between the Zinn property and Logan’s drug store, and between Main street and the terminus of the bridge. It was a small frame building, containing three or four stalls for meat, and was a much sought and coveted lounging place for the numerous cows and hogs, which at that early day were permitted to roam through the embryo city and which nightly rendezvoused there, enlivening the neighborhood with stertorous grunts and monotonous bawling, causing many a wooer of the sleepy god to utter dire imprecations upon the heads of his porcine and bovine neighbors, which thus innocently indulged their natural propensities at his expense.

In its architectural proportions, it resembled an ordinary shed, the roof of which on one side projected to such an extent as to provide a generous shelter to any number of people who might seek its overhanging protection, provided it was not preoccupied by the before mentioned quadrupeds. The principal butcher of that day was a German by the name of Henry Sockman, a thrifty and industrious individual, who subsequently removed to a farm in Marshall county, in this state, which he had purchased with the proceeds of his business in Wheeling. He was noted for his eccentricities, but withal was a person of cheerful disposition and kindly instincts, and was consequently held in high estimation by his fellow townsmen. His slaughter-house was located on the brow of the hill north of the water works building and in the rear of the present residence of Charles Rawlings, Esq., on Main street. Whether the inhabitants were induced to change the location of the market house by reason of the nuisance occasioned by the four-footed beats of the town, or by reason of its too limited accommodations to meet the growing demands of the period, we are unable to say, but at all events in the year 1822 the suggestion that a more commodious building was needed in a different location was acted upon, and it was determined to erect a new one, and hence in this last named year the authorities entered into a contract with a well known builder and contractor of that day - George Pannell, Esq., the father of the late Andrew J. Pannell, Esq. - for the erection of a more suitable one, better adapted to the purpose for which it was intended, to be located on Market Street, north of Union (now Eleventh) streets. Its dimensions were to be 98 feet in length, divided into eight stalls on each side, with two passages on each side, and 17 feet clear between the pillars, and a roof projecting over the piers on each side seven feet and a half, with an arch extending the whole length of the building. A large space was left at its southern end fronting on Union street, which was paved with brick, around which on the outer edges locust posts were planted to prevent the passage of horses and vehicles. In aid of the erection of the same, certain inhabitants of the town and vicinity agreed and bound themselves to pay to the corporation in installments a sum of money amounting in all to $690. For this purpose a paper had been circulated in the community for subscriptions to the enterprise, which was signed generally and the requisite amount was soon secured. The following terms were incorporated in this subscription paper:

Mr. Pannell was to undertake the collection of the same and pay himself thereout the sum of $600, and the balance thereof he was to pay into the town treasury, with this understanding, however: “That if the persons signing said subscription are bound to pay the several sums by them subscribed, and are now solvent, the said incorporation (town) shall not be bound for the payment of said sum of $600, or any part thereof, otherwise to be held accountable.” The terms were satisfactory to the parties, and Parnell undertook to and did finish it on or before the first day of August, 1822, according to his contract and the subscribers paid the money as they had agreed to do, and thus relieved the town from all responsibility.

The opening of the new market house was an event in the history of the town, and was regarded as an uncommon enterprise and a great stride in the prosperity of the place. It was not alone a convenience to the inhabitants, but it proved to be an inducement to the farmers in the vicinity to bring in their surplus produce. There were no hucksters at this early period who controlled the prices, but the farmers then brought in their produce, and sold it at prices which were moderate, but remunerative and just. That some idea may be had as to the prices then paid for the necessities of life, we quote a few as follows: Cleaned chickens from six and a fourth to eight cents each. Butter three pounds for 25cts., each pound being neatly printed with some appropriate device on it, such as a sheaf of wheat, a cow, etc. Eggs at three cents a dozen and fresh and newly laid, too. Hickory cured hams sold at six and a fourth cents per pound. The best cuts of beefsteak at four cents per pound. Corn meal brought 25 cents per bushel, and potatoes were a drug at 18 3/4 to 25 cents per bushel. Thus it will be perceived it did not require a long purse to procure the eatables of life, as compared with the present day. In addition to Henry Sockman heretofore named, among others who in business there were Neil McNaughten and Louis Bayha, all of whom have passed away. In the year 1828 an addition to the market house was determined upon and accordingly, in September of the last named year, a contract was entered into. The Town House herein referred to is located at the south end of the present market house; after its erection it was used by the town council as a meeting place for the transaction of business, while the second story was being built at the north end of the present market house, when the town Solons abandoned it and removed to the new building provided for them, and where they continued to meet until they removed to the old City Hall on Market street, near Twelfth street, from which latter place they removed to the more palatial quarters in the City Building, which they now occupy. By the year 1830 it was discovered that the market house was too limited to meet the demand of the public, and that a further addition was necessary to meet these growing wants. In compliance with these, another extension was made. This was undertaken and completed by George Pannell, the same gentleman who had built the first section. Owing to the existing exigencies at the time, a portion of it was used before its final completion. Still another addition, to which we call attention, was made in the year 1832. The contract for this enlargement was made with John Sexton, and it was stipulated that it was to be extended northwardly to the distance of 62 feet. It was also provided that it was to be built without arches and hence the difference in the ceilings of the two sections which is so noticeable. This addition was to have five stalls and two doorways on each side, and in height, breath and material, as well as in all other respects, with the exception of the above mentioned, was to correspond as closely as possible with the other sections of the market house. The same was to be completed on or before the 10th day of December following, for which the contractor was to receive the sum of $315.

Subsequently another section was added, the contractor for which was William Exley, by whom it was completed. The dimensions of this last we are unable to give, likewise the price to be paid for the same. The second story at the north end of the building was used for county purposes prior to the erection of the Court House on the corner of Twelfth and Chapline streets, as a place for the meetings of the courts. It was styled the “City Hall” to distinguish it from the “Town Hall”, so called, which stood at the south end. Such is the history of the Second Ward Market House, so far as we have been able to gather it. In conclusion, permit me to call attention to the careless manner in which the archives of the town have been kept. Having occasion to consult them, with a view of obtaining some data in regard to the subject matter of this sketch, my effort was in vain, as the old books have been lost, destroyed or boxed up, as is also the case with the loose papers and memoranda, which, as I was informed, were promiscuously thrown together into boxes and nailed, so that searching for information as to the early history of the town and city, even if permitted to open the boxes, might be a work of a week or month to search among their miscellaneous contents before being rewarded with success, if at all. No one person is to be blamed for this neglect, but the present council could do no better thing than to employ some competent person to gather up these papers, placing each in its appropriate bundle, properly labeled, marked and arranged in cases, where persons desiring to inspect the same could have the opportunity. In an economical point of view, we believe it would pay the city to do this, as a matter of self protection in the future, if for no other reason.

Samuel Riley, living three miles above the mouth of Wegee, in Ohio, a person eighty-six years of age, says that when he was a boy he was accustomed to attend the Market in Wheeling quite regularly at the old and first market house ever erected in the town. He says it was a building of rough, round logs, and was about 20 feet square and stood at the east end of the present suspension bridge on Tenth street. He sold his eggs at six and a quarter cents per dozen, and his butter at twelve and a half cents per pound. He in company with a neighbor was in the habit of carrying their produce and making their journey to market in a canoe which they paddled to and from the town. The market house had an opening in the middle on each side of it for ingress and egress.

The butchers, of which there were three or four, occupied the inside of the building and the country people were ranged on the outside. A short distance east of the market house on the same street stood the first Court House of the town and a pillory and the stocks. These latter were not useless appendages but were often utilized in cases of incorrigibility and for petty crimes. He could not state when the market house referred to fell into disuse, but perhaps it was in the year 1820.


Mr. Riley also gave some interesting facts concerning that singular and unique character, - Lorenzo Dow . He stated that he was present in the year 1820 or 1821, he could not be positive as to the year, and heard Mr. Dow preach in a small frame house which stood on a portion of Noah Zane’s property on Main street, just below that gentleman’s old stone house, which it will be remembered occupied the corner of Main and the present Eleventh streets. He described Dow as a tall, thin, delicate looking man, - more like the shadow of a man than a substantial one. He was plainly dressed in the costume of the day and wore a beard which reached to his waist, and his hair had been suffered to grow to such a length that he could sit upon it, it being against his principles to either shave or cut his hair.

On this occasion he heard Dow prophesy that in fourteen years from that day he would return and at ten o’clock in the morning he would again preach in Wheeling. Being a young boy he says he was much impressed with so definite and emphatic an announcement, as he had been taught by his parents that life was uncertain and that no one could foretell what a day might bring forth, and hence such an announcement seemed to be defying Providence. However, Dow’s life was spared, and true to his prophecy, he returned at the expiration of the period of fourteen years and preached according to his promise. Dow was a member of no particular denomination, but was an eccentric though earnest evangelist.

On this same occasion Mr. Riley says he heard Dow prophesy, that a great flood would occur in the Ohio Valley in the year 1832, also that another would happen in the year 1852, and that in 1876 the people would fail to elect a president, all of which predictions resulted as had been foretold by him.

Mr. Riley was personally acquainted with Col. Ebenezer Zane, whom he described as a thick-set, fleshy person, and with Jonathan Zane, whom he described as a tall man, fully six feet in height, strong, compactly built, and muscular. He said there were three persons, - his father - one of the Zanes (which he did not mention) - and one of the McLures - whose respective heads measured 25 inches around and that on account of their size their hats had to be made to order - that he often carried his father’s order for a hat to the hatter, who manufactured these hats for each of the three.


In the early years of the last century horse racing was engaged in almost universally by the people. The first race-track near Wheeling, which was at Beech Bottom, was abandoned in 1825; prior to that year people came even so far as from Kentucky to participate in the sport. Sporting men for miles in almost every direction turned out to engage in it as principals or witnesses, and gambling was carried on openly. The race-track at Beech Bottom was located on the farm of Zachariah Pumphrey, an old time peculiar individual. He always kept a stock of hard cider on tap and the libations were freely indulged in.

At the death of Pumphrey, the property passed into other hands less interested in horse flesh. During the existence of this race-track, Isaac Mitchell rode “Old Fred” and won the race, which was a heat of four miles. Colonel Voss, of Brooke county, an old Virginian, a fox hunter, &c., regularly attended the races at Beech Bottom; also Edgington, of Brooke county, an uncle of D.M. Edgington, and Isaac Leffler were also attendants on these races. Some of the names of the prominent horses were: Old Fred, belonging to Squire Mitchell, and Red Jacket, owned by one of the Wells at Beech Bottom. Colonel Voss was a leader and had a stentorian voice which could be heard over the entire course. Mr. King, who kept the Virginia House, brought a horse from Maryland, which could not run any distance as he had no bottom. The race course was removed to the lower part of what is now South Wheeling, and was called the Echols’ race-track. About the last races held there were in the fall of 1832. In an open field adjoining, during the time of the races, there would be as many as 20 or 30 faro tables in full blast at one time. Of course such an occasion was marked by numerous fights, and many were the bloody noses and cracked heads that bore testimony to the severity of the punishment inflicted upon their unfortunate possessors. During the flood of the early spring of this year the old wooden bridge which spanned the creek near its mouth had been carried away and the crowds in going to and coming from the scene of the races crossed on a pontoon, which was built on the site formerly occupied by the wooden bridge.

It was about this time when Ritchie Town was laid out, and it was deemed advisable to remove the race-course to some more desirable location. Accordingly it was located in what was known as Edgington’s field. The names of some of the prominent sporting men of that day are: Samuel Sprigg, Garrison Jones, Alexander Mitchell, Hugh Nichols, Noah Zane and William Gregg. The race course located on the Edgington land, which was part of John Good’s farm, was carried on by a Baltimore company, which in the course of two or three years, finding it did not pay, abandoned it. Some of the noted horses which raced on this track were called by the following names, and owned by the following persons, to-wit: Black-Eyed Susan, owned by Hugh Nichols and Ebenezer Zane, Jr.; Rachel, owned by the same persons; Postboy, owned by William Gregg, and Bedford, owned by Ebenezer Zane, Jr. Sparrowhawk was another famous racehorse owned by Ebenezer Zane. They were accustomed to race their horses rain or shine, and no jockeying was allowed. During the time the course was located at Beech Bottom, the hotel located there was conducted by Garrison Jones.

The moral sentiment of the community of that day was not so keenly alive to the demoralizing effect of horse racing as that of the present; and it was , so to speak, carried on in a much more dignified manner, but the excitement engendered by it was as great as that produced in the present, and there were some who were carried away by it to such an extent as to lead them in the midst of their frenzied feelings to make an offer of sacrifice of everything they possessed. As an illustration of this: there was an old man by the name of Thompson, at that time living on the Mitchell farm, who on one occasion while in his cups, during one of the races on the Ritchie Town track, having bet and lost all his money, proceeded to put up cow after cow, of which he owned several, until all were won from him, when in despair, he offered to put up “Katie,” his wife, but found no takers.

The Pumphrey farm at Beech Bottom, where the old race track was located, was purchased by a Methodist minister from Maryland, after which he would not permit horse racing on the premises, when it was removed to the adjoining farm below, owned by a man named Hedges, who, although Methodist also, showed no compunctions of conscience in allowing a portion of his farm to be so used.

One of the most celebrated racehorses of that day was Federal, which was purchased in the East by Alexander Mitchell and was one of the speediest horses in the country. On one occasion Mitchell, mounted on old “Fed”, as he was called, and rode through a crowd of sporting men and loungers and offered to bet his farm, acre by acre, that he could outrun any horse on the ground. He felt quite safe in making this banter, as he well knew the speed and endurance of his horse, and was well acquainted with that of the other horses. This horse won for its owner large sums of money, but finally his prestige waned, as other competitors were introduced that proved to be its superiors.

Worthington, who lived adjoining the racetrack, determined to build a barn on his farm and employed one Murry, a local Methodist minister of West Liberty, to erect it. One day at the dinner hour, when all were assembled at the table, he enquired of Murray what part of the roasted chicken he would like, and Murry replied, “the rump”; cutting that part in twain, Worthington placed one of the severed pieces on Murry’s plate, remarking at the time that half of the rump was enough for any man.

In those early days, a mist of rain did not put the people out as it does today, and whether the track was dry or not, the race was run anyhow.


Wheeling was made a port of entry by the Act of Congress which was passed March 2, “Sec. 1. Chap. 87, U.S. Statutes, Act of 1831, the first section of which is as follows; March 2, 1831, says: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. That when any goods, wares or merchandise are to be imported from any foreign country into Pittsburg, in the state of Pennsylvania; Wheeling, in the state of Virginia; Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio; Louisville, in the state of Kentucky; St. Louis, in the state of Missouri; Nashville, on the state of Tennessee, or into Natchez, in the state of Mississippi, the importer thereof shall deposit in the custody of the surveyor of the place a schedule of the goods so intended to be imported with an estimate of the cost at the place of exportation, whereupon the said surveyor shall make an estimate of the amount of duties accruing on the same, and the importer as consignee shall give bond with sufficient sureties to be approved by the surveyor in double the amount of the duties so estimated, conditioned for the payment of the duties on said merchandise, ascertained as hereinafter directed; and the surveyor shall forthwith notify the collector at New Orleans of the same, by forwarding to him a copy of such bond and schedule.”

Under another section of this Act the appointment of a surveyor at Wheeling was authorized in accordance with the provisions of Chap. 14, being an Act to authorize surveyors under direction of the Secretary of the Treasury to enroll and license ships or vessels employed in the coasting trade or fisheries, which applied here, as will be seen by the text which follows:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that after the passage of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby invested with power to authorize the surveyor of the port of delivery under such regulations as he shall deem necessary to enroll and license ships or vessels to be employed in the coasting trade and fisheries, in like manner as collectors of ports of entry are now authorized to do under existing laws.”

Sec.2. And be it further enacted. That any surveyor who shall perform the duties directed to be performed by the first section of this Act, shall be entitled to receive the same commissions and fees that are now allowed by law to collectors for performing the same duties and no more.

“Approved, February 27, 1830.”

Like everything new and untried in any locality, the beginning here was very small, faint as the first glimmering of the dawning day; and as fees and commissions which attached to his slender duties would not recompense the incumbent for an extensive outlay for books and stationery necessary for the performance of the work, according to modern ideas, only copies of blank forms were filed, and even they were devoid of that precision which the supervision of the present day would have induced.

It is said that every effort to produce pleasure should also aim at profit, and that to benefit each other, in one way or another, should be the aim of mankind from the cradle to the grave, and that in our most rambling moods, a fact worth remembering should be introduced so that even in the enjoyment of the former we should be acquiring the latter.

Hence, applying this idea here, the Statute II, Act of August 26, 1842, if referred to, and attention is called to the fact that on and after July 1, 1843, the fiscal year should commence on July 1st in each calendar year, instead of the 1st of January, as has been previously provided for by law.

Although scarcely remembered by our oldest citizens, Andrew Elliott, Esq., appears to have been recognized as the first surveyor and inspector at this port, and was instructed on the 20th day of March, 1831, concerning the execution and filing of his official bond.

Thomas P. Norton, Esq., seems to have been the incumbent of the office after, and probably immediately succeeding Mr. Elliott. On the 19th of September, 1839, a new era appears to have dawned, and he then received instructions concerning the enrollment and license of vessels belonging to his port, under the law of February 18, 1793, and regulations made in pursuance thereof.

The jurisdiction of his port, in regard to vessels which were to be permanently enrolled, is quite carefully defined, as the district in itself, and the permanently enrolled vessel was to be a vessel whose owner, whose husband, or managing owner, resided at a place more contiguous to this office, than to that of any other surveyors at the other ports enumerated in the Act of March 2, 1831. Instructions were also given concerning the collection of the Marine Hospital tax, the rendering of an abstract thereof to the First Auditor of the Treasury, and by an account, in which he was to credit said monies, and debit the United State with his salary, with the commission to which he was entitled, and also to such contingent expenses as constituted a proper charge upon the revenue.

In these instructions is seen a commingling of accounts, very much at variance with modern regulations, as one could hardly fund a precedent from and deduction from the receipts on account of the Marine Hospital fund of this date, be the expense what it may. Nor indeed is such action permited in any like account except it be especially provided for in the law, as are the fees and mileage of witnesses summoned and required to appear before the local boards of inspectors established by the steamboat inspection laws.

The late George Forbes, Esq., appears to have succeeded Mr. Norton about November, 1840, and his successor, in July 1841, was Samuel Atkinson, Esq. Our aldermanic townsman, Michael Edwards, Esq., next retained the office for six years, and was succeeded by one of the first proprietors of the Intelligencer, viz: E.B. Swearingen, Esq., who appears to have begun the keeping of copies of enrollments and licenses in book form with No. 1, Steamboat Cabinet, May 8, 1850, and to have issued 37 enrollments and the same number of licenses during the remainder of that calendar year; 56 were issued in 1851; 57 in 1852, and 18 up to May, 1853, when Mr. Swearingen appears to have been succeeded by the late Hon. A.T. Pannell.

At this juncture a fresh impetus was given to the business of the port by the completion of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to this city, and as a new channel for business was thus opened, the laws governing the transportation of bonded goods by rail, as well as by vessel, were here applied. Although importations were doubtless made previous to 1850, and from that to 1855, and over $7,000 were received from duties thereon, the year 1856 appears to have outstripped modern expectations and produced an income of over $22,000. This sudden excess was caused by importations of railroad iron, as the succeeding year the duties fell to a little over $3,000 and suddenly again to $ 117, and then with a fresh start advancing, but to fall into the oblivion of 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866 and 1867.

Increasing facilities and accommodations through the agency of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company and their lines of steamers, have induced the collection of over $5,000 for import duties during the last and present calendar years, and as familiarity with the necessary routine increases, the accommodations provided for importers by the laws and regulations will doubtless be made available to those interested. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, as well as others, being now bonded lines and responsible for the duties on merchandise transported by them, also act as Custom House brokers or agents, and give attention to forwarding over their lines goods, merchandise or any importation whatever, when shipped or entered in their care, for owners or consignees at interior ports of entry or delivery, superseding by their own bond any bond heretofore required by the importer, and only requiring the oath of the owner or consignee concerning the truthfulness of the invoice presented and the identification of the shipment.


The heavy importation era drawing upon us in 1854 doubtless suggested the propriety of erecting a Custom House at this port, and while providing for various other localities, and in almost every section of the Union, Petersburg and Wheeling in the state of Virginia were made the recipients of governmental favors and provisions made therefore in Chapter 142, Acts of Congress, approved August 4, 1854.

Instructions for the purchase of a site having been given, the claims of several localities were presented and considered, but a choice fell upon a property at the northeast corner of Market and John (now Sixteenth) streets, and for the sum of $20,500 Sobieski Brody and wife conveyed to the United States the following described real estate:

“Beginning at the east line of Market street at a point where it is intersected by the north line of John street, thence along the east line of Market street and binding thereon, north nine degrees west, one hundred and thirty-two (132) feet, to John street, and thence along the north line of John street and binding thereon south eighty-one degrees west, one hundred and thirty-two (132) feet to the beginning.”

This selection and purchase in order to become a valid one, under the law quoted as authorizing the same, must have the consent and certain releases from the authorities of the state of Virginia, and for that reason occurs the following:

“Chap.2. An Act giving the consent of the State to the purchase by the United States of two lots of ground in the City of Wheeling for the erection of a Custom House, etc., and exempting said lots from taxation. Passed December 7, 1855.

“Whereas, The Congress of the United States had made an appropriation for the purchase of a side and the construction of a suitable building at the City of Wheeling for the accommodation of the Custom House, Postoffice, United States Courts and Steamboat Inspectors, and for the erection of said building there has been purchased ( if the consent of the General Assembly of the State be given thereto) two certain lots of ground in the City of Wheeling, situated at the corner east of Market street and north of John Street, said two lots of ground being designated on the map of said city as numbered seven (7) and (8) in square twelve (12), said two lots of ground forming a square of one hundred thirty two feet; and Whereas, said Congress has made said appropriation upon the condition that this state shall release and relinquish to the United States the right to tax or in any way assess said two lots of ground or the property of the United State may be thereon during the time that said United States shall be or remain the owner thereof.

“Sec.1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia, That the consent of the General Assembly of this state is hereby given to the said purchase, so that Congress may exercise such authority over the place so purchased as it is within the contemplation of the Seventeenth Clause of the Eighth Section of the First Article of the Constitution of the United States. But the consent is given subject to the following terms and conditions, to-wit;

“First. That this State retains concurrent jurisdiction with the United States over the said place, so that the courts, magistrates and officers of this State may take such cognizance, exercise such process and discharge such other functions within the same as may not be incompatible with the consent hereby given. Second. That if there should be five years consecutively a failure upon the part of the United States to use the said place for any of the purposes aforesaid, then the consent hereby given shall cease and determine.

“2. The said lot of land and the building thereon for the purposes aforesaid are hereby exempted from any and all taxes imposed by this State or by the County of Ohio or City of Wheeling; but this exemption shall continue only as long as the United States shall be and remain the owner thereof; provided, however, that the Commonwealth of Virginia reserves the right to resume, at its pleasure, the jurisdiction ceded to the United States.

“3. This act shall be in force from its passage.”
Some conditions in the foregoing, which the reader may see, are omitted in the following, probably required for the satisfaction of the parties thereto. There was a subsequent enactment, viz:

“Chap. 3. An Act to amend and re-enact an Act passed December 7, 1855, entitled an Act giving the consent of this State to the purchase by the United States of two lots of ground in the City of Wheeling for the erection of a Custom House, etc., and exempting said lots from taxation, passed February 5, 1856.

“1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that the Act entitled an Act to amend an Act giving the consent of this State to the purchase by the United States of two lots of ground in the City of Wheeling for the erection of a Custom House, etc. and exempting said lots from taxation, passed December 7, 1855, is hereby amended and re-enacted so as to read as follows:

“Whereas the Congress of the United States has made an appropriation for the purchase of a site and the construction of a suitable building at the City of Wheeling for the accommodation of a Custom House, Postoffice, United States Courts and Steamboat Inspectors; and for the erection of said building there has been purchased (if the consent of the General Assembly of this State be given thereto) two certain lots of ground in the City of Wheeling, situated at the east of Market street and north of John street, said two lots of ground being designated on the map of the city by the numbers seven (7) and eight (8) in square twelve (12), said two lots of ground forming a square of one hundred and thirty-two feet: and whereas the said Congress has made said appropriation upon the condition that the State shall release and relinquish to the United States the right to tax or in any way assess said two lots of ground or the property of the United States that may be thereon during the time that the United States shall be or remain the owner thereof.

“Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia that the consent of the General Assembly of this State is hereby given to the said purchase , so that Congress may exercise such authority over the place so purchased as is within the contemplation of the Seventeenth Clause of the Eighth Section of the First Article of the Constitution of the United States. But this consent is given subject to the following terms and conditions, to-wit:

“First. That this State retains concurrent jurisdiction with the United states over the said place, so that with the courts, magistrates and officers of this State may take such cognizance, execute such process and discharge such other legal functions within the same as may not be incompatible with the consent hereby given.

“Second. that if the purpose of this grant should cease, or there should be for five years consecutively a failure upon the part of the United States to use the said place for any of the purposes aforesaid, then the jurisdiction hereby granted shall cease and determine.

“Section 2. The said lots of land and the building to be erected thereon for the purposes aforesaid and other property of the United States upon said lot are hereby exempted from any and all taxes imposed by this State or by the County of Ohio or City of Wheeling; but this exemption shall continue only so long as the United States shall be and remain the owner thereof.

“Section 2. This act shall be in force from its passage.

The Seventeenth Clause of the Eight Section of the First Article of the Constitution of the United States, referred to in the before recited Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, is the following:

“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of the Congress, become the seat of government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards and other needful buildings.”


The City Water Works were completed and started in running order on the 16th day of August, 1834, at which date the machinery was first put in motion, and the first jet of water from the river was raised to the reservoir.

Previous to this time the city was supplied with water by the water carts, a cart consisting of a large hogshead holding about 120 gallons placed on the axle of a common cart. This was taken to the river and backed in as far as the hubs of the wheels, and a dipper formed by a bucket attached to a pole was used by the driver; the contents of the water cart when full were furnished to the consumer and for this service the drawer was paid a “levy” (12 1/2 cents). The proprietor of the principal water cart in the city was an aged Germen of the name of Adam Carp, who died soon after he recognized the fact that his occupation was gone, at the advanced age of nearly if not quite one hundred years.

The first hydrant for use was put in by F. B. Hornbrook, Esq., and the dimension of the pipe was one-half inch lead, and was made by horse power at the chemical works of the father of Mr. Hornbrook, then located on what is now South Chapline street.


In the year 1835 under the auspices of Redick McKee, the town clock was placed upon the Presbyterian church, to do which required no little tact and energy on the part of that indefatigable, noble and enterprising citizen. The prominent citizens were waited upon by him with book and pencil in hand, soliciting such amounts as they might be pleased to give. It was ludicrous to hear the excuses some of even the well-to-do citizens would make and the argument they would urge against the clock. In those days it is probable there were not a dozen clocks in the city, and these were mostly the old-fashioned wooden Yankee clocks, and were confined exclusively to the homes of the wealthy; and it would frequently be urged there was no necessity for a “Town Clock” that neighbor A or B had a clock and by going to his home, only one or two squares distant, they could from him learn the time of the day or night. And so it was. The enterprise hung, and as I remember it must have been over a year before a sufficient amount was subscribed to justify Mr. McKee in ordering the clock and bell, and it was at last accomplished by the city either assuming a part of the debt to granting a liberal donation, - which ever it was it furnished town talk among a set of bar-room loafers and croakers for years, and while Mr. McKee deserved, and received, the thanks of all the truly progressive citizens, he was denounced by the opposite class. Some persons took stock in the town clock in the shape of a week’s work, which was done for the purpose of putting their employers to shame, who in many cases belonged to the anti-go-a-head class of citizens.


The crack military company of the city in 1845 was the City Blues, commanded by Col. James S. Wheat. Their dress, which was blue in color, was of regular United States army pattern, including the regulation cap. Their arms consisted of the old-style flint-locks. The company was thoroughly drilled and made a fine display when on parade. Another company, styled the Wheeling Guards, ranked next to the Wheeling Blues in efficiency and drill. Their uniform differed from that of the last named company in that their pantaloons were gray in color instead of blue. Its roster consisted of 60 men. The company was commanded by Capt. A.S. Glenn. Still another company was styled the Wheeling Riflemen, consisting of 70 men, whose uniforms consisted of green frock coats with brass buttons, with the regulation cap, furnished with a green cockade tipped in black. The fourth company was composed of German citizens, whose members were the same as those of the Riflemen. They were well disciplined and of fine soldierly bearing, and were commanded by Capt. John Salada. In addition to the foregoing there was an artillery company composed of 60 men, commanded by Dr. James Tanner.

Each of these companies paraded frequently during the year and occasionally they would consolidate and all parade on the same day, making a fine military display. On such occasions they would be under the command of Gen. B.F. Kelley, - the Colonel Kelley who fought the first battle on the war between the north and the south at Phillipi in West Virginia. Colonel Kelley at the time was the ranking officer of the militia of the district.

Since the war the military spirit has greatly decreased and at the present time there is but one military company in existence, and that is a company attached to the National Guards, a state organization.


Washington Hall was erected in 1851-52 by an incorporation known as the Washington Hall Association. The building and ground cost about $46,000. On May 18, 1850, the following board of trustees was elected by the association, which had just received its charter, viz.; Morgan Nelson, William Hamilton, W.S. Wickham, George W. Sights, John McLure, William T. Selley, Alex T. Laidley, Jacob W. Warden, and William Fleming. The board was organized on the 11th day of June of the same year by electing Morgan Nelson, president; Alex. T. Laidley, secretary, and George W. Sights, treasurer. On Saturday, April 26, 1851, sealed proposals were received for the erection of a building on lot No. 4 on the corner of Market and Twelfth Streets, known as “Mendel’s lot.” The carpenter work was awarded to Luke McWilliams, the brick work to John W. and G.W. Boring, the iron work to J & J Baggs, the stone work to Joseph Pedley, the plastering to John Downs and the excavating to Smith & Gooding. The building committee consisted of George W. Sights, Walter Scott, and W.S. Wickham, appointed at a meeting of the board June 24, 1851. A committee on finance was appointed, consisting of William Fleming, Morgan Nelson and J.W. Warden, also a committee on assessment, consisting of W.J. Bates, John McLure, John McLure, Hr., and J.H. Thompson. The building was first opened to the public in the winter of 1852-3, when the completion of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was celebrated with a grand banquet in Washington Hall. It was not dedicated until a short time afterward.

The third story of the building was transferred to the Masonic fraternity by those holding stock valued at $5,000, and the title to that part of the building was held by the trustees selected for that purpose. At the time of its destruction by fire the Washington Hall was occupied by the House of Delegates, the Legislature having met in this city on the 10th of November, 1875, pursuant to the decision made at Charleston on the 24th day of February, 1875. Washington Hall was destroyed by fire on the morning of the 29th of November, 1875, and was accompanied by the loss of life in the person of a traveling agent for a Philadelphia firm, who, being in the city at the time of the fire, heroically attempted to save the Masonic property, and while so engaged in the third floor a portion of that floor gave way and he was precipitated to the floor below, together with two other persons with him at the time, the latter of whom, however, were not fatally injured, one of them suffering a broken leg and the other being slightly bruised. After the fire the House of Delegates removed to the Court House, while the Senate, which at the time occupied a portion of the City Hall, being the next building to Washington Hall, removed to the old dining room of the McLure House. Subsequently the Legislature met in the Linsly Institute, where it held its sessions.


Was accomplished by means of a ferry boat, which was swung from the side of the river to the other by the force of the current operating upon the lateral sides of small boats which were distant from each other at intervals of 40 to 50 feet and connected the one to the other. A lengthy wire cable, thin and flexible, some three or four hundred yards in length, was securely fastened to the shore on the east side of the island near its head, to which each of the small boats were attached, in each of which was an upright pole or stanchion 12 or 15 feet in height, and one end of the long wire was secured to the side of the ferry boat. By an arrangement of boards on the sides of the boat, which could be raised or lowered as occasion might require, the boat could be directed to the eastern or western bank of the river as might be desired. She was thus by force of the current moved safely across the river with a reasonable degree of dispatch and carrying at the same time loads to and fro to the extent of its full capacity. The point of landing on the Island side was immediately in front of the residence of the late Daniel Zane, Esq., and on the city side at the foot of Eleventh street in front of the Panhandle depot.

About the year 1850 this mode of transit was dispensed with by the substitution of a steam ferryboat. It was during this last named year that the Wheeling and Belmont suspension bridge was completed and thrown open for travel.


An act incorporating a company to erect a toll bridge over the Ohio River at Wheeling was passed by the General Assembly of Virginia on the 17th of February, 1816, the capital stock of which was to consist of $200,000, which was divided into 8,000 shares of $25 each.

This act was subsequently amended by one passed March 10, 1836, as a number of the managers appointed under the former act had died or had removed from the county, and the remaining being generally aged and infirm, and it being doubtful whether the surviving managers could legally act without further legislation to remedy the matter this amendatory act was passed by the General Assembly.

The original act was revived and further amended by an act passed by the same body March 10, 1836, and this last act was with the former acts amended by an act passed January 11, 1850, declaring the true meaning and intention of the fourteenth section of the act passed March 19, 1847.

The enterprise was regarded as one of the greatest ever undertaken by the community. The interests and prosperity of the city demanded its erection and it was looked upon as opening a means of communication and trade which would result in a large return for the amount invested in its erection. Upon the organization to wait upon the citizens to obtain subscriptions. After much and patient perseverance the committee succeeded in raising a sufficient amount which, in their opinion, would authorize them and the directory to take the requisite steps to secure designs and estimates for the construction of the same. To this end negotiations were at once opened with competent engineers. Several of such were consulted, among whom was Mr. Roebling, an architect of great ability on the line of his profession. But the negotiations with this gentleman not being satisfactory and those entered into with others proving equally unsatisfactory, the contract for the erection of the bridge was awarded to Charles Ellet, Esq., who completed the work in the year 1850.

In the year 1854 the city was visited with a violent storm of wind and the bridge was blown down, but the towers, cables and some of the suspenders remained uninjured and were in a condition to be used when the necessary repairs should be made.

Upon the removal of the debris a temporary suspension bridge was established on the same site, of width sufficient for the passage of but one vehicle at a time. To prevent damage and inconvenience a bell was placed at the western end on the Island, which when the signal was sounded was to inform the watchman at that end that no vehicle was permitted to cross to the city until the one announced had succeeded in crossing. The same arrangement was operated at the opposite end of the bridge when a vehicle passed to the other side.

As already intimated, this was an accommodation to the public to exist only so long until a permanent structure could be erected which was accomplished in the course of a few months.


In 1849 and in 1850 after considerable discussion as to the advisability of establishing a gas plant to furnish light to the citizens a few individuals after considerable exertion on their part decided to organize a joint stock company for this purpose and in the year 1850 a suitable building for the manufacture of gas was erected and completed and the piping was laid, which was continued from time to time as the demands of consumers made it necessary. It at once became a paying institution and the result was large dividends to the stock holders. The premium on the stock was greatly increased in value and investors were greedy to obtain it, as the stock was eagerly sought for, but it was only to be had at a great premium. It soon became almost an impossibility to buy stock unless at most exorbitant prices. The company sold their gas for $3.50 per 1,000 feet and retained it at that price for a number of years until the opposition on the part of the business community at the imposition practiced upon them led the latter to protest in emphatic terms, in which action they were finally successful, as the city became the purchaser of the property, but only after a long and tedious suit.


So-called, sprang into existence in the year 1855 and became a potent factor in the political world. Its growth was remarkably rapid and it received its accessions both from the members of the Democratic and Whig parties. One of the principles of the party was that all foreigners immigrating to the United States to reside should before becoming naturalized citizens of the country be required to reside here for twenty-one years. It was a secret society, and had its secret workings, which every member was sworn not to divulge. It had its secret signs, passwords and signs of recognition. The dominant parties of the country were surprised at its rapid growth and widespread influence and regarded it as an institution which threatened to overwhelm them in its mighty vortex. During the canvass for the office of governor of Virginia in this year of which we write it had attained to its greatest distinction and prominence. The Whig candidate for governor was William L. Goggin and Henry A. Wise was the nominee of the Democratic party. The latter party, believing that the Whigs would carry the vote of the Know Nothing party experienced a bad fright, as the political sky was or seemed to be unpropitious.

Upon the nomination of Mr. Wise he determined to make it the contest of his life. He therefore decided to stump the state, and if energy and eloquence could accomplish his election he would spend himself in the effort to carry his party triumphantly through the ordeal. Accordingly he visited every portion of the state from the tide-water to the Ohio. He came to Wheeling and boldly threw down the gage of battle to both the Whigs and Know Nothings. It was a powerful speech and abounded in argument, eloquence and satire and inspired his followers with the backbone of which they stood in great need. There was a citizen present by the name of John B. Wolff, who essayed to reply and to refute the arguments of Wise and to show their fallacy. He was as eloquent and sarcastic as Wise, who wished to answer him in turn, but was persuaded not to attempt it, as Wolff was a harum-scarum fellow and not worthy to be noticed. He yielded to the persuasion of his friends, while Wolff was left in the possession of the field as well as a large portion of the audience.

The result of the election in the state was favorable to Mr. Wise, but he was defeated in this city and county, which at the time was counted as being strongly Democratic. The Know Nothings elected their whole legislative ticket in Ohio county.


The first newspaper published in the city of Wheeling was styled the Wheeling Repository and was first issued in the year 1807, the proprietor and publisher of which was Armstrong. It was a weekly and in its day was considered an undertaking of no small magnitude. Its local news was limited and its matter was principally made up of the proceedings of Congress and the legislature when these respective bodies were in session, and of foreign news, which was received every month or six weeks. In 1820, or about then, the Virginia North Western Gazette was published under the auspices of Rob Curtis, who was also the editor. It was published every Saturday, was well filled with advertisements and literary selections. In 1839 two printing establishments were in operation, and besides doing book and job printing each of them printed a tri-weekly paper issued every other day in alternate arrangement. A weekly was also issued mainly intended for the country, but all had a large circulation. One of the papers was named the Wheeling Gazette, while the other was known as the Wheeling Times and Advertiser, and of the later James E. Wharton was editor and proprietor. Both of them were conducted with zeal and ability. It is a noticeable fact that during the first quarter of the century the local part of the paper was relegated to an inferior position, and it is only in more modern years that this newsy and important part of the paper has obtained that prominence which it now justly occupies.


A complete and detailed history of the press of Wheeling from the time of the establishment of the Repository, which would include the names, proprietors and dates of establishment and suspension, with something of the character of each, is quite beyond the possible. Indeed it is doubtful if the mention of the many of that ephemeral class would be of interest or value. The Repository, Gazette, Telegram, Virginian, Young America, Advertiser, Union, Argus, Press and News and others all, after a short existence, ceased publication. Of the few papers of Wheeling that have stood the trials of a generation the Intelligencer is conspicuous. It began its existence during the presidential campaign of General Scott in the summer of 1852. Although many times financially embarrassed, its friends always came to the rescue, and to-day it is one of the substantial and influential journals of the country. It was first published by Swearingen, Taylor & Company. Taylor was city editor, and J.H. Pendleton, editor in chief. In 1855 Z. Beatty became a member of the firm, which afterward was styled Swearingen, Beatty & company. In the same year Swearingen and Taylor retired from the firm. J.H. Pendleton succeeding to their interests, Taylor continued in the capacity of city editor until 1856, when Hon. A.W. Campbell became his successor. Mr. Campbell and John F. McDermot bought the paper in 1856, and with them it became the strongest advocate of the principles of the Republican party in all the South, and it is said was the only daily paper in the state of Virginia that publicly and openly advocated the first election of Abraham Lincoln. It strongly supported the administration of Lincoln and the cause of the Union, and was one of the most potent factors in the division of the state of Virginia. In 1866 McDermot sold his interest to Col. John Frew, G.D. Hall and L.H. Hogans. Mr. Campbell retired from the paper in 1868, but in the fall of 1873 he and Colonel Frew became sole proprietors under the firm name of Frew & Campbell. This partnership continued until the fall of 1882, when Mr. Campbell sold one-half of his interest to C.B. Hart, and the firm became Frew, Campbell & Hart. It is at the present time a joint stock company. Colonel Frew was for nearly half a century connected with the Intelligencer, and it was largely due to his energy and ability that it has taken a high place among its contemporaries. For some time prior to his decease he did not take an active part in the management of the paper, but for years his name and pen won for his paper a high place among the able journals of the country. Mr. C. B. Hart was for a long time managing editor. He is now United States minister to the United States of Columbia. His experience in the newspaper work has been varied and extensive. For years he connected in different capacities, either as a reporter, editor or correspondent of many of the metropolitan journals of the East, but it is perhaps as a correspondent that he excels.


An act incorporating the Panhandle Railroad Company was passed by the West Virginia Legislature on the 15th day of July, 1868, for the building of a railroad from Holliday’s Cove via Wellsburg to Wheeling. Books of subscription were authorized to be opened both in Wellsburg and in Wheeling, and when subscriptions to the amount of $20,000 were made the company was for all practical purposes to be considered incorporated and authorized to borrow and make contracts. Under this act the counties of Brooke and Ohio and the city of Wheeling were authorized to subscribe to the stock of the proposed road with the necessary legal assent of their respective voters and the bonds so issued were to be exempt from the county and township taxation. Subsequently the legislature authorized the company to extend its line to the Kentucky boundary, along the Ohio River or adjacent to it, and the counties and townships were given the right of subscription as those named in the original act.

In the meantime the $20,000 of stock had been subscribed and in March 1869, the stockholders met in Wellsburg and organized by electing Adam Kuhn as president and Lewis Applegate, John McLure, Jr., Abram Wilson, W. K. Pendleton and Samuel George as directors.

From the report of the president made some eighteen months afterwards it appeared that a small amount of work had been done in the way of surveys and rights of way, but little progress had been made. Brooke county voted a subscription which required that it should be expended pro rata on the road from Wellsburg to a point opposite Steubenville, Ohio.

In 1870 Mr. Kuhn resigned the presidency and Lewis Applegate was chosen to succeed him. Mr. Applegate manifested a commendable interest in the prosecution of the work and entered upon his labors with considerable energy. In 1871 the charter was amended and its name changed to Pittsburg, Wheeling & Kentucky Railroad and it was provided, besides succeeding to all the rights and obligations of the old company, any county or municipal corporation of the state near which it passed was permitted to subscribe to its stock and issue bonds for that purpose bearing interest not to exceed eight per cent, per annum, and to be exempt from taxation except for state purposes.

In the spring of 1871 the board of commissioners of Ohio county ordered an election on the question of subscribing $150,000 to the capital stock of the company, but the vote on the same in the month of May of that year defeated the subscription, the same, 1,193 in favor and 1,014 against, being less than a two-thirds vote in favor of it. Ohio county was not discouraged, however, but in January, 1872, the question was again submitted, but for a larger amount, viz., $225,000. This was carried by a vote of 2,588 to 494 against. Rights of way were at once secured by agreement and condemnation proceedings and specifications of the work were prepared by a competent engineer, and in March 1872, the contracts were let out in sections to different persons.

Before this time an agreement had been entered into with the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway Company, by which that company was to provide the rails when the roadbed was made ready by the Pittsburg, Wheeling & Kentucky Railroad Company, and to operate it under contract.

The subscriptions of Brooke and Ohio counties, including private subscriptions, amounted to $362,912.81, and the expenditures were $382,579.59, hence there was a deficit of $19,666.78. The engineer reported that the road could be finished and delivered to the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad Company in three weeks for the sum of $36,000.

The board of commissioners of Ohio county then concluded to submit to vote the question of making an additional subscription of $300,000, Brooke county to pay interest on $60,000 and transfer her stock as security, and to submit to popular vote the question of transferring the county stock to such persons as would bind themselves to complete the road. The vote was taken and resulted as follows: For subscription, 941; against 1, 689. For transfer, 1,311; against 282. This result apparently indicated that the county would rather give the road away than to invest any more for its completion. A suit was instituted to sell it out, when Brooke and Ohio counties, to prevent the sacrifice of their interests, agreed to purchase its indebtedness in the proportion of 240 to 115, under which agreement Ohio county expended about $16,000 and Brooke about $8,000.

In 1876 it was finally proposed to secure if possible private capital to complete the road, and necessary legislation having been obtained a proposition was made by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to furnish rails to the amount of $100,000 and a renewal of the contract to operate the road by the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway Company, providing another $100,00o could be obtained to complete the work, the stock of the two counties to be divided among subscribers to the new loan, which was to be secured by first mortgage upon the property of the road. This plan was at length carried out. Brooke county concluded to let her subscription go, but Ohio county took $50,000 and private parties took the remaining $50,000. Under the transfer agreements the contributors got the first mortgage bonds of the road at $.90 and a pro rata share of the common stock.

The work under this last agreement was vigorously prosecuted and on February 25, 1878, the first regular train entered the city about 12 o’clock M. The road has been a success from the start and its future looks bright. The entire length of the road is nearly 25 miles; within Ohio county, nearly nine miles; in the city, short of two miles.


It is always interesting after the lapse of time to recall the memories of those who contributed so largely to the manufacturing, industrial and commercial prosperity of the city in which they lived and labored. Hence we have selected the names of some of the active and prominent business men who lived in the years 1838 and 1840 in this community and who were representative men in their different pursuits, viz.: William Paxton, Alexander Paxton, John McLure, Sr., Henry Moore, John F. Clark, Robert C. Bonham, Samuel Ott, Dana Hubbard, John Ritchie, Craig Ritchie, Michael Sweeney, Thomas Sweeney, George Baird, Reddick McKee, James H. Forsythe, David Agnes, J.C. Acheson, A.M. Phillips, Sr., Samuel Irvin, Isaac Irvin, Neil McNaughten, Thomas Johnston, Alexander Rogers, Thomas Hughes, Robert Crangle, John Reid, Michael Reilly, W.B. Tyson, Admiral Reeside, John McCortney, W.F. Peterson, Samuel McClellan, Matthew Warren, Thomas List, Thomas Hornbrook, Jacob Hornbrook, Robert Gibson, Daniel Lamb, Z. Jacob, Moses C. Good, Daniel Zane, John Goshorn, Job Stanbery, Jacob Senseney, George Wilson, Sobieski Brady, Rev. Henry Weed, Rev. Wallace, C.D. Knox, George Dulty, and Rev. Armstrong.