The Gorrell Family

Submitted by Linda Fluharty.

From Tyler County Journal" - Middlebourne, WV, March 4, 1915

     The Gorrells were the first white settlers in Tyler Co., VA/WV. The family came originally from Scotland to Jamestown, VA and from there twin brothers came to Tyler and settled in the wilderness where for many years they lived and traded with the Indians. Their names were Robert Gorrell and Benjamin Gorrell. The former settled and lived in a log cabin where the L. L. Stealey residence now stands and Benjamin settled on Gorrells Run, from whom it derived its name, where the John Thomas homestead, now the Wetzel home, stands. We have no date as to their coming, but a gravestone in the old cemetery shows that Robert Gorrell died in 1778. We know that these brothers came here as young men and that this one was 56 years old when he died, having raised a family during these years. It is said that he was one day walking near the point back of his home, overlooking Middle Island Creek, when he stopped and stuck his cane in the ground and told his family, when he reached the house, that he had selected the spot where he wished to be buried and that he wanted a plot of ground around the place set aside for a cemetery. This was done and today the old sandstone monument stands where the cane was placed. He also deeded one-half acre of ground to the M. E. Church of this place and owned all the land in that part of the town.

     We were unable to get the names of the children of these two brothers, but records show us that a William Gorrell was one of seven brothers and that he was married to Miss Rebecca Burkhead of Hagerstown, MD. To this union we find the names of thirteen children of whom were: John B. Gorrell who married Elizabeth Archer; Thomas Gorrell who went West and married; Simeon Gorrell who settled on McKim in Pleasants Co., WV and married Mary Robinson; Washington Gorrell, who married Mary Ankrom and located at Alma, WV; Deborah Gorrell who married Jacob Bond at Josephs Mills for her 1st husband and William Marvin of Findlay, OH for her 2nd husband; Elizabeth Gorrell who married Jacob Thomas of Blue, WV and located in Hancock Co., WV; Susan Gorrell who married John Smith and located on Gorrells Run and whose daughter, Mrs. Octavia Martin, lives in Middlebourne; James Gorrell who married Mary Asher of Indian Creek and moved to Findlay, OH in 1865; Benjamin Gorrell who married Elizabeth Pricket on Elk Fork; Sarah Gorrell who married Zeb Croy in Iowa; Martha Gorrell who married Samuel Croy in Iowa; Oliver Inghram Gorrell who married Miss Marvin of Findlay, OH and lived there; and Perry W. Gorrell who married Jemimah Pricket of Elk Fork and moved to Hancock Co., WV. The children of these families are scattered all over this and western states and are many in number. Those best known in Tyler county are Mrs. Octavia Martin and her family and the families of James, Washington, Thomas and John B.

     Children of the late James and Mary Asher Gorrell are Lloyd who married Mary Cunningham of Elk Fork, now of Findlay, OH; Mrs. George Archer; Arthur who married Elizabeth Nigh; John J. who married Malissa Archer; Mrs. Mary Walt; Mrs. Rosa B. Underwood; Mrs. Victoria Freed & Glen R. who married Alice Green.

     Of the Washington Gorrell family, there are Thomas of Parkersburg, WV; Mrs. Nancy Snider of Bens Run, WV; Mrs. Lydia Hawkins of Marshall Co., WV; and William who married Agnes Ferrell and lived in OH.

     The Thomas Gorrell family who lived on upper Pt. Pleasant, near the Wetzel Co, WV line are the late Avaril T. Gorrell whose family lives at Number Three; Loyd Gorrell who lives on the old homestead; and Mrs. Warren Wood of Ravenswood, WV.

     The descendants of John B. Gorrell are the late Mrs. Sarah Keller of Next, WV; Rebecca Ankrom; Joseph Gorrell and Rachel Hissam.

     The Gorrells of Pleasants Co, WV and McKim are descendants of Simeon and also are cousins of the Gorrells already mentioned, as they are descendants of William Gorrell.

     The Gorrells were all known as strong, hearty people. They were all musicians and all accumulated large tracts of land. Every year as many as can, go to Findlay, OH, where they hold a reunion.

     We are indebted to Mr. Loyd Gorrell of Findlay who visited here during the centennial last fall for many of the above facts. Mr. Gorrell spends much time looking after these historical families and told us many interesting and amusing incidents of Middlebourne's early days.

Gorrell Family Reunion, Oct 4, 1902

     William Gorrell, the progenitor of the Gorrell family, was a native of Virginia, a soldier in the second conflict with England, 1812-1814, and was with General Hull in his march through this section of Ohio. He was born in 1771, emigrated from his Virginia home to northern Indiana where he resided but a short time, when he removed to Portage Township, Hancock Co, OH, where some of his children had already settled, and located on the Derodes farm, on Sand Ridge, where he died and was buried at what is now North Baltimore.
     Among those attending the reunion were: Mr. & Mrs. W. B. Gorrell and daughter Ruth of Kansas City, KS; Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Croy of Kansas City, MO; James Croy of St. Joseph, MO; R. P. Gorrell of Pittsburg, KS; Mr. & Mrs. T. A. Gorrell & children Harry & Grace of Middlebourne,WV; Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Gorrell & D. H. Gorrell of Ravenswood, WV; Mrs. Jay Ferrell and daughter Esther of Kidwell, WV; J. W. Gorrell of Canton, OH; Mrs. Betsy Gorrell of McCutchenville, OH; Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Gorrell, Mr. & Mrs. M. E. Gorrell and children, Jessie, Grace and William, and Mrs. Rebecca Ankrom, all of Findlay, OH.