History of Ritchie County

The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie County" written by
Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.  
Transcribed by Janet Waite, Earl Cowan and Erin Stewart.


Transcribed by Erin Stewart and Janet Waite

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Though Smithville is among the oldest towns in the county, it is far from being the largest. It now has seventy-five inhabitants, and contains about twenty dwellings, including the two hotels. It has two churches - Baptist and Methodist Episcopal - one parsonage (M. E. church), a two-roomed school-building, two general stores, a hardware and undertaking establishment, a post-office, a telephone exchange, a barber, and two black-smith shops, a milliner and dressmaker-shop, two physicians, and two lodges, Modern Woodmen of America and Knights of Pythias. It has seven daily mails; the extension of the Cairo and Kanawha Valley railroad, from Macfarlan, is under consideration, and oil developments are in progress; and a recently completed pump-station now overlooks the town.

David W. Sleeth has been styled the founder in this village. He came here, near the year 1844, and erected a building where the Clarke residence now stands, and opened a hotel and a store, and a little later, started a tannery; and from this time, until his death, on July 5, 1851, his interests were identified with the village, and here, in the cemetery, he lies at rest.

He was one of the magistrates that formed the County court at the time of his death, and we here reproduce in the style and the language of that time, the resolutions of respect that were adopted by this honorable body on the occasion of his death fifty-nine years ago: Virginia to-wit) In the County Court, Tuesday, Ritchie County.) July 8the. 1851

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The court was opened at 11 o'clock, when J. B. Blair Esq. In a feeling and impressive manner announced the death of David W. Sleeth Esq. One of the Magistrates of this County, who expired at his Residence on Saturday evening last, after a painful and protracted illness.

The following Preamble and Resolutions were offered by J. S. Jones Esq. And unanimously adopted:

Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to remove from us David W. Sleeth Esq., a member of this Court to another and a better World and feeling it not only a privilege but a duty to give a public expression of the high estimation in which we hold the memory of our Departed friend.

Therefore Resolved:

That we bow with humble submission to the dispensation of an inscrutable Providence manifested in the death of our friend and fellow-citizen. We most cheerfully bear testimony to his Industry Intelligence, & firmness as a Magistrate, his humble devotion as a Christian and his honesty as a man.

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize, with his bereaved family and friends, and tender to them our sincere and heartfelt Condolence on this occasion.

Resolved, That the members of this Court as a token of respect will wear the usual Badge of mourning for 30 days.

Resolved, That these proceedings be entered on the minutes of the Court, and Published in the Parkersburg Gazette, and a Copy thereof forwarded by the Clerk to the family of the Deceased.-

(Signed) James McKinney C. C. K.

David Wallis Sleeth was born, near Clarksburg, in Harrison county, on December 25, 1796; but he had called Pocahontas, Lewis and Gilmer counties his home, before coming to Ritchie. In May 1834, he was married to Miss Nancy Lybrook, of Giles county, Virginia, who died on September 17, 1842, while he was serving as Sheriff of Lewis county, and was laid to rest in the "Stony churchyard," at Jane Lew. Four children were the fruits of this union: Mary Jane died

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at the age of four years, and sleeps by her mother, at Jane Lew; Chapman and Floyd were laid in the Smithville cemetery in the promise of their young manhood; and Anne Elizabeth became the wife of P. S. Austin, and was the mother of Mrs. J. F. Hartmann, of Burnt House, and the late Mrs. John V. Warner, of this place. These two small families are the only surviving descendants of Mr. Sleeth.

In 1845, he was married, a second time, to Miss Elizabeth Prince - sister of the late John Prince, and half-sister of Jerome Vandiver, of Louisville, Kentucky - who followed him to the grave on December 31, 1855, leaving no issue.

The Sleeths are of Scotch descent, and of Revolutionary stock. They came from Scotland and settled in Harrison county, shortly before our struggle for independence. Four brothers, David W., senior, Thomas, John, and Alexander took up arms in defense of their adopted land.

David W. Sleeth, senior, married Miss Katherine Carpenter, and was the father of thirteen children; viz., John, Nicholas, David W., junior - the founder of Smithville - Henry, Thomas, and George W. Sleeth, Mary, who became Mrs. Henry Waldeck, Mrs. Margaret (Cornelius) Cain, Mrs. Katherine (Samuel) Brannon, Mrs. Sarah (Henry) Wint, Mrs. Jane (Henry) Stalnaker, all of Gilmer county; and Mrs. Nancy (Allen) Simpson, Weston.

(The family removed from Harrison county to near Troy in Gilmer).

Nicholas Sleeth married Miss Katherine Collins, and came to this county as early as 1838, and lived and died in the Burnt House community. His two sons Malan, and Ranfeu, and his daughter Nancy, who maried Joseph Sylman, of Gimer county, were the members of his family. The first wife of the late John Frederick was his granddaughter, and J. M. Frederick, her son, of Burnt House, is his only descendant in this county. Others reside in Gilmer and Roane counties.

George W. Sleeth married Miss Rulina McWhorter, and lived and died at Smithville, leaving no issue.

Alexander Sleeth married Miss Katherine Wolfe, daughter of David Wolfe, of Harrison county, and niece of Peter

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Wolfe, of Smithville; and came from Lewis county in 1840, and settled on the Malone - now the Kennedy - farm, above the mouth of Lamb's run, where he died, and where he was buried the following year, June 1841.

He leaves a large line of descendants, who principally reside in Gilmer county; but the one family in this county, that are descended from him, is that of Mrs. Nellie Silcott Synder, of Hazelgreen, her late husband E. E. Snyder, being a grandson.

His children were: Mrs. Maria McQuain, Mrs. Mary Coke, Mrs. Emily West, Mrs.Elizabeth Stevenson, mother of the late Will Stephenson, of Grantsville; Mrs. Julia Stalnaker, Mrs. Anna Bush, Granville Sleeth, Perry J., and John M., who have all passed on; and Mrs. Penelope Snyder, widow of the late W. H. Snyder, of Glenville, who survives.

A Pretty Little Romance is woven about the marriage of Miss Mary Sleeth and Henry Waldeck, which is worthy of a place here:

Mr. Waldeck, who was of German birth was a soldier in the Hessian army, and as it was the custom, at that age of the world for one government to sell soldiers to another in times of war, the regiment to which he belonged was sold to the British for service in the American Revolution, and thus fate decreed that he should be brought to America to fight against the land that he learned to love dearest and best; for at the close of the war, he refused to return to the Fatherland, though a fortune awaited him there; and he crossed the mountains to what is now Lewis county and entered land on the river below Weston, where he founded a "Bachelor's hall." David W. Sleeth, senior, seeing the loneliness of his situation, one day broached the subject of matrimony to him, and advised him to get married. Mr. Waldeck assured him that he should like to act upon this advice if he knew where to find a wife. After a little consideration, Mr. Sleeth said: "My daughter, Mary, is only a little girl yet, but she'd make some man a good wife." The worthy bachelor, however, who was then forty years of age, resolved to see this little maiden and learn what she had to say concerning the matter; and though she was but fourteen years of age, she lent

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an approving ear to the plan, and soon after became his bride. She was the mother of Mrs. Andrew Law, of Auburn. And Mrs. Agnes Rymer, of Harrisville, and Mrs. G. M. Ireland of Pullman, are among her grand - daughters. Mrs. J. F. Ireland of Colorado, is another grand - daughter, and the Rev. H. M. Law of the West Virginia Methodist Episcopal Conference, is a grandson.

Jerome A. Vandiver was the pioneer clerk of the village. He was born in Wood county on March 30, 1833, and in 1846, when but a lad of thirteen years, was sent here by his father to clerk in Mr. Sleeth's store and to learn the tanner's trade; and in this capacity, he served until 1852, when he and J. H. Rexroad formed a mercantile firm under the name of "Rexroad and Vandiver," and sold goods for one year; at the end of which time, Mr. Vandiver went to Harrisville where he clerked in a store, and worked in the Circuit clerk's office for his cousin, Amos Culp, until 1856. After spending the next three years as clerk at Parkersburg, and as traveling salesman for a Baltimore firm, he went to Petroleum, in 1859, where he was identified with the mercantile firm of Vandiver and Rutherford, until 1865, when, shortly after his marriage to Miss Jane Rutherford, daughter of Richard Rutherford, he went to Louisville, Kentucky, where he continued in the mercantile business until 1873, and where he still survives. There Mrs. Vansiver found a resting place in 1894. They were the parents of three sons and one daughter: Wm. Knox is in business at St. Louis, Missouri; and Richard Rutherford, and Lawrence Jerome, at Louisville, and Eleanore Frances is the daughter.

Levi J. Smith built the second residence here, where Dr. A. M. Edgell now lives, in 1845. He was the son of Barnes Smith, senior, and with his wife, Mrs. Catherine Royce Smith, and his family, he went to Iowa, where he died, in Boone county, in 1903.

Charter For The Town. - Joseph Wilson, father of the late Col. Ben, junior, of Clarksburg, obtained the charter for the town, which took its name from Barnes Smith, senior, who owned the land where the town stands at the time of its birth; he having come here from the B. H. Wilson farm, in

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1842, and kept a house of public entertainment, where the Ayres hotel now stands, until his death on March 9, 1857.*

The records show that the M. A. Ayres hotel has been open as a public hostelry, continuously, since the year 1828.

G. S. McCutcheon and J. H. Snyder were later proprietors of the Sleeth hotel, which went out of existence many years ago.

"The Wilson House" came upon the stage near a quarter of a century ago with Lemuel Wilson, the present owner and proprietor, at the helm.

Marshall Deane was the first "village blacksmith." He came near the year 1848, and erected his shop on the lot that was formerly marked by the late John Miller's shop, though now vacant, and carried on a general smithing and wagon repairing business. He removed from here to the late Alex Prunty farm near Berea, and finally went West. His wife was a Miss Butcher, sister of the late mrs. Jacob Dougherty, of Lamb's run.

Physicians. - Dr. Wm. R. Lowther,.** late father of George W. Lowther, of Grafton, was the first physician of the community. He was a botanic doctor and resided on the McNeill homestead.

But the late Dr. Charles Austin was the first resident physician of the town. He was a nephew of the late P. S. Austin, and came here when just out of college, but only remained a few years, going to Ripley, Jackson county, and later, to Lewisburg, where he died, near the year 1902.

He was succeeded by the late Dr. Thomas, of Grantsville. Others who have since been identified in this profession here are: The Drs. James, two brothers, G. C. Badgley, J. H. and I. C. White, C. W. Ailor, A. M. Edgell, the late S. P. Hartman, the late J. H. M. Sinnett, and Dr. Franklin.

Dr. Edgell has had a longer connection with the village than other physician in ist history. For more than a quarter of a century, he has been a leading practioner. Pleasants is his native county, and there he began his career as a peda-

*See South Fork settlers for farther account of his family.
**See earlier chapter for his history.

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gogue; but in his early manhood he turned his attention to the study of medicine.

After receiving his diploma from a medical college, he went to New Milton, Doddridge county, and there began the practice of his profession; and there he was married to Miss Melissa Snyder, a native of that county, in 1880; and two years later came to Smithville, which is still his home. He is the father of two daughters, the late lamented Mrs. Daisy (W. A.) Adams, and Mrs. Ethel (Earle) Batson, of Cairo.

Merchants. - The following named gentlemen have, from time to time been engaged in the mercantile business here: the late J. H. Haddox and Mr. Carr, the firm being known for a time as "Haddox and Carr,', the late B. F. Mitchell, and Lemuel Wilson, the late Jacob Clammer, "Pulliam & Wiant," P. S. Lough, T. T. Flynn, L. B. Scott, J. R. Kennedy, J. M. Deem, senior, F. D. Lemon, J. M. Rymer, and E. E. Shimer, Messrs. Rymer, Deem, J. R. Westfall and Shimer now hold this business in hand.

D. H. Valentine was the first shoe-maker of the village. He came here from Gilmer county, where he was born, nad remained a citizen of this part of the county, until a few years before his death in 1905, when he went to Wirt county, where he sleeps.

He was a lay minister of the M. E. Church South. He was twice married, his first wife being Miss Sarah J. Wyer, of Gilmer county, and his widow, Mrs. Mary Goff Riddel, daughter of the late Strother Goff, of Burnt House.

He was the father of twelve children: J. B., Macrfarlan; James, Ohio; C. J., fonsoville; E. L., Newberne; and Mrs. Katherine Beckner, Parkersburg, were the fruits of the first union; and Charles, Marshall, Roy, Mrs. Etta Hatch, Mrs. Blanche Hatch, Mrs. Emma _______, and Jennie, who died in youth, of the second.

Churches. - the Baptist church, whose history appears in an earlier chapter, came in 1873, and the M. E. church, in 1875. The late John Miller, and R. H. Rogers being the donors of the ground, for the latter.

The Rev. W. H. Shaw, who is now spending the even-

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tide of his useful life, with his aged companion, at Point Pleasant, was the first resident minister of the town. He came in the spring of 1874, and during the following winter, held a revival meeting in the school-house, which resulted in the organization of the first M. E. class, at its close. Among the original members of this class were Mr. And Mrs. John Miller, John Prince and family, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Hardman, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Smith, Mrs. Minerva Kennedy, and W. G. Lowther and his late wife, Mrs. Jennie Kendall Lowther. Several of these members came from the Webb's mill, and the Hardman chapel classes.

The Rev. Mr. nad Mrs. Shaw are the parents of three sons: Alpheus is a tailor by trade, and Charles and George, who were but small boys when the family lived here, are now prominent ministers of the Protestant Episcopal church.

The cemetery is located on the M. A. Ayres homestead, formerly the Barnes Smith estate.

In 1875, the late Jacob Clammer, and the late H. H. Fling, of Roseville, erected the first flouring mill here, which was only in operation about one year.

This building, which has now vanished from sight, stood not far from the bridge, near the river's brink, and was a considerable structure, being two stories in height.

The history of this village would hardly be complete without a word in regard to the lives of the late Jacob Clammer, the late John Miller, and the Majour M. A. Ayres, whose names have so long been associated with its interests:

Jacob Clammer was born in Fayette county, Maryland, in 1836, and came to West Virginia, in 1859; and worked at the carpenter's trade at Reedy, Roane county, for two years, before going to Calhoun county, in 1861, where, on December the 22nd of that same year, he enlisted as a Union soldier, in Company C., of the 11th Regiment, West Virginia Infantry, and followed the old flag for three years, being commissioned captain, on January 21, 1864. At the close of the war, he returned to Calhoun county, where, in 1867, he was married to Miss Rachel Stevens, a native of Marion County; and in 1875, he came to Smithville, as contractor and

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builder of the M. E. Church; and here he remained until he found a resting-place in the village cemetery, in January, 1904. He served the town in the capacity of miller, merchant (for fifteen years) and post-master (for ten years), was justice of the peace for a number of years, and was an official member of the M. E. church throughout his residence here.

His widow and sons, G. M., S. H., Homer, Okey and Walter are all residents of Colorado; and his daughter, Mrs. Isa Deem, lives in Illinois; and Maggie and Albert lie in the Smithville cemetery. His second son, S. H. Clammer is now Mayor of Ft. Collins, Colorado.

The Clammers are of German descent. Captain Clammer's father came from the Fatherland, early in the ninteenth century - more than ninety years ago - and settled in Maryland, when he was a young man of twenty-six years, and there married a Dutch maiden, of Pennsylvania, who died when some of the children were quite young. The father then went to Iowa, where he died the following year. He spelled his name "Klammar" when he arrived, but when it was translated into English, it was spelled "Clemmer and Calmmer." Other relatives came at the same time, and some adopted the former, and some the latter, mode of spelling it.

John Miller was a typical son of the "Emerald Isle." He was born near Londonderry, in the northern part of Ireland, on June 11, 1827; and there, he was graduated from the High school, and afterwards learned the blacksmith's trade, having served the required apprenticeship of three years as blacksmith and book-keeper, before coming to America in 1847. He landed in New York, and two years later, went to Pittsburg, where he was married to Miss Susan Trover, Who, with the two children born of them, died a little more than two years after the marriage. He then spent some time at Wheeling and St. Louis, before coming to Calhoun county, where he married Miss Henrietta Trippett, daughter of Franklin Trippett, who was born in Monongallia county, on January 3, 1841, and then went to St. Louis; and in 1865, he came to Smithville, and took up his residence in the Sleeth hotel, and opened a blacksmith shop. He afterwards

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purchased the farm, that is now owned by the Mountain State Gas company, but continued to wield the blacksmith's hammer, until his death on October 10, 1902. He was for long years a pillar in the M. E. church, and was an honorable upright citizen.

Mrs. Miller now resides at Pennsboro with her daughter, Mrs. Addie Nutter, wife of ex-Sheriff Okey Nutter, and the other children are a follows: Mrs. F. C. Hardman, James and Frank Miller, Mrs. J. R. Kennedy, Mrs. S. H. Westfall, and Mrs. H. E. Wass, all of this county; William and Orlando, Colorado, and Laura B., who died in childhood.

Shortly after, Mr. Miler's arrival in America, he sent for his brother, James, to whom he was greatly attached, and when he landed in New York, in changing his clothing, preparatory to leaving the ship, he threw his money over-board, forgetting it in the pocket of his discarded clothing, and by the time the lad had worked his way to his brother at Pittsburg, he had contracted chills and feber, and died a few weeks later.

William, another brother came to America near 1855, and enlisted in the United States Army, and served on the frontier of Texas, Oregon, and other Western states, and in the Civil war, until he was wounded in the battle of Petersburg. He settled on Gillispie's run in this county after the was, where he died in 1900.

The mother, and two other sons, Robert and Joseph Miller came from Ireland to Gillispie's run, this county, in 1865, where she died in 1893. Robert met his death in a mine at Monongah in 1901, and Joseph lives at Pittsburg.

Michael A. Ayres is also a native of Maryland, he having firest seen the light of day at Lonaconing, Allegheny county, on November 20, 1840. When he was but ten years of age his parents removed to the mouth of Tanner's fork in Gilmer county, where he grew to manhood. In 1861, on the twenty-first anniversary of his birth, he enlisted as a Federal soldier, in Company C, 11th Regiment, Infantry, and served throughout the war, and rose from the rank of duty sergeant of the company, to that of major of the regiment; he having had command of the regiment,

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throughout all the active campaign during the spring of 1865 until hostility ceased; was in front of Petersburg, and Richmond; at Hackers' run; at the capture of Ft. Baldwin and Gregg; and witnessed the surrender at Appomattox. In 1865, he led Miss Mary Smith, daughter of Isaac, to the altar as his bride, and in 1867, came to Smithville, and shortly after, purchased the homestead of his father-in-law, where he has since resided.

Since coming to this place, he has been pedagogue, farmer, post-master, assessor, justice of the peace, deputy census-taker, and hotel-keeper, and has long been a prominent figure in the Baptist church. He is the father of five children: Miss Alberta and C. W., who is in the employ of the South Penn Oil Company, are still at home; H. B. and Allen reside near by; and Gertrude the eldest daughter, is sleeping in the churchyard.

Afred Barr, too, claims a little corner in this town's history, he having been identified with the community for almost half a century. For thirty-three consecutive years, he has been the Superintendent of the Baptist church Sunday-school, and a prominent figure in other departments of church work.

He came upon the "battle field of life" in Lewis county, on September 25, 1839; and is the son of the late Samuel and Rachel Weaver Barr.

On December 22, 1859, he was married to Miss Cynthia Anne Smith, daughter of the late Isaac Smith, of Smithville, and a little later, this county became his adopted home. He enlisted in Company C, 11th Regiment West Virginia Infantry volunteers, on December 22, 1861, and served in defense of the Union for three years, being a participant in many engagements of on the field of battle. On July 24, 1864, he was wounded at the battle of Winchester, and was left on the field to die; but was rescued and nursed back to life by the kind hands of Southern women. When able to be removed, he was taken to the far-famed Libbey prison, at Richmond, where he was exchanged and taken to general hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, and there remained until able to return home.

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He is the father of ten children: Mrs. Eliza Nutter, Mrs. Hannahetta Sharps Law, Mrs. A. J. Riddel, Mrs. Mary L. Deem, Mrs. Julia Sinnett Shimer, Mrs. Florence Goff, Mrs. Laura Wilson, and Freeman Barr, all of this county; and two died in childhood.

William A. Flesher is the only citizen of the village that has ever been honored with a seat in the Legislature halls of our state, and thus his public areer merits more than a passing notice.

He first saw the "light of day" at Parkersburg on December 5, 1849, and when he was a child of but six summers, his parents removed to Tyler county where he grew to manhood, and where he remained until 1880, when he came to Smithville.

He was the son of the late F. H. and Mrs. Matilda Ogden Flesher, his father a native of Lewis county, and his mother of Dover, Mason county, Kentucky. His father was a brother of the late Asa Flesher of this place.

On April 7, 1870, he was married to Miss Caroline Long; daughter of George and Lydia Long, of Tyler county, and they are the parents of nine children.

Since coming to Smithville, he has served as member of the Board of Education, for eight years; as County commissioner, for twelve; and has twice been elected as member of the House of Delegates, he having served at the regular session of 1907, at the special session of 1908, and in 1909. He was a member of the Committees on Labor, Roads, and Internal Navigation, and of the State Prison during his first term; and of Military Affairs, Roads, Internal Navigation and Labor the second. His son, Master Gail Flesher, had the honor of being Journal Page at the session of 1909.

The other members of the family are as follows: Mrs. J. F. Miller, Mrs. S. E. Smith, Mack Flesher, and Miss Dee, all of this place; Mrs. G. G. Brown, Huntington; Mrs. Okey K. Clammer, and George F. Flesher, Colorado; and F. E. Oklahoma.

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Chapter XLIV
Burnt House

Transcribed by Janet Waite

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Burnt House

The village of Burnt House, which now numbers near a half-hundred inhabitants, was born in 1882, when the late H. N. Wilson and J. K. P. Stalnaker, built the store-house that is now the wagon and blacksmith- shop of Henry Smith, and launched the mercantile business here.

The mill was constructed the same year by the Stalnaker Brothers, J. R., D. C., and the late Sanford, who passed from his earthly home in Dakota in 1896; and J. R. Stalnaker, at this time erected the first dwelling where his hotel now stands.

H. N. Wilson. - In 1883, this dwelling and mill passed into the hands of H. N. Wilson, and here, the following spring, one of the saddest pages of Mr. Wilson's life was written when the mill exploded, instantly killing his little son, Burr, and dreadfully scalding his eldest son, L. B. Wilson.*

Shortly after this sad occurrence, Mr. Wilson sold his mill to the late G. W. Fling, and his step-son, A. C. Fisher; and a few months later, disposed of his interest in the store to his partner, Mr. Stalnaker, and went to Cornwallis, early in the year 1886, where he was engaged in the mercantile business for th enext eighteen months, until his store was accidentally destroyed by fire; he then returned to Burnt House, nad again, in 1890, opened a store here, and continued to sell goods until his death in 1892.

Mr. Wilson was born near Oxford in 1831; was a member of the pioneer family of Wilsons who history appears

* Twice within the history of the village this mill has been the scene of a tragic accident, Absalom Wamsley having met his death here some years later by being caught in the machinery in some way.

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with the south Fork settlers. In 1859, he was married to Miss Victoria Taylor, daughter of the late James Taylor, who was at that time sheriff of the county, the ceremony being solemnized at the old jail at Harrisville, and shortly after his marriage, he settled on Straight fork of Spruce creek, on the old homestead that is now the property of his adopted daughter, Mrs. Stata Lowther Wilson Haddox, where the family have lived continuously since that time with the exception of a few years. Here he passed from earth and, here, he sleeps. His wife was laid by his died, in December, 1907.

He served as Lieut. in the State Militia before the Civil war, but was not in active service during the Rebellion, as his sympathies were with the Southern cause. He filled the offices of County surveyor, Land Assessor, and he served as a member of the Board of Education, of Murphy district.

He was the father of eleven children: L. B., Mack, F. S., Chape, Walter, Claude, and Mrs. E. L. Hartman, the other four died in childhood. Chape, who has chosen teachings as his profession, was graduated from the Glenville Normal school in the class of 1910.

The Stalnaker Brothers are natives of Barbour county, but came here from Gilmer county. J. R. married Miss Louisa Frederick, daughter of the late Nicholas Frederick; and C. C. married Miss Jennie Gainer, daughter of the late Nicholas Gainer, of Gilmer county, but she is now gone to the other shore. Both are childless, but J. R. has an adopted daughter, Sadie Stalnaker.

With the exception of a few years both of these brothers have been identified with the town throughout its history. J. R., who is now the proprietor of the "Stalnaker hotel," has been miller, blacksmith, hosteler, merchant; and C. C. has been both miller and merchant.

J. K. P. Stalnaker, after going out of business here returned to his former home in Gilmer county, where he still resides, and where his wife, who was formerly Miss Margaret Fling, sister of the late G.W. Fling, sleeps. He was the father of several children: Mrs. Gae Fisher, who died in 1910; Mrs. Zona Thorne, Mrs. Blanche Gainer, Mrs. Dolly Smith,

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Misses Maude and Bliss, and Howard and the late John, junior.

The Stalnakers are of German descent. They came to Gilmer county in 1859, with their parents, John and Mrs. Margaret Black Stalnaker.

These brothers belonged to a family of thirteen children, four of whom have been mentioned, and the remainder are as follows: William of Grantsville; Nelson, of Washington state; Henry and Mrs. Dana Fling, Nebraska; Mrs. G. W. Fisher, and Mrs. Elizabeth Goff, Gilmer county; Mrs. Mahala Stemple, and Mrs. Sarah Hoffman, Barbour county.

G. W. Fling, who died in Colorado in 1887, was the first blacksmith of the village in 1884. His widow, Mrs. Mary Bush Fisher Fling, returned here after his death, and opened the first hotel.

Her son, C. W. Fisher, who married Miss Sallie Robinson, and now resides at Glenville, launched the harness and saddler business here; and the late Dr. D. F. Ireland had charge of this business for a short time, a little later; but for a number of years past, it has been in the hands of A. L. Hardman, who is also, the present post-master.

Mrs. G. W. Fling died here. She was the mother of A. C. Fisher and Mrs. V. E. Leggett, of Harrisville, and Mrs. Hattie Lemon, of Colorado, who, with C. W., above mentioned, were the fruits of her first union; and the late Mrs. Sallie Sovereign, John, Lee, and Newton Flling were the children of the second marriage.

The village stands on land that was once owned by the late Henry Fling, and David W. Sleeth. The post-office and church ante-date the history of the town by many ears. The first church was built by the Southern Methodist near the year 1854, on the Sleeth estate; but this old time structure, which stood just across the road from the present school-house, was crumbling to decay, when the village was born.

Dr. J. F. Hartmann was the first resident physician of

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the town. He was born in Barbour county, on February 16,1857, and there spent six years of his early life as a school-teacher. He was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore in 1881, and came to this village the same year, and began the practice of his profession. On January 9, 1883, he was married t Miss Florilla F. Austin, eldest daughter of the late P. S. Austin, and has ever since resided at the Austin homestead. He is a Democrat in political faith, and a leading figure in church and Sunday-school circles. And though a man of marked ability, he has never held a public office. Four of his children died in early childhood, and three survive; viz., Miss Jessie, who is a prominent young teacher, Karl and Fleet Hartmann.

The Hartmanns are of German descent. James T. Hartmann, the head of this family was born in the Keystone state, on September 11, 1816, and with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Hartmann, emigrated to Pocahontas county (West) Virginia, in his childhood. There, near Greenbanks, his mother died, and his father re-married and removed to the Buckhannon river in what is now Upshur county, where he passed from earth.

On April 11, 1844, James T. Hartmann, was married to Miss Mary Hull Burner, who was born on May 19, 1825, and who came of a prominent Pocahontas family, she being the daughter of Jacob, and Mrs. Keziah Stump Burner, and the grand-daughter of Abram, and Mary Hull Burner, early pioneers of that county. But her parents removed to Barbour county when she was a child of three years, and there the marriage took place, and there they established their home and remained until they came to this county in May, 1883.

Mr. Hartmann was one of the early deputy-sherrifs of Lewis (now Upshur) county, and he filled the office of County clerk, and other public positions in Barbour county. He died at his home above this town on July 29, 1894, and his wife survived until November 20, 1906. Both rest in the Burnt House churchyard. Their son, A. W. Hartmann died in his young manhood, and Dr. S. P., of Smithville, in 1901; and the rest are as follows: Dr. J. F., Elden P., and T. J., of Burnt House; E. L. of Parkersburg; C. R., of Clarksburg;

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Austin J., of Barbour county; Mrs. Washington Reger, of Roane county; and Mrs. C. W. Reger, of Clarksburg. Several members of this family have been identified in the teaching profession in this county, and E. L. now holds a position in the Parkersburg schools. And to the Regers, and E. P. Hartmann this communty is indebted for some of its prettiest homes, they having redeemed from their primitive wilderness, the farms that are now owned by the latter, and by T. J. Hartmann, and Preston Gainer, less than thirty years ago.

Mrs. J. W. Holden, Mrs. E. g. Rohrbough, wife of the principal of the Glenville Normal school; a. Clyde Reger, and Dr. E. L. Reger, are among the prominent younger members of this family.

The site of the first school-house in this vicinity is now marked by the residence of C. A. Wilson, below town. It was built near the year 1850.

The village now has fourteen dwellings, including two hotels. It has two general stores, a mill, blacksmith and wagon-shop, saddle and harness-shop, post-office, and lodge hall, where three lodges meet, I.O.O.F., I.O.R.M., and Modern Maccabees, and one physician, Dr. Leroy Goff.

James Ellsworth Ferrell has been a leading merchant here since 1889. He is a Monongalia county product, though his parents, Robert R., and the late Delia M. Fst Ferrell, removed to Calhoun county, six months after the date of his birth on April 10, 1863. Here he grew to manhood, and spent sixteen years in the profession of teaching - serving four years as County Superintendent (1885-1889, before coming to this town. His store was destroyed by fire in 1906, but he kept his nerve, and was soon doing a good business again.

On July 18, 1889, he was married to Miss Mollie Fling, only daughter of F. Gainer and Elsie Bush Fling, and they now have charge of the Ferrell - formerly the Fling - hotel.

Pearle, who became Mrs. Clyde Boso, of Parkersburg, on October 19, 1910, Glenn, Willard, and Kenneth are their children.

F. M. Ferrell, Fremont Hardman, A. C. Cunningham, F.

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S. Wilson, L. B. Wilson, Jacob Manacar, and perhaps others have also have identified in the mercantile business here from time to time.

"Goff's" which has never been but little more than a post-office, came upon the stage in the early sixties when the post-office was established with the late Thomas Goff (from whom it took its name) as first post-master. He resided where his nephew, E. C. Goff, now lives, and finally went to Iowa where he fell asleep. *

The late James R. Brake, of Berea, and the late Dr. Lee Goff, of Hazelgreen built the first store here, late in the seventies. Mr. Brake furnished the capital and Dr. Goff had charge of the business.

E. C. Goff, who is the grandsonof Aaron Smith, the original pioneer of this vicinity, has been the merchant and post-master for more than a quarter of a century past.

He has been quite prominent in business and political circles as well, he having represented this county in the Legislature a few years since.

He was first married to Miss Priscilla Bee, daughter of Asa Bee,of Berea, and they were the parents of, Alfera, Wm. A., and Herbert H. Goff, of Goff's; Mrs. Ida (Willy) Law, and Mrs. Inis (A. C.) Huff, of Lawford. His present wife was Miss Kitty Smith, of Columbus, Ohio.

The mill which has long since ceased to grind was built by the late Perry Gainer, of Bone creek, brother-in-law of Mr. Goff.

Fonsoville. - And there's Fonsoville! though scarcely out of its swaddling clothes, yet with its beautiful location and environments, and its high-sounding-name, it is destined to be a subject of no little importance to the future historian, and we will here tell you something of its origin and size.

The tiny village was born on October 10, 1901, when Charles E. Hatfield opened his store here. The school-house, Frederick's mill, and the dwelling of J. C. Rexroad had long been in existence, and on December 6, 1901, Mr. Hatifeld

* See Spruce creek chapter for farther history of Thomas Goff.

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was commissioned as post-master. The office opened on January 1, 1902, under the name of "Fonzo" with the mail three times a week, but a daily route was established the following spring. Then came J. C. Rexroad with his blacksmith- shop during the summer of 1904 (with F. S. Moyer in charge); and when Miss Addie Leggett opened her milliner and dress-maker shop during the autumn of 1907, the "youngster" really began to put on the airs of a village. The country in this section is so thickly settled that it is hard to determine the boundary line, but the new county bridge that spans the river at the mill connects the village and adds the pretty residence of J. L. Frederick.

Charles Edwin Hatfield, the originator of this little "speck on the map," is the second son of Abner and the late Mrs. Elizabeth Fordham Hatfield. Goff's is the place of his birth, and February 16, 1871, his natal day. He was a tiller of the soil, and school-teacher, for five years, before launching the mercantile business here, and he has been the Secretary of the Board of Education for Murphy district since May 6, 1904, and is a Notary Public.

On October 7, 1894, he was married to Miss Bessie Wilson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. H. Wilson, of Goff's who died on July 22, 1899, and four children were the result of this union; viz., Mabel Pearl and Mary Elizabeth, who survive; and Abner H., and Bazil W. (twins), who died in early childhood.

On October 27, 1907, he again took the nuptial vow, when Miss Isa F. Wamsley, daughter of Samuel Wamsley became his bride, and Edna Mae, and Charles, junior are the two children of this union.

Note - This town is the home of the writer and she naturally feels an unusual interest in it despite its seeming insignificance to the "stranger within its gates."

Return to Table of Contents

Chapter XLV

Transcribed by Bonnie Ryan

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This town, which is the second in size in Union district, was first called "Bone creek," the name having been derived from a bone lick on the farm of Robert Sommerville. It was later changed to "Newberg," and in 1872, to "Auburn," there being another Newburg in the state.

The town stands on the original farms of the first settlers--Robert Sommerville, Timothy Tharpe, and Andrew Law.

The first school-house was built in 1844, and the first church, in '49 or'50. This church, which stood near the late Thomas C. Hardman residence, was erected by the Baptist and the Methodist Episcopal people, and was also, used for school purposes.

The first Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1855, where the present one, which was completed in 1889, now stands. Andrew Law gave the grounds for this church, and Timothy Tharpe, for the cemetery. The town now has four good churches,* representing as many denominations--the Baptist, the United Brethren, and the Methodist purchased the grounds for their churches.

The late Elisha M. Hall built the first store in 1852, on the lot where C. L. Zinn's residence now stands. Some time after he had gone out of business, Timothy Tharpe became the second merchant.

He built a house of round beech logs, on the bank in the bend of the creek, where he served his customers, which were "few and far between." The country was so thinly

*The M. P. church was burned since this was written.

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settled, at this time, that he found this business rather irksome, so much so, that he was led to remark to some of his friends, that "keeping store" reminded him of "watching a lick."

The tannery was instituted in 1852, with Timothy Tharpe at the helm, but it went out of existence a number of years ago, and the pretty residence of Dr. Lawson now marks the site. J. E. Norman was the last owner, he having held this business in-tact for quite a length of time.

The post-office was established in the early fifties, with Andrew Law post-master, and C. L. Zinn is the present incumbent. In 1871, this office only paid three dollars a year; it now pays six hundred.

Timothy Tharpe built the first mill, which was a corncracker and saw-mill. The late H. H. Fling, of Roseville, Gilmer county, erected the first burr-mill near 1870; and H. H. Norman and M. B. Watson put in the roller process, which is now owned by J. K. P. Connolly and Smith. The planing-mill is owned and manipulated by M. B. Watson.

The pioneer mill site was on the lot now owned by C. L. Zinn.

John Miller opened the first blacksmith-shop in 1856. This old pioneer shop stood near the present site of the Cookman residence.

Jacob Williams was the first blacksmith after the coming of the town,he having come here in 1871, and opened a shop where his son, Chester Williams, now wields the hammer.He married Miss Jane Wiseman, and both sleep in the Auburn cemetery. His other children, besides the son mentioned, are, Samuel, who died in the West; Thomas, Mrs. Viretta Adams, and Mrs. Ellen Crumrine, of Iowa.

J. C. Gluck.--Though the history of the town dates back to the early fifties, it was but a hamlet of a few buildings in April, 1871, when J. C. Gluck came here and opened a store in the Timothy Tharpe store building. And since that time it has grown into a pretty, thriving town of two hundred twenty-five or more inhabitants; and, perhaps, this progress is due more to the efforts of Mr. Gluck than to any other one individual, as his business connections (with the town)

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have been continuous since his first arrival, with the exception of a few years.

He was born near Glenville, in Gilmer county, on June 18, 1841, and in 1871, as before stated, he came to Auburn and entered the mercantile business; and built the residence that is now the home of W. S. Baker.

On October 29, 1872, he married to Miss Elosia Gravenstine, of Baltimore, and of this union three children were born. Howard, the only son, is in business here with his father at this time. Alma is Mrs. W. W. Westfall, of Parkersburg; and Ella, Mrs. Harvey Stalnaker, of Pittsburg. Mrs. Gluck died on December 18, 1910, and rests at Troy.

Mr. Gluck was a soldier of the Civil war, he having served the Union cause as Sergeant of Company G, Tenth West Virginia Infantry Volunteers; and at the battle of Lee Town, on July 3, 1864, he was wounded on the head by the bursting of a shell. He also served, as Quarter-master of the Second West Virginia Regiment, in the Spanish-American war for one year. he represented this county in the House of Delegates in 1889, and was a member of the extra session of the Legislature, in the nineties; was Superintendent of the Reform School at Pruntytown for two years; and was President of the Board of Education of Union district for twelve years.

The Glucks hail from Germany! Joseph Gluck, senior, with his family, crossed the sea in 1839, and settled in Baltimore. He was the father of four children; viz., Shristian, Henry, William and Mrs. Lena Hess.

Christian married Miss Anna Elkhart, who was also a native of the Fatherland, and was the father of J. C., Adam, W. T. Gluck, and Mrs. Ellen (David) Steinbeck, of Troy.

J. C. Gluck was the first hosteler of the town, but he was succeeded by the late Daniel D. Bush, whose public service in this connection extended over a period of eighteen years--longer than that of any other individual in the history of the town--he having played his part well as host from 1882 until 1900, when he retired to private life.

Daniel D. Bush was born in Gilmer county, on July 18, 1826

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his parents, Paulser, and Elizabeth Heckart Bush, being pioneers of that county.

He married Miss Nancy Riddel, daughter fo George M. Riddel, who was also a native of Gilmer; and in 1873, came to Auburn, where he remained until February 24, 1906, when he passed to his final home. And in the Auburn cemetery his body rests.

He was a man of unimpeachable character, and his memory will long be revered. He served as a Union soldier in Company G, Tenth West Virginia Infantry Volunteers, being mustered out at the end of two years, owing to physical disability.

He was the father of ten children: Eustace, the youngest son, and Laura have passed on; J. N., and Mrs. Josephine Kniseley Marclay Wilson, reside in Oklahoma; Charley, in Wirt county; Mrs. Mittie (J. C.) Lawson, at Auburn; Eva, who first married Charles Oldaker, is now Mrs. Robert A. Henderson, of Auburn; Florence Marie, is the widow of the late Okey J. Cooper, of Newberne; Olive Pearle is Mrs. S. C. Phillips, of Smithville; and Drusilla, with her mother, lives at Auburn.

The last three daughters named were skillfull musicians, and their little "stringed-band" was a feature of no little enjoyment to the traveling public who patronized their hotel, while they were at home.

The Bushes came from Germany. The original family on this side of the water consisted of five brothers and four sisters, and one or more half-brothers, namely, Peter, Jacob, Henry, John, George, Susan, Barbara, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Adam Bush-- the half-brother; and from these brothers the many different families of this name, scatered throughout this and other states, are descended.

The exact time of their migration to America is not known, but it must have been shortly before the Revolution, as Peter Bush took up arms in defense of his adopted country, in her struggle for liberty.

Neither is it known where they first settled, but they landed at Philadelphia upon their arrival here.

The late Daniel C. Bush, of this town, was descended

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from Adam Bush, the half-brother, above mentioned--Adam being his grandsire.

But Daniel S. Bush, of Harrisville, Mrs. Elizabeth Bush Heckart Fling, and Mrs. Elsie Fling, wife of F. G. Fling, of Burnt House; and Mrs. Mary Goff, of Hazelgreen, familiarly known as "Aunt Polly," are all descended from Jacob, who married Miss Margaret Flesher, and came from Lewis county to Gilmer in pioneer days, and settled at the mouth of Leading creek, where he and his wife sleep.

Mrs Elizabeth Fling and Mrs. Mary Goff, are the granddaughters of Jacob, the former being the daughter of Henry and Margaret Snyder Bush; and the latter, the daughter of George Bush, who was designated as "Surveyor George Bush." And Mrs. Elsie Fling and Daniel S. Bush are the great-grandchildren of Jacob. Mr. Bush being the son of Jacob H. Bush, and the grandson of Henry; and Mrs. Fling the daughter of George W. Bush, and the granddaughter of Henry.

All the other families of this name in this, and Gilmer counties, belong to this same stock.

Thomas C. Hardman launched the saddler business here, and held it in-tact until his death, when his mantle fell upon his son, Ernally Hardman, who still has charge of this trade. Mr. Hardman belonged to the pioneer family of this name, whose history occupies an earlier chapter. He married Miss Rilla Shumway, of Ohio, and resided there, for a time after his marriage, before coming here, where he found a final resting place. He was the father of one other son besides the one mentioned, and of two daughters: Ormsby, of this place, and Mrs. Lon. Ward, and Mrs. Harvey Sommerville, who, with their mother, reside in Colorado.

Dr. James R. Glover was the first resident physician. He came in 1872, and here, he was married to Miss Laura Swisher, and has three children: Hunter, Jessie, and Julia.

Dr. J. C. Lawson, and Dr. N. E. Eddy are the two practitioners in the field at present. The former came from Harrison county, in the eighties--the latter from Ohio, but a few years since.

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The Auburn Carriage Company came in 1898 with J. N. Bush, and D. M. Heckart promoters of the enterprise. In 1903, W. M. Farnsworth took the place of Mr. Bush, and it is now "Heckart and Farnsworth," both Gilmer county products.

The Bank was instituted in 1901, with Dr. J. C. Lawson, President, and Howard Showalter, cashier. J. T. Hall is the present presiding officer, and John Cookman is the cashier.

Lodges.--The Knights of Pythias Lodge was organized in July, 1889, with twenty-nine charter members, it now numbers ninety-six; and its lodge property is valued at one thousand two hundred dollars, and its notes and cash, at one thousand three hundred dollars. It is said to