The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie
County" written by Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.
This town took its name from an old toll-gate that came into existence here late in the thirties or early in the forties, and went out during the Civil war.
The Northwestern turnpike at this time was a State road, and it was kept up by the revenue that was collected from the tollgates along the road.
Notley Willis, senior, was the first keeper of this gate. He was born near Winchester, Virginia in April, 1800; and being left an orphan in childhood, was early thrown upon his own resources. He came to Tyler county in his boyhood, and near the year 1817, went to Charleston where he was engaged in the growing salt industry; and, at one time, he was a salt comissioner at Cincinnati, Ohio. But in 1837 he came to Tollgate (from Charleston), and shortly after his arrival here he was married to Mrs. Epha Marsh Cline (daughter of James Marsh and widow of William Cline), the marriage taking place at the old Marsh homestead, on February 16, 1837. Near this time he became the owner of the Marsh homestead, a little east of this place; and here he spent the first six years of his married life; and when the toll-gate was established he was made the keeper; but in 1843, he removed to Mole Hill and Mrs. Lee succeeded him as grardian of this gate.
Mr Willis was a master Mason; was one of the early justices of the peace of the county, and was one of the first members of the Board of Education after the inauguration of the Free School system. He died at Mole hill on Novermber 17, 1878, and there his ashes lie. He was the father of one son, Notley G. Willis of Mole Hill.
Notley G. Willis, this son, was married to Miss Louisa Martin, and four children were the result of this union; viz., Epha and Josephine died in youth. Helen married D. B. Strickling and died at her home in Pennsylvania in 1907, leaving one daughter, Mrs. Cammie Gormley; two other children, Romeo and Nellie having prececed her home. And Judge M. H. Willis, who married Miss Anita Magness, of Iowa is the son. This completes the entire line of the descendants of Notley Willis, senior, the pioneer toll-gate keeper.
The Willises are descended from an old Virginia family, who were perhaps, of English descent, but the exact time of their migration to the New World is unknown. However, Francis Willis was prominently identified in Colonial affairs before the middle of the seventeenth century. As early as 1610, he held the office of Clerk of Charles River in York county, Virginia, and was a personal admirer and an ardent supporter of the policy of Sir John Harvey, governor of the colony: and upon Sir Harvey's removal from this office, Willis was deprived of his position, and was prohibited from appearing as attorney in any of the courts. But after the lapse of near two years, when Sir William Berkely came to the Gubernatorial chair, he was restored to favor, and afterwards filled several important offices, among which was that of chairman of the committee that revised the Colonial laws in 1657-8, and member of the Governor's council until 1675, the year preceding Bacon's rebellion. He died in England in 1691, and his last will and testament, his nephew, Francis Willis, son of Henry, heired the greater part of his property, including his vast estates in Glouchester county, Virginia.
Francis Willis, junior, had two sons, Francis III, of Glouchester county, and Henry Willis, the founder of Fredericksburg. After this generation, the family was known as two branches, the Glouchester and the Fredericksburg; and from the Glouchester branch the Ritchie county family come. This branch of the family are scattered throughout the northern counties of Virginia, and through Maryland and Pennsylvania; and Brunswick county, Virginia. Jefferson and Berekley counties, West Virginia are said to abound in their traditions.
[FOOTNOTE 1: This same Henry Willis married Mrs. Mildred Washington Gregory. See Washington genealogy in Chapter Fifty-Fourth.]
William Willis.--Another Willis family who has no known connection with the one just mentioned, but who has numerous descendants in this and sister counties, is that of the late William Willis, who came from Ireland during the latter part of the eighteenth century; and married Miss Anna Douglass of Harrison county and settled near Clarksburg, where he was identified as an early pedagogue.
This pioneer couple were the parents of five sons, and seven daughters; viz.:
Robert (1799-1886) with his three wives (Mary Venort, Mary Vanhorn, and Matilda Prine) rests in Doddridge county.
George (maried Miss Elder), and John, who died unmarried at the age of eighty years, were of Harrison county. William (Miss Elizabeth Bumgardner) was of Doddridge county; and Reuben (who never married) met a tragic death by drowning in the Ohio river.
Malinda was the wife of Andrew Nutter, senior, of Oxford; Elizabeth was the late Mrs. Peter Pritchard, of white Oak; Nancy married Julius Davidson, and Jane, Andrew Divers, both of Harrison county; Margaret became Mrs. Gus Greathouse and died in Doddridge county at the age of eighty years; and Ruhama was Mrs. William Elder of this county.
Mrs. Edmund Lee, a widow, was the second keeper of the toll-gate, she having succeeded Mr. Willis near the year 1843, and remained in charge to the end of its history. She came here from Indiana near 1837 and settled in a cabin that stood only a few feet from the pike and a short distance from the Doddridge county line, and here within this community, she spent the closing years of her life. She was the mother of the late E. C. C. Lee who was a citizen of this village until his death in 1897, and has quite a number of other descentants, in different parts of the country.
Tollgate is said to be the only post-office of the name in the United States. It was established in 1868 with Captain Wicks post-master, and W. C. Taylor, grandson of pioneer Eli Taylor, is the present incumbent.
[FOOTNOTE 1 See Nutter and Pritchard families.]
The first school-house in the vicinity stood near one one-half miles from town on land that is now owned by B. H. Hickman. It came into existence in 1868, and the first school within the village, was taught in the old Masonic hall in 1880.
The Board of Education then purchased a store-house, and converted it into a school-room which served until the present two-story frame building came into existence.
The first church which was erected in 1842, was a union church; but is was destroyed by fire during the Civil war. Notley Willis, senior, was the donor of the grounds; and John Garner, junior, gave the ground for the cemetery, which is located one-half mile east of the town, on land now owned by J. M. Wilson.
This pioneer "city of the dead" has long since been abandoned, though some forty or fifty persons slumber here.
The one church of the village, to-day, is Baptist in denomination. It was built in the ante-bellum days, and, though still doing service, is fast crumbling to decay.
This village now has twenty-five families with a population of less than one hundred. Perhaps no other town with this number of families, has so few inhabitants--such a large percent of childless homes.
Although Doddridge corners in the town, all the citizens, except one, reside in Ritchie--A. J. Zinn goes to Greenwood to cast his vote.
There are now two general stores, one grocery, one hardware, and two feed stores, two black-smith shops, one saw and planing-mill combined, two hotels, and a good two-story substantial school-building.
The Broadwater Brothers, M. M. Cochran, Charles M. and William Denning (blacksmiths who are the inventors of the Denning well-drill machine, an invention upon which they have secured a patent, and W. C. Taylor are its business men; and Silas J. Taylor, is the leading farmer of the vicinity, and was the late T. J. Broadwater.
Thomas Jefferson Broadwater was born in Garrett county, Maryland, on November 8, 1837, and with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Broadwater came to this county when he was but a lad of a few summers, and from that time until his death, on April 18, 1910, he was a familiar figure in this community.
In 1869, he was married to Miss Rhoda Rinehart, of Boyd, Maryland, sister of Mrs. L. P. Wilson, of Pennsboro, and eleven children were the result of this union; viz., Boyd, a commercial traveler, of Vienna, Wood county; Harry of Pennsboro; Mrs. Lyda Small, of Maryland; Will, who is also narried, and Misses Minnie and Nettie, Charles, Thomas, Ralph and Robert, who are at home with their mother.
Mr. Broadwater died at the home of his son at Vienna, where he had gone for medical treatment and the remains were brought back and laid away in the Tollgate cemetery, after impressive services had been held by the Rev. D. S. Boggs, of the Harrisville M. P. church and the Masonic order.
THE MAXWELLS.--Though the Maxwells were not residents of this county in pioneer days, they have had large land interests here almost throughout its history, and quite a number of their descendants are identified with its present citizen-ship.
Lewis Maxwell was an early surveyor, and when he found a piece of vacant land, he laid a warrant upon it and entered it, and thus he came into possession of lare tracts of valuable wood-lands all over this section of the state. Without doubt he was the laregest individual land-owner that this county has ever known, and at his death his nephew, Franklin Maxwell, fell heir to much of his estate here. But since the death of Franklin, the heirs have principally disposed of these lands, but have retained their royalties which are now, to some extent, under develoment for oil, and gas pruposes.
The name "Maxwell" originated in Northumberland county, England, near the year 1000, it being, at first spelled "Maccuswell". Prior to this date the family are supposed to have come from Saxony, and to have become connected with the Athlings of Northern England in some way, but, as this tradition is such an ancient one, it is not well authenticated. However, they went from England to Scotland at the time of the conquest of William the Conqueror, and are said to have figured in the Border wars with Wallace and Bruce; and from "Scotia" they migrated to America before the yer 1700, and settled in Connecticut and in New Jersey, and to the New Jersey branch of the family, the Ritchie County Maxwells trace their ancestry; although they are unable to give definite connections farther back than Thomas Maxwell, of Pennsylvania.
Thomas Maxwell was married, near the year 1785 to Miss Jane Lewis, daughter of Alexander and Mary Smith Lewis, who was born in the Keystone state, on July 17, 1767.
He (Thomas) died in 1796, but his burial place is unknown. He had been making arrangments to remove from the Keystone state to Western Virginia, and had made one or more trips to this wilderness; but on his last journey, he was lost to view and all efforts to learn something of his fate were met with defeat. He was traced as far as Morgantown, and there all clew was lost. He was known to have had a considerable sum of money in his possession and the theory of robbery and murder was entertained by some, and others thought that he might have drowned, but nothing was ever known.
In 1799 his widow, Mrs. Jane Lewis Maxwell, with her six orphaned children removed to Harrison county, and settled on land owned by Col. William Lowther near what is now the little town of West Milford. Mrs. Maxwell's means were very much limited and when she arrived with her little flock, she found shelter with the family of Col. Lowther in the old cabin shown in an earlier chapter until another one could be fitted out upon the farm; and here she reared her family--one member of which, Lewis Maxwell, became a Congressman. And to this day sacred memories linger about the crude walls of this ancient dewlling for the descendants of Mrs. maxwell, and well as for those of Col. Lowther.
She afterwards removed to Lost creek, and finally to near Jane Lew in Lewis county where she died on October 20, 1835. This town, "Jane Lew" was named by her son, Lewis, in her honor.
Her family consisted of four sons and two daughters; viz., Abner, Levi, Lewis, Robert, Amy and Mary Maxwell. Abner Maxwell, the eldest son (1785-1864), was captain of a Harrisville county company in the war of 1812, and remained a citizen of the Clarksburg vicinity until, perhaps, some time in the forties, when he removed to Doddridge county, where he spent his last hours, near West Union, in 1864.
He was first married to Miss Susan Davidson, and his second wife was Miss Judith Modisette, and his children were twelve in number; Marshall ( born 1811), Franklin (1814), Mary, who became Mrs. A. W. Flucky (1816), Levi (1819), and William (1821), were the fruits of the first union. And Frances Jane, wife of Archibald Lowther, of Goose creek; Lewis Maxwell, formerly of Pullman, but now of Glenville; Charles, of Summers; Amy M., who became Mrs. Asa Coplin, Abner M., James, and Robert, Doddridge county, of the second marriage.
Franklin Maxwell (son of Abner) was born in 1814; and, in 1840, he deserted single life when he claimed Miss Frances Jane Runnels as his bride, and though he lived and died in Doddrige county, he owned large interests here, and was widely known. He is said to have helped many a poor laborer in this county to a home of his own by permitting him to live on his lands and by giving him almost his own time in making the payments, provided that he was honest and industrius; for he had no patience with dishonesty or laziness. He died very suddenly in his potato-patch at his home near West Union, on July 4, 1892, and not far from the scenes of his activities, he lies in his last sleep.
His children: Leman, Lewis, Porter, Rector, Wm. Brent, Harriet P., who married G. W. Brown (1853-1890), Mary Martha (1855-1860), Franklin Post (1857-1880), Frances Jane, who became Mrs. B. C. Bland (1859-1880) and Susan Alice (1861-1883.
Frances Jane Maxwell, half-sister of Franklin, was married to Archibald Lowther, brother of the late William I. Lowther, of Pullman, on November 9, 1848, and after a brief residence in Doddridge county, removed to Goose creek this county, where she died in 1904. Mr. Lowther preceded her to the other world in 1899, and both lie at rest, on Goose creek.
Their children were: Mrs. Sarah Juda (A. B.) Wilson, the late Mrs. Amy Carpenter, Robert M. Lowther, Frances, who is now Mrs. Ross Webb, Elizabeth, the wife of John Scott, and the late Minter, all of Goose creek; and John Franklin Lowther, of Pullman.
Lewis Maxwell, brother of Mrs. Lowther, who was born on May 18, 1831, was married to Miss Margaret Mitchell, sister of Mrs. Wm. I. Lowther, in 1861, and for long years resided at Pullman, and from there, removed to Glenville, in Gilmer county, twenty years ago, where he and his wife still survive.
Their children are as follows: Mrs. Anna V. (Ulyses S.) Upton, Braxton county; Mrs. Cordelia Jane (Spencer) Collins, Glenville, who was formerly a teacher here; Irvin F., Charles Lewis, William E., Sylvester S., and M. C. Maxwell.
Abner M. Maxwell, brother of Lewis and Mrs. Lowther, was married to Lydia Jane Obourne in 1862, and they were the parents of Mrs. Mary Frances (Homer) Griffin, Elizabeth; Mrs. Ella Jane (Calvin E.)Wilson, Summers; James A. Maxwell, Harrisbille; Wm. Bruce, Porter, Levi, and the late Miss Rebecca Blanche Maxwell, Doddridge county.
Levi Maxwell, son of Thomas and Jane Lewis Maxwell, was born on July 25, 1788, and died at his home near Weston, on November 13, 1884. On March 23, 1823, he was married to Miss Sarah Haymond, daughter of Captain John and Mary Wilson Haymond, and grand-daughter of Col. Ben wilson, senior, and the following named children were born of this union: Angelina (1823-1864), unmarried; Edwin Maxwell (1825-1893), Clarksburg; John (1827-1860, Rufus, Semira, and Jane, who remained single.
Rufus Maxwell, born on October 19, 1828, was a lawyer in his early life but never engaged in the practice of his profession after the Civil war. He was justice of the peace in Lewis county, but removed from there to Tucker county in 1856, where he filled the offices of District Attorney, Superintendant of schools, County surveyor, and was a representative in the House of Delegates; and there he still survives. On June 1, 1852, he was married to Miss Sarah Jane Bounifeld, who was born on Horse Shoe run, in this state, on july 14, 1834, and died at Denver, Colorado, on February 10, 1897. She was the daughter of Arnold and Elizabeth Minear Bonnifield.
This couple were the parents of twelve children who are quite prominently known throught the state: Elizabeth A. (1855-1861), Mary A. was the first married to W. S. M. Spesert, and her second husband was W. A. Lipscomb, of California; Dorcas Angelica is the wife of the Rev. Oliver Lowther, of the M. P. church, Pullman; Hu Maxwell is the well-known historian, who now holds a position in the Forestry Service at Washington city; Cyres Haymond is of Morgantown; Thomas E. (1865-1896, unmarried), John F. and Levi H., California; Charles J., Texas; Robert R, (1874-1899), and Anna Catharine (1877-1879).
Lewis Maxwell, third son of Thomas and Jane Lewis, born in 1790, was a member of congress from 1827 to 1833, and was a man of no small means for his time. Being an early surveyor, as before mentioned, he entered large tracts of land all over this part of the state, and as he left no heirs much of his fortune fell to his nephew, Franklin Maxwell.
In 1844, he was first married to Miss Safronia Wilson, and his second wife, whom he married in 1859, was Miss Jane Pritchard, daughter of Peter Pritchard, of White Oak. He died near Weston In Lewis county in 1865, and his widow who was many years his junior is now Mrs. Wiley Of Fairmont.
Robert Maxwell, the fourth son of Thomas and Jane Lewis, was born on Fegruary 19, 1791, and on March 19, 1812, he was married to Miss Rebecca Eastlack, who was born on November 6, 1792, and died at their home in Ohio, on May 9, 1843. After her death he returned to Lost creek in Harrison county, where he contracted two subsequent marriages, and where he died on February 5, 1844.
His children were as follows and all were born of the first union: Thomas J., Frances B. (Mrs. Wm. Boggs), Jane Lewis, and Amy, who died in childhood, Rebecca H. (Mrs. Joseph Lefevre), Meiggs L., Caroline A. (Mrs. B. F. McMillian), Mary Melvina (Mrs. Alexander Ireland), Robert C., and Emma Ann (Mrs. Sylvanus Page), all of whom reside, and rest, in Ohio, and other Western states. Caroline, Meiggs, and Rebecca, alone survive.
Mary Melvina Maxwell was born on June 27, 1828, and was married to Alexander Ireland, brother of G.M.Ireland, on October 7, 1851, the marriage taking place in Ohio, where Mr. Ireland had gone in his single days. Mrs. Ireland died in 1907, but he still survives at the old home at Cardington, Ohio.
His children: Caroline Belle is the wife of the Rev. Louis C. Haddox, of the Methodist Episcopal church of Columbus, Ohio; Corydon Boyd is a prominent physician of Churchville, New York; Lillie Love (1857-1875), Rosalind C. (1858-1875), Mary Alexandria is Mrs. Stephen C. Kingman; Elba Nile, Mrs. Wm. F, Duncan; and Virginia V., the wife of Dr. H. B, Camnpbell.
Amy Maxwell, daughter of Thomas and Jane Lewis Maxwell, born August 27, 1799, became the wife of John Peck on August 7 1825, and went to Ohio, where she died on May 23, 1847.
Her children: were Lemon B., Dewitt C., David B., John S., Tarleton, and Minerva who married George R. Cunningham, and two sons that died in infancy, all of whom were of Cardington, Ohio, but are now numbered with the dead.
Mary Maxwell, daughter of Thomas and Jane Lewis Maxwell, was first married to John Swisher, and her second husband's name was Hawley, but little is in our possession concerning her family other than the names of of the Swisher children; viz., Alvira, John, George, Lewis, and Amy, who married Thomas Curl.
[Footnote: This data was principally gleaned from the Smith Family Record by Joseph S. Harris, of Philadelphia, and it has been our aim to give the history of the original Maxwell Family in this state, and then to write up only the younger families that have been well-known here in times past, and to-day.]
The Haddoxes, who have so long been identified with the citizenship of this county, are of Irish extraction. The time of their coming to the Western world is not definitely known, but as they are only another branch of the family whose history appears with the North fork settlers, it is quite probable that they crossed To Virginia at the same time--during the latter part of the eighteenth century--as circumstances point strongly to the fact that Jonathan Haddox, the head of the North fork family, and William, the progenitor of this one, were brothers.
But Be that as it may, William Haddox and his wife, Mary Minear Haddox, lived and died in what is now Barbour county, where they reared quite a family.
Phillip Haddox, their son, spent his entire life in Barbour county within three miles of the place of his nativity. He married Miss Isabel Hewey, of Quaker city, Ohio, and in Barbour county she also died. Their family consisted of nine children; viz., Leanna, Sarah, Nancy, Susan, Mary, Jonathan, Joseph, Samuel and Allen Haddox. Allen and Mary, who is Mrs. Duckworth, remained in their native county, and the rest came to this county.
Leanna was the late Mrs. John Mitchell; Sarah, the late Mrs. John Moody Prichard, of White Oak; Nancy was the late Mrs. Josiah Hawkins; and Susan, who first married Phillip Felton, senior, of Barour, was the late Mrs. George Brown of Burnt House.
Jonathan Hewey Haddox, the eldest son of Phillip and Iasbel Hewey, was born in Barbour county, on February 20, 1822, and came to this county in his young manhood where he met and married Miss Sarah Salina Cunningham, daughter of Enoch M. and Mrs. Jane Stuart Cunningham, and grand-daughter of Edward and Sarah Price Cunningham, of Indian fame.
[Footnote See Cunningham chapter.]
The marriage took place in 1843, and from that time until the day of his death, he called Ritchie county his home. He was one of the early merchants of Smithville, and from there, removed to Cairo, where he became identified in the same business, and where he played an important part in other affairs. He was a trusted employee of the "Ritchie Mine Company" during the sixties, but in the early seventies, returned to Smithville and became a member of the mercantile firm of "Haddox and Carr." Here Mrs. Haddox passed from sight, and in 1884,he again took the marriage vow, when Miss Safronia Collins, daughter of Chainey Collins, became his wife; and shortly after this event, he changed his place of business to Washburn. But finally removed to Harrisville, where he owned and managed a a grocery store at the time of his death, which took place on May 27, 1906, while he was visiting his sons at Huntington. The remains were brought back to Harrisville, and there laid at rest.
The children of the first union were seven in mumber; viz., Cincinnatus P., and Lathrop, Huntington; Maclisona was the late lamented Mrs. Adam Flesher, of Pennsboro; Etta is Mrs. Columbus Riddell, of Moundsville; Harrison B. died in 1877; Charles, in 1865, and one, in childhood.
The children of the wife of his old age are: Matilda, Elsie, Dona, who is Mrs. Jesse Gatrell, and Thurman Haddox, all of Harrisville, except Mrs. Gatrell, who resides at Clarksburg.
Joseph Haddox was married to Miss Sarah Wass, daughter of John Wass, whom he met while on a visit to this county; and in 1848, he purchased the improvement of his brother-in-law, John Mitchell, at Pleasant Hill, and there resided until his death, on May 8, 1900, and there his aged widow still survives. He was seventy-six years of age at the time of his death.
His children are as follows: Misses Josephine and Elizabeth, of Parkersburg; Mrs. Mary Summers (wife of Jonn Summers), Samuel and Charles Haddox, Berea; Mrs. Ella (Bruce) Wilson, Washburn; Mrs. Etta (Hedges) Davis, Hazelgreen; Jonathan, Berea; John, of Calhoun county; and Benjamin, and Robert, whose places of residence are unknown.
Samuel Haddox with his wife, Mrs Mary A. Kennedy Haddox, came to this county in the middle life, but finally went to Parkersburg where they have both been sleeping for several years: she died in 1903, and he preceded her to the grave. Their son, Jasper N. Haddox died in 1903, and the surviving members of the family are; John Haddox, of Columbus, Ohio; Coleman, and Mrs. Jennie Griffin, Parkersburg; and Mrs. Belle Hostetter, Beatrice.
Allen Haddox of Berea belongs to this branch of the family, he being a son of Adam, brother of Phillip, and his mother was Miss Mary Willett before her marriage.
We learn from the Haddoxes of the North fork, that all the families of the name of both the Virginias are related.
King Knob Settled By the Carpenters.--Though King Knob is one of the most distinguished points of land in Murphy district, being the highest (1270 ft.) its forest remained unbroken until 1881, when the late Reason Carpenter came here from Pleasants county with his family, and erected the old, deserted cabin that still stands, as a reminder of the days that have gone by.
Mr. Carpenter was born in Ohio, in 1820, and there he was married near the year 1811, to Miss Rachel Porter, who was born in the little State of Delaware, on February 26, 1825, but, with her parents, removed to the "Buckeye state" when she was a small child. From there, in 1875, they removed to Tyler county, and three years later, to Pleasants, and from there they came here. Mr. Carpenter died in 1895, and filled the first grave that was made in the King Knob churchyard. And Mrs. Carpenter survived until March 1, 1910, when she joined him on the other side.
Their children were twelve in number; William and Robert, Tyler county: Albert, Mrs. Margaret Hedge, Mrs. Julia Ann Edgell and Mrs. Nancy Dye, are all of this county: Mrs. Rachel Smith, and Mrs. Eliza Stull, Clarksburg: Mrs. Jane Carpenter, and the late Mrs, Sarah Haga, Ohio: and the late Mrs. Drusilla Carpenter, Ohio: and the late Mrs. Mary Carpenter, Middlebourne.
J. M. McKinney.--Another family whose services to this county merit recognigion is that of Joseph Morris McKinney, of Hebron.
This family comes of Irish stock. Francis McKinney and Miss Hannah Hopkins were married near Londonerry in the North of Ireland, and their son, George, was ecucated for the ministry: but not finding his heart wholly in this work, he emigrated to America before the Revolution and settled near the boundary line of Loudin and Fauquier counties, Virginia: here he met and was married to Miss Mary James, and here, engaged in teaching until near the year 1812, when he removed with his family to Harrison county, where he died at the age of near one hundred years.
His son, Thomas, married Miss Frances Leah Gallaher, of Loudin county, and on November 24, 1802, their son, George Washington McKinney was born. He married Miss Amelia Morris, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Morris of Harrison county, and settled at Joseph's Mills in Tyler county. Here Joseph Morris McKinney, the subject of this sketch, was born, on February 22 1838, and while he was yet an infant his parents removed to Washington county, Ohio, where they remained six years before returning to their former home in Harrison county, where the mother died in 1847. The father survived her by a number of years, dying at the home of his son in this county.
Joseph Morris McKinney and Miss Margaret Carlin, daughter of Joseph Carlin, of Barbour county, were married on November 10, 1859, and came to this county the following spring and settled near Hebron on the old homestead which they still own, though they removed to Tyler county a year ago.
Mr. McKinney has been a prominent figure in the public affairs of the county for almost a half-century. He served as Captain, Major and Colonel of the militia, and as clerk of the Regimental court. He has been Supervisor of Clay district, President of the Board of Ecucation, member of the county Board of Teachers' Examiners, and has three times filled the office of County Superintendent. He being the first one chosen by the popular vote under the Free School system; and was one of the chief factors in the inauguration of this system: for under his administration the first houses were built by the state. He was twice a member of the House of Delegates from this county, and for thirty years, "wielded the birchen rod" in the winter and farmed in the summer.
He entertains with pride the thought that he never used tobacco, nor drank intoxicating drinks, and that all his sons imitate his example.
He is the father of seven sons and four daughters, several of whom have been identified in the profession of Teaching: George E. is a merchant of Ben's run in Tyler county; Thomas E. resides in South Dakota, where he fills the chair of Mathematics in the State University; John M. resides at the old home at Hebron; Joseph, who is a civil engineer, is the other son.
Sarah Ellen, the eldest daughter, is Mrs. W. A. Douglass, of Highland; Flora, is Mrs. J. C. McGregor, of Salem; and Hester M., and Amilia V. are at home.
The Hallams originated in Bradford, England, and tradition has it that they belonged to the same family as Henry Hallam, the renowned English historian whose son's memory has been so beautifully enshrined in Lord Tennyson's "In Memoriam." But our authentic information begins with Michael Hallam who was one of a family of four children; viz., Rachel (born in 1814) who never married, Nancy Ann (B. 1817) who became Mrs. Lacy, and William Hallam, born in 1818.
Michael Hallam was born on March 13, 1813, and died on July 20, 1865, at his home in Tyler county. On September 1, 1836, he was married to Miss Hannah Robinson, at Centerville, in Tyler county, with Willis Wells and his sister Rachel Hallam as Witness. Mrs. Hallam was born on March 9, 1814, and died in July, 1887.
Their children were four in number; William Wesley, who was born on July 8, 1837, was killed by a log rolling over him, on the Hallam farm below Smithville, on December 2, 1896. He never married.
Israel Nickline, born on Novermber 16, 1840, has long been a prominent citizen of this county, he having twice served as Sheriff, being elected on the Democratic ticket. His wife, Mrs. Lyda Wilson Hallam, is the daughter of the late Thomas Wilson, and the grand-daughter of Col. Ben Wilson, senior, and they have no family. For a numgber of years following his official service, their home was at Webb's mill, but is is now at Cairo.
Isaac Simmons Hallam, the youngest member of the family was born on September 5, 1843, and in 1865, he was married to Miss Frances McGregor, eldest daughter of the late David McGregor of Cairo; and in 1871 they removed to Kansas, and settled near Abeline; but since 1884, Mr. Hallam has been identified with the business intrests of the town; having first been engaged in the lumber enterprise; then as a wholesale groceryman, and now as president of the State bank of Abeline. Later--He died in September, 1910, and was buried at Abeline.
The only child of this union is Mrs. Lulu Parker, wife of Dr. Parker, of Kansas city, Missouri, who is a talented young woman of cultivated literary tastes.
John Hulderman, Ritchie county's present chief official, was born in Wood county, on May 16, 1852, and was one of a small family of four children. His mother, Mrs. Drusilla King Hulderman, was borne to her final resting-place on Worthy creek (in Wood county) not long after his birth; and with his father, Absalom Hulderman, and the rest of the family he came to this county in 1854. The father finally returned to Wood county where he spent his last hours near Walker Station, and there he rests. The two brothers, Rufus, and Isaiah Hulderman, served as Union soldiers, and Rufus died soon after his return home from the army, but Iasiah survived until May, 1902. The only sister is Mrs. James Bailey, of Parkersburg.
Mr. Hulderman's official life began in 1894 when he was appointed Road supervisor of Union district; and at the expiration of his four years' service in this capacity (1898), he was elected as Justice of the Peace, and continued to hold this office until 1908 when he was chosen as Sheriff; and in this office he was installed on January 1 1909, and is now making a highly creditable record.
On December 25, 1874, he was married to Miss Harriett C. Sinnett, daughter of the late venerable George Sinnett, and three daughters are the result of the union; Addie M. (Mrs. S. M. Keith), Laura D., (Mrs. C. F. Brown) and Miss Della, who is her father's efficent helper in his office.
The Carders.- The late John Carder, of Hardman chapel, belonged to one of the older pioneer families of the North fork of Hughes river, but owing to our indefinite information concerning his ancestors, we cannot do the family justice.
However his parents lived a little north of the old Wells mill at the time of his birth on May 3, 1825, and his father died when he was still in his cradle, leaving his mother with three children to her care. Jesse, the elder brother, who was a long citizen of the Petroleum vicinity died in the West. Emily the sister was drowned in the Ohio river while attempting to dip up a bucket of water from a boat; and the mother married John Hammond, of Tyler county and finally went to Michigan, and here her history. The Hammond children were: Calvin, the late Wesley, of Kansas; the late Leroy of Iowa; Elmira, who married Sanford Riggs and died in Tyler county: (Mr. Riggs is now of Pennsboro) and Josephine, the late wife of Dr. Leander Maxwell of Pleasants county.
John Carder grew to manhood in the forests of Tyler county. There he was married to Miss Sarah Leeper, and there they lived until the early seventies when they came to this county,and settled ont he head of Bear run of Goose creek where Barnes Beall now lives. This part of the county even at that late day had very few inhabitants, and while a slight improvement had been made here, the forest was still almost unbroken from Cornwallis on the south-west, to Glendale ont he north-east, and for miles around. Steven Weekley being the only settler on the run below him. From here he removed to what is known as the "Job Musgrave farm" not far from Harrisville; and about the year 1878, went to the Hardman chapel vicinity and made the first improvement on the farm that is now owned and occupied by W.N. Kirkpatrick. Here he resided until after the death of his wife, in October 1890, and he then made his home with his children until May 16, 1903, when he passed into the other world. He rests by the side of his wife in the family burying-ground on his old homestead. He was a man of strong physique, and of sterling character, and he ever stood for the right.
His children were as follows:
The Flannagans.--Flannagan is another name that has stood for good citizenship in this county for sixty years.
Samuel Flannagan, the progenitor of the family, crossed the ocean with his uncle, from Ireland, and settled in Pennsylvania. His wife was a Miss Garnen, of German descent, and their only son, Samuel, was born in the Keystone state.
But after the death of his father, he emigrated to Hampshire county, (West) Virginia, where he was married to Miss Katherine Arnold, who was also of German extraction, and eight children were the result of this union: vis., John, Daniel, Otha, George, William, Charity, Zimri, and Joseph.
John was first married to Miss Ellen Reese and six children were the result of this union. His second wife was Miss Julia Hollenback, of Reese's mill in Mineral county, and there he and his companions rest.
Daniel's wife was Miss Susan Arnold, and after he was laid away in the burying-ground on the Flannagan farm above Berea, his widow and three children went to Waterloo, Iowa, where he rests.
Otha went West and Died unmarried.
George and his wife, Miss Louisa E. Craigen, of Hardy county, with their family of three children went to McMenville, Tennessee, where they died. And the rest came to this county.
In 1850, William, Charity and Zimri, purchased the improvement made by Major Elias Lowther, above Berea, of William Hall, and established their home here. After the sister's death, Zimri bought his brother's interest, and gradually extended his borders until his estate now covers an area of about eight hundred acres, and is rich in oil.
Zimri Flannagan was born on Patterson's creek in what is now Mineral county (West)Virginia, on January 7, 1826; and died at his home at Harrisville, on August 6, 1910, and in the Harrisville cemetery he lies at rest.
On April 4, 1876, he was married to Miss Sarah C. Neff, of Moorefield, and the two children of this union are: Otha Z., and Mary C. Flannagan. His widow still survives.
After selling his interest in the farm on the South fork, William Flannagan went to the North fork of Huges river and purchased the Malone farm and other land near Hannahdale, making five hundred acres in all, and settled in the brick house where he and his wife, Mrs. Emily Wolfe Flannagan, and their only child, Amelia, all died: and at Riddle's chapel they sleep. The estate is still in the hands of the Flannagan heirs.
Joseph Flannagan, the remaining member of the family, was born in 1827; and on August 4, 1859 he was married to Miss Amzella Neff, of Moorefield, who was born in December, 1841; and near the year 1859, they came to this county and settled at Tollgate, where Mr. Falnnagan died on March 7, 1882, leaving a family of seven children. He was one of the prominent citizens of his day, and he left an estate of thirteen hundred acres of land, which is still principally owned by his family. After his death, Mrs. Flannagan was married to Joseph Inskipt, of Maryland, who died a few mohnths since (in 1910), and Miss Grace Inskipt, of Harrisville is the only child of this union.
The children of Joseph Flannagan are as follows:
John McGinnis, the head of another old family of this county, deserves recognition here. He was a native of Greene county, Pennsylvania, as was his wife, Mary Hoffman McGinnis; and from there, with his family, he came to this county in 1852, and settled near Ellenboro, where his son, Benjamin, now lives. Here he died during the Civil war, at the age of sixty-five years, and at Riddel's chappel he rests.
His family consisted of ten children; viz., Benjamin, of Ellenboro; Sarah, who is Mrs. John Moore, of near Harrisville, Joseph, of Griswold, Iowa; the late James; Thomas, who died in the Union army; David, George, Nancy (the late Mrs. Henry Garrett), and two others, who have all passed on. John McGinnis, junior, was the son of a former marriage.
Benjamin McGinnis, the eldest son of the second union, has long been a prominent citizen of this county. He was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania, on April 10, 1835, and, with his parents, came to Ellenboro in his boyhood. He early manifested an interest in education, and, with his brother, James, walked back to his old home in Pennsylvania in order that he might have better school advantages; and there studied under a private instructor, working of nights and of mornings for his board; and while enroute home he contracted smallpox.
He later taught school for two years; served as assessor (1868); was a member of the House of Delegates in 1871-2; and again in 1903 and '04; and filled the office of County commissioner from 1886 to 1892, being the president of the court for four years of this time.
He enlisted in the Union army in July, 1861, in Company K of the Third Virginia Infantry, and served until August, 1864.
In 1882, he was married to Miss Alice Virginia McCullough, daughter of Elmore McCullough, of Ellenboro, and three children are the result of this union; viz., B. F., the eldest son, who was graduated from the law department of the State University at Morgantown, in the class of 1908, now has a law office of his own at Pennsboro; and Sadie and J. W. are at thome.
(Doubtless, this family comes from the same ancestral source as the other McGinnis family before mentioned in this work, but this data reaches us too late for farther investigation.)
The Freers.--This little volume would not be complete without a few lines in regard to the life and public service of the only citizen of the county, who has been honored with a seat in the Congressional hall at Washington City; and this citizen is no other than the honorable Romeo Hoyt Freer, who has, perhaps, had more "laurels" conferred upon him than ony other individual within the bounds of the county.
Mr. Freer is of French extraction and is a product of the "Buckeye" state. His ancestors, leaving France shortly after the massacare of St. Bartholomew, in 1592, took refuge in Holland; and from there Hugo Freer, senior, emigrated to Ulster county, New York, and settled on a tract of land, granted him from the Indians, near the town of New Paltz, about the year 1670. He, (Hugo) had three sons, and one of these sons had a son, called Jonas, who was the antecessor of Romeo H. Freer; he being the father of Johannes, and the grandfather of Martinas Freer, who married Miss Martha Deyo, a member of an ancient Dutch family, of his native town--New paltz, New York, and settled in Trumbull county, Ohio, in 1800, where Josiah Deyo Freer, the father of Romeo, was born.
Josiah Deyo Freer married Miss Caroline Persis Brown, a native of the Green Mountain state, about the year 1835; and settled near his parental home in Trumbull county, Ohio. Mrs. Freer was the daughter of William Brown, a distinguished citizen of Vermont, who was an officer in the war of 1812, and who served as a member of the legislature and held other positions of public trust in his native state. In her early life, she taught school oh Hero Island, in Lake Champlain, and among her pupils, here, was John G. Saxe, the renowned poet with whom she retained an intimate acquaintance until his death in 1887.
Both the Freers and the Browns were of fighting stock, some of each name having won distinction in the Revolution, and in the war of 1812.
Romeo H. Freer, the subject of this sketch, was next to the youngest member of the family of four brothers and one sister. He was born at Bezetta, Trumbull county, Ohio, on November 9, 1845, and with his parents removed to Hart's Grove, Ashtabula county, that state, when he was but three years of age. Here, his early life was spent on his father's farm. He obtained a limited education in the public schools of Ashtabula county, and spent one term at the Grand River Institute, at Austinburg, Ohio,--a preparatory shchool for Oberlin college.
In 1862, he enlisted in the Union army, and served as an orderly on General Grant's staff during the earlier part of the war, and had the misfortune to have the General's horse shot under him (Mr. Freer) at Vicksburg, while performing an important service as messenger boy. He was a participant in a number of hot engagements, and served creditably to the close of the conflict.
In 1866, he removed to Charleston, West Virginia, and read law with the well-known firm of Smith and Cracraft, and was, two years later, admitted to the bar, and became a law partner with the honored H. C. McWhorter, who recently resigned his trust as Judge of the Supreme court. He filled the position of assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Kanawha county from 1868 to 1870, being also Prosecutor for Fayette and Boone counties at the same time.
In 1870, he was elected prosecuting Attorney of Kanawha county--a position that he held for two years, until his failing health occasioned his resignation. That same year ('72), he was sent as United States consul to Nicaragua, Central America, where he remained until 1876, when he resigned and returned to Charleston, where he resumed the practice of law until 1882, when he came to Ritchie county.
He was first married to Miss Lillie Fuller, daughter of Judge I. L. Fuller, of Warren county, Ohio, who passed on in 1873, leaving one son, Romeo H. Freer, junior, who is a skilful civil engineer, and is now engaged in building a railroad in Gautamala, Central America. His second wife was Miss Mary Iams, of Harrisville.
Since coming to this county, Mr Freer has filled many and varied positions of honor and trust; He represented the county in the State legislature in 1891; was elected prosecuting Attorney the following year, and at the expiration of his term in this office, was made Judge of the circuit court (in 1896); and two years later, was sent to Congress. While here, he served as member of the Judiciary Committee, of the Committee on Patents, and was one of the Special Committee that expelled the Mormon, Roberts, from this body.
In March, 1900, he was elected attorney-General of the State, serving in this capacity until March, 1905, when he returned to Harrisville and became the senior partner of the law firm of Freer and Robinson. He has been editor, lawyer, mayor, and is now serving as post-master of the town. Added to all of these honors is a rare gift of oratory, and a generous amount of wit, which has made him a most popular public speaker.
This wit is well illustrated by the folowing amusing story which went the rounds of the press, while he was a member of congress, and which we take from "Success Magazine;"
"A good story is told in West Virginia involving two of the Congressmen from that snug little state, and Thomas B. Reed, the gigantic speaker of the House. The two West Virginians are Hon. B. B. Dovener and Romeo H. Freer. Both are small of stature, and wonderfully alike in their general appearance, and together they went up to be introduced to the ponderous Maine man. 'Humph,' said Mr. Reed. 'is that the best the Persimmon state can do?' 'What do you mean?' asked Mr. Freer. 'Nothing,' drawled out the elephantine speaker, 'I was only wondering at the uniformity of things down your way. I suppose the horses are all ponies, and the persimmons all dwarfs--' 'Well, " interrupted Mr. Freer, 'there is one thing in our favor, the persimmon has more taste than the pumpkin.'
The laugh was on the speaker, and he acknowledged it by cordially grasping the hands of the Lilliputians and joining in the merriment."
The Younger Men's Calendar
General Francis Perry Peirpoint was one of the first young men of Ritchie county to inscribe his name in the History of West Virginia.
Born a student, and ever diligent, his career, though so very brief, was one of the most distinguished in the history of the county, for one of his years. Beginning as an office boy in the employ of the County and Circuit clerks of this and Pleasants county, he rapidly forged his way to the front. He studied law and was admitted to the bar at a very early age; and in 1862, when a call was made for volunteers, he went to Wheeling, where he recruited the Twelfth Virginia Infantry from the counties of the Northern Panhandle, of the state, and entered the regiment as an adjutant. He was promoted to the rank of Major, a little later, and was proffered the Colonelcy, but declined in favor of a brother officer. He was called from the field of action, shortly after the birth of our new Commonwealth, by the appointment to the office of Adjutant-General of the State, by Governo