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.

Chapter VII
South Fork Settlers---Continued

Preston Zinn, brother of Manly, was the first settler at Berea, on the Ezekial Bee farm. He, with his wife, Mrs. Nancy Rogers Zinn, came from Preston county, in 1849, and erected his cabin almost on the very site that is now marked by the residence of Minter Fos; and from here he removed to the J. E. Meathrell farm, where he came to his death by the "kick" of a plow. 

After he was laid away in the Pine Grove cemetery, his family went to Illinois and there, and in California, thy now reside. 

His children were ten in number; viz., Mrs. Elizabeth Kuhn, the late Mrs. Angelina (David) Clayton, the late Mrs. Adaline (Ishmael) Clayton, Thomas, Ginevera, Perdilla, Biba, Elendar, Phedora, and Ruth but several of the last ones named died in childhood. 

Thomas D. Pritchard, also came to Berea this same year -1849- and erected his dwelling where the J. M. Meredith residence now stands - (formerly the Job Meredith); and, from here, he removed to Slab creek - to the farm that his son, T. T. Pritchard recently sold to Samuel Haddox. Here he continued to reside until a short time before his death, when he went to Lewis county, and there, at Gaston, he lies at rest. 

He was born in Monongalia county, on February 25, 1818, and was the son of Thomas, senior, and Mary Moody Pritchard. On February 11, 1843, he was married to Miss Mary Lowther, daughter of Major Elias Lowther and sister of Johathan Lowther, of Berea, and six children were the result of this union: Rebecca, Siala and Mary died in childhood, and beside their mother they rest on the old homestead on Slab creek. T. T. resides at Hyattsville, Wyoming; Elias R., in Roane county; and Jerusha, at _____________-. 

Alexander Ireland. - Near the year 1818, Alexander Ireland, senior, with his family came from the vicintiy of Clarksburg and settled just above the mouth of Otterslide, on the farm that was formerly designated as the "Joshua Davis" - now a part of the Flannagan, homestead. Here he remained until some time in the early thirties when he removed to Tyler county, where he passed from earth on July 18, 1843, at the age of seventy-one years. 

Mr. Ireland was a native of Maryland, and with his father, William Ireland, who was, also, a Maryland product, migrated to Harrison county in his boyhood. Little else is known of his early family ties other than that he had one half-sister, who became Mrs. Sheets, and that his father died near Clarksburg. 

His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Ragan Ireland, was of German lineage - the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier. She was born at West Milford in 1771, and died at her home in Tyler county, on September 7, 1855, at the age of eighty-four years. 

They were the parents of the following named sons and daughters whose posterity are scattered throughout the Union: 

John, Jacob, Thomas, Jonathan, Jesse, Alexander, William, Mary, Eliza, Sarah, Margaret, and Priscilla Ireland. All of whom have passed on leaving families except Jacob, who married Miss Martha Wells and died childless, at his home in Tyler county. 

John first married Miss Agnes Maxwell, and his second wife was Miss Amy Joseph. Mary became Mrs. Robert Doak, and Eliza married Alexander Doak, and all lived and died in Tyler county, where many of their descendants reside. 

Thomas and Sarah, who was the wife of Alexander Lowther, of Oxford, lived and died in Ritchie county. (See other chapters.) 

Johathan (married Jane Rose), Jesse (Sarah Wells), Alexander (Sarah Bond), William (________), Margaret (Thomas Bond), and Priscilla (William Wells), and all went West. 

The Ireland ancestral line is not traceable to the land beyond the sea, as are many of the other pioneer lineages, but a very interesting legend as to the origin of this family in America has been handed down by tradition of generations; and although its authenticity cannot be verified, it is given credence by some and will, doubtless, add interest here: 

A lad whose parents had evidently been "lost on the deep", and whose name and history were unknown, grew up on board a ship at sea, and as his appearance suggested the Irish nationality, he was called "Ireland" for the want of a better name. 

On one occasion, when this lad had reached manhood's estate, the vessel which had so long been his home lay at anchor in a harbor on the eastern coast of the United States, and he decided, for the first time, to venture on shore, and being so delighted with the land, could not be induced to return to the ship, and thus America became the home of his adoption. He married and from him Alexander Ireland is said to have descended. 

Circumstances point to the fact that this family are connected to other families of the name in the United States who can trace thier ancestry to the land across the water, but this connection has not been made clear, however. And this little tradition still retains its former weight and interest. 

Dr. William R. Lowther. - The late Dr. William R. Lowther was the first settler at the mouth of Turtle run, on the farm that is now owned by Edward J. Lowther. 

He was born near West Milford, in Harrison county, in 1809, and with his wife, Mrs. Sarah Randall Lowther, of Ohio, came here in 1838. Here Mrs. Lowther and their infant child passed away; and some time after, he married Miss Sarah Ann Ayres, daughter of Daniel Ayres, and sister of John B. Ayres; and resided on the Ayres - now McNeill - homestead, near Smithville for a short time, before removing to the Holbrook vicinity where he made the first improvement on the Thomas Griffin farm. He finally removed to Mt. Zion where his dauther, Mrs. Margaret Glover now lives, and from here he crossed to the other side in 1881, and at Pullman he lies at rest. 

Mrs. Lowther, who surveved him by several years, rests at his side. 

Dr. Lowther was a very successful physician, a schoolteacher of merit, and a man of more than ordinary talent. 

His children - all of the second marriage - are as follows: 

Mrs. Hannah E. Parker (widow of Frank Parker), Mrs. Orvilla (J. H.) Nichols, and George W. Lowther (ex-mayor of Grafton), all of Grafton; Mrs. Margaret (Taylor) Glover, Miss Sarah Ann Lowther, D. A., and D. S. Lowther, all of Mt. Zion; and John A. Lowther, of Arkansas. 

William B. Lowther. - In 1840, William B. Lowther, father of Dr. William R., with his wife, Mrs. Margaret Coburn Lowther, and their family, came from his native Harrison county, and succeeded his son on the Edward J. Lowther farm, at the mouth of Turtle run. Here the remainder of his life was spent, and in the Pullman churchyard by the side of his wife, he lies at rest. 

He was the son of Robert, the eldest son of Col. William and his children are as follows: 

James R., Edward J., and Mrs. Mandane (Robert) Wilson, Pullman; Mrs. Rosetta (Granville) Zinn, of Harrisville, who lately celebrated her nintieth birthday; the late Dr. William R., Napoleon, Mrs. Juliet (Wm. S.) Wilson, and Misses Julia and Rebecca Lowther, all of this county, who have joined the throng over there; and Lemuel of Michigan. 

Elias Lowther, the youngest son of Col. William, whose history will be found in and earlier chapter, came from West Milford in 1820, and erected the first cabin on the Zimri Flannagan farm, above Berea. 

William J. Lowther, son of Jesse, and grandson of Col. William, was the pioneer on the Bee farm at Oxford, near the year 1825. 

He married his cousin, Mary Lowther, daughter of Robert, the eldest son of Col. William, and within the bounds of this county, at some unknown point, he and his wife sleep. 

He was the father of the Rev. Perry Lowther a late Minister of the West Virginia Methodist Protestant conference; of Henderson Lowther and several other children whose names are not at hand. 

The Wilsons. - The year 1828, brought Archibald Wilson with his family from Harrison - now Taylor - county, to the Broadwater farm near Oxford. 

Mr. Wilson was a native of Randolph county, he having been born near Beverly, in 1801. Near the year 1825, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Hudkins, daughter of Barton Hudkins, of Simpsons creek, Taylor county; and after spending the first years of his married life there, he came to Oxford, and ten years later, changed his place of residence to the Edmond Taylor farm, at the mouth of Lynn Camp, on the North fork of Hughes river, where his life came to a close in 1866. 

His remains filled the first grave that was made in the U.B. church cemetery at Pennsboro, he having been interested in the erection of this church at the time of his death. 

He was a man of marked ability, and was one of the prominent citizens of his day in state affairs. He was a school-teacher, and was the first county surveyor. He served as a member of the first Constitutional convention of the State and was the first individual to suggest that the counties be divided into districts for educational purposes; and was the author of the resolution making such provisions, which, though, perhaps somewhat altered, became clause of the Constitution. 

His wife died in 1892, at the age of eighty-three years, and was laid by his side. 

Their children were as follows: 

Mrs. Temperance (T. W.) Ireland, Morgantown; Mrs. Josephine (Jesse) Hammond, Portsmouth, Ohio; W. S. Wilson, Texas; Mrs. Eveline (Smith) Bee, Mrs. Love (Alex) Prunty, the late Mrs. Elizabeth (C. M.) Collins, J. M., Bazil H., the late H. N., A. B., Barton H., and L. P., all of this county. The last four have all passed on. 

John Wilson. - Along with Archibald Wilson came his brother, John Wilson, who was then a single man, but who married Miss Charlotte Dotson, of Tollgate, a little later, and settled in Doddridge county for a short time, before removing to Lynn Camp, where he made the pioneer settlement on the James Tucker farm, where he passed from earth. 

His family consisted of seven daughters and two sons; viz., Eda, who married Calvin Haynes; Eliza, who was Mrs. Jehu Shinn; Almire, Mrs. David Hogue; and Angeline, Retta, Francis, and another daughter; Jasper went west; and Blackburn was killed by a log at the old home. 

Wilson Ancestry. - The Wislons have a remarkably interesting ancestral line. One, which, in part, belongs to National History. They are of Scotch-Irish descent. Their antecessor, William Wilson, was born in Ireland, on November 16, 1722. He was the son of Davis Wilson, and the grandson of David Davis Wilson, of Scotland. He married Miss Elizabeth Blackburn, who was also a native of "Old Erin",: she having been born on February 2, 1725; and near the year 1755, they came to America, and settled in Shenandoah county, Virginia. Here, Mr. Wilson died on June 12, 1801, and his wife on September 2, 1806. 

They were the parents of eleven children, four of whom were born before they crossed the sea: 

1. Benjamin born November 30, 1747. 
2. Archibald born June 13, 1749. 
3. David born September 8, 1751. 
4. William born February 8, 1854. 
5. John born April 12, 1756. 
6. Moses born May 1, 1758 and died in 1760. 
7. Moses, 2nd born April 8, 1761. 
8. James born July 25, 1763. 
9. Solomon born July 2, 1766. 
10. Elizabeth (twin) born July 2, 1766. 
11. Margaret born April 7, 1768. 

John Wilson, the fifth son, and the first one born in America, was a native of Shenandoah county, Virginia. He married Miss Mary Wathin, a French maiden, and from him the Ritchie county branch of the family is descended. He being the father of Archibald, John, and Mrs. Dorcas (Augustus) Modisette, of this county; Blackburn, of Walker; Mrs. Temperance (Moses) Thompson, Harrison county; and Mrs. Mary (G. W.) Shinn, Doddridge county. 

He (John Wilson) lived and died at Beverly in Randolph county, where he served as clerk of the County court for more than thirty years. He was engaged in a desperate Indian fight at Wheeling when he was a lad of eighteen years, and was severely wounded. 

His final resting place is at Beverly. 

Benjamin Wilson. - Benjamin Wilson, the eldest son of William and Elizabeth Blackburn Wilson, who, as before stated, was born in Ireland, on November 30, 1747, was not only a man of great ability and prominence, but he had the most remarkable progeny that has come under our notice since the days of the ancient patriarchs, he being the father of thirty children. 

On September 4, 1770, he was married to Miss Anne Ruddel, who was born on September 20, 1754, and twelve children were the result of this union. On June 18, 1795, the mother passed on; and on December 15, 1795, he married Miss Phebe Davidson, who was the mother of the other eighteen. And at the time of his death, on January 2, 1828, his posterity numbered one-hundred thiry-six persons - twenty-four children, seventy-three grandchildren, thirty-two great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. 

"Mr. Wilson served as lieutenant in the expedition of Lord Dunmore against the Indians in 1774, and acquired, by his zeal and attention to duty, the confidence of his superior officers". 

"Early in the Revolution, he was appointed captain in the Virginia forces, and in 1781, he received the appointment of colonel". 

"During the entire war, he was the organ through which most of the military and civil business of that part of the State in which he resided was transacted". 

"He was a member of the Legislature from the County of Monongalia for several sessions previous to the year 1784, in which year, the County of Harrison was established; and at the organization of this county, he became the clerk of the County court. The duties of this office, however did not withdraw him from the theater of politics - as he was selected as a delegate to the convention, in 1788, which ratified the Constitution of the United States". 

Another incident worthy of mention in this connection is the fact that Col. Wilson was present at Camp Charlotte --eight miles east of Chillicothe, Ohio--on the occasion when Cornstalk, the renown Indian chief, visited Lord Dunmore in the interests of peace, and had the pleasure of listening to this great chieftain's wonderful gift of oratory, which he comments on in the following language: 

"When he (Cornstalk) arose, he was in no wise confused or daunted, but spoke in a distinct and audible voice without stammering or repetition, and with a peculiar emphasis. His looks while addressing Dunmore were truly grand and majestic-yet graceful and attractive. I have heard the first orators of Virginia, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, but never have I heard one whose powers of delivery surpassed those of Cornstalk on that occasion".  

The first county seat of Randolph county is said to have been kept at the home of Col. Ben Wilson four miles from Beverly, and the following amusing anecdote is told of his transference of this local-seat of government to another individual, and of his removal to Clarksburg where he finally passed to the confines of the tomb, at the age of eighty years: 

During the Civil war when the soldiers were stationed at Beverly (in 1864) a short time after their arrival, George Renscrift, one of the number, noticed a peculiar hole in the ground around which the soldiers and the civilians gathered from day to day to pitch horse-shoes. His attention being especially attracted to the size of this hole, he remarked to an old gentleman standing near, that this ground must have been used for the purpose before the war; and the old gentleman, heaving a reminiscent sigh, said, "Yes, my young man, I am nigh unto seventy, and I was not born when the first horse-shoes were pitched into that hole". And he then proceeded to tell him its unique history: 

He said, as above mentioned, that the county seat was kept at the home of Col. Ben Wilson, and that at Beverly, four miles distant lived one Jacob Westfall. One day Col. Wilson came riding down the path past the Westfall residence and found Mr. Westfall out pitching horse-shoes in his yard all alone. 

"Having a good game?" asked Col. Wilson. "Good enough", was the reply. "I'll bet I can beat you", said the Colonel. "I'll take the bet", replied Westfall. "How much"? asked Col. Wilson. 

"Whoever beats get the court house", replied Westfall. "It's a bargain", replied Col. Wilson, who had everything to lose and nothing to gain as he already had the court house, but he was a great old codger to take chances. So the game began and continued until night and Westfall flaxed the Colonel on ever propostion, and won the bet. This same evening Col. Wilson made Jacob Westfall deed of a quarter of an acre, which included this play-ground, to the public forever, and according to the provisions of this deed an individual could play when, and as long, as he pleased, and no one could hinder him. 

The next day Col. Wilson sent Westfall the county seat, books, papers and so on, to Beverly, and shortly after sold out and removed to Clarksburg. 

This piece of ground is still used as a horse-shoe play-ground and will doubtless continue to be thus used until the end of time, as no one has the power to molest this lot. 

This is said to be the only piece of real estate in the world that has such a title. When the new court house at Beverly was under contract, the court undertook to sell this lot, but found upon investigation that it belonged to the public, and that the county had no authority over it. Consequently, it lies there vacant as it did a century ago - a monument dedicated to the simple game of horse-shoe - and the men and boys haunt it to-day as they did in the days of Col. Wilson. 

Record fo the Family of Col. Ben Wilson. - Children of Col. Ben and Anne Ruddle Wilson: 

Mary Wilson born June 7, 1771, married John Haymond. 

William Wilson born January 26, 1773, married Miss Martin. 

Stephen Ruddle Wilson born October 21, 1775, married ______ . 

Benjamin Wilson born June 13, 1778, married Miss Martin. 

Sarah Wilson born September 11, 1780, married Benjamin Bryce. 

Elizabeth Wilson born August 17, 1782, died September 3, 1782. 

Anne Wilson born January 17, 1786, married Dr. Brice. 

John Wilson born July 5, 1788, married Miss Martin and Miss Caldwell. 

Archibald Blackburn born July 25, 1790, married Edith Roby. 

Cornelius Wilson born April 7, 1795, married Rachel Martin. 

And two children died without names. 

Children of Col. Ben and Phebe Davidson Wilson: 

Josiah Davidson Wilson born October 12, 1796, married Miss Martin and Miss Despard. 

David Wilson born February 18, 1798, died unmarried. 

Edith Wilson born November 9, 1799, married James Martin. 

Elizabeth Wilson born October 18, 1801, died unmarried. 

Thomas W. Wilson born May 12, 1803, married Miss O'Bannon, of Ohio. 

Margaret Wilson born March 26, 1805, married Hiram Haymond. 

Deborah Wilson born October 17, 1806, married Abel Smith. 

James Pindall Wilson born June 9, 1808, married Rowena Haymond, daughter of Thomas. 

Daniel Davisson born January 30, 1810, married Miss O'Bannon. 

Phebe Wilson born August 29, 1811, married Amos Gilbert. 

Martha Martin Wilson born June 23, 1813, married Caulder Haymond. 

Philip Doddridge born June 29, 1814, married Penelope Sinnett. 

Hoah L. Wilson born March 9, 1816, married Miss Gilpin, of Baltimore. 

Julia Anne Wilson born September 28, 1817, married James Robinson. 

Harriett Baldwin Wilson born November 13, 1818, married Jonathan Haymond. 

Rachel Wilson born July 20, 1820, married Lewis Haymond and Dr. W. D. Wilson. 

Two died in infancy. 

William Hall. - William Hall, the progenitor of another prominent Ritchie county family, found a home on the river above Oxford, across what is now the Doddridge county line, as early as 1830, but ere the lapse of many years, he removed to the Flannagan farm above Berea, and later resided at both Pullman and Harrisville. He finally, in his old age, went to Roane county where he died, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Thomas McKinley, during the spring of 1873. 

Mr. Hall was born in Loudin county, Virginia, in 1797, and from there he emigrated to Harrison county in his young manhood where he met and married Miss Mary Ann Lowther, eldest daughter of Jesse, and Mary Ragan Lowther, and granddaughter of Col. William, and from West Milford, they came to Oxford. 

Mrs. Hall survived him by three years, dying at the home of her daughter in Roan county in 1876. And there by his side she lies at rest. 

Their children were as follows: 

Jesse L. Hall, William, Celina, Lucinda, Mary, Elizabeth, Elias, Robert Hannibal, Lemuel, Smith, and Judge Cyrus Hall, all of whom have now crossed the tide, with the possible exception of Elias. 

Jesse L. Hall married his cousin Miss Alcinda Lowther, and was the father of Cyrus, William E., Robert G., Marietta, Ellen, and Martha Hall, and after the death of his first wife, he married again, and went to Elizabeth, Wirt county where he died and where some of his descendants still reside. Mrs. Rosa Connolly was a daughter by the second marriage. 

William Hall died in his youth, and Mary remained single, dying at the home of her sister at Point Pleasant at an advanced age. 

Selina married the Rev. George Monroe of the West Virginia Methodist Episcopal conference, and died childless. She sleeps at Point Pleasant. 

Lucinda married Jesse M. Lowther, son of Elias Lowther, senior, and lived and died in this county. She was the mother of Johnson J., Stillman F., Mrs. Mandane (Hiram) Wilson, and Mrs. Similda Randolph, of Salem; Mansfield and Sylvanus Lowther and Mrs. Salina Bee, of the West; Thomas, of Harrison county; Lucinda - and the late Mrs. Dorinda (Eli) McKinley, of Harrisville - mother of the late lamented Homer McKinley. 

Elizabeth married Thomas McKinley, and went to Roane county, where she sleeps. Their children were Lee, Walter, Rector, Jennie and Sarah. 

Smith Hall married Miss Jennie Scott, of Hardy county, and lived and died at Harrisville. His family consisted of two sons, John and Charles, and of one daughter, Mrs. Laura Lambert, of Ellenboro. 

Robert Hannibal married Miss ________ Bennett, of Weston, and was the father of Mrs. John B. Ayres, formerly of Harrisville, but now of Spencer, and of one other daughter. He died in Virginia a few years since. 

Elias Hall married Miss Margaret Kirkpatrick, sister of Ichabod, and was an early settler on the Mason farm near the Pisgah church, in the Pullman vicinity. He finally went to Roane county where he, perhaps, is sleeping. William Smith, Neal, Hannibal, Lee and Landora Hall were among his children, but this is not all of them. 

Lemuel Hall married here and went West where he was identified as an able barrister. 

Judge Cyrus Hall. - Judge Cyrus Hall married Miss Amelia Scott, a sister of his brother Smith's wife, and principally spent his long life at Harrisville, Parkersburg, and Charleston. His family consisted of two daughters, and three sons; viz., Flora died in childhood, Louella became Mrs. Chancellor, of Parkersburg, but after the death of her first husband she married H. T. Shffey, of Charleston; the late Judge Cyrus Hall, B. B. and Thomas C., all of Charleston, are his sons. 

Judge Hall was one among the prominent men that this county has produced. 

Born in Harrison county early in the century, he came to this county with his parents in the "log cabin days" and struggled up through the many disadvantages that surrounded the ambitious lad in those days of untold privation and toil. 

He was graduated from college, studied law, and at the age of thirty years went to Woodsfield, Ohio, where he was admitted to the bar; and after a brief stay here, he returned to this county and took up his residence at Harrisville, where he practiced his profession for a number of years. He was Ritchie county's first Prosecuting Attorney, and was at one time her representative in the Legislature at Richmond. 

He was a member of the Richmond convention that passed the ordinance of secession, and with one exception was the last survivor of that stormy body. He went there as an opponent of secession, but in the heat of the fight, was, won over and cast his vote for the measure - the passing of which sounded the bugle-note for the formation of the "Little Mountain State". 

For a number of years after the birth of West Virginia, he was the judge of the County court of Wood county. He practiced in the courts of Virginia and West Virginia for almost sixty years, rising to distinction at the bar. It is said that he never lost a case before the Supreme Court of the State. He died at Charleston early in the year 1909, at the age of ninety years. His wife preceded him to the grave by fifteen years. 

The Norrises. - Along with William Hall, from Harrison county, came his brother-in-law, William Norris, who settled near him on the river above Oxford. 

Mr. Norris was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, on August 8, 1792, and on April 20, 1817, he was married to Miss Sallie Lowther, daughter of Jesse and granddaughter of Col. William Lowther, whose natal day was October 6, 1795; and after a brief residence on the river here, in 1833, they removed to Gilmer county where their lives came to a close. His on November 24, 1861, and hers on May 22, 1870. And both lie at rest in the Norris burying-ground on Cedar creek. 

Their family were as follows: 

Emily (1818-1906, unmarried), Milton (1819-1896), John G. (1821---), Jesse (1823 ----), Mary (1824-1825), Caroline (1825---), Lucinda (1828-1888, unmarried), Drusilla (1832---, Mrs. Kerns, of Gilmer county), Elizabeth (1835---), Edward (1837---), and Elias Norris. 

Milton G. Norris, who was born on November 10m 1819, was married in 1869 to Miss Maria Louise Campbell, daughter of John C. and Anne Wilson Campbell of Clarksburg, and lived and died at the "Beeches" near Glenville. He passed from earth on July 30, 1896, and Mrs. Norris survived until July 3, 1908, and both rest in the family burying-ground at the &qout;Beeches". Their family consisted of four daughters; viz., Mrs. Jessie Campbell Tierney, and Mrs. Anne Wilson Lewis, are of Glenville, Sallie Lowther is the wife of the Hon. E. M. Showalter, of Fairmont; nd Miss Rebecca Lupton Norris is lying with her parents in the family burying-ground, she having passed from earth at San Francisco, California in 1902, while on tour in the West. 

The Norrises are of English origin, and the name is an ancient and prominent one in the "Old World" to-day. General Sir John Norris was commander of the British army in the sixteenth century, and was sent by Queen Elizabeth to aid the Hollanders in their struggle against the Spaniards, at this time. Tradition says that three brothers crossed to America about the year 1760, and that one settled in Pennsylvania, one in Maryland, and the other in Virginia; and from William, the different families of this state are descended. 

His son, John Norris, was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, on July 4, 1760, and at the age of seventeen years (in February 1777), enlisted as a volunteer, for three months, in the company of Captain James Scott, which was organized at the Fauquier county Court House, and marched by way of Lewisburg (now West Virginia) across the Potomac, at Noland's Ferry to Frederick, Maryland, thence to Philadelphia, and on to quibbletown (now New Market) in New Jersey. And in March, 1781, he was drafted, for two months, into the company of Captain Morehead, who was stationed at Williamsburg, Virginia, and from this point, on April 20, 1781, they were driven by the enemy, and retreated to Richmond. 

Again, in September, 1781, he was drafted for three months, and was appointed as orderly sergeant of a company of militia, commanded by Captain Hel, which was sent from Fauquier county to join the main army under General Washington at Yourktown, and here he remained until the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, on October 19, 1781, and after this he was detailed as a member of the gaurd-force which conducted a band of prisoners to Winchester. 

His service on the battle-field being at an end, he returned home, and on March 26, 1782, was married to Miss Mary Jones, of the "Old Dominion", who was in some way closely connected to the Washington family; and about the year 1807, they removed to what is now Lewis county (then Harrison), and settled near the old Jackson mill, five miles below Weston; and here death overtook him on February 12, 1836, and here with his wife he lies at rest. 

Their family consisted of the following children Juliet, Hannah, Polly, Nancy, Eliza, Lucinda, Caroline, John, junior, and Wiliam Norris, the Ritchie county pioneer. 

Juliet Norris, born on December 22, 1783, was married to David Jackson. She passed on, on March 16, 1865, leaving four children: Edward J., Wm. Pitt, Nancy and Mary J. Jackson. 

Hannah Norris (born on October 13, 1787, and died on May 26, 1879) married Daniel O'Brien, and her children were: Melville, Emmett J., Mary, Daniel, Nancy, Hannah, and Juliett O'Brien. 

Polly, born July 22, 1785, died, unmarried, on December 29, 1848. 

Nancy Norris (born October 13, 1794, and died on July 17, 1876) was married to Godfrey Hille, and Frederick, the one child of this union died in boyhood. 

Eliza Norris was born in August, 1798, and died on December 20, 1860, unmarried. 

Lucinda (born on November 24, 1796, and died on October 14, 1885) was the late Mrs. Benjamin Bassel, of Clarksburg, and the mother of John Bassel, a graduate of West Point, and James Bassell, both prominent attorneys of Clarksburg. 

Caroline, who was born on December 15, 1800, died on September 4, 1894, unmarried. 

John Norris, junior, was born in 1805, and died at the age of twenty years. And the family of William has already been given. 

Felix Prunty, and Alexander Lowther, junior, were later pioneers in the Oxford vicinity. 

Mr. Prunty was the son of Jacob Prunty, and was a native of Taylor county. He married Miss Emily Greathouse, and took up his residence where his son, Jacob, now lives, perhaps in the early forties, and to the day of his death, on September 22, 1895, he was prominently identified with the affairs of this community, both in church and in state. He represented this county in the Legislature, at one time and was long a pillar in the White Oak church; and in this church-yard he sleeps. Mrs. prunty died in 1908, and she sleeps by his side. 

Their children: Mrs. Cynthia (wife of the late Rev. Sylvester Lowther), Parkersburg; Mrs. Salina Bee, Tennessee; Mrs. Fannie (Lewis) Pritchard, Parkersburg; Jacob and Marshall, Oxford, are the surviving ones; and Mary Jane, John W., Alexander, Mrs. Elizabeth Leach, and Mrs. Rosetta Ross, have passed on. 

Alexander Lowther, junior, made his settlement on the farm that is now the home of his daughter, Mrs. John Allender. 

Mr. Lowther was a native of Harrison county, having been born, near West Milford on May 1, 1816. He was the son of Alexander and Sarah Ireland Lowther, and the great-grandson of Col. William. 

In 1838, he was Married to Miss Emily Prunty, daughter of Jacob Prunty, and shortly after this event, he established his home here, and remained until 1864, when he removed to Ellenboro, where he engaged in the mercantile business for the next two years. From here he went to Graham Station, Mason county, and in 1872, to Elizabeth, Wirt county, where, for more than twenty years, his interests were identified with the town; his services to both church and state being of a high order. 

Here, in 1891, Death entered his home and carried away his wife, and not long after this sad event, he went to Parkersburg, where his life came to a close on March 28, 1903, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Roana L. Kendall; and here in the Riverview cemetery beside his wife, he sleeps. 

He was one of the early school-teachers of the county, and at different times held county offices. He said "At one time I knew every man in Ritchie county". As long as he lived, he spoke fervently of his love for Ritchie county, which had been his home for sixty-six years. 

Their children: M. R. Lowther, who has been prominent in political circles in this state for a number of years, and who served as State Senator for one or more terms, is the only surviving son. He and Mrs. Roana L. Kendall, wife of the late Dr. J. E. Kendall, are both of Parkersburg, and Mrs. Sallie Allender, is of Oxford. Wilson, the eldest son died at the age of seventeen, and one daughter, in infancy. 

The Allendars. - Jacob Allender was an early settler on the Marshall Prunty homestead. He and his wife Mrs. Elizabeth Vangrift Allender, were natives of Hampshire county, he being of English, and she, of German descent. He was the son of James Allender, and his grandsire crossed the sea from England. After their marriage they resided in Marion county for four years before coming to Ritchie in 1851, where the remnant of their days were spent, and where they sleep side by side in the White Oak cemetery. Mrs. Allender passed away a number of years before he did; and some time after her death he married Mrs. Elizabeth Sinnett Lowther, widow of John A. Lowther, and daughter of the late George Sinnett, of Harrisville, who still survives. 

His children were born of the first union, and were as follows: T. K. Alexander, Sistersville; Mrs. Sarah Nutter, mother of Okey Nutter, Pennsboro; John Allender, of Oxford; Christopher, James, Rachel and Iva, and two others all died of diphtheria in childhood. All died within one week, and two were borne to the grave at one time. 

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Chapter VIII
North Fork Settled

Jacob Collins was the first settler on the head of the North fork of Hughes river.

He came from the Shenandoah valley, Virginia, early in the century with his wife, Phebe Stuthard Collins, and several children, and reared his humble dwelling on the farm that is now the home of his grandson, W.J. Collins.

The wilderness at this time was unbroken, and they lived in their wagons until they could construct a cabin, and kept fires out so as to protect themselves and their stock from the wild beasts.

Fearful storms occasionally visited this section, and their home, at one time, was almost demolished by one of cyclonic fury.

Mr. Collins is said to have been a man of strong Christian character with an innate love for doing good to his fellow men, but of his ancestral history we know nothing escept that he was of Welsh descent, and that he was probably a native of the "Old Dominion".

But Mrs. Collins was of Revolutionary stock, her father, and his only brother having served as soldiers in the Continental army, (the latter dying before his return home).

Here on the old homestead where they settled, they spent their last hours, and here they rest.

They were the parents of a large family of children, who were also identified among the early settlers of this part of the county, and who are as follows: William, Jacob, junior, Henry B., Nancy, Margaret, Phebe, Frances, James and John. All of whom reared familes except James who died single.

William Collins. - William Collins, the eldest son, married Miss Ellendor Britton, and settled near three miles from the old homestead whre he died in 1871 at a ripe old age.

The fruits of this union were five children: Columbus, of Pennsboro; Cordelia, the late wife of John Maulsby, of West Union; Mrs. Charlotte (Joab) Martin, Pennsboro; Lafayette Collins,and Mrs. Helen (Silas) Taylor, who reside at Tollgate.

After the birth of these children the wife passed on, and he married Miss Harriett Allen, who was the mother of the late Mrs. Ida Martin, wife of Dr. Edgar Martin, of Oxford; the late Mrs. Salome (Wm.) Hudkins, of Greenwood; and of George and Alice, who died in infancy.

Death again robbed him of his companion, and he married Miss Talitha Lynch, of Harrison county, for his third wife, and she was the mother of Mrs. Maggie (Omer) Garner, and Mrs. Ora (Banks) Martin, both of Tollgate; Mrs. Lora (Dorsey) Browne, of West Union; and Mrs. Lona (John) Harper, Pennsboro; and Hiram Collins, of the North Fork and the late Draper.

Jacob Collins, junior. - Jacob Collins, junior, married Miss Sarah Ripley, of Tyler county, and settled near the old homestead, where he reared a large family and where he spent his last hours.

He was a soldier of the Union army during the Civil war, and his ten children were as follows:

Kenner, George, and Benjamin died in the West and Floyd resides there; Mary is Mrs. Edgar Keys, and Lurena, Mrs. Andrew Cunningham, both of California; Frances is Mrs. Ellis Thomas, of Pennsylvania; Eveline, Mrs. Thomas Dillon, and Eliza, Mrs. Simon Bradford, both of Parkersburg; and Amelia is Mrs. Richard Wilson, of Pennsboro.

Henry B. Collins. - Henry B. Collins married Miss Eliza Britton, and also settled near the old home.

He was quite prominent in public affairs, and was one of the early representatives of the county in the Richmond Legislature. And though he did not take up arms in the Civil war, he was a strong advocate of the Southern cause. He died near 1895 at his old home here, and in the family burying ground he sleeps.

He was the father of eight children: Mortimer, the eldest son, lost his life in the Confederate cause at the battle of Rich Mountain. Richard, Jasper, Casandra, who married the Rev. A. Jone, and India, who was Mrs. Perry Flesher, of Shiloh, have all joined the throng over there. F.H. Collins, Drusilla, the wife of Dr. Bartlett, and Almira who first married A. Archbold, and after his death Mr. Wilcox, of Harrisville,are the surviving members of the family.

John Collins, the youngest son of the pioneer family, was married to Miss Phebe Brice of Harrison county, and settled four miles north of Pennsboro, where he died in 1874.

He, too, represented the county in the Legislature at Richmond when this state was a part of the "Old Dominion", and was ever prominent in public affairs. He was an ardent advocate of the Southern cause during the Civil war, though not a soldier.

Mrs. Collins came of an old and aristocratic Welsh family, she being descended from the Earl of Carmarthen, through his daughter, Lady Janet Griffiths, who married a Brice.

Her grand-sire, Captain William Brice, who was born in Ken county, Maryland, in 1740, was one of the few patriots that helped to establish our American Independence. He served at Valley Forge and Trenton and died in 1783, at Blandengurg, Maryland, from the effects of the hardships endured during that memorable winter at Valley Forge. His sons, Benjamin, and Dr. Brice both married the daughters of Col. Ben Wilson, senior, and Benjamin was the father of Mrs. Collins.

The family of John and Phebe Brice Collins consisted of eight children; viz., Sarah, the eldest daughter, is Mrs. E. Thomas, of Blacksville, Pennsylvania; Anna was the late wife of John B. McKinley; Angie is Mrs. P. B. Michaels, of Oxford; Jennie L. is the widow of the late Dr. J.B. Crumrine, of Pennsboro; the late Creed, and William, of Pennsboro; and Benjamin and Virginia who both died in childhood.

Nancy Collins, the eldest daughter of this pioneer family, married Elias Marsh, and they too lived and died in the vicinity of the old home on the Norht fork. she having passed away near the year 1895. They were the parents of eight children; viz., Victoria, who married John Lantz, and went to Pennsylvania; Eliza married Sydney Joseph and went to Missouri, where she died in 1910; Margaret was the late Mrs. Saul Thomas, of Pennsylvania; Isabel is Mrs. James Hickman, of Pennsboro; Adaline was the late Mrs. Jacob Lantz, of Mole Hill; Laura became Mrs. John Steele, and at the old homestead, she resides; and the only son, Napoleon Marsh, lives at Centreville.

Margaret Collins married a Mr. Doak, and lived and died on Middle Island, in Tyler county, near the year 1890, leaving one child.

Frances Collins married Eli Cline and settled at the head of the North fork of Hughes river, where she died near the year 1849.

She was the mother of Helen, (wife of the late M.H. Tarlton), of Nicklin, who died as a prisoner of war at Camp Chase, in the sixties; and of Jacob Cline, who married Jane Ridgeway.

Phebe Collins married James Hammond, and for many years they were identified among the early settles of Bons's creek, where she died in 1866. Their children were ten in number: Cornelius, Granville, Irwin, the late Rev. William Hammond, of the West Virginia Methodist Episcopal conference; Mrs. Fannie Markle, Mrs. Berthena Crum, Mrs. Sarah Whitecotton, and Mrs. Mary ______ of Ohio; Mrs. Anna Clayton, of White Oak,and Mrs. Libby Whitecotton.


Daniel Haymond was the first settler at Mole Hill. He came here from his native county - Harrison _ near the year 1817, and found a home on the farm that is now owned by Benson Cunningham, where the remainder of his life was spent. He, being a man of a high degree of intelligence, played an important part in the early affairs of the county. 

He twice occupied a seat in the State Legislature (being Senator), and narrowly missed being a successful candidate for Congress. 

He was born near Clarksburg, on April 28, 1787 - on Saturday morning at 5 o'clock - and here he grew to manhood, and married Miss Mary Ann Bond, sister of Lewis Bond, who passed from earth at her home at Mole Hill in 1822 after having given birth to five children. 

In 1824 he was again married to Miss Elizabeth Griffin, who passed on a few years later, leaving three daughters. He then, in 1835, married Miss Hannah Pindale, who only survived a short time; and in 1838, he again took the marriage vow when he claimed Miss Mary Ann Moore, of Ha