History of Ritchie County

The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie County" written by Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.

Chapter XIII
Husher's Run

Transcribed by Earl Cowan

This stream is a tributary of Bond's creek, and its name perpetuates the memory of its first settler, George Husher, who was, also, the first settler of Bond's creek. And though it is but a small stream, it drains a fertile region, and not a few prominent pioneer names have an association with its history.

Elijah Cunningham, son of William, was one of the earliest setttlers after Jacob Husher. He was a native of the "Old Dominion;" and his wife was Miss Sarah Wigner, sister of John Wigner, junior. Here they both spent the greater part of their lives, and in the Ellenboro cemetery, they lie at rest. He died during the autumn of 1868; and she, in 1882, at the age of ninety years.

Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Wm. I. Pyles, and was the mother of W. H. Pyles, of Hebron; Sarah Ann was the late Mrs. William Wells--mother of George Wells, of Pennsboro; Barbara became Mrs. John A. Webb, and went to Kansas; Emeline is Mrs. McLean, of Ohio; Cathrine was the late Mrs. Van Cundiff, of Danville, Illinois; Mary Jane, who is still single, resides at Belpre, Ohio; William, the only son (married Margaret Curry), resides near Pennsboro.

John Wigner was the first settler at Ellenboro. He was of German descent and of Pennsylvania birth; and he came to the Smithville vicinity, from the "City of Brotherly Love," with his parents, Mr. and mrs. John Wigner, senior. He was first married to Miss Katherine Wetzel, a near relative of the distinguished Lewis Wetzel, who was, also, of German lineage;and with her took up his residence on the G. W. Lambet farm, near Ellenboro, about the year 1814. His second wife was Miss Sarah Ann Larison. He was a soldier of the war of 1812. He sold his possessions here to Bazil Williamson, ane went to Harrison county, where he "heired his six feet of earth."

His children were two in number: Jacob Wigner, junior, and Mrs. Mary (Andrew) Johnson.

George B. Johnson, and Mrs Mary Wigner, of Ellenboro: Mrs. Jabez Elliott, junior, of Calhoun county; and Jackson Johnson, of Indiana, are his grandchildren.

His two brothers, Jacob and Henry Wigner, also found homes in this part of the county near the same time.

Jacob Wigner, senior, was married to Miss Leah Cunningham, daughter of pioneer William, of Harrisville and Cornwallis, and settled on Stuart's run, on the farm that has since been known as the "Patrick Cochran homestead." Here his death occured in 1853, and at Riddel's chappel, beside his wife, he rests. He was the builder of the first dwelling in the town of Ellenboro.

His children were: Mrs. Joseph Rush (the only surviving one). the late D. R. Wigner, of Pike; Elijah, William, James, Mrs. W. B. Carpenter, and Henry, who died in youth, all sleep in this county; and John S. Wigner, and Mrs. Susan Clarke, in Pleasants county.

Henry Wigner was married to Miss Elizabeth Lowther, daughter of Jesse Lowther, of Cornwallis, and settled on what is best known as "the Hithcock farm"--now the home of J. S. Pratt, near Ellenboro. But he afterwards removed to the Cairo vicinity, where he passed from earth, at a ripe old age, and in the Egypt cemetery, with his companion, his ashes lie.

His children were: William, of Ellenboro; Wesley, of Pennsboro; Mrs. Susan (John) Heaton, of Harrisville; and Phebe, who died in youth.

Michael Johnson was another early settler on Husher's run. He was born and reared in "Old Erin;" and there he was married to Miss Hannah Hughes, a realtive of Jesse and Elias Hughes, and from there, they fled to America from religious persecution and settled in Virginia.They came to the Ellenboro vicinity, in 1827, where they remained until they passed to the "home over there."

Their family consisted of eight children; viz., George and Andrew, were both drowned while crossing the Ohio river in a skiff, in 1834; William went to Iowa; Mrs. Susan Gaston, Misses Dorcas and Rebecca Johnson were all of Harrison county; and Maria, the wife of Ezekiel Bee, was of Berea.

Andrew Johnson married Miss Mary Wigner, daughter of John Wigner, junior, and was the father of the venerable George B. Johnson, and Mrs. Mary Wigner, of Ellenboro.

Mr. Johnson is now seventy-six (1909) years of age, and lives in the same vicinity where he was born; he having never been beyond the limits of the state. His memory carries him back to the days when the present site of Ellenboro was a sugar-camp, and the public highways were little more than bridle-paths.

He married Miss Elizabeth Parks, daughter of Nathaniel Parks, and early pioneer of this county, and is the father of one son, W. A. Johnson, of Pennsboro.

Nathaniel Parks was born in Harrison county, on June 11, 1803, and came to this county in his early manhood (near 1825), and married Miss Barbara Cunningham, daughter of Wiliam, of Cornwallis, and settled in the Harrisville vicinity. He later removed to near Ellenboro, where his life came to a close in 1895. His wife was born in 1803, and died in 1887. Both sleep in the Ellenboro cemetery. They were the parents of the following named children: The late Wm. H., of Cairo; James M., of Ellenboro; John C., of Cornwallis; Mrs. Edith (Benjamin) Wricke, Pike; Susan first married Wilson A. Gribble, who lost his life in battle during the Civil War, and she then became Mrs. Robert Hancock, and went to Wisconsin, where she died; Mrs. George B. Johnson, of Ellenboro, already mentioned, is the other daughter; Martin died at Washington city during the Civil war; John and Wiliam were also soldiers of the Civil war.

John Rawson was another very early settler in the Ellenboro vicinity, on the farm that is now the home of John Fowler. He married Miss Nancy Husher, daughter of George Husher, after whom the stream was named, and here spent the remnant of his days. He was one of the earliest millers in this section. He first owned a horse-mill, and later secured steam power and run a grist and saw-mill combined. He died in July, 1861, and his wife, in August of the following year, and both rest on the old homestead. He had no children, and he willed his property to two of his nephews.

William Carpenter, senior, was the first settler of the Yerkey homestead, on Husher's run. He was born in Steuben county, New York, in 1802, and there, in 1821, he was married to Miss Nancy T. Armstrong, who was born in the same county in 1805; and after a few years' residence in the "Empire state," they emigrated to Potter county, Pennsylvania, and from there, came to Husher's run in the spring of 1841. He was one of the early ministers of the Baptist church in this part of the county, and his labors continued until a few years before his death, in 1880. Here he passed away, and within the bounds of this vicinity he found a resting place. He was the father of six children: Lovera, the eldest daughter, is Mrs. William Wigner, of Steuart's run; Lucretia is the widow of the late Justus Weekly, of Bond's creek; Nellie was the late wife of John G. Wigner; Nancy J., died in childhood; Wm. B., late of Washburn, is now of Tyler county; and J. W., who married Miss Rosalina Wilson, resides at Bellaire, Ohio.

Along with Mr. Carpenter from Pennsylvania came Fredrick Tanner, Truman Stephens, and Daniel Vancourt.

Mr. Tanner was a mill-wright, and as he was a bachleor, he remained as a member of the Carpenter household until his death, in 1864, at the age of eighty-five years.

Truman Stephens was a native of Massachusetts; and his wife, Roena Kibbee, was born in New York; and for a short time after their marriage, they resided in the "Empire state," and from there, emigrtated to Potter county, Pennsylvania, and from thence to the Ellenboro vicinity--to the farm now owned by Benjamin McGinnis--in 1841.

Here their lives closed at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Vancourt, and in the Ellenboro cemetery they lie in their last sleep. They were the parents of four daughters; viz., Liza was the late Mrs. James McGee; Amanda Miranda was Mrs. Daniel Vancourt; Jane first married a man by the name of Calhoun, and after his death, she became Mrs. Weekly. And Lucinda, the only survivor of the family, is Mrs. Martin Cochran, of Tollgate.

Mr. Stephens was a soldier of the war of 1812.

Daniel Vancourt and his wife, Mrs. Amanda Miranda Stephens Vancourt, settled on a farm adjoining the Carpenter homestead, and there remained until he was laid to rest on his own farm. They were the parents of the following named children:

Julia A., who became Mrs. Adam Raley, and went to Baltimore; Amanda M., married Wm. Moore, and lived on Stuart's run; Phebe L., became Mrs. William Parish, of Marietta, Ohio; Mary Cathrine is Mrs. Presley Rollins, of Husher's run; Margaret A., Mrs. James King, of Marietta; Truman D., Jane, and Mary Matilda have passed on; and David A. lives in Roane county.

Joseph Cochran was another early Pennsylvanian in the Ellenboro vicinity. His father, John Cochran, came from Ireland during the Revolutionary war, and once took up arms in behalf of the colonists, and served for three years. At the close of this struggle, he married Miss Elizabeth Adams, of Greene county, Pennsylvania, and settled at Pittsburg. There Joseph Cochran was born, and there he was married to Miss Sarah Gill, of Mercer county, Pennsylvania; and in 1844, they removed to this county. Their children were, Johathan, Samuel, Martin, Kathrine J., Sarah, Nancy, and Elizabeth (who married Elijah Cunningham). Martin Cochran married Miss Lucinda Stephens, and he is the only one of the family that lives in this county, his residence being at Tollgate. The rest reside in the West. (?)

William Hitchcock was the pioneer of the Pratt farm, one mile east of Ellenboro, at the mouth of the small stream that bears his name--"Hitchcock run."

He married Miss Phebe McKinney and came here early in the century, and remained until he answered the final summons. Here he and his wife and nearly all of their descendants slumber.

His children were as follows:

Michael, William, Waldo, Nicholas, Mary, and Florence, all of whom have passed on. Mary died in youth, Florence in early womanhood, and Michael, the only one of the household who married, left a family. But they, too, have nearly all passed on.

The Corbins have been prominent citizens of the county for sixty years, and in this chapter they claim a place.

English in origin, they came to America in Colonial times and settled in the "Old Dominion." George Corbin was married to Miss Sallie Jennings, of Virginia, who belonged to the same family as the distinguished William Jennings Bryan, and their son, John W. Corbin, was the head of the Ritchie county family.

John W. Corbin was born in Culpepper county, Virginia, on October 7, 1786, and served as a soldier in the war of 1812. On January 14, 1819, he was married to Miss Rebecca Williams, daughter of James and Barsheba Williams, who was born in Monongalia county, on february 8, 1803; and from Booth creek, Taylor county, with their large family, they removed to Husher's run, in November, 1850. There they passed away--he, on July 24, 1878, and she, on April 20, 1885, and both rest in the Ellenboro cemetery.

Their family consisted of thirteen children; viz., Sallie, Oliver Perry, Frances, Alexander M., George, Elizabeth, Ephatha, Ada, Joanna, Mariana, Pelina, Josephus, and Ocran Corbin, all of whom married and reared famiies, except Frances and Mariana, who died in childhood.

Sallie Corbin, the eldest, who was born on February 16, 1820, married Hiram Wilkinson, and after a long residence here, they removed to Salem, where she died in December, 1902. Her family consisted of nine children: Loman, of Indiana; Celia (Mrs. Fenton Elifritz), of Ohio; Mary (Mrs. A. J. Pritchard), of Parkersburg; Rachel (Mrs. Wm. Childers), of Salem; Frances (Mrs. Benjamin Crouser), Parkersburg; Benjamin, Daniel, Josephus, and Ocran Wilkinson. The last two named died in childhood.

Oliver Perry Corbin was born on November 10, 1821, and on March 2, 1845, he was married to Miss Nancy Ann Taylor, who passed on near the year 1855, leaving six children; and in 1857, he was again married to miss Mary Linsey, and twelve children were the result of this union. After calling Ritchie county his home for a number of years, he removed to Jackson county, where his life came to a close.

The children of the first marriage were: Gustavus Adolphus, Rebecca Ann (Mrs. Robert Jones), Joseph Taylor, Lorenzo Dow, Mary Virginia (Mrs. John Faber), and Martha Columbia ( wife of the Rev. W. H. Maddox). The last two mentioned were twins. All reared families of thieir own, except L. D. Corbin, who died in youth.

The Children of the second marriage: Arelions B., Alice J. (Mrs. A. T. Maddox), florence Belle (Mrs. J. H. G. Winter), Lizzie (Mrs. D. E. Kessel), John D., Julius C., Ella ((Mrs. E. D. Kessel), Chestinie M., Zorah (Mrs. C. R, Smith), and one who died in infancy.

Alexander McKra Corbin, born March 13, 1827, was married to Miss Margaret Williams, and finally, removed from this county to Parkersburg, where he spent his last hours. His children were twelve in number: Festus, Belle (Mrs. Theodore Butcher), Miss Rebecca, Dean ( who died in youth), Susana (Mrs. John Hudkins), Luda (died in Youth), Eliza ( Mrs. Frank Riley), Elizabeth (Mrs. Maxwell), Abraham, Laura (Mrs. John Fredline), Arilda (Mrs. Edward Shautaley), and Rufus Corbin.

George W. Corbin, born June 27, 1829, married Miss Rhoda Weekly, daughter of John and Sarah Garrett Weekly, and lived and died in this county. He was the father of the late Dr. M. L. Corbin, Arlington, Mrs. Bessie (J. F.) Lowther, and Wm. S. Corbin, all of this county; J. M., of Illinois; Mrs. Saccharissa (J. M.) Hughes, Parkersburg; Mrs. Jane Phillips, wife of the Rev. Mr. Phillips, of the Pittsburg M. P., conference; Rev. O. L. Corbin, of the Congregationalist chruch of California; and the late Rev. J. D. Corbin, of the Pittsburg Methodist Protestant conference. This family have also been prominently known in educational circles in this county.

Elizabeth Corbin, born June 25, 1831, was married to George Cunningham, and removed to Tyler county, where death overtook her. Her children: Martin Van Buren Cunningham, Mary Jane (Mrs. Michael Adams), Andrew J., Pauline (Mrs. James Bell), Thomas B., John W., Joanna, who died in infancy, Oliver P., and Lettie, who is Mrs. Isaac Williams.

Ephatha Corbin, born January 16, 1833, was married to James Cunningham, and of this union ten children were born; viz., Jasper N. Cunningham, Permilia (Mrs. Mary Hammett), Sarah (Mrs. Edward Friends), John (died in youth), Rocellana (Mrs. Thomas Mahoney), Josephus (unmarried), Amber (Mrs. Henry Rexroad), Viola (widow of the late Dr. D. F. Ireland), the late Edmund D., and Emily, who is Mrs. Charles French.

Ada Corbin, born on July 23, 1836, is now Mrs. Richard Weekly, of Bond's creek. And their children are: Frances, who married Clarke Saterfield, C. C. Weekly, Harlan P., Mosella (Mrs. Dudley Smith), Theodosia (Mrs. F. Morgan), Albert, the late Emma, the late Draper, who died in youth, Samuel, Irena (Mrs. Earle Flesher), and Dollie (Mrs. Elmer Saterfield).

Joanna Corbin, born February 28, 1838, was married to Thomas Rawson, and removed from this county to Elizabeth, Wirt county, where she died. Her children: Wm. J., Albert J., John W., Burleigh H., Charles E., Frank, Joseph C., Leslie B. Rawson, Mollie R. (Mrs. Samuel Morris), and Dollie B., who is Mrs Frank Wiseman.

Paula Corbin, born on July 27, 1841, was married to Alfred Fowler, of Ellenboro, and remained in this county until after the death of her husband, when she removed to Parkersburg, where she now resides with her son, Burleigh Folwer. Her other children are: Dexter, Thomas, Palmer, Lotta, who is Mrs. D. B. Patton, of Harrisville; and Hattie (Mrs. J. D. Hill), Williamstown.

Josephus Corbin, born on November 3, 1843, is still a resident of this county. He was first married to Miss Juliana Hogue, of Bond's creek, and eight children were the result of this union; viz., Ollie (Mrs. William Boggess), Zannie ( Mrs. Okey Hill), Alonzo F. Corbin, Sallie (Mrs. M. O. Morgan), Lillie (Mrs. Samuel Campbell), Floyd, and Howard, who are at home, and one son who died in infancy. His second wife was Miss Drusilla Petit.

Ocran Corbin was born on September 30, 1845, and died at his home in this county two or three years since. His wife was Miss Rachel Taylor, daughter of James Taylor and granddaughter of Edmond Taylor, and their children were twelve in number; viz., Oliver P., John, James (who died in young manhood), Charles, Frank (a lawyer), Wade, and Grover, who both died in youth, Lester, Josephine (Mrs. Hubert Moss), Rosella and Kate, who are at home with their mother; and one daughter died in infancy.

Since finishing the above account, a bit of valuable information concerning the Corbin ancestry comes to us from Miss Christine Washington, of Charleston, West Virginia, which we here add:

Henry Corbin crossed to the Virginia colony near the year 1654, and settled in King and Queen county. He had three sons and five daughters: Henry, Thomas, Garwin, Letitia, Alice, Winfred, Anne, and Frances.

Henry died young. Thomas never married. Garwin married several times. Letitia became the wife of Richard Lee, of Mt. Pleasant; Alice married Phillip Lightfoot; Winfred, Leroy Griffin; Anne, William Taylor; And Frances became the wife of Governor Edmund Jennings, of Rippon, Virginia. And doubtless from her Sallie Jennings Corbin, above mentioned, is descended.

Garwin Corbin, the one son of the family that left issue, married for his second wife Jane, daughter of John Lane, of York river, who was probably the mother of all his children, but Miss Bassett, daughter of Wm. Bassett, was another wife. However, his daughter, Jennie Corbin, married Col. John Bushrod, and her daughter, Hannah, was the wife of John Augustine Washington, the brother of George Washington.

Perhaps the present generations may find this bit of information valuable in tracing their ancestry, as it came too late for farther investigation on our part.

The Fowlers.--Another family whose name has stood for good citizenship in this part of the county for sixty years is that of "Fowler."

Henry Fowler, son of Isasc and Mary Komer Fowler, was of German lineage and of Virginia birth. He first opened his eyes on earth on the Osage river, in 1808; and in 1841, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Coffman, who was also a native of Virginia; and near the year 1850, they came to Husher's run, and settled on what is now designated as the "Barnes farm," and a little later, purchased the old Husher homestead, and here the remainder of their lives were spent. Mr. Fowler passed away in 1872; and his wife, who was born on August 15, 1819, survived until 1894. Both lie at rest in the Husher's run burying-ground.

Their family consisted of the following named children, all of whom survive, except Albert, the eldest son, who died in this county several years ago: Thomas resides in Indiana; M. D., in Calhoun county; Mary is the wife if B. H. Wilson, and Nancy is Mrs. W. H. Moore, both of Goff's; J. N. resides near Harrisville; Martha is Mrs. William Rawson, of Maryland; And John H. Fowler, the youngest son, lives at the old home on Husher's run.

Hamilton.-- Almost sixty years have winged their noiseless flight since the late Caleb T. Hamilton joined the little colony on Husher's run; and his family have ever since been recognized among the good citizens of the county.

Mr Hamilton was born in Monongalia county, in 1829, and there his youthful days were spent. His mother was Miss Margaret Pratt, and his father lost his life in an accident on the first steamboat that ever ascended the Monongahela river, as far as Morgantown.

On October 28, 1852, he was married to Miss Mary J. Cole, of Marion county, and in April of the following year, they came to Husher's run; and after a brief residence here, removed to Bond's creek, where he died on August 3, 1889, and where Mrs. Hamilton, though blind, still survives.

He was a lineal descendant of Alexander Hamilton. He was a soldier of the Union army, and his service was in Company F, Fourteenth West Virginia Regiment Volunteers.

Seven children made up the members of this family, two of whom died in infancy, and the rest are as follows:

W. H., and F. L. Hamilton, are of Highland; J.N., of Parkersburg; C. J., of Hebron; and S. H. Hamilton, of Elkins, all of whom have families of their own.

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Chapter XIV
Goose Creek Settled

Transcribed by Janet Waite

The Deemses. - Adam Deem was the pioneer of Goose Creek. He was of English origin, but his ancestors migrated from England to Ireland, shortly after the conquest of this "isle" by William of Orange, and from there they came to New England near the year 1725.

But the first connected and authentic history of the family in the "New World" begins with Adam Deem, senior, who was born at Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1757, and served as a soldier of the Continental army during the American Revolution. This same Adam Deem removed from the place of his nativity to Pennsylvania in his early manhood, and finally in his old age, came to this county, where he spent his last hours, on what is known as the old "Deem homestead" just across the mouth of Goose Creek. Here he died, in 1861, at the great age of one hundred four years, and on this homestead, beside his wife, he lies at rest.

He was the father of seven sons and five daughters. The names of the daughters are wanting, but the sons were as follows: Adam, junior, Phillip, Jacob, John, James, David, and Isaac G. Deem. All of whom married and reared families.

Adam Deem, junior, married his cousin, Hannah Deem, and came here from the place of his nativity - Greene County, Pennsylvania, near the year 1810, and settled on the farm that is now owned by Mrs. M. J. Hall, near the mouth of Goose Creek. He was the first denizen of the wilderness here; was a soldier of the war of 1812, and was a typical pioneer hunter. He died in the "Buckeye State" near the year 1867, and there he rests. His wife also rests in Ohio, but not by his side.

He reared a large family, which were as follows: Abrham, John, Adam (III), Isaac, Philip, Jacob, margaret (Mrs. John Turvey), Charlotte (Mrs. M. Turvey), Melissa (Mrs. James H. Davidson), and Elizabeth (Mrs. Adam Ware).

Philip Deem (son of Adam, senior) was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, on January 10, 1785, and in 1809, he was married to Miss Rachel Kidwiler, who was born on April 1, 1790. In 1810, they came to this county and settled ten miles below Cairo, on the river - on the farm that is now owned by Cornelius Bradley, and Alexander Douglass. Here Mrs. Deem passed away, on August 5, 1856, and on January 4, 1865, her husband joined her on the other side. They both rest on the Dotson farm at Rusk.

Philip Deem was a soldier of the war of 1812, and was in the fierce engagement at Lundy's lane (on July 25, 1814). He was the father of a large family. His son, Perry, died in his early manhood; James married an Irish lady and settled at the old home, where he died in 1868; Adam, who was a minister of much ability, went to Indiana, where he fell asleep. The rest of his family were daughters; viz., Elizabeth, Rachel, Cathrine, Hannah, Roena, Mary, and Cinderilla.

Elizabeth married Peter Coyle and her only daughter is Mrs. John Booth, of Barbour county.

Hannah married James Marshall and lived in Wood county. Her children were Jacob, Frank and Alice Marshall.

Cathrine was the late Mrs. James Stuart, of Goose creek.

Roena was the late Mrs. Frederick Lemon, of Macfarlan, and Mary was the late Mrs. Benjamin Philips, of Rusk. (See Lemon and Philips histories.)

Rachel married Daniel Donley and died at her home on Elm run, in 1907. She was the last survivor of the family of Jacob Deem, and her children are - the late James, Donley, Philip, Thomas, Joseph, Rachel, Bridget, and the late Mary.

Cinderilla married John Bradley, and remained in this county, where she reared a large family; viz. Philip meat a tragic death at a picnic at the Ritchie Mines in 1882; John and Rachel died young; Cornelius lives near Rusk; Mary A. is Mrs. Meyers, of Cairo; Kathrine, Mrs. L.D. Cain; Ellen, Mrs. N. B. Delaney; and Hannah is Mrs. B.T. Jackson.

Jacob Deem (son of Adam, senior) married Miss Mary Lazier, of Pennsylvania, and came to this county not far from the year 1810, and established his home at the mouth of Bear run, below the Oxbow where he remained until death claimed him. He was one of the contractors of the Parkersburg and Saunton turn-pike, as early as 1838 or '9. He had five sons and four daughters; viz., James, who was the father of John Deem, of Smithville; Patrick, David, Jacob, and William; Elizabeth and Roue died unmarried; Susan is Mrs. B.B. Nutter, of Oxbow; and Louisiana, who was born in 1805, was the late Mrs. William Jenkins, who was laid in the Eddy graveyard in March, 1909.

It is claimed that Mrs. Jenkins was born in this county, and if this be true, the Deemses came here earlier than 1810. Mrs. Jenkins was married in 1825, and her husband died in 1863. Mrs. Daniel Eddy, of Macfarlan, is one of her daughters.

James Deem (son of Adam, senior) was a famous storyteller and hunter, and the scene of his pioneer settlement was across the Wirt county line, near what is now Freeport. Here he lived and died, and in the Freeport cemetery he lies buried.

He married Miss Rachel Sargent, who, after