The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie
County" written by Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.
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JONAS BEESON.--This stream took its name from Jonas Beeson, who is said to have erected a cabin on the late Smith Bee farm very early in the century. But investigation proves, conclusively, that Beeson's residence could not have been more than a temporary and fleeting one, as he was permanently located, near Parkersburg in Wood county, on a tract of land given him by his father, as early as the year 1799; and he held his residence continuously in Wood county until his death, at a ripe old age. He was a great hunter, however, and circumstances point to the fact that the cabin was built for the sole purpose of serving his needs while on these hunting expeditions; for beyond a doubt this stream was one of his favorite haunts in those early days.
He was born at Beesontown, Pennsylvania, near the year 1767, and there he was married to Miss Rebecca Tomlinson, daughter of Benjamin Tomlinson; and in 1799 they removed to Wood county where they rest. Their family consisted of four sons and one daughter, the late Benjamin Beeson, who died at his home at Williamstown during the autumn of 1909, at the age of more than ninety years, being one of the sons.
Mr Beeson was the grand-uncle of R. S. Blair, junior of Harrisville, and was descended from a prominant and highly respected Virginia family.
Near the close of the French and Indian war (1765), his father, Jacob Beeson, senior, was married to Miss Elizabeth Hedges, daughter of Jonas Hedges, of Berkely county (W) Virginia, and grand-daughter, of Joseph Hedges who emigrated from England at a very early day, and settled in Prince county, Maryland, where he died in 1732. Her great-grandsire, Charles Hedges, who died in 1714, was a prominent English statesman, and held various high offices under the Crown.
Shortly after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Beeson emigrated to Pennsylvania, and settled at Beesontown, not far from Uniontown, where they reared a family of ten children, and where they spent the remainder of their lives.
Their children were as follows: Jonas, the pioneer of the stream that bears his name, was the eldest son; Jane, the eldest daughter, married John Clarke; Mary was twice married; Lydia died single; Jacob Beeson, Mrs. Rebecca (John) Miller, Uniontown; Agnes, who married her cousin, James Beeson, of Berkley county; Nancy, Wife of Jesse Beeson, and Mrs. Rachel (Robert) Skiller.
Jacob Beeson, junior, was born at Beesontown in 1772; and in 1796, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Smalley, who was born at Newark, New Jersey, on April 3, 1773; and at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, they spent the first three years of their married life, removing from there to Wood county in 1799, where Mr. Beeson soon rose to prominence in public affairs.
He is said to have been a man of stout-build, and of medium height with a full, open countenance, and a wonderful gift of oratory.
He was one of the justices that formed the County court at Parkersburg, before the year 1810; and on May 4, 1812, he was admitted to the bar, and at once entered upon the practice of law in the courts of the State. He represented Wood county in the Legislature at Richmond for a number of years, and, in the year 1819, when the United States District Court, which embraced the territory of north-western Virginia, was formed, and Hon. John G. Jackson was commissioned as its Judge, Jacob Beeson was appointed as (U. S..) Prosecuting Attorney of this district by President Monroe. An office which he filled with distinction to himself, and satisfaction to the Government until his death in 1823. He had scarcely passed his forty-ninth mile-stone when death removed him, and thus a brilliant career came to a sudden, and untimely end.
Mrs. Beeson survived him by many years, dying at the home of her daughter, Mrs. George Neal, junior, at Parkersburg, on August 4, 1856, and, by the side of her husband, she lies at rest in the "Riverview" cemetery, at Parkersburg.
They were the parents of three sons, who all died in infancy and childhood, and of the following named daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, Emma G., Mary, Agnes R., and Anne S. Beeson.
Elizabeth married David Blair, and was the mother of the late Jacob Beeson Blair, and the late R. S. Blair, of Harrisville, and the grand-mother of the well-known young barrister, R. S. Blair, junior, who doubtless inherited some of his oratorical gift from his distinguished great-grandsire.
Jane Beeson married David Stephenson, of Wood county.
Emma G. was the first wife of the late Gen. John Jay Jackson, of Parkersburg.
Mary was the late Mrs. John Vail, of Ohio.
Agnes R. married George Neal, junior, of Parkersburg; and Anne S., was the late Mrs. William S. Gardner of that city.
Part of this sketch is taken from the Parkersburg Sentinel.
Jacob Prunty was the pioneer at the mouth of Beeson. He was born and reared at Pruntytown in Taylor county, and there he was married to Miss Mary McKinney; and, from there, they came to this county in the early thirties, and founded a permanent home at the mouth of this stream.
Mr. Prunty was a typical pioneer of the "Rough and Ready" order, and was a man of marked ability. He, several times, represented the people of this section in the Legislature, at Richmond, when the "Little Mountain State" was a part of the "Old Dominion," and many pleasing anecdotes are told of these journeys to the Capitol, made upon the back of a "superannuated" gray horse.
He survived until 1860, when he was laid in the White Oak churchyard. Mrs. Prunty died at the home of her son, Wilson Prunty, above Goff's in 1865, and owing to a flood-tide in the streams, she was buried on the homestead, where she died.
These pioneers were the parents of eight children, all of whom have passed on except the youngest daughter, Fannie, who is now Mrs. Bushrod Lawson, of Fairmont.
The others were as follows: Felix, Wilson, Jacob, and Elmore Prunty, Mrs. Kathrine (Stephen) Clayton, of White Oak; Mrs. Emily (Alexander) Lowther, of Parkersburg; and Mrs. Rachel Maley, Rock Camp.
The Pruntys are of Irish stock. They came to America in Colonial times and settled in Virginia where John Prunty, the progenitor of the Ritchie county family, was born.
John Prunty was the founder of Pruntytown, in Taylor county, he having broken the primitive wilderness there at a very early day, and left this little "dot" on the map of West Virginia, which serves as fitting memorial to a prominent career.
Mr. Prunty served the people of his section in the Legislature at Richmond for Twenty consecutive years, and was a candidate for re-election, but was defeated by the small majority of but two or three votes. During his last candidacy, he told his opponent that he purposed to hang his hat on that one peg (which he had already used for twenty) for Twenty-one years; and when he was defeated, he went back to Richmond, and served as Seargant-at-Arms in the Legislature, thus occupying the same "hat-peg" for the twenty-one years as he had avowed.
The maiden name of his wife has been lost somewhere in the hazy past, but he was the father of six sons and one daughter, Roanna, who married George Arnold, an old land surveyor of Lewis, Braxton, and Gilmer counties, who patented the large tract of land now owned by Lewis Bennett, and also the tract that Mr. Bennett sold to the "Standard Oil Company."
Jacob Prunty, the Beeson pioneer, was one of the Sons, David was another, and Samuel, who married Ellen Taylor, sister of Mrs Isaiah Wells, was still another. The last one mentioned was the father of Samuel Prunty, Of Sumner, Missouri.
Roanna Arnold, daughter of George and Roanna Prunty Arnold, married Samuel L. Hays, who was a member of Congress (in 1841), as well as a member of the Richmond Legislature, and they were the parents of the late John E. and
Peregrine Hays, of Glenville, who occupied seats in the Virginia Legislature, before the birth of West Virginia.
Peregrine Hays, also, served in the Legislature of the State, and his sons, Warren, and French N. Hays, both have a record there. The former, in the senate, and the latter, though still quite a young man, is the oldest member of the House in point of service, he having repeatedly succeeded himself, from Gilmer county.
It will be noted that French Hays is the great-great-grandson of John Prunty, and it is said that he affirms he is hanging his "hat upon the same old nail" that his illustrious grandsire (so many generations removed) pressed into service for the twenty-one years that he was a member of the Richmond Legislature. But since this "old timer" used a "peg" instead of a nail, doubtless, the young man is a little deluded.
Few families can produce such a record! An unbroken line of statesmen for five generations!
Felix Prunty, son of Jacob, the pioneer of this county, was also a member of the House of Delegates of West Virginia, and his son, the late Alex. Prunty, was a candidate for this office at one time.
Dr. Frank Prunty, of Belpre, Ohio, Dr. Shirley Prunty, M. R. Lowther, of Parkersburg, who has helped to carry out the tradition of the family by being State Senator, and not a few others that we might mention, are descended from this Ritchie county (Prunty) family.
Lynn Camp Settled.-- This stream, which is a small tributary of the North fork of Hughes river, took its name from a camp of lynn wood that was constructed by a party of hunters, in 1776, not far from the present site of the Wheeler Broadwater residence.
These hunters came in the autumn-time, leaving orders for thier pack-horses to follow in six weeks; but, finding game so plentiful, they sent the fruits of their first six weeks labor home, and remained another six weeks, at the end of which time they had slain eighteen bears. During this entire time they had no change of clothing.
The Richardses were the Pioneers of this creek. George Richards and his wife, Mrs. Kathrine Bush Richards, with their large family, having come from Harrison county very early in the century, and settled at the mouth of Lynn Camp, on the land that afterwards became the home of Edmund Taylor. They came as early as 1800, and it is claimed by some that they were here in 1795, but this cannot be verified, however; and John Bunnell still holds the distinction as being the first settler, within the bounds of the county.
The Richardses are said to have come and to have gone back to their home in Harrison county a number of times, before settling down here permantently. George Richards removed from the mouth of this stream to the late L. P. Wilson farm, where his life came to a close.
His sons, who were as follows, were nearly all pioneers here: Isaac, George, Benjamin, William, John, Michael, Jacob, Elias, James, Nelson, and one daughter, Mrs. George Six, of Athens, Ohio.
Isaac Richards died (unmarried) of wounds received in the war of 1812.
George Richards, junior, settled on Rock Camp, where he reared a family.
Benjamin Richards married Miss Priscilla Jones, who was of Dutch descent, and was the first settler on Lynn Camp, he having reared his dwelling near the present site of the school-house. He was the father of Dr. Benjamin Richards, of Pullman.
William Richards settled on the Rev. E. J. Taylor farm where he passed from earth.
John Richards married Miss Nancy Taylor, sister of James Taylor, and went to Calhoun county, where he died at the age of one hundred four years, and near Big Springs he sleeps. He was the grandfather of Joseph Richards, of Goff's, Joseph being the son of Edward Richards.
Other brothers.--Michael married Miss Caroline Wilson, daughter of John Wilson, of Calhoun county; and Benjamin, Miss Ruth Jones, and these brothers were the first setlers on the Syelus Hall farm, on Lynn Camp. But Michael went
to Calhoun county, where he died, and where his descendants live; and Jacob removed to Beeson, where he died in 1899, at the age of ninety-four one-half years, and in the Wilson burying ground, near the mouth of the stream, he lies buried.
He (Jacob) was twice married, his second wife, and widow, being Mrs. Drusilla Jackson, mother of C. S. Jackson, who still survives.
Jacob Richards was the father of Mrs. James Elder, of Hardman chapel; of Mrs. Harrison Lamb, of Beeson; the late Mrs. Pricilla (John) Elder, of Leatherbarke; the late Mrs. Eli R. Cunningham, of Eva (who first married Asa Manear, and was the mother of Jacob Manear), and the late William Richards, of Beeson. Mrs John B. Baker, of Lamb's run; and Mrs. Jennie Bailey, of Smithville, are among his grandchildren.
Elias Richards was the first citizen of the late "Bail" Wilson homestead (now the property of John Jobes), on Lynn Camp.
James Richards went to Ohio, and Nelson, to Calhoun county.
The Richareses were of German Descent, and were noted Indian-fighters and hunters, and their descendants in this and sister counties are a multitude.
Syelus Hall succeeded the Richareses on Lynn Camp, he having purchased the improvement of both Jacob and Michael Richards, near the year 1849, and founded his home where his son, Elza C. Hall, now lives.
Mr. Hall, the son of Reuben and Anna Steuart Hall, was born in Marion county, on September 16, 1828, and was one of a family of eight children; viz., Mrs. Louisa (John) Cole, the late Strother Hall, Miss Julia, Mrs. Lavina (W. T.) Baker, and the late Wm. S. Hall, all of Marion county; and A. H. Hall, of Pullman; and Mrs. Laura Amos, of Harrisville. His maternal great-grandsire (Stuart) was a Revolutionary soldier, and when he returned home from the war, he brought with him a souvenir in the form of a cream-pitcher of pretty design, which is still a valued heirloom in the family, it being now in the hands of A. Hunter Hall, of Pullman.
On April 12, 1849, Mr. Hall was married to Miss Lucinda
Hawkins, of Marion county, and soon afterwards came to Ritchie, where he has ever since been identified among the best citizens. Mrs. Hall laid down the "Cross" at their home at Pullman, in 1907, but he still survives.
They were the parents of twelve children, all of whom reached the years of maturity and married. One son, Leonard S., has passed on, but the rest survive. What is said of this family can be said of few others of its size, "All are Christians, and none have ever used liquor or tobacco."
The surviving members of the family are: Elliot, and Wilbert Hall, Mrs. Florence A. (Morgan) Pritchard; and Mrs. Ardina McDougal, Pullman; Mrs. Cordelia A. (C. W.) Nutter, Holbrook; Mrs. L. Belle Chipps, Buchannon; the Rev. I. S. Hall, Stuart L., and Elza C., of Trilby.
The Halls are of Scotch-Irish lineage. They trace their ancestry back to Thomas and Rebecca Story Hall, who were citizens of the Deleware colony at the time of the Revolution.
Thomas was born on September 24, 1724, and died at Duck creek Cross Roads, in Deleware, on May 29, 1772. Here his family (a widdow, two daughters and five sons) remained until 1782, when they emigrated to what is now Monongalia county, and settled near the forks of the Cheat river, a few miles below Morgantown; and two years later, removed farther up the river.
Mrs. (Rebecca Story) Hall was of English descent. She was fifty-two years of age at the time she came from Deleware, and she made the entire trip on horse-back, Mrs, Margaret White being the companion of her ride.
She died in Monongalia county, on December 15, 1812, having been blind for twelve or fifteen years. Her last days were spent with her daughter, Mrs. Rebecca (John) Courtney.
Her other daughter, Parthena, married Isaac Mason, who had served as a soldier of the Revolution under Washington, Greene, and Lafayette, and had witnessed the surrender of Lord Cornwallis.
They remained in Sussex county, Virginia, from 1781 until 1787, when they removed to Monongalia county. There Mr. Mason constructed a boat, and with a number of other families (there being sixteen boats in all) sailed down the
Ohio river; but in crossing the falls, his boat, the most valuable one of all, was lost. Undaunted by this disaster, however, the little colony pressed on, braving the danger of the hostile Indians, which they encountered, until they reached the present site of Nashville, Tennessee, on March 18, 1789, where a fort, known as "French Lick," then stood; and there they "cast their anchor."
Isaac Mason was the first tailor where the city of Nashville now stands, and there in the "land of Jackson and of the Hermitage," he and his beloved Parthena, sleep.
The sons of Mrs. Rebecca Story Hall, were, Asa, Jordan, Rynear, Nathan, and Allen, all of whom remained in Marion and Monongalia county except Allen, who went to Ohio.
The late Rev. Ashford Hall, who served the Harrisville Methodist Episcopal charge in the early seventies, was the grandson of Nathan Hall, he being the son of Jessie and Sarah Bryan Hall.
Asa married Miss Sophia White, and from his son, Thomas, who married Miss Jane Bennett, the Ritchie county Halls come. Ira Conditt Hall, of Cokeley, being his son, and Syelus and A. H., of Pullman, his grandsons. Reuben Hall, as before mentioned, was the father of Syelus Hall.
The late John Hall, of Mt. Zion (father of D. S., and E. B. Hall, of Washburn, and Fred of Pullman); and the late Mrs. Larkin Peirpoint, were also descended from this family.
And we have strong evidence, though no positive proof, that the family of the late John Hall, of Harrisville; and the late Mrs. Ransom Kendall, of Chevauxdefrise, came from this family.
Mrs. Kendall's mother, Sarah Hall Rex, was a native of Deleware, and circumstances all point to the fact that she belonged to this family, but, if so, her name was omitted from the "Hall Record," by Richard S. Miller, of Newburg, West Virginia, from which this information is gleaned. (See last chapter for origin of the name "Hall" and farther history of the family.)
Rock Camp is a small tributary of the North fork of Hughes river--flowing into it at Hannahdale.
It derived its name from a huge boulder, at its head, upon which a team of horses and a wagon can be turned.
George Richards, junior, son of George, senior, was its first denizen. He and his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Coburn Richards, having come here earlier in the century, and settled on the farm that is now the home of Parker Grimes.
Nimrod Cross was the next settler. He was of English descent, and was a native of Taylor county. He married Miss Eliza Richards, daughter of George Richards, junior, and took up his residence where Lincoln Wilson now lives, sometime in the thirties. Here he passed from earth in 1888, and in the Pisgah churchyard, beside his wife, he rests.
His children were, G. W. Cross, Pullman; John Cross, Indiana (who were both Union soldiers); the late Mrs. Mary (John) Elder, Leatherbarke; the late Mrs. Susan (R. L. B.) Elder, of Ritchie and Gilmer counties; Mrs. Kathrine (Wm.) Cunningham, Calhoun county; Mrs. Nancy (George) Jeffreys, Mole hill; the late Mrs, Martha (Bent) Prunty, Doddridge county; and Mrs. Thomas Hamrick, Wirt county.
John Cross, a brother of Nimrod, was another pioneer of this stream. He married Miss Kathrine Prunty, daughter of David, of Pruntytown, for his first wife, and his second was Miss Sarah Jones. He sleeps on Beeson.
William K. Elder was another old settler on Beeson. His parents, John and Margaret McHenry Elder, crossed from Ireland and settled in Harrison county, late in the eighteenth century, where they reared their family, and where they spent their last hours.
William K. Elder was married to Miss Ruhama Willis, of Harrison county, and came to this county perhaps in the early forties and settled on this stream. He later removed to Murphy district and on Grass run he died many years ago. He and his wife were the parents of thirteen children, seven of whom died in childhood, and the rest were as follows; the late Rev. John Elder, the late Sanford, Robert L. B., Mrs. Loda Simms, and Mrs. Anna Ferrell Campbell.
Joseph, a brother of William K., also resided in this county for a brief time. And some of his descendants are still identified among the citizens of the county.
Macfarlan and Dutchman
The names of Macfarlan and Dutchman are said to have had their origin in a most interesting, but tragic incident which occurred here in 1769, and which is as follows.
Early in the autumn of the year 1769, a party of ten white men, which included Jesse and James Hughes, an Englishman by the name of Macfarlan, and a Dutchman (whose name is missing owing to the fact that he was always designated by his nationality, "the Dutchman"), were in this section on some unknown mission, perhaps in pursuit of the red-skins, when, on coming up the river near the mouth of Bear run, they met two men who were going in a westerly direction, and who confided to them that they had discovered an Indian trail, which seemed to lead to a camp near the mouth of the stream that is now known as Macfarlan, and warned them to be on the alert. The warning was duly heeded, by the little party, who followed the trail until they reached the Oxbow; here they left it, taking a shorter route across the hill to the river near the present site of the C. & K. V. railroad depot, where they came upon the old trail again, and soon detected unmistakable signs that the foe was near; and a council was held as to what should be done. Jesse Hughes, the leader, thought it best to cross the river, and resume the journey on the south side, but James Hughes, Macfarlan, and the "Dutchman," and two others, thinking there was no imminent danger, after resting awhile, continued on the "old trail."
But scarcely had they crossed Macfarlan, in front of the present site of the "Beechwood hotel," when they were fired upon from the timber at the right hand side of the road, and the Dutchman and Macfarlan were wounded.
Jesse Hughes and his party, hearing the firing and guessing the cause, hastily crossed the stream near the present pump-station and ascended the hill, and opened fire on the flank and rear of the savages at a most unexpected moment, putting them to flight, and, doubtlessly, saving the five from the tomahawk and the scalping-knife.
Macfarlan recovered from his wounds, but the "Dutchman" died that night at their camp on what is now Dutchman's run, and was buried under the side of a large rock in the bed of the stream, near one-half mile from the mouth.
Though one hundred forty years have gone by since this tragical drama was enacted here, the names of Macfarlan and Dutchman have ever since clung to these streams, and will doubtless perpetuate the memory of these unknown individuals who were thousands of miles from their home-lands. Though but lowly monuments, they will endure when imposing ones that have been erected to the great earth have crumbled to decay.*(The scene of the first tragedy enacted on Ritchie county soil.)
(*)We are indebted to Mr. John B. Lemon for this interesting tradition, which came down to him from his maternal ancestors, the Deemses. James Deem, a very early pioneer, having come here and viewed the scene of the conflict sixteen years after it took place, and witnessed the bullet marks upon the trees, and copied the date (1769) from a large beech tree that stood until 1840, when it was cut down in building the Pike. Mr. Deem also pointed out the sleeping place of the unfortunate "Dutchman." A noticable feature of this tradition is that it antedates the real time of the discovery of Ritchie county, and the naming of its principal streams.
Dutchman Settled by Robert Lough.--Though the history of this stream began at such an early day, its wilderness remained unbroken until near the year 1840, when Robert Lough came here from Monongalia county with his family and reared the first cabin--on the farm that is now owned by the Dawson heirs.
The records show that in the year 1842 the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia granted to the said Robert Lough a patent for one hundred acres on Dutchman's run. From here, he removed to the Webb's mill vicinity, a few years later, he having purchased five hundred sixty-nine acres of land in this section of Waitman Joseph, of Tyler county, on November 14, 1846, a tract which now includes the farms of John P. Kennedy, John V. Warner, John Hallam, and perhaps, others.
Here he rested until 1862, when this property passed into other hands, and for the next ten years he made his home with his son, John, on Indian run; and early in the seventies, they all went to Vermillion county, Illinois, where he died shortly after his arrival; and there, in a rural burying-ground, near Ridge Farm, his ashes lie. He was a native of Monongalia county and was born in 1800.
A year or two after his death, his aged widow, Mrs. Sarah Lynch Lough, returned to West Virginia, and made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Robert Means, in Calhoun county, until she was borne to the Fluharty cemetery, on Leading creek, in 1880.
They were the parents of the following named children:
John Lough, the eldest son--born in the early twenties, married Miss Mary Brand, of Monongalia county, who only survived the nuptial hour a short time; he then married Mrs. Mary Ann Wilson Drake, sister of the venerable Isaac Wilson, and settled near the forks of Dutchman, on the farm that is now owned by the Dawson heirs--doubtless the one improved by his father--near the year 1845. After a few years sojurn here, he traded his property to the late Cyrus Dawson
for what is now the P. R. Tharpe farm, on Indian run, and there he resided until he went to Vermillion county, Illinois, late in the sixties or early in the seventies. There he saw the last of earth, in 1879; and there, beside his wife, he rests, with his father, near Ridge Farm. He had several children, but as they all live in the west, their names are missing.
Nimrod Lough--born in 1823, was first married to Miss Elizabeth Butcher, sister of the late Washington Butcher, and Mrs Jacob Dougherty, who passed to her final home in 1865; and his second wife was Mrs. Rachel Stansbury Goff. He resided in the Hardman chapel vicinity, and on Alum fork of Bone creek for many years. He rendered service as a Union soldier during the Civil war, and finally in 1905, went to the Soldiers' Home at Dayton, Ohio, where he answered the "last roll call" in 1908, ane where he slumbers.
The children of his first marriage were, Robert, Thomas, and Jerome, of Lewis county; Caroline, who first married John William Law, of this county, and after his death, went to Harrison county and married Milton Davis, of Salem. She is the mother of Steele Law, of Clarksburg.
Sarah Ellen became Mrs. Isaac smith, of Smithville; and Isa married a Mr. Clarke, and resides in Lewis county.
The children of his second marriage the late John Lough, Moses, and Newton, who now live in Ohio; and Aurilla, who was the late Mrs. Phineas Folden, of Jackson county.
Edward D. Lough was born on March 24, 1824, and on April 10, 1849, he was married to Miss Dorcas Dawson, of Marion county; and there settled down until 1855, when he removed his family to land owned by his father on lower Indian creek. From there, he went to what is now the Amos Scott farm, farther up the creek, and finally, in 1870, to the old homestead, near Harrisville, which is still in the hands of his heirs. Here on August 25, 1903, he bade adieu to earth. On December fifth of the same year, his aged companion followed him to the grave. Both rest in the Odd Fellows cemetery, at Harrisville.
They were the parents of five children: John A., died in infancy. Napoleon E., and Misses Mary F. and Henrietta, who has been an invalid for many long years, reside at the old home; and Phillip S. is engaged in the merchantile business in Ohio. All are unmarried.
Pierce Lough was born in 1828, and near the year 1863, he was married to Miss Malinda Campbell, of Wirt county, and for a few years after this event he called the "Buckeye state" his home, but for many years past he had been a resident of Leading creek, in Calhoun county. In 1877, his wife passed on, leaving three children; viz., Hiram Douglas Lough, of Williamstown; Mrs. Virginia (I. C.) Fox, of Lough, Calhoun county; and Mrs Ida Black, Gilmer county; and after her death he married Mrs. Mary Martin Hayhurst, and the one child of this union died in infancy.
Elanor Lough (daughter of Robert) married Jacob Hibbs, of Marion county, who died in this county, in 1895, and she now lives with her daughter, Mrs Sarah Marshall, in Ohio. Her other children are: Mrs C. D. Furbee, Grafton; Mrs. Wilson Rollins, Parkersburg; the late Mrs. Nancy (Walter) Dotson, the late Ulysses, Grant, and Walter, of this county; John C., of Wood, and Charles, of the West.
Nancy Lough (daughter of Robert) married Granville Sleeth, (**) an early merchant of Smithville, and she died in 1856, and he, the following year. Their children are Robert Sleeth, of Ohio; and William, of Parkersburg.
Sarah Lough married Robert Means, who came to this county from Lewis, in the early fifties, and figured in the affairs of the Ritchie Mines vicinity until 1875, when he removed to Leading creek, in Calhoun county, where his wife died in 1897, and where he still survives. Their children were, the late Scott Means, of Calhoun county; Mrs. Ella L. (Wm.) Otto, of Revere; and Edward E., who lives with his aged father at the old homestead.
Rachel A. Lough, the youngest daughter of Robert, married James Rogers, son of John B. Rogers, of Smithville, and at Hutchison, Kansas, they reside. They have no children.
Robert Lough's father, whose first name is wanting, crossed the sea from Downs county, Ireland, during the latter
** (See Sleeth history in Smithville chapter.)
part of the eighteenth century, and probably settled in the Virginia colony, but this is uncertain. He married a Miss Hart, however, and was identified among the citizens of what is now Monongaila, as early as 1800, when his son, the progenitor of the Ritchie county family, made his exit upon the stage of life; and there, perhaps, he spent the remanent of his days.
Cyrus Dawson.--The family of the late Cyrus Dawson have been identified with the history of this stream since 1852, when he traded the P. R. Tharpe farm, on Indian run, for the possessions of John Lough, at the forks of this creek.
Mr. Dawson was born of German-Englisn parentage, in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, on October 31,1827; was the son of John and Margaret Vanati Dawson. He was first married ot Miss Jemima Braden, a native of Greene county, Pennsylvania, and with her came to this county in 1849, and resided on Indian run, for a few years, before coming to Dutchman, as above mentioned.
Here on August 1, 1860, Mrs. Dawson fell asleep; and some time afterwards he was married to Miss Sarah E. Haught, daughter of Peter Haught, of Wirt county; and during the autumn of 1861, he, with his little family, leaving the old home on Dutchman's run, set out for Iowa, where he remained for two years and farmed with his brother, William Dawson.
But on May 2, 1864, both families started across the plains in their emigrant wagons, drawn by mules and horses, with California as their Destination.
Their route lay through hundreds of miles of wild and unbroken forests, and their experiences with the Indians were many and varied, though none of them resulted seriously. Yet they were constantly kept on their guard lest they should be molested by these dusky denizens of the forest, who often hung about their tents and their wagons like "hungry hounds" begging, as best they could in their unknown tongue, for something to eat.
Not unfrequently did this little party come across signs of encounters that other emigrants had had with the savages, and noted with sadness where the "dark pathway of death
had been;" for time and again did they find lonely graves by the way-side with rude inscriptions telling of the tragic fate of some one who had traversed this path before.
They camped out all the way and feasted upon all kinds of wild meat, such as was everywhere abundant, except the buffalo, which seemed to be shy of the paths that were frequented by travelers.
After leaving Omaha, Nebraska, they were unable to purchase food until they reached Salt Lake City. Here they remained over night and had the pleasure of seeing the late renowned Morman Leader Brigham Younge, who was out driving his carriage.
In October they landed at Stockton, California, and early in the spring removed fifteen miles farther north, where they found employment on a ranch; and in 1866, they removed to Mercer Falls, near the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains, and there remained over winter. There the rain fell almost incessantly throughout the season, and amid such surroundings the thoughts of Mr. Dawson and his wife turned longingly to the humble cottage far away among the Virginia hills; and on May 2, 1867, they turned their faces homeward. The same old wagon, and the same team of horses that had borne them Westward a few years before, were now pressed into service for the homeward-journey. Everything was green and beautiful when they set out, but a few days travel brought them to banks of snow in the mountains. Their road lay over much the same country, and the incidents of camping-out and guarding their stock differed but little from the Westward journey.
They came across many other families coming back to "the States," as they termed it, and soon their wagon-train numbered sixty-six men, besides the women and children; and on the Fourth of July they camped and had a "general hunt," which resulted in the death of seventeen antelopes, the hams of which, only, they could save.
As they passed east of Denver and traveled down the Platte river, they encountered the workmen who were constructing the Union Pacific Railroad, and felt that they were again nearing civilization.
By the time they had reached Ohio, however, their traveling companions had all gone their respective ways, to their former homes, and they were left alone; and late in October, they arrived at the home of Peter Haught, in Wirt county, and for the first time since they left California, in May, slept in a house.
During the following week they returned to their old home on Dutchman's run, and joyfully entered the "lowly, thatched cottage" that they had deserted for fairer scenes.
And "no more from this cottage did they roam," for here, on July 27, 1897, the second Mrs Dawson fell asleep; and on March the twenty-fifth of the following year (1898) Mr. Dawson joined her on the other shore. Both rest in the Straight creek burying-ground.
The old homestead, which is now rich in oil, has been divided and Daniel G. Dawson occupies the parental dwelling, and John and Calvin reside on other portions.
The children of the first union were five in mumber, but two alone survive; viz., Peter, of Wirt county; and William, who is a surveyor and Notary public, of Williamstown; Ezekiel and Kathrine died in childhood and shortly after their departure, Julia Ann met a tragic death by pulling a pot of boiling-hot coffee from the table upon her.
The nine children of the second union were as follows:
Newton is the father of Gilbert, the young pedagogue.
William Wilson and Archibald Hess were other early settlers here. Mr. Wilson was a Marion county product, and his wife, Mrs. Anna Shuman Wilson, was a native of McCurdysville, Monongalia county. He was born in 1821, and came to this county in 1845, and settled on Dutchman's run, where he finished life's pilgramage in 1894. And in the Hartley burying-ground, beside his wife, he sleeps. His late children were Mrs. Rugh Snodgrass, Mrs. Rachel Bush, Mrs Rosena Lemon, and James P. Wilson; and the surviving ones
are: Mrs. Mary Jane Richards, Doddridge county; Mrs Manda Mason, Ohio; Arthur Wilson, Freed; and Daniel Wilson, who resides at the old home.
This family are of Irish lineage, and there is but little doubt that they are the same stock as the other Wilsons of the county.
Benjamin Wilson, grandfather of William of Dutchman, was a second cousin of the late father of the venerable Isaac Wilson, of Washburn; and his (Benjamin's) son, George, was the grandfather of E. C. Wilson, of Hazelgreen.
William Wilson, senior (son of Benjamin), and his wife, Mrs. Rachel Lynch Wilson, early settlers of Marion county, were the heads of the branch of this family which is of most interest to us, as their descendants are not a few in this and sister counties.
Their family consisted of twelve children; viz., William, the Dutchman pioneer; Edward, who met a tragic death at his home in Marion county in a runnaway accident a year or two ago; John, Beckett, Alexander, James, Benjamin, Eli, Pierce, Rachel (who married Peter Haught, of Wirt county), Mary (Mrs. Archibald Hess), and Sarah Wilson, who remained unmarried and still survives at her home in Marion county.
Beckett Wilson was married to Miss Mary Mason, and lived and died in Marion county, where his large family all remained except one daughter, Jane, who was the late Mrs. Henry Morris, of Pullman. His other children were: Mrs. Nancy Hibbs, Mrs. Lucinda Floyd, Mrs. Isabel Kuhn, and Mrs. Margaret Wyer, who have all passed on; and Wesley and Pinckney Wilson, who survive.
Eli Wilson was married to Miss Jennie McCurdy, in Marion county, near the year 1840, and removed to Straight creek, in Wirt county, where he still survives, though blind and almost entirely deaf. His wife died in 1907. They were the parents of: Van C., the late Eber M., Smithville; Mrs U. S. Fluharty, Harrisville; Cyrus, who died in childhood; the late Mrs. William Dawson, William Wilson, Mrs. Oliver Smith, of Calhoun county; W. A. and Allie B. Wilson.
Benjamin L. Wilson was married to Miss Martha Kelley, daughter of Joshua and Martha Brand Kelley, and principally spent his life in Doddridge county, where a number of his descendants still live. He was the father of the following named sons and daughters: The late Mrs. Jane Mason, Tollgate; Mrs. Rachel Vanhorn, Gilmer county; Mrs. Margaret Vanhorn, Mrs. Nancy (Joseph) Summers, the late Joshua Wilson, and James K. Wilson, Doddridge county; Mrs. Louisa Vanhorn, and Mrs. Lydia Watson (wife of Wilson Watson), Auburn; and Charity, who died in youth.
The Rev. M. A. Summers, of the Baptist church, and M. Bruce Summers, cashier of the First National Bank at West Union, are the grandsons of Benjamin Wilson.
Archibald Hess was also a Marion county man. He three times took the marriage vow. His first wife was Miss Sarah Price; the name of the second is missing, but the third was Miss Mary Wilson. He came to Dutchman in the early forties, and after a brief sojurn here, removed to near Summers, in Doddridge county. Here the third wife died, and he spent his last hours at Auburn with his daughter, Mrs. M. B. Watson, in 1883, and in the Auburn cemetery he lies at rest. Mrs. Watson is the only child of the last marriage. And Henry and George Hess were other members of the family.
Devil Hole Creek Settled
The origin of the name of this stream, "Devil Hole," which has such a frobidden sound, is variously stated. One tradition says that it originated from a remarkable cave in the hill not far from its mouth, near by which is a huge sand-stone thirty or forty feet in height, which stands out prominently alone, and which is designated as the "Devil's Tea-table." Another is that the old "Worth line" was under survey through this section, one of the party on reaching a hole which resembled the far-famed "bottomless pit," exclaimed--"What devil of a hole are we getting into here?" But the venerable Jonathan C. Lowther, of Berea, who is now past his ninetieth mile-stone, tells us that his father, the late Elias Lowther, who was a member of the surveying party, gave it its name, he being the individual who remarked about the strong resemblance that this opening in the earth bore to the general idea entertained concerning the abode of Satan and his hosts. Hence the authentic origin of the name.
Doubtless, owing to the dreadful title bestowed upon this region, it was not settled until the middle of the nineteenth centrury, when Michael Hoover ventured into its unbroken wilderness and erected his dwelling on the land that is now owned by the Simmons' heirs, and the Layfields. His father, Thomas Hoover, having patented a tract of six hundred ninety-six acres on the head waters of this stream some time before. Mr Hoover married a Miss Mullenax and they finally went West and died, and of their family we have no record.
Absalom Cunningham was the second pioneer to penetrate this wilderness. He was born near Webb's mill, in 1820; was the son of Adam and Sarah Sinnett Cunningham, and the grandson of Adam senior--the brother of Thomas
Cunningham. He married Miss Huldah Simmons, daughter of Abraham and Mary Mullenax Simmons, and came here in the year 1852. He later resided on Indian run and Indian creek, and finally went to live with his son, John S. Cunningham, the Washburn artist, where he died in 1898. He sleeps in the Indian creek Baptist churchyard, beside his first wife. His second wife, Mrs. Jane Simmons Nottingham Cunningham Divine, was a sister of his first wife. She resides with her son, Jacob Cunningham, near Washburn.
Mr. Cunningham was the father of eight children, all of whom were born of the first union; viz., Martin, of Auburn; John S., and George, and the late Mrs. Mary A. (J. A.) Valentine, of Washburn; Charles, of Lawford; Mrs. Malinda (James) Valentine, Ohio; and Mrs. Elizabeth ( Ellsworth) Matson, Wirt county.
Jacob Layfield was the next settler, he having taken the place of Michael Hoover, in 1854.He was the son of John and Elizabeth Moats Layfield, and his second wife was Miss Agnes Drake, daughter of James Drake. He passed from earth in 1865, and his venerable widow survived until the autumn of 1908, when she was laid by his side, in the Layfield burying-ground. The youngest son now occupies the old home.
The children of this union were four sons; viz., William J., John A., George O., and Newton.
Uriah Shrader was another early settler on the headwaters of this creek. He came from Pendleton county, where he was born and reared, and married Miss Mary Layfield, daughter of John Layfield, senior, and remained here until he was borne to the Mt. Moriah churchyard. He was a soldier of the Union army, and his little family consisted of four children. Two died in infancy, Phebe, in young womanhood, and Jacob Shrader is a citizen of Cokeley.
Mr. Shrader's grandparents came direct from Germany to Pendleton county, and there his father, Jacob Shrader, spent his entire life; but in 1868, after the death of his father, his mother, Mrs. Phebe Shrader, came to this county, and remained as a member of his household until her death in 1892, at the age of eighty-eight years. She, too, rests in the
Mt. Moriah churchyard. Uriah Shrader was a member of a family of five children; viz., Ami, and Benjamin, who remained in Pendleton county; Mrs. Eliza Groggs, of Calhoun county; and David Shrader, who came to this county.
David Shrader was long a member of the Board of Education in Grant District, but he is now a resident