Ritchie County: Lost in Time, is a page where people can submit stories and accounts pertaining to historical places, ie; ghost towns or places that have been lost in the passage of time. If you have a newspaper clipping, article from a history reference, or personal knowledge of such a place, Contact Me. Please put Lost in Time in the subject line.
Article from RITCHIE GAZETTE 1992 HARRISVILLE WV
Written by Janet Hodge
In a remote section of southern Ritchie County lies a place where time stands still. It is a place where fortunes were won and lost and the lives of over 1,000 of its hardiest inhabitants were changed forever.
A Native of Tuam County Galway, Ireland
Who Died By The Explosion At
The Ritchie Mines
February 24, 1873
Aged 29 years.
Following the great explosions at the Ritchie Mines in 1873, the town that had once seen prosperity began to dwindle in size until only a handful of hardy residents remained. According to a 1910 issue of the Oil Man's Magazine (OMM), "much of the wreckage from the explosions was never cleared away and even the railroad was soon abandoned. The engine known as the Cairo was sold to the P & H, later known as the Lorama, the engine known as the Ritchie was sold for junk, and in 1876, the iron was taken from the rails".
Read What Minnie Kendall Lowther has to say about Ritchie Mines in her book "History of Ritchie County". (1910)
|The Berea Covered Bridge|
Transcribed by Peggy Wilson
This is the year to pay tribute to some of our historic and useful landmarks, now gone. The old covered bridge at Berea served Ritchie County for 67 years. It withstood time and flood, but went down for the last count in 1962, when a new cement bridge took its place.
Before 1884, the location for the Berea Bridge was made by Alexander Prunty and James R. Brake, and an engineer, Mr. Fouty, was in charge of the project. A.B. Haddox was in charge of making the fill. J.L. Kelly was the stone contractor, C. T. Bee of Berea and BRUCE WILSON were the stonemasons. Mr. Wilson was the owner of the Wilson Hotel in Harrisville in later years. In 1885, the woodwork for the structure was completed.
The bridge stood firm through the ravages of the 1950 flood, which swept across Berea, destroying 14 houses. Five people lost their lives. A huge mass of debris and a house lodged against the bride. Minor repairs were made and the bridge was back in business to serve for another 12 years. An effort was made by many citizens of the county to save the bridge, but like all too many of our landmarks, it lost out to progress.
|Ritchie County Reorganized Church|
of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Transcribed by Peggy Wilson
The first R.L.D.S. Church in Ritchie County was built in 1888 on Bear Run Road, which turns south from old Route 50 at Glendale and up Bear Run through Cornwallis to North Bend State Park. Along this county road (or turn north at U.S. Rt. 50 at Bear Run Road), the church still stands. It is constructed of square hand-hewn logs. Services were held for two years in the Bear Run schoolhouse before the church was completed.
"Uncle Joe" and "Uncle Mesh" Ross hauled logs by ox team for the Church. Other residents also aided in the construction. The church was sold in 1956 to a local non- denominational congregation.
The church at Indian Creek (Harmony Mission) was organized in 1895 , by Luther R. Devore. The people had their meetings in the homes of J.F. Wilson, I.B. WILSON, W.C. Wilson and Daniel Givens. Others who helped with the church were C.A. Wilson, Wayne Wilson, Harlan Wilson, James Hedge and many others.
Our present church was built in the winter of 1915-16. Most of the work was donated labor, a lot of it was by non-members. J.F. Wilson furnished the team work and laid the foundation. C.A. Wilson traded the present site of the church for one that was too close to Indian Creek, where the church was first started, but was washed away. The church was dedicated on August 20, 1916.
At the September 13, 1941, Conference held at Moundsville, the Church was disorganized and organized as a mission on the same date. We have since added a dining room and kitchen.
Pastors have included Les Bumgardner, Glen Givens (40 years) and Robert L. Anderson.
Early Historical Records Of Ritchie County
Study of the early settlers of Ritchie County discloses certain patterns of settlement. Many people, including the Lowther, Harris, Starr, Webb and Nutter families came from Harrison County to make their homes in the wilderness which would become Ritchie County.
The Seventh Day Baptists who settled Berea were another early "colony" which drew its members from the same New Jersey families which had earlier settled Salem, WV., and West Union, WV.
Among the early pioneers were several families who came from Pendleton County, most of whom were of German descent. Patrick Sinnett through Irish, married a German lady named Katherine Hefner. Sinnett moved to Ritchie County from Pendleton in 1815 and is counted as one of the first settlers of the county.
Patrick and Katherine Sinnett had 11 children, all born in Pendleton County: John, William, Seth, Abel, Henry, Jacob, George, Elizabeth, Sarah, Katherine and Phebe. William and Seth moved to Ohio. Henry Sinnett remained in Pendleton County, but the other eight children came to Ritchie County with their parents in 1815.
George Sinnett married Mary Rexroad, daughter of Henry. John Sinnett married Elizabeth Propst. Jacob Sinnett married Elizabeth Rexroad, daughter of Henry. Abel Sinnett married Elizabeth Stuart. Elizabeth Sinnett married James Drake. Sarah Sinnett married Adam Cunningham Jr. Katherine Sinnett and her sister Phebe both married Chancelors and moved west.
George Moats moved to Harrisville from Pendleton County with his wife Eve and 12 children about 1819. Christina Moats married John Shrader. Peter Moats married Rachel Grogg. Barbara Moats married John Solomon Dick. Jacob Moats married Mary Elizabeth Starr. Elizabeth Moats married John Layfield. Magdalene Moats married William Kibbey. Henry Moats married Effa Star. William Moats married Phoebe Drake. Susan Moats married Solomon Mullenax. Frances Moats married Harmon Sinnett. Catherine Moats married Absolem Harpold. Julia Ann Moats married Ephriam Culp.
Several members of the Rexroad family came to Ritchie County before the 1850 census. Henry Rexroad settled near Harrisville in the 1830's. He and his wife Catherine had several children. Elizabeth Rexroad married Jacob Sinnett. Mary Rexroad married George Sinnett. Sarah Rexroad never married. Solomon Rexroad married Agnes Drake. Lucinda Rexroad married Henry Rexroad, a cousin. Henry Rexroad, Jr., married Eliza Abbey in 1839, in Whiteside, IL. Daniel Rexroad married Elizabeth Wells. Ephriam Rexroad married Mary Hammond and moved west.
Johann Zachariah Rexroad (known as Zachariah) and his wife Sarah Hoffman came to Ritchie County in 1845. Lowther's History of Ritchie County says he was a brother to Henry Rexroad, Sr. However, a much more authoritative source says otherwise. A 1986 genealogy of the Rexroad family. A History of the Descendants of Zachariah Rexrode Pendleton County, by Walter L. Eye, lists Johann Zachariah Rexrode/Rexroad (1791-1877) as a son of Johnann George Rexrode and Margaret Elizabeth Hevener. Mr. Eye's book indicates that information for this particular branch of the family is based on records at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Sugar Grove, WV.
Henry Rexroad/Rexrode (1778-1860) is shown by Mr. Eye's book to be an uncle of Zachariah Rexroad. Henry Rexroad and Zachariah's father, Johnann George Rexroad, were the sons of Johannes Zacharias Rexroade (1725-1799).
Zachariah and Sarah (Hoffman) Rexroad had 11 children. Jeremiah died young. Noah Rexroad married Matilda Mullenax. Mary Rexroad married a cousin, Harmon Rexroad. Addison Rexroad married Catherine Sinnett. Henry Rexroad married Lucinda Rexroad a cousin. Lewis Rexroad married Mary Mullenax. Zebulon Rexroad, married Phebe Sinnett. Abigail Rexroad married James Moyers. Jehu Rexroad married a woman named Jane. Morgan Rexroad married a woman named Mary. Sarah Margaret Rexroad married John Osborne.
Henry S. Rexroad (1806-1894) was a nephew of Henry Rexroad (1778-1860) and a first cousin of Johnann Zachariah Rexroad (1791-1877). He married a woman named Elizabeth and they settled in Ritchie County. The couple had one child, a daughter named Phebe.
Another family closely related to the Rexroads was the Moyers family, whose settlement here began about 1849. Mary Rexroad (whose father's name is unknown) married Lewis Moyers in Pendleton County about 1807. Five of their nine children settled in Ritchie County.
James Moyers married Abigail Rexroad and settled on Den Run. Their children were: Charles, Edmond, James, and Sarah Catherine (Mrs. Phineas Randolph Tharp).
Sarah Moyers married Peter Simmons. Their children were Phebe (Mrs. Amos Jones), Mahala (Mrs. Jacob Crummett, Jr.), Aaron Simmons, Abigail, Mary (Mrs. A. W. Zickafoose), and Sarah (who married A. W. Zickafoose, probably after her sister's death)
Note: Peter Simmons (4/12/1801-4/6/1884) married April 11,1829 Sarah Moyers (4/4/1810- 12/28/1897).
Phebe Simmons(2/12/1833-3/30/1897) married August 27, 1854 Amos Jones. Their children were: Peter M., Sarah C., Mary A., Samuel Jones.
Mahala Simmons (4/15/1835-4/26/1924) married May 19, 1853 Jacob Crummett. Their children were: George Franklin, Simon Peter, Martin Jacob, Margaret E. Crummett.
Aaron Simmons (1838-10/19/1924) married August 11, 1859 Phebe Rexroad. Their children: John Edward, Andrew Lincoln, Peter M., Charley, James, Mary, Sophia Simmons.
Aaron Simmons (1838-1924) married October 25, 1882 Sarah Webb Hammer. Their children were: Jettie Matilda, William A. Simmons. Abigail died in youth.
Mary M. Simmons (1843-1899) married July 27, 1865 Asbury W. Zickafoose. Their children were: Edward S., William P., Elva S., Emma, Ida J., Sarah P., Frank, Nettie, Della Zickafoose.
Sidney Simmons (1843- ) married December 13, 1866 William Jordan: Their children were: Ida, Noah, Calvin, Andrew, Peter Jordan.
Sarah Susan Simmons
Phebe Moyers married Jacob Hammer. Their children were Leonard, Lewis, George, Sarah, (Mrs. T. Benton Rexroad), Phebe (Mrs. M. I. Hill), Samuel, Jacob, Mary (Mrs. Peter Zickafoose), and Louisa (Mrs. Laird Friedley).
Sidney Moyers married Adam Dale Hammer, and according to Mr. Eye's book, they lived in Ritchie County in 1880. Their children were: Lucy, Mary, Balser, Sarah, Adam, Jacob, and Peter.
Peter Moyers married Sarah Louisa Rexroad. Their children were: Lewis, Frank, Elllsworth, Grant, Charles, and Mary (Mrs. Samuel Moats).
Lowther's History says that Frances Rexroad who married Thomas Hoover was a sister of Zachariah Rexroad. However Walter Eye's book shows her among the ?unplaced" Rexroads. At any rate, Frances and her husband Thomas Hoover (1808-1888) were Ritchie County pioneers who settled on Indian Creek about 1844. Their children were: William, Michael, Daniel, Washington, Charles, Henry, Jacob, Jane, Noah, and Mary.
Uriah Shrader (1836-1904) came from Pendleton County in the 1850's. In 1858 he married Mary Elizabeth Layfield. Their children were: Phebe (1859-1885), and Jacob Uriah Shrader (1865- 1929).
David Shrader (1843-1932) was a brother of Uriah Shrader. David married Hannah Moats in 1867. Their children were: Samuel, Elizabeth, Henry, Jane (Mrs. Hubbard), Anna (Mrs. Ross), James Edward, Lucretia (Mrs. Bert Boston), Eliza, Alcinda Grace (Mrs. B. M. Cowell), and Lydia.
Several members of the Simmons family came from Pendleton County. John W. Simmons married Elizabeth Hourhood and settled Devil Hole. Abraham Simmons married Mary Mullenax and settled on Indian Creek in 1849. His brother Peter Simmons married Sarah Moyers and settled on Dog Run in 1855.
Another early settler was Sampson Zickafoose who married Sarah Wade.
Also from Pendleton County were Amos Jones and his wife Phebe Simmons (daughter of Peter Simmons) who settled on Indian Creek. Their children were: Peter, Samuel, Katherine (Mrs. Lee Parker), and Delia.
The histories of these families may be read in the writings of Minnie Kendall Lowther, History of Ritchie County and Ritchie County in History and Romance.
A brief survey of the 1850 census of Ritchie County discloses that names of other early settlers who appear to be of German descent, while two heads of households were actually born in Germany.
Jacob Ehret, a shoemaker, was 45 years old. While Ehret and his 45-year-old wife Hannah were born in Germany, their children, ages eighteen to one, were American by birth.
William Ehret, a 19-year-old farmer, was an adult son of Jacob and Hannah. He was living in his own household with a wife and child. Like his parents, William was born in Germany.
The following names were listed as heads of households in the 1850 census. They were probably all of German descent: John Coonrod, Henry Copenhaver, John Copenhaver, Reuben Eye, Alex Goff, Alex Goff, Jr., Benjamin Goff, Stauther Goff, Thomas Goff, Andrew Hostetter, David Hostetter, John Hostetter, John Hostetter, Jr., Isaac Lambert, Joseph Lambert, Jacob Lantz, Simon Lantz, Frederick Lemon, George Lemon, James Lemon, Thomas Reitz, Eleven Riddle, Eli Riddle, Jefferson Sigler, Hiram Sharpnack, John Sharpnack, William Sharpnack, Joseph Varner, Catherine Weimer, Jacob Westfall, Joel Westfall, John Westfall, Elijah Wigner, Henry Wigner, Jacob Wigner, Jacob Wigner, Jr., John Wigner, William Wigner, George Zinn, Granville Zinn, John Zinn, Otho Zinn, and Quilla Zinn.