Hardesty's History of Wirt County


Burning Springs district is bounded on the north by Clay dis- 
trict and Ritchie county, east by Calhoun county, south by Spring
Creek district, and west by Reedy and Elizabeth districts. The
soil is a mixture of clay and sand, with occasional deposits of
what is locally known as limestone soil. Limestone exists in
considerable quantities, some two or three kilns having been
burned upon the waters of Chestnut run. It is used for building 
purposes, and also as a fertilizer. A vein of bituminous coal,
about eighteen inches in thickness, underlies the district. Sev-
eral efforts to develop it have been made near  the town of
Burning Springs, but with little success. More anon of the oil

The Little Kanawha river flows in a northwest direction
through the central part of the district and receives the streams
watering the northern and southern parts on either side. Stand-
ing Stone creek rises in the northeast part of the district, and
flows northwest through Clay and Newark, and discharges its
waters into the Little Kanawha. Straight creek flows nearly
north and empties into the Kanawha. It is about seven miles
long. Burning Spring run flows southwest through the town
of Burning Springs, and flows into the Kanawha. Chestnut run
has its course in a southwest direction and also flows into the

Sandy Henderson, Jockey Henderson, and Reuben Dye, were
the first actual settlers in this district, but the writer has been
unable to ascertain the date of their settlement. Jockey Hender-
son built the first cabin; it stood near the present town of
Burning Springs, on the farm upon which Harrison now (1883)
resides. George Owens, Willis Owens and William Prigmore 
were the next pioneers who sought and found homes in this 
then illimitable wilderness. They all came prior to the year 
1810, for in that year William and John Petty located and found 
at that time all of the foregoing named persons then settled in 
their cabin homes.

The first grist mill was erected by William and John Petty at
Burning Springs in the year 1833. The building was a frame,
constructed of hewn timber; the machinery was propelled by
water. It is claimed by some that Reuben Dye and Alexander
Henderson built a small mill, known as the "corn cracker,"
before the erection of the mill by the Pettys but the investiga-
tion of the writer leads him to the conclusion that it was not
built until two or three years after. Long before either, how-
ever, there were hand mills belonging to several families. The 
first saw mill was also built by the Pettys ; it was the old "sash 
saw" pattern, and was attached to the grist mill. 

The first school was taught by John Morehead in a small log
cabin which stood on the farm now owned by Luther Owens, in
the year 1820. The same year the first building designed for
school purposes was erected. It was built on the plan of all
the early frontier school houses, about eighteen by twenty feet
square, a puncheon floor; a huge fire-place, eight or ten feet in
length, occupied one end, while the other was taken up with a
window made by chopping out a log, and then employing greased
paper instead of glass. The seats were made by splitting small
logs in halves and then inserting pins for legs in the oval sides.
This primeval "temple of learning" stood about three miles
northwest of the present town of Burning Springs. There are
now five good frame school buildings, exclusive of the inde-
pendent district of Burning Springs, in which competent teachers 
are employed, and paid by a tax levied upon $111,000 worth of 
real and personal property.

The first sermon was preached by a man of the name of John
Drake in the year 1813, on the farm now owned by V. D. Rey-
nolds, but no organization was effected until the year 1833, when
a Methodist congregation was collected at what has since been
known as the Rector church, near the town of Burning Springs.

The second church organized was the Mount Pleasant Baptist 
Church, in the year 1858; it is now known as the Burning Springs 
Baptist Church.

There are at present three churches in the district, viz: The
Baptist at Burning Springs; they have a frame building with a
seating capacity of 300, and a membership of 60. The pastor is
the Rev. M.B. Edmondson.

The Burning Springs Methodist Episcopal Church is a frame 
building in which 300 can be seated; the membership is 30. 
G. W. Grimes is the present pastor.

The Protestant Methodist have an organization at the Ruble
church -a hewed log building 18x24; membership 20. Rev. Price 
is pastor.

The first Sabbath-school was organized by Alexander Beaty
and Samuel Thornton, at the Beaty Church, in the year 1859.
There are three in the district at present: The school in connec-
tion with the Baptist church at Burning Springs, of which
A. D. Cain is superintendent, and in which John R. Owens,
J. T. Cain, Nancy McCune and M. V. Howard are teachers. The
Methodist Episcopal school at Burning Springs: I. K. Fortney
is the present superintendent, and J. R. Pell, A. T. Gay, Mrs.
I. K. Fortney, Mrs. Rittenhouse and Miss Wetzel are the teachers.
Of the Union school at Cedar Hill, John McFee is superintendent,
and Mason Owens and Sarah McFee are teachers.

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