Hardesty's History of Wirt County


Is bounded north by Newark, east by Burning Springs, south by
Reedy, and west by Tucker. The Little Kanawha river flows
through it in a northwestern direction, dividing it into two 
unequal parts. Reedy creek flows north, then east, and empties
into the Kanawha a short distance above


The history of which is the history of the district. This town
is the county seat of Wirt county. It is situated on the left bank 
of the Little Kanawha, distant by river from Parkersburg thirty-
one miles, but only twenty-one by land. It is in north latitude
39deg., 4min., and west longitude, from Washington, 3deg.,
26min.; from Greenwich, 79deg., 26min.; its mean elevation
above sea level is 659 feet. The location is one of the most beau-
tiful occupied by a county-seat in the State.

As elsewhere stated William Beauchamp was the first settler
at this place, and was most probably the first in the Little Kan-
awha valley; he came in 1796 and built his cabin the same year.
David Beauchamp and Charles Rockhold came in the year 1799;
all three were actual settlers. The next year (1800) Ezikel
McFarland came on and erected his cabin near the site of the
present town. The Beauchamps built a grist mill in 1803, and
from that time until 1817 the place was known upon the map of
Virginia as Beauchamps Mills; but in the latter year the name
was changed to Elizabeth in honor of the wife of David Beau-
champ, her maiden name having been Elizabeth Woodyard. A
man of the name of James Davis built the second house on the
site where the town now stands; it stood upon the lot now owned
by John Foster. "In 1817," says our informant who came in
that year, "there were but six log cabins in the place."

The first merchant was a Mr. Shacklett who opened a stock of
goods in 1818, but he was succeeded in 1820 by a man of the
name of Hiram Buell, who thus became the second merchant.

The first two-story house in the place was erected in 1816, but
did not receive the roof until 1817. The first hewed log house
was erected in 1817 by George Rockenbaugh; the logs were all
pine; it stood upon the lot now owned by Dr. B. H. Hall. The
first election was held in 1817; the place was then a precinct of
Wood county. Mr. Rockenbaugh was the first blacksmith; he
began work the same year that he built his house. The first 
school in the town was taught by a Mr. Marsh in 1820; he opened
the first hotel in the place in the same year. He was succeeded
in the school by John Boils, who in turn was succeeded, in 1822,
by James Heaton. Samuel Foley opened a hotel in 1829, and
Samuel Coe opened another in 1830. Dr. Riggs was the first 
physician. Just when he located the writer is unable to say, but 
it is known that he was here in 1817. Dr. Jett was the second; 
he came in 1831. Dr. James A. Williamson was the third; he 
located in 1836. Then came Dr. John Truman, the fourth, in 
1842. The first sermon was preached in 1800 by the Rev. Lastley 
Mathews of the Baltimore M. E. Conference, but no organization
was perfected until 1809, when a society consisting of the follow-
ing named members was instituted: James Davis, Dorcas Davis,
David Beauchamp, Elizabeth Beauchamp, William Dyer, Eliza-
beth Dyer, Sylvester Barnes and wife, Robert Barnes, Jane
Barnes, Mary Barnes and Charles Riggs. This was the first
church organized upon the banks of the Little Kanawha river.

The land upon which the town now stands belonged originally
to William Beauchamp and Thomas Tavener, and what is now
Court street was the line between the two estates; in 1852 this
line was indicated by a "staked and ridered" fence which 
extended at that time from one end of what is now the street to
the other.


Located at Elizabeth, was organized January 4, 1883, by O. G. 
Scofield, D.G.D., of Parkersburg, under a dispensation from the
Grand Lodge of West Virginia. The first and present officers
are W. V. Vernon , P. D.; O. C. Morris, D.; Alexander Morrow,
V. D.; William Bissett, A. D.; M. H.. Shirtz, C. and T.; Dr. R.
H. Thaw, guide and medical examiner; M. M. Rockhold, reporter
and guide; and D. C. Casto, F. R. All of the foregoing, together
with C. M. Wells, C. E. Vandevender and E. W. Hale, were
charter members. Meets first and third Tuesday of each month
in the court house.

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