About a half mile above the Harpold ford, or a little more, a small run comes into Mill Creek from the right. It comes down out of the hills and flows across a sort of second bottom or table land for about the same distance that it extends back into the hills, at something like half way between the base of the hill and the creek, it is joined by a branch from the left, and up this branch runs the Charleston Pike, as probably did the old pack trail.
On this run, out a short distance from the creek, it is said, in the spring of 1811, Thomas Carney accompanied by his family and his father, John Carney, built his cabin home. He owned at one time a large tract of the Mill Creek bottoms, reaching nearly or quite up to the mouth of Tug Fork.
John Carney is said to have been a soldier in the Revolutionary War in the East, and to have lost two sons in the American Army. One account says Thomas Carney was in the Patriot Army also, but he would have been but fifteen when peace was proclaimed, so I think it doubtful if it be correct.
Professor Mix, County Superintendent of Upshur County, in 1904, writes:
"Just thirty years after the Pringle brothers began their pioneer life in the hollow of the sycamore tree standing on the south bank, near the mouth of Turkey Run, Mr. Haddox, in a primitive log cabin, near the mouth of Radcliff's Run, taught the first school in the bounds of the present county of Upshur." This would make the date 1794.
Our reliable informer also tells us the names of some who attended this first school.
Adam, Daniel and George Carper of present site of Buckhannon.
Tingles, Finks and Hyres of Fink's Run.
All these names are represented in the history of Jackson, Roane, Wood and Wirt counties. The above is quoted, as it is valuable to show where many of our pioneers first lived, but there is apparently a grievous mistake as to the date, though the "thirty" years may be a misprint, and twenty the number intended.
Again, the Professor says the date of Mr. Haddox's school was just nine months after Washington left the White House. This would make it December, 1797, instead of 1794, as he first states. From this, I conclude Professor Mix is very much mixed, as to dates.
We will suppose 1784 to be not far wrong, and this is the first mention of Thomas Carney, long one of the leading citizens of Jackson County.
Thomas Carney, son of John Carney, was born, says one informant, "in the Shanado' valley, on the Buckhannon River." It is not unlikely that he was born on the Shenandoah River, and came from there to the Buckhannon. He was of Irish stock, as the name fully shown.
A quaint inscription on an old fashioned flag headstone by a neglected grave in the Mount Clavary cemetery, half way between the site of the cabins of John Harpold and Thomas Carney, reads:
In Memory of
Born October the 15
1768 and departed
this life Oct the 19th 1746
age 78 years and 4 days
Thomas Carney was eight years a "spy" or Indian Scout for the State of Virginia.
Many were the adventures and exciting incidents he met with during his service, a few of which have been preserved among his posterity. On one occasion, it is related, while out with another man on a hunting or scouting expedition somewhere in the eastern part of the state, they lay down at night in the forest to sleep, some twenty paces apart. Awaking in the night, he heard a peculiar noise which, as he overcame the first confusion of thought caused by the sudden arousing from sound slumber, he made out to be like that of men running. Springing up, he saw, by the light of the moon, which was shining dimly through the woods, his companion disappearing among the trees, closely pursued by an Indian with uplifted tomahawk. Carney fled in the opposite direction and came into the fort the next day, finding his comrade had arrived the night before.
He had escaped from his enemy by bounding over a narrow gully he had come to in his headlong flight, while his pursuer, intent on the scalp of the fleeing fugitive, had not noticed the obstruction in time to check himself or to leap over it, but, running over the top of the bluff, fell into the ravine and was unable to make his way out before the man had made good his escape.
Another time, while out on a hunting expedition, in the afternoon it commenced raining, getting worse and worse, a prolonged steady drizzle. Toward night, he and his companion, finding a large shelving rock in a gulch, crawled under to pass the night, thoroughly wet and miserable.
In the night, they heard a noise like someone crawling in the leaves. Thinking it might be Indians, they managed to secure their dog and keep him as quiet as possible. Meanwhile, alert and watchful for development, they could hear whatever it was, moving through the leaves a few paces, then stop "and parley like" (as my informant quaintly put it), presently going on again slowly and cautiously. This it did until it had completely compassed the cave two or three times. Sometimes it would come out on top of the rock over them. Finally, having completely investigated the surroundings, it came up on the entrance of the cave, and, just as they saw the form of a large wolf silhouetted against the sky, made a spring for the dog, which they promptly turned loose to meet the attack.
Thomas Carney and a party, it is related, followed some Indians who had raided the Buckhannon Settlements and driven off a number of horses. The scouts who were under the command of a man named White, came on evening to a large over jutting rock, under which hunting parties sometimes encamped, and being close upon the Indians, they approached the spot cautiously, lest the Indians should be concealed nearby.
Finding the coast clear, they concluded to go into camp until morning. So, after preparing their evening meal, they set pickets and laid down under the shelter of the rock for the night.
This place was known as Hughes's Rock, after the celebrated Indian fighter, Jesse Hughes, and was situated at the site of the present town of Spencer.
Next morning, they started early and soon came to the abandoned night camp of the enemy, a mile or so down the creek.
There was among the scouts a young man who wore a military coat with brass buttons. Captain White warned him to pull the showy garment off, as they were very near the enemy and might be fired on from ambush at any moment, and his showy garment so strongly contrasted with coarse hunting shirts of his companions would render him a conspicuous target for their rifles.
The youth replied they would shoot the first man they saw, anyhow, and refused to remove the coat.
A little farther on, they came to where the Indians had crossed the stream, and the water was still muddy from the crossing of the animals. White again urged the young man to take off his coat, but without effect. Two hundred yards further, as they were advancing slowly and cautiously, they were fired upon by the Indians, ambushed among the laurels on a nearby point. The imprudent youth fell at the first fire, pierced by seven bullets, though none of the others was seriously hurt.
Springing behind trees, the scouts returned the fire vigorously, shooting for where they saw the puffs of smoke rise among the laurels. Soon the invisible foe retired, and an examination of their hiding place showed a considerable quantity of blood, but if any were killed or wounded, they were carried off by their friends in their retreat. After following a short distance, the whites returned and buried the body of their unfortunate comrade. First cutting out a grave with their hatchets, they felled a lynn tree and cutting off a section, split in to puncheons, two of which were set on edge in the bottom of the grave, and the body being placed between them, was covered with slabs. When completed, the grave was heaped with stones to keep away the wild beasts, and the party returned to the settlements.
Another incident tells that some time after Granny Carney's marriage, she lived two miles from the fort. Her father would not let any of her people stay with her, saying one was enough to lose.
Once, while by herself, Carney being off on a scout, Indians having been reported in the vicinity, she became frightened and went out, and climbing up into an apple tree, concealed herself among the leaves. Presently, she saw two men with red handkerchiefs tied over their heads, as a signal of danger, come running to the cabin, and not finding her, after some search, came out and soon striking her trail, followed her to the tree, one of the men her brother, Captain Billy Parsons, called her down and hastened with her to the fort.
Another time, a cow came up in the evening, frightened nearly to death and bloody, Polly Carney took her two little children and hurried to the fort. Next morning, investigation showed that some wild animal had torn off the cow's tail.
"Granny" Carney used to relate that the Indians raided the settlement and killed a family not far from the Buckhannon fort.
A party which went to the scene of the disaster found a child which had been tomahawked and scalped, and left for dead.
Seeing there was still life in the little body, they conveyed it to the fort. The child so far recovered as to call for something, though no one could understand what it said. Next day, its grandmother, an old German woman, came into the fort. She asked the child what it wanted in that language, and it replied in the same, that it wanted milk, which was furnished. It had been calling for milk in "Dutch", and none present understood it. It only lived a few days.
Thomas Carney's wife, Polly Carney, was a sister of Captain Billy Parsons. She was born on New Year's Day, in 1773, married perhaps about 1793, and died on December 4th 1863, aged ninety years, eleven months and three days.
She lies by the side of her husband in the beautiful Harpold graveyard, overlooking the farm on which she so long resided.
When Carney came to Mill Creek, he is said to have owned the bottom lands from the Bonnet farm to and including the Keenan farm, a mile and half above.
As game grew scarcer, he became dissatisfied, and sold off or divided his land among his sons, and he moved to Reedy.
He may have moved to Reedy about 1830, or a little earlier. There is on record at Ripley, a deed dated April 14th, 1830, in which Henry Clark and wife convey to Thomas Carney of Wood County, two hundred acres, being a part of a tract of land purchased by them of William Tucker and sold to William B Reynolds, apparently not paid for by Reynolds.
This Reynolds lived on the Kanawha River, below Charleston.
William Roach bought two hundred acres of Reynolds, where he lived, and the Moss farm was one hundred fifty acres. Carney's land was at the mouth of Staat's Run.
On April 22, 1833, Thomas Carney gave Charles Carney a Deed of Trust to secure payment of $1,100.00 on one hundred forty acres on the east side of Mill Creek, with George Casto as Trustee, and on the 24th of Mar, 1834, for a further consideration of $1.00, made a full Warranty deed for same.
Thomas Carney raised a family of five sons and eight daughters, most of whom married and settled in Jackson county, and raised large families of their own, so that now hundreds of the citizens of Jackson and Roane Counties trace their ancestry back to Thomas and Polly Carney.
Jesse Carney was born in what is now Upshur County, February 23rd, 1797, and died at his home on Mill Creek, July 31st, 1879. He married Sarah Greene, of Mason County, a sister of Neddy Greene of Grass Lick.
Sarah Greene was born in 1798, died September 16th, 1869. They are buried in the Harpold cemetery overlooking the fine farm which was once their home.
This farm laid on the left side of Mill Creek, below the Chase Mills, and the house stood near the bank of the creek at the ford below Charles Carneys. Back from the creek to the foot of the hill slope which ascends very gradually is eight five poles, and in 1905 the field behind the house had been tended in corn and when cut the corn had been shocked in double rows for seeding purposes, about eight by sixteen hills, and one row contained over one hundred shocks.
It is one of the finest pieces of bottomland in Jackson County. On the Windon place, near Chase's Mill, was a field of forty acres, all creek bottom.
Maria Carney was one of the oldest of the children of Thomas Carney. She grew to womanhood, but died unmarried.
Charles Carney may have been older than Jesse. He married Elizabeth Greene, who died November 28th, 1867, aged sixty one years, ten months.
He lived on the home farm, near where Joseph McCoy afterward lived, and was at one time one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Jackson County.
Overtaken by adversity, he lost his farm, and moved up the creek to the old Rollins farm, at the mouth of Tug Fork. Later he sold that also, or had it sold from him, and lived in the vicinity of Sissonville.
Spencer Carney was the youngest son.
He took a ten year lease of Fisher, on the Badget farm, on the Middle Fork of Reedy, and lived there eight years. He sold the lease and went to Indiana.
He had fourteen children, all grown before he moved.
William Carney married Margaret Bonnet. He appears to have first lived below the Harpold ford, and later to have moved to the Middle Fork, or somewhere else on Poca Waters or, as it is vaguely expressed "out toward Charleston".
Mizraim Carney married Joseph Stout, and lived on Parchment, on what is known as Cox's Fork.
Malinda Carney married Peter P. Thomas, who came from Pennsylvania. He lived on the Middle Fork of Poca, three miles below Kentuck. Squire William Thomas, at present a Justice in Washington District, was her son.
John Carney lived on Left Reedy near Reedyville, died, and was the first person buried in the Crislip graveyard.
Afterward, his widow married a Shinn, Charles Shinn, of Station Camp is her son.
Anna Carney was three times married. Her first husband was Cornelius Staats, son of Abraham Staats. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and was killed. He left two children, Isaac, father of Enoch Staats, and Polly, who married James Chancey.
His widow married William R Randolph, who also died, leaving one son, William R. Randolph, who died in the Union Army.
Anna Carney wedded as her third husband, Enoch Thomas. They raised several children. He lived at the Chase farm above Jess Carney's and owned the mill.
At the bend in Mill Creek, where it strikes the base of Salt Lick Hill and turns sharply to the right, there are many rocks and a considerable fall in the stream in a short distance, furnishing an excellent water power, and it was here Enoch Thomas erected a mill, the first on Mill Creek above Ripley. Later it passed into the hands of John Bumgardner, whose people lived in Mason County. Bumgardner owned the mill in 1841, when his son was born.
About fifty years ago, he moved to the lower waters of the Middle Fork of Poca, where his sons John, Jack and "Peeky" still reside.
Enoch Thomas was drowned in Mill Creek, just above Ripley. Mrs. Thomas's three husbands are said to have been buried in the old burying ground at Ripley, side by side.
Hannah Carney married Levi Casto, son of William Casto, and lived in the bend of the creek, above Harpold ford, where C.C. Casto now resides. She was the mother of a large family.
Sketches of the remaining Carney children will be given in the history of Reedy.
A more detailed account of the Carney family follows:
Thomas Carney was a son of John Carney, was born Octover 15th, 1768, and died October 19th, 1846. He married Polly Parsons, a sister of Captain Billy Parsons. She was born January 1st, 1773 and died December 4th, 1863. Their children were:
Maria Carney, died unmarried.
Jesse Carney, married Sally Greene.
Charles Carney, married Betsey Greene.
William Carney, married Margaret Bonnet.
John Carney, married a widow Shinn.
Delilah Carney, married William Roach. She was born in 1800 and died in 1884.
Malinda Carney, married Peter P. Thomas.
Anna Carney, married Enoch Thomas.
Spencer Carney, married Sally Hyde.
Peggy Carney, married John Staats. She was born in 1820 and died in 1881.
Dorcas Carney, married John Brown. She was born in 1816 and died in 1897.
Massy Carney married Joseph Stout.
Hannah Carney married Levi Casto.
Enoch Carney, born in 1811, died in 1833, was probably a son of Thomas Carney.
Jesse Carney was born in February 23rd, 1797, and died July 31st, 1879. He married Sarah Greene, who was born in 1806 and died in 1867. Their children were:
Miriam Carney, married Arle Dewitt, a son of one of the pioneers of Belleville.
Mozraim "Massy" Carney, married Joseph Stout. Their children were:
Tommy Stout, married Minerva Casto
Mary Stout, married Jim Rhodes.
Mazella Stout, married Jim Lesher, a brother of John C Lesher.
A daughter married George Stewart.
Henry Nelson Stout was born in 1845. He married L. E. Grant, of Portsmouth, Ohio. Perna Stout was their child.
Malinda Carney married Peter Thomas. Their children were:
Spencer Carney married Sally Hyde. Their children were:
Tom Carney who lived at Portland, Ohio.
Jane Carney married Patton Carder.
Anna Carney married Enoch Thomas. Their children were:
Duck Thomas who was Justice of the Peace.
George Thomas, who was a preacher.
Hiram Thomas, who was a preacher.
Hannah Carney married Levi Casto. Among their children were:
Dr. "Abe" Casto, of Sandyville.
Francis Asbury Casto.
George B. Casto.
Erilla Dorcas Casto, who married Jacob Hyre, Jr. She died when nineteen, and is buried at Mount Calvary.
As before mentioned, the Thomas Mill was located at the bend of the creek. After Thomas's death, the mill became the property of Henry Chase.
This sketch taken from "Pioneers of Jackson County", by John House, it appears in the section "Heart of Mill Creek"