History of Ritchie County
The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie County" written
by Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.
Transcribed by Janet Waite.
The Discovery of Ritchie County
As we look with so much pleasure and admiration upon the smiling valley and sunny hill-tops that
surround our rural homes, it sounds like a fairy-tale to be told that a little more than a
century and a quarter ago, this beautiful landscape was one vast unbroken wilderness--the lair
of wild beasts, and the home of the savage Red man. But--
"The Red man is no more, The pale-faced stranger stands alone, Upon the river's shore."
Tradition, as well as history, tells us that the first "pale-faced strangers" that ever trod the
"Little Kanawha" and Hughes river valleys and stood within the present bounds of Ritchie county,
were Colonel William Lowther and Jesse and Elias Hughes.
It was in the year 1772, when the glorious touch of autumn was on every bush and tree, that this
brave trio set out on their long and perilous expedition which was destined to result in the
discovery of what is now the prosperous little County of Ritchie.
Leaving the place where Clarksburg now stands, they steered their course up the West Fork of the
Monongahela river to its head waters, and, crossing over the dividing ridge near the present
site of Weston, pursued their journey down Sand creek to its confluence with the Little Kanawha.
Here they found a beautiful mountain river upon which the eye of civilized man had, perhaps,
never before rested, and being filled with delight at this discovery, and lured on by their
desire to explore, to penetrate this dense wilderness, and to find the destination of this river,
they followed its tortuous course, its meanderings like a "silver thread"- naming the
tributaries as they passed along.
The general course of the first one that appeared suggested a more direct route from the point
near Weston to the river they were exploring, than the one down Sand creek, and they named it
"Leading creek". Cedars adorned the banks of the next stream and they called it "Cedar creek".
Then one came out from beneath stately pines, and "Pine creek" was the name given to it. High
banks of yellow clay marked the mouth of another, giving rise to the name of "Yellow creek" -
which is to-day so far famed for its richness in oil. After this came a tributary "stretching
far away among the hills" - a long line of its course being visible, and the name "Straight
creek" was bestowed upon it. From toward the evening sun flowed another, which suggested the
name of "West Fork". And from the cool limpid waters of another, they quenched their thirst
and it has ever since borne the name of "Spring creek".
Little did these pioneers of civilization dream that before a century had passed away, this
region was destined to give birth to what is to-day one of the richest resources of our
Commonwealth. Scarcely less credible is the romancer's story of the powerful magic wand of
"Aladin's Lamp" than the one that historian has woven about "Burning Springs".
In August 1860, when the news went out from this place that the greatest petroleum-producing
field then known to the world had here been discovered, the population of this entire vicinity
was less than a score, and six months later, on that memorable April morn when the whole country
was startled by the firing on Fort Sumpter, it numbered not fewer than six thousand persons.
Capitalists and adventurers from every quarter of the globe flocked to this "Eldorado", and
immense fortunes came and went in a single day. This was the beginning of the oil industry in
our state. And though the population of this region once numbered eighteen thousand, it has now
almost returned to "its primitive wilderness".
After "Spring creek" came another tributary to which the name "Reedy" was applied. And at some
distance below upon the bank of a small stream, a huge stone was found standing erect, and
"Standing Stone creek" has ever since been familiar to the inhabitant of the Little Kanawha
Farther down a beautiful river united its "gently murmering tide" with the Kanawha, and Jesse
Hughes claimed the privilege of conferring his own name upon it. His companions made no protest
and the mane of "Hughes river" has ever since occupied a place on the maps of the "Little
Mountain State". In 1789, an effort was made to have the name changed to that of "Junius", but
the aged citizens still mindful of the debt of gratitiude that was due the brave discoverers,
refused to listen to such a change.
Up this river, whose name is so familiar to us all, and upon whose beloved banks so many of our
childish feet have loitered, "looking for the spring flowers wild", these weary travelers
continued their explorations, and soon a stream of some magnitude came to view in which flocks
of wild geese were bathing, and the name "Goose creek" at once suggested these were designated
as the North and the South forks of Hughes river; and as they proceeded up the South fork, they
discovered a small stream overhung by walnut trees, and it was called "Walnut creek" until 1784,
when Col. Lowther, with a company of men, surprised the Indians on this creek, and a battle
ensued in which five red men and a white boy were killed, and ever since that time it has been
known as "Indian creek". The only stream mentioned that does not retain its original name.
After the discovery of Indian creek, these explorers retraced their foot steps to the Kanawha
river and continued its descent, and 'ere long the mouth of a stream filled with slate rose
before their vision, and the name "Slate creek" was appropriated to it. And shortly after this,
the goal for which they had covered so many weary miles was in sight; the mouth of the river had
been reached, and this little band stood upon the bank of the bold Ohio, perhaps, among the
first Englishmen that ever set foot upon the site that is now marked by the interesting city of
Parkersburg; and from here the homeward march began, and in due time they reached the point from
which they had started, having made the way possible for the "settlements of the now beautiful
and populous valleys of these two rivers".
This little historical drama would hardly be complete without a word in regard to the identity
of the heroic actors who were instrumental in bringing it about, and of them we shall now speak:
THE LOWTHERS. - "Lowther" is a very old name in the land beyond the deep. It is supposed to be
of Norman or French origin, and its primitive spelling was "Loutre", or "Louthre" - meaning
otter or native; and in the ancient chronicles of the family (in the "Old World") it is said to
be frequently met with in this form to-day. But, however this may have been, they came over to
England with William the Conqueror, from Normandy in France, during the autumn of 1066, and have
ever since laid claim to Brittish soil, though (from here) they have scattered to Ireland and to
various other climes. They are distinctively connected with the North of England, where they own
large possessions to-day.
Sir William Lowther was the prime minister of William the III, about the year 1695, and was
subsequently created first Viscount of Lonsdale; and Sir James Lowther, a very well-known member
of the family, who married the daughter of Lord Bute (the first prime minister of George the III
), was made the first Earl of Lonsdale, near 1760, and the present Earl (of Lonsdale) in his
Another head of the family, William, Earl of Lonsdale, was Postmaster-General and President of
the Council in the second Beaconsfield's first government in 1866; and the Honorable William
Lowther, who still survives at the age of eighty-eight years, occupied a seat in the House of
Commons, from Westmoreland county, for a quarter of a century, and his son, the Right Honorable
James William Lowther (to whom we are indebted for this information), has been in Parliament for
twenty-seven years, and is now th speaker of the House of Commons.
All down the centuries the name has been associated with the public affairs of Great Britain,
and John Langton Sanford and Meredith Townsend in their "Great Governing Families of England",
say: "The history of the Lowthers is that of immense and almost unbroken civil success. Though
they date from the earliest feudal period and possess to this time a power more nearly feudal
than that of any other family in England, except the Perceys and the Wynnes, they would be
defined on the continent as belonging rather to the peerage of "the robe" than the nobility of
the sword. A race of proud, sensitive, and singularly efficient men, they have filled high
offices as lawyers, battled bravely as politicians, and performed, once or twice, good service
as ministers of the State. From 1300, for five hundred years, there never sat a parliament which
was not attended by a Lowther or a Lowther's direct nominee".
The first record that we have of the family in the Western world is in the Pennsylvania colony,
on October 22 and 23, 1681, when William Penn granted five thousand acres of land to William
Lowther and his sister, Margaret, near "Simpson Tract". They were the son and the daughter of
Armstrong Lowther, of York county, England, and their mother was a sister of William Penn.
William married Kathrine Preston, and had a son, Thomas Lowther. Margaret became Mrs. Benjamin
Poole, and their daughter was Mrs. Richard Nicholson.
But Col. William Lowther was not a lineal descendant of this Pennsylvania family, as some
mistakenly think. His parents, Robert and Aquilla Reese Lowther, crossed to America
(from Ireland) near the year 1738, and settled in Albermarle county, Virginia. They later
removed to the South Branch of the Potomac river, in what is now the Eastern Panhandle of this
State, and finally to Hacker's creek, where their lives came to a close.(?)
They had quite a family of children, but only part of their names are at our command; viz. Thomas,
Henry, Jonathan, Joel and William.
Thomas and Jonathan were killed by the Indians. Henry returned to his home in Albermarle county,
after lending a hand in the erection of the early forts in Harrison county. Joel probably died
in Harrison county, where he settled, and William is the hero of this drama.
COL. WILLIAM LOWTHER was born in Albermarle county, Virginia, in 1742, not long after the arrival
of the family in the colonies; and in his early twenties, he was married to Miss Sudna Hughes,
sister of Jesse and Elias, the marriage taking place at the home of the Hughes, on the South
branch of the Potomac, in what is now Hardy county, near the year 1763; and here, not far from
the beautiful old town of Moorefield, they established their home and remained until they
removed to Harrison county, in June, 1773. The date of their removal being marked by the birth
of their fourth son, Jesse, who is said to have come upon the stage just six weeks after the
family reached their new home (in Harrison county), and his natal day was July 21, 1773.
Col. Lowther had, however, figured in the erection of Simpson's fort, near eight miles below
Clarksburg, and West's fort, near Jane Lew, before this time. He played an important part, too,
in the construction of the "Old Nutter" fort, near Clarksburg, ruins of which still mark the
He soon became distinguished for his fearlessness as a frontiersman, and for his unselfish
devotion to the welfare of the colonists; was one of the most capable defenders of the settlement
in the war of 1774 (and subsequently) and many a successful expedition did he lead against the
enemy. He was the first Justice of the Peace in the district of West Augusta; the first Sheriff
of Harrison and Wood Counties, and was at one time a member of the General Assembly at Richmond,
Virginia. Having served in all the subordinate ranks of military life, he rose to that of Colonel.
(Was commissioned Major by General George Rogers Clarke in 1781) "Despising the pomp and
pageantry of office", he accepted it only for the good of his country.
On a balmy day in the latter part of October (28) 1814, he passed from earth at his old home near
West Milford. The old cabin that had sheltered him through so many eventful years was the scene
of his closing hours, and not far away on his own homestead he lies in his eternal sleep. He died
rich in love and esteem of the countrymen that he had so faithfully served, and it is said that
his name has been handed down to their descend "hallowed by their blessings".
A pathetic little incident that has been preserved in the family says that when he died his
devoted old darkey, "Tobe", was seen standing by the fence near the cabin weeping over his loss;
and that when this old servant was done with earth, he was laid at his master's feet and a dog-iron
was placed at his grave; and to this day this iron is in-tact and serves as a positive mark for
Col. Lowther's grave, whose inscription is no longer legible.
After his death, his wife, Sudna, came to this county and made her home with her son, Elias
Lowther, on the Flannahan farm, above Berea. Here, near the year 1829, she died, and in one
corner of the Flannagan burying-ground she lies at rest. Jonathan C. Lowther, her only surviving
grandson, remembers seeing her lowered here. He was born in 1819, and thinks that he must have
been a lad of near ten years at the time. He cannot recall her features, but says that she was
quite small in stature.
Their family consisted of five sons only; viz. Robert, Thomas, William, Jesse and Elias Lowther,
all of whom have a long line of descendants, which are scattered throughout the Union.
An heirloom in the form of an old land grant which was made to Col. Lowther, on June 8, 1785,
and signed by Patrick Henry, on November 14, 1786, while he was Governor of Virginia, is now a
cherished possession of the writer. This grant is written upon parchment and conveys two hundred
twenty acres to the Colonel on the West fork river, in Harrison county, "which includes his
settlement". (Hence our proof of his early settlement at Milford.)
What a mantle of historic interest clusters about these silent remnants of the past How sacred
they seem to us! As one gazes upon the signature of this renowned orator with a feeling of awe
and reverence, through the phonograph of years comes a voice of eloquence proclaiming the
immortal words that must ever be the sentiment of the true American heart, "Give me liberty or
give me death"!
Col. Lowther's military record is such as to admit his descendants to membership in the Sons and
Daughters of the American Revolution. Mrs. Iva Lowther Peters, of Fishkill, New York, his grand-
daughter, several generations removed, and her brother, Earle, having been recently admitted to
these societies on his record.
Descendants of Col. Lowther. - Robert Lowther, the eldest son, whose natal day was October 1,
1765, married Miss Kathrine Cain, sister of John Cain, the Slab creek pioneer, and settled on
the portion of the old homestead, given him by his father. But at the death of Col. Lowther, he
inherited that part of the estate which included the "old cabin", and here, on November 16, 1832,
he came to his death by a fall from this cabin while engaged in re-roofing it. His wife, who was
born on October 27, 1766, died here on March 25, 1851, and side by side they lie at rest in the
old family burying-ground shown in the picture.
They were the parents of five sons and three daughters; William B., Jesse G., Robert, junior,
John, James K., Kathrine, Susan and Mary Lowther.
William B. married Miss Margaret Coburn, and was identified with the South fork settlers in this
Jesse G., who settled near West Milford, was first married to Miss Nancy Swisher, and ten
children were the result of this union. His second wife was Miss Wady Knight, and the two
children of this marriage were: the late Dr. Jesse G. Lowther, a well known practitioner of
Wirt, Wood and this county; and the late Mrs. Nancy Lowther, of Wirt county. He died at West
Milford, on August 25, 1870, at the age of eighty years, and sleeps in the family burying-ground
Robert, junior, married Miss Eliza Highland and settled on the old homestead, near West Milford,
where he reared three sons and two daughters.
John, who was a prominent medical practitioner, married Miss Elizabeth Pritchard, and lived and
died at Clarksburg; and the only child of this marriage was the late Evan Lowther, of that city,
who died without issue.
James K. married Miss Lydia Knight, and principally spent his life within the walls of the old
ancestral cabin, where he died at the age of niney-five years. He had two sons and three
daughters, and one of these daughters, Talitha, the last survivor of the family died (unmarried)
at the old home, on February 25, 1910.
Kathrine married Thomas Ireland, and they were the first settlers at the mouth of the Middle fork
on Highes river, in this county.
Susan became Mrs. Abraham Morrison, and principally spent her life on Brown's creek, in Harrison
county. Her family consisted of three daughters, who have all crossed the tide.
Mary Lowther was married to her cousin, William J. Lowther (son of Jesse), and came to this
county and settled near Oxford.
Thomas Lowther (the second son of Col. William) was born on March 7, 1767, but his history is
rather obscure. However, he married Miss Mary Coburn, and settled on the land given him by his
father, near West Milford, and reared a small family. He is said to have died before he had
scarcely reached the meridian of life of a malady that the physicians of to-day would term
appendicitis; he having undergone a surgical operation without an anesthetic. Tradition says that
he was a snake-charmer, that he could wield such power over a poisonous reptile as to be able to
handle it without harm to himself. He, too, rests in the family burying-ground on the old
He was the father of Jesse Lowther, the Cornwallis pioneer; of Elias, an early settler at Webb's
mill; of Robert, of Doddridge county; and of one daughter, Mary or Polly, who is said to have
married a man by the name of West, of near Jane Lew. (Another source of information says her
married name was White.)
Thomas' descendants in this county are not nearly so numerous as those of the other sons, but
they are not a few, however. Among them are Mrs. Matilda McGregor, of Cairo, a granddaughter;
Mrs. James Rexroad, Mrs. Emma Lee, the late Mrs. F.S. Moyer and the late Mrs. W.E. Hill, great
William Lowther, the third son of Col. William, was born on the South branch of the Potomac river,
not far from Moorefield, on January 27, 1769; and when he was yet in the "frocks of babyhood",
his parents removed to Harrison county, and here in the "hot bed" of savage warfare, he grew to
Though uneducated, he was a man of marked intelligence, and his memory was a veritable stor-house
of poineer lore, and of interesting reminiscences of Indian times; for ofter, when a lad, he
accompanied his father on his expeditions against the dusky foe, and was an eye witness to the
conflict (between the whites and the Indians), at the famous rock at the mouth of Indian run, in
1784, he being then but fifteen years of age. And in after life when listening to a recital of
these stirring days from the "Chronicles of Border Warfare," he would often stop the reader in
order to correct some misstatement of the historian, so clear, and so retentive was his memory.
At one time, near the year 1797, Mr. Lowther went to Ohio for the purpose of seeking a home, and
while on the Muskingham river, he helped to rear the first cabin where the City of Zanesville
now stands, but owing to the prevalence of "fever and ague" in this section, he returned to his
home satisfied to remain at West Milford.
Mrs. Lowther was a woman of devout religious character, a Presbyterian in faith, and her old
Bible, which was her daily companion, is now in the hands of the writer. It bears the date of
"1790", and is still held together by the old leather string that she ever kept about it.
Mr. Lowther never made a profession of religion, but his last audible words were a prayer, a most
earnest appeal to the Infinite Father of love and mercy. She passed away on May 13, 1850, and he,
on November 26, 1857. Both lie at rest in the Lowther burying-ground, near Holbrook, surrounded
by the dust of five generations of their descendants.
They were the parents of twelve children, six of whom reached the years of maturity. Five of them
married and four of that five were heads of pioneer families of this county.
Alexander, the eldest son (born January 14, 1791), married Miss Sarah Ireland, and was the pioneer
Sudna (born on April 10, 1792), became Mrs. George Willard, and came to this county in pioneer
days. (See Middle fork chapter)
William (born on October 31, 1793) married Miss Melicent Maxwell and settled at Cairo.
Robert (born on May 24, 1795) settled in Jackson county.
Rebecca (born on December 20, 1802) died in 1885, unmarried.
Archibald (born on May 17, 1811) the youngest of the family) married Miss Charlotte Willard and
lived and died at Holbrook.
Mary (born December 12, 1797), Margaret (born September 27, 1806), Sarah (born September 3, 1800),
Elias (born Decembr 27, 1806), Kathrine (born September 21, 1809), all died in childhood; and
Jesse (born September 21, 1805) in youth.
Robert, the one member of the family (of William and Margaret Morrison Lowther) that did not
come to this county, married Miss Mary Hattabough, a native of Kent county, Delaware, who was
born on November 2, 1792. The marriage took place near the year 1809, and they remained in
Harrison county until some time in the thirties, when they removed to Jackson county, where they
died, and where many of their descendants still live. He was a lawyer by profession and was the
first resident barrister of Jackson county. He helped to survey the pretty town of Ripley, and
almost beneath its shadow his ashes lie. Mrs. Lowther died on July 1, 1851, and he followed her
to the grave on April 22, 1856.
Their children were as follows: the late Andrew H. Lowther (1810-1863), of Wirt county; Harriet
(1817-1845), the late Mrs. John H. Wetzel, of Ripley; William Wirt (1820), who died at the age
of eighteen years while attending college in Indiana; Agnes (B. 1822), who died in infancy;
Minerva (1823-1901), the late Mrs. Joseph Smith, of Ripley; Margaret (1826-1899) was the late
Mrs. Henry Harpold, of Baltimore; Mary (1828-1899) died at Baltimore, unmarried, and Edward
Duncan (1828-1899), who died at Ripley, unmarried.
The Morrison. - Margaret Morrison Lowther, as above stated, was a native of North Carolina.
Her father, Archibald Morrison, and his brother, who were of Scotch-Irish birth, emigrated from
England to America some time before the Revolution, and settled on the Yadkin river, in North
Carolina. Here he married a Miss Fooks, and at the breaking out of the war in 1775, when he
enlisted as a soldier in the Continental army, he became separated from his brother, and never
heard of him again. But near the year 1788, Archibald Morrison removed from North Carolina to
West Milford, in Harrison county, and here he and his wife sleep.
His sons were Alexander, John and William, who rest in Harrison county, where some of their
descendants live; Archibald, junior, lies in Ohio; Marshall Reese, in California; Margaret Lowther,
and Susan, whose married name is unknown to us, were two of the daughters.
Alexander married Miss Margaret Brake and settled on Hacker's creek in 1824. He was a soldier of
the war of 1812, and a curiosity in the form of a briar-root cane, which he brought from North
Carolina, and upon which he carved the head and face of a man, is still in the family.
Alexander Morrison's son, James Monroe Morrison, was commissioned Lieutenant-General of the U.S.
Militia by President Lincoln. He married Miss Sarah Jane Bennett, and they were the parents of
the Rev. U.W. Morrison, of the West Virginia Protestant conference.
Jesse Lowther (the fourth son of Col. William) was born on July 21, 1773, six weeks after the
arrival of the family in Harrison county. He is said to have been the first white male child born
on Harrison county soil.
Near the year 1790, when he was but a boy, he was married to Miss Mary Ragan, a rosy-cheeked
Dutch girl, who was born on December 25, 1770, and settled where West Milford now stands. Mrs.
Lowther was the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, and the sister of Mrs. Alexander Ireland,
senior. In 1797, they removed from Wes Milford to the Ohio river, and established a home on
Neal's Island, four miles below Parkersburg, but they returned to their old home at West Milford,
after a few years, where he died in October, 1854. After his death, his wife, Mary, came to this
county, and spent the closing years of her life with her daughter, Mrs. William Hall, at Pullman.
Here she fell asleep, in April, 1857, and in the Pullman churchyard she lies at rest. Her husband
sleeps in the family burying-ground near West Milford.
The writer now has a cane which was once the property of Jesse Lowther, and one which he
presented to his brother William. Upon this piece of antiquity is a silver plate which bears the
initials of his name "J.L.".
The children of this family were eleven in number; William, the eldest (born in 1791), married
his cousin, Mary or Polly Lowther, and settled at Oxford.
Mary Ann was the wife of William Hall, an early settler of the Oxford vicinity. Sallie married
William Norris, and resided on the South fork for a brief time in pioneer days, then removed to
Margaret married William L. Mitchell,and died at West Milford. She was the mother of Virginia,
the late wife of William I. Lowther, of Pullman; of Margaret, wife of Lewis Maxwell, junior,
formerly of this county, but now of Gilmer; of Mrs. Mary Hickman of the West; of William, Cyrus,
Madison B., Robert, and Lafayette Mitchell, all of whom have passed on, except Robert and
Jesse, junior, who was a physician, went West, finally to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he died.
Uriah died in youth.
Dr. Robert married Mrs. Ellen Stringer Huffman, and located at Weston, and from there migrated
to Mississipppi, where he died after a nine days' illness of fever. His wife soon followed him
to the grave from a broken heart, and the half-brother brought the two little sons, aged four
and six years, back to their grandfather, Jesse, near the year 1839. Daniel was educated at
Lexington and West Point, and after finishing his college work, came to Harrisville, where he
opened a law office, and where he died a few months later, in 1856. William, who was also a
lawyer, went to Texas, where he met his death at the hands of a man that he had decided a case
against. Huffman, who was a colonel in the Confederate army, and who lost a leg in the cause,
died at Clarksburg, unmarried.
Sudna married Armstrong Maxwell and lived and died at West Milford. The members of this family
were: Marianne, who married Jesse Lowther (but we can't say what number), Mrs. Millie M. (John)
Racey, Mrs. Anna L. (Wm.) Stephens, Mrs. Sudna A. Mitchell, of Gilmer county; Marcellus Maxwell,
of Nelsonville, Ohio; and Irwin and William, who have passed on; and Miss Julia Maxwell, of West
Elizabeth Lowther married Conrad Kester and died in Lewis county, where many of her descendants
Drusilla became Mrs. Bradbury Morgan, of Zanesville, Ohio; and Millie was Mrs. Daniel Wyer, of
Elias Lowther, who was born on Neal's Island, in 1801, during the residence of the family there,
was married to Miss Selina McWhorter, daughter of Thomas McWhorter, and spent his last hours at
Palestine, in Wirt county, though he resided at various other points in the state.
He was the father of the following named children: McDuffy and Calhoun (twins), Thomas W.,
Cammillius, Elias H., John M., who was killed at Elizabeth during the Civil War; Columbia V.
(Mrs. John Edwards), Mary M. (Mrs. P.W. Morgan, of Jackson county), all of whom have crossed the
tide; and Jesse and Granville S., of Braxton county; Henry M., of Kentucky; W.H. H., of
Parkersburg; Mrs. Celina J. (Amos) Lowther, Wirt county, are the surviving members, and they are
all well advanced in years. Mrs. J.E. Burns, of Auburn, belongs to this family, she being the
daughter of Jesse, and granddaughter of Elias.
Elias Lowther (the fifth and youngest son of Col. William) came upon the stage during the din of
the American Revolution. He was born in the old cabin, shown in the picture, on September 16, 1776,
and married Miss Rebecca Coburn, sister of his brother Thomas' wife, and remained in his native
county until 1820, when he came to this county and erected the first cabin of the Zimri Flannagan
farm, above Berea. He was at one time a member of the Richmond Legislature from Harrison county,
and was major in the militia. During the latter part of his life he lost his mind, and his last
years were spent in the insane hospital at Staunton, Virginia, where he was laid to rest near
the year 1845.
His wife, who was born in Harrison county, on December 11, 1779, died a few years later at the
home of her son, J.C. Lowther, at the mouth of Otterslide, and on the Flannagan homestead she
lies in her last sleep.
Their children were as follows:
Peggy died in youth; Decatur was drowned in the millpond at Berea.
Jesse M. married Miss Lucinda Hall, daughter of William Hall, and spent his last hours near Berea.
(See Hall family)
William went to Ohio. Sarah was Mrs. George Starkey, of Harrison county. Elizabeth married Robert
Hammond and went to Ohio. Mary was the wife of Thomas Pritchard, of Slap creek. (See later chapter).
Dorinda was Mrs. Zibba Davis of Otterslide; and Jonathan C. Lowther of Berea, the only survivor
of the family is the youngest son.
He is now (1910) ninety-one years of age,and is active as a boy, being able to jump up and crack
his heels together. He enjoys the distinction of being the only surviving grandson of Col.
Lowther. (See Otterslide for his family.)
The Hugheses. - The Hugheses are of Welsh origin. Family tradition tells us that they crossed
the deep with the Lowthers and settled in Albemarle county, Virginia; and that Thomas Hughes
removed from there to the South branch of the Potomac river, in what is now Hardy county, and
from thence to Harrison county, near the year 1772 or 1773, where he found a home on Hacker's
creek. One day during the latter part of April, 1778, while at work in the field, he and Jonathan
Lowther were shot down by the stealthy foe. The others who were with them managed in some way to
Thomas Hughes was the father of quite a family of children, among whom were Jesse, Thomas, junior,
Elias, Job, James, Charles, Sudna, Martha, and another daughter who married Joseph Bibbee, of
Job Hughes married Miss Mary Harn, of Harrison county, in 1791, and later removed to Jackson
county, where he rests.
Thomas, junior, who was born in 1754, was lieutenant of a company of Indian spies, at one time.
He settled on the West Fork river, in Harrison county, in 1775, but afterwards removed to Jackson
county, where he died in October, 1837. He had one son, Thomas, and here our knowledge ends,
though there are doubtless many of his descendants in that part of the State to-day.
Of the history of James and Charles, we know nothing, other than that they figured in Indian
warfare, and James was among the party that encountered the savages at the time that Macfarlan
and Dutchman got their names.
Sudna was the wife of Col. William Lowther.
Martha married Samuel Bonnett, and lived and died on Hacker's creek, in what is now Lewis county.
Her sons were Lewis, the Rev. Henry Bonnett, of the Methodist Protestant church, and Elias Bonnett;
and one daughter, Susan, married a Wagner; another, a Hinzman.
Lewis Bonnett was married to Miss Margaret Means, daughter of Robert Means (and aunt of Robert Means,
of Calhoun county), and they were the parents of Henry Bonnett of Troy, and the grandparents of
U.G. Bonnett, of Burnt House.
Jesse Hughes, the eldest son, whose history is of more moment to us, was born in the "Old Dominion",
in 1750, and in early life, he was married to Miss Grace Tanner, sister of one of the pioneer
settlers of Roane county, and near the year 1772, he came to Hacker's creek in Harrison county.
Two years after the discovery of the river that bears his name, we find him engaged in the awful
struggle at Point Pleasant, but little else of value concerning his life is in our possession other
than that he was a confirmed Indian hater, an intrepid leader, and a prominent border scout.
He resided near Jane Lew, in Lewis county, at one time on the small stream that still bears his
name, "Jesse's run," and in a rural burying-ground in this section, strangers have been pointed
to a low mound which is said to cover his silent dust, but this is in error. He died at the home
of his son-in-law, George Hanshaw, at Ravenswood, in Jackson county, during the autumn of 1829,
and near this town he lies in his last sleep. After his death, Mrs. Hughes made her home with her
daughter, Mrs. Uriah Gandee, in Roane county, until her death, and in the Gandeeville cemetery,
They were the parents of two sons and seven daughters: viz., Jesse, junior, William, Rachel (Mrs.
William Cottrell), Martha (Mrs. Jacob Bonnett), Sudna (Mrs. Elijah Runner), Elizabeth (Mrs. James
Stanley), Lucinda (Mrs. Uriah Sayre), Nancy (Mrs. George Hanshaw), and Massie, who married Uriah
Gandee, the founder of Gandeeville, in Roane county. Mrs. Gandee was the last survivor of Jesse
Hughes' family. She diedd in 1883 at the age of one hundred four years, and was laid in the
Gandeeville cemetery by the side of her mother. James S. Gandee, of Higby, Roane county, her son,
still survives; and the Hon. Frederick Gandee, of that county, is her grandson.
One of these daughters was captured by the Indians, but was rescued the following year and lived
to a good old age, but we cannot say which one.
Jesse Hughes' name was ever associated with that of courage and daring, and he "lived many years
to enjoy the peace and quietude that the hardships of his early life had so dearly bought". And
the beautiful river that bears his name is a more fitting memorial than bronze or marble.
Elias Hughes was born on the South Branch of the Potomac river, in what is now Hardy county, West
Virginia, in 1757, and with his parents and the rest of the family, removed to Harrison county in
the early seventies.
He, too, served under the command of General Lewis at the battle of Point Pleasant and was one of
the last survivors of this desperate conflict.
He had been born and reared in the midst of savage warfare, and his father and a young lady whom
he ardently admired having been killed by the ruthless hand of the dusky foe, he vowed vengeance
on the race, and the return to peace did not serve to mitigate his intense hatred.
In 1797, two years after General Wayne's treaty with the Indians, leaving his native hills
(with one John Radcliffe), he went to Ohio and settled on the Muskingum river, and became the first
settler in what is now Licking county; the scene of this settlement being in some old Indian
cornfields, near five miles below the present site of Newark, Ohio.
"One night in April, 1800, not long after his arrival here, two Indians stole his and Radcliffe's
horses from a small inclosure near their cabins and succeeded in getting away with them unobserved".
But finding them missing in the morning, they, well-armed, and accompanied by a man by the name
of Bland, set out in pursuit, following their trail in a northerly direction all day and camping
in the forest at night; but at the dawn of the next day, they came upon them fast asleep and all
unconscious of danger. Concealing themselves behind some trees, they waited until the Indians had
awakened and were making preparation for their departure, when they drew their rifles to fire upon
them; and just at that moment one of them, instinctively clapping his hands upon his breast, as
if to ward off the fatal ball, exclaimed in tones of dismay, "Me bad Indian! me no do so more"!
But the appeal was all in vain. "The smoke curled from the glistening barrels, the report rang out
upon the morning air, and the poor Indians fell dead"! Recovering their horses and securing what
plunder the savages had, they returned to their homes, swearing mutual secrecy for this violation
of the treaty laws.
But one evening some time afterwards, when Hughes was sitting quietly in his cabin, he was startled
by the entrance of two powerful and well-armed savages. Concealing his emotion, he bade them welcome
and proffered them seats. His wife, a large muscular woman, stepping aside, privately sent for
Radcliffe, whose cabin was near by; and presently Radcliffe, who had made a detour, entered with
his rifle from an opposite direction, as if he had been out hunting, and found Hughes talking with
his visitors about the murder with his scalping-knife and tomahawk in his belt, and his rifle, which
he deemed imprudent to try to obtain, hanging from the cabin wall. There all night long sat the
little party, mutually fearing each other, but neither being able to summon sufficient courage
to stir; but when the morning dawned the savages withdrew, shaking hands and bidding adieu to
their reluctant hosts, using every precaution in their retreat lest they should be shot by the
Elias Hughes was captain of a band of scouts in Indian times, and was a soldier of the war of
1812. He married Miss Jane Sleeth, who, doubtless, belonged to the same family of Sleeths who
have a place in the Smithville chapter, and they were the parents of sixteen children.
Mrs. Hughes died in 1827, and he passed away near Utica, Ohio, on December 22, 1844, in the hope
of a "glorious immortality". Military honors and other demonstrations of respect were in evidence
at his funeral, and near Utica he lies at rest.
Two of his children died in youth, and the rest are as follows: Mrs. Margaret Jones, Mrs. Mary
Foster, Mrs. Susana Leach, Mrs. Sudna Martin, Mrs. Jane Hight, Mrs. Sarah Davis, and Kathrine,
who never married, were the daughters; and Job, Thomas, Henry, Elias, David, John and Jonathan
Hughes were the sons.
Note.- While our resources for this chapter have been principally traditional, parts of it are
already a matter of history, as the account of the "Explorations of the Streams" is to be found
in "Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia of the Virginias", and other parts in
the "Border Warfare" and the "History of Ohio", as mentioned in the foot notes.
To Josiah Hughes, of Roane county; Henry Bonnet, of Troy, and L.V. McWhorter, the historian of
North Yakima, Washington, we owe our thanks for valuable Hughes data.
First Settlers in Ritchie County
More than a quarter of a century had passed away after the discovery of Ritchie county before
the coming of the first settlers.
This period had been marked by one of the most important epochs in the hisory of our country.
The "Old Independence Bell had proclaimed liberty throughout the land to the inhabitants thereof;"
the tyrannous scepter of George III had been withdrawn; and the "White Dove of Peace" had spread
her downy wings "o'er a land of the free and the home of the brave".
A new era had dawned. Civilization had taken up a westward line of march, and near the close of
the 18th century, Ritchie county was brought into notice by the construction of a State road from
Clarksburg to Marietta, which for near forty years, was a leadingthoroughfare between the East
and the West; and along this road the pioneers erected their cabins, which served as "inns or
taverns" for the convenience of travelers.
The first one of these cabins that came within the present boundary of Ritchie county was built
by John Bunnell, near the beginning of the year 1800, on the site that is now marked by the
thriving town of Pennsboro. Hence the origin of the name of the stream near by, "Bunnell's run",
which serves as an enduring memorial, although we have been unable to learn "from whence he came
or whither he went".
Mr. Bunnell sold his possessions here to John Webster, of New England, who, early in the
nineteenth century, built the "Stone house" at the western end of Pennsboro, which became the
property of James Martin, in 1815, and remained in the hands of his heirs until the autumn of
1908, when it was purchased by A.J. Ireland.
Mr. Webster went to Texas and there met his death at the hands of the Indians.
Though the "tenement house" of the builder has long since been silent dust, this historic old
mansion has withstood the storms of a century, and still stands, in good preservation, as a
monument to his memory.
George Husher, whose settlement closely followed that of Bunnell, was the next settler in Ritchie
county, but his history will be found in the Bond's creek chapter.
Lawrence Maley. - During the early springtime of the year 1803, Lawrence Maley, a Scotch-Irish
Presbyterian, built the first cabin in what is now Union district, one mile east of Harrisville,
on the farm that is designated as the "Cannon," but better known to the older citizens, as the
Mrs. Ann Harris homestead.
Having a wife and eight children, the eldest, a son, twenty one years of age, and finding it
necessary to clear a cornfield at once, he built a rude shelter, by driving stakes in the ground,
and peeling popular bark for a roof, upon the bank of the river nearly oppositethe residence of
Grandison Wolfe, which served for a dwelling until the corn had been planted, when he erected a
better one, near the present site of the Cannon residence.
His nearest neighbor was then at Pennsboro, but others soon found their way into this wilderness,
and a settlement was formed, which, for forty years, was known as the "Maley settlement".
Mr. Maley was the paternal grandfather of Ritchie county's most distinguished son, the late
General T.M. Harris, and he was a native of Southern Ireland, the son of an Irish nobleman.
He, being one of the younger sons of the family, was committed to the care of his mother's brother,
a Catholic priest, to be trained, perhaps, for the priesthood; and finding life very unpleasant
under such circumstances, he ran away and came to America, near the close of the Revolutionary
Landing in Philadelphia, he drifted into the counrty near by, where he became associated with a
family of Seceders by the name of Harper (The Seceders were one of a numerous body of Presbyterians
who seceded from the communion of the established church in Scotland in 1733), an association which
resulted in his marriage to Miss Agnes Harper, a little later.
Mrs. Maley inherited a small dowery from her father's estate, which she exchanged with a man in
Philadelphia, for a thousand acres in what is now the Harrisville vicinity, in 1795; and she and
her husband, with their family and possessions, started at once to take charge of this new
acquisition; but when they reached Harper's Ferry, after a long and perilous journey over the
mountains, learning of the hostility of the Indians in this section, they changed their course,
and went to the Shenandoah valley, where they remained, in Rockbridge county, until they came to
Ritchie, in 1803.
Mr. Maley did not long survive the hardships of this wilderness life, and in 1808, he filled the
first grave that was "hollowed out" in the old "Pioneer cemetery", on the Cannon farm, one mile
northeast of Harrisville. His wife rests by his side. Their children were as follows: William,
Thomas and Mrs. Mary McCoy, all of Illinois; Dr. Samuel, James and John, of Iowa; Mrs. Agnes
(John) Harris and Miss Margaret Maley, who lie sleeping in the Harrisville cemetery.
Mrs. Harris, widow, of the late General Harris, is a granddaughter of this distinguished settler.
The Stuarts and Wilkinsons. - The next pioneers in this vicinity were George and Joseph Stuart,
two brothers, and Joseph Wilkinson, son-in-law of the latter, who, with their families, came from
Harrison county, in 1805.
Mr. Wilkinson settled on the late Isaiah Wells homestead, Joseph Stuart, at the mouth of Stuart's
run, and George Stuart, on the farm that soon after passed into the hands of Thomas Harris, and
on which the beautiful town of Harrisville now stands.
Mr. Wilkinson only survived a few years after his settlement, and his remains filled the second
grave that was made in the "Pioneer cemetery". He married Miss Nancy Stuart, daughter of Joseph,
and was the father of three children: Elizabeth, the only daughter, died in youth, and the two
sons, Calvin and Ezekial, went to California.
After his death, Mrs. Wilkinson married Nicholas Shrader, and in the Indian creek Baptist church
yard, she sleeps.
JOSEPH STUART married Miss Margaret Sparks, of Harrison county, and was the father of ten children.
He lost his life by the falling off a lumber kiln, while erecting the first store house at
Harrisville, and he, too, rests in the "Pioneer cemetery" there. After his death, the family,
losing their land in this section, removed to Goose creek. His children were as follows:
Mrs. Nancy Wilkinson Shrader, Mrs. Elizabeth (Abel) Sinnett, Mrs. Margaret (Thomas) Stout, and
Belinda and Rachel, who died unmarried; and Stephen, John, George, Joseph and William Stuart,
all of Ritchie county, except for Stephen and John,who went West.
Among the grandchildren of this pioneer who are residents of the county at this time, are Mrs.
Lawson Hall, Auburn; Mrs. Lewis Hammer and Mrs. Belinda Hill, Washburn, and perhaps numerous
GEORGE STUART married Miss Hannah Harris, daughter of Thomas Harris, and in the Harrisville
vicinity they both died. We have been unable to get a list of the names of their children, but
Mrs. Hannah Jones and Mrs. Sarah Calhoun of Oxford, are some of their descendants.
LEVI WELLS. - Shortly after the coming of the Stuarts, Ashabel Wilkinson made the first settlement
on the Dr. William M. Rymer estate; and this same year, 1805, brought Levi Wells with his wife,
three sons and two daughters, from Fayette county, Pennsylvania, to the late George Sinnett
homestead. Soon after his arrival, the first marriage took place in the settlement, when his
daughter, Nancy, became the wife of William Maley.
In 1815, Mr. Wells changed his place of residence to the Pennsboro vicinity, and Patrick Sinnett
became the second owner of this farm, which is still in the hands of his heirs, it being the home
of his granddaughter, Miss Virginia Sinnett.
Mr. Wells later removed to the Kanawha river, and from him the Elizabeth Wellses are descended.
The Sinnetts - Patrick Sinnett, with his large family, came from Pendleton county, (West) Virginia.
He was a typical son of the "Old Erin", having been born there near the middle of the eighteenth
century. He had been one of the King's waiters for seven years before coming to America in his
young manhood; and finding such service very distasteful, he one day wandered down to the harbor
just as a vessle was ready to set sail for the Colonies, and without further deliberation, stepped
on board and turned his face toward the Occident. When he landed on these shores, he found himself
penniless in a land of strangers, and was sold for his fare, and was compelled to work for three
years to cancel the debt, so unjust were the laws, and so unmerciful were the executors at that
age of the world.
He served as a soldier in Lord Dunmore's war, being under the direct command of General Lewis at
the battle of Point Pleasant; and he also served as an American soldier in the Revolutionary war,
which closely followed.
He married Miss Kathrine Hefner, a German lady, and was the father of eleven children. He died
at the great age of one hundred five years, some time in the fifties, at the home of his daughter,
Mrs. Adam Cunningham, junior, on the farm that is now the estate of the late Charles Moyer, and
here, beside his wife, he sleeps.
His descendants in this county are a host, and, like he, many of them are remarkable for their
His children were all born in Pendleton county, and were as follows: John, William, Seth, Abel,
Henry, Jacob, George, Elizabeth, Sarah, Kathrine, and Phebe.
William and Seth went to Ohio; Henry remained in Pendleton county; and the rest all came to this
county; but Kathrine and Phebe both married Chancellors and afterwards went West; Elizabeth became
Mrs. James Drake, and Sarah, Mrs. Adam Cunningham, junior, and they with their brothers, John,
Abel, Jacob and George, were all the heads of well known pioneer families of this county; but
their histories will be found in other parts of this work, all with the exception of George,
who succeeded his father on the old homestead.
GEORGE Sinnett was born in Pendleton county, on March 17, 1799, and with his parents came to this
county in 1815; and, near five years later, he was married to Miss Mary Rexroad, daughter of Henry
Rexroad, and on the old homestead, where he died in 1896, at the great age of ninety-seven years,
he spent his entire life.
Having given birth to six children, his wife, Mary, passed away, and in 1843, he was again married
to Miss Salome Heaton, daughter of John Heaton, senior, who was born in 1814; and three daughters
were the result of this union; viz., Harriet C., Virginia and Josephine. Harriet is the wife of
Sheriff John Hulderman, and Josephine is Mrs. "Vel" McDougal, and Virginia is single. The children
of his first marriage were: Catherine (born in 1822), who married Addison Rexroad; Samuel
(born 1824), of King Knob; Hulda (born 1926), who became the wife of John S. Porter and went to
some other State; Abel (born 1828), who went to Ohio; Elizabeth (born 1830) married John A.
Lowther, of Oxford, and after his death, she became Mrs. Jacob Allender. She still survives.
Mary T. (born 1832) became Mrs. Turner and went to Taylor county.
WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM. - The year 1806 was marked by the coming of William Cunningham, with his wife,
Susana Barbara Handyshel Cunningham, and their ten children, from Culpepper county, Virginia, to
the homestead of the late Noah Rexroad, now the property of E.C. Fox and S.M. Hoff.
Mr. Cunningham was one of the most noted pioneers of early days. He was born in Ireland on July
23, 1764, and when he was but a small boy, his parents emigrated to America and settled in
Culpepper county, Virginia. He was a first cousin of Thomas Cunningham of Indian fame, and their
fathers are said to have crossed the ocean at the same time. He served as a soldier during the
latter part of the American Revolution, being then but a mere youth, and was a member of the
victorious army at Yorktown, and a witness of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. And in honor of
this defeated chieftain he named the town of Cornwallis, where he resided when the stations along
the Baltimore & Ohio railroad were located.
When Harrisville was laid out for a town in 1822, he was suddenly seized with the idea of founding
a town of his own and forthwith proceeded to have one laid out on the ridge where A.O. Wilson and
D.B. Patton now reside, which he named "Williamsburg"; but Harrisville has long since swallowed up
most of this proposed village.
He changed his place of residence to Cornwallis near the year 1840, and here he bade adieu to earth
in 1863, at the ripe old age of ninety-nine years.
He gave the grounds for the Pioneer cemetery at Harrisville, and within its peaceful bosom his ashes
lie. His wife also sleeps here, she having passed on in 1843. (She was of German descent.)
This burying-ground is no longer "a neglected spot", as the historian of a quarter of a century ago
termed it, but it is now enclosed by an iron fence, the result of the late General Harris' labor
Many of the pioneers slumber here, and despite the hardships they endured, the inscriptions bear
silent testimony to the longevity of their lives.
William Cunningham's sons were: Elijah, James, William, junior, John, Isaac and Henry; and his
daughters Mrs. Phebe (Jesse) Lowther, Cornwallis; Mrs. Leah (Jacob) Wigner, Ellenboro; Mrs. Lydia
(Henry) Wigner, Cairo; Mrs. Susan (Robert) Parks, Ohio; and Mrs. Barbara (Nathaniel) Parks,
Ellenboro. Mrs. George B. Johnson, of Ellenboro, is a daughter of the last named Mrs. Parks.
W.H. Cunningham, of Husher's run; the late D.R. Wigner, of Pike, and Mrs. Matilda McGregor, of
Cairo, are other grandchildren of this pioneer; and the late Mrs. W.E. Hill, of Harrisville;
J.W. and Frank Elliott, of Indian creek; Thomas Elliott, of Pullman; Mrs. James Rexroad, of Den
run, and many others we might mention, are great-grandchildren.
WILLIAM WELLS was the first settler at the mouth of Bunnell's run. He was a brother of Levi Wells,
and he came from Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in 1808, and took up his residence on the farm that
is now the home of Mrs. Bertha McDougal, and to the day of his death, his interests were identified
with this community.
The Wellses came from Wales to the Keystone State, near the middle of the eighteenth century, and
took up arms in defense of their adopted country in her struggle for independence.
William Wells was born in 1766, and married Miss Elizabeth Trump, who was of Dutch descent, and
they were the parents of one son and four daughters; Isaiah Wells, Rachel, Hester, Mary and Eleanor.
Rachel married Daniel Smith; Hester, John Heaton; Mary, James McCowan, and Eleanor died single.
Mrs. Wells died in 1850, at the age of eighty-seven years; and Mr. Wells, in 1851, at the age of
eighty-five years. Both rest in the Harrisville cemetery.
Mr. Wells was the owner of the first mill on Bunnell's run, and one of the first in the county,
but he sold this mill at an early day to John Whitney, who turned it into a horse-mill, and , in
1840, tore it down.
The Heatons. - This same year (1808) brought John Heaton, senior, from the Motherland to this
vicinity. He was born in sunny England, on April 28, 1774, and not long after his arrival here,
he was married to Miss Hester, Wells, daughter of William Wells, and took up his residence on
the late Dr. W.M. Rymer farm, he being the second owner.
He died on September 23, 1854, and Mrs. Heaton, on February 13, 1859, at the age of sixty-nine
Their family consisted of three sons and seven daughters; viz., John, Eli, William, Selvina,
Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah, Salina, Mary and Anne. The last two named died in childhood, and nearly
or quite all of the rest have now passed to the other side.
William died in the West; Selvina married Amos Culp; Elizabeth, William Wells; and Jane became
Mrs. Mussetter, and they, too, all went West; Sarah married George Martin and died in Gilmer
county, and years after, when her remains were disinterred for removal to Harrisville, they were found to be
petrified, coffin and all. Salina married George Sinnett and lived and died at Harrisville.
John and Eli Heaton, who were prominent figures in public affairs, spent their entire lives at
John Heaton, junior, was twice married, his first wife being Miss Susana Wigner, and his second,
Miss Sarah Stevens. All died at Harrisville, and here they repose in the cemetery south of town.
Mr. Heaton was the father of seven children: Alcinda, the one child of the first union, became
Mrs. Henry Culp, and went West. Mrs. Dora (J.H. Lininger, Mrs. Lillie (J.M. Barbe, Mrs. Nerdie
(Chas.) Musgrave, the late John Heaton (the third), Will R., and one who died in infancy, were
the children of the second union.
Will R. is a well known newspaper man, he having long been identified with the Harrisville papers.
Eli Heaton's stay on earth was bery brief; he died suddenly on January 25, 1868, at the age of
forty-two years, while serving as sheriff of the county. His brother, John, succeeded him in
this office and finished his unexpired term.
He married Mrs. Sophia A.D. Zinn Davis, mother of the late T.E. Davis, of Harrisville, and was
the father of five children, three of whom died in childhood; viz., Adelaide, Grace and Pussy,
and Hallie, of the West; and the late Mrs. Hettie, wife of J.N. Pierpoint, were the two that
grew to the years of maturity.
Miss Linnie Peirpoint, of Harrisville, his granddaughter, is the only surviving descendant in
Mrs. Heaton died in 1867. Both sleep at Harrisville. Heaton has been one of the prominent names in
this county almost throughout its history.
The Skeltons. - This same year (1808) brought Edward Skelton, with his family, to the W.H.
Peirpoint farm. He was born and reared in England, and there he was married to Miss Sarah Walker
Gibson, a young widow, of London, who was, also, of English birth. And from England they
emigrated to New York City, where they established a home, but being driven from there by a
scourge of yellow fever, they came to Harrisville. Here Mrs. Skelton died, and after the home
was broken up Mr. Skelton went to Cairo, and spent the remnant of his days with his daughter,
Mrs. Jacob McKinney. Here he died, and in the old Pioneer burying-ground at Harrisville, beside
his wife, he sleeps.
He was the father of one son, Edward, and three daughters, Mary, Eliza and Anne.
Edward Skelton, junior, married Miss Hame McKinney. Mary became Mrs. Jacob McKinney.
(See McKinney family) Eliza married James Maley; and Anne, Henry Wigner.
Mrs. Skelton had one son, John Gibson, by her first husband.
James Mitchell was the next arrival in this vicinity. He came from the "Old Dominion" (1808),
bringing with him four or five slaves, the first that had ever been seen in this section, and
took up his residence on the Edward Cokeley farm; and in 1809, William Rogers became the second
owner of the Wolfe farm. He, too, came from the "Old Dominion", bringing his family of slaves.
His sons, Robert and Lewis, also found homes here at this same time.
Robert Rogers is said to have settled on the North fork of Hughes river, and Lewis, on Indian
creek; but we have been unable to learn anything of their subsequent history, other than that
Lewis was the father of the late John B. Rogers, of Smithville, and that all the Rogerses in
this and adjoining counties sprung from this family. (See South fork chapter for family of John
And of the Mitchell family we know nothing farther, as it is evident that the Mitchells of this
county did not spring from this source, as they came from Barbour County at a much later day.
The Harrises. - During this same year, 1809, John Harris came from Harrison county, and made the first
settlement on the farm that is now the estate of his late son, John P. Harris. He was at this
time a single man, but the following year (1810) he was married to Miss Agnes Maley, daughter of
Lawrence Maley, and remained a prominent, useful citizen of this community until he was laid in
the Harrisville cemetery.
Mr. Harris' services to this county were of a high order, for more than thirty years he served
as justice of the peace of Ritchie and Wood counties. He was the father of eight children, all
of whom have crossed the tide. The late General Thomas M. Harris, whose interesting history
occupies another chapter, James and John P. Harris were the sons; and Hannah, Margaret, Anne,
Mary and Jane, the daughters.
James married Miss Anne Rutherford, daughter of Richard Rutherford, senior, and they were the
parents of two children, Miss Ella, of Concord, Ohio; and a son who died in infancy. He was laid
away on the old homestead, near Harrisville, many years ago, but his aged companion survived
until 1908, when she was laid by his side.
John P. Harris married Miss Margaret Rutherford, sister of his brother's wife, and lived and
died in New York City, near ten years ago, and at Harrisville, by the side of her husband and
eldest son, James, she reposes. Their surviving children are Richard R., who is a prominent
nurseryman, of Harrisville; Thomas G., a physician, of Weston; John, a railroad engineer, of
Weston' Agnes, who is the wife of the Rev. William B. Barr, of the Presbyterian church of New
Jersey; Mary, the wife of the Rev. Edward S. Littell, of the Presbyterian church of Pennsylvania;
and Annabel, who held a position as teacher in a college at Knoxville, Tennessee, became the
wife of the Rev. John T. Aikin, of the Presbyterian church of Rochester, PA, June 24, 1910.
Hannah, the eldest daughter of John and Agnes Maley Harris, married Samuel Blue and went to
Pennsylvania, and her two children, Agnes, a daughter, and a son, died in childhood.
Margaret Harris married T.F. Leech and lived and died at Harrisville. Mrs. R.R. Hall, of
Harrisville, is her only surviving child; another daughter, Martha E., having passed on in her
Anne Harris died in youth, and Mary and Jane, in childhood.
Thomas Harris' settlement here antedated that of his brother, John, by two years, he having
succeeded his son-in-law, George Stuart, on the land where Harrisville now stands, in 1807.
He married Miss Nancy Cunningham, sister of Elijah M. Cunningham, and with his family came from
Harrison county and remained here until his death; and in the old Pioneer cemetery, beside his
wife, he rests. He was the father of ten children; viz., John went to Illinois; James, to
Zanesville, Ohio; and Adam rests at Smithville; Effie became Mrs. John Chancellor and went to
Iowa; Margaret, who married William Stanley, lies at Harrisville; Hannah married George Stuart
and lived and died in this county; Elizabeth, Rachel, Sarah and Mary, who remained single, also
From this pioneer Harrisville took its name, and is a most beautiful monument to his memory.
The Harrises are of Scotch-Irish origin. Two brothers came from Ireland before the Revolution,
landing in the City of "Brotherly Love". These brothers were separated, soon after their arrival,
Thomas going Southward, was never heard of again, and the other one (whose Christian name is
wanting) was the father of Thomas and John, the Ritchie county pioneers. He married a widow, a
Mrs. Miller, whose maiden name was Plummer, and near the year 1800, they came to Harrison county.
Besides the two sons mentioned they were the parents of four daughters, all of whom were the
wives of Ritchie county pioneers:
Margaret married Elijah M. Cunningham; Jane, Benjamin Starr; Anna, John Harris, and another
daughter was the wife of Nutter Webb, a pioneer of Goose creek.
The Chancellors. - The year 1809 was, also, marked by the coming of Thomas Chancellor, with his
family, form Culpepper county, Virginia, to the farm that for long years was the home of the
late Mrs. John Hawkins, but now the homes of Edward Wells and James Maxwell. He married Miss
Judith Gaines, a Virginia maiden of Welsh descent, she being his third wife, and they were the
parents of seven sons and one daughter.
Mrs. Chancellor was the niece of Edmond Pendleton, of Virginia, and a cousin of General Edmond
Pendleton Gains, of the United States army. Mr. Chancellor was a soldier of the Revolutionary
war, he having served in the Virginia infantry. He died not long after his settlement here, and
the family went to Wood county, where a number of the descendants still live.
The two eldest sons of these pioneers, Richard and James Chancellor, died at Norfolk, Virginia,
while serving as soldiers in the war of 1812, leaving no issue; Cooper and William sleeps in
Wood county. Benjamin went to Missouri, and finally to Mississippi, where he sleeps. John
emigrated to Missouri, and later to Arkansas, where he reposes. (He was the grandfather of
C. B. Chancellor, of the Chancellor Hardware Company of Parkersburg.) Rebecca, the only daughter,
who never married, also sleeps in Wood county; and Thomas, the sixth son, who was born in the
Old Dominion, in 1805, married Miss Prudence Rector, of Taylor county, and removed to Wood
county in 1838, where he died on July 4, 1872, at his home in Parkersburg. Here his family, who
are prominently known, still reside. To the late Hon. W.N. Chancellor, his son, we are indebted
to for this sketch; his other sons, Edmond P. and Alfred B., are also citizens of Parkersburg.
The Chancellors are of French origin, although they went from France to England in the eleventh
century (1066) with William the Conquorer, and subsequently removed to Scotland in the
fourteenth century. However, Richard Chancellor, the founder of the family in the United States,
came from England in 1682, and settled in Westmoreland county, Virginia. He had two sons,
William Cooper, and Richard Chancellor, junior (the hatter). William Cooper Chancellor married
a Miss Thomas, and removed to Culpepper county (Virginia), and here his son Thomas, the Ritchie
county pioneer was born.
Doubtless the town of Chancellorsville, in the Old Dominion, which was so far-famed during the
late Civil war, took its name from this family.
The Starrs. - Near the year 1810, John and Benjamin Starr, and Elijah Cunningham, with their
families, found homes in this wilderness. They all came from Harrison county, and were all the
uncles of General Harris.
Mr. Cunningham settled on land adjoining the Wolfe farm; Benjamin Starr, on the George Martin
farm, now the home of Mrs. Susan Rymer; and John Starr, on Indian creek, on the homestead that
is now the estate of his late son, James.
John Starr's wife was Miss Anne Harris, sister of John and Thomas Harris, and they were the
first settlers on Indian creek. Here they lived and died, and in the Harrisville cemetery they
lie at rest. He has been sleeping since 1846.
The children of the family were Mary, Elizabeth, Effie, Hannah, Moses, Benjamin, John and James
Mary became the wife of Jacob Moats, senior, and spent her life in the Harrisville vicinity.
(See Moats family.)
Elizabeth Starr was married to Jacob Wigner, junior, and in this county she remained until death.
Her children were: Cathrine, Eliza, Elizabeth, Matilda, James, Harper, Nelson, Wilbur, Clarke
and George Wigner.
Effie Starr was the late Mrs. Henry Moats, of Addis' run. (See Moats family.)
Hannah Starr, with her husband, William Cokeley, settled at Mt. Zion, where she is now resting
in the churchyard. (See Chevauxdifrise chapter.)
Moses Starr was married to Miss Margaret Prince, and in Wood county he resided. His family
consisted of two daughters, Anne is the widow of Jacob Moats, junior, of Harrisville, and Jane
is Mrs. Sarber of Parkersburg.
Benjamin Starr died in youth.
John Starr was married to Miss Ellen Ayres, sister of John B. Ayres, formerly of this county,
but now of Spencer, and resided at different points in this county, before going to Addis' run,
where he died in 1875. His wife survived him until 1898.
Their children were: Miss Mary and Benjamin, Missouri; John, of Addis' run; Anne Mrs. G. W.
Hammer), Mrs. Frances Watson Foster, and Miss Hannah Starr, Harrisville.
James Starr and his wife, Mrs. Eliza Ayres Starr, (sister of his brother's wife) spent their
lives at the old homestead, on Indian creek. Here she passed from earth in 1891, and he on
February 25, 1901.
Benjamin Starr, senior, the pioneer, was married to Miss Jane Harris (sister of his brother's
wife)and, perhaps, remained here until his death, yet we have been unable to learn anything
definite concerning his subsequent history or that of his family, other than that he had two
children, Moses and Elizabeth Starr.
Elijah Morgan Cunningham was married to Miss Margaret Harris, he and Thomas Harris having traded
sisters,and in this vicinity they remained until they were borne to the old ""pioneer cemetery",
near Harrisville. He was a native of Harrison county, and a brother of Edward, a very early
settler on Husher's run.
His only son died in childhood, and his daughters were: Elizabeth (Mrs. Elijah Husher, of
Husher's run); Sarah (Mrs. Riddel, mother of David J. Riddel, of Riddel's chapel); Effie (the
late Mrs. James Riddel, of Roane county), and Rachel and Jane, who remained single. (Effie and
Jane were twins). All of whom have crossed to the other side.
This family were related to William Cunningham, of Revolutionary fame, and to Thomas, of Indian
times, they having been descended from the same Irish family, as the similarity of names would
suggest; but we have been unable to determine the exact connection, though circumstances point to the fact that
they were first cousins.
The Drakes. - During the year 1811, the Reverend John Drake, a minister of the Baptist church,
made the first improvement on the farm that is now the estate of the late Edward D. Lough.
He was the first minister in the settlement, and being licensed to celebrate the rites of
matrimony, took his matter from the hands of the Reverend Reese Wolfe, a lay minister of the
Baptist church faith, of Parkersburg, who had been performing this important service for the
The Rev. Mr. Drake was a lineal descendant of Sir Francis Drake, the English Admiral and
explorer. His father, George Drake, came from England, some time during the last half of the
eighteenth century, and probably settled in the Virginia colony.
However, John Drake was born in 1775, and was one of the first missionaries to cross the
Allegheny mountains, to Western Virginia.
He was married twice, but the maiden names of both of his wives are missing. But the record
shows that he and his first wife, Isabel, were married on January 15, 1794; and that he was
married to his second wife, Elizabeth, on January 30, 1803, and with her he came to this county.
After a few years' residence at Harrisville, he removed to Smithville, and found a home at the
mouth of Leatherbrake, on land that is now owned by W. A. Flesher. Here he continued to reside
until August 3, 1826, when he was called to his heavenly reward; and in the Murphy graveyard,
on the John P. Kennedy farm, his ashes lie.
No imposing monument marks his resting place! Perhaps, not even a stone is there to distinguish
it from the many other early graves in the burying-ground, but the record of his hardships, his
noble deeds, his heroic self-sacrifice, is a memorial, sufficient - the Baptist church in this
county is a fitting and enduring monument to his memory.
His wife, Elizabeth, survived him by many years, dying on May 26, 1854, at the age of seventy-one
Bible Record of the Family of Rev. John Drake - Children of John and Isabel Drake: James Drake,
born on March 15, 1795, married Elizabeth Sinnett, on September 25, 1815.
Jemima Drake, born on September 19, 1796, married John Earle on July 22, 1814.
Elizabeth Drake, born on March 21, 1799, and ---
Children of John and Elizabeth Drake: Susana Drake, born on February 26, 1804, died in 1810.
George Drake, born October 22, 1805, died in 1825.
Rachel Drake, born on January 4, 1808, married George Camp on April 13, 1826.
Mary Drake, born on October 20, 1809, married Seth Rogers, on March 9, 1854.
Agnes Drake, born on February 19, 1812, married Solomon Rexroad, on November 17, 1833.
John Drake, born on April 5, 1814, died in 1852.
David Drake, born on December 19, 1816 and ---.
Lavina Drake, born on August 15, 1820, died in 1852.
Noah Drake, born on March 16, 1823, died in 1851.
Aaron Drake, born on October 25, 1826, and ---.
Some of these sons went to Charleston and here their history ends, but James remained here and
his descendants among our well known citizens. (See South fork settlers.)
Adam Cunningham was another early pioneer in this section.
He was born the son of Adam, senior, and the nephew of Thomas Cunningham, and was a native of
this county, being born on the Hoff farm, below Smithville.
He married Sarah, the daughter of Patrick Sinnett, and settled on the old ridge road between
Harrisville and Smithville, on the farm that is now the estate of the late Charles Moyer; here
he passed from earth at a ripe old age, and here, with his wife, he sleeps.
His children were: Jacob, of Indian creek; Absolem, father of John, the Washburn artist; Mrs.
Millie (Wm.) Hoover, of Wood county; the late Mrs. Dolly (James) Webb, of Harrisville; Mrs.
Phebe (Ephriam) Cunningham, of Indian run; and the late Mrs. Sarah Ann Mullenax, of the same
The Moatses- Near the year 1819, George Moats and his wife, Eve, with their family, came from
Pendleton County, and took up their residence on the land that is now marked by the west end of
They were the grandparents of Andrew Moats, of Harrisville, and the ancestors of all the families
of this name in the county, they being the parents of twelve children. Mrs. Moats was a native
of North Carolina, and both were of German descent.
They gave the grounds for the first Baptist church in the Harrisville vicinity, and near the
site of this old church, which stood just north of the present residence of Mrs. Wm. M. Rymer,
Mr. Moats met a tragic death, in 1844, by the falling of a tree under which he had sought
shelter from a storm. He was buried almost on the site where he was killed, but 60 years later,
his ashes were removed to the cemetery on the hill south of town. Mrs. Moats rests in the Inian
Creek Baptist churchyard.
Their sons were: Peter, Jacob, Henry and William; and their daughters, Christiana, Barbara,
Magdalene, Katherine, Elizabeth, Frances, Susan and Julia Moats, whose descendants are now a
host among the good citizens of the county.
These children in their turn were nearly all the heads of pioneer families.
PETER MOATS, the eldest son, was born in Pendleton County, in 1797, and there he was married,
at the age of nineteen or twenty years, to Miss Rachel Grogg, and with his parents, came to this
county and settled on one end of the old homestead, on the part that is now owned by the heirs
of the late Samuel Moats. Here he died, and in the Egypt Cemetery he sleeps. He was one of the
earliest blacksmiths in this vicinity.
His children were: Joseph, Jesse and Cathrine (Mrs. Wm. Godfrey), who went to Ohio; the late Wm.
P. and Mrs. Lucinda (Jacob) Cunningham, of Washburn; Mrs. Flora Eve (Kuhnrod) Mullenax, of
Missouri; the late Mrs. Elizabeth (James) Layfield, and Mrs. Susana (Salathial) Simmons, both of
JACOB MOATS, the second son, was born in 1799, and in 1823 he was married to Miss Mary, the
daughter of John Starr, senior, and on the old homestead, near Harrisville, where their son,
Jacob, died a few years since, they established their home. Here she saw the last of earth in
1873, and he in 1885, and both rest at Harrisville.
Their eldest daughter, Anne, was the late Mrs. Andrew Cokeley, and Susana was the late Mrs.
Isaac Cokeley, both of Harrisville; Mary became Mrs. Joshua Nest and went West; Elizabeth was
Mrs. Holland, of Tyler county; Margaret, Mrs. Robinson, of Wood county; Jane, the late wife of
J.R. Sigler, of Cairo; India is Mrs. William Gilbert, of Williamstown; Andrew has long been a
prominent merchant of Harrisville; and Benjamin and Jacob, junior, lie sleeping in the
HENRY MOATS, with his wife, Mrs. Effie Starr Moats, settled on the head of Addis' run, where his
son, Henry, now lives. He entered a large tract of twelve hundred acres of land in this section,
but his claim being contested, he purchased the entire tract, and obtained a title for it, and
it is divided into several homesteads (viz.; J.H. Hatfield's, John Starr's, George Layfield's,
Edward Cokeley's and perhaps others) besides what is owned by his heirs.
He, too, was a blacksmith by trade, and was the first one in this section. Here his last hours
John went West, where he died; George and Manes lost thier lives in the defense of the Union in
the sixties; Henry resides at the old home; William is the owner and operator of the Moats mill
at Rusk; Kathrine married Thomas Martin, and she now lives with her son in New York; Hannah was
the late Mrs. David Shrader, of Cairo, and another daughter was Mrs. Hiram (?) Norman, of
WILLIAM MOATS married Miss Phebe Drake, daughter of James Drake, and settled on the old parental
homestead, he having succeeded his father there. Here he lived and died and at Harrisville he
After the death of his wife, Phebe, he married Miss Edna M. Cunningham, daughter of Enoch M.
Cunningham, of Smithville, and they were the parents of Pompey Moats, and Misses India and
Virginia, who reside at the old homestead near Harrisville.
The children of William and Phebe Drake Moats were the late James and Sinnett Moats, of Indian
creek, who were both soldiers of the Union army, and Cornelius of Harrisville. The other
children of this union died in childhood.
CHRISTIANA MOATS, the eldest child of George and Eve Moats, who was born in 1793, was married to
John Shrader and settled on Husher's run. Her sons were Nicholas, George and Wiliam Shrader, and
one of her daughters, Fannie, was Mrs. James Rolins of Ellenboro.
BARBARA MOATS became Mrs. Solomon Dick, and resided here and in the "Buckeye State". George
Dick, of Ohio, is one of her sons, but the names of the other members of the family are wanting.
MAGDALENA MOATS was the late Mrs. William Kibby, of Cornwallis, and Hezekiah Kibby, the ex-
assessor, of Grant district is her only heir.
KATHRINE MOATS was married to Absaolem Harpold, and from the Webb's mill vicinity, they went to
Indiana. Nicholas and George Harpold were two of her sons.
SUSAN MOATS was the late Mrs. Solomon Mullenax, of Missouri; ELIZABETH was the wife of John
Layfield, senior; FRANCES was Mrs. Harman Sinnett; and JULIA ANNE, Mrs. Ephriam Culp, all of
The Cokeleys. - Another family whose name belongs to this community, though not among the
earliest settlers, is that of Cokeley.
Jeremiah Cokeley came from Ireland near the year 1750, and settled in the Virginia colony. He
was the father of five sons; viz., William, Daniel, Edmund, Jeremiah and Elijah, and from his
son, Edmund, the Ritchie county Cokeley's are descended.
Edmund Cokeley was a Revolutionary soldier, he having taken up his sword in behalf of the
In 1812, his son, Elijah, married Christiana Crofus, a German maiden, who, with her parents,
crossed to Virginia in 1790; and, in 1822, he passed from earth at his home in Virginia, and
here, near Cumberland, on the Virginia side, he sleeps.
In 1840, his widow, with her three sons and one daughter; viz., Edmund, Isaac, Andrew and Anne,
came to the Harrisville vicinity, and with them came Daniel Cokeley, a brother of Elijah, and
his family, and from these two brothers all the different families of this name in this, and
sister counties, are descended.
Edmund Cokeley, the eldest son of Elijah, married Miss Eliza Wagner, of Cumberland, Maryland;
and near the breaking out of the Civil war, with his family and his widowed mother, he removed
to Iowa, where he died but a few years since. His mother died in the early sixties, and lies at
rest in a rural cemetery near Vinton, Iowa.
His children were Jonathan, Edward, Asby, Christiana, Margaret and Martha.
Isaac Cokeley married a Miss Rexroad and lost his life in defense of the Union in 1863.
Anne Cokeley, the only daughter of Elijah Cokeley, became the wife of Jonathan Barksdale, of
Virginia, and after a brief married life, she died and her family went to Iowa.
Andrew Cockily, the younger son of the family of Elijah, was married to Miss Anne Moats,
daughter of Jacob Moats, senior, on April 15, 1841, and settled on the old homestead near two
and one-half miles West of Harrisville, where his heirs still reside.
He was the father of twelve children:
Jacob, of Williamstown; Edmund E., George, the late Andrew J., all of Harrisville; and Alvah, of
Cairo; Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, was the late Mrs. Aaron Friedly, of Spruce Grove; Mary
Jane was the late Mrs. William Moats, of Addis' run; Alcinda was the late Mrs. Henry Moats, of
Spruce Grove, the mother of the late F.M. Moats, editor of the Ritchie Standard; Susan L. was
the late Mrs. Jon Echard, of Five Forks; Melvina became Mrs. Jonathan Cokeley, and resides at
Vinton, Iowa; Margaret R. married Frank Griffin and died in 1877, leaving one son; Belle married
Everett Brake and resides at the old home.
Daniel Cokeley. - Daniel Cokeley, the pioneer, married Miss Elizabeth Crofus, sister of his
brother Elijah's wife, and came from Virginia in 1840, as above stated, and settled near two
miles from Harrisville, on the farm that is now the estate of his late son, Isaac. Here he died
in 1861, at the age of ninety-four years, six months, fifteen days.
His children were: Isaac, William, Mrs. Nancy Simmers, all of Harrisville; Mrs. Elizabeth Shock,
and Mrs. Sarah Robinson (mother of honored Sherman Robinson, of Harrisville), both of Calhoun
county. His daughter, Mary, married William Sharpneck, of Petroleum, and after her death her
sister, Margaret, married Mr. Sharpneck.
Isaac Cokeley married Miss Susana Moats, daughter of Jacob Moats, senior, and spent his life at
the old homestead near Harrisville.
His children: Daniel, of Devil Hole; Jacob, of Elm run, who have passed on; Isaac, of
Harrisville; Margaret late wife of John E. Simmons, of Spruce Grove; Luvina, late wife of Andrew
Simmons, and Miss Mary, who, with her mother, resides at the old homestead.
William Cokeley, son of Daniel, married Miss Hannah Starr, daughter of John Starr, senior, and
Mrs. Elizabeth Duckworth, of Mt. Zion, is the one child of this union. (See Mt. Zion chapter for
South Fork Settled
After a four years' residence here, he removed to what is known as "Layfield's run", a tributary
of Goose creek, where he lived for many years, and where he buried his first wife, Mrs. Margaret
Crawford Layfield. He died on March 20, 1852, at the home of his son, Sanford, near Cornwallis,
and in the Egypt cemetery, by the side of his second wife, Mrs. Susan Douglas Layfield (widow of
John Douglas, of Scotland), he sleeps.
He was of Irish descent. His father, James Layfield, came from the "Emerald Isle", and settled
on the South branch of the Potomac river at Moorefield (West), Virginia, where he (William) was
When he was but a lad, all the family, except him and one brother, were captured by the Indians,
and they were being hotly pursued by the dreaded foe when they were over taken by a violent
storm, from which they sought refuge under a tree. This tree was torn up by the roots, and
William escaped, but he never knew the fate of his brother; never heard of any of the family
agian, so the many families of this name in different parts of the country are descended from
He was the father of six sons and one daughter: John, James, Ellison, Sanford, David and William,
junior, and Mary Ann, who became Mrs. Augusta Crane, and went West.
To the late venerable Henry Layfield, of Cokeley's, we are indebted for this interesting
reminiscence, which he has repeatedly heard from his grandfather's own lips.
The Murphys. - The Murphys were the second settlers on this river. Four brothers came from
Harrison county, in 1801, and found homes in the Webb's mill vicinity. Amiziah took up his
residence on what is now the Frederick Lemon estate, at Macfarlan; William, on the John P.
Kennedy farm; Samuel, on the late Alfred Scott estate; and John, ont he Reb. M. McNeill
homestead. Here these brothers passed from earth, and in the Murphy graveyard, on the John P.
Kennedy farm, and on the McNeill homestead, their ashes lie. After the older generation had
passed away, their heirs, having lost their lands owing to bad titles, went to Illinois, to
Washington county, Ohio, and to Wood county, this State, and consequently, little is known of
their early history, save the fact that they were Indian fighters.
Our settlers found homes in this wilderness in rapid succession, and for a number of years this
was known as the "Murphy Settlement" along the river from the mouth of Indian creek to the mouth
of Slab creek; and the memory of these pioneers is still kept green by the name, "Murphy
Nutter Webb. - After the Murphys came Nutter Webb. He was a native of Harrison county, and the
first blacksmith in this vicinity. His old cabin stood on the south bank of the river just
opposite the present site of Webb's (Hardman's) mill, and here he resided until he was laid in
the cemetery that bears his name, in August 1833. A long line of his descendants still lay claim
to Ritchie soil.
He married Miss Anna Cunningham, daughter of Adam Cunningham, brother of Thomas, and was the
father of two sons and several daughters: Benjamin, whose history appears in a later chapter,
was one of the most prominent figures in the early history of this part of the county; William
was also a pioneer, he having made the first settlement on the Elias Valentine farm; Mrs.
Elizabeth Simms, Parkersburg; Mrs. Rebecca (John) Malone, Mrs. Margaret (Adam) Harris, Mrs.
Rachel (Wm) Stuart, mother of Robert Stuart, of Iris, were four of the daughters, and perhaps
all of them.
Adam Cunningham was another early settler in the Webb's mill vicinity, he having found a home
on the Hoff, now John S. Deem, farm. He was a brother of Thomas Cunningham, and here the
remainder of his life was spent, and in the Murphy graveyard he sleeps.
He was the father of twelve children, whose names in part are missing, but the following are
among them: Adam, the grandfather of John Cunningham, the Washburn artist; Edward and Elijah,
and Mrs. Rebecca Beard, Mrs. Drusilla Beard, Mrs. Rachel Nutter, Mrs. Hannah Harris and Mrs.
William Stuart. - Contemporary with the settlements of the Murphy Brothers was that of William
Stuart, weinio, on the late John Byrd estate, near the old "State Ford", above Goff's. He was a
typical son of "Old Erin", having been born, reared and educated in the city of Belfast, Ireland.
Here he learned the trade of cabinet-maker and joiner; and here he was married to Miss Martha
Boyd, and English maiden, of Southampton; and from here they emigrated to America in 1789,
landing in the "City of Brotherly Love", where he worked at his trade, for a time, before
purchasing land in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, on the banks of the "blue Juniata river",
below the then little village of Huntingdon. Here they remained but a brief time; and from here
they came to Ritchie county, in 1801, and settled ont he Byrd rarm, where he died on March 13,
1809. His wife died in 1834. Both sleep on their old homestead, in the burying ground that is
now designated as the "Reeves graveyard". Their son, John, and daughter, Sarah B., who was the
victim of the first surgical operation in this county, also sleep here; Polly, and Martha, who
Married Benjamin Webb, rest in the Webb's cemetery; Jane married Enoch Cunningham, and at
Smithville she reposes; James died in Harrison county, and William, who was the father of Robert,
Among the grandchildren of this pioneer, who are citizens of this county, are Lewis Rogers, of
Lamb's run, P.J. Cunningham, of Pennsboro, James T. Smith of Burnt House; and B. F. Prince of
Cantwell, are great-grandsons.
Thomas Summerfield was the first settler on what is now the W.A. Flesher and the lateJohn Miller
homesteads. He afterwards moved across the river and made a settlement on the J.R. Westfall farm,
and finally went to Ohio.
Alexander Davidson. - In 1820, the Miller and Flesher farm became the property of Alexander
Davidson, wh continued to resied here until he was borne to the Smithille cemetery in 1837.
Mr. Davidson was of Scotch-Irish descent. His father, James Davidson, was born in Ireland, and
his mother, Mary Allen, in Scotland; and shortly after the Revolution they came to America and
settled in the valley of Virginia, near Winchester; here Alexander was born; and here he was
married to Miss Kathrine Kline, a German maiden, who was also a native of the "Old Dominion";
and after the birth of their third child, they removed to Parkersburg, where Mr. Davidson
engaged in the shoe-maker's trade for a time, before coming to the Harrisville vicinity, near
1816, where he remained until he came to Smithville.
He was the father of ten children; and after his death Mrs. Davidson and the family, having lost
their land here, emigrated to Illinois in a wagon. Here a number of them sleep.
He was the father of the venerable Israel Davidson, of Spruce creek, who is, perhaps, entitled
to the distinction of being the oldest (living) son of Ritchie county, he having passed his
ninetieth mileston;' and of the late Samuel, of Gilmer county; of the late Mrs. Eleven Riddle,
of Lawford; and the late Mrs. Edward Rogers, who sleeps in the Pioneer cemetery at Harrisville.
William Cline, early in the century, built the first house at Smithville, on the site that is
now marked by the hotel of M.A. Ayres. He was the father of Abraham and William Cline, whose
names will appear later; but in 1816, this improvement passed into the hands of James and
Benjamin Hardman, two brothers, who came from what is now Gilmer county. These brothers had
married the daughters of Thomas and Phoebe Cunningham, the first settlers in the Frederick's
mill vicinity (in 1807), whose interesting history occupies another chapter.
The Hardmans. - In the meantime, while these settlements were going on at Smithville, Peter,
Wolfe, of Harrison county, was making the first improvement ont he farm that is now the A.P.
Hardman estate, in the Frederick's mill vicinity; and he and James Hardman traded farms. Mr.
Wolfe moved to Smithville, where he died before the year 1830, and Mr. Hardman took up his
residence on the A.P. Hardman homestead, which he lost owing to a defective title; and he then
moved to the Satunton pike, and he became the first settler in the Hardman chapel vicinity, on
the farm that is now the estate of his late son, James S. Hardman. Here he passed from earth in
August, 1874. He was a lay minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, and he gave the grounds
for the cemetery and the church which bears his name, "Hardman Chapel", and beneath its shadow
his ashes lie. He was born in the "Old Dominion", on November 14, 1795, and, with his parents,
came to Gilmer county, to the Kanawha river, when he was but a small child. At the age of
eighteen years, he enlisted as a solider int he war of 1812, taking the place of his father, who
had been drafted, and served one year, until the close of the war. He was never engaged in
battle, but frequently witnessed the maneuvers of the enemy's vessels far out at sea. In 1816,
he was married to Miss Phebe Cunningham, who was born in Lewis county, on August 10, 1795, and
died at her home at Hardman chapel, on July 3, 1871.
From this venerable couple, the many different families of the name in this county are descended.
Their two sruviving daughters are Mrs. Nancy (Asa) Dilworth, of Eatons; and Mrs. Julia (Ira S.)
Goff, of Walker. And their sons and daughters were Joseph, who died in childhood; Mrs. Leah
(John) Beall, Leatherbrake; Mrs. Harriett Fisher, Gilmer county; Mrs. Dorcas Beall, Weston; Mrs.
Barbara (George) Wells, Cornwallis; Mrs. Phebe (J.M.) McWhorter, of Buckhannon, who first
married Harrison B. Cunningham; George W., James S., and Asbury Poole, Hardman chapel; and
Thomas C. of Auburn.
Benjamin Hardman changed his place of residence from Smithville to the bank of the river at
Frederick's mill, he being the first settler here, and the builder of this mill; and from this
community, a number of years later, he went to Iowa, where he remained but a short time.
Returning to this State, he went to Roane county, and settled ofn the Middle fork of Reedy,
and from there, passed into the other world. He, too, was a lay minister of the Methodist
Episcopal church, one of the earliest in this wilderness. His wife was Sira Leah Cunningham, and
by his side she is sleeping, on the old homestead in Roane county.
Their children were; the late Thomas, of Gilmer county; William, Joseph, Benjamin, Nathaniel,
Mrs. Emily Ingraham and Mrs. Argabrite, all of Roane county; Mrs. Phebe (Phillip) Frederick,
Burnt House; Mrs. Rebecca (Henry) Elliott, Calhoun county; Mrs. Sarah (Alexander) Burdett,
Missouri; and Mrs. Mary (Henry C.) McWhorter, Charleston; mother of Judge McWhorter, who stepped
down from a long term as judge of the Supreme Court of the State, in 1909.
The Hardmans have a very interesting ancestral history. Joseph Hardman was born in Germany not
far from the middle of the eighteenth century, and about the time he had reached manhood's
estate, he, leaving the Fatherland with an emigrant party, which included his sister, Margaret
Hardman (who may have been Mrs. Jeremiah Riddel at this time), James Riddel, John Goff and
Salathiel Goff, went to England; and from there, a year later, they all embarked to America,
landing in Baltimore a short time before the Revolution - perhaps in 1773 or 1774, where they
remained for twelve months before going to Georgetown, in what is now the District of Columbia.
Mr. Riddel and the Goffs being more advanced in years than Mr. Hardman, were the heads of
families, that they brought with them across the sea; and ere long, the fair face and charming
manner of Miss Dorcas Riddel completely captivated the affections of young Hardman, and they
were married; and upon the banks of the Patomac, within a neighboringdistance of the Washington
estates, they founded their home. And thus it was that Joseph Hardman came to know George
Washington, not only as a general, for he was a Revolutionary soldier, but as an intimate
friend. It is said that the ability and the judgment of the young German was of such an order
that he was, not unfrequently, called into council with other trustworthy pioneers, by General
Washington, to construct plans for the safety and protection of the inhabitants of certain
districts of Maryland and Virginia.
"The reminiscences of these stirring days, and his intimate acquaintance with the great General,
were ever dear to his heart", and to the close of his life "his deep blue eyes would sparkle and
radiate with a peculiar light", as his mind reverted to those heroic scenes. After a seven years'
residence at Georgetown, he, with the other families above mentioned, removed to Fredericksburg,
Virginia, where he engaged in the butcher business, and by strict economy soon accumulated a
sufficient amount of money to cause him to cast wistful glances to the land beyond the mountains;
so one morning in the early spring time, late in the century, he, with his beloved Dorcas and
three childern, Nancy, James and Thomas, and their belongings, set out in wagons for the great
Northwest; and after long weeks of peril and hardships, such as only pioneers of civilization
can know, they reached Randolph county, where they "pitched their tent" and sojourned for a time,
before coming to Cedar creek in Gilmer county, where they reared their humble dwelling and
remained for many years.
Shortly after they settled down here, another child was added to the family, which they called
"Benjamin", and in 1813, the fifth and last child was born, and his name was "George Washington",
for the fond parents declared that his very features were like none other than the great General.
He grew to the intelligent manhood that his early youth promised,a nd married Miss Rachel Goff,
granddaughter of Salathiel Goff, and settled five miles below Grantsville, on the little Kanawha
river, at what is know as "Hardman' Bend", and here, on the old homestead, beside his wife, he
quietly reposes. He was promoted to the rank of major in the Mexican war, and was a large land-
owner and stock-raiser, and from him the Hardmans, who are so prominently known in political
circles in the State, are descended. He being the father of the following named children:
Sylvester and Orlando, who have joined the throng over there, once occupied seats in the State
Senate; George W., late candidate for Congress on the Democratic ticket, who passed on in 1909;
Cassett, Marcellus, Jerome and Allen, who are all prominent farmers, stockmen and timbermen of
Roane county' Warren and Floyd, who died in infancy' the late Mrs. Dorcas (Levi) Ball, and Mrs.
S. Jane (Albert) Pearcy. C.C. Hardman, of Kyger, Roane county, the young instructor of Farmers'
Institutes, who recently formed the acquaintance of the people of this county, is the son of the
late Sylvester Hardman.
Nancy Hardman, the only daughter of Joseph and Dorcas Hardman, married a man by the name of
Parson, of Gilmer county, and he went to the war (of 1812) with James Hardman and died soon
after his return home. His wife, Nancy, then married a Mr. Kearns, of Stuart's creek, Gilmer
county, and there some of her descendants still live.
Thomas Hardman was married to Miss Rebecca Goff, daughter of John and granddaughter of Salathiel,
and settled at Reedyville, in Roane county. Here, at his home, Joseph and Dorcas Hardman died
and at Reedyville they lie at rest.
Some time after the Civil war, Thomas Hardman and his wife went to Parsons, Kansas, where they
spent the closing years of thier lives with their children, and there their ashes lie.
Their family consisted of the following named children: William, the eldest son, still survives
as a citizen of Roane county, though well advanced in years; Nancy was the late wife of Sandy
Board; Christena married Kellis Argabright; George, John, James, Salathial and Drusilla, who was
the wife of Captain Albert G. Ingraham, of the Confederate army. The late John's family live in
Roane county, as do other descendants, and some of them reside in the far West. Several of these
sons served as Union soldiers during the Civil war.
Peter Wolfe, as before stated, made the first settlement on the A.P. Hardman estate, and he,
trading farms with James Hardman, went from there to the M.A. Ayres farm at Smithville, where he
was laid to rest before the year 1830. He was born in Harrison county of German parentage, and
was of Indian fighting stock. He married Miss Maudlin Hanley, of Harrison county, and came to
this county early in the century. He was the father of Samuel Wolfe, who resided here in pioneer
days, but finally found a resting place in the west; of the late John Wolfe, of Gilmer county'
Susan, who married James Malone, junior, and sleeps at Harrisville; of the late Mrs. Elizabeth
(Righter) Cunningham, of Ohio; and the late Mrs. Mary Drimon, of Harrison county.
Mrs. John M. Brown of Hannahdale, is the great-granddaughter of this pioneer, and the
Wolfes, of Wolfe Pen, are also his descendants, besides not a few of them live in Gilmer county.
Valentine Bozarth was the successor of Mr. Wolfe on the Smithville farm. He and his wife, Mrs.
Rebecca Hall Bozarth, came from Harrison county and went to Iowa, here their brief history ends.
The Bozarths were brave Indian fighters, and their thrilling adventures with the red men are
recorded on the pages of "Border Warfare".
The Malones. - Contemporary with the settlement of Mr. Wolfe on the Hardman farm was that of
James Malone, senior, on the W.G. Lowther homestead, which joins it on the east.
Mr. Malone was of Irish descent, and along with Mr. Wolfe, he came from Harrison county, and
erected his cabin near the present site of the Lowther residence, which, though somewhat
modernized, was built more than three-quarters of a century ago by Samuel Wolfe, and is one of
the oldest landmarks in this section.
The location of this farm is one of the most beautiful along the river, and among its other
points of special interest are: an old Indian mound, which, though once visible for miles around,
is fast disappearing under the plowman's cultivator; and a lasting spring, which has quenched
the thirst of the children of men, the dusky face as well as the pale, for "thousands of moons",
and over its lucid waters bends the branches of a willow of hugh dimensions, the history of
which began less than forty-five years ago, when Miss Abigail Osbourne, eldest daughter of the
late William Osbourne, who was then a small girl, planted her riding switch there. The
circumference of this tree at the base now measures fifteen feet.
Mr. Malone removed (from here) to the Kennedy farm, at the mouth of Lamb's run, and here, he and
his wife, who was Miss Elizabeth Findlay, a descendant of the Dreake family, lie sleeping.
He was the father of James Malone, junior, of John, Mrs. Jane Cunningham (mother of Mrs. Israel
Davidson, of Spruce creek); and of the late Mrs. Elizabeth (Cornelius) Wyer, of Gilmer county.
His children were all the heads of pioneer families of this county.
John Malone married Miss Rebecca Webb, sister of Benjamin Webb, and was the first settler on the
E.R. Tibbs farm, at Goff's. He went from here to Bull creek, where some of his descendants still
James Malone, junior, married Miss Susan Wolfe, daughter of Peter, and succeeded his father on
the Kennedy farm. He removed from there, early in the forties, to the farm that is now
designated as the William Flannagan homestead, near Hannahdale, and here he passed from earth,
in the early sixties, and in the Harrisville cemetery, beside his wife he sleeps.
He figured prominently in the early history of the county, as justice of the peace and as
representative in the legislature at Richmond.
He was the father of Alfred Malone, a lay minister of the M.E. church, who sleeps in Kansas;
James (the III), who died in the Union cause; Francis M., who rests at Lima, Ohio; the late
Samuel, of Nebraska; and Osbourne, who died at Weston; Fannie became Mrs. Broadwater, of
Hannahdale; Rebecca, Mrs. Jacob Trainer, of Riddel's chapel; Mary Jane, Mrs. William Maley, of
the same vicinity; Elizabeth was the late Mrs. John Clutter, of Iowa; Martha married and died in
St. Louis, Missouri; and Sarah, the only survivor of the family, is Mrs. Clutter, of Pittsburg,
Mrs. J.M. Brown, of Hannahdale, is the granddaughter of this pioneer.
Among the great-grandchildren of James Malone, senior, who are citizens of this part of the
county, are C.J. Valentine, of Fonsoville; S.A. Wyer, of Auburn; J.B. Valentine, of Macfarlan;
and not a few of the Wyers of Gilmer county.
John Wilson was the pioneer on the Kennedy farm, Mr. Malone having purchased his improvement.
Mr. Wilson and his wife, who was formerly a Miss White, went from here to Iowa, and we have been
unable to learn anything farther of their history, save that Francis Wilson, of Tanners, belongs
to this family, he being descended from a brother of John Wilson.
The Elliotts. - Not far from the time of the coming of the Malones, Jabez Elliott found a home
on the Eugene Barker farm, near the mouth of Lamb's run, and in this vicinity he spent the rest
of his days, and in the Smithville cemetery he found a final resting place.
The early history of this family is very meager, and what is in our possession cannot be
But they are of English origin and they probably first settled in the New England colonies,
where they were engaged in savage warfare. And we, also, find them in Ohio battling with the
Indians, during General Wayne's campaign.
Jabez Elliott is said to have been a native of the New England States and a soldier in the war
of 1812. He married Miss Elizabeth Wigner, daughter of John Wigner, senior, and sister of John,
junior, of Ellenboro, and came here from Harrison county. His venerable widow spent her last
days in an old cabin that stood near the present residence W.J. Burwell, in the vicinity of
Goff's. Here she passed to her reward in 1875, at the age of ninety-six years. She had been a
communicant of the Methodist Episcopal church for seventy-eight years, she being one of the
class that was organized in 1810. She rests in the Smithville cemetery by the side of her
Their children were as follows:
John, Jacob, Henry, Washington, Mrs. Elizabeth Lowther, Mrs. Sarah Howard and Mrs. Manly Collins,
all of this county; and Jabez, junior, of Calhoun. All have now passed to the other shore, but
their descendants in this county are not a few.
Among the grandsons are Frank and Wesley Elliott, of Indian creek; and Thomas Elliott, of
Pullman. Hayes Elliott the assistant cashier of the Pullman bank, is a great-grandson.
Manly Collins and his wife, Mrs. Mary Elliott Collins, were the first settlers on Lamb's run
after the Elliott family, they having built their cabin where Emery Tibbs now lives.
Mrs. Collins survived until a few years since, when she passed away at a ripe old age, and was
laid at rest in the Cunningham burying-ground near Mahone.
Mr. Collins was the son of Mrs. Mary Collins, who spent her last hours on Slab Creek, and a
brother of Chainey Collins of Smithville; of Mrs. Phebe Smith, the late wife of Aaron Smith of
Smith's chapel; and of John Collins, of Wirt county, all of whom have passed on.
The children of Manly and Mary Collins are as follows: Daniel, Benjamin, Mrs. Sarah Frederick,
and Mary and Louisa, who are dead.
After the death of Jabez Elliott his family had a dwelling erected, where Peyton Tingler now
lives, and for a number of years this cabin was occupied by the Elliott family.
This stream is said to have taken its name from a man by the name of Lamb, but we have been
unable to learn anything farther concerning his history.
The Wigners. - John Wigner, senior, succeeded William Layfield on the S.H. Westfall farm, above
Smithville. This old pioneer cabin stood on a rivulet, which still bears his name,
Mr. Wigner was of German lineage, and he came here from near Philadelphia before the year 1810,
and here the remnant of his days was spent, and in some of the old burying-grounds in this
vicinity his ashes lie.
He was the father of John Wigner, junior, the first settler at Ellenboro; of Jacob, of Stuart's
run; of Henry, of Husher's run; Joseph and Daniel, of Ohio; Mrs. Elizabeth (Jabez) Elliott, of
Goff's; Mrs. Elijah Cunningham, Husher's run; Mrs. Barbara Newcome, and Mrs. Susan White, of
John Cornell. - John Cornell was the first resident of the Martin Smith farm, above Smithville.
He and his wife, Mrs. Susan Park Cornell, came from "Maryland, My Maryland", and having twice
purchased this farm and lost it at law, removed to Pleasants county, in 1840, where he "laid
down the cross" in 1860. Seventeen years later his wife joined him on the other side, and in the
Rutman cemetery they both lie at rest.
Mr. Cornell was a Revolutionary soldier, and was the son of William Cornell, an Irishman. He
and his wife were the parents of twelve children - seven sons and five daughters, all of whom
reached the year of maturity: Benjamin resided at Buffalo, in Putnam county; Susan is Mrs.
William Ward, of Shultz; Mary is Mrs. Stephen Workman, of Huntington; Sarah is Mrs. William
Douglass, of Highland; William sleeps in Oregon; Harrison in the Dry Ridge cemetery; two sons
and two daughters, with the parents in the Rutman cemetery; one son. at Smithville, and one, in
John Cornell, of Calhoun county, is a grandson of the pioneer, as is J.A. Cornell, of Burnt
House. And Mrs. Freeman G. Barr, of Smithville, is a great-granddaughter.
Mrs. Douglass, while on a visit with her daughter, Mrs. A.D. Adams, at the M.E. church parsonage
at Smithville during the autumn of 1904, visited the place of her nativity, after an absence of
sixty-five years, and noted with interest the changes that had been wrought by the mighty hand
of "Father Time". Elias Lowther was another early settler in the Webb's mill vicinity. He was
the second blacksmith and the first gunsmith and powder maker in this section. He was the son of
Thomas and the grandson of Col. William Lowther, and like the other pioneers of this name, was
a native of West Milford. He removed to Wirt county near the year 1825, and here, fell asleep,
and here some of his descendants live. He had two sons, Andrew and Daniel, and perhaps other
The Dyes. - Dennis Dye was the first settler on the farm which is still designated as the "Dye
farm", in the Webb's mill vicinity, though now owned by Martin Smith and son.
Mr. Dye was the son of Rueben and Mary Dye, who came from Prince William county, Virginia, at an
early day and settled in Wood county, and he was a brother of the late D. Dye, of Elizabeth;
John, of Ohio; and William and Benjamin, who started to Texas and were never heard of again.
Dennis Dye was born in 1801, and came to this county in his early manhood and married Miss Anna
Webb, daughter of Benjamin Webb, and took up his residence on the old homestead, above mentioned,
near the year 1825, where he remained until June 20, 1866, when he crossed to the other side.
His wife was born on July 14, 1809, and died in June, 1888. Both sleep in the Webb's mill
His children are as follows: Benjamin, David, William, Mrs. Julia (Adam) Laird, Mrs. Jane
(Daniel) Nicholson, of Calhoun county; and Mrs. Martha (Robert) Taylor, of Smithville; and Mrs.
Drusilla Gear, of Wirt county; who have all passed on; and Mrs. Harriet (Barnes) Smith, Burnt
House; Mrs. Nancy (Jacob) Cunningham, Smithville; Mrs. Mary (Barnes) Smith, Auburn; Mrs. Agnes
Haught, Wirt county; and Mrs. Elizabeth Nutter, Kansas, are the surviving ones.
Benjamin Dye, whose family are still identified with the Smithville vicinity, was born at the
old home at Webb's mill, on August 16, 1827, and though he resided across the Calhoun county
line, after his marriage to Miss Roena Petty, daughter of Rowland Petty, of Wirt county, on
January 10, 1860, his entire life was spent within the bounds of the Smithville vicinity. He
passed from earth on March 3, 1905, and Mrs. Dye followed him to the grave on May 30, 1909.
Both lie at rest in the Nicholas burying-ground, near the old home in Calhoun county.
They were the parents of the following named children: The one daughter died in childhood; and
their sons are: Dr. W.T.W. Dye, of Grantsville; Dr. James A. Dye, Minora; Rowland F. Dye,
Smithville; George W. and Judson B. Dye, Freed.
The Smiths. - John Every, of whose history we know nothing, erected the first dwelling on the
B.H. Wilson farm at Goff's, but this improvement passed into the hands of Barnes Smith as early
as 1810, and remained in his possession until near the year 1835, when he removed to Smithville,
where he passed from earth, on March 9, 1857.
In his honor the town was named and within the peaceful bosom of its cemetery his ashes lie.
Mr. Smith was of English lineage. His ancestors came to America in colonial days and settled in
Virginia, but he was born in Harrison county on May 18, 1782, and there he was married to Miss
Anne Earle, who was born on November 26, 1788, and died on October 14, 1855, and rests at
Smithville. Nine children were the result of this union:
Isaac and Barnes, junior, sleep at Smithville; Joshua, in Calhoun county; Levi J., in Boone
county, Iowa; Sarah, who married Samuel Davidson, in Gilmer county, near Tannersville; Katherine
(Mrs. Levi Smith), on Spruce creek; Hila (Mrs. Eli Riddel), near Goff's; Mary (Mrs. George Goff,
in Missouri; Elizabeth (Mrs. Thomas Goff), in Iowa.
Although these children were so widely scattered, their descendants in this county are a
multitude. Among the grandchildren are Martin Smith, Alvus Smith, Mrs. M.A. Ayres, and Mrs.
Alfred Barr, of Smithville; T.M. Goff, of Harrisville; the late Mrs. A.P. Hardman, Fonsoville;
Mrs. John White, S.B. and S.A. Smith, of Iowa.
Dr. J.M. Goff, of Harrisville, is a great-grandson.
[footnote](Several of these sons were among the pioneers of this county and the history of their
families will be found elsewhere.)
Aaron Smith, brother of Barnes, who was also a native of Harrison county, was the first settler
at Goff's, on the land that is now the homes of Abner Hatfield and E.C. Goff and the Reeves
His old cabin, which was built early in the century, stood near the present Hatfield residence,
and not far away, on this homestead, he lies in his last sleep.
He married Miss Hannah Drake, sister of the Rev. John Drake, who was born on April 17, 1778, and,
like his brother, has an innumerable line of descendants in this and adjoining counties.
After his death his widow married John Riddel, the Grass run pioneer, and in Roane county she
died on October 27, 1868.
Their children are as follows: Elijah, Levi, William, Elisha, Rebecca, Zilpah, Susan, Orpha,
Rhoda and Eda.
Elijah married his cousin, Miss Roana Smith, daughter of Squire Smith, of Harrison county, and
lived and died near the mouth of Smith's run, where his son, Aaron, still survives. He was also
the father of the late James, of Gilmer county; and of Mrs. Thomas D. Tibbs, of Lamb's run.
Levi married his cousin, Miss Kathrine Smith, daughter of Barnes, senior, and was one of the
Spruce creek pioneers.
William married Miss Susana Cain, daughter of David Cain, and went to Lee creek, where he died
in 1883, at the age of eighty-six years.
Elisha married Miss Martha Stuart, sister of Robert Stuart, and settled the Connolly farm, on
Leatherbrake, where he and his wife and several children, all died near the same time of fever.
Elisha, his eldest son, who was married, died at this time; and Levi, of Hardman chapel; and
Gilbert, of Long run' and Mrs. Lydia Ann Goff, wife of the late M.A. Goff, of Hazelgreen; and
mother of L.C. Goff, of Juna, have since passed on, leaving families; and James T. Smith, of
Burnt House; and Mrs. Sarah Jane (John) Goff, of Gilmer county; are the surviving members of the
Rebecca Smith married Cornelius Cain, and lived and died in this county. Her children were the
late Mrs. Rosetta Moats, of Cairo; Mrs. Phillip Goff, of Juna; Mrs. Ruhama (Ephraim) Morehead,
Mrs. Louisa Chevrount, David, Cornelius H., Albert, James and Lemuel Cain.
Zilpah Smith married James Riddel and went to Gilmer county.
Susan became Mrs. Jacob Smith and went to Roane county.
Orpha was Mrs. Hill, of Clay county; Rhoda, Mrs. Board, of Roane county. Eda married Benjamin
Goff and became the head of a pioneer family of this county. (See later chapter.)She was the
last survivor of the family.
David Cain was the first settler on the late Wilson Prunty homestead, now the property of John
He was of Holland descent. He married Miss Mary Cain, who was born in 1779, and he came here
from Ohio. He finally went to Lee creek, where he sleeps. His wife rests in the Egypt cemetery
The Cain's run, on the south side of the river, took its name from a sugar camp that he owned,
which was located just below the John Wass residence.
Mr. Cain's children were as follows: Susana (Mrs. William Smith), of Lee creek; Mary (Mrs.
Joseph Wilson), of Slab creek; Cornelius Cain, of Cairo, and Jesse.
Jesse married a Miss Firth, of Barbour county, and settled on the north side of Hughes river, at
the mouth of the run, which still bears his name, "Jesse Cain's run" where Peter and Charles
Wass now live.
Quite a number of David Cain's grandchildren are still identified among the citizens of the
Lemuel Wilson, of Smithville; Mrs. Phillip Goff, of Juna; the late Mrs. Rosetta Moats, of Cairo;
are among the number.
A family by the name of Belt made the first improvement at the forks of Hughes river, on the
farm that became the permanent home of the Jacksons, in 1830.
Thomas Cummins, another early settler, moved farther west in 1811, and the name of George Turvey
is also mentioned among the very early settlers, but we have been unable to learn anything of
his history or settlement.
Although many authentic dates are wanting, the great number of these settlers are said to have
come before the year 1810.