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hjistory of Barbour County,

West Virginia,

From its Earliest Exploration and
Settlement to the Present




Morgantowo. W. Va.



This book is divided into three parts. Part First treats of the State in general; Part Second of the county in particular; and Part Third of biography. The territory now embraced in Barbour County formed a part of Virginia from the first settlement about 1607 till 1863, when it became a portion of West Virginia. During that period it was, in succession, in Essex County, in Spotsylvania, Orange, Augusta, West Augusta, Monongalia, Harrison, Randolph and Barbour. It became a separate county in 1843. The territory east of the Valley River was taken from Randolph, that west was taken from Harrison and Lewis. This book was written in the spring and summer of 1899, and the material (much of it collected long before) was gathered from every available source. Many persons in the county encouraged and assisted the effort; many did not. The county officials, and especially the clerks of the courts, Richard E. Talbott and Granville E. Taft, helped in every way possible. Many others in professional or private life contributed to the success of the work. Where so many did much, it seems partial to single out a few for particular mention; yet justice would not be done if the names of Spencer Dayton, Joshua S. Corder, Lewis Wilson and John Hopkins Woods were omitted. Valuable information, relating to the beginning of the Civil War within Barbour County, was furnished by Colonel George A. Porterfield, of Charlestown, West Virginia. Lists of Confederate soldiers from Barbour were furnished by Benjamin Holly Woodford, of this county, and by George W. Printz, of Randolph. Data concerning agricultural, matters were contributed by the Farmers' Institute. In the collection of biographical and miscellaneous notes, special credit is due to A. F. Hawkins, of Philippi, and Winfield S. Lang, of Meadowville. For the names of others who assisted in the most substantial way to make the History of Barbour County a success, the reader is referred to the list of subscribers published in this book.

There are three thousand families in Barbour, no member of which took interest in or contributed toward the success of this book. Each one of them probably has a reason for not doing so, which, to himself, is satisfactory. So let them rest. History passes them in silence. Yet, in the criticisms of this enterprise, as of all enterprises, it will be found that those who encouraged it least and contributed nothing to its success, will be first to find fault and the loudest in proclaiming it.

Philippi, W. Va., Nov. 1, 1899.



Part First.


Chapter I. Explorations West of Blue Ridge 19

Chapter II. Indians and Moundbuilders 25

Chapter III. The French and Indian War 29

Chapter IV. The Dunmore War 39

Chapter V. West Virginia in the Revolution 47

Chapter VI. Subdivisions and Boundaries 57

Chapter VII. The Newspapers of West Virginia 66

Chapter VIII. Geography, Geology and Climate 71

Chapter IX. Among Old Laws 83

Chapter X. Constitutional History 89

Chapter XI. John Brown's Raid 105

Chapter XII. The Ordinance of Secession 109

Chapter XIII. The Reorganized Government 113

Chapter XIV. Formation of West Virginia 120

Chapter XV. Organizing for War 126

Chapter XVI. Progress of the War 138

Chapter XVII. Chronology of the War 147

Part Second.

Chapter XVIII. Settlements and Indian Troubles 175

Chapter XIX. Notes from the Records 198

Chapter XX. The Civil War in Barbour 247

Chapter XXI. Miscellanies 276

Part Third.

Chapter XXII. Family History 335 ILLUSTRATIONS,


Maps and Diagrams.

Map of Hampshire County in 1755 61

Map of Augusta County in 1772 172

Map of the District of West Augusta 175

Map of Washington's Canal Route 177

Map Showing Indian Trails 179

Map of Randolph County in 1787 199

Map of Philippi and Vicinity 252

Map of Flatwood and Vicinity 298


Autographs of Early Randolph County Justices 200

Autographs of Early Randolph County Sheriffs 201

Autographs of Barbour County Circuit Clerks 230

Autographs of Barbour County Clerks 230

Autographs of Randolph County Circuit Clerks 230

Autographs of Circuit Judges 231

Autographs of Barbour County Sheriffs 232

Autographs of Presidents of Boards of Supervisors 235

Residences, Etc.

Residence of Melville Peck 175

Residence of A G. Dayton 195

Residence of Samuel V. Woods 212

Residence of J. Hop. Woods 233

Mansfield Flouring Mill 262

Dyer & Switzers Store 262

Residence of Granville E. Taft 273

Residence of J. E. Hall 292

A Farm Scene 323

Peel Tree Postoffice 343

The Dickenson Monument 383

Residence of Ai Cleavenger 383

Residence of G. H. Hamrick 390

Residence of Sylvanus Talbott 433

A. W. Woodford's Farm 505

Residence of Dr. E. D. Talbot 512 Historical Buildings and Places.

Fort Henry Attacked by British and Indians 54

First Courthouse in West Virginia 88

Site of the Files Cabin 181

First Courthouse in Randolph County 181

Grave of the Connollys 181

Philippi 182

The Horseshoe Fort 189

The Minear Fort 190

Scene of the Murder of John Minear 191

Bridge at Philippi 202

Barbour County Courthouse 202

Talbott Hill 259

Battlefield of Rich Mountain 265

Nobusiness Hill 276

The Philippi Bridge 277

Simeon Harris' Old Chimney 310

Brushy Fork Iron Furnace 317

First Courthouse in Harrison County 394

Second Courthouse in Randolph County 394

Westfall's Fort 394

Lewis Wilson's Mill 508

Wilson Homestead 511

Geological Diagrams, Etc,

The Erosion of Laurel Hill (4 cuts) 292

Rock Column in Randolph County 296

Rock Column in Barbour County 296

Depths of Erosion 297

Prehistoric Valley at Flat wood 300

Rock Section at Brushy Fork 318

Mechanism of Artesian Wells 319

The Philippi Artesian Well 319

An Ideal Oil Bearing Anticline 320

Elk City Gas Well 344

Wells Falls 344

Beech Glen Falls 364

Hanging Rock 433

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