Welcome to West Virginia Genealogy Trails

Welcome to West

									 Virginia Genealogy Trails

Hancock County


     Hancock county was formed in compliance with an Act of Assembly, passed January 15, 1848, and named in honor of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress of 1776, and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. Its area is 100 square miles.
     The First Court, in pursuance of the act creating the county, met at the house of Samuel C. Allison, in New Manchester; John Pittenger, David Pugh, Andrew Henderson, John Gardner, David Wylie, William H. Grafton, and John Mayhew were the justices constituting said court. The court elected John Atkinson, Clerk; Robert Brown, Prosecuting Attorney; Josiah A. Adams, Commissioner of Revenue; Thomas J. Hewitt, Surveyor. David Wylie and Joseph Cameron were appointed to hold the first election. David Wylie, William H. Grafton, and John Mayhew were recommended as fit persons to execute the office of sheriff, and William H. Grafton and John Mayhew as proper persons to execute the office of coroner. James Cochran and Alexander D. Pugh were appointed constables.
     Contest for the County Seat.The act creating the county of Hancock left the selection of a site for the seat of justice to the people. New Manchesternow Fairviewand New Cumberland were named in the election, the latter receiving a majority of thirteen votes. The County Court refused to remove the courts to New Cumberland. At a second election, April 25, 1850, a majority of forty-six votes were polled in favor of New Cumberland. The courts were removed after some delay, but now a dispute sprang up as to the location of the court house. This was pending when the advocates for New Manchester obtained a third election in 1852, which resulted in a majority of one vote for that place, and the courts were returned thither.
     Pioneers.About the year 1776, a man named Holliday settled in what has ever since been known as Holliday's Cove. Shortly after the close of the Revolution, several soldiers who had served during the war, moved westward and settled what is now Hancock county. Among these were Colonel Richard Brown, a native of Maryland, who served under the command of George Washingtonhe with his wife and children settled on a tract of 1000 acres in Holliday's Cove: John Edie, a native of Pennsylvania, who became county surveyor and made many of the early surveys in the region embraced within the limits of Hancock county; Colonel George Stewart, a native of Ireland, but who, prior to the war, emigrated to eastern Pennsylvania in 1790, he with his family settled in what is now Grant district. About the year 1780, James Allison emigrated from Maryland and located within the present limits of Grant district. In 1783, George Chapman located a tract of 1000 acres upon which a part of New Cumberland was afterward laid put. James Campbell settled on King's creek, three miles from the mouth, in 1783. Jacob Nessley removed to Hancock county from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in 1785. Ten years later, William Chapman came from Eastern Virginia. Alexander Morrow, a native of Ireland who emigrated to New Jersey in 1793, five years later moved westward to Hancock county. In 1800, Hugh Pugh located 400 acres where Fairview now stands. Burgess Allison came in 1801. Alexander Scott, of Pennsylvania, settled one mile northwest of Fairview, in 1802. In 1812, William Langfitt settled near Fairview.
      The Poe Brothers.The famous encounter of the Poe brothers with the Wyandotte chieftains occurred at the mouth of Tomlinson's run, in Hancock county. The following account is subjoined from Howe's " Historical Collections."
     "In the summer of 1782, a party of seven Wyandottes made an incursion into a settlement some distance below Fort Pitt, and several miles from the Ohio river. Here finding an old man alone in a cabin, they killed him, packed up what plunder they could find and commenced their retreat. Among their party was a celebrated Wyandotte chief, who in addition to his fame as a warrior and counselor, was, as to his size and strength, a veritable giant.
     "The news of the visit of the Indians soon spread through the neighborhood, and a party of eight good riflemen was collected in a few hours for the purpose of pursuing them. In this party were two brothers, Adam and Andrew Poe. They were both famous for courage, size and activity. This little party commenced the pursuit of the Indians with the determination, if possible, not to suffer them to escape as they usually did on such occasions, by making a speedy flight to the river, crossing it, and then dividing into small parties, to meet at a distant point in a given time. The pursuit was continued the greater part of the night after the Indians had done the mischief. In the morning the party found themselves on the trail of the Indians which led to the river. When arrived within a little distance of the river, Adam Poe left the party, who followed directly on the trail, to creep along the brink of the river bank, under cover of the weeds and bushes, to fall on the rear of the Indians should he find them in ambuscade. He had gone but a short distance when he saw the Indian rafts at the water's edge. Not seeing any Indians, he stepped softly down the bank, with his rifle cocked. When about half way down, he discovered the large Wyandotte chief and a small Indian within a few steps of him. They were standing with their guns cocked and looking in the direction of Poe's party, who by this time had gone some distance lower down the bottom. Poe took aim at the large chief but his rifle missed fire. The Indians hearing the snap of the gun lock, instantly looked around and discovered Poe, who being too near them to retreat, dropped his gun, and sprang from the bank upon them, and seizing the large Indian by the clothes on his breast and at the same time embracing the neck of the small one, threw them both to the ground himself being uppermost. The small Indian soon extricated himself, ran to the raft, got his tomahawk and attempted to dispatch Poe, the large Indian holding him fast in his arms with all his might, the better to enable his fellow to effect his purpose. Poe, however, so well watched the motions of his assailant, that, when in the act of aiming a blow at his head, by a vigorous and well directed kick he staggered the savage, and knocked the tomahawk from his hand. This failure on the part of the small Indian was reproved by an exclamation of contempt from the large one.
     "In a moment the Indian caught up his tomahawk again, approached more cautiously, brandishing his tomahawk and making a number of feigned blows in defiance and derision. Poe, however, still on his guard, averted the real blow from his head by throwing up his arm and receiving it on his wrist, in which he was severely wounded, but not so as to entirely lose the use of his hand. In this perilous moment, Poe by a violent effort, broke loose from the Indian, snatched up one of the small Indian's guns and shot the small Indian through the breast, as he ran up a third time to tomahawk him. The large Indian was now on his feet, and grasping Poe by the shoulder and leg threw him down on the bank. Poe instantly disengaged himself and got on his feet. The Indian then seized him again, and a new struggle ensued, which, owing to the slippery state of the bank ended in a fall of both combatants into the water. In this situation it was the object of each to drown the other. Their efforts to effect this were continued some time with alternate success, sometimes one being under the water and sometimes the other. Poe at length seized the tuft of hair on the scalp of the Indian, with which he held his head under water until he supposed him drowned. Relaxing his hold too soon, Poe instantly found his antagonist on his feet again and ready for another combat. In this they were carried into the water beyond their depth and were compelled to lose their hold on each other and swim, each for his own safety. Both sought the shore to seize a gun and end the contest with bullets. The Indian, being the best swimmer, reached the land first. Poe seeing this, immediately turned back into the water to escape being shot, if possible, by diving. Fortunately the Indian caught up the rifle with which Poe had killed the other warrior. At this juncture, Andrew Poe, missing his brother from the party, and supposing from the report of the gun that he was either killed or engaged in conflict with the Indians, hastened to the spot. On seeing him Adam called out to him to kill the big Indian on shore. But Andrew's gun, like that of the Indian, was empty. The contest was now between the White and the Indian, who should load and fire first. Very fortunately for Poe, the Indian in loading drew the ramrod from the thimbles of the stock of the gun with so much violence that it slipped from his hand and fell a little distance from him. He quickly caught it up and rammed down his bullet. This little delay gave Poe the advantage. He shot the Indian as he was raising his gun to take aim at him.
     "As soon as Andrew had shot the Indian, he jumped into the river to assist his wounded brother to shore; but Adam, thinking more of the honor of carrying the scalp of the big Indian home as a trophy of victory than of his own safety, urged Andrew to go back and prevent the struggling savage from rolling himself into the river and escaping. Andrew's solicitude for his brother's life prevented him from complying with this request. In the meantime the Indian, jealous of the honor of his scalp even in the agonies of death, succeeded in reaching the river and getting into the current, so that his body was never obtained. An unfortunate occurrence took place during the conflict. Just as Andrew arrived at the top of the bank for the relief of his brother, one of the party, who had followed close behind him, seeing Adam in the river and mistaking him for a wounded Indian, shot at him and wounded him in the shoulder. He, however, recovered from his wounds. During the contest between Adam Poe and the Indians, the party had overtaken the remaining six of them. A desperate conflict ensued, in which five of the Indians were killed. The loss of the whites was three men killed and Adam Poe severely wounded. Thus ended the Spartan conflict, with the loss of three valiant men on one part and that of the whole Indian party, except one warrior. Seldom has a conflict taken place which in the issue proved fatal to so great a proportion of those engaged in it.
     "The fatal result of this little campaign on the part of the Indians, occasioned a universal mourning among the Wyandotte nation. The big Indian and his four brothers, all of whom were killed at the same place, were among the most distinguished chiefs and warriors of their nation. The big Indian was magnanimous as well as brave. He, more than any other individual, contributed by his example and influence to the good character of the Wyandottes for lenity toward their prisoners. He would not suffer them to be killed or mistreated. This mercy to captives was an honorable distinction in the character of the Wyandottes, and was well understood by our first settlers, who, in case of captivity, thought it a fortunate circumstance to fall into their hands."
     Fairview.About the year 1800, David Pugh located a large tract of land embracing the present site of Fairview. In 1810, he laid out a portion of his land into lots, one hundred and thirteen in number, and named the embryo town New Manchester, though the post-office established here received the name of Fairview. The town was incorporated by legislative enactment, as Fairview, February 10, 1871. At the request of the citizens the act of incorporation was repealed December, 1873. It became the permanent county seat by election in 1852.
     New Cumberland.The town was laid out in lots, forty-two in number, in 1839, by John Cuppy. The founder called the place "Vernon," but afterward changed the name to New Cumberland, in deference to the wishes of the first purchasers of lots. The eastern addition to the town was laid out in 1848, by Joseph L. Ball, Thomas Elder and John Gamble. Other additions were made in 1850.
[History of West Virginia by Virgil Anson Lewis;  Published by Hubbard Brothers, Philadelphia, Pa 1889 Transcribed by Veneta McKinney]

Genealogy Trails