Summers, the last county formed in the State, was created from Monroe, Mercer, Greenbrier and Fayette by act of February 27, 1871, and named from George W. Summers, who was born in Fayette County, Virginia, March 4, 1804, and accompanied his parents to the Kanawha Valley when but an infant. He graduated at the Ohio University, and having read law with his brother, Judge Lewis Summers, was admitted to the bar in 1827. In 1830, he was elected to the General Assembly from Kanawha County, and in that capacity served ten years, when he was elected to Congress, taking his seat in 1841, and was reelected in 1843. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1850, and the Whig candidate for Governor in 1851. In 1852, he was elected Judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Virginia, but resigned in 1858. In 1861, he represented Kanawha County in the Virginia Convention which passed the Ordinance of Secession, a measure he earnestly opposed. He died in September, 1868.
Hinton, the county seat, was laid out on lands of John Hinton, at the mouth of Greenbrier River, and here, in the Greenbrier Baptist Church, the first court was held. The town was incorporated September 21, 1880.
The first county officers were:
Sheriff, Evan Hinton;
Clerk of Circuit and County Courts, Josephus B. Pack;
Prosecuting Attorney, Carlos A. Sperry;
Surveyor, Joseph Keaton;
Assessor, Allen H. Meador;
Superintendent of Schools, John H. Pack.
The first Justices were:
Allen L. Harvey, Joseph Grimmett, T. J. Jones, William Meadows, James Farley.
The first supervisors were:
William Haynes, E. J. Gwinn, Joseph Cox, James Houchins.
The West Virginia Stone in the Washington Monument was taken from a quarry near Hinton, in this county—the same from which the stone used in the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway docks at Newport News was obtained. It was prepared under the supervision of Hon. W. K. Pendleton, of Bethany College, who, in addition to the coat-of-arms of the State, had placed upon it the following inscription: "Tuum nos sumus Monumentum."
The block, two by four feet, was received in Washington, February 2, 1885, and is placed in the wall more than two hundred feet above the floor of the shaft.
[Source: History of West Virginia; By Virgil Anson Lewis; publ. 1887; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]
History of Summers County, West Virginia
The derivations of names of various points, places, objects, etc., is a matter of more or less interest, and the manner of their adoption is gone and lost sight of before we begin to think of the incidents connected with their naming, and now all the mountains, streams, springs, valleys and places are named in days gone by and practically all of them have some original interest to the after dwellers of the country, but they soon become matters of tradition. Thus, "Sewell Mountain" in some of the histories, was named for Sewell, or Suel, the first settler, when he and Marlin first settled at the mouth of Knapp's Creek, at Marlin’s bottom in Pocahontas County. They resided as monarchs of the entire wilderness until they had personal differences about religion, when they parted. Sewell going into a large, hollow tree, later removing west on to the mountain, and near the creek which bears his name to this day, "Sewell Mountain" and "Sewell Creek," and at which place he was finally slain by the Indians, as did Marlin’s Bottom take its name from Marlin, who settled there with Suel.
Green Sulphur Springs has no history in its name, except to designate it from the other springs in this region. The names of places frequently follow the proprietor or occupant; thus, Barger’s Springs was at one time “Carden’s” the owner; then “Barger’s,” and now the “Greenbrier,” a name given by the present company. Keatley’s Spring, near Hinton, was so called after Henry Keatley, an aged citizen, who lived by it for a number of years.
Pence’s Spring was named for Andrew P. Pence, who acquired the property in the seventies, and exploited it, bringing it to the attention of the general public, and to his enterprise and energy is due the honor for its present fame. It was once known as Buffalo Spring, as it was a noted lick for buffaloes and deer in the early days, as was also the Green Sulphur Spring, at which there was a fort. This fort was built by the Indians, and was a kind of stone breastwork built across the bottom in the meadow below the spring. The outlines are distinctly visible at this day. Many arrow heads and curious shaped stones are still plowed up and found in numbers in this bottom.
Slater’s Creek, a branch of Lick Creek, in Green Sulphur District, was named for a man by the name of Slater, the first settler thereon, and who has, with all his descendants, long since disappeared from the earth. Slater is said to have been killed by the Indians.
Patterson’s Mountain, between Greenbrier and Summers Counties, named after an old family of settlers, who located at its base and top; the “Hump” Mountain, between Lick and Meadow Creeks on account of its peculiar formation; the Swell, between Lick and Laurel Creeks, likewise; Chestnut Mountain, between Laurel Creek and New River and a continuation of Keeney’s Knob and Elk Knob, by reason of the great amount of chestnut timber on it. Keeney’s Knob or Mountain, a part of the Allegheny system, after Keeney, a first settler, who was killed by the Indians; Stinson's Knob (properly Stevenson's), after the first settler in that region; Cale's Mountain, between Wolf Creek, Greenbrier and New River sometimes called "Wolf Creek Mountain,” after an old settler by the name of James Cales, who lived on its top; White Oak Mountain, by reason of the great amount of white oak timber which grew on its sides; Tallery Mountain, by reason of the peculiar, slick soil when wet, makes it slippery like grease; Gwinn’s Mountain, after Andrew Gwinn, who owned a magnificent plantation at its base and on its sides of some 2000 acres; Taylor’s Ridge from Hunghart’s Creek to Keeney’s Knob, after a man by the name of Taylor who first settled in its region.
The other mountains in Green Sulphur District are Chestnut Mountain, between Laurel Creek and Lick Creek; the Hump Mountain between Lick Creek and Meadow Creek, and the Swell Mountain. All are high, rough mountains, but are settled over with thrifty and enterprising farmers; the War Ridge Mountain, principally in Fayette County, is on the west side of Meadow Creek. ‘We are not prepared to state from what it takes its name, there was evidently a trail across it for the warriors in the ancient Indian wars. The Hump Mountain is a peculiar shaped mountain and from its shape took its name. The top is flat and has an area of several hundred acres of level land thereon. There are on top of this mountain three fine springs of pure crystal water, which never go dry. Near one of these springs is what is known as the “Stamping Ground.” There were three large white oak trees standing close together, and the pioneer hunters bored holes in the trees and placed salt in the holes so that the cattle and horses could always be found without trouble, and deer could be found there at any day, as they would gather there for salt. There are three seams of coal in this mountain near its top; one two feet, one four feet, and one eight feet, of fine quality.
In Jumping Branch District of the White Oak and Flat Top Mountains are the principal ones, in both of which there is New River coal. In the Pipestem District are the Bent Mountain and Tallery Mountain. In Talcott the Keeney's Knob extends, and the Greenbrier River Hills; Schockley's Hills and Bent Mountain are also in Pipestem, as well as Davy's Knob.
The principal streams of the county are New River, Greenbrier and Bluestone. New River has its source in North Carolina, and runs through the entire length of the county, some 35 miles from the Virginia line to Fayette County line, from south to east, and on which is situated the cities of Hinton and Avis at the mouth of Greenbrier River. New River is a continuation of the Great Kanawha, but is named New River from the mouth of Gauley to its source. It was first discovered by explorers in the upper valley, and was supposed to be a "new" or undiscovered stream, when in fact it was really a continuation of the Kanawha, and has its source in the mountains of North Carolina. A number of theories have been entertained as to how it received its name. One by Major Hotchkiss was that a man by the name of New had a ferry across it; but the generally accepted theory is that it was taken by its discovery to be a new and unexplored stream at the point first reached by its explorers, and that it was a new, and, therefore, unknown stream.
The next stream in size is the Greenbrier, a most beautiful piece of pure water, celebrated throughout the land as a fine stream for fishermen and sportsmen, the stream now being well stocked with black bass, mud and blue catfish. Large numbers of persons from the towns and cities come singly and in parties to fish in this stream; some camping along its margin, while others stop at hotels and farmhouses. The campers use large canvas tents, with some one to cook, thus enjoying a novel and pleasant outing. The fish are caught with hook and line, trout lines, by wading from the bank, and in boats and skiffs, using the patent minnows, living minnows, worms, bugs and crawfish for bait. The black bass is not a native of the stream, having been stocked twenty odd years ago by the State and Federal Government, the first supply having been placed therein by William A. Quarrier, then one of the fish commissioners of the State, about the year 1880. The first settlement at Hinton was by Isaac Ballangee about 1780 on the island now owned by C.H. Graham, by reason of the dangers from the Indian savages. The Ballangees are of French descent.
We have information as to the naming of Big and Little Bluestone Rivers, which is that the Big Bluestone flows in its upper course over clear bluestone rocks. The Greenbrier River was so named by the explorer, General Lewis, by reason of the great growth of green briers which he found growing on its banks in such masses that he had difficulty in penetrating into the region. New River is stated to have been of a late discovery. It is really the head waters of the Great Kanawha, but when discovered in the Virginia territory was considered a new discovery and called New River, because it was supposed to be an entirely unknown stream and a new discovery, otherwise it should be Kanawha to its source. Pipestem Creek, because of its peculiar windings; both the Lick Creeks, by reason of the great deer and buffalo licks thereon, and the place where the Green Sulphur Springs, and the other where the salt works were afterwards located; Mognet Branch near Hinton, from a man by the name of Mognet; Powley's Creek, which empties into the Greenbrier near the west end of the Big Bend Tunnel, after the first settler, of whom we have no information; Meadow Creek, because the stream heads in and flows through a section of country called the "Little Meadows," because of the flat land mostly and great grass-producing country.
Blue Lick, which flows into the Greenbrier at Greenbrier Springs, after a deer lick at its source, known as the "Blue Lick;" Indian Creek, because of the Indian highway up its meanders and their camping ground at its mouth; Griffith's Creek, after the old settler by the name of Griffith, who when a boy was stolen by the Indians, as recited in these pages, and whose father was killed by them; Lane's Bottom, after General Lane, who owned the farm; Madam's Creek, opposite the court house, we have no history of; Beech Run, which flows into New River just above, by reason of the character of the timber preponderating on its banks; Flat Rock, just below Hinton, by reason of its flat rock bottom; Brook's Branch, Brooks' Post Office and Brooks' Falls of New River, four miles west of Hinton, all took their name from the early settler who located there in pioneer days; Richmond's Falls of New River, Richmond's Mills, now gone, and New Richmond Post Office, all took their name after the celebrated Richmond family who located there, utilized the water power on the western shore to operate a large two-story flour mill, and who was shot to death during the late Civil War between the States.
Jumping Branch, by reason of the numerous falls near its mouth and the habit of jumping teams over it before being bridged; Little Wolf Creek, because of the harbor for wolves which bred in its region, there being a larger stream in Monroe County, which also flows into the Greenbrier some three miles west of Alderson, called Big Wolf Creek; Bradshaw’s Run, which empties into Indian Creek at Indian Mills, named after the first settler thereon by the name of Bradshaw; Crump’s Bottom, by the various owners; first, as Culbertson’s Bottom, then as Reed’s Bottom, Reed being an owner; then Crump’s Bottom, after the father and son who succeeded each other, William, and then William B. Crump, and no doubt it will some day be known as “Harmon’s Bottom” and “Shumate’s Bottom,” after the owners at this day, Harmon owning the upper end, and Shumate estate the lower end.
True Post Office was named by the late Larkin McDowell Meador. He was seeking to secure a post office at the present location, and went to the post office department, presenting his petition and the facts, and at the end of his letter said, "Now this is true,” and thereupon the department established his office and named it “True”; Landcraft’s Ferry, across New River, was named for Grandison C. Landcraft, an old settler and progressive citizen, who acquired the residence where Jos. N. Haynes now lives, and the old Pack Ferry, which was then a mile above the present ferry and a mile above the mouth of Bluestone. This ferry has had some history-making litigation between Jos. N. Haynes and later Thos. Meador, known as “Tommy Tight,” in which Mr. Haynes was victorious and the ferry moved to its present location. Dust Lick Fork, a tributary of Little Bluestone, from a deer lick known as Dust Lick.
Bacon’s Mills is located at the Falls of Greenbrier below Talcott, on the old Jacob Fluke plantation. Jacob Fluke, about seventy years ago, in 1833, built a grist mill and carding machine, which was patronized for miles around, where the people had their wool made into “rolls,” and then the women of the house spun in “yarn” on the old—fashioned spinning wheels, and then with the looms reeds and shuttles wove into cloth jeans for the men and flannels for the women’s wear, all of the wearing apparel being of home manufacture and this continued up to the date of the building of the C. & O. Railway and the formation of the county, which were practically simultaneous. Fluke’s Mill burned down, and not being able financially to rebuild, Robert Bacon, of Virginia, joined him prior to 1861, and they built in co-partnership the famous mill known to this day as “Bacon’s Mill.” Mr. Bacon afterwards married Miss Nancy Fluke, who became the only heir to all of Jacob Fluke’s property.
The post office at Talcott was first known as Rollinsburg, named after Charles K. Rollyson, who owned all the lands around and has left as his descendant and our present citizen. C. S. Rollyson, commonly known as “Shan,” residing on a part of the old homestead on Big Bend Mountain. Rollinsburg was on the opposite side of the Greenbrier River from Talcott, at which place resided George W. Chattin, an enterprising farmer, who owned the bottoms there and whose descendants still own the same. Among his children are Mrs. R. T. Ballangee, Mrs. Giles H. Ballangee and John and Oscar Chattin; and J. W. Jones & Bro.. who were merchandizing under that firm until the building of the railway, when they moved across the river to Talcott. as did also the Rollinsburg post office, and the name of Rollinsburg became a thing of the past.
Lowell was named after the two brothers. A. C. and Granville, who located there and engaged in the mercantile business and built a hotel in the early seventies.
Talcott Post Office and town were named after Capt. Talcott, a civil engineer, who aided in the construction of the C. & O.. Railroad. and was the engineer in charge of the construction of the Big Bend Tunnel. It was here that Dr. Bray. the eminent English surgeon and engineer, resided at the date of his death, having been born and educated in England. He emigrated to this country, married a Miss Brown, of Mercer County, a sister of Mrs. J. M. Carden, and located at Talcott, where he died during the building of the Big Bend Tunnel. He was the father of A. B. C. Bray, the accomplished telegrapher, and now cashier of the First National Bank of Ronceverte. The widow still resides with her daughter, Mrs. Frank L. Cox, in Hinton, Mr. Cox being one of the most expert train dispatchers and railroad men in the service. Dr. Bray left a monument in the magnificent survey and plat of the old West land survey in Pipestem District and Mercer County. It is an authority, and has been used in many of the land title settlements, controversies and suits growing out of that immense tract of land, and is known among lawyers as Bray’s survey. Its mechanical appearance can not be excelled, and no price will buy it.
Hinton took its name from the old family of that name, and especially after Evan Hinton, who promoted the establishment of the county. The Hintons did not own or occupy any part of the present territory of the city of Hinton, that land being owned by the heirs of Isaac Ballangee, of which Mrs. M. N. Breen is one of the heirs.
Avis was named after Mrs. Avis Hinton, wife of “Jack” Hinton, the father of Joseph, William, Silas and John, who lived on the lands included in the city of Avis at the founding of a town site on which Avis is now built. She was born in 1809, and died in 1901, aged ninety-two years. She was a Miss Gwinn, sister of William, Enoch, Moses and Lewis, of Meadow Creek.
Hallidon was the name of a post office established at the residence of Wm. E. Miller on Lick Creek, the mail route being from Green Sulphur to Alderson, and carried twice a week, with Wm. E. Miller as postmaster. The route crossed Keeney’s Knob to the foot on the opposite side, where a second office was established, called “Clayton,” after the Cincinnati balloonist. Halidon was named after Halidon Hill in England, where the Battle of Halidon Hill was fought, and was named by Miss Mary B. Miller. After a few years this route was discontinued as impractical.
Sandstone Depot, between the mouths of Lick and Laurel Creek, was originally New Richmond Depot, same as the post office and falls of the river; but when the extension of the railroad was made a few years ago from Huntington to Cincinnati, a station a few miles east of Cincinnati was named New Richmond, and the name of the old depot on New River changed to Sandstone, as there is at that place a sandstone quarry, at one time operated and producing a very fine building stone, and the railway company and John A. Richmond, the owners of the surrounding land, being antagonistic to each other, by reason of Mr. Richmond’s propensity for litigating with the company over damages and wrongs, they determined not to permit its depot named longer for him. The litigation between these two litigants became noted; the railroad track ran through and split open wide his bottoms, and frequently killed his stock, and at one time burned his barns, and in those days it required a suit to secure redress, and he seldom failed to “give it the law without the benefit of clergy.” The company having built its depot across the line at that place, and not being disposed to adjust the matter, he promptly brought an action in ejectment Thereupon, it bought his land and paid for it.
Meadow Creek station was built when the railroad was completed. William Gwinn one of the oldest settlers, owned the land, and upon his agreement to give the right of way to the company, it agreed to establish a station at that point. He conveyed the right of way, and the company built the depot, established its station, but locked it up, and for some time provided neither a station nor agent, nor did it stop its trains, all of which was, however, later adjusted, and a station has been operated at that place for a number of years. This illustrates, however, how sometimes injudicious acts of injudicious agents bring honorable corporate enterprises into dispute.
Ballangee Post Office, on the Red Sulphur road from Talcott, was secured through the efforts of Squire R. T. Ballangee, and named for him, that being one of the family names of one of the oldest and most respectable pioneer families in this region.
Forest Hill was for many years designated as the “Farms,” it being a desirable and good farming territory. At one time the raising and manufacturing of tobacco in that neighborhood was a profitable industry, long since abandoned. A tobacco factory was constructed and operated at that place for many years, the then modern presses and machinery being acquired and utilized for the manufacture of the chewing tobacco and smoking tobacco, but not of cigars, John and William Roberts, Joseph Ellis and James Mann and J. Cary Woodson being the owners from time to time, but the raising of the weed becoming less profitable, time enterprise was finally abandoned, and the property permitted to fall into decay. The old tobacco factory at that place is now owned by John Garten, who purchased it from the late James Mann, of Alderson.
Leatherwood Bottom, at the mouth of Leatherwood Branch, on New River, where James W. Pack now lives, was so named because of the great growth of leatherwood brush there.
Kesler Springs is named for the discoverer, Bunyan L. Kesler.
A new post office was established in July, 1880, on Madam’s Creek, at the residence of William Hinton, with Mr. Hinton as postmaster, but after a short while it was abandoned. It was near the interesting old landmark of Charlton’s overshot water grist mill at the forks of Madam’s Creek.
There are interesting traditions in regard to the discovery and naming of New River, the principal river of this section of West Virginia. It is claimed by Major Hotchkiss that it was named by a man by the name of New, who had a ferry somewhere in the upper territory. It is claimed by others that it was, when discovered, a new river, not shown by any maps, and for that reason took the name of New River from its source to its mouth. By others it is claimed that the entire river was known as the Kanawha from its source to its mouth. It was known as Wood’s River without any question for some time after its discovery, and is so shown on some of the old maps. The Kanawha River was not named, however, until 1770. In the Indian tongue it is the “River of the Woods,” but it had been discovered at the other end and known as New River and named after Col. Woods as Woods River many years before the Kanawha or River of the Woods was ever discovered.
On some of the old maps New River is shown as New River, or Woods River, from its source to its mouth at Point Pleasant, and on others it is the Kanawha from its mouth to its source; later, it was called New or Woods River from its source to the mouth of Greenbrier, and Kanawha thence to its mouth; still later, and at the present, it is Kanawha from its mouth to the mouth of Gauley, and New River from that point up to its source, the name of Woods River having become obsolete. To show the claims of French dominion over this territory at one time, we mention the fact that in 1846, a resident of Point Pleasant, a young man by the name of Beall, unearthed a lead plate at Point Pleasant, just 100 years after the French had printed it, the French having planted it at the foot of a tree, claiming dominion over all of the region west of the Allegheny Mountains. The duplicate copy of this original plate and inscription is preserved among the French national archives. The found plate has been lost by the owner being cheated out of it.
The Guyandotte River was named for a tribe of Indians, as the Delawares called it Se-co-nee ---- Narrow Bottom River. The Tug River was named during the Andrew Lewis expedition to the Big Sandy in 1756, because his men became so straitened for food they ate the thugs from cow hides.
The Ohio has had all kinds of names. In 1607 it was called Dono. In 1708 a Dutch map calls it Cubach. A map of 1710 calls it O-O. In 1711 it is called Ochio. In 1719 it is called Sabongungo. The Delawares called it Kittono-cepe. The Wyandottes called it Oheezuh, the grand or beautiful. In D. Thoyer’s History of England, 1744, it is called Hohio, and is made to empty into the Wabash. In some of the early Pennsylvania treaties with the Iroquois they got to spelling it Oheeo; in 1744 it went by the name of Ohio, or Hohio. In 1749 the French called it O-Yo, or Ohio, not giving it a new name, but rendering it into French designations, most of which were equivalent to beautiful river. The Greenbrier was originally spelled Greenbriar. The Delawares called it O-ne-pa-ke-cepe, and the Miamis called it We-o-to we-cepe-we. Cepe-we in Indian means river. Gauley River is supposed to have been taken from the French Gaul, ey being added. The Indian name was Chin-que-ta-na-cepe-we.
Coal River was on the early maps spelled Cole, and was named in 1756 by Samuel Cole, who, with some others, on returning from the Lewis Big Sandy expedition, among whom was Andrew Lewis, got over onto and followed up this river and cut their names on a beech tree near the junction of the Marsh and Clear Forks, which remained legible there until in recent years, when it was cut down by some vandal in clearing the ground. Since the discovery of minerals and coal along this river in quantities, the name is spelled Coal.
John’s Knob, in Jumping Branch District, took its name by reason of the tragic death of John Acord thereon by freezing to death many years ago. He was a stranger passing through the country during a cold snap, and was found at the foot of a chestnut tree, having given out in the storm and sunk down, to rise no more. This occurred in the early part of the eighteenth century.
Panther Knob in Jumping Branch District was named by a man killing a large panther thereon.
Shockley Hill in Pipestem took its name from the fact that a man by the name of Shockley was killed by the Indians in the early settlement of the country.
Barker’s Ridge, in Wyoming County. was named for a great uncle of M. C. Barker, of this county. He was killed by the Indians on this ridge in the early days on that mountain.
Tom’s Run, in Pipestem District, was so named by reason of a man by the name of Thomas being drowned in its waters years ago. It is a small stream flowing into New River at the lower end of Crump’s Bottom.
Bear Wallow Mountain, in Jumping Branch District, was named from a “wallow” thereon. “Bar Wallow" Bob Lilley, got his nickname, from living on one of these mountains.
Surveyor Branch empties into Bluestone, was named from the fact that early surveyors of the county sheltered under the cliffs.
Jumping Branch is a stream running by Jumping Branch Post Office and village on its way to Bluestone. In the days of the early settlement there was no bridge across it, and the traveler made his crossing by jumping his horse from one bank to another.
The first ferry established in the county was Pack’s Ferry across New River by the Packs, opposite the old Landcraft residence. It remained there until ten years ago, when, by an order of the county court, it was removed down the river near the mouth of Big Bluestone by Mr. J. N. Haynes. Out of this removal grew a celebrated lawsuit between him and Tommy Meador, known as “Tommy Tight,” who was a large landowner around where the ferry was removed. The removal was by the agreement of Mr. Meador, and one landing was on his land. This was opposed by Mr. Haynes, and the result was a suit in the chancery court of Meador vs. Haynes. Haynes won in the circuit court, and Meador undertook to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals, but it refused the appeal, and thus the title to the whole ferry passed to Mr. Haynes, who has now erected a wire cable to aid in operating his boats.
War Ford, a place of fording New River at the lower end of Crump’s Bottom, was used in war times. The ford is rough and deep and is unused, but in the early days, and when no boats were on the river, the pioneers in war times could cross back and forth. This was also a crossing place for the Indians. It is located at the lower end of Crump’s Bottom.
Christian Peters built the first State road from Peterstown in Monroe County down New River by mouth of Indian Creek, crossing at the Baptist Church, and by Jumping Branch to Beckley, Peterstown and Peters’ Mountain are supposed to have been named after him by others and according to the history of Peter Wright.
Robert Lilly, the founder of the great generations of Lillys in the counties of Summers, Raleigh and Mercer, lived to be 114 years old, and his wife, who was a Moody, lived to be 111 years. On his grave has grown a white pine tree three feet in diameter at the stump, which was planted there by his granddaughter, the mother of (Curly) Joe Lilly, a justice of the peace and commissioner of the county court, who has died since this work began. Robert Lilly is buried at the mouth of Little Bluestone. This white pine is the tallest monument in the county to the oldest couple that ever lived in it, and the graveyard where Robert Lilly is buried is the oldest in the county. It was begun by the burial of a child therein from a train of emigrants passing through the country, and its coffin was of chestnut oak bark. Its name is lost to history. Robert Lilly first settled on Bluestone on the farm on which (Curly) Joe Lilly resided at the date of his death in 1906.
The Falls of New River are known as Richmond’s Falls, after Wm. Richmond, and whose son, Samuel, first settled on the Raleigh side and built a log water mill for grinding corn and wheat, utilizing the water power from the falls. He was killed during the Civil War, being shot through the liver in his canoe on the opposite side of the river. After the war, about 1872. the Raleigh side of the falls was sold with sixty acres of land, including the water power, to W. R. Taylor, of Philadelphia, for $15,000 in gold, the proceeds going to the widow and Allen and “Tuck” Richmond, two sons. Ex-Governor Samuel Price, of Lewisburg, received a fee of $500 for passing on the title, which was considered a great fee in those times for the service rendered. The other, or Summers side, is owned by J. Motley Morehead and associates, who purchased, contemplating the establishment of a great electric plant there, but the site was abandoned and the plant installed at the Falls of the Great Kanawha, by reason of the railroad company being arbitrary about rates. The mineral used in operating this plant is brought from Asia Minor. At these falls is a fine fishing place. The perpendicular fall is fifteen feet.
Brooks’ Falls, at the mouth of Brooks’ Creek, was named after the first settler, Brooks. The Summers side is owned by Charles R. Fox, and the Raleigh side by the heirs of Avis Hinton. The fall is from twelve to fifteen feet and is excellent water power.
Bull Falls, at the west end of Crump’s Bottom, is also good water power, and has recently been purchased by Dr. J. A. Fox, of Hinton, to be utilized at some future day in the operation of a power plant. There is also further up considerable falls at Shanklin’s Ferry. There is also fine power at other places along New River.
Bull Falls took its name from the fact that a bull was washed over the rapids and came out alive lower down the river. There is a ford a short distance which was used during the war, and is known as “Warford,” the name of the post office near there. These names were by reason of the shallow places in the river having been utilized as a ford in war times and by the Indians in their incursions.
Meadow Creek, which flows into New River twelve miles west of Hinton, heads in the “Little Meadows” country, and takes its name therefrom.
Lick Creek, both the one in the lower end of the county in Green Sulphur District, as well as the one in the extreme upper end of Pipestem District, are named after the great buffalo licks, one at Green Sulphur and one at Salt Works, besides many early deer licks in the hollows and mountain sides. Boring for salt on each creek resulted in a find. One, the Green Sulphur Springs, and the other, salt water.
As all buffaloes disappeared, like the Indians, with the advancement of civilization, the deer were plentiful, and middle-aged men can yet remember watching the deer licks at night behind blinds and killing them, but they, too, are now a thing of the past.
The first name given the great Kanawha River form its mouth by the whites was by a French engineering party commanded by Captain De Celeron, and it was on the 18th day of August, 1749, that he planted the engraved leaden plate at the mouth of the river, by which he gave it the name of "Chi-no-da-che-tha," and by which aaction of these French explorers they claimed all of the territory drained by its waters from its mouth to its source, which included all of the Trans-Allegheny region, and on to North Carolina, in which State the river, under the name now of New River, gets its source. The leaden plate referred to was found just 100 years afterwards by a little boy, a nephew of John Beale, residing in Mason County. This plate was carried by James M. Laidley, who was a member of the Legislature of Virginia, to Richmond, and submitted to the Virginia Historical Society, where a copy was made and the original returned to Mr. Beale, with the result above stated.
The name "Kanawha" was given to the river between 1760 and 1770, and when this name was given it, it already had a name, as herein stated. Kanawha probably took its name from the Conoys, a tribe of Indians, as there is great variety in the spelling of the name. Wyman's map of the British Empire in 1770 calls it the Great Conoway, or Wood River. Kanawha County was formed by an act of the Legislature of Virginia in 1789, and therein it was spelled "Kenhawa." Daniel Boone spelled it in his survey in 1791, "Conhawway." If this river now had its original and proper name, it would be "Woods River" from its mouth to its source, or "New River" from its mouth to its source.
The Wolf Creeks, as there are several of that name in this region of the country, there being Big Wolf Creek in Monroe, emptying into the Greenbrier below Alderson; Little Wolf Creek, emptying in the Greenbrier between Talcott and Wiggins, as well as Wolf Creek, which empties into New River in Giles County, were named from the many wolves found, trapped and destroyed on these creeks.
Elk River was originally called by the Indians the "River of the Fat Elk;" by the Delawares, the "Walnut River," Pocatelico was known by the Indians as the "River of the Fat Doe."
[Tr. by K.T.]
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