Tyler County West Virginia
Middlebourne




 
Middlebourne, a thriving post village, capital of Tyler county, Virginia [now West Virginia] on Middle Island creek, 45 miles S. by W. from Wheeling. It has a turnpike leading to the Ohio river, and contains a flouring mill.

Middle Island Creek, in the N. W. part of Virginia, rises near the boundary between Lewis and Harrison counties. It furnishes ample water power. Source: Statistical Gazeteer of the State of Virginia, 1854, Edited by Richard Edwards - Transcribed by C. Anthony

Middlebourne - Tyler County
Chartered in 1813 by the general assembly of Virginia; the town then being located in the county of Ohio; new charter granted by special act of the legislature of West Virginia in 1871; elections annually in January; population 929; county seat of Tyler County.
Mayor--Will E. Long
Recorder--M. C. Burgsacher
Attorney--W. H. Carter
Sergeant--J. B. Moore
Health Officer--Dr. Paul Engle
Source: West Virginia Official Register, 1922, Compiled and Edited by John T. Harris, Clerk of The Senate - Transcribed by C. Anthony

Middlebourne
Middlebourne was established January 27, 1813, on lands of Robert Gorrell; Abraham S. Brickhead, William D. Delashmult, Daniel Haynes, Thomas Grigg, Joseph Archer, Joseph Martin and William Wells, Sr., being the trustees; but it was not incorporated as a town until February 3rd, 1871.
Tyler County was formed from Ohio County in 1814 and ever since that time Middlebourne has been the county seat. The present court house at that place was erected in 1854. The town is most beautifully situated on a large plateau within and overlooking the picturesque semi-loop or ox-bow bend of Middle Island Creek. Middlebourne, although the county seat for a full century, has been of extremely slow growth, the population in 1910 being only 546. This, perhaps, was due to the town's lack of transportation facilities, Sistersvilleten miles awaybeing the nearest railroad or river shipping point. This great drawback, however, has been overcome, as Middlebourne now has two railroadsan electric line from Sistersville and the Clarksburg-Northern Railroad from New Martinsvillethe former having been in operation about one year, and the latter was completed and ready for traffic about the middle of February, 1914, which latter event was duly celebrated at Middlebourne on Thursday, February 19, 1914. On that day the first passenger train, consisting of Engine No. I, combination baggage and passenger car No. 1 and passenger coach No. 2. in charge of Pete Moore, engineer, and Charley Walton, conductor, left New Martinsville at 10:30 a. m., having on board the following New Martinsville citizens enroute for Middlebourne: Joseph Fuccy, president of the Clarksburg-Northern; John F. Loehr, John Shiben, A. C. Chapman, J. W. Mclntire, John Stamm, J. B. Clark, W. Mac Snodgrass, S. R. Martin, W. E. Whorton, Edward Scalley, J. K. Denny, H. N. Pyles, E. A. Philblard, Ralph White, J. C. Close, Mr. Bates, Levi Berger, J. H. Sharp, U. D. Potts, Walker Clark, H. S. McClintock, W. M. Pyles, Dr. F. F. Fankhouser, John Heber. Thomas Burlingame, Jr., Charles W. Travis, Charles Boggs. George P. Umstead, Sylvester Myers, Ralph Miller, W. F. Roth, Dana Bartlett, James A. Pyles, Guido Probst, S .G. Combs. Charles Higginbotham, Daniel Ritchie, Clarence M. Stone, James A. Bowen, A. J. Ferrell, U. S. VanCamp, Charles J. Beck, C. S. Farmer, F. F. Pyles, John Widraer, C. W. Duerr, F. S. Duerr. Thomas Allen, J. F. Bartlett, C. M. Founds, James Bishop, John H. Dixon, Theodore Hornbrook, William Culp, Rev. J. H. Jackson, J. W. Stone, J. W. Schamp, J. K. Gorby, C. T. Gorby, Leo Herrick, Frank Berger, Rev. ?. ?. Bumgardener, W. S. Campbell, John Robinson, Lloyd V. Mclntire, A. C. Chapman, William Ankrom, Harry Winer, John F. Martin, W. J. Postlethwait, F. C. Wells. Several persons were also picked up enroute, and when the train arrived at the "Old Toll House"the present terminus of the new roadthere were on board some eighty people. Here, 'midst a heavy down-pouring of rain, were waiting what appeared to be about half of Middlebourne's male populationboth old and youngaccompanied by a brass band, waiting to greet the visitors as they stepped off the train. Quickly forming in line, the large crowd, led by the band, marched to the court house, where the following address of welcome was given by Hon. Thomas P. Hill, on behalf of Mayor Thomas J. Sellers:
Ladies and Gentlemen: This is surely a grand occasion. Middlebourne has been on the map as an incorporated town for more than a hundred years, and never before in it has a man, woman or child ever had the privilege of participating in an event of this kind.
This is an event that will go down in the history of the interior of our county as the beginning of a new epochthat of the enjoyment of the opportunities and blessings afforded by the steam locomotive.
The opening to-day of the Clarksburg-Northern Railroad between this place and the city of New Martinsville is a realization. Sirs, of the dreams of many years, and to us it seems too good to be true. But when I say that it is a realization of dreams I would not have you get the idea that it is merely the work of chance, or that by some mere accident this occasion has been made possible, for such is not true. It has cost money, it has cost muscular effort, it has cost mental vitality, and I might further add, gentlemen, that it has cost the life of one of West Virginia's most highly respected and honored citizens. And may we not forget to-day to cast a rose upon his gravethat of Col. T. Moore Jackson.
But, my friends, there are othersthose who are still livingwho should have their share of the flowers. And may God forbid that we should wait till they are dead before we ever say to any one that we appreciate the efforts of "Jack" Shore and "Ike" Underwood for their untiring efforts to get us out of the mud, and to give us the modern convenience of travel that we enjoy to-day. They have done even more than they had ever hoped to do.
And in this they remind me of an experience when a boy. At that time I was somewhat of a Nimrod, and I had to my credit the honor of having killed almost every species of game in the woods. But among the feathered tribe I had never killed an owl. But on this particular evening as I was coming home along a lonely path on the top of a ridge, to my great surprise, on a near-by tree there sat a large owl. This was my opportunity. Just a little nervous, but with plenty of confidence in my ability and the accuracy of my rifle. I drew up and fired; and to my great astonishment, when the gun cracked, there fell two owls! And since the smoke of the conflict has rolled away, these gentlemen can now clearly see that instead of getting us one railroad they have gotten us two, for all of which we are truly, truly thankful.
I would like to tell you about the Tyler County News, the Tyler County Journal, the Sweeneys, the Shepherds, the Furbees, the Mayfields. and many others, but time forbids.
But, gentlemen, these are not all; over yonder on the river front, in the sister county of Wetzel, is as big-hearted and as unselfish a set of men as can be found this side of the pearly gates.
When the promoters went to them and gave them their proposition and their plans, they came forward with a sol; in front, and through their board of trade they said: "We will vote you $100,000 in bonds; leave the matter with us; we will take care of the election."
Ah! how we watched the result in old Magnolia, and how we rejoiced when the returns came in showing a complete victory for the bonds.
We then turned to our own people back here in the mud, and said "that New Martinsville, with the Ohio River, with the Short Line Railroad, with the Ohio River Railroad, and the electric railroad had expressed herself on the proposition and that she had sufficient confidence in it and its benefits to vote $100,000 in bonds, so we then implored our own people to help us out with a bond issue of $125,000. You can't imagine, gentlemen, how much you helped us.
We have now met to celebrate the opening of this road, and on behalf of the good, honest, and progressive citizens of Ellsworth District and my own town I hereby extend to you a most cordial welcome; as we are now bound together by oaken ties and bands of steel, may we ever be also bound together by the ties of love and the bonds of friendship, (Applause.)
But much as we appreciate what was done to mold public sentiment and to vote the bonds as an expression of the faith we had in the enterprise, we fully realize that these things alone would not get us a railroad. For if an enthusastic citizenship, newspaper articles and bonds could have brought an occasion of this kind we most certainly would have heard the sound of the locomotive whistle in Middlebourne years ago. But it remained tor another to complete the work for us. And in this work no one but himself knows the difficulties that he has had to overcome. As was stated recently by one of our leading citizens, "I suppose he has had all the trouble there is between Heaven and Hell, but despite it all he has overcome them and completed the road to Middlebuourne."
This man, the one whom we honor most to-day, is our good friend, Col. Joe Fuccy.
To show our appreciation to you for this accomplishment we desire to extend to you every privilege, every opportunity, and every blessing that our town affords. To fully enjoy these things it is necessary that you have the key which I hold here in my hands. This key, I am told, is one hundred years old. It is the key to the Town of Middlebourne. It has been held in safe-keeping through all these years by the mayor of the town. It is large. It was made for a large town. It has been carefully preserved through all these years by large men. It is so large that we have never had an occasion large enough to use it. But with one accord we have directed our efficient mayor, Mr. T. J. Sellers, to give it to you on this occasion, and on his behalf, I take great pleasure in presenting to you this key to our town (the speaker here hands the key, a wooden one about two feet long, to Mr. Fuccy), assuring you that it will open our doors to you for all time, and urging that you use it freely to-day in helping to show these New Martinsville friends a good time.
We sincerely trust that happiness and prosperity may ever be with you, and that the richest of Heaven's blessings may be abundantly showered upon you.
Col. Joe Fuccy's Reply.
Gentlemen of New Martinsville and Middlebourne and of Wetzel County and Tyler County: I accept this key with the greatest of pleasure. I take it not only with my hands, but I reach out and take it with my heart.
I will keep it until I unlock the door of Clarksburg, the county seat of Harrison County. In the building of this road I have met with many difficulties and trying hours; many nights I have not closed my eyes, but have turned from one side of my bed to the other in an effort to find a little rest from my worrying and thinking and figuring, but I found no rest on either side. After all. I put my trust in God, and from that time everything has gone well and we have the railroad.
I will not only unlock the door of Middlebourne with this key, but with it I will unlock the doors of all the towns between Middlebourne and the city of Clarksburg, and after I have used it in unlocking the city of Clarksburg in the central part of this State. I will return it to you.
I appreciate the good feeling toward the railroad and I hope it will continue so in the future. I shall try to do nothing on my part that will be cause to change this good feeling.
Now, I thank all again for their kindness and good will toward the railroad. This is all I have to say at the present.
Following Mr. Fuccy, Mayor Jackson of New Martinsville responded to the address of welcome in a hearty speech. Others followed Mr. Jackson, and soon Mayor Sellers announced that the banquet was spread and awaiting the visitors at the Odd Fellows' Hall, to which place "all hands'" repaired and did ample justice to the luxurious viands which Mrs. Swan, of the Avenue Hotel, had so enticingly and so abundantly prepared for the occasion. Many speeches, of a happy vein, followed the festivities, and later on the New Martinsville bunch, led by Joe Fuccy, proceeded to the High School building, but as the latch-string was hanging outside. Joe had no use for his big key. Professor Garrison, principal of the institution, met the visitors at the door and gave all a most gracious welcome. After being shown through the various departments of education by the very efficient and accommodating school officer, it was announced that the train would soon be due to start back on the return trip. So the New Martinsville boys "hiked out" for the Old Toll Housethe present terminus of the C. N. R. K. and in due time reached their respective homes, carrying with them a lasting friendship for their Middlebourne neighbors.
Following the celebration at Tyler's county seat, the citizens of New Martinsville at once began preparations for another event of like character at Wetzel's seat of government, at which the citizens of Middlebourne were to be the honored guests. In order that the occasion might be more thoroughly celebrated, Mayor Jackson proclaimed Thursday, February 26th. as a holiday in New Martinsville, to be known as "Middlebourne Day", and all business houses were ordered closed from 10:00 a. m. till 2:00 p. m., that being the day set apart for the celebration.
We take the following from the Wetzel Democrat: A special train bearing upwards of two hundred and fifty people was run from Middlebourne to this city, and long before the arrival of the train bearing the guests of honor, over a thousand people, including about four hundred school children, had gathered at the railroad station to greet the visitors from the metropolis of Tyler County. The large crowd included the city and county officials, the Chamber of Commerce, and nearly every business and professional man in the city and many from the country districts.
The school children marched to the depot in a body, carrying flags and banners, and were a pretty sight, as those from each room, under the direction of their teachers, marched to the depot and lined up along the track. The train was delayed, however, and it was necessary, after over an hour's wait, for the children to be returned to the school building before its arrival, greatly to the disappointment of the entertainment committee.
The special arrived about 12:30, and visitors were escorted to the Court House, where an elaborate banquet, served by the Ladies' Aid Society of the Presbyterian Church, was given in the county court room and in the corridors on the first floor. So great was the crowd, which far exceeded expectations, that it was necessary for many to wait for second table. It is estimated that fully four hundred people participated in the banquet.
After the menu was served, Mayor J. H. Jackson delivered an address of welcome to the Tyler County visitors and of congratulation to Hon. Joseph Fuccy, the builder of the road, upon the successful accomplishment of the stupendous task he undertook nearly three years ago.
Mayor Jackson's speech was followed by a number of others, delivered by citizens of New Martinsville and Middlebourne, in all of which there was predicted a new era of prosperity to the two cities and adjacent country by reason of the building of the Clarksburg-Northern.
Owing to the great crowd it was necessary to repair to the circuit court room, and even then there was barely standing room.
The visitors remained in the city until evening, exchanging sentiments of good will with the local people, and returned to Middlebourne, to all appearances a happy and well satisfied crowd.
The reception given on Thursday by the people of New Martinsville and vicinity to those of Middlebourne and vicinitv was probably one of the most important events in the history of the city, in that there are now open to the people of both counties great possibilities for future advancement and expansion. The new railroad traverses and will serve one of the richest sections of country in the State. All it has needed, up to this time, to bring it to the front was an outlet to the markets of the world, and the Clarksburg-Northern furnishes that outlet.
The people of New Martinsville and Middlebourne and of the large expanse of country the road will serve will be brought into closer business and social relations, and the operation of the road, over which will travel the trade between them, will add an impetus to their business relations, and will, without doubt, bring about a great and lasting prosperity.
They should congratulate themselves on the completion of the road; and should at the same time not forget to extend their congratulations to the man whose enterprise and untiring energy brought the road to a successful completion, the Honorable Joseph Fuccy.

County Officials of Tyler County

P. D. Morris, Judge, Second Judicial Circuit; O. B. Conaway. Prosecuting Attorney: J. G. Mayfield. Clerk Circuit Court; J. W. Duty, Clerk County Court; Lloyd H. Morris, Sheriff; A. L. Gregg. County Superintendent of Schools; Charles P. Clark, County Surveyor; John H. Tippens, County Assessor.

Newspapers
Middlebourne has two wide-awake weekly newspapers: The Tyler County News and The Tyler County Journal.

Banks

The Bank of Middlebourne and the First National Bank are prosperous institutions.
Stores and Shops.
There are few towns of the size of Middlebourne that have a greater number of stores and shops, and each establishment seems to be receiving a fair amount of patronage.

Churches

There are three churches in the town, each having a good sized congregation.
Rev. A. A. Dye is pastor of the Baptist Church
Rev. W. E. Craig of the M. K. Church
Rex Slaughter of the U. B. Church.

Schools

The citizens of Tyler County may well be proud of their High School building at Middlebourne. It may not be the very finest in the State, but it has but few superiors in architectural beauty, and its beautiful location is not and could not be excelled anywhere. It has to be seen to be appreciated, as no words or picture could do it justice.

Middlebourne's School Faculty
TYLER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
J. D. Garrison, principal. History: H. D. Groves, Agr. and Sci.; L. C. Yeardley, Math., Manual Training; Georgia Parry, Languages; Alma Nichols, Eng. and Dom. Sci.; Lelia Stillman, Music and Drawing.

GRADED SCHOOL
T. P. Hill, principal; G. R. Moore, J. E. Petty. C. B. Hamilton. Hazel Traugh, Leona Parks. Mae Headley, Glenna Perine, and Lelia C. Stillman, teachers. Term 1913-14. 8 months. Enrollment. 216.
Source: Myers History of West Virginia, by S. Myers, 1915 Transcribed by C. Anthony


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