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Wayne County. WV


[Source: History of West Virginia; By Virgil Anson Lewis; publ. 1887; Pgs. 677-682;

Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]




Wayne, the most western county in the State, has an area of 440 square miles. It was formed from Cabell by Act of Assembly passed January 18, 1842, and named in honor of Anthony Wayne, of Revolutionary fame.


The First Court held for the county of Wayne convened on the 11th day of April, 1842, at the house of Abraham Trout, Sr., who resided on the spot where Trout's Hill, the county-seat, now stands. There were present the following justices: John Wellman, Levi McCormack, John Plymale, Samuel Webb, William Ratcliff, Thomas Copley and Walter Queen. Hugh Bowen was elected clerk of the court for the term of seven years. John Laidley, William McComas, Joseph J. Mansfield, James H. Ferguson and Elisha McComas, attorneys of this State, were granted permission to practice in the courts of this county. John Laidley was elected commonwealth's attorney. Next, Jeremiah Wellman and Nathan Holt were elected constables. Hiram Chadwick was elected commissioner of the revenue. Samuel Wellman was recommended as a suitable person to fill the office of surveyor of lands. William Morris, Frederick Moore and John Plymale were next recommended as proper persons to execute the office of sheriff.


The First Circuit Superior Court convened on the 6th of May, Judge Lewis Summers presiding. Henry Clarke had previously been appointed clerk of the court. John Laidley was appointed to prosecute in behalf of the commonwealth in this court. Then the said John Laidley, Henry I. Fisher, Joseph J. Mansfield, James H. Ferguson, Evermond Ward, Elisha W. McComas and James H. Brown, all practitioners in the courts of this commonwealth, were granted license to practice in the courts of this county. .


First Land Survey.The first land survey made within the present limits of the county was that of a tract of 28,627 acres, including the Ohio river bottoms immediately above the mouth of Big Sandy river. It was surveyed by George Washington, in October, 1770, as bounty lands for Captain John Savage and the men composing his company, for services during the French and Indian War. The grant was made in compliance with the proclamation made by Robert Dinwiddie, Governor of Virginia, in 1754, and the Savage patent was signed by John, Earl of Dunmore, December 15, 1772.


It read as follows :

"George III., by the grace of God, of Great Britain. France and Ireland, defender of the faith, etc.: To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting: Know ye, that for divers good causes and considerations,

* * we have given, granted and confirmed * * * unto

John Savage,

Robert Langdon,

Robert Teemsdall,

Edward Waggener,

Richard Trotter,

Wise Johnston,

Hugh McCoy,

Richard Smith,

John Smith,

Charles Smith,

Angus McDonald,

Nathan Chapman,

Joseph Gatewood,

James Samuel,

Michael Scully,

Edward Goodwin,

William Bailey,

Henry Bailey,

William Cofland,

Matthew Doran,

John Ramsey,

Charles James,

Matthew Cox,

Marshall Pratt,

John Wilson,

William Johnston,

John Williams,

Nathaniel Barrett,

David Gorman,

Patrick Galoway,

Timothy Conway,

Christian Bumgardner,

John Hanston,

John Maid,

James Ford,

William Braughter,

William Curney,

Edward Evans,

Thomas Moss,

Matthew Jones,

Philip Gatewood,

Hugh Paul,

Daniel Staples,

William Lowry,

James Ludlow,

James Lalrot,

James Given,

Joshua Jordan,

William Jenkins,

James Carmacks,

Richard Morris,

John Ghatson,

Robert Jones,

William Hogan,

John Franklin,

John Bishop,

George Malcolm,

William Coleman,

Richard Bolton,

John Kincaid

George Hurst.


One certain tract or parcel of land containing twenty-eight thousand six hundred and twenty-seven acres, lying and being in the county of Fincastle" (of which the present county of Wayne was then a part.


There were sixty-one of the patentees among whom the survey was divided, and this would give to each 470 acres.


Pioneers.The first settler near the forks of the Big Sandy appears to have been Samuel Short, who reared his cabin where the town of Cassville now stands, about the year 1796. Robert Tabor followed him, and in 1798 patented a tract of land of 2500 acres. Thomas Short, Sr., Thomas Short, Jr., Samuel Hatton, William Adams, Peyton and Joseph Newman, John and Richard Graystun, Thomas Vaughan, Peter Loar, Benjamin Sperry and William Artrip, all came and found homes near him, probably before the year 1800. John Wellman came in 1802; Robert Webb, with a family of two sons and three daughters, settled just below the site of Cassville in 1804. Other early settlers were Michael Burke, John Smith, Pleasants Workman, Joel Ferguson, James Bartram, William Perry, Solomon Perry, Joseph Fulkerson, John Breeden, Jesse Cyrus, John Deering, Jesse Stith, Goodwin Lycan, Samuel Smiley, John Thompson and Abraham Queen.


The first settler within the present limits of Ceredo district was Stephen Kelley, who came to the mouth of the 'Big Sandy and reared his cabin on Virginia Point, in 1798. His first neighbor was Matthew Belomy, who in 1799, built his cabin within a hundred yards of the place where the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad bridge now spans the Big Sandy. The year 1800, witnessed the founding of several other homes. William Hatton settled just below the mouth of White's creek; Benjamin Maxy near him; Leonard Sharp at Sharp's branch; Samuel Hensley at Miller's branch, all on the banks of the Big Sandy. John Stewart and John Brown settled where the town of Ceredo now stands, and James and Moses McCormick at the mouth of Twelve-pole river.


The first cabin on the upper waters of Twelve-pole river was built by a man named Nevens, in the year 1799.


The next year he was joined in his wilderness home by John Wilson, Jacob Noe, John Prinston, Richard Williamson, Hezekiah Wiley, Job Spence, Lazarus Damron, Daniel Cox, John Jarrel and Henry Hampton.


James Bias reared his cabin at the mouth of Lick creek, on the banks of Twelve-pole river, in the year 1802. His first neighbor was David Bartram, who came in 1803.


The year 1807, witnessed the erection of five other cabins on the banks of the little river. These were built by Jesse Adkins, Thomas Napier, Berry Adkins, John Ferguson and William Lambert.


Jesse Spurlock and Samuel Ferguson built their cabin homes near where the court house now stands, in 1802. Both came from Tazewell county, Virginia.


In 1806, David France, who is said to have planted the first apple tree on Twelve-pole river, Hezekiah Adkins, John Stephenson, Thomas Chandler, Asher Crocket, Reuben and William Adkins found homes near them. Soon after these came -Hugh Bowen, Asa Booten, Daniel Davis, a soldier of the Revolution; Solomon Hensley, Reuben Booten, Jesse Blankenship, John Thompson, who built the first distillery in Wayne county; John Newman, Benjamin Drown, afterward a soldier of the War of 1812; Chester Howe, who built the first grist mill on Twelve-pole river; Valentine Bloss, a soldier of the Revolution; Benjamin Garret, William Morris, Charles Boothe, a soldier of the War of 1812; John Amos, Joshua Stevens, John Savage, a drummer-boy in the command of General Lafayette during the Revolution; Joseph Dean, Jerry Lambert, Abraham, Stephen and Burwell Spurlock.


Trout's Hill, the county seat, was located by the bill which created the county and named in honor of Abraham Trout, the owner of the land on which the town was laid out. The town was incorporated by an order of the Circuit Court, made June 21, 1882, and Washington Adkins, Jefferson Ferguson and G. F. Ratcliff were appointed to superintend the election of the first officers, who were as follows: Mayor, Washington Adkins; Recorder, Chapman Adkins; Councilmen, Dr. G. R. Burgess, G. F. Ratcliffe, G. W. Sellards, W. S. Moore and Addison Adkins.


Ceredo was founded in 1857, by Eli Thayer, a member of Congress from Massachusetts.* While visiting his friend, Albert G. Jenkins, on the banks of the Ohio, he met Thomas L. Jordan, from whom he purchased the land upon which the town now stands. On arriving at the site of his proposed town and seeing the bountiful crops with which Ceres had laden the land, he thought it a fit tribute to the fabled goddess to bestow her name upon the town, and accordingly it became Ceredo. It had been the dream of Thayer to found an immense manufacturing city, but the Civil War came on, and instead of the realization of the founder's dream, it yet remains a little town of from four to five hundred inhabitants.

The town was incorporated by Act of the Legislature passed February 25, 1866. The first officers were: Mayor, Richard R. Brown; Recorder, W. H. Stewart; Councilmen, Charles A. Brown, Lafayette Brown, John Kelly, Patrick McLeese and Robert Wright; Town Sergeant, R. A. W. Brown.


Fairview was incorporated March 27, 1860, and J. J. Mansfield, Milton J. Ferguson, Hugh Bowen, Washington Adkins and Burwell Ferguson were appointed to hold the first election.




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