Wood County West Virginia

County Records

[Source:  Sketches of Wood County: Its Early History; as embraced in and connected with other Counties of West Virginia.  Also brief accounts of First Settlers, and their Descendants.  Including accounts of its Soils, Timber, Minerals, Water, and Material Wealth.  By S.C. Shaw, 1878.]  
 Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Patricia Roma Stout

Sketches of Wood County: By S. C. Shaw
FORTY-SIX YEARS ago, the author of these Sketches, then a young man, became a permanent citizen of the town of Parkersburg, in Wood County, Virginia.  At that time, Parkersburg, the seat of justice in the county, was a small town on the southern banks of the Ohio river, above and adjoining the Little Kanawha, and contained a population of about two hundred inhabitants.  Up to that time and after, the Territory of Wood County had remained the same as when the county was first organized; embracing an area of about fourteen hundred square miles and contained a population of between six and seven thousand inhabitants.

Since that date, by the formation of new counties from the original territory of Wood, the area of the county has been greatly lessened, and now contains only about one-fourth of its original boundaries, and yet has been the increase of its population that it now contains upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants.  We might here add that the territory which has been taken off, in the formation of new counties, has probably increased in population and material wealth, in like proportion.  This permanent increase of inhabitants and wealth speaks volumes for the social and commercial advantages of our new State.  It carries upon its face the evidences of affluence, prosperity and social happiness.

Changing the form of expression from the past tense, to the present, we will say, that during the first seven years of our citizenship in Parkersburg, we were employed and performed the duties of Clerk of the County Court of Wood County, and for several years was Deputy, under the last James H. Neal, Esq. Clerk of its Circuit Superior Court.  Between the years of 1845 and 1855, for seven years, we held the office and personally performed all the duties of Assessor and Commissioner of the county.  Also during those years, as Surveyor, we became well acquainted with the lands of the county, in their various localities.

Having closely and carefully studied and improved these sources of information, arising from these several positions occupied by us we became familiar with the history of the county, its early settlements and many of its hardy, bold and enterprising inhabitants.  Also we acquired a general knowledge of its lands, waters, watercourses, soil, productions and natural advantages.  The diversified scenery of its mountain slopes and valleys, with its salubrious climate, and health-restoring and invigorating agencies, being such as to add to the length of our years, we have taken pleasure in penning these sketches, and thus complying with the oft-expressed wishes of personal friends, by presenting them to the public.  They are the results of many hours of reflection, toil and research, and have been revised and corrected from a series we published in the Parkersburg Sentinel.

In conclusion, permit us to say, that in the opening paragraph above, we referred to our forty-six years of residence in Parkersburg.  At its commencement, that length of time then appeared long, yet it has been past.  Now, in the review, it appears but a step.  Yet along the way we have had sunshine and shadows - hours of pleasure and pain - broken shrines of affection and love are in dust and ashes at our feet - footprints upon the sands of time have been made and washed away - mounds covered with the green grass have been moistened with tears, covering forms that cannot be effaced from the tablet of memory.  In penning these pages, we have labored to bring back, and converge some of the rays of sunshine and joy, which once illuminated our pathway, and gave hope and happiness - to call back the associations of other years, and other friends, and perpetuate their memories.

Should this effort prove successful, and be appreciated by our citizens, we have the materials on hand for their continuance - materials which have not yet been published, in addition to those which have appeared, which we desire to revise.  If errors are made to appear in any of these pages, we will take pleasure in correcting them, when pointed out.  Our object being, to present facts as they are interwoven with the early settlers of the county.  Much has been omitted, owing to the uncertainty enshrouding the past.  With these thoughts and anxieties, we submit these pages to the consideration of the public.
S.C. Shaw
Leafy Glen, WV

But in doing so, we are fully aware that many of those early settlers - those first pioneers to the county, whose active energies were here spent, and whose genial smiles and social bearings once gladdened the hearts of many are gone, leaving no records of themselves among the living.  Owing to these causes our sketches will be imperfect and incomplete, and will lose much of their interest, which might otherwise be interwoven in our early history as a county.
The reader in forming a correct idea of the difficulties and dangers attending the first settlements of Western and Northwestern Virginia, along the slopes of the Allegheny Mountains and on the Ohio river, it will become necessary for him to go far back in the history of Virginia, to its colonial records and from thence to trace the slow, toilsome movements Westward amid the difficulties and dangers which then environed her surroundings.
Again, for the purpose of obtaining a clear and good understanding, and forming correct ideas of the trials and conflicts attending the early settlements made in this then far western country, it will be necessary to have a knowledge of the character and influences brought to bear upon the aborigines then inhabiting the great Northwestern territory, as then connected with the policy of those Nations of Europe who were seeking to establish and maintain their claims and authority in these Colonies, as the rightful owners of the soil, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
 Three of those great powers - viz:  England, France and Spain, were contending for and claiming by right of discovery, large parts and portions of this Western Continent, and were constantly at variance with each other, as to their rights and boundaries.  Hence, was inaugurated by two of these powers - viz:  France and England - what has been here known in history, as the French War, between the years 1750 and 1765.  This war between the French and English governments was mainly confined to, and carried on in the colonies of this country, as then claimed by each of them.  In the prosecution of this war, the French government formed alliances with the numerous Indian tribes, then inhabiting the great Northwestern territory
 By its promises of protection and rewards, that Government enlisted these tribes of the forests to engage in their barbarous methods of cruelty and blood upon the frontier settlements of those colonies.  These atrocious alliances were formed and perfected through their agents and emissaries, at that time extensively engaged in commercial transactions, as connected with the fur trade with these Indians.

Hence may be traced much of the hostility of the Indians, and the reason for their cruel and relentless course.  Much of the horrors of their mode of warfare may be and is justly chargeable upon the French government, during these years of untold sufferings.

It is a well-known and established fact that the disposition and general character of the Indian was far more amicable and reliable when the country was first discovered by the Europeans, than it now is, or has been since.  He then in possession of more noble and generous and worthy qualities of mind and heart, thereby molding his character more in accordance with the great moral principles of reliance, truth and justice.

These thoughts and considerations open a wide field for reflection and should be improved by every American citizen.  The lawmaking power of our General Government, in all its dealings with the Indians, should carefully consider their relations to this country, and then act with impartial justice.

Again, during the dangers and struggles of the Revolutionary War, in which the thirteen colonies of this country contended with Great Britain for their independence, similar alliances were formed by that Government, through their agents, with these Indian tribes, at and immediately anterior to 1776, which lasted during the continuance of that bloody conflict.  And again, in the war with that Government in 1812-15, the same inhuman policy was adopted by that Government, in enlisting these savage tribes in the work of barbarism, cruelty and death.  Hence, as we have before said, much of the hostility and cruelty of the Indians, in their savage and sickening mode of warfare, is justly chargeable upon those enlightened nations of Europe, and for which they should be held accountable by the historian in all time to come.

From these considerations and others which might be given, it must be apparent to the mind of the reader that the cruel hostility of these tribes - these denizens of the forest - towards the citizens of these colonies, in their raids for plunder - for taking into captivity men, women and children, and for their cruel and bloody acts of barbarism upon the first settlements made in the great Mississippi Valley and its numerous tributaries, are chargeable upon those enlightened Governments of the Old World.

Consequently, as we have before said, in making upon and reviewing the history of those years of darkness and sufferings we have felt and still feel, that much of the sin and sorrows visited upon those early pioneers, will not and should not rest upon the "poor Indian."

It is undoubtedly true that in feeling and disposition for protecting themselves and their posterity in their territorial hunting grounds, they felt, and to some considerable extent carried out, their feelings of hatred and aversion, but these had become greatly intensified and made cruel and relentless by those emissaries then acting under the direction of these foreign Governments.  Consequently, as we have already said, it well becomes the historian, in writing of these early times, and the records of those years of bloody and inhuman strife, he should not pass by and lose sight of these facts.  They should be carefully considered and plead in extenuation of many of the inhuman barbarities of those years when these Indian tribes of the forest went forth upon the war-path.  In presenting these summary sketches of those times, we have therefore, felt that we were called upon by the principles of truth and justice to make this avowal for the "poor Indian," when speaking of the early settlements of Western and Northwestern Virginia and their tragic memories.

During the latter part of the eighteenth century, owing to the active and controlling influences made by these European Governments, through their agents, then passing from one fort or station to another, extending from the Canada's and the Northern lakes to the Ohio river, which they then brought to bear upon these tribes, but few attempts were made by the Government to colonize any parts or portions of this western and Northwestern Virginia, and those then made were wholly insufficient for the protection of those who had sought homes in what was then known as the Far West.

The Formation of Counties
In our introductory Chapter, we gave to the reader, summary statements of the nature and character of the various influences brought to bear upon the Indian tribes of the Northwestern territory, by the French and English governments, with our reflections thereon, as interwoven in and standing connected with the early settlements of the colony of Virginia - its wilderness territory and subsequent history.
This was done, not only injustice to those unlettered denizens of the forest, but for the purpose of placing the responsibilities and blame where they so justly belonged.  Those great European governments then were included in the enlightened and civilized nations of the earth, whose social and civil institutions were endowed with, and should have been guided by the principles and precepts of the Christian religion, as then connected with those governments.  Hence we have held, and now hold them to the just responsibilities of their conduct and policy as enlightened and Christianized nations, and also for the results of their combined acts; adopted, pursued and carried out by each of them individually as nations, in their efforts to support and maintain their assumed territorial claims.
 Having thus briefly referred to these historic facts, so painfully connected with the early settlements of Virginia, in her valleys and over her mountains, lying West and Northwest of the Blue Ridge, we now turn the attention of the reader to the division and sub-divisions of its territories and counties.

At and prior to the Independence of the United States in 1776, the popular branch of Colonial legislation in Virginia, was known as the "House of Burgess".  It enacted its laws under a provincial charter, granted by the English government, to whom its allegiance was due.  The House of Burgess by its enactments from time to time, laid off the wilderness territory into counties, as its increasing population advanced their forest settlements westward beyond the mountains of the Blue Ridge.

In 1738, the counties of Frederick and Augusta were formed by prescribed metes and bounds, embracing a large territory of land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  All the vast and wide spread wilderness territory, lying West and Northwest of those two counties, was then named and designated by the House of Burgesses, "The District of West Augusta," extending on the Northwest to the Ohio river, and West, as far as the colonial territory extended.  The lands now embraced in the state of West Virginia formed a portion of the territory, then known as the District of West Augusta.

In 1754 the county of Hampshire was formed from parts of Frederick and Augusta counties.
 In 1770 the county of Botetourt was formed by a division of the county of Augusta.
 In 1772 the counties of Berkeley and Shenandoah were formed by subdivisions of the county of Frederick.
 In 1776 the counties of Ohio and Monongalia were formed out of the northwestern part of the District of West Augusta, and embraced the territory between the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania on the northeast and the Big Kanawha on the southwest, lying southeast of the Ohio River.  Ohio county extending down the Ohio River, from Pennsylvania to the mouth of Middle Island creek.  Monongalia county lying southeast of Ohio county and extending below and down the Ohio river from the mouth of Middle Island creek to the valley of the Big Kanawha river, and from thence northeast to the State of Maryland.

In 1777 and 1778 Montgomery and Greenbrier counties were formed from the western and northwestern portion of the District of West Augusta, extending west of the Allegheny Mountains to Big Sandy River and down its valley and the valley of the Big Kanawha, to the Ohio River, which then formed the southwestern boundary of the county of Monongalia.

In 1784 the county of Monongalia was divided, and the northwestern part was named Harrison, in honor of Benjamin Harrison, then Governor of Virginia.  This county then extended from its division line northwest to the Ohio River, and down the Ohio River to the valley of the Big Kanawha River, then embraced in Greenbrier County.  During these years when the land in western Virginia was embraced in the territory of Monongalia and Harrison counties, numerous large surveys of land were entered and patented by land speculators.  These entries when surveyed, the lines of which intersected each other, causing much confusion in the titles of these lands.  More of this anon.

In 1789 the county of Kanawha was formed by a division of Greenbrier County, and embraced the beautiful valley of the Big Kanawha to the Ohio River.  The territory of this county then embraced one of the richest portions of West Virginia.

By an Act of the House of Burgesses in 1799, the county of Wood was set off by a division of the county of Harrison, and was named in honor of Governor Wood, of Virginia.  Its northeastern boundary line was Ohio County; its southeastern boundary was the line separating it from the county of Harrison; its southwestern line was the county of Kanawha, and its northwestern boundary was the Ohio River.  Its territory as then formed, contained about 1400 square miles.  The Little Kanawha River, heading in the slopes of the Allegheny Mountains and running northwest, joined the Ohio River at Parkersburg, dividing the county into nearly two equal parts.  Owing to conflicting interests of its settlers, the regular organizations of the county did not take place until the 10th of March, 1800.

In 1804 Mason County was formed by a division of Kanawha County, taking in the valley of Big Kanawha to the Ohio River.  For many years thereafter this county formed the southwestern boundary of Wood County.

In 1814 Tyler County was formed by a division of Ohio County; it was taken from its southwestern part, and became the northeastern boundary of Wood County.

In 1816 the county of Lewis was formed by another division made of Harrison County, and for many years was the southern boundary of Wood County.

We have thus traced and defined the boundaries of Wood County, as it was first formed in 1799 and as it remained up to the year 1832.  The reader will perceive that its territory was embraced in, and formed a part of that celebrated territory of Virginia, known and designated in the eighteenth century as the District of West Augusta from the year 1738 to the year 1776.  From the year 1776 to the year 1784 it was included in the Territory of Monongalia County; and from the year 1784 to the year 1799 it formed the western part of Harrison County, and from that year to 1832 the territorial boundaries of the county remained unchanged.

The first settlements made in any of the territory of this county was when it formed a part of Harrison County.  Yet in all its vast territory such was the slow progress made in its settlement, that in the United States census taken in 1830 it contained only a population of 6,414 persons, and its taxation was $4,257.  There were various causes which operated unfavorably to its rapid settlement and increase of population.  Of these we may have more to say hereafter.  But owing to these causes, one of the most romantic, picturesque, healthy and invigorating portions of our common country, whose rich alluvial soils, abounding in vast beds of mineral wealth, numerous heavy veins of coal, forests of every variety of timber, and rivers and streams of water, and water power were passed by for years and left in their primeval solitude.

Leaving all these adverse circumstances and their considerations for the present, we again return to the historical sketches of Wood County and its territory from the year 1832, down to the present time.

By an act of the Legislature of Virginia in 1832, the county of Jackson was formed from the counties of Wood and Mason.  In the formation of this county, about one-half of its territory was taken from each of the above-named counties, taking from Wood all the lands lying southwest of a line running from the mouth of Pond Creek, on the Ohio River, in a southerly direction to the northern boundary of Lewis County.  Ripley, a pleasant settlement on Mill Creek in a central portion of the territory, was made the county seat.  This county embraces a fine body of land for agricultural purposes, and is rich in mineral wealth and prospective affluence.  Ravenswood on the Ohio River, its emporium, is beautifully situated on an elevated plateau, with good pikes and roads extending to the back counties.  A hopeful future awaits the enterprise of the citizens of this county.

The northeastern portion of the present county of Roane, taken from Jackson county, was prior to 1832, a portion of Wood county.

In 1843 the county of Ritchie was formed from the eastern portion of Wood.  Harrisville, situated on the north fork of Hughes River, was made the county seat.  The Northwestern Virginia Railroad, a branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, passes through the central part of this county from East to West.  On its track are many beautiful and picturesque towns, lately sprung up as points of commercial business.  The lands of this county are rough, broken and mountainous, yet abounding in rich minerals, oils and other substances, inviting the enterprise of capitalists.

A portion of the territory of the present county of Doddridge was, prior to 1843, embraced in the boundaries of Wood County, in connection with the county of Ritchie.  From these facts, the reader can form some idea of the large territory of land once embraced in the boundaries of Wood County.

In 1848 Wirt County was formed from the southern part of Wood, lying on both sides of the Little Kanawha River.  The town of Elizabeth on the south side of the river, above the mouth of Tucker's creek became the county seat.  On the north side of the river, eight miles above Elizabeth are the famous Burning Springs, and the great oil basin, from which there is exported annually vast quantities of petroleum.  A town by that name has there sprung up, inviting capitalists.  The working of these subterranean deposits of oil, in late years, had added greatly to the wealth and population of this county.  Slack water navigation, by dams, of the Little Kanawha, from Parkersburg on the Ohio, to Burning Springs, is opening up a new field of commercial enterprise to the back counties along the valley of the river and its tributaries, and should receive the fostering attention and care beds of mineral wealth which lie hid in the back mountains, would increase the commerce of the entire Little Kanawha Valley.

At the time Dr. David Creel, who represented Wood County in the Legislature of Virginia, about the year 1820, made an effort to have the State engaged in this enterprise by improving this river by slack-water navigation.  His effort met with opposition from the entire portion of the State, causing its failure.

An Act of incorporation for this improvement was granted by the Legislature of West Virginia on the 28th day of January, 1866; and an Act amendatory thereto, on the 4th day of March, 1868.  The work of improvement of the river under the provisions of these Acts, from the city of Parkersburg to Burning Springs in Wirt County, a distance of upwards of forty miles, was commenced in 1870 and 1871.  The late General J.J. Jackson and the Hon. J.N. Camden have been the fast and firm friends in prosecuting this great work, and it is now open and in active operation from Parkersburg to Burning Springs.

In 1851, the county of Pleasants was formed from Wood, Tyler and Ritchie.  In its formation all the territory of Wood between Bull Creek and Middle Island was taken.  St. Mary's situated on the Ohio below the mouth of Middle Island was made the county seat.  This county presents a fine body of land for agricultural enterprise.  It has a coast on the Ohio River of about twenty-five miles, embracing rich and wide-spreading bottoms of the best of lands.  Middle Island creek, with its fertile bottoms and uplands, divides this county into nearly two equal parts.

St. Mary's, the county seat, is pleasantly located on the Ohio River; has a population of about 600.  A Masonic, Odd Fellow and Encampment Lodges are by Charters in active operation in the town; also several churches and church edifices.  In the Fall of 1877 a weekly newspaper was established, known as the Watch Word, edited by the Rev. F. M. Yates.  This county is assuming a healthy and prosperous position among the Ohio River counties of the State.

In the formation of the four counties named above, since the year 1832, the county of Wood has lost nearly three fourths of its original territory.  Yet such has been its marvelous advancement in wealth and population, that it now has within its circumscribed boundaries an assessable property of about $8,000,000 and a population of upwards of 20,000.  And further, it may be said, that the new counties formed from her original territory have increased in like proportion.

Few portions of our common country laboring under so many disadvantages, can boast of a more healthy advancement in all the material elements of wealth and prosperity than Wood County.  Her original large territory has been taken away in the formation of these new counties, until she now has only about 350 square miles.

Colonial Settlements
In the preceding Chapter we traced the divisions and subdivisions of Western and Northwestern Virginia into counties, as its increasing population demanded, and the spirit of enterprise pushed its settlements westward and northwestward from the Valley of Virginia.  The House of Burgesses were active in their efforts to meet the necessities of these settlements, as they arose from time to time in its colonial history.

These division and subdivision of counties in Western and Northwestern Virginia we traced from 1738, when the District of West Augusta was formed, down to the present boundaries of Wood county, showing in what the name the territory of Wood county was included during those years.

We now turn back, and in a brief and general way, view and trace the history of the settlements from the first decades of the eighteenth century onward, under the influence and surrounding dangers of those times.

In the early part of the eighteenth century settlements were being made in the Shenandoah Valley and up the Eastern slopes of the Alleghany mountains, and also up the valleys of the James and Roanoke rivers west of the Blue ridge; also about the same period of time settlements were being made up that portion of Virginia generally known as the "Northern Neck."

The bold and enterprising pioneers who entered these primeval forests were subjected to various and adverse fortunes, hardships and sufferings from the frequent raids and incursions of the Indians; especially from those inhabiting the Northwestern territory, whose war paths extended up the two Kanawha's and Sandy rivers and through the forests of Kentucky.  Owing to these untoward circumstances the efforts then made to pass the barriers of the Alleghany Mountains were failures, and were abandoned until about the year 1769, at which time there was a treaty, or a partial treaty of peace with these Indian tribes.

Also, during the early part of the eighteenth century the French Government, under her rights of discovery, was putting forth strong and vigorous efforts to claimant hold her possessions in the valley of the great Mississippi and its tributary waters.  Under the fostering care of that Government, stations or posts of trade were established among the numerous tribes of Indians then inhabiting the great Northwestern territory.  These trading posts extended from the Canada's and the Northern lakes to the Ohio River, and from thence onward to the territory of Louisiana.  They also established and sustained a few settlements at different places within the territory thus claimed.

The House of Burgesses of Virginia, under her Colonial Charter from the English Government, rejected this rival claim put forth by the French Government to any and all the territory of the Upper Mississippi.  From time to time schemes were projected by the House of Burgess for taking, holding and colonizing the same under the provisions of the grants specified in the Colonial Charter.  But owing to the sparse population and her colonial weakness, she failed in her attempts to sustain these enterprises.

About the year 1750, the French Government established forts on the Upper Ohio River, and one at the junction of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, which she named Fort Duquesne, which occupied the present site of the City of Pittsburgh.  At that time about sixty miles of the western part of the territory now embraced in the state of Pennsylvania was claimed and supposed to belong to the colony of Virginia.

Under the authority of the English Government, acting with the House of Burgess of Virginia in 1754, General Braddock, at the head of an army, marched from Winchester, VA, to within a few miles of Fort Duquesne, where, after crossing the Monongahela River, he was ambushed and defeated by the Indians and lost his life.  The retreat of the army was conducted by Col. George Washington.  The object for capturing Fort Duquesne from the French by the Virginia House of Burgess was to settle and establish her claim in the Northwestern territory, and secure her settlements on the Ohio River and its tributaries against the devastations of the Indians and the claims of France.

During the war with the French Government in 1758, General Forbes of Pennsylvania, made a successful movement and captured the Fort from the French and Indians, and held it until the close of that war and gave to it the name of Fort Pitt.  After the close of that war in 1765, by a treaty of peace, the French government relinquished all her claims to the lands in the Northwestern territory.  But the war spirit of the Indians, who had been their confederates and allies during that war, still survived and manifested itself in frequent raids upon the Virginia Colony until 1769, when a treaty of peace was concluded with them.

From thence during a comparative peace with these Indian tribes of two or three years, the hardy and enterprising yeomanry of Virginia and other Southern Colonies again pushed forward their settlements northward and westward.  In 1769, 1770 and 1771, settlements were extended further up the James and Roanoke rivers, and also over on the Greenbrier and New rivers, and also on the Monongahela River and its tributaries, and down the Ohio River as far as Wheeling and Grave creek.

The contest growing out of the dissatisfaction of the American Colonies with Great Britain, the mother country, was then rapidly approaching.  The deep ground swell of discontent and rebellion was agitating the colonial legislatures in all parts of the country; a full knowledge of which was communicated to the Indian tribes of the Northwestern territory by British fur traders and agents who had taken the place of the French traders, causing these tribes to become restless and warlike, thereby making it necessary for the Colony of Virginia to raise troops and send northwest for the safety and protection of her settlements.

In the summer of 1774, steps were taken by the House of Burgesses of Virginia to raise two divisions - one under the command of Lord Dunmore, Governor of Va., to march to Fort Pitt, the other under the command of Gen'l. Andrew Lewis, to march to the mouth of the Big Kanawha.  It was arranged that he would there be joined by a detachment from Fort Pitt, with ammunition and supplies, early in October.  But Gov. Dunmore, at Fort Pitt, remained strangely in active and for some cause not fully accounted for, sent no supplies or ammunition to Gen'l. Lewis (He however marched down the Ohio River as far as Big Hocking.  There he stopped and erected a Fort.  From there he marched to near Chillicothe, and met the great Chieftain, Cornstalk, and, concluded a partial peace with him, and returned to Virginia, on the winter following.)   On the morning of the 11th of October, 1774, Gen'l. Lewis found himself and his little army surrounded by the Shawnee Indian tribes, headed and led on by that fearless Indian monarch and warrior, the celebrated Cornstalk.  The battle which followed was long, fierce and bloody, lasting the entire day.  The great chief was in the thickest of the fight, cheering his men by word and deed.  As night came on Cornstalk called off his forces, gave up the battle and retreated across the Ohio.  Gen'l Lewis being left in possession of the ground, soon after erected a Fort, which was afterwards held and garrisoned for the purpose of intersecting the Indian warpath up the Valley of the Big Kanawha and thereby giving protection to the inland settlements of Virginia, and securing its border territory.

The strange course and policy pursued by Gov. Dunmore towards Gen'l. Lewis in relation to this battle, and the circumstances connected with his meeting with Cornstalk and his Chiefs in their territory without suitable protection, and the hasty treaty of peace then made with the Shawnee nation furnish strong evidence for the belief that Gov. Dunmore was in possession of the policy then being pursued by the British Government in the formation of alliances with these Indian tribes, preparatory to the war then approaching.  The course he then pursued, taken in connection with his subsequent acts as Governor, leads to this conclusion.  Viewing the approaching contest of the Revolutionary War from this standpoint, makes the battle of General Lewis, at Point Pleasant, on the 11th day of October, 1774, the first battle fought for American independence.  It removes the commencement of that great struggle for liberty and independence from Lexington and Concord, in the State of Massachusetts, to the valley of the Ohio River, in the District of West Augusta.  It was at Point Pleasant, on the 11th day of October, 1774, where the Virginia forces met and conquered these savage allies of the British government, and thus gained the first victory for American independence.  Let a monument to the memory of those brave men be there erected to commemorate that first battle for liberty.

Again, in referring to the formation of the first settlements made in the District of West Augusta, between the years 1769 and 1774, it will be seen that those settlements swept in a circular belt at station points as centers, around a large wilderness of heavy forest lands.  Commencing at Wheeling and Grave creek, on the Ohio river, in the North, passing over the dividing mountains to the waters of the Monongahela river, thence to Clarksburg on the West Fork river, thence over to Tygart Valley and Buckhannon rivers in the East, from thence southward to the Greenbrier and New rivers, and from thence westward down new and Big Kanawha rivers to the Ohio river at Point Pleasant.  This semi-circle embraces a space of about 170 miles on the Ohio River, extending back southeastward from 50 to 125 miles.

Owing to the exposed condition and near approaches to the Indian towns and settlements in the northwestern territory, from which squads of Indians were passing and repassing, and the fears arising from their cruel and relentless mode of warfare, this vast territory of heavy forest lands was left unsettled at that time, and during the next two decades it was slow in receiving emigrants, or the States in making the necessary provisions for the protection of those who had braved the dangers and privations of the wilderness.

The Little Kanawha river, a stream of considerable importance and magnitude, navigable in high stages of water by small boats, (and now by slack water improvements for 40 miles), heads back in the Alleghany Mountains, and running in a northwesterly direction, passes through this territory and empties into the Ohio river at Parkersburg, about midway between Wheeling and Point Pleasant.  The borders of this river with its numerous tributaries, are lined with lands well adapted to the husbandman and farmer for developing improvements and prosperity.  Beneath its valleys and mountain forests of very heavy timber are hidden rich beds of untold wealth, while the surface is divided by numerous streams of water and water-power, for mills and machinery, murmuring their music in shady solitudes. Yet with all these primeval advantages so richly and lavishly bestowed by nature, owing to their savage surroundings and threatening dangers, it secured but few, a very few, settlers until about the year 1785.  In 1780 and 1795 the bold and daring enterprise of pioneers became more frequent, tempting them to penetrate these unbroken solitudes for the purpose of opening up and making their future homes,  they have long since passed away, and but a few only have left any record of themselves and of their times behind them.

Before closing this chapter we will turn back to the battle of Point Pleasant.  Soon after that battle, as we have stated, a treaty of peace was concluded between the great Indian warrior and statesman, Cornstalk, and Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, in October 1774

This treaty of peace was strictly and faithfully observed by this monarch of the Shawnee Nation   His sagacious mind saw no prosperity and happiness for his nation only on their living on terms of amity and peace with the white inhabitants of these colonies.  In his defeat and sorrow he had found that the Indian could not cope with the white man on the battlefield.  And though Great Britain had her agents and emissaries among his tribes, endeavoring to enlist them and form alliances up to the spring of 1777, yet by his great influence and power he had kept his tribes in peace.

In the spring of 1777 this great chief and monarch of that Nation, with two others of his tribe, came to the fort at Point Pleasant for the purpose of making the authorities of Virginia acquainted with the efforts then being made among his tribes to enlist them against the colonies.  This condition of mind in him undoubtedly grew out of the fact in some way connected with the treaty made with Governor Dunmore in 1774.  He and those with him were detained at the fort as hostages until the information brought by them could be conveyed to the Government of Va.  In consequence of the long absence from his tribe, his son Ellinipsico, a chief of one of his tribes, came to Point Pleasant to ascertain the cause of his long stay.  On the following day after his arrival, two of the soldiers of the garrison crossed over the Big Kanawha on a hunting expedition and while thus engaged one of these men was shot and murdered by some wandering Indian.  Of the presence or who these wandering Indians were, Ellinipsico declared he had no knowledge and was in no way connected with them.  In that hour of tumult, of frenzied passions, the soldiers of the garrison determined that they would at once avenge the death of their companion by shooting the great chief and son and those with them.  

In that sad hour of revengeful hatred, of danger and of death, the undaunted courage, coolness and greatness of this warrior chieftain did not forsake him.  In his innocence he faced the sentence of death boldly and endeavored to sustain and cheer his son by words of kindness and sympathy.  Facing the mob whose leaden missiles were pointed at him without a word he fell pierced with many balls.  Thus ended the career of this, one of the noblest of the Indian chieftains; one whose oratory and made classic the eloquence of nature, one whose boldness and heroic bearing on the battlefield was the pride and glory of the Shawnee nation, and whose tragic death was the signal of gloom and horror to the settlements in Virginia and elsewhere.

This overt act of treachery, arising from a sudden and momentary passion, prompted and immediately executed under a spirit of inconsiderate revenge upon these innocent persons, then held in custody as hostages for the safety of others, was an unpardonable indiscretion - an act of bad faith, which even civilized nations would not overlook or fail to punish.  As it might have been justly expected it served to incite all the Indian tribes of the northwestern territory in deadly hostility and war against the white settlements of the colonies, which lasted not only during the Revolutionary War, but long after that sanguinary struggle was ended with the British Government.  The thinly and exposed position for the whole country in Virginia, west of the Alleghany Mountains, made its slopes and valleys the theatre of savage vengeance and deeds of untold sufferings.  In consequence of this heart-sickening and cruel war, and the exposed condition of these frontier settlements, this whole vast territory of Western and Northwestern Virginia was slow in becoming settled.  Many were the thrilling tales of adventure and heroic daring here enacted by these early pioneers, who sought to make homes for themselves and their families.  Not until the year 1800 did the thinly inhabited settlements of the Ohio River and its tributaries feel that they were free and safe from savage revenge.  Yet there were those whose limited means and love of adventure caused them to seek homes and settle in these forest wilds.

As a general rule these courageous and hardy men were persons of the most generous impulses.  Though many of them were uneducated, and possessed a rough exterior, yet they possessed hearts of generosity, and enjoyed happiness in sympathizing and making those happy around them.  The hoarding of the "almighty dollar" was not the object of their ambition and love.  In their daily intercourse they were social, kind and generous, imparting or bestowing their hospitalities with cheerfulness.  They were kind, generous and considerate to those around them and thereby enjoyed happiness in the happiness of others.  They were kind for kindness sake.

The huntsman's camp, and the rude log cabins of the pioneers, with their few articles of rough furniture, were the abodes of genuine good feelings, and honest open handed hospitality.  A common sympathy was felt and shared by neighbors, in the social amities of life.  Toils, privations, and common dangers endured, became a strong bond of attachment, mutual kindness and good will.  It was thus, in the opening and early settlements of these mountain fastnesses of West Virginia.  A new era- a new world is opened out before the present generation, begotten by the rapid advancements in the arts and sciences, and the manner in which they were communicated.  Owing to these courses, the present generation can form but an imperfect idea of the hardships and dangers, endured and overcome by the first inhabitants of West Virginia.
Policy of the Colony as to Her Public Lands
In preparing these Chapters on Western, and North Western Virginia for the purpose of enabling the reader, to form clear and correct ideas of  its early history, we devote each chapter, to certain facts in that history, as those facts were connected with, and had an influence in, shaping the formation of these settlements..  All of these separate and distinct facts, we desire  to photograph upon  the mind of the reader for the purpose of enabling him to see, and have correct conceptions of the numerous obstacles, which had a tendency to cripple and retard its rapid settlements, during the latter part of the eighteenth, and the first part of the present  century.

In former chapters, we presented a general outline of its territory with its divisions and subdivisions into counties, as its settlements from time to time, made it necessary.  Pursuing the same course, in this chapter, we shall notice the policy of the colony in surveying out its public land.

It must be remembered that the colony of Virginia, was under the laws and dependent on the English government.  Large grants of land had been made to many of her nobility for the purpose of colonizing her poorer classes and furnishing them with homes under the same policy, which had obtained under her home regulations.   Hence the actual tillers of the soil, were poor,

Thus it will be seen, that the landed policy of the colony, was forced upon her by the Mother country, and owing to the dangers growing out of the hostile character of the Indians, and the limited resources of her territory, the same general policy was continued; especially was this the condition of the colony at the close of the Revolutionary war.

A person who will reflect upon the condition of this country, at, and prior to that war--the hostile attitude of the Indians, who had been in alliance, first, with the French and then with the English government, will at once see the nature and character of these difficulties, and the enforced reasons which caused Virginia, as a State, to pursue the landed policy which had been entailed upon her, by Great Britain.

Therefore, in this Chapter, we shall treat of the surveys of lands, made in Western and North Western Virginia as the same arise under that policy, and the effects thereof upon the future settlements of this portion of the State. Yet in doing so, we do not intend to cast any reflections upon the men of those colonial years who labored to perform their duties under the embarrassing circumstances of those times.

It is a well-known fact throughout the entire country, that the titles to lands in Western, and North Western Virginia are uncertain and unsatisfactory. Courts of justice within its territory have had their dockets crowded with suits in which these titles have been the subject of litigation for the purpose of settling these conflicting claims. The doubts and insecurity of these titles has had a very damaging influence upon the settlements as well as upon the business enterprise of the country.  And yet these difficulties are not all settled.  Suits for settling the title to lands in the State, are yet upon the dockets of our courts.  Soon, however, these claims will be finally settled.

The first survey made of land in the Ohio valley, of which we have any record was those made for Gen. George Washington, in the summer of 1771, for services rendered the colony of Virginia, as colonel during the French and Indian war.  These surveys for him were made in that summer under his personal supervision, by Col. William Crawford (who was afterwards captured by the Indians and burnt at a stake in 1793.)  The first of these entries a tract of 2314 acres of land situate five miles below the mouth of the Little Kanawha River in this county, and made in June. 1771. This county was then a part of the District of West Augusta. Several other surveys were made by him on the Ohio and the Big Kanawha Rivers, during that summer, and were claimed to be the first made in this valley under the authority of the colony of Virginia.

In the spring of 1771, Col. Geo. Washington with his surveying party embarked in small boats at Fort Pitt, and slowly descended the Ohio river, making notes of their journey and of the country as they passed down the river to the mouth of the Big Kanawha, and also in their ascending that river to the falls. A full account of this voyage was published some years since in Eastern newspapers, and was made very interesting, as showing the condition of the country at that time.

The tract of 2314 acres in this county, surveyed and patented to him, has, since that time, been known by the name of "Washington Bottom." It is a fine body of land situated, in a bend of the Ohio immediately below Blannerhassett's Island. It was first settled in the fall of 1806, by emigrants from Loudon County, VA. No portion of our county was first settled by more noble, generous and worthy citizens, than Washington Bottom. They brought with them their old Virginia bearing and hospitality, and a most cordial welcome was given to those who visited that portion of our country. The early settlement of "Washington Bottom" and sketches of its citizens and families is reserved for a future Chapter in this series.

It will be noticed by the reader that General Washington in 1771 became a large land holder in the District of West Augusta, and during the Indian war he had become acquainted with the character of the early pioneers of Western, and North Western Virginia. Probably it was owing to these facts that during the dark days of the Revolution, when the liberties and independence of these States trembled in the balance of social political and religious freedom, that caused him to look at the District of West Augusta, as his place of retreat, in the event of a failure of the American cause: and from here he would maintain the struggle and continue the war for national independence. During the French war he had become acquainted with these men, and could rely upon them as aiding and sustaining him in the cause of freedom against the government of Great Britain. Gen. Washington in early life formed a very correct idea of the importance of the Western country and of the necessity of having inland communications with the Eastern portion of the State.  Other large grants and surveys were made about the same time. One opposite Parkersburg, of 28,000 acres was made to Van Strobe and others, for military services.

For the purpose of increasing emigration and furnishing homes on a cheap scale to the young, adventurous and enterprising yeomanry of those early years in Virginia's history, and to cause them to colonize and settle upon her trans-Alleghany domain - her wide spread wilderness territory, the House of Burgesses, by colonial enactments and laws, presented and gave to the actual settlers of these lands, great inducements. Among the laws thus enacted, was that of a settlement right and preemption claim. This legislative enactment or colonial law secured to the individuals, who might take up, occupy, clear and cultivate a few acres of land and erect a cabin thereon, a patent for 400 acres of land around and including the improvement, with the further right of preempting by entry or treasury warrant, 1000 acres adjoining the said settlement right of 400 acres, within a specific limited time. There were many persons who made efforts to avail themselves of the liberal provisions of these laws of colonial legislation, but owing to the trouble arising from predatory bands of Indians, then infesting the country, many of these settlers abandoned their claims thus made Yet under the provisions of these laws a few settlements were successfully made in Western, and Northwestern Virginia, while it was embraced in the District of West Augusta, prior to the year 1776. Also like settlements were made between the years 1776 and 1784, when it was included in the counties of Monongalia and Ohio, and also, when this valley was included in Harrison county, between the years 1784 and 1799, when this (Wood) county was formed, like settlements were made.

The first actual settlements made in the valley of the Ohio, and in this county, were made under the provisions of these settlement rights and preemption laws of the commonwealth. And further we may add, that it was under the provisions of these laws, arose what was once generally known in this country as the "Tomahawk," right or title. A Tomahawk claim or right was generally made by selecting some prominent place or situation, and making a deadening of the growing timber, and marking his name and date of his claim on prominent trees, as his entry. By this mode of proceeding he gave notice to all land adventurers of his settlement right to 400 acres and pre-emption claim, to 1000 acres of land surrounding the deadening thus made, and the rights claimed thereby. The first settlers in this country recognized these Tomahawk entries, and the rights growing out of them, and they were frequently sold and transferred to persons who afterwards settled upon them and perfected a title.

From the year 1769 the date of the treaty of peace with the Indians, under Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, to the year 1795, the date of the treaty of peace made after the victories of General Anthony Wayne over the Indians inhabiting the Northwestern territory, there were in this vast wilderness territory, but a few inhabitants, scattered settlements far apart from each other, who had here secured homes. Yet this wide wilderness domain invited the enterprise of land speculators from the Eastern and Northern states. These speculators procured from the Land Office of Virginia, at a nominal price, land warrants for large entries and tracts of land, to be located in this unbroken forest wilderness. A large proportion of these entries and surveys were made in this county, between the years of 1785, after the close of the Revolutionary war, and 1795, after the close of the Indian war under General Wayne. During these twelve years, numerous Indian bands, from various tribes, were on the war path, passing through and infesting and carrying on a sickening war upon these frontier settlements of Western and Northwestern Virginia and the Districts of Kentucky.

The colony of Virginia had adopted no correct and sure system for having her wild, unsettled lands surveyed and divided off into sections of any given quantities, by which persons might and could enter their land warrants. But instead of pursuing such a system, her policy was to let the owner of a land warrant locate and make his own entry and survey wherever he chose, leaving the rights to the land thus acquired by the landholder subject to the rights of any prior claim or patent.

Under this policy distant land speculators or land companies procured their land warrants for a definite number of acres named in these warrants, the holder of them entered, independent of others, who may have entered lands or without any correct knowledge of the lands he was entering.

Owing to the many dangers arising from predatory bands of Indians then infesting this wilderness and lurking in ambush to wreak their vengeance, only a few surveys of these wild lands were made at the time of their being entered.

The course most generally pursued by the surveyor in those years was to select some very noted or prominent point and mark a beginning corner, and run and mark the line for some little distance, and then in his camp protract a chain of surveys many times, not even knowing where: they might end, leaving the entire chain of surveys dependent upon the first survey and beginning comer. In after years when these protracted surveys were run out, the lines would be found to cross the Ohio River or would frequently intercept and cross the lines of other surveys, so that in some instances the lands would be covered by two or three different patents, bearing different dates. This insecure and equivocal policy, adopted when Virginia was a colony under the British Government has caused immense trouble in the land title of Western and Northwestern Virginia. These troubles are not all yet ended. In past years they have hindered and retarded its settlements by the uncertainty connected with her land titles, causing many to leave or pass by and seek homes in the far West, where a more safe policy obtained.

Chapter upon chapter might be written in reviewing the past history of the early settlements of Western Virginia, thereby disclosing many of the causes and consideration which acted as hindrances to the growth and population in all the essential elements of material wealth. Among these might be noticed the fact that the Legislature of the State was slow to award to her any material aid in the opening up and developing her resources and advantages. In the early years of her history she was made to feel her dependence upon the clemency of the Eastern members composing that august body of legislation.

This and the preceding chapters will furnish the inquiring mind with a key which will unlock, open and disclose many of the adverse causes which in the past has held in check  the tides of emigration to her lofty and pure mountain air, her mineral waters and invigorating climates were passed by.

But her past history discloses the fact that amid all these adverse conditions she has held on her way, and though her external wealth and increasing population has not been rapid as compared with many other States of the Union, yet it has been healthy and advancing. And notwithstanding all these varied conditions, she can look with pride upon her native-born citizens and feel that she has contributed her full share of great men -- men whose names brightly adorn the history and fame of our common country.

In closing this chapter the numerous and health-restoring springs of mineral water which abound in these mountains should not be lost sight of. Their reputation is fast becoming world-wide.  The invalid is made to rejoice and look forth upon life with renewed hopes. Again, while closing, we turn and with gladness of heart contemplate her mild and invigorating climate; the salubrious and health-restoring atmosphere of her grand, majestic mountains; her picturesque and lovely valleys in all the splendor of their scenery; all conspire to give breadth and strength to the mind, and force upward the intellectual and moral growth of character; to energize, expand and elevate the moral perceptions, and call forth the generous emotions of the heart. The contemplation of the wild, majestic scenery of these lofty and picturesque mountains, are well calculated to enlarge and give force and power to thought and strength of purpose to its inhabitants. Again, the soft, mellow tints of her flushed, golden sunsets, as they fade into azure loveliness and deepen into the shades of night, awaken within the soul the purest emotions of grateful adoration and praise to that infinite Being who has piled up these sublime ranges and overshadowed them with such gaudy vestments. And yet for years past, this majestic mountain scenery -- this "Switzerland of America" --has been passed by for the unvarying monotony of the "plains of the farther West," where health and happiness have been sacrificed.

Indian Hostilities
Among the present inhabitants of Western and Northwestern Virginia there are but a few, a very few, if any, to be found who know of the frequent alarms, the sufferings and privations incident upon its early settlements.  Even the present frontier life along our far Western border presents but a faint idea of the many hardships, adventures and tragedies of the early pioneers into the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.  What a vast and mighty change has come over the world of mankind during the last one hundred years, especially in our country, under the fostering care of our republican institutions.  The dark, impenetrable forests which secreted the Indian in his acts of barbarism, cruel and blood, have with him faded, and are disappearing like the mist upon the mountains, as the sunlight of civilization and earnest enterprise has gone forth and opened up the treasures of wealth in our wide spread country, from ocean to ocean.  The proud and haughty spirit of the bloody and revengeful Indian has been broken, and the years of his communion are closing upon the great drama of time.  Soon all the traces of his dark and bloody empire will have passed away, and the vast realms of his wilderness home will be lost in the noontide glory of American greatness.

We propose devoting this chapter to giving accounts of these raids and depredations made by Indians, within the original limits of Wood county as far as they have come to our knowledge.

After the close of the Revolutionary War in 1783, and the treaty of peace with the English Government, the war spirit and hostility of the Indians, who had been in alliance with them, did not cease.  From that time to 1795 small parties of Indians would make raids upon the white settlements of Western and Northwestern Virginia and Kentucky for the purpose of plunder, taking captives and scalps from the victims of their inhuman barbarity.  The treaties made with a few of these North western tribes were but of little worth, soon violated on either side, affording and giving no quiet security to the settlements.

Owing to these causes it was not until 1785 that any permanent settlements were made in any part of the territory embraced in the original boundaries of Wood County, of which any definite knowledge can be ascertained at this time.  There were however, in 1783, and prior thereto, pre-emption rights or tomahawk claims made by Samuel and Joseph Tomlinson, the three Briscoe brothers, Robert Thornton and others in the rich bottom lands of the Ohio river.  But no accounts of any Indian depredation being made upon any of them have come down to us.

From the year 1785 to 1795, all the tribes of the Northwestern territory, excepting the Moravians, were engaged in a united war upon the white settlements of this great valley.  Early in the fall of 1791, General Harmer started with an army made up of militia and 300 regular troops from Fort Washington (now Cincinnati) for the Indian towns in the Miami and Scioto Valleys, and in two engagements with the Indians was badly defeated each time.  In November following, General Arthur St. Clair raised an army of about the same number and started from the same Fort, for the same valleys, but met a very signal defeat and great loss of life.  These successes of the Indians gave them great confidence of final success and caused them to reject all offers for negotiations for peace.   In December following, General Scott raised a volunteer regiment at Louisville, KY., and invaded the Miami Valley and defeated the Indians and recaptured much of the army property lost by General St. Clair, and returned to Kentucky.  This expedition inspired the frontier settlements with hope.

It was during the year 1790 that the first Indian raids were made upon this county.  In September 1791 a party of Indians crossed the Ohio River and captured a bright mulatto boy belonging to Capt. James Neal of Neal's Station, named Frank Wycoff, while on their way to West Fork River (a branch of the Monongahela).  But on their way there they came across the trail made by Capt. Nicholas Carpenter, of Harrison County, in driving a drove of cattle to Marietta.  They turned their course and followed the trail, supposing it to be that of emigrants.  Capt. Carpenter, with his son and four persons with him, had crossed Bull Creek with his drove and encamped on a run.  On the next morning the Indians surprised and made an attack and killed him and his son, and three of the men with him.  Mr. Jesse Hughes, one of the men, by his fleetness made his escape and returned to Harrison County.  The Indians after scalping those they had killed, returned to where they had tied Frank, who, whilst they were absent had released himself and made safe his escape back to his master.  That run has since been known in the county by the name of Carpenter's run.  Mr. Isaac Williams headed a party and made pursuit after the Indians, but failed in overtaking them.  They returned and buried the mutilated bodies of Capt. Carpenter and the others.  They then returned home and made their defenses against the Indians more secure.

During the fall of the year, Mr. James Kelley who, with his family resided at Belleville, on the Ohio River, in this county, eighteen miles below Parkersburg, while out at work was surprised, shot and scalped by a party of Indians on their return home.  His oldest son, Joseph, who was with him, then six years old, was captured and taken off by them to a Shawnee village in Ohio, where he remained until after the treaty of peace at Greenville in 1795, when he was surrendered to Com. R. J. Meigs and returned to his widowed mother, then residing at Marietta.  He had been adopted by an aged Indian warrior (who had lost his five sons in battles), named Merhalanae, and received great kindness at his hands; and indeed he had become so much attached to his foster Indian father that he parted with him in sorrow.  Mr. Kelley finally settled and married in Marietta, raised a large and respectable family of children, and died there some years since, respected and beloved for his many virtues.  In other years we have heard him speak of the kindness manifested for him by his Indian father and the painful regrets he had when he parted with him and his Indian friends.

Sometime during the summer of 1790 a party of Indians crossed the Ohio River below Parkersburg, for the purpose of destroying Neal's Station and capturing Capt. Jas. Neal.  They had secreted themselves in ambush a short distance up a run from the station for the purpose of ascertaining its strength.  While thus secreted, two boys of Mr. Wood, aged twelve and fifteen years, were sent out in the evening to hunt the cows, came upon the Indians, who at once seized and tomahawked them.  Their screams were heard by Mrs. Neal at the Station.  The Indians fearing the alarm thus made, scalped the boys and then left, thus abandoning their attack upon Mr. Neal and the force at the Station.

In the fall of 1792 Mr. Daniel Rowell, a son-in-law of Capt. James Neal, and his son Henry Neal, and a Mr. Triplett, left Neal's station and ascended the Little Kanawha river in a canoe, some forty miles, to the  mouth of Burning Springs run, now in Wirt county, on a hunting excursion.  On the evening of their landing they built a camp, while Mr. Rowell took off the lock of his gun to examine the spring.  Just at that time they heard what they supposed to be the clucking of wild turkeys on the opposite or south shore of the river.  Thinking of the fine repast a good turkey would make for a supper, they sprung into their canoe, Mr. Neal and Mr. Triplett standing, and Mr. Rowell seated in the stern, working and steering the canoe across the river, As it struck the shore they were fired upon by the Indians in the ambush, and Mr. Neal and Triplett fell dead into the river.  Mr. Rowell sprang over the stern of the canoe with his gun in his hand and swam back to the northern shore, while a shower of bullets fell around him but failed to do execution.  On reaching the shore he saw that the Indians were pursuing him in the canoe, and to facilitate his escape hid his gun (as he always said) under a red oak log in Burning Spring run.  From thence he passed out a short distance from the river, through a low gap, and the better to elude his pursuers, changed his course and re-crossed the river a few miles below where they had been surprised and returned to the station. Here he raised a party and returned and pursued the Indians.  But so much time had intervened that the pursuit was unavailing, the Indians having made good their escape.  The bodies of Mr. Neal and Mr. Triplett were found in the river, unscalped, and were interred, the Indians having failed to find them.

The probabilities are, that this party of hunters had been discovered by the Indians while ascending the river, and were decoyed from their camp by the Indians imitating the cry of the wild turkey.  It has also been supposed that this was the same party of Indians that were killed soon after at Wheeling, as they took a course in that direction.

Mr. Daniel Rowell, with his family, moved from here many years ago and settled in the West.  He,  however,  died  at the  residence  of  his  son, Dr. Neal  Rowell,  in  Florence,  Alabama,  in  1851, aged 93 years.

In 1858 the gun was found at the place where it had  been  hid, in  a state of preservation, so as to be identified; although it has been sixty¬≠ seven years and the remains of the red oak  tree  were  then  to be  seen. The muzzle of the gun had become fast in a young dogwood, about six inches above the ground. The barrel, trigger, guard, thimble and brass cover, with the words "Liberty or Death" engraved upon it, were forwarded to Dr. Neal Rowell, his son, then residing in Florence, Alabama in 1859.

After the occurrence of this mournful tragedy in our county, great vigilance was used by the few inhabitants during the remainder of the Indian War to its close in 1795.

Mr. Jacob Parchment, a young man, left the garrison at Belleville in the fall of 1790, to hunt deer on the South Branch of Lee creek, about a mile back of the station, was shot and scalped by a party of nine Indians.  Mr. John Coleman was within a short distance of him when it occurred, but owing to the number of Indians was unable to render any assistance to his comrade.  This was the first death by the Indians which had occurred to the inhabitants of this settlement, and had a tendency to cast a deep gloom over them, causing them to exercise great caution in all their future movements and operations.

Late in the spring of 1792, Mr. Stephen Sherrod, who had left the garrison, at Belleville, and after feeding his hogs had gone to the woods to cut an ox gad, was surprised and captured by a party of ten Indians and taken off a prisoner.   His wife, a bold and courageous woman, had left the garrison soon after to milk the cow, a short distance off, was seized by two of the Indians, who intended to make her a prisoner also.  She, however, resisted them with so much force, and screamed so loudly, that one of the Indians knocked her down, while the other proceeded to take her scalp.  Her screams brought Mr. Peter Anderson from the garrison, who shot the Indian and wounded him in the arm, causing them hastily to retreat.  Mrs. Sherrod was senseless for a long time from the stunning blow of the tomahawk, which had gashed her head in a shocking manner.  Mr. Joshua Dewey immediately proceeded to Marietta, Ohio, a distance of thirty miles, in a light canoe, for a physician.  He made this trip in about forty hours and returned with Dr. Jabez True, who succeeded in her recovery.

The garrison at this time contained but five men, and it was considered unsafe to pursue this party of Indians.  They crossed the Ohio on a raft, with Mr. Sherrod as prisoner, at the narrows above Belleville bottom, and took up the valley of the Big Hocking.  They bound Mr. Sherrod's hands securely behind him with thongs of bear-skin, and in this manner he was hurried on until night, five of the Indians marching before him and five behind.  While on their way they informed him that they had killed an old woman at the garrison.  At night they made him with his hands tied behind him, lie down on his back while they cut slender saplings and laid them across him from his head to his feet.  On the ends of these the Indians spread blankets and laid down to sleep.  As soon as Mr. Sherrod discovered that they were all asleep, by their heavy breathing, he quietly released his hands and slowly worked himself from under the saplings and took down the valley of the river.  He soon entered it and by wading and swimming passed down a considerable distance, and came out on the opposite shore.  He pursued his way to the Ohio, and early the next morning he hailed the garrison, who at once went to his rescue in a boat.  He at once learned the sad condition of his wife yet in time was enabled to rejoice in her recovery

Mr. Sherrod was a native of New Hampshire, and in early life had removed to the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.  While there he had become well acquainted with the Indian mode of warfare, and was regarded as an excellent frontiersman.  After the treaty of peace of 1795, he, with his family removed to the Mississippi Valley.

For the purpose of procuring a supply of meat in the month of February, 1793 a party left the garrison at Belleville on a hunting expedition.  The party was composed of Mr. Malcomb Coleman and his son John Coleman, Elijah Pixley and James Ryan.  They descended the Ohio in a pirogue to the mouth of Mill creek (now in Jackson county), and ascended that creek about four miles.  There they built a comfortable camp to which they retreated at night after spending the day in hunting.  Here Mr. Coleman and his party passed several days very pleasantly, meeting with success, filling their pirogue with venison and bear meat.  The weather, which had been fine, set in cold, with a light fall of snow.  During this time the water in Mill creek had fallen so as to prevent them getting back their craft over a fall, above which they were lying.  While in this condition, John Coleman and Elijah Pixley returned to the garrison for flour and salt.  The third morning after their departure, Mr. Malcomb Coleman rose very early and prepared their breakfast, anxiously expecting their return.  While invoking a blessing on their simple meal, the sharp crack of a rifle was heard and a shot passed through his shoulder.  So little fear had he of the Indians that he said: "Can John have returned and shot me by accident?"  Before he could learn the fact a second shot passed through his head and he fell dead by the side of his companion.  Mr. James Ryan made his escape from the Indians and regained the garrison.  On the day that Mr. Coleman was murdered, Mr. Joshua Dewey made a visit to the camp for the purpose of seeing his friends, but to his horror he found his old friend murdered, scalped, stripped of his clothing, and the camp plundered.  He was the first to reach the garrison at Belleville and give the painful intelligence.  At once a party of seven men left the garrison and descended the Ohio in a canoe, for the camp on Mill creek, but the Indians had taken the pirogue and its load with the camp equipage and made safe their retreat.  After interring Mr. Coleman at that place, they returned.  This calamity was severely felt and spread a deep gloom over the entire settlement.  He had been long regarded as a patriarch in the community, blending the graces of the Christian with the fulfillment of all the active duties of life.  Many of his descendants reside in the lower part of this and Jackson County.  The Rev. H.R. Coleman, of the Kentucky Conference of the M.E. Church, South, is one of his great grandsons and a worthy representative of this heroic family.

Mr. Peter Anderson, of whom we have spoken, married one of his daughters and became the head of a large family of children, and many of his descendants still reside in that vicinity.  Mr. Anderson was born near Cumberland, Md., in 1757.  In his early youth, his parents removed over the mountains and settled near West Liberty on Buffalo creek in this State.  At the age of twenty-nine he and his brother Andrew settled at Belleville, where he resided until his death in 1838.  His generous bearing and social qualities, combined with his superior judgment, caused him to occupy a prominent place in that community.  Soon after the formation of Wood County, he was commissioned, 4th May, 1801, and filled the office of Justice of the Peace acceptable, until his great age caused him to resign.

In the summer of 1791 a small garrison of Virginia troops were stationed at Belleville and another one at Parkersburg, under the direction of Col. Clendenen.  These two garrisons of troops were designed for the protection of these frontier settlements, and check the raids of Indians from the Northwestern territory, who at that time were committing many depredations on these frontiers, and in the back settlements of Virginia.  We have no means at hand to ascertain the number of men sent to either of these garrisons, nor are we in possession of the results of their operations.  We have stated the fact of their being here with the hope that someone else will furnish further information.

Sometime in the month of May, 1792, while living at Neal's Station, on the Kanawha River, Mr. Hewett rose early in the morning and went out of the garrison in search of a stray horse, little expecting Indians to be near, as none had been in the vicinity for some time.  When sauntering along at his ease in an obscure cattle path, about a mile from the station, all at once three Indians sprang upon him from a large tree with their tomahawks raised.  So sudden had been the onset, and so completely was he in their grasp, that resistance was vain, and probably would have cost him his life.  He therefore quietly surrendered, thinking that in a few days he would find some means of escape The Indians immediately made their retreat for their towns in Ohio, crossing the Ohio River below Belleville to the dividing ridges between Hocking and Shade rivers.  On their way the Indians treated their prisoner with as little harshness as could be expected, sharing with him their daily meals.  After they had reached a place of comparative safety from pursuit, near their villages, they made a halt to hunt and left their prisoner at their camp, having placed him on his back, confining his wrists with stout thongs of rawhide to saplings, and his legs raised at a considerable elevation and fastened to a small tree.  After they had been gone a short time, by his great strength he released himself from their confinement, took the two small pieces of venison then in the camp for his supply of food, and without any weapons he started for the Big Muskingum settlement.  The Indians pursued him, but he evaded their search, and after nine days of wandering he came to the garrison of Wolfe creek Mills on the Big Muskingum river, nearly naked and famished.  He soon recovered his strength and returned to his family.

About the year 1797, he, with his family, removed from this county and settled in the valley of Big Hocking, Ohio, near the town of Athens, where he became a valuable and useful citizen, respected for his moral worth and good practical judgment.  He was elected to and filled the office of trustee in the College of Athens with ability.  For many years he was a member of the M.E. Church and zealous in the discharge of Christian duties.  He there ended his days in 1814, aged 47 years.  His widow died at that place on the 15th of September, 1834, aged 70 years 7 months and 7 days.

The nine children born to them, we understand, are all dead.  Of their descendants, we are wholly uninformed.  Thus it is many times that the descendants of a generation are lost in the onward course of time.

In the spring of 1794 a party of Indians surprised the family of Mr. Armstrong, residing in the narrows opposite to the head of Blennerhasset Island, then known as Backus Island in this county.  Mr. Armstrong and his wife and two children were murdered and scalped and three of the children were carried away prisoners.  What became of them we have never been able to ascertain.  The attack upon this family and the bloody tragedy attending the same was the last of the Indian depredations in this county of which we have any correct knowledge.  Yet during the Indian war upon the frontier settlements, many tragic scenes of cruelty and suffering were enacted of which no accounts have been given so as to fix with certainty the names of the sufferers or the dates of their occurrence.

In closing this chapter we would state that much has been omitted, owing to not having proper data for the statements to rest upon as facts.  See Martin's History of Franklin County, Ohio for Armstrong's account of this.

Before any permanent settlements were made in this county, or in the territory which composed it, Capt. James Neal, with a party of men, descended the Monongahela and Ohio rivers in the fall of 1785, to the Little Kanawha River.  Their purpose when starting was to go to Kentucky.  But having landed on the south side of the Little Kanawha, about a mile from its mouth, and liking its location, they concluded to encamp there.  During the winter of 1785 and 1786 they erected a block-house, which was afterwards known in the history of this county as Neal's Station.  This was the first block-house and station built in this county.  Between that date and 1796 several blockhouses were built in this county, as well as on the opposite side of the Ohio River in the county of Washington.  These houses became the place of rendezvous of the few inhabitants who had settled here, while the Indian war was carried on, up to the year 1795, when the treaty of peace was made at Greenville, Ohio, after the victories of General Wayne.

As intimately connected with and forming a starting point in the history of the first settlement made in this county, before its organization, we will here state that Capt. James Neal, as a deputy surveyor of Samuel Hanway, the surveyor of Monongalia county, in the spring of 1783, surveyed the settlement right and pre-emption claim of Mr. Alexander Parker, of Pittsburg, Pa., assignee of Mr. Robert Thornton, to the land on which the city of Parkersburg is now located, as also other settlement rights within the boundaries of this county.  Being thus acquainted with the surveys and titles to the lands on the northeast side of the Little Kanawha River, it is probably the reason why he afterward made his settlement and erected his blockhouse and station on the south side of the river, as above stated.

In the preceding chapters of these historic sketches we took the reader far back in the eighteenth century, to the House of Burgesses and its colonial records, at the City of Williamsburg, Va., in the year 1738 - the time when, in answer to the wants and demands of the people, the counties of Augusta and Frederick were set off and formed, from its vast wilderness territory, and the residue of that vast western wilderness territory was declared to be the "District of West Augusta."  Then, briefly, we sketched the slow progress of settlements westward, amid dangers, privations, and sufferings, as the years passed on; with the divisions and sub-divisions of this vast wilderness into counties, up, through and over the Allegheny Mountains, and down their western slopes to the waters leading to the great Mississippi Valley, as the unfolding necessities of those years demanded.  Also we briefly reviewed the trouble arising from the claims of the European Governments in this country, and the policy pursued by them for maintaining their rights of discovery, by alliances made with the Indians inhabiting the then vast wilderness; together with the policy adopted by the House of Burgesses, under colonial representatives, in settling and surveying these heavy, dense forests of her western domain.

Our object being to group in the mind of the reader the slow progress made, the many dangers, difficulties, privations and sufferings endured by those bold, hardy and enterprising pioneers of the eighteenth century, who penetrated and passed these mountain fastnesses and made homes for themselves and their posterity in the wilds of this great inland world, known as the District of West Augusta.

Having thus presented this bird's-eye view, and the many troubles interwoven along the pathway, we now come to the first individual settlers and settlements in this, which, years afterwards, become Wood County.  To go back and get the names of many of the first settlers in what is now Wood county and the exact dates of their settlements, is a task which cannot now be fully accomplished.  Even those whose names and posterities have come down to us, it will be a difficult undertaking to be exact and do them full justice.  They have long since passed from earth away to that undiscovered bourne, their history unwritten, and the daily struggles through which they passed, to remain untold.  These difficulties are further enhanced by the fact that the descendants of these early pioneers, to a great extent, have lost the dates and the traditionary traces of their progenitors, which go back to those distant years, in the history of our county or its first settlements.  In addition to these difficulties we may also add that many of the first settlers have passed away, leaving no descendants to perpetuate their names, or chronicle the events of their earthly pilgrimage.  The stirring events in their lives, with their sympathies and cherished hopes are gone to the dark shades of forgetfulness.

First Settlement
While engaged in revising these sketches and reviewing the brief outline pages of our history with many of the names of friends of other years, we have felt how unreal are the remembrances of each.  The ever-present is fading and forever disappearing in the past, and the past is soon buried and forgotten in the charnel-house of oblivion - the dreamless abode of the untold and unnumbered myriads of earth; those whose days have been spent, and whose active energies no longer appear upon the theatre of time, but have passed beyond its curtains to the shoreless unknown.

Owing to these circumstances and considerations, our best efforts to make up and present a history of those early years of the settlements here made, and give faithful mementoes of those who broke through the barriers of the wilderness and opened up homes for themselves, and assisted in the formation of settlements, will of necessity be imperfect and may in some cases subject the writer to errors.  These deficiencies and errors will most cheerfully and readily be corrected when pointed out.

Again, in speaking of, and referring to those early settlers and the mementoes we may give of them, dates will not always follow in chronological order.  We shall speak of them generally as associated together in neighborhoods, thus passing from point to point in these early settlements, made from time to time.  The original boundaries of Wood county being very large at the time of its first formation, in 1800, and remained so for upwards of thirty years, causing us in these chapters to speak of those whose residences are now outside of our present county boundaries, though during their lives they were included in and were citizens of this country.  The present inhabitants of this county, many of them, have but a limited idea of the territory once embraced in Wood County.

There were no permanent settlements made in what was or now is Wood County while the same was embraced in and formed a part of Monongalia County, though in those years several "tomahawk" rights were made and entered.  The persons making "tomahawk" claims were generally hunters and trappers, and generally sold their claims or tomahawk titles.  After the division of Monongalia county and the formation of Harrison (named after Benjamin Harrison, then Governor of Virginia), out of its northwestern portion, numerous entries and settlements were made on the Ohio River.

From the best information we have been able to obtain of the first settler in the county is that of Capt. James Neal.  He had been a citizen of Green County, in that portion of Pennsylvania which had been supposed to belong to the colony of Virginia.  Capt. Neal had served his country faithfully during the War of the Revolution, as a captain, and had received an honorable discharge from the Continental army, and had been paid for his services in the Continental currency of those times and returned to his home in Green County.

The first knowledge we have of Cap. James Neal being in any portion of this county is in the spring of 1783, when, as a deputy-surveyor for Samuel Hanway, surveyor of the county of Monongalia (which at that time included all the territory of this county), he surveyed for Alexander parker, Esq. of Pittsburgh, the "tomahawk" entry and pre-emption right, made by Mr. Robert Thornton, which had been sold and assigned to said Parker, of the lands on which the present city of Parkersburg is now situated.  This "tomahawk" entry was made by Mr. Robert Thornton in 1773, while the territory of this county formed part of the District of west Augusta.  (A more full account of this entry, &c will be given in a future chapter on Parkersburg.)

In relation to Capt. James Neal, we are informed by his descendants that he was of Irish descent, and that the original name was O'Neal.  At the commencement of the Revolutionary War, for reasons satisfactory to himself, he dropped the O from his name, and ever after wrote his name and was known as James Neal.

Capt. James Neal finding himself, as others who had served their country in that day, comparatively poor, and being a man of great energy of character, then, for the purpose of bettering his condition, in the fall of 1785, with a party of men, left that county for the purpose of looking out and securing a home in the State of Kentucky.  In a flat-boat he and his party descended the Monongahela and Ohio rivers to the mouth of the little Kanawha, and ascended that river a short distance and landed on the south side of that stream.  He here encamped and examined the country around, and being well satisfied, concluded to make it his future home,  During that fall (1785), he and his party erected a block-house, which was afterwards known in the history of Western Virginia by the name of Neal's Station.  For many years thereafter, this station became an important place of safety from the raids of the Indians while on their predatory war paths against the settlements of Western and Northwestern Virginia.  Here the early settlers to this county during the Indian War, retreated and took up their residence and dwelt in safety, while the traveler, passing through or visiting the county, sought it also as a place of safety and protection.  After clearing some land and making other necessary improvements at the station, he, in the spring of 1786, returned to Green County, in Pennsylvania.

For the purpose of giving the reader a clear idea of Capt. James Neal and his family, we shall here insert a portion of his private history.  Early in the winter of 1784-5 (before his coming to this county as stated above) soon after the birth of his youngest son, the late James H. Neal of this county, Capt. Neal was made to mourn the death of his excellent wife.  Her maiden name was Hannah Harden (a sister of the late Col. John Harden of Kentucky, who lost his life by the treachery of the Indians, while engaged as a Commissioner of the United States Government in negotiating a treaty of peace with them).  By this marriage he was the parent of six children, three sons and three daughters.  The names of his sons were Henry, John and James Harden; his daughters' names were Hannah, who intermarried with Col. Hugh Phelps, late of this county; Nancy, who intermarried with Mr. Daniel Rowell, who, with his family, resided in this county for many years, and then removed to the far West; and Catherine, who intermarried with Mr. Joseph McCoy.  They, after residing in this county a few years, removed to the territory of Indiana.  Of them and their descendants we have no definite knowledge.

On the return of Capt. James Neal to Green County, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1786, he sometime during that year, married his second wife, Miss Mary Phelps, a sister of Col. Hugh Phelps, his son-in-law.  Early in the spring of 1787, Capt. James Neal, with his family and all his children, both single and married, moved to the station and became permanent settlers in this county.  Under these circumstances we have placed Captain James Neal as the first permanent settler, and the one who opened up the way for future settlements in this county to be successfully commenced during the troubles attending the Indian war.

His life showed him to be endowed with great energy and enterprise, possessing a noble and generous disposition, courteous in his bearing, and charitable in the bestowment of favors.  His great experience caused him to be looked up to as counsellor and leader in the settlement.  He held the office of Justice of the Peace while this territory was embraced in Harrison County, with a license to solemnize the rites of matrimony among those desiring to form that sacred relation in life.  Also, in addition to the above, he was commissioned Captain of the Frontier Rangers for the defense and safety of these border settlements.  He soon had his children with their families severally settled around and near him, so as to be in reach of the station in times of danger.  On the 16th of January, 1791, a daughter was born to him by his second wife, whom he named after her mother, Mary, being among the first white children born between Grave Creek and Point Pleasant, in the State of Virginia.  In 1796, he mourned the death of his second wife, who was buried near the station on the banks of the Little Kanawha River.

After this sad and melancholy event in his history, he measurably retired from the active duties of public life.  He took no active part in the organization of the County Court, in 1800.  The early records of the Court show that he was appointed Commissioner for the examination of surveyors, as to their qualifications for that office, and he was also appointed to the performance of other important duties in the county.  From what we have been able to learn, he devoted much care and attention to the raising and education of his infant daughter, Mary.  She inherited an active, inquiring mind, and its mental unfolding gave him pleasure.  On the 25th of March, 1811, she was united in marriage with Mr. Scarlet G. Foley, and became the mother of a large family of children.  She died at the home place which her father had given to her, two and a half miles south of Parkersburg, on the 1st day of September, 1870, in the eightieth year of her age.  The author of these sketches is indebted to her for much information, as the early settlers of this county.

In closing this brief notice of Capt. James Neal and his eventful life, much might be said and written of him as filling up a wide space in the early settlement of this county.  His active energies and enterprise in meeting the wants and overcoming the difficulties and privations attendant upon the first settlement of this county, then known as the wilderness of the far West, surrounded with a savage foe, secured for him the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens.  In February 1822, he died at his residence, on his place, at Neal's Station, honored by a large circle of relations and friends, in the 85th year of his age, and his remains were interred in what is now known as Tavenner's grave yard.

In the preceding chapter we gave a brief account of the tragic death of Captain James Neal's eldest son, Henry Neal, by the Indians, on the Little Kanawha River, opposite the Burning Springs, then in this county.  His death, and that of Mr. Triplet, at that time, and under such circumstances, caused a deep gloom to fall over the settlement, and led to greater caution on the part of the few inhabitants.  His memory has been perpetuated by the descendants of Captain Neal, by honoring them with his name.

Mr. Neal Rowell, a son of Daniel Rowell, remained in this county for some years after the removal of his father and family to the Western country.  He studied medicine under the late Dr. Creel, of this county.  After completing his medical studies he married in Kentucky, and settled near Florence Alabama.   In the practice of medicine he was successful and he accumulated a handsome fortune.  He resides at his country residence, three miles from Florence, which he has named "Alban Woods" there he is spending the evening of a well spent life, in peace and tranquility.

The late Mr. John Neal, (the father of several of the Neal families in Parkersburg), was the second son of Capt. James Neal.  He was born in Green County, PA, the 10th of May 1776.  At the time his father with his family, settled at Neal's station, in this county he was a youth of eleven years.  Like others born amid the stirring events of the War of the Revolution, he inherited the self-reliant spirit of those times which gave to him firmness of purpose and decision of character - a self-reliance in his own energies and enterprises in meeting the vicissitudes of life.  In 1796 he was united in marriage with Miss Ephlis Hook, a half-sister to the late Mr. Charles Bryant, of Wood County.  (She was generally known by the name of Aunt Eva Neal.)  To them thirteen children were born, one of them died in infancy.  The others lived to be married and settled in life and have families.

We will append the following brief record of these several children:
 First, Hannah, born 31st May, 1797, was married to Abram Samuels, Esq.  To them twelve children (seven sons and five daughters) were born; all married and have families, excepting the two youngest daughters.  The oldest of these daughters is the wife of T.J. Cook, Esq.  Mr. Abram Samuels died in the summer of 1852.  His widow died on the 14th of July 1873.

Second, Elizabeth, born the 7th of January, 1799, married 13th of February, 1815, to Mr. Derrick Pennybaker, who died that year, leaving one child.  She remained his widow until her death, the 12th of March, 1875.  Miss Hannah, their daughter, was united in marriage to Geo. W. Kincheloe, Esq. on the 13th of June 1837.  To them two daughters were born.  He died in the spring of 1840.  Miss Lucy, the eldest, is the present wife of the Hon. J.M. Jackson, and Miss Ione is the wife of P.D. Gambrill, Esq.

Third, Henry Hardin Neal, was born the 20th of October, 1800.  In his young manhood he settled at Gallipolis, Ohio were he married Miss Safford, a sister of the late Dr. E.T. Safford.  Of this family we have no definite knowledge, excepting one son, the Hon. Henry Safford Neal, now a member of Congress from the Ironton District, in the State of Ohio.  Mr. Henry Neal still resides in Gallipolis, Ohio, and is also engaged in active business.

Fourth, Cincinnatus James Neal, born the 1st of January, 1803, was married to Miss Mary Ann Collins, daughter of Mr. Thomas Collins of Cumberland, Md., on the 24th of February, 1836.  To them seven children have been born, and all are married excepting the youngest.  He died on the 25th of August 1869.

Fifth, Daniel Rowell Neal, born the 18th of May, 1805.  His first wife was Miss Caroline Kiger, by whom he had five children, now living and married, with families.  His second wife was Miss Elizabeth Beeson, only daughter of the late Jonas Beeson, Esq. by whom he has one son, named in honor of himself, and who is a practicing lawyer in this city.  We will here add that Mr. Daniel R. Neal has been frequently honored by the citizens of the county with a seat in the Legislature of Va., and from 1856 to 1860, he represented this district in the Senate of the State.  He is still engaged in active business in the city of Parkersburg.

Sixth, John Neal, born the 2d of October, 1807, was married and settled in the Big Kanawha Valley, and is now a resident of Lynchburg, Va.

Seventh, Hugh Phelps Neal, born the 11th of December 1809, was married to Miss Fetzer, to whom three children have been born.  The eldest is the wife of C.H. Shattuck, Esquire, the present Sheriff of this county.

Eighth, Orena, born the 1st day of April 1812, was married to the late Mr. James D. Woodyard, on the 30th of January 1834.  To them several sons and daughters were born.  He died some twenty years ago, and the family has settled in the Western States.

Ninth, Lawrence Perry Neal, born 24th of April, 1814 was married to Miss Mary Hall Talbott, on the 9th of December 1841.  To them five children have been born, three of whom are married.  His eldest son, Lawrence Talbott Neal, studied law, and settled in Chillicothe, Ohio and has been highly honored by the people of that county and Congressional District.  He was elected Prosecuting Attorney, also to the House of Representatives and twice elected to a seat in the Congress of the United States, being at the time the youngest member of the House.  For several years past, Mr. L.P. Neal has filled the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court of this county.

Tenth, George B.Neal, born the 2d of February, 1816, was united in marriage with Miss Caroline McKinley.  To them six children have been born.  They still reside in the city of Parkersburg.

Eleventh, Lucy Harriet, whose first husband was Mr. Abraham Truman, a nephew of the late Wm. Tefft.  To them three children were born.  Her second husband is Elias Wayman of Bellair, in the State of Ohio.

Twelfth, Mary Catherine, born on the 25th of June, 1823, was married to Elihu Reed, of Jackson County, where she has since resided.

From the foregoing it will readily appear that the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of Mr. John Neal and his wife, Aunt Eve, are very numerous.  But we return to our account of him as connected with this county in its early history:

On the 12th of May, 1800 he took his seat upon the bench of the County Court, under a commission granted by his Excellency, James Monroe, Governor of the State of Virginia, and ably filled that office until his death.  From 1808 to 1809, he was High Sheriff of the county.  In 1809 he was elected a Representative of the county to the House of Burgesses of Virginia, and served the county in that office two consecutive terms.   He was esteemed for his practical good sense and integrity of purpose in all the transactions of life, whether the same was of a private or public nature.  He is remembered as a man of great energy and force of character, of a sound, discriminating judgment, exerting a healthy influence in the community.  In the full meridian of his manhood years, during the "sickly season," on the 14th of October, 1823, he died, leaving his large family of children to the care of his widow.  She faithfully performed her duty, and raised her children to habits of industry and economy, and educated for the active duties of life.  On the 27th of June, 1852, she died, in the 73d year of her age.  Their honorable remains repose side by side, beneath a monument erected to their memory by their children, in the city cemetery on the banks of the Little Kanawha River.

The youngest child of James Neal, by his first wife, was the late James Hardin Neal, Esq.  He was three years of age at the time his father moved his family to Neal's Station, in 1787.  Here in the wilderness of this county, he spent his early years.  Here, his youth, his manhood, down to old age, was spent, honorably filling a wide space in the early history of this county, and in this portion of the State.  By studious habits and unwearied application he had become well educated, and acquired a good knowledge of the general literature of his day, possessing a fine critical turn of mind, he was appreciated as a man of culture, taste and general information.

Having spent some years in the Clerk's office of Wood County, as deputy for Mr. John Stokeley, he was elected Clerk of the County Court in 1806, and continued in that office until September, 1831.  He was also appointed Clerk of the Superior Court of this county, and continued in that office until his death in 1850.  Occupying these responsible and honorable positions in the county for nearly half a century, in its early history, gave him a wide reputation among the early settlers of Western Virginia. Owing to the position he thus occupied, and the ability he brought to bear in the performance of his official duties, caused him, during those early years of our history, to be extensively known among gentlemen of the legal profession, and the leading men of the western country.

During his life he was made to mourn the death of three companions, he was united in marriage with his first wife, Miss Harriet Neale, daughter of the late Thomas Neale, on the 11th of May, 1810.  At her death she left to his care four children.  His eldest daughter, Miss Virginia, became the first wife of the late John R. Murdock, Esq.  She left at her death, in 1848, to the care of her husband, seven children, Dr. James N. Murdock, of Parkersburg, druggist, being the eldest.  His eldest son, Thomas, settled and married at Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  At the time of his death, in 1852, he left three children.  As a local preacher in the M.E. Church, he acquired considerable celebrity.  Miss Harriet, his second daughter, was the first wife of Mr. Arthur Kelly of Marietta, Ohio.  She died in 1838.  The late Mr. Harden Neal, his youngest son by his first wife, was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Collins, of Md.  At the time of his death, in 1855, he left to his wife five children.

On the 21st of January, 1823, Mr. Neal was married to his second wife, Miss Mary Ann Wells, daughter of the late Robert Wells, one of the early settlers of this county.  At the time of her death she left to his care three sons, James, Richard and Robert.  Richard died while a youth.  James became the successor of his father, in the Clerk's office of the Circuit Superior Court, in this county, and discharged its duties until his death in 1862.  Robert has settled in Lafayette County, Mo., where he married a daughter of the late Mr. Wyatt Lewis, formerly of this county.

Among the enterprising young men with families, who first came and sought homes in this county few, if any, exerted a more salutary and controlling influence and commanded more universal respect than Col. Hugh Phelps.  Of his parentage, we have no definite information, but he is reported as being a native of Pa.  He was born on the 14th of February 1766, and was united in marriage with Miss Hannah Neal, daughter of Capt. James Neal, on the 15th of March, 1787.  She was born on the 15th of November, 1768.  In the company with Captain James Neal and family, he settled at Neal's Station, in this county, early in the spring of 1787.

In person, Col. Hugh Phelps was tall, well built for activity and strength, with fine features, and intellectual expression of countenance, naturally social and urbane in his general intercourse and habits.  To these he united a generous disposition, and a benevolent heart.  Possessing these qualities of mind and heart, he was calculated to be a representative man, and to exercise a controlling influence among his associates in a new country.

His spirit of enterprise was active and continually exercised in putting forth efforts to advance the public interests and welfare of the various settlements in the county, for the purpose of developing its natural resources, and securing their advantages.  He filled the office of Presiding Justice at the time the county was organized, on March 10th, 1800.  As such he labored to give dignity and character to the bench in all their proceedings.  In 1802 he filled the office of High Sheriff of the county, and the late Col. Thomas Tavenner was his deputy. During several sessions of the House of Burgesses he represented the county in the Legislature of the State. In all of these offices he proved himself efficient and worthy of the confidence of the public. He was also the first Colonel of the militia of the county. In organizing the same he inspired in the breasts of the militia a spirit of emulation and patriotic devotion to their country. These labors were not lost.  Considering the sparse population of the country, no portion of Virginia contributed more men in the war of 1812-15, and did more active service in that war than men from Wood county. Her citizens are found from Norfolk, in the East, to the Lakes in the Northwest, battling with Great Britain and her Indian allies for the rights of American freedom.

To Col. Hugh Phelps and his amiable wife ten children were born in this county, three of whom died in infancy. Their eldest daughter, Miss Priscilla, was united in marriage with Mr. Thomas Creel, on the 14th of October, 1804 (An account of this family will be found in our sketches of the descendants of the late Mr. George Creel, of this county.)  Their second daughter, Miss Hannah, was united in marriage with the late Mr. Mason Foley, Esq. of this county, on the 20th day of September, 1810.  Many of the descendants of Mr. Mason Foley are not living in this county, and some of them in Doddridge County.  (Of the Foley family, who came to this county from Loudon county, VA., in 1807, we may hereafter give an account.)  Their eldest son, the late Mr. John Phelps, was united in marriage with Miss Eleanor Kincheloe, daughter of the late Major Robert Kincheloe.  To them thirteen children were born; seven of whom died while young, the remaining six are still living, married, and have families; four of whom reside in this county, and two in the State of Ohio.  Our townsman, Mr. Robert K. Phelps, on the 6th of Sept., 1838 was united in marriage with Miss Minerva Perkenson.  To them seven sons and two daughters, now living, have been born; four of whom are married and have children.  Mrs. Elizabeth, the second child of Mr. John Phelps was married to Geo L. Harwood on 7th of April, 1836.  To them six children were born. He died in 1877.  Mr. George Phelps, of Claysville, the second son living, was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Creel, daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Creele.  A notice of them is given in the account of that family. Miss Mary, the second daughter living, was united in marriage, on the 3d of February, 1848, to Thomas H. Creel, son of Thomas Creel, son of Thomas Creel, deceased. They reside at the old homestead place of his father, and his grand-father, the late Mr. George Creel, known in the early history of this County as "Bacon Hall."  To them nine children have been born, and at this time all reside with their parents. Lewis and James married sisters, Miss Julia and Miss Louisa Taylor. They reside at this time in the State of Ohio.

 Mr. John Phelps was a man of gentlemanly bearing, and highly respected as a citizen, neighbor and friend.  He died in 1854.  His widow died in the winter of 1875.

Mr. Jefferson Phelps, the second son living, of Col. Hugh Phelps was born the 26th of March, 1801. He was united in marriage with Miss Harriet Armstrong, of Harrison County, on the 27th of May, 1824.  After completing his law studies, he settled in Covington, Ky., where he became an eminent practitioner at the bar and filled an honorable position in the history of that State during his life. He died in 1843.  Of his family we have no definite knowledge.

Mr. Henry Phelps, another son, was married to a lady in Kanawha County, Va.  During his life he was subject to fits & c.  Of his family we have no knowledge.

 Mr. Hugh Henderson Phelps, the youngest son of Col. Hugh Phelps, was born on the 7th of July, 1803.  He was united in marriage with Miss Mary Ann Kincheloe, daughter of Major Robert Kincheloe, on the 12th of August, 1824.  To them five sons and three daughters were born, who lived to be grown and settled in life.  They have all removed from this county, and of their present condition our knowledge is very limited.  Mr. Phelps died at Claysville, in the winter of 1875, and his widow died in Jackson County, in the summer of 1876.

Ms. Delilah Phelps, the youngest daughter of Col. Hugh Phelps, was born on the 16th of March 1806, and was married to Mr. John J. Sutherland on the 15th of May, 1826.  She died about the year 1844, leaving several children, of whom we have no definite information.  (The Sutherland family were among the early settlers of this county, and at one time were quite numerous.  The mother of John Sutherland was a sister to Col. Barnet H. Foley, of this county.  They reside on Worthington Creek about three miles East of Parkersburg.)

In closing this sketch of Col. Hugh Phelps, we would say that in his life time he extensively engaged in land speculations, and had accumulated a large landed estate in the various parts of the country.  Dying suddenly, during what has been termed the "sickly season," on the 6th of September, 1823, and leaving his estate in an unsettled condition, and no one assuming the necessary care and oversight of the same, it was nearly all lost to the heirs of the estate.  His widow soon followed, dying on the 15th day of September, 1824.  Their remains repose in the family graveyard, on the farm, which soon after their deaths, became the property of the late Col. Thomas Tavenner.  Before closing this brief account of Col. Hugh Phelps, we would say that among the early settlers of this county he had two brothers, named Elijah and John, who left numerous descendants, of whom we have but a limited knowledge, also two sisters, the second wife of Cap. James Neal, and Mrs. Barnes.  The descendants of Mrs. Barnes are very numerous in this and Wirt counties.  But we have not the means of getting the necessary information for furnishing a correct record of them.  In the onward flight of years, the records of the families of the past generation became lost and forgotten among their descendants.

While trying to review the history of the early settlers of this country, and finding how few mementos have been made of those who once were active upon life's great theatre, a feeling of melancholy and sadness comes over our spirits.  Like bubbles passing down a stream, we are seen for a short time, then burst and sink away into the vast ocean of the past. The anxious, throbbing heart of today is soon stilled in death, and is lost in forgetfulness -- like a shadow, he declined, and is gone forever; and the few who treasured his memory will soon sink beneath the same oblivious wave, leaving but few, if any, traces behind them. Such is and has been the history of our race along the pathway of time.

In the excitement in this country arising from the unsuccessful expedition of Burr and Blennerhasset, in the fall and winter of 1806, the first efforts for their arrest was made by Col. Hugh Phelps.  At that date he was Colonel of the regiment in this county, and under the proclamation of President Thomas Jefferon, he called out a portion of the militia of the county for the purpose of arresting them.  In the Life of Blennerhasset, written and published by the Hon. W. W. Safford, in 1850, we copy the following paragraph, in relation to Co. Hugh Phelps:  (Blennerhasset will form a future chapter.)

"During the course of the evening Col. Hugh Phelps returned from his tour across the country.  (From Pt. Pleasant to Parkersburg.)  In this unexpected arrival, the young men, (Morgan, Neville and W. Robinson, Jr.) has new cause for anxiety and alarm.  They had congratulated themselves upon their successful defeat of the functionaries of law, which they attributed mainly to their superior tact in mystifying their judges and intimidating their accusers; but here was one who could not be duped by sophistical reasoning, or swerved from his duties by fear of consequences.  Although dressed in the usual style of the backwoodsman of that day, the careless manner in which he wore his garb, added gracefulness to a form both attractive and commanding.  They recognized in him an individual of physical as well as intellectual superiority, and, therefore, wisely concluded to assume a different bearing from that they before had observed before their captors and judges.

In a thoughtful and classic attitude, he surveyed the destruction of the premises, and the evident marks of bacchanalian revelry with which the party under his command had disgraced themselves; then, turning upon them a look of withering rebuke, he spoke in such terms of indignation as caused them to shrink with fear and trepidation.  "Shame, men!" he exclaimed "Shame on such conduct!  You have disgraced your district and the cause in which you are concerned!"

To these young men and to Mrs. Blennerhassett he was courteous and obliging; assisting them in their departure from the Island.

First Settlement
In the beautiful valley of the Ohio there are but few, if any, river bottoms of land which excel in richness of soil the one known as Belleville.  It is pleasantly situated on the south side of the river in this county, commencing some sixteen miles below the city of Parkersburg, opposite the mouth of the Big Hocking River, and extends down about five miles, and contains some two thousand acres of land.  Lee, the largest creek in the county, and draining its southern portion, empties into the Ohio through the bottom dividing it into nearly equal parts. The lands upon the creek are valuable for all farming purposes, heading in the limestone ridge, separating this and Jackson counties. Much might be written and said in favor of this portion of our county, as to the richness of its soil, and its adoption to all agricultural purposes.

In the year 1771, the time when Gen. George Washington descended the Ohio and located his lands in the District of West Augusta, he located and partially surveyed, and afterwards had patented to him a part of this rich and beautiful bottom. In after years, when his survey was made according to its calls in the patent, it was found that the back lines of the survey passed through the central part of this bottom, below Lee Creek. This creek was named after Mr. David Lee, a trapper and hunter, who before this time had his camp upon this creek.  He afterwards became a permanent citizen of this county, married and settled on Tygart Creek, raised a family and died there, some forty years ago, leaving many worthy descendants.

In the year 1782, when the firm of Wm. Tilton & Co., of Philadelphia, Pa., located and made their entries of large tracts of land in this (then Monongalia) county, amounting to upwards of ninety thousand acres, this bottom was included in their surveys by a junior patent to that of Gen. Washington's.

In the summer of 1785, while Mr. Wm. Tilton was at Fort Pitt, (now the city of Pittsburgh, Pa.), he formed the acquaintance of the late Hon. Judge Joseph Wood, of  Marietta, Ohio, then a young man from the State of New Jersey. Mr. Wood had by his industry acquired a good English education, and by study had qualified himself for the profession of surveyor and civil engineer. He had left his native town and came West for the purpose of joining a company of surveyors, then assembling at Pittsburgh, to survey the public lands Northwest of the Ohio River, and South of the Western boundary line of the State of Pennsylvania under the Geographical Surveyor of the United States.

At that period in the history of our country, the Indian tribes of the Northwestern territory had begun to show hostility to the frontier settlers, and had killed and plundered several white traders residing among them.  Among these was Mr. Martin, a brother-in-law of the Tomlinsons.  These hostile proceedings of the Indians rendered the sending of surveyors into the wilderness hazardous and inexpedient on the part of the Government.  Consequently, the surveying expedition was postponed to a future day.

It was at this time, while Mr. Wood was residing at Pittsburg, without any permanent employment, that he made the acquaintance of Capt. Wm. Tilton, of the firm of Tilton, Gibbs & Co., heavy landholders in Western Virginia.  Mr. Tilton entered into arrangements with him as agent, surveyor, & c., for the colonization and sale of the lands of Tilton, Gibbs & Co.  Under this agreement the large tract of land at Belleville was selected as the place to commence their settlement.

During the fall of 1785 a suitable boat was built, and under the direction of Mr. Wood, was freighted with cattle, farming utensils, etc., with such other articles as might be needed in commencing a new settlement at some two hundred miles from where supplies could be procured at that time.

In this boat, Mr.  Tilton, with his agent, Mr. Wood, and four Scotch families, as emigrants, with several men hired for the year, left Pittsburg on the 28th day of November, and landed at Belleville on the 16th Day of December, 1785 (having stopped at Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Big Muskingum, then in course of completion by Major John Daughty, of the U.S. Army.)

Capt. Tilton and his party having landed and secured their boat against dangers from ice, & c., their next effort was to select a place and arrange for making a permanent settlement.  A high, dry bottom, on the bank of the river, was chosen, and a clearing commenced.  From the timber cut down they erected a block-house, forty feet by twenty, two stories high, convenient to water.  Loop holes for musketry were cut in the logs, thus making the building offensive as well as defensive in times of danger from Indian attacks. Early in January, 1786, the building was completed, and the entire company moved from the boat and took possession of it as their future home.  Mr. Wood then laid out a town by survey, and gave to it the name of Belleville. Lots in the town were donated to actual settlers. The clearing of the lands in and around the town was continued, and during the first year about one hundred acres was prepared for cultivation. In the spring of 1786 Capt. Tilton returned to Philadelphia leaving the settlement in charge of Mr. Wood, as the sole agent of the company, and the manager of the settlement.  Several log houses for the residence of individual families were erected near the block-house, also convenient out-houses for stock, etc.  The whole were enclosed by pickets, eight or ten feet high, securely planted in the earth, thus making it a regular stockade garrison, sufficient for the accommodation of about two hundred persons, forming an oblong square of  about three hundred feet along the river front, and extending back about one hundred feet.  Gates at either end for the admission of teams, etc., were securely erected, and a wicket gate in front for descending to the river for water and return, was also erected.

Of the Scotch emigrants with families who first came to Belleville with Mr. Wood, and those who came the following spring, we have been able to gather only the following named persons, via: Messrs. McDonald, Greathouse, Tabor, James Pewthewer, Wm. Ingalls, Jemerson, Andrew McCash, and two single men, F. Andrews and Thomas Gilruth.  We are not aware that any of the descendants of these families are now residing in this county.

In the year 1787 this settlement was joined by the following persons: viz: Joel and Joseph Dewy, from near Wyoming, Pa.; Stephen Sherod and family, from the same place, Malcomb Coleman, with his wife and family of sons and daughters, from Carlisle, Pa.; Peter and Andrew Anderson, from above Wheeling, Va.  Descendants from these last named families are still living in the lower part of this and Jackson County.  We made mention of some of them in the fifth chapter.

In the spring of 1785, a company of hunters and trappers from the vicinity of Wheeling, but formerly from the Susquehanna River, Pa., took possession of an abandoned Indian improvement of about twenty acres, above the mouth of Lee Creek, erected a station house and cultivated the improvement in corn.  This was then known as Flinn's Station.  It consisted of old Mr. Flinn, a widower, and his two sons, Thomas and James, and their families, Mr. Parchment, with his wife and two sons, Jacob and John, Mr. John Barnett, who married a daughter of Flinn's, and Mr. John McCessack, a single man. The principal occupation of these men was hunting and trapping. In 1787 the inhabitants of this station moved down to the station at Belleville, thus adding strength, safety and protection to the inhabitants of that station against the Indians, who had commenced being troublesome by their stealing of horses, etc., and threatening the safety of the settlement.

We have already spoken of Mr. Peter Anderson. Soon after the formation of Wood County, he was commissioned on the 4th of May, 1801, and filed the office of Justice of the Peace, acceptably, until his great age caused him to resign. On his resignation, the Rev. Benjamin Mitchell, an able local minister of Belleville, was commissioned and filled that office in that vicinity until his death in 1834. Mr. John Kincheloe of Belleville was the successor of Mr. Mitchell, and filled that office in that community until the adoption of the constitution of 1851.

Mr. Joseph Wood, the agent of the Tilton lands, was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Pewthewer, a Scotch lady, a daughter of James Pewthewer, one of the first emigrants to that settlement, in the summer of 1790. Owing to the fact that no person in that settlement was authorized to solemnize the rites of matrimony, they came up to "Farmer's Castle," in Belpre, Ohio, where the marriage ceremony was performed by Gen. Benjamin Tupper, a magistrate of that State.  In 1791 he moved to Marietta, Ohio. In that place and vicinity he resided until his death in 1851, in the 93d year of his age, having filled with credit and honor many important offices.  His daughter, Miss Agnes, still resides at the homestead place in that city, who is in possession of her father's papers.

Having thus very briefly sketched these facts which have come to our knowledge relative to the first settlement made at Belleville, in 1785, and traced the same down to 1795, the year of the treaty of peace with the Indians of the Northwestern territory, which resulted from the victories of Gen. Wayne, in some future chapter we will briefly notice the individual settlers who came to that portion of our county after that date.  In doing this, we presume that many persons will be omitted for the want of information.  We find in the records of our county many names that furnish no date of their coming, or when they left, or of their pursuits while here.  This want of correct information we meet with frequently while endeavoring to make up these sketches.

First Settlement
Among the citizens and inhabitants of the county, at the present day, there are but few, if any, remaining, who can rightly appreciate the rude character, heroism and worth of many of these noble and fearless frontiersmen, who, from the condition of those early times and the surrounding circumstances of the country and its settlements during the last half of the eighteenth century, were employed by the Province of Virginia as Rangers, for the purpose of giving notice to, and protecting the inhabitants of the settlements which were then being extended from the Valley of Virginia, west and northwest, to the tributary streams of the Ohio River.  The Indian tribes of the great northwestern territory, from the influences then brought to bear upon them by the French and English Governments, were a cruel and dangerous foe, then hanging about the skirts of these settlements.

It frequently taxed the wisdom and limited resources of Burgesses of Virginia to successfully provide for the safety and defense of her citizens who were then making settlements along the frontier boundaries of her counties. The Rangers thus employed by them had to be men who could discover and identify the traces and courses of these Indians in their raids, their manner of attack, their mode of warfare, and successfully turn them back, or punish them for their aggressions.

Among those employed by the Colonial Government of Virginia as a Ranger, for the protection of her frontier settlements, was Mr. Isaac Williams, who spent the last of his years as a citizen of this county. Being one of its first settlers, and for many years occupying a prominent position in this county, we will here give a brief notice of those who succeeded to his estate in this county.

In doing so, however, we here acknowledge our indebtedness to the sketches made by the late Dr. S. P. Hildreth of Marietta Ohio for many of the facts herein stated.

Mr. Isaac Williams was born in Chester County, PA, on the 16th of July 1737.  When quite a youth his parents removed with him to Winchester, VA, where he grew up to young manhood.  He early in life displayed great love and aptitude for hunting and trapping.  When at the age of eighteen years, the Colonial Government of Virginia employed him as a Ranger and spy to watch the movements of the Indians on the frontier and ward off the dangers from their attacks upon the white settlements.  In that capacity he served Virginia in that disastrous campaign of Gen. Braddock, in the year 1754.  He was also one of the Rangers who assisted in guarding the first convey of provisions and ammunition to Fort Duquesne, after it had been captured by Gen. Forbes, of Pennsylvania, in 1758, and who had changed its name to Fort Pitt.  At that time the western part of the present State of Pennsylvania was supposed to belong to the Colony of Virginia. The completion of the Mason and Dixon line gave it to that State.

The following ten years after, he spent in hunting and trapping on the western waters, having descended the Ohio to the Mississippi, and ascended the Mississippi to the Missouri river and returned.  In 1768 he conducted his parents over the mountains from Winchester, and settled them on Buffalo Creek, near West Liberty, in what is now Brooke County, West Va.  In 1769 he accompanied Ebenezer and Jonathan Zane in their explorations of the country around Wheeling, Zanesville, and other locations, west of the mountains.  By his hunting and trapping excursions he became well acquainted with the topography of the Ohio River and its tributaries, and entered several tomahawk rights which he sold.  In 1774 he accompanied Governor Dunmore in his Indian expedition against the Shawnees, then at war with the Colonies, under the leadership of the celebrated chieftain, Cornstalk, and was with him when he concluded the treaty of peace near Chillicothe, after the battle at Pt. Pleasant, under Gen. Lewis, in that year.

In 1775 he became acquainted with Mrs. Rebecca Martin, at Grave Creek, whose husband had been killed by the Indians, on Big Hocking, in 1770, and after a short acquaintance, they were united in marriage.

She was a daughter of Mr. Joseph Tomlinson, born at Will's Creek on the Potomac, in the State of Maryland, on the 14th day of February, 1754.  After the death of her first husband in 1771, she accompanied her two brothers, Samuel and Joseph to Grave Creek, on the Ohio River, and was their housekeeper for several years.  In 1783 her brothers while engaged in trapping at or near the mouth of the Big Muskingum, preempted for her a tract of 400 acres of land in Virginia, opposite the mouth of the Big Muskingum River, and cleared four acres and erected a cabin thereon, and raised a crop of corn during that year.  This tract of land, owing to its location, and the fertility of its soil, has become very valuable. The beautiful village of Williamstown forms a part of it, while the residue has been divided into small farms, now in a high state of cultivation.

In 1786, Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum river, having been established and garrisoned by United States troops, on the 26th day of March, 1787, Mr. Isaac Williams, with his wife and family, moved to and settled on this 400 acre tract belonging to his wife, under the preemption laws of Virginia.  Soon after their arrival at the place, his wife gave birth to a daughter, whom they named Druisilla.  She was the only child by this marriage.  She lived to become a woman, and was united in marriage to John G. Henderson, a son of Alexander Henderson, of Dumbries, VA.  By him she became the mother of one child, which died in infancy.  Soon after the death of this child the mother died, being about twenty years of age.  Mr. John G. Henderson came to this county in 1797, in the company with the late Robert Triplett.  Mr. Henderson filled important positions in this county for many years after its organization.  A notice of him and his brothers, who settled here at an early day is reserved for a future chapter.

After the removal of Mr. Williams to this wilderness farm, he abandoned hunting and trapping as a means of support (only seldom taking an excursion as a pastime), and devoted his time and attention to this farm, making all necessary improvements.  Situated opposite to and commanding a view of Marietta and the Big Muskingum River, it soon became a noted and interesting piece of retreat, and is now known by the name of Williamstown.

Honesty, industry, prudence and economy gave him prosperity as a farmer, and secured for him the respect and esteem of all the early pioneers. Thoughtful and considerate of the welfare and happiness of others, his benevolence extended a helping hand to any in want.  After living on this plantation for thirty-three years, and making it one of the most pleasant and productive farms in the country, surrounding himself with the necessary comforts of those early times, making his home the mansion of hospitality for his neighbors and friends, as also a resting place for the stranger, he died on the 25th of September, 1820, aged 84, having spent an active life full of years made up of good deeds, in the enjoyment of a hope of a blessed immortality.

The first half of his manhood years was most devoted to the protection of the frontier settlements against the inroads and attacks of the Indians in their savage mode of warfare.  As a ranger and spy upon their war-parts, he had but few, if any equals. He had made himself well acquainted with all their modes of pursuit, attack and retreat.  In these dangerous expeditions he was frequently the associate of Lewis, Wetzel, Kerr, and others of great notoriety.  He was cool, thoughtful and courageous, and as watchful of his foe as never to permit him to gain an advantage or inflict on him a wound.  His wife possessed the same heroic courage and dauntless spirit, and shared with him in the full sympathy of his nature.

In person he was of the medium size, with an upright frame and muscular limbs, features well-formed and marked, a mild expression of countenance, with taciturn and quiet manners, securing confidence and respect. He, with his family were buried in a beautiful spot, on his plantation, shaded by the trees he dearly loved in life.

After the death of Mrs. Rebecca Williams, this beautiful plantation descended by devise to the late John A. Kinnard, who had married Miss Mary Tomlinson, the sixth child of Joseph and Elizabeth Tomlinson, late of Grave Creek, and a niece of Mrs. Williams. Mr. John A. Kinnard, with his young wife moved to Wood County in 1807, and settled on this farm. Here they raised a family of six children, who attained to man and womanhood, and who are now all dead but one Mrs. Mary Gardner.

In January 1827, he was commissioned a Justice of the Peace of the county, and served the county acceptably until his advanced age caused him to resign.  In the discharge of public duties, he was thoughtful, considerate, and faithful.  In private life he was highly esteemed for his uprightness of character and manly bearing.

Having made a disposition of his property among his children, he removed to Parkersburg, and for some time before his death, he and his wife resided with their youngest daughter, Mrs. Gardner.  He died at Parkersburg, on the 2d of May, 1850, in the 73d year of his age.  His esteemed and venerable widow, Mrs. Mary Kinnard, survived him until the 16th of March, 1873, when she died at Parkersburg, at the residence of her daughter, at the age of 87 years.  They filled up the measure of their years with usefulness to themselves and society, and died respected and beloved.

We will give a brief notice of their children in the order of their births:

First -- Alfred Little Kinnard, who was born in the summer of 1808. He graduated at Athens College, Ohio; studied law for his profession, and commenced practice in Parkersburg in the fall of 1833. But not liking it, he soon abandoned that profession, and commenced merchandising in Ripley; Jackson county; but not meeting with success, he returned to this county, where he resided until his death. On the 3d of January, 1839, he was happily united in marriage with Miss Julia A. Nixon of Parkersburg. No children were born to them. He died at Parkersburg, on the 6th of March, 1872, aged 63 years, 10 months and 3 days. After a long and painful illness from cancer, she died at Parkersburg, on the 24th of June, 1878.  They were zealous and active members of the M.E. Church, South.

Second -- Louisa Kinnard, who married the late Hon. John F. Snodgrass. She died at Parkersburg, on the 22d day of October, 1843, aged 31 years, 11 months and 22 days, leaving four children.  Mr. Snodgrass was a native of Berkeley County, Va., emigrated to Parkersburg in 1830, and entered successfully upon the practice of the law; was elected and served in the Convention of Virginia in 1851-2 and was re-elected, and took his seat in Congress in 1853, and died at Parkersburg, on the 5th of June, 1854.

Third -- Rebecca Kinnard was united in marriage to Alexander Murdoch, of Washington, Pa.; died 23 of January, 1841, aged 27 years and 12 days.
 Fourth -- Drusilla Kinnard died unmarried at the home residence of her parents in Williamstown, the 21st day of August, 1841, aged 25 years, 6 months and 15 days.
 Fifth -- Rev. Rufus Kinnard, a worthy local minister in the M.E. Church, was united in marriage to Miss Sophia Cook, eldest daughter of the late Tillinghast A. Cook, died at Williamstown, the 24th day of March 1871, aged 51 years, 6 months and 19 days.  He was a prominent active and useful citizen, respected by all, filling up the measure of his years with usefulness.  At his death he left a widow with seven children, who reside at the homestead place, in Williamstown.  His widow has been united in marriage with John A. Henderson, of that town.
 Sixth -- The youngest child and daughter, Mary, was united in marriage to Wm. S. Gardner, on the 5th of November, 1844.  He was a native of the State of Pennsylvania, and settled in this county in '35, and was married to Miss Ann S. Beeson, the youngest daughter of the late Col. Jacob Beeson, (who occupied a prominent position in the early history of this county.)  He was engaged very extensively in merchandising.  He died the 31st day of October, 1849, aged 37 years, 4 months and 14 days. His widow still resides in Parkersburg, and it was at her home that her venerable parents closed up the eventful periods of their lives.

While penning the foregoing sketches of John A. Kinnard and his once interesting family, our mind has frequently turned back, and with mournful pleasure reviewed the days of other years, when these parents with their children, formed an unbroken, happy family around the domestic hearth of home, and we were permitted to share in their hospitality.  Intelligence and refinement, blended with cheerfulness of heart, in kindred sympathies, made the hours pass pleasantly, and imparted to memory a rich legacy of remembrances, of joys and happiness. We can almost see again the parental love, as then bestowed upon those children of their future hopes.  Now, all except one has passed in hope to the joys of that better, brighter, happier world.

On the Southern banks of the Ohio, upon an elevated plateau of land, fronting Marietta and within the original boundaries of this plantation, is situated the pleasant village of Williamstown.  Several years ago it was made an incorporated town by an Act of Legislature of Virginia, and contains a population of about five hundred inhabitants.  A turnpike extends back through this country from this town over fine arable lands, and intersects the Northwestern Turnpike, fifteen miles East of Parkersburg.  Above and below the town, the bottom lands on the Ohio are wide and of the best quality, giving not only fine years of the Ohio Valley, but also of the Muskingum.  The railroads terminating at Marietta add greatly to the landed estate of this portion of the country.  A charter was obtained from the Legislature of Virginia for a railroad from this town to intersect the Northwestern Virginia Railroad at the town of Ellenboro, thirty-seven miles East of Parkersburg, but failed in being made for want of capital.

Belleville in 1796
In Chapter Seven, we presented to the reader an account of the first settlement made at Belleville, in the lower part of this county, in 1785, and followed its history down to 1795, the date of the close of the Indian war in the then Northwestern Territory, and the treaty of peace resulting from the victories of General Anthony Wayne, made at Greenville, Ohio.

We made our sketch of that settlement in those years from 1785 to 1795, as perfect and complete as the limited materials at our command would admit.  The information was gathered from several sources, of a reliable character.  As that settlement soon thereafter assumed a leading position in this vicinity, we will continue the same from that year, (1795).

The treaty of peace made with the Indians in the summer of 1795 at Greeneville, Ohio, opened up a new chapter in the settlements on the Ohio and its numerous tributaries, arising from the comparative safety felt by the inhabitants then occupying the country, from fear of Indian raids and their cruel barbarities, so common in former years.  

It also invited new emigrants from among the young and enterprising families of the South, East and North, to here select and open up homes, amidst the rich and fertile lands of this great valley.  This desirable opportunity was hailed and improved, and the tide of emigration became great as the country became more generally and perfectly known.  Under these auspices, in this chapter, we shall further trace the settlement made at Belleville and its vicinity.

We have learned that Mr. David Lee, a hunter and trapper, some years prior to 1785, had encamped on Lee Creek, for the purpose of prosecuting that business, and consequently the creek took its name from him.  He continued his residence and occupation in that vicinity, and in one of those years he married a sister of Mr. Peter Anderson, and finally purchased land, and settled on Tygart Creek in this county, and raised a family of five sons and three daughters.  The last of his sons, of whom we have any knowledge, was Mr. Stephen Lee, who died some years since in this county.  Several of the descendants of Mr. David Lee reside in this county.  He was a native of the state of Pennsylvania, and in early life had the reputation of being one of the most successful hunters and trappers of his time.

About the year 1796 or 1797, the settlement at Belleville received a most important addition by emigrants from the State of Connecticut.  The leading man of this emigration was Mr. George D. Avery.  He commenced, and for several years carried on merchandising in connection with ship building, at that place.  Many ships in those early years were built there, and descended the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to the Ocean.  He was a man of fine educational attainments, a professed surveyor and civil engineer.  Of some of his services in this capacity, we will hereafter speak.

His wife had been the widow of Mr. Champlin of Connecticut, a lady well educated and of fine culture.  By him she was the mother of three sons, viz: Lodwick, Samuel and Guy Champlin.  By Mr. Avery, she was the mother of one son, who was named after his father.  These orphan children of Mr. Champlin were under the guidance and supervision of Mr. Avery, who acted a generous part by them.  The estate of Mr. Champlin was invested in land for his children and heirs, by Mr. Avery, on the upper part of Belleville Bottom, and is included in the lands now belonging to Mr. Daniel R. Neal.

After the formation of Wood County, Mr. Avery was commissioned and ably filled the office of Justice of the Peace, taking a prominent part in the reviewing and establishing of county roads, and looking after the general welfare of the county.

Under the direction of William Robinson, Jr., and Dr. Joseph Spencer, (who were litigating their titles to Parkersburg), on the 7th of December, 1810, Mr. Avery completed his survey of the town of Parkersburg, the streets of which are made to intersect each other at right angle, running from the Ohio river in a Southeasterly direction, and from the Little Kanawha northeasterly. The town then contained one hundred and seventy acres of land. The plot and survey as then made by Mr. Avery, was put upon record in the Clerk's Office of the county at the February term, 1816, and will be found in Deed Book No. 5, page 337 and 338.  Avery street, the fifth from the Ohio river, runs from the Little Kanawha river, at the East end of the old Ferry, formerly kept by Col. Otis L. Bradford, in a Northeasterly direction, passes on the Northwest side of the passenger depot of the B & O Railroad, was named in honor of him.  

After doing a large and extensive business at Belleville, for many years, he finally failed financially, and having had the misfortune to bury his wife, he removed, and his subsequent history, as well as that of the Champlin family, is unknown to the writer.  It is thus that many of the early citizens of the county, who filled prominent and responsible positions, have been lost sight of, and have passed away.

Among the emigrants to Belleville with Mr. Avery, was that of Mr. Prentiss and family. His wife was a sister to Mrs. Avery.   He purchased and settled on a farm on the Ohio River, immediately above and adjoining Lee Creek, and also purchased other lands or lots in Belleville. Soon after settling there he died leaving a widow and two sons, Jonathan and Henry L. Prentiss.  

Mr. Jonathan Prentiss inherited the farm on Lee creek.  After some years, he emigrated and settled in Monongalia County, and finally sold the farm to Caleb Wells, and it now belongs to his heirs.  Henry L. Prentiss married Miss Rebecca Mayberry, daughter of Mr. Geo. Mayberry, deceased, and sister of the late Hon. John P. Mayberry, of Parkersburg.  He sold his land at Belleville and purchased and settled in Parkersburg.  For many years he filled prominent positions in the county.  On the 28th of February, 1822, he was commissioned a Justice of the Peace, which office he held until 1837, when he removed to the West.  He was elected and served this county several times in the House of Delegates of Virginia.  He finally settled in Quincy, Illinois, where he died many years since.  His eldest son, Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss, resides in that city.  Many of four old citizens will remember Henry L. Prentiss, and the quaintness of his address, and the burlesqueness of his manners.

In the year 1797, two brothers with their families, by the name of John and Michael Simms, came, purchased and settled on the South Fork of Lee Creek, about a mile and a half back of Belleville.  Here they opened fine farms, and resided until 1816, when they sold to Elisha Timms and Benjamin Mitchell, who, in the fall of that year emigrated to this county from Culpepper county. Va. The two Simms families emigrated to Ohio and settled on Shade River. Under the ministry of Rev. Benjamin Crouch, Mr. Mitchell joined the M.E. Church, and soon after was licensed as a local minister in the church and officiated as such successfully, until his death, in 1834. He was abundant in labors and usefulness. At the time of his death he left a large family of children. These were raised and educated for usefulness in society, and several of them still reside in this county.  

Among them is our active and worthy City Sergeant, John W. Mitchell and Henry S. Mitchell, a merchant at Belleville. The Rev. Elisha T. Mitchell, some years since removed to Huntington, in Cabell County, where he is engaged in merchandising. The eldest Son, James W. Mitchell, for many years past has resided at Ashland, Ky. These four sons of Rev. Benjamin Mitchell all have large families, and occupy prominent positions in the communities in which they reside.

In the year 1797, Peter Derenberger, (a German), emigrated with his family from the State of Pennsylvania, and settled on Lee Creek, back of Belleville Bottom.  He was a worthy, industrious citizen, raised a large family.  Many of his numerous descendants are living in this county, and are respected for their uprightness of character.

Also, during the same spring, (1797), John Boso, with his family, came to the county, and settled on the South fork of Lee Creek.  There are numerous descendants of this family, residing in the lower part of this county, respected for their integrity and uprightness of character.

In the year 1797 Jacob Kiems settled there and married a sister of Joseph Dewey. Some of the descendants of this family are still residing in that vicinity.  We are conscious that in our efforts to gather up the names of those first settlers in that portion of our county, the names of many will be omitted for the want of information.  

It is to be regretted that during the first years of the settlements made in this county, that there was found no person to keep a record of those times and the events then passing.  Such a history would be highly appreciated by the inhabitants of the county at the present day.

Among the early pioneers of this county, there were few, if any, who have left among us a larger, better, and more industrious posterity than Mr. Philip Wigal.  He, with his wife and seven small children, emigrated from Westmoreland county, PA., early in the Spring of 1799, and settled at the mouth of Lee Creek, some three miles from the Ohio river, where he opened up a farm and surrounded himself with the comforts of a home, raised his family, to which four more children were added, and there ended his earthly pilgrimage in 1817.  His children received such an education as the country and times furnished.  They were taught to be industrious, persevering and self-reliant thus making them thoughtful and considerate.

His eldest daughter, Margaret, was married to Richard Fortner, of this county.  They raised a large family of children, many of whom are still residents of this county.  

The son, Jacob Wigal, was united in marriage to a Miss Quigler, and removed to Indiana.  Also, the second daughter, Elizabeth, was united in marriage to Peter Sheets, and moved to and settled in Indiana.

His third son, William Wigal, remained at the homestead place, on the farm on Lee Creek. He is now eighty three years of age, and is one of the few who has chosen to spend a life of single blessedness.

Catherine, the third daughter, was married to Henry Brockheart, and moved from this county. She was the mother of seven children, and was buried at Hockingport, Ohio.  

His fourth son, George Wigal, (an infant three months old when his parents came to this county), settled on the North Fork of Lee Greek. His first wife was Miss Rebecca Sams, who, at her death, left him with one child.  His second wife was Miss Sarah Gill, who has given to him eight children. These children are all settled near him, with their families; and are in good easy circumstances.  George Wigal is now in the eightieth year of his age, and has continued to reside in this county. During his past life he has witnessed the great and wonderful changes which have taken place in this country in the present century.  He is a man well read in the history of his country, and has a vast fund of useful information relative to the many changes and improvements made in his time.  Patient industry, frugality and economy, has enabled him to provide homes and settle his children around him, and in their prosperity and happiness he is enjoying the blessings of a happy old age.

The fifth son of Philip Wigal, is Daniel Wigal, born at Belleville.  He married Matilda Joseph, daughter of Joseph Joseph, later of this county. They have eight children.  He resides on Lee Creek.

Barbara Wigal, the fourth daughter, was married to James Sams, of Tygart Creek, and has three children.  He died about twenty years ago.

Phillip Wigal, Jr., the six son, married Miss Nancy Sheets.  They have thirteen children, all residing in the lower part of this county.

Miss Sara Wigal, the youngest child and fifth daughter, married John Congrove, and moved to and lives in the State of Ohio.

It would form an interesting chapter to trace the families of each of the descendants of Phillip Wigal Sr., deceased.  This would require much patient toil, as well as expense.

In closing this brief sketch of the elder Philip Wigal and his family, and numerous descendants in this county, it is a remarkable occurrence that all of his descendants are in comfortable and easy circumstances, and are honored and respected by their fellow citizens.  Honesty, industry and economy are their prevailing characteristics.

That brings our notice of Belleville down to the year 1800, the date of the formation of Wood County.

Peter G. Van Winkle
The first recognition of any material importance which Parkersburg and Wood county received from the state Legislature of Old Virginia in the way of improvement, and bringing them into public notice, was the establishment and completion of the northwestern Virginia Turnpike road, leading from Winchester, in the Valley of Virginia, over the Allegheny mountains, westward to Parkersburg, on the Ohio river, a distance of two hundred and thirty miles.  At that time, (1836, Parkersburg was a small town of about two hundred inhabitants, pleasantly situated on the Southern bank of the Ohio river, at and above its junction with the Little Kanawha river a stream of considerable importance heading in the Allegheny mountains, and running in a northwestern direction about one hundred and fifty miles.  The country extending from the Ohio, eastwardly to the Alleghany Mountains, was a vast wilderness with a few towns and settlements interspersed here and there, of long standing.  Its vast heavy timbered forests majestic mountain ranges, of arable lands, rich fertile valleys, abounding in numerous streams, with it salubrious climate, and grand scenery, were the common heritage of wild beasts pursued by and became the sport of hunters.  Such was the brief outline of Western Virginia, when this Northwestern Turnpike was projected and completed.

It was about this time in the history of Parkersburg and Wood county that Mr. Peter G. Van Winkle came, and completed his law studies in the office of the late Gen. John J. Jackson, and after carefully surveying the relative position of Parkersburg in its connection with the seaboard cities of the East, and the unfolding cities of the great inland West, he determined on making it his future permanent home.  This question of his citizenship being thus permanently settled, he untiringly devoted his mind and energies to the work of developing the resources and advantages of Western Virginia. In this employment his pen was never idle, when an opportunity of advancing the common interests presented itself.  He lived long enough to not only command the personal esteem and homage of the citizens of his adopted county and home, but of the citizens of our common country.

The standard of a pure morality had in him a bright living exponent and was exemplified in the private walks of life, in the council chambers of the State, and in the Senatorial Halls of Congress.  We have here introduced this chapter on the on the life and character of our personal friend, to give the reader some correct knowledge of the past, as well as the present condition of this county in its advanced history.

We will here say, that the city of Parkersburg is situated at the lower, or southern extremity of a high and wide bottom of land, extending down the Valley of the Ohio, from Briscoe's Run to the Little Kanawha River, a distance of six miles, and contains an area of about five thousand acres.  Two miles south of Parkersburg, Worthington Creek enters the Little Kanawha from the east.  The bottoms of this river and creek in the vicinity East and South of Parkersburg, contain an area of about five thousand acres, well adapted to city improvements.  An elevated ridge separates these lands, and presents commanding views as sites for suburban residences.

We close this chapter, devoted to our friend, the Hon. Peter G. Van Winkle, by inserting a biographical sketch of him, which we prepared and published in the Odd Fellows Guardian, of Chicago, Ill, of which Order he was an honorable and worthy member.

 In this dark world of sin and suffering, there are oasis spring up in the desert of man's morality.  Among these, the memory lingers and delights to dwell as the warm affections of the heart cluster around them, whispering through all its silent chambers, of a better world, brighter home, and purer life. It is thus, amid the impressive emblems, dressed in the habiliments of mourning, we are made to look back upon the life and character of our worthy Brother, the late Hon. Peter Godwin Van Winkle who departed this life on the morning of the 15th of April, 1872, aged 63 years, 7 months and 8 days.

On the paternal, as also on the maternal (Godwin) sides of his parentage, his family records went back to the early settlement of the colonies of this country. He was the third son of Mr. Peter Van Winkle and his wife, Mrs. Phebe Godwin born in the city of New York, the 7th day of September, 1808.  Being endowed by mind, he in early life laid the basis of a good education; and in all his after years, by his unwearied diligence and close application, he studied to improve, until he became a ripe scholar, a correct thinker, and an able writer with a wide sweep of practical knowledge. His love of letters was so great that in all the active duties and claims of life, and the laborious studies of the law, (his profession) he found time to improve his talents in the higher walks of literature, and his manuscripts grace the pages of many literary journals of the day.

On the 21st of September, 1831, at Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, he was most happily united in marriage with Miss Juliet Rathbone, daughter of the late Judge W.P. Rathbone, a lady of the finished accomplishments and refined manners, social in intercourse, with a most amiable disposition and warmth of affection.  By her he became the father of six children; three of whom died in early infancy.  His fourth, the late Hon. Rathbone Van Winkle, died at his residence in this city in 1870, thus leaving at the time of his death his youngest son, Godwin, and his youngest daughter, after a long and painful illness, died in 1844.

Mr. Van Winkle came to this city early in the year 1835, and completed his study of law in the office of the late Gen. John J. Jackson, and was admitted to practice in our Courts.  At that time this country was comparatively new, and Parkersburg was a small town, surrounded by woods, with a vast undeveloped country, stretching away to the East and South against the Allegheny Mountains.  Yet for its relative position, geographically, lying in direct line between the sea-board cities and the far off, and outspreading west, he came to the conclusion that it had a bright future, and determined to make it his future home.  He formed a co-partnership in the practice of law with Gen. J. J. Jackson, and gave the energies of his mind in leisure hours to the development and growth of this place and the surrounding country.  Our county papers, both editorally and otherwise, teemed with articles from his able pen, setting forth its local and commercial advantages.  These weekly contributions in our papers unfolded to the enquiring mind, the vast, rich resources of wealth, hidden in our mountains and valleys, the music of its water power passing through the unbroken solitudes of one of the most salubrious climates on earth, inviting the enterprise of the capitalist and the strong energy of the woodsman's ax.

The public sprit and enterprise of his mind, thus seen in and through these articles from his pen, allied him with the council of our growing town, and made him President of its Board.  This relation he sustained for many years; and, indeed, until a wider sphere of usefulness opened out before him to fill.  Wherever and whenever enterprise, public or private, looked to the advancement of our town or county, it all times found him a friend and advocate; and he became an able co-worker in securing its advantages to our city.  He was for the first seven years President of the Little Kanawha Bridge Company; also Secretary for several years of the Northwestern Va. Railroad Company, and then its President; and then President of Parkersburg Branch Railway Company. To the faithful performance of the duties of all these offices, he brought his untiring energies, and discharged the same with entire satisfaction to all interested in them.

In 1850 he was elected and served with distinguished honor and ability in the State Convention of Virginia, for revising the Constitution.  His labors upon committees were arduous; yet he found time to assist our representative, and contributed largely in securing the passage of the Act incorporating our Railroad.  He was a prominent and working member of the Wheeling Convention of 1861; also of the Convention of 1862, which formed the Constitution of West Va., and was a member of the Legislature of this State, from its organization to June, 1863.  In August of that year he was elected a Senator in Congress from this state, for the term ending 4th of March, 1869.  In all these responsible and high positions of trust, as a statesman, he fulfilled the arduous duties with marked ability, conscientious exactness and unwavering devotion to the best interests of his country.  The same conscientious regard for truth and justice, which marked all the acts of his private life, he brought into the political arena of his public life, as his guide in the performance of duty.

No base or private prejudices, or unholy passions ever marked his career in all his intercourse with his associates in public and private life. During the late unhappy war, when the passions of many ran riot with the spirit of revenge, there was no individual case where the finger of anger or resentment could be pointed at him as being unjust and unmerciful. His nature rose above the angry passions of vindictive hate or the malignant policy and purpose of carping demagogues.  His carefully formed and well balanced mind, resting upon the golden rule of right and justice, at all times felt its responsibility, and never swerved from a conscientious purpose of moral rectitude.

It is with the greatest pleasure we can look can look over and view the life and character of our honored friend, as a citizen in private life, and an officer in his public career, giving, (as he has nobly done), to the world a bright example of a life unwavering effort, which has culminated in an honored and honorable repose. But in closing this sketch to his memory and virtues, we feel and mourn the loss of a Brother Odd Fellow, whose voice once cheered us in our counsels, and whose life and character was a living exposition of the holy ritual of our beloved Order.  Peter Godwin Van Winkle was the Senior Past Grand of Parkersburg Lodge No. 7, I.O.O.F. and no member in life and character ever reflected more honor upon that office, or gave brighter evidences to the claims of Odd Fellowship.  For years past he made donations annually of fifty dollars, for the benefit of widows and orphans of the Lodge, thus causing the blessings of the bereaved to light up the pathway along life's journey.  But he has passed from the living of earth, full of years and full of honors, "to the rest of the Patriarchs."

It is at such a moment we realize the gathering darkness of the tomb over the days of our mortality - we realize the loosening of the silver cord -- the breaking of the golden bowl-the dropping of the pitcher at the fountain -- the wrecking of the wheel at the cistern, for the man goeth to his long home.  Our friend and brother "has passed the years of his appointed time, the days of the years of his pilgrimage are numbered."  With "the evergreen as an emblem of immortality," his remains were committed to the silence of the grave, "for the memory of the righteous shall be in remembrance forever and ever." 

The last Chapter of the foregoing, is that much added to the original design when we commenced these pages.  They are presented as a tribute to the memory of a personal friend, whose manhood years were spent among the citizens of this community -- one whose pen added largely to the material of wealth and position of the county and State.

Should these pages by appreciated by my fellow citizens, so as to become partially remunerative for the time, toil and expense in their preparation, they will be followed by a continuation of the history of the county, with its first settlers and their descendants, with descriptions of lands and sources of wealth.

The city of Parkersburg, with its various changes of names, etc., will form the opening Chapter of this continued work.

S.C. Shaw
LEAFY GLENN, West Virginia
November, 1878


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