History of Tucker County, West Virginia

Had some things been different from what they were, I believe that I could have made the History of Tucker County better than it is. The labor required to collect and arrange the material was greater than would be supposed by one who has never undertaken a task of similar nature. No previous history, covering the period and territory, has ever been compiled, and I had to enter upon original and unexplored fields wherever I went. There was no scarcity of subject-matter; but, at times, it was not easy for me to decide what to use and what to reject. I am not certain that I have not erred seriously in one thing that I trusted more to the whims of others than to my own judgment. The plan of the work would have been quite different had I followed my own inclination to make the whole thing one connected story instead of biographical fragments, as it is. Yet, as it is, it will please more people than it would if cast in the mold for which it was first intended. I was not writing it for myself, but for others; and, as my tastes and fancies differ from those of others, I thought it best to suit the book to those for whom it was intended.

But, as I said, if some things had been otherwise, this book might have been better. The circumstances under which the work was done were not at all times pleasant or favorable. I commenced it in 1881, and devoted to it only what time was mine after devoting twelve hours a day to school work. At first it was my intention to publish it in the Tucker County Pioneer, as a serial story; but this was abandoned when it was seen how unwise it was. The history as it was then was less than half as large as now, although it devoted more space to the guerrilla warfare that was carried on along our county's borders during the Civil War. When the idea of publishing it in the newspaper was abandoned, it was next proposed to bring it out in book form, and the first half-dozen pages were actually set in type. But, I was not pleased with it, and concluded to re- arrange the whole work, and the printing was accordingly suspended until the writing should be completed.

Meanwhile, I found it necessary to give some attention to other matters ; for, it has never been my fortune to be so situated that I could devote my whole time to literary work. Soon, too, I grew doubtful if it was worth while to do anything further with the matter. So, it was allowed to lie idle, while I found more agreeable employment in other fields of history. Thus, nothing was done till the winter of 1883-4. I was then in California, and had done as much on a new history ("Conquest of the Ohio Valley") as I could do without a personal visit to the Library at Washington City, and, as I was not yet ready to return to the East, I began to consider whether it would not be a good opportunity to revise the musty manuscripts of the Tucker History. I was the more inclined to do this because I did not like the idea of having commenced a thing without finishing it. So, I sent to West Virginia for the manuscript and revised it by the time I was ready to start home, in April, 1884. Upon my arrival at home, I added the part embraced in "Brief Biographies," and sent the book to the press late in August.

 

Table of Contents.

CHAPTER I.
JAMES PARSONS... 17

CHAPTER II.
JOHN - MINEAR... 34

CHAPTER III.
MISCELLANIES... 69

CHAPTER IV.
MISCELLANIES... 87

CHAPTER V.
FORMATION OF TUCKER COUNTY... 121

CHAPTER VI.
SCHOOLS ANF CHURCHES... 125

CHAPTER VII.
MOUNTAINS AND CAVES... 130

CHAPTER VIII.
LUMBER INTERESTS OF TUCKER COUNTY... 139

CHAPTER IX.
WEST VIRGINIA CENTRAL AND PITTSBURGH RAILWAY... 167

CHAPTER X.
MISCELLANEOUS STATISTICS... 173

CHAPTER XI.
NEWSPAPERS OF THE COUNTY... 190

CHAPTER XII.
THE ST. GEORGE BAR... 193

CHAPTER XIII.
TRAVELERS... 206

CHAPTER XIV.
TRAVELERS. - (CONTINUED.)... 220

CHAPTER XV.
TRAVELERS. - (CONTINUED.)... 250

CHAPTER XVI.
TRAVELERS. - (CONTINUED.)... 273

CHAPTER XVII.
THE WAR... 316

BRIEF BIOGRAPHIES... 438

APPENDIX.
Biographical sketch of the author 511

APPENDIX.
POLITICAL STATISTICS... 532

Index... 573

 

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Tucker County, "West Virginia, is bounded on the north by Preston, on the east by Maryland and Grant Comity; on the south it is bounded by Randolph, and on the west by Barbour. It lies along the valley of Cheat River, and includes the tributaries of that stream for about thirty-live miles north and south, and twenty east and west. The area of the county would, therefore, be about seven hundred square miles; but, if an actual measurement were made, the area would probably fall a little short of these figures.

The county is not mentioned in history prior to the French and Indian "War, about 1702. Of course, it is understood that when the county is spoken of in this manner, reference is had only to the territory now included in the county of Tucker. The territory so considered appears to have been unknown to civilized man till about the year 1762 or 1763. The accounts of the earliest explorations are vague and conflicting, and very few positive statements can be made on the subject. However, it is certain that both Preston and Randolph were visited by white men before Tucker was.

Probably the first white man in the county was Captain James Parsons, who then lived on the South Branch of the Potomac, near Moorefield, in the present county of Hardy. During the French and Indian War, the Indians often passed from beyond the Ohio, across the Alleghany Mountains, into the settlements on the Potomac River, and particularly on the South Branch. They killed or carried away as prisoners everybody they could catch. On one of these raids they captured Capt. James Parsons." They carried him with them all the way to Ohio, and kept him a prisoner for some time. At length, however, he managed to escape from them and set out for home. He knew that the South Branch was in the east, and he traveled in that direction. He guided his course by the sun by day and the moon by night. But, as it was often cloudy, lie wandered at times from his way. In this manner he proceeded many days, and from the length of time that he had been on the road, he thought that he must be near the South Branch. He struck a small river, which he thought to be the South Branch, because it flowed in an easterly direction. He followed it until it emptied into a larger river, which flowed north. This stream he followed, thinking it might be a branch of the Potomac, flowing in this direction to pass around a mountain, and that it would turn east and south again in the course of a few miles. With this impression he followed it. But it did not turn east, and showed no sign of turning. He became convinced that he was on the wrong river, as indeed he was. The first river followed by him was the Buckhannon. At its mouth he came to the Valley River, and down it he had traveled in hopes that it would conduct him to Moorefield.