Appalachia, Aracoma, Bluestone Valley, Boling Baker, Deskins Addition, Guyandotte River, Hatfield Island, Henry Mitchell, history, Island Creek, John Breckinridge, John Dempsey, John Dingess, Joseph Workman, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Montgomery County, Nancy McNeely, Native American History, Native Americans, Nimrod Workman, Peter Dingess, Shawnee, Tazewell County, Virginia, West Virginia, William Dingess, Wythe County
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Logan’s earliest Anglo settlers in a story printed April 1, 1937:
First White Settler To Make His Home In Logan Lived on Hatfield Island
The first white settler to make his home near Logan was James Workman who was with the force of men who struck the blow that broke the power of the Shawnee in the valley of the Guyandotte.
He was a member of the group of white settlers who pursued Boling Baker from a settlement in the Bluestone valley to the island that is now known as “Hatfield Island” and there burned an Indian village and mortally wounded Princess Aracoma. Boling Baker escaped.
After Workman had a glimpse of the beautiful lush valley of the Guyandotte, it took little persuasion by John Breckinridge, who had been granted much of the valley after the battle of the Islands to get Workman and his two brothers Joseph and Nimrod to make settlement there, Breckinridge was forced to settle the land by the law of 1792 in order to hold title to it.
Workman and his two brothers came to the island in 1794 and built a cabin and planted a few acres of corn. In 1795 and 1796 the brothers planted the same land and James, who was a man of family, brought his wife and children from their old home in Wythe (now Tazewell) county, Virginia, where they continued to live until about the year 1800 when they moved to a farm nearby which was later owned by Henry Mitchell.
The first recorded permanent settlement was made by William Dingess, son of Peter Dingess, a German. Dingess was the oldest in a family of eleven children.
He was born in Montgomery county in 1770 and married Nancy McNeely. He purchased a survey of 300 acres, which covers the present site of the courthouse and a portion of the land across the river which is now Deskins addition.
Dingess moved to his survey in 1799 and made his home. John Dempsey came with him and built a cabin on the island, but afterwards moved to Island Creek.
William Dingess was said to be almost a giant in strength, but so peaceable that no one could induce him to fight. He was a relentless Indian fighter in the Guyan Valley, however. A story is told that he was with a force of whites who pursued a band of Indian marauders as far as the falls of the Guyan where they killed several braves.
Dingess cut a portion of the skin from a forearm of one of the braves and tanned it using it for a razor strop until his death.
The first settler had no children by his first wife. In 1800, Peter Dingess and John Dingess joined him and built their homes in the fertile land on each side of the river near the islands. Other settlers followed in time and the little settlement grew to a thriving frontier town.