Appalachia, Battle of Blair Mountain, Blair Mountain, Charles L. Estep, Chauncey, Edgar Combs, history, Litz-Smith Coal Company, Logan County, Simp Thompson, United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia
A correspondent named Lewis Calvin from Stirrat on Island Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following news, which the Logan Banner printed on January 5, 1923:
On last Sunday, the Sunday school lesson at the Mt. Olive Baptist church was efficiently taught by our visiting minister, Rev. G.J. Parks, of Chauncey.
Rev. Parks remained with us during the day and preached for us some wonderful sermons which were accepted by all of his hearers. We sure did enjoy having Rev. Parks with us and we extend to him an invitation to return and he will always find a warm welcome.
We always delight in having with us ministers who know how to preach the Gospel and Rev. Parks surely did know how to bring the message to us. His evening text was taken from the 3rd chapter of Job, and he discussed Job as a man of God.
The entire congregation was delighted with his manner of handling the subject and extends to him the glad hand to return and be with us again.
Lewis Calvin, Clerk
Appalachia, Aracoma, Barnabus, Barnabus Curry, Boling Baker, Buffalo Creek, Cham, Chapmanville, Chauncey, Chauncey Browning, coal, Crystal Block, Curry, D.E. Hue, Dehue, Dingess Run, Edward O'Toole, Gilbert Creek, Guyandotte River, history, Horse Pen Mountain, Huff Creek, Island Creek, Jim Gilbert, Litz-Smith Coal Company, Logan Banner, Logan County, Main Island Creek Coal Company, Mallory, Micco, Mountain View Inn, Native American History, Native Americans, Omar, Omar Cole, Peter Huff, Rum Creek, Sarah Ann, Sarah Ann O'Toole, Stirrat, Twisted Gun Lick, West Virginia, William Dingess, William S. Madison
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Logan County place names:
Naming of Logan County Towns and Creeks Related By Logan Banner Reporter
While the first white settlers who entered the county near the middle of the 18th century had to have names for the creeks and runs in order to locate their homes, the children of these first settlers had to have names for each large settlement in order to have their mail delivered to them. Both groups used interesting methods of naming the landmarks.
Early Indian fighters who had contact with Boling Baker and his horse-thieving found little trouble naming the mountain which rises behind Mountain View Inn at the head of Island Creek. Because of the renegade’s custom of using one of the steep hollows for a corral, Captain William S. Madison, an early pioneer, named the mountain Horse Pen. Likewise, Gilbert Creek was named for Jim Gilbert, an Indian scout, who was killed in an Indian skirmish on that tributary of the Guyandotte. Near the place where he was killed there is an old salt lick which is named “Twisted Gun Lick.” The story is told that Gilbert, before he died, hit his gun barrel against a tree to keep the Indians from using it on his comrades. His friends, coming to the lick several hours later, found Gilbert scalped and the twisted firearm lying nearby.
Huff Creek was similarly named for a Peter Huff, whose scouting party was ambushed by a roving band of redskins and Huff was killed in the ensuing battle. They buried Huff on the banks of the creek near the present town of Mallory.
Buffalo Creek, however, received its name in an entirely different manner. The first settlers who hunted in the valley of the Guyandotte found buffalo herds so plentiful on this creek that they called it Buffalo Creek.
Dingess Run was named for a pioneer family of Dingesses which settled in its broad bottoms. William Dingess was the patriarchal head of the family and his children named the run in memory of him.
Island Creek received its name from the Indians who were awed by the beauty of a large creek flowing into the Guyandotte with such force as to cut an entirely separate bed, thus forming an island in the middle of the river. Old timers say that in the early days of the county Island Creek entered the Guyan river at the upper limits of Aracoma. Only during flood time did the creek meet the river at its present point.
As for the towns which have sprung up in the county since coal became king, many were named for prominent people living in them at one time or another or for pioneer families who lived in the towns when the coal companies first came in.
A unique method was used, however, in naming Micco. It received its name from the first letters of the Main Island Creek Coal Co., which formerly operated the mines there.
Omar was named for Omar Cole who was closely associated with the development of the town. The Cole family held, and still holds, extensive mining leases in the vicinity of that mining town.
Sarah Ann acquired its name from the wife of Colonel Edward O’Toole, who was manager of the coal company when the town applied to the government for a post office. The town is generally known as Crystal Block.
Barnabus received its name from Barnabus Curry, a pioneer settler whose home was near the town.
Stirrat was named for Colonel Stirrat, who was manager of the Main Island Creek Coal Company at one time.
Chauncey was named for Chauncey Browning, well-known son of a pioneer family who owned much of the land near that town. For many years the town of Chauncey was not large enough to be made a post office, but after the Litz-Smith Coal Company opened its mines there the town grew to proportions large enough to warrant a post office.
Dehue was given its name in honor of D.E. Hue, the first superintendent who operated the mines there.
Cham, a small place about two and one-half miles above Dehue, got its name from a Chambers family who lived on Rum Creek.
Chapmanville was named for the Chapmans, Curry for the Curry family and Aracoma for the famous Indian princess.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 25 March 1937
Appalachia, B.C. Harris, Branchland, Carlos Hatfield, Chapmanville, Chauncey, E.M. Jeffrey, genealogy, Guyandotte, Guyandotte River, Henlawson, history, Huntington, Island Creek, J.D. Parsley, J.F. May, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mud Fork, Omar, West Virginia, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, we find the following story dated 29 March 1927:
All doubt as to the body of the woman found a mile above Chapmanville last Friday being that of Mrs. J.D. Parsley of Omar was removed that evening. Identification was positive on account of her wedding ring and her shoes.
So badly decomposed was the body, the flesh of the face having wasted away, that identification would have been impossible except for the ring or bits of clothing. In fact, its condition was such that it was recovered with sand at the place where found, after the identification was completed and after Undertaker B.C. Harris reached the scene, it being decided to await instructions from Mr. Parsley. The body had been in water more than three months, for it was on December 21 that she was drowned in the flooded waters of Main Island Creek near her home between Omar and Chauncey. From that point to the point where the body was found is 22 miles, according to estimates of some deputy sheriffs who are familiar with Logan county distances.
Friday evening Mr. Parsley was located in Huntington, whither he had moved a few weeks ago to engage in the real estate business.
Mr. Parsley came to Chapmanville on the Saturday morning train, bringing a casket with him. Sunday the body was brought on a railway motor to Henlawson and then was taken by way of Charleston to Wayne county for burial. This was done because of the certainty the railway company would not transport the body from Chapmanville to Huntington or to any other point on a passenger train.
Mr. Parsley, it is said, recognized a scar on his wife’s body–a scar left by a surgical operation.
The finder of the body was a Scarberry boy who lives near the place where it was found. It was lying near the shore, partly covered by silt, with the head wedged under a log or between two logs, according to reports heard here.
From the day of Mrs. Parsley’s tragic death till the body was found scandal-mongers busied themselves circulating reports that she had not drowned but had gone away of her own accord. As late as last Wednesday a Banner reporter was told that she was living in Guyandotte.
Concerning the drowning of Mrs. Parsley The Banner on Friday December 24 published the following account:
In the swollen waters of Main Island Creek Mrs. J.D. Parsley was drowned near her home between Omar and Chauncey at about 5:30 Tuesday evening.
Stepping into a necessary outbuilding that stood on the creek bank behind her home, the building suddenly toppled over and crashed into the swirling tide. Her screams were heard by several persons, among them Carlos Hatfield, a neighbor, who rushed to the rescue. When he reached the bank he saw Mrs. Parsley struggling in the water close to the shore and at the same time being carried swiftly forward by the stream. Just behind her was the building from which she had extricated herself. He waded into the waters and was almost within reach when the building turned over on her and shoved her beneath it out of sight. Before she reappeared on the surface she was too far down stream and too far out in the swift current for Hatfield to reach her.
Reports received here indicate that a son of E.M. Jeffrey of Omar was attracted to the scene and got a glimpse of either Mrs. Parsley or the building, or probably both, and followed along the bank until he saw the building crash into the bridge at Chauncey. The impact shattered the frail structure into pieces that were soon carried from view.
During the night and Wednesday forenoon searchers scanned the banks of the creek in what proved to be a futile effort to find the body.
Mrs. Parsley was nearing her 40th birthday. Her maiden name was Clay, according to her neighbors, and it is said her parents live at Branchland. She leaves no children, though Parsley is the father of several children by a previous marriage.
The Parsleys moved to the present home last August, when he leased a garage from Oscar Napier. This is located near the home of Dr. J.F. May and also close to the garage of Carlos Hatfield, previously mentioned as having tried to rescue the drowning woman. Before moving to the Omar-Chauncey neighborhood, Parsley had a grocery store at Mud Fork. At one time he was in the merchandise business at Williamson.
When the drowning occurred Parsley was at work in his garage. Word came to him that a woman had drowned, but it was half an hour or more before he realized that the victim was his own wife.
Source: “Body Found at Chapmanville is Identified as that of Mrs. Parsley Drowned at Omar on December 21,” Logan Banner, 29 March 1927.
Mrs. Parsley’s death record is found here: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=1953328&ImageNumber=3233
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