Archibald Harrison, Big Ugly Creek, Daniel Fry, fiddler, Francis Brumfield, genealogy, George Marshall Fry, Harold R. Smith, Henry H. Hardesty, John H Fry, Jupiter Fry, Levi Rakes, Martha E. Harrison, Nine Mile Creek, Phernatt's Creek, Sampson Brumfield, timbering, William A. Fry, writing
In 1865, Harrison married Martha E. Fry, the 21-year-old divorced wife of Lewis “Jupiter” Fry, a Confederate veteran and well-known fiddler in the Big Ugly Creek area of what was then Cabell County. Martha had been born on September 8, 1844 in Logan County. She was the daughter of Daniel H. and Nancy P. (Bailey) Fry, who lived at Big Creek in Logan County and later at the mouth of Big Ugly. One of her brothers, William A. Fry, died as a POW in a Delaware prison camp during the Civil War.
Archibald and Martha had seven children: William T., born April 18, 1867 in Kentucky; Daniel H., born September 29, 1869 in Kentucky; John M., born October 18, 1871; Mary L., born February 19, 1875, died August 7, 1875; George W., born October 10, 1874; Guy French, born June 18, 1876 in Virginia; and Louisa J., born February 1, 1879.
The first 23 years of Harrison’s second marriage are somewhat of a mystery. During the late 1860s, based on the birthplace of his two oldest children, he and his wife lived somewhere in Kentucky and, based on the birthplace of another child, they were in Virginia in the mid-1870s.
In 1878 Harrison settled near the Bend of the River or the mouth of Big Ugly Creek in the Harts Creek District of Lincoln County. His neighbors, based on the 1880 census, were Levi Rakes and Francis Brumfield, as well as brothers-in-law John H. Fry and Sampson S. Brumfield. Samp was a timber boss with a log boom at the mouth of the creek. George Marshall Fry, another brother-in-law, lived up Big Ugly where he worked as a farmer, timberman, and general store clerk.
On July 1, 1882, Harrison bought 360 acres of land on the west side of the Guyandotte River (near the Bend) in the Harts District from James I. Kuhn, a land agent for Abiel A. Low and William H. Aspinwall. It was worth $1.50 per acre and contained a $50 building, presumably a house or business.
“All that certain piece and parcel of land containing 260 acres more or less, granted by the commonwealth of Virginia to Wm. C. Miller & John H. Brumfield, assignees of Richard Elkins and Richard Elkins, May 1, 1850, lying on the Guyandotte above the mouth of Buck Lick branch,” the deed began. “Also all that part of a survey of 700 acres made for John H. Brumfield, Sept. 11th, 1854, on the east fork of Fourteen Mile Creek. The above described tract 100 acres of land is not to conflict with the lands conveyed to James Marcum.”
(The Kuhn deeds are interesting. In most cases, Kuhn, the grantor, was merely “selling” the surface rights to property already owned by the grantee. Kuhn’s employers claimed the mineral rights.)
In 1883, Harrison bought a 120-acre tract of land worth $2.50 per acre at Nine Mile Creek and a 230-acre tract of land worth $1.50 per acre on Phernatt’s Creek (at what would later be known as Brady) from W.T. Thompson. Harrison and his family soon settled on this latter property.
“Archibald B. Harrison is extensively engaged in farming, in Laurel Hill district, owning 380 acres of land on Guyan river, at the mouth of Phernats Creek,” Henry H. Hardesty chronicled in his history of Lincoln County, with “good improvements upon the farm, large orchard, heavily timbered, coal and iron ore in abundance.”
While Harrison referred to himself as a farmer in Hardesty’s history, there is also some indication that he was a timberman.
“The fact Archibald Harrison owned so much land at the mouth of Phernatt’s Creek is a clue that he was in the timber business,” said Harold R. Smith, Lincoln County genealogist and historian, in a c.2003 interview. “That was during the timber boom and land at the mouth of these creeks was heavily sought by people in that line of work. You could build a boom there and charge people a fee to get their logs out of the creek.”
At the time Harrison was profiled in Hardesty’s history, he and his wife were members of the Christian Church and received their mail at Hamlin.
“I don’t think he stayed at Phernatt’s Creek too long,” said Smith. “I think I read or heard somewhere that he moved to Big Ugly or Green Shoal and did a lot of timbering.”