Appalachia, Barboursville, C.A. Coulter, Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Newsletter, coal, Empty Yard, Gay Coal and Coke Company, Guyandotte River, history, Huntington, Logan, Logan County, Mount Gay, Peach Creek, railroad, Red Onion, Slabtown, West Logan, West Virginia, World War I
From the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Newsletter (June 1974) comes this history titled “The Shops at Peach Creek” composed by C.A. Coulter. This is Part 1 of Mr. Coulter’s account.
The railroad was first built to Logan in 1904, the first train arriving on September 9 of that year. The line was started at Barboursville, West Virginia, on the main line, and ran up the Guyan River for 65 miles to Logan. By 1913, rail lines had been run to the heads of all the main branches of the Guyan River in Logan County. As soon as the rail lines reached the branches, coal mines were built, and coal immediately began to move to outside markets.
The first shop facilities were built at Slabtown, a small settlement just north of Logan. Just when the shops were built, I have no record, but it was soon after trains had begun to arrive from Huntington. A short pit track, a shed track with a shed for the freight that was handled, a wye track, and a small yard of three tracks that held about fifty cars each were constructed. This yard is still in use, and is known now as the merchandise yard. Later, another yard was built just north of this one, with about three tracks; this was used to assemble the loaded coal cars. This yard was later lengthened and more tracks were added; it is now known as the Empty Yard. A yard office building was located along the main line between the two yards.
There was also an old bunkhouse located near the pit track at Slabtown, called the “Red Onion.” I have heard my father mention this many times, as he would lay up in it when he came in from the run from Huntington. I have heard him tell of how he would have to wait until someone got out of bed so he could get in and get a few hours of rest before being called back to Huntington. This was a long, hard run with the small, hand-fired G-4s, G-6s, and G-7s that were in use at that time. The trains were much shorter than they are today. By World War I, trains were lengthened to 55 loads for a single engine and 85 loads for a doubleheader. This limit held for many years until the Mallets and Mikados arrived, then the car limit was done away with.
The first carload of coal was run out of Logan County on Thanksgiving Day, 1905. It was loaded in wagons at the Gay Coal and Coke Company mine at Mt. Gay, about one mile south of Logan, and hauled and dumped into a coal car at Logan. The old coal loading records show that for 1905 about 55 carloads of coal were mined in the county. As the years passed, coal loadings began to boom, and by 1907 15 companies were operating in the county. By 1923, 148 mines were working in the county. According to the records, this was about the peak year for the number of mines in operation.
It was not long after the first small shop facilities were built at Logan that it became evident that a much larger one had to be built. The company finally decided to build at the present site of Peach Creek. Peach Creek was an old town, having been established as a small settlement about 1806. Quite a number of houses were clustered near the mouth of the small creek that emptied into the Guyan at this point. It is said that the town got its name from a small peach orchard that stood near the mouth of the creek.
I am not sure just when construction began on the new shops. It was some little time before 1916, as the company moved the shops from Logan in 1916. The town of Peach Creek was laid out in lots and streets at about the same time, as the town of West Logan, on the west side of the Guyan River. A swinging foot bridge across the river, near the site of the present highway bridge, connected the two towns. Soon, employees of the company began to build their homes in both towns.
Appalachia, Big Sandy River, Boone County, Guyandotte River, Hamlin, history, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan County, Madison, map, maps, McDowell County, Mingo County, Pineville, Polk's State Gazetteer and Business Directory, Tug Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, Wayne, Wayne County, Welch, West Virginia, Williamson, Wyoming County
Amie Dickinson, Annie Morris, Appalachia, Barboursville, Charles Morris, Charley Stone, Dyke Garrett, fiddler, fiddling, Guyandotte, Hiram Hill, history, Huntington, Jim Dingess, Kitchen, Lorenzo Dow Hill, Martha, Mary Hill, music, Ohio, Peter Hill, preacher, Scott Hill, slavery, slaves, Springfield, West Virginia
The following article, written by Frank Ball, is taken from a Huntington-area newspaper clipping. This is Part 2 of the story.
A year after the trip back from Virginia, the slaves of Lorenzo Hill were surprised and not a little dazed when he tried to convey to them the fact that they were free. They didn’t want to leave Ole Boss. They had no place to go. So they lived on with him and worked for him as usual. Uncle Scott stayed with his former owner until he was 21. And the slaves who were sold en route to Virginia returned often to visit the Hill farm.
At the age of 21, Scott Hill left the valley and went to Springfield, O. There he met and married Annie Morris, who was born the slave property of Charles Morris of Martha, near Barboursville, May 5, 1862. She remembers nothing of slave days, but remembers that she, too, lived on at the home of her former owner with her father and mother until she was 18. She often went back to visit the Morris home after she left it. In case of sickness there her services were always desired. She and her husband are the parents of 13 children, seven of whom are dead. The Hill family moved to Barboursville in 1891.
The father and mother of Scott Hill were the parents of 14 children, nine boys and five girls. All the children lived to be grown. Three are yet living. In addition to Uncle Scott there is a son, Peter Hill, and a daughter, Mrs. Amie Dickinson, of Huntington.
Mr. Hill’s father died in Huntington in 1913, and his mother in Guyandotte in 1909. Uncle Scott has long since passed his days of usefulness as a workman. He sits patiently by the bedside of his invalid wife daily, musing on the past. Friends have lately installed a radio for the aged couple by which they may hear directly from the outside world.
In his younger days, Mr. Hill pushed a cart about town selling fish to the citizens. For many years he was a familiar figure as he wheeled about the village, and his “feesh, fresh feesh” became a by-word among the youngsters. In addition he was a great hog raiser, and he made arrangements for swill from many of his neighbors who were glad to accommodate him.
He remembers well the old days and the old citizens of the valley. He likes to recall the mountain dances at Old Boss’, or across the river at Charley Stone’s or Jim Dingess’. The fiddler who sawed incessantly in the corner while others tripped the light fantastic was a stripling named Dyke Garrett. And in those early days, “Uncle Dyke” was not exactly adverse to sampling Old Boss’ brandies.
“I remember, though, when he made th’ change,” recalled Uncle Scott, “an’ I’ve follered him through a long an’ useful life. Fine feller, Uncle Dyke.”
Abraham Lincoln, Appalachia, Boone County, Cabell County, Carroll District, Duval District, Guyandotte River, Hamlin, Hamlin Chapel, Harts Creek District, history, Jefferson District, Kanawha County, Laurel Hill District, Lincoln County, Logan County, Mud River, Putnam County, Sheridan District, Union District, Washington District, West Virginia
From West Virginians, published by the West Virginia Biographical Association in 1928, comes this profile of the Logan-Boone Highway in southwestern West Virginia:
Lincoln County occupies a place in the southwestern section of the State, and is one of the few counties created by the State of which it is a component part. The organization of the county was authorized by an act of the legislature passed February 23, 1867, from a part of the counties of Cabell, Putnam, Kanawha and Boone. The formal organization of the county government was made on March 11, following, at the Hamlin Chapel, a short distance away from the present seat of justice. Lincoln county is drained by the Guyandotte and Mud rivers, and has a land area of 448.76 square miles. The population in 1920, according to the official enumeration of the United States Census Bureau, was 19,378. Later estimates from the same sources do not increase the figures. The county has a great diversity of natural resources, coal, oil and gas predominating. It also has large agricultural interests, and its horticultural products are of no inconsiderable value. The assessed valuation of property within the county, as returned at the 1927 assessment, is as follows: Real estate, $7,000,460; personal property, $3,666,350; public utility property, $8,751,297; total $19,418,107. The county is sub-divided into eight magisterial districts, Carrol, Duval, Harts Creek, Jefferson, Laurel Hill, Sheridan, Union and Washington. There are but few who are not familiar with the life story of the man whose name is borne by this country—the martyred Abraham Lincoln, rail-splitter, country lawyer and sixteenth President of the United States. No towering shaft; no swiftly flowing stream; no sub-division of this land of ours, welded into one by his work and sacrifice, is needed to keep his memory green. His name is so emblazoned on the pages of American history that it will remain bright, shining and untarnished long after letters engraved upon granite rocks are dimmed and dulled by the rust and erosion of the years as they come and go. Lincoln—homely in feature and tall in stature—grows with the years and honors are paid him and his memory that are accorded no other, save only Washington, the founder. Hamlin, the county seat, is named in memory and honor of Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, Vice President of the United States during the first administration of Abraham Lincoln. The site was selected as a proper place for the county seat at the organization of the county, and was made the permanent county seat by legislative enactment of February 26, 1869. Hamlin has an elevation of 642 feet above sea level, and in 1920 had a population of 516. It is the only incorporated place in the county.”
NOTE: Hamlin is NOT named for Hannibal Hamlin!
NOTE: By 1869, all land was returned to Putnam and additional land was taken from Logan County.
Appalachia, Aracoma, Aracoma Hotel, Boone County, Charleston, Chief Cornstalk, Chief Logan, coal, Daniel Boone, farming, history, Huntington, Kanawha County, Logan, Logan-Boone Highway, logging, Madison, Marmet, Midland Trail, mining, Tug Fork, West Virginia, West Virginia Biographical Association, Williamson
From West Virginians, published by the West Virginia Biographical Association in 1928, comes this profile of the Logan-Boone Highway in southwestern West Virginia:
Boone County, south of Kanawha, has been opened up by a hard road from Marmet, across the Kanawha from the Midland Trail. A second connection with Charleston is offered by a highway on the south side of the Kanawha. The county was named for Daniel Boone, the great hunter and Indian fighter, who lived in West Virginia many years. Madison is the county seat. Logan, county seat of Logan County, was named for Chief Logan, the speech-making Indian chief, who has been made one of the numerous story book heroes of the Indian race. Whether or not Chief Logan ever shot a deer or pitched his wig-wam in this county is much in doubt. The modern hotel at Logan, the Aracoma, further reflects the Indian influence with the name of this member of Chief Cornstalk’s family. Coal mining, lumbering and farming are the principal activities of Logan and Boone counties. Most of the road south is also hard-surfaced, and will eventually form the link between the Midland Trail to the North and the Huntington-Williamson highway along Tug River.
Alderson-Wilkinson Land Company, Appalachia, Ashburn, attorney, Big Huff Coal Company, California, Carroll County, Cincinnati, David Wilkinson, Ernest Eugene Wilkinson, First Baptist Church, genealogy, Guyan Coal Company, Guyan Valley Bank, Guyandotte Valley, history, Hollywood, John B. Wilkinson, John B. Wilkinson Jr., Knights Templar, lawyer, Logan, Logan County, Margaret Midyette, Mary Belle Straton, Mingo County, Mona Coal Company, Mona Russo, Mystic Shrine, prosecuting attorney, Robertson Consolidated Land Company, Robertson Grocery Company, San Diego, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Virginia, Wayne, West Virginia, West Virginia Biographical Association
From West Virginians, published by the West Virginia Biographical Association in 1928, comes this profile of Judge John B. Wilkinson of Logan, WV:
The Honorable John B. Wilkinson, who died August 12, 1919, at Logan, where he had long been a foremost citizen, held rank among the best known and most successful lawyers and jurists in West Virginia. In business likewise Judge Wilkinson enjoyed a distinguished success. One of the leaders in the early development of the coal industry in the Guyan Valley, his position at the time of his death was among the great figures in business and industry. He was treasurer of the Guyan Coal Company, the Mona Coal Company, the Robertson Consolidated Land Company and the Alderson-Wilkinson Land Company. He was president of the Big Huff Coal Company and a director of the Robertson Grocery Company. He was originally a director of the Guyan Valley Bank, but later disposed of his holdings in that institution. Throughout the state at large, however, his fame was earned chiefly by his work as a jurist. During twelve years on the bench of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, he was noted for his fairness, accuracy and knowledge of the law. The press of the whole state reported his passing at great length and with sincere regret that so valuable a personality had been lost to the community. Judge Wilkinson was born in Logan County, W.Va., February 13, 1860, the son of David Wilkinson, who had come from Carroll County, Va. He lived on a farm and attended school in that part of Logan County which afterward became Mingo County, coming to the then village of Logan Court House to attend a teachers’ institute and take an examination for a teacher’s certificate. He taught two or three local normal schools here and at Wayne. His legal career began in 1882, when he was admitted to the bar. He continued in the legal profession until his death in 1919. In 1884 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Logan County, which office he filled continuously till 1896. After an interval of four years he again assumed that office, in 1900, and served till January 1, 1905. Having been elected Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, he resigned as prosecutor and took his place on the circuit bench on the first of January, 1905, and remained as judge until failing health induced him to resign twelve years later. Several times Judge Wilkinson was urged to become his party’s candidate for Governor of the State, although he preferred not to accept that honor. In the summer of 1916 he was nominated for Judge of the Supreme Court of West Virginia. After leaving the office of circuit judge, the condition of his health inclined him to give up the practice of law and close his office, but many friends had learned to depend on him for legal counsel, and at their urging he continued in active practice until his death. Judge Wilkinson was married, September 21, 1882, to Mary Belle Straton of Logan, who survives him with their four children, John B., Jr., who resides at Ashburn, Va.; Ernest Eugene, of Cincinnati; Mrs. Mona Russo, of San Diego, Calif.; and Mrs. Margaret Midyette, of Hollywood, Calif. Judge Wilkinson was for a long time a member of the First Baptist Church of Logan, and a member of its board of deacons. He was a member of the Masonic Orders—the Knights Templar and the Mystic Shrine. Hundreds of people in West Virginia and neighboring states, although not personally acquainted with Judge Wilkinson, knew of his work as a jurist and his renown as a civic leader in general, so that at the time of his death, his passing elicited the sincere feeling that the state had lost one of its best and most constructive citizens.
American Primitive, Appalachia, Aracoma, Battle of Point Pleasant, Camp Charlotte, Chief Cornstalk, Chief Logan, Circleville Elm, genealogy, history, Horn Papers, James Logan, John Breckenridge, Lawnsville, Logan, Lord Dunmore, Michael Cresap, Native American History, Native Americans, surveyor, Tahgahinte, The Aracoma Story, Thomas Dunn English, Thomas Patterson, West Virginia, West Virginia Women, William Madison, William Penn, William Preston
Doris Miller (1903-1993), a longtime educator, historian, writer, and poet operating in the area of Huntington, West Virginia, composed this biography of Aracoma, a well-known Native American figure who lived in present-day Logan, West Virginia. This is Part 4 of her composition.
One other detail of the legend, not generally known but occasionally heard, is the story that Aracoma was Cornstalk’s daughter by adoption, that her mother was a sister of Cornstalk who had married Chief Logan and died soon after Aracoma’s birth. For this reason, the infant was taken into the lodge of Chief Cornstalk, where there were squaws to rear her, and this kinship by marriage and common interest in Aracoma was the secret of the alliance between the two famous Indian leaders who joined forces at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. There is nothing in Aracoma’s dying words to refute this claim—she still would have considered Cornstalk her father and have been the last of his line, through a niece. But Logan’s words do carry a refutation.
At the time Logan made this speech under the Circleville Elm, and it was written down to be dispatched to Lord Dunmore at Camp Charlotte, where peace was being negotiated, he could not have said, “There runs not a drop of my blood in any living creature” if Aracoma had been his daughter.
Some historians have discounted Logan’s speech, but it is fully in keeping with the man pictured by his contemporaries in the Horn Papers and other sourcebooks of American history. Scottish Lord Dunmore must have [p. 10] accepted it as authentic, when it was brought to him wrapped in a wampum belt by a man he had sent to fetch Logan.
Logan had been friendly to white settlers of Virginia and Pennsylvania. As a boy, he lived in the home of James Logan, former secretary of William Penn, who educated the youth, a son of a friendly Indian chief. Thereafter Logan bore the name of his foster-father instead of Tahgahinte, his Indian name. Chief Logan remained friendly to the settlers until his family was treacherously murdered by white men. Later it was established that Colonel Cresap was not a party to the deed, though Logan thought so for a long time.
Colonel Madison who led the Virginians against Aracoma’s settlement, is said to have been a son-in-law of Colonel William Preston, a noted Virginia surveyor. Some of the earliest land surveys in present Logan County were recorded in names of members of the Preston, Madison and Breckenridge families, and it is quite likely others went to men who served under Madison and Breckenridge of the Battle of the Island, or members of their families. So the Legend of Aracoma came into the Guyandotte Valley in the memories of the white settlers who came first after her, and in their imaginations.
Another reason for discounting the story that Aracoma was the daughter of Logan is her name. Cornflower seems the logical name of a daughter of Cornstalk.
The residents of the Guyandotte Valley have treasured their legend and have honored the name of Aracoma in many ways. In the early 1800s, the town which grew up in the area of Aracoma’s settlement and grave was known as Lawnsville. During the 1850s, Thomas Dunn English, a physician and poet who was the first mayor of the town, insisted on changing the name to Aracoma, which it remained until its incorporation as a city in 1907. The change then may have been due to men’s custom of referring to the town as “Logan Courthouse” rather than by its true name. Since that time, the name of Aracoma has been given to a smaller community in the county.
When Logan County observed its Centennial in 1952, Thomas Patterson, the author of American Primitive and other well known plays, was commissioned to write a drama based on the legend of Princess Aracoma. The pageant was produced on successive days of the celebration and was considered one of the highlights. [p. 11]
Source: West Virginia Women, Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock (1974), p. 11.
For more about Doris Miller, go here: https://mds.marshall.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1284&context=sc_finding_aids
A.J.S. England, Appalachia, Arline England, Athens, attorney, attorney general, Attorney Generals Association of the United States, Barbour County, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Charleston, Concord Normal College, Edward Theodore England, Francis M. England, Grand Chancellor, history, Huldah Lenburg, Huntingdon, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Jackson County, Junior Vice Grand Chancellor, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Pythias, Logan, Logan County, Louisiana, Loyal Order of the Moose, Majorie England, Mary Elizabeth England, masons, Methodist Church, minister, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Moulton, Oceana, politics, Post Office and Postal Committee, Republican Party, senator, Shriners, Southern Normal University, State Council of Defense, Tennessee, Thea Springs, U.S. Congress, West Virginia, World War I, Wyoming County
From West Virginians, published by the West Virginia Biographical Association in 1928, comes this profile of Congressman Edward Theodore England of Logan, WV:
Edward Theodore England, congressman from the sixth district of West Virginia, made a reputation, which finally took him to Congress through his singularly able and efficient administration as attorney general of the state, 1916-1924. Mr. England was born in Jackson County, W.Va., the son of A.J.S. and Mary Elizabeth (Welch) England. His father was a native of Barbour County, W.Va., and a minister in the Methodist Church. He spent a boyhood and youth of mingled labor and effort to advance and improve himself. His education was largely derived from the opportunities he created. He attended public schools, the Concord Normal at Athens, W.Va., graduating therefrom in 1892 and was also graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Law from the Southern Normal University, Huntingdon, Tenn. He began the practice of law at Oceana, then the county seat of Wyoming in the spring of 1899. From there, seeking a larger field for his activities, he removed to Logan, county seat of Logan County in 1901 and from that county, his abilities as a successful lawyer gained him recognition throughout the state. He served as mayor of Logan in 1903 and again in 1908 and in 1912 was elected to the state senate. He was a leader in that body for eight years and in 1915 was elected president of the senate, an office in which he represented West Virginia and presided over the first meeting of state lieutenant governors, held at Rhea Springs, Tennessee, in 1916. In 1916, Mr. England was elected on the state Republican ticket as attorney-general and in 1920 was re-elected by an increased majority. It was during his administration, that the Virginia-West Virginia debt settlement was negotiated and finally cleared up, Mr. England handing West Virginia’s interests in the affair. He also represented the state in the cases of Ohio and Pennsylvania vs. West Virginia, involving the constitutionality of an act passed by the West Virginia legislature affecting the transportation of gas out of the state. During his term as attorney general occurred the World War and there were many matters growing out of the war period that were assigned to his office. He was a member of the State Council of Defense and as a four-minute man, his services were enlisted as a speaker in war drives and campaigns. In 1923, Mr. England was elected president of the Attorney-Generals’ Association of the United States at a meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. He was a candidate for governor of the state in 1924, being defeated by a small majority, in the primary. He is known all over West Virginia as a loyal member of the Knights of Pythias. During 1920-21 he was Grand Chancellor of the state order and was also Junior Vice Grand Chancellor in 1923. He is a thirty-second degree Mason and Shriner, and is otherwise affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows., Elks, Loyal Order of Moose, and the Kiwanis club, of Charleston. He is also a member of the Methodist church. Mr. England was elected to Congress November 2, 1926, and has looked after the interests of the state faithfully. The sixth congressional district which he represents comprises the counties of Boone, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Pocahontas and Raleigh, and in committee appointment he holds place on the Post Office and Postal Committee, being one of a fewto be honored with appointment to a major committee during first term. He was renominated without opposition in the Republican Primary in May, 1928. Mr. England was married to Huldah L. Lenburg, of Moulton, La., December 25, 1901. They have three children, Arline, Francis M. and Majorie England.
Appalachia, Barboursville, civil war, Frank Ball, Guyandotte Valley, Hiram Hill, history, Kitchen, Logan County, Lorenzo Dow Hill, Mary Hill, Scott Hill, slavery, slaves, Tazewell County, Union Army, Virginia, West Virginia
The following article, written by Frank Ball, is taken from a Huntington-area newspaper clipping, the first part of which is missing.
…Americans are those who remember servitude as slaves. Barboursville has one citizen, Scott Hill, who remembers rendering such service. And little work he did as a slave, for he was but six years of age when the Civil War ended.
“Uncle Scott,” as he is familiarly known, was born the property of Lorenzo Hill, prominent orchardist and farmer of the Guyandotte valley. Lorenzo Hill, owner of several slaves, lived on a large tract of land across the river from the little mining town of Kitchen in Logan county. Here Barboursville’s “Uncle Scott,” son of Hiram and Mary Hill, was born Feb. 5, 1859. (Slaves usually took the surname of their owners.)
Mr. Hill remembers well the excitement created by the Civil War, and the frantic movements attendant thereto. His owner was a blender of the best whiskies in the valley and his home was widely visited by soldiers and citizens alike who sipped the choice brandies and exchanged the news of the day.
Hysteria in border states ran high during the war, and it was thought best by some slaveholders to move their slaves farther south for safe keeping. It was rumored that Union soldiers were taking the slaves by force and freeing them. So Lorenzo Hill, whom Uncle Scott affectionately remembers as “Ole Boss,” started with his slaves on a long journey into Virginia.
Uncle Scott’s memory of this trip and stay in Virginia is rather painful. To begin with, it meant the sacrifice of “Old Baldy,” a steer of which the slave children were exceedingly fond, to furnish meat for the journey. En route, Uncle Scott’s uncle and three of his uncle’s children were sold. Tearfully, his mother parted from her brother and her nephews and niece as the trip to Virginia was resumed.
Ole Boss left his remaining slaves with a planter in Tazewell county, and returned to Logan. A year in Virginia found Scott’s father and mother greatly overworked, and they and their children greatly underfed.
This treatment was in direct contrast to that given to them by their owner, and the mother had the nerve to “strike.” She hired herself to a neighbor slaveholder that her children might be fed. And despite the frenzied objections of the planter with whom she was left, she won out in this extraordinary action.
In the fall of 1864, wartime hysteria had subsided somewhat and Lorenzo Hill returned to Virginia for his slaves. They were overjoyed at seeing him. They were sure they would be well fed and treated kindly. In return they would work hard for Ole Boss.
Note: Mr. Scott’s true name was William Henry “Scott” Hill. His mother Mary was the daughter of her master, Lorenzo Dow Hill, and a slave named Julia.
Appalachia, Aracoma, Blue Feather, Bluestone River, Boling Baker, Doris Miller, Guyandotte River, history, HorsepenCreek, Huntington, Jim Comstock, John Breckenridge, Little Black Bear, Logan, Logan County, Man, Montgomery County, Native American History, Native Americans, Ohio, Raindrop, Running Deer, Snow Lily, Virginia, Waulalisippi, West Virginia, West Virginia Women, William Ingles, William Madison
Doris Miller (1903-1993), a longtime educator, historian, writer, and poet operating in the area of Huntington, West Virginia, composed this biography of Aracoma, a well-known Native American figure who lived in present-day Logan, West Virginia. This is Part 3 of her composition.
Aracoma has been described as an Indian maiden of exceptional grace and beauty. Perhaps the Virginians she impressed deeply in her dying hours may have believed she had great beauty in youth. Boling Baker is said to have had a fine physique and courageous bearing, which would have given his Indian captors reason for adopting him into the tribe. He is given credit for artful courtship of his love, and it seems likely he must have been skillful to win her away from other suitors the sachem’s daughter must have had.
The long history of their wedding, an elaborate ceremony her father accompanied them to the Guyandotte to perform, is less credible, but not impossible. More stress has been given to Aracoma’s royal estate than Indian customs warranted, but the English settlers had their own traditions of royal pomp and ceremony as patterns to draw from.
The carefree life credited to the Indians in the Guyandotte valley before 1776 reflects the wishful thinking of people whose own lives were filled with toil. Certainly the Indians must have lived stremuous lives, though they may have had an interlude of unusual peace and happiness before family life was saddened by the scourge which overtook them in 1776.
According to the story-tellers, Aracoma and Boling Baker had six children. Their names were Waulalisippi, or Laughing Waters, Snow Lily, Raindrop, Running Deer, Little Black Bear and Blue Feather.
It is said that Baker became despondent and bitter after the death of his children and during the hardships undergone by the colony after disease had reduced its strength. Doubtless the ones who added this detail had seen similar results in other men’s lives. They deduce that it was his desire to recoup the fortunes of the tribe that led him to attempt a bold exploit which resulted in disaster for his settlement.
Legendary history tells us that in the spring of 1780, a stranger appeared at a white settlement on Bluestone River, a man with a woe-begone countenance who recited sorrowful accounts of hardships he had undergone as a captive among the Indians in Ohio. He stayed for several days, familiarizing himself with everything about the settlement, then departed for the east (he said) in the hope of being reunited with his aged parents. The man was Boling Baker, who merely circled back to Flat Top Mountain, where he had left a band of his braves. On a dark rainy night in April, they stole quietly into the settlement and left with every horse there without disturbing a single sleeper.
The outraged settlers realized their recent visitor must have led the raid. Without horses to follow, they could only send for help from the mounted guard at Montgomery, seat of government for Montgomery County, Virginia, in which this entire area was then located. Colonel William Ingles, sheriff of the county, dispatched Colonel Madison and a deputy sheriff, John Breckenridge, with [p. 10] the party which massacred Aracoma’s village a few days later. Her paleface husband was one of the party absent on a hunt that day.
Little is known of Boling Baker after the death of Aracoma. It is said that for many a year afterward, men could read a couplet carved on beech trees in the area: ‘Boling Baker—his hand and knife, He can’t find a horse to save his life.’ Whether the words were carved by Baker or were a gibe directed at him by another, none can say.
The story is told that years later, an aged stranger came wandering up the Guyandotte River, asking questions of those he met. After standing a long time weeping on the mountainside opposite the island where Aracoma had lived, he went on past Horsepen Creek and eventually found lodging for a night in a home near Man. That night he told briefly some of the experiences of his life, which later were recognized to match the known story of Boling Baker. Next morning he was found dead in bed.
Source: West Virginia Women, Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock (1974), p. 10-11.
For more about Doris Miller, go here: https://mds.marshall.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1284&context=sc_finding_aids
This model train caboose is one of many made by my great-uncle J.M. “Jim” Mullins, Jr. (born 1932) of Madison, Boone County, WV. He made this particular model for his sister, Iona Mae (Mullins) Richardson of Holden, Logan County. Jim and Mae, the children of a C&O section foreman in Ferrellsburg, Lincoln County, were longtime employees of the C&O and Chessie. Uncle Jim was profiled as “The Caboose Man” in Goldenseal magazine.
Amos Williamson, Ann Brumfield, Appalachia, civil war, Confederate Army, county clerk, Curtis Ballard, Felix McConahoy, George Scaggs, history, James M. Duncan, Logan County, Paris Brumfield, Robert Thompson, Tolbert Ferrell, Vincent A. Witcher, West Virginia
Circuit Court Logan County
George Scaggs et al v. Amos Williamson
And the said defendant George Scaggs by Ferguson _ Samuels his attorney for plea says that at the time of the committing of the said supposed grievances in the said plaintiff’s declaration mentioned a state of actual war existed between the United States of America and the so called Confederate States of America, and that the said so called Confederate States of America were there and then a de facto government, to whom all the rights of bligerants had been and were then and there accorded by the said government of the United States, that at the time aforesaid he the said defendant was a regularly enlisted soldier in the military service of the said de facto government of the Confederate States of America and the said plaintiff was a regularly enlisted soldier in the military service of the said government of the United States, that the said defendant __ in the military service of the Confederate States of America, and in obedience to the orders of Col. Vincent A. Witcher, Lieutenant Felix McConahoy & Lieutenant Tolbert Ferrell his superior officers & captured from the said plaintiff one horse, while the said plaintiff was in the military service of the said government of the United States, which said horse was then and there contraband of war and was by the orders of the officers aforesaid appointed to the use of the said Confederate States of America, and not in any way to the private use of him the said defendant which is the same horse, and the man taking and c__ing in the said plaintiff’s declaration mentioned. And this the said defendant is ready to verify, wherefore he prays judgment.
The State of West Virginia
To the Sheriff of Logan County–Greeting:
We command that you summon Paris Bromfield, Jas. M. Duncan & Robert Thompson to appear before the Judge of our Circuit Court of Logan County, at the Court House of said County, on the 2nd day of the next May Term of the said Court, to testify and the truth to speak on behalf of George Scaggs, in a certain matter of controversy before our said Court depending, wherein Amos Williamson is Plaintiff and George Scaggs is Defendant; and have then there this writ, and show how you have executed the same. Witness: Curtis Ballard, Clerk of the said Circuit Court of Logan County, at the Court House thereof, the 2nd day of April, 1866, and in the 3rd year of the State.
Curtis Ballard, Clerk
Executed on Pairs Brumfield By Reading the within to his wife on the 4th day of April 1866.
Anna Musick, Appalachia, Big Sandy River, Blackberry Creek, Clinch River, Coleman A. Hatfield, David Musick, Devil Anse Hatfield, Ephraim Hatfield, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, history, Honaker, Joseph Hatfield, Kentucky, Logan County, Mary Smith Hatfield, Mate Creek, Mingo County, Mud Lick Branch, Native American History, New Garden District, Pike County, Red Jacket, River Wall Hatfield, Russell County, Shawnee, Sprigg, Thompson's Creek, Tug Fork, Valentine Hatfield, Virginia, West Virginia
Here is an excerpt of Hatfield Pioneers composed by Coleman A. Hatfield, grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield. It was published in 1952.
Aracoma, Doris Miller, Guyandotte River, Henry Clay Ragland, history, Huntington, Jim Comstock, Logan, Logan County, Logan High School, Native Americans, West Virginia, West Virginia Women, William Madison
Doris Miller (1903-1993), a longtime educator, historian, writer, and poet operating in the area of Huntington, West Virginia, composed this biography of Aracoma, a well-known Native American figure who lived in present-day Logan, West Virginia. This is Part 1 of her composition.
West Virginians can lay claim to one of America’s most romantic legends, the story of Aracoma which has grown in Logan County around the meager authentic details of an incident in the history of the region which occurred some 200 years ago.
It is a legend of romance and tragedy about an Indian Princess who lies buried in the city of Logan. The story tells of her love for a white man taken captive by her tribe, of their happy life together as leaders of a settlement of her people on the Guyandotte River until tragedy wiped out their children and many others of their tribe, and of his depredations which led to her death.
Legends are stories built by folklore on a foundation of historic fact. Folklore is history preserved by tradition by people searching for the heroic. Such is the Logan County legend, a story of a courageous woman whose death brought her to the attention of ancestors of many of the people now living in Logan County, with details added by the romantic imaginations of residents of the region who have preserved and added to the legend.
Aracoma, an Indian word said to mean “corn blossom,” was the name given Colonel (later General) William Madison by a dying Indian woman who appeared to be the leader of a settlement of Indians located on the island where Logan High School now stands. She had been mortally wounded in combat between her people and a party of 90 Virginians led by Colonel Madison, in which all of the Indians were massacred except some braves strong and fast enough to escape when they saw the tide of battle had turned against them and a party of hunters absent when the Virginians made their surprise attack.
In later accounts, Aracoma was described as a woman of dignity and courage who appeared to be about 40 years old. The Virginians had been reared in a culture that still remembered the old chivalric tradition of reverence for women. They quickly forgot their animosity in concern for this woman of noble bearing, and treated their wounded captive with compassion and respect.
Tradition says that for several hours the woman resisted every effort to get her to talk. She lay with closed eyes, stoically awaiting her fate. Then, apparently realizing her life was ebbing away and there was no hope for recapture by her people she asked for their leader.
“My name is Aracoma and I am the last of a mighty line,” she told Colonel Madison. “My father was a great chief and friend of your people. He was murdered in cold blood by your people when he had come to them as a friend to give them warning. I am the wife of a paleface who came across the great waters to make war on our people, but came to us instead and was made one of us. Many moons since, a great plague carried off my children with a great number of my people and they lie buried just above the bend of the river. Bury me with them with my face toward the setting sun that I may see my people in their march toward the happy hunting grounds. For your kindness, I warn you to make haste in returning to your homes, for my people are still powerful and will return to avenge my death.”
It was told that the battle occurred in the afternoon of a spring day in 1780 and that Aracoma died before daybreak of the following morning. After burying her in the place and manner she had requested, the Virginians soon departed to return to their homes.
This story of Aracoma’s death differed but slightly in detail as it was repeated around countless firesides for a century before the late Henry Clay Ragland wrote it into the History of Logan County. It seems to be a reasonably accurate account, authenticated by certain details of historic record.
Source: West Virginia Women, Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock (1974), p. 6-7.
For more about Doris Miller, go here: https://mds.marshall.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1284&context=sc_finding_aids