Print This Page
As a bicentennial project Mrs.. Harry E. (Evelyn) Heckman of Follansbee undertook the task of gathering together material related to the beginnings of the community of Hooverson Heights and the part of Brooke County known as Eldersville Road Area.
The following material is extracted from her work, with deep appreciation by the editorial staff of this Review. (This is Brooke County Historical Society publication- the Historical Soc. is no longer active. gh)
At the opening of the 20th century that area now known as Hooverson Heights was a very sparsely populated farming area. The total population of the county was only 7,219 in 1900.
After traveling up the hill from Follansbee the first farm encountered in what is now Hooverson Heights was a 47 acre farm located to the left of the road and owned by A. FINLEY . The Finley homestead in 1976 was occupied by SAM AND MARY BOFFO RIGBY. On the right of Allegheny Road was a large farm of 291 1/2 acres owned by J.A. AND T.C. MC KIM that extended from the top of the hill at OAK GROVE CEMETERY down Rockdale Road to the first sharp bend, and continued down the hillside to the boundary of Follansbee.
Several small farms were located on Rockdale Road as it made its way to CROSS CREEK. These included the P. DOWNEY farm of 40 acres, MAGGIE CARTER'S 47 acres, RUTH BASLEY'S 37 acres, W. STEVENS 47 acres, B.J. PFISTER'S 75.8 acres and J. SANDERS.
The opening of Follansbee steel mill on September 8, 1904 brought a considerable influx of workers into the area. Hitherto unnamed roads acquired names and the area began to take on a very settled appearance. Lee Road was named for LEE MAHAN and May Road was named for WILLIAM MAY who lived on the first street off Lee Road.
OAK GROVE CEMETERY was established in 1923 on property purchased from the farm of J.S. PHILABAUM. First stock holders of the cemetery were J.B. BALCH, J.A. SHOPE, J.E. MONTGOMERY, JOHN JAMES AND NYRIN JAMES.
The first person buried in the cemetery was ANNA BOFFO, the infant daughter of ALEX AND THERESA who moved to the area to be known as Hooverson Heights in 1920.
By 1929 the population of the Hooverson Heights area had grown to approximately 1,000 and efforts were successful to locate a school on part of the MEEKS property. Some of the early teachers were MISS ORUM, VIRGINIA MC FADDEN, MR. STYLES, ELSIE WOLF, GREGORY AND LOIS AKINSON.
Electricity and telephone service were brought to the area in 1923 principally by the efforts of WILLIAM N. BURTON and ALEX BOFFO. The first telephone was installed in the Burton home and was used by all residents. Shots for school children were also given in the Burton home.
About this same period of time a Sunday School was started in the school building and WILLIAM BURTON, ED SMITH, AND ARTHUR KEELING were responsible for developing a congregation of about 150 people. Early Background of Hooverson Heights and Eldersville Road area...Part TWO
The Farm Women's Organization, now known as the Homemakers Club was formed in 1936 and grew out of the efforts of the women of the area who were working to keep the school and other community efforts growing. Among the early participants in these activities were VIOLET PERSINGER, SYBIL SUCIU, ELEANOR MC CALL, HAZEL HOBBS, ELIZABETH SHULTE, MARIE COX AND MRS, JAMES EARLY. These women took turns cooking the hot lunches at the school and canned soup for school use.
In 1923 the first fire truck appeared on the hilltop. Through the efforts of E.E. BOWEN who was affiliated with Follansbee Steel the fire truck was built at the Sheet Metal Division of Follansbee Steel Company.
In 1929 the people of Hooverson Heights began an organization known as "The Community Association" with the motto "A Better Place to Live"'. This organization was responsible for bringing gas, electricity, water, better roads, entertainment, building a fire house, starting a 4-H club, and in general the development of community life.
Hooverson Heights by the time of the national bicentennial was a fairly well established community with grocery stores, service stations, churches, hardware store, library and other facilities that are found in the typical American community.
The Eldersville Road Area is actually one of the OLDEST SETTLED parts of Brooke County. Early settlers were moving into this area by 1772. It is believed the first cabin was built by ALBERT ELSON about 1772 or 1773.
Brookview Drive is part of the JOSEPH CARTER farm who settled in Brooke County in 1780. The Carter family still occupies part of the original farm.
WELLS FORT on Eldersville Road was built in 1772 by RICHARD "GREYBEARD" WELLS who came into the county in 1771 and settled on a 400 acre farm.
Other early settlers were WILLIAM AND SAMUEL STRAIN who came from Ireland and settled in 1774 on a farm about two and one-half miles from the present OAK GROVE CEMETERY.
The WILLIAM PATTERSON home was built in 1841 on a 32 acre farm in the same vicinity.
Other late 18th and early 19th century families settling into the Eldersville Road area were those of ROBERT BROWN LATIMER, THE WIGGINS FAMILY, on Tent Church Road, THE BECKS, HUNTERS AND THE SANDERS.
A landmark in the area was the SANDERS MILL built on Cross Creek by NATHANIEL HUNTER about 1839. The original mill burned sometime later but was rebuilt by the "ODD" AND "BENNY" SANDERS. It was later purchased on Sep.3, 1898 by BENJAMIN AND GEORGE PFISTER.
The mill turned out horse feed from corn and oats and pig feed from corn cobs and made white flour and corn meal as late as 1918. The building also housed a wood working shop where George Pfister made tables, chairs and other furniture for homes in the area.
By 1926 the building had been converted into a grocery store serving the people then working in the coal mines in the area. It subsequently became "The Old Mill Tavern" and later an apartment house.
The old mill is now in an abandoned state, although the burr-stones are sill to be found.
From a book dated 1980
If you turn left at OAK GROVE CEMETERY on HOOVERSON HEIGHTS (Follansbee, WV) you will travel the ELDERSVILLE ROAD area, first settled in 1772. The first part of the lane going to FRANK RIHEL'S farm was once part of Eldersville Road. The house was first a four-room cabin built by ALBERT ELSON sometime in 1700. He owned 400 acres of ground, which he gradually sold to farmers. MR. RIHEL bought the house, including 80 acres from MR. ELSON. Mr. Rihel related the tale of MRS. ELSON'S death in 1920, because the ambulance could not reach the Elson home. Mr. Rihel, JOHN BROWN AND LEONARD CARTER carried her body up the hill to the Carter home on Brookview Drive and dug her grave in old ST. JOHN'S CEMETERY.
What is now Brookview Drive was a part of the Carter farm. The first Carter (Joseph), married in 1776 and settled here in 1780. EWING CARTER (SHIRLEY'S GRANDFATHER) bought the farm of 80 acres in 1885 from ALBERT ELSON. This land was part of the RICHARD ELSON'S 400 ACRE farm, which was acquired from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is signed by the Governor, Patrick Henry.
SHIRLEY CARTER'S father, LEONARD, brought his bride, MAUD ROBINSON , to the farm in 1903. Shirley, their only son, was born in 1907 and still lives in the old homestead. Shirley's father was born in the old PRESTON JORDAN home; formerly BOYD'S and them JIM STRONG property.
RICHARD GREYBEARD WELLS came here in 1771, bought 400 acres and became a prosperous farmer. In 1772 he built WELLS FORT . Other early settlers were WILLIAM AND SAMUEL STRAIN , who came from Ireland and settled in 1774 on a farm on Eldersville Road about 2 1/2 miles from Oak Grove Cemetery. WILLIAM STRAIN'S son EBENEZER, lived and died on the same tract of land. The STRAINS sold the property to ELI CARTER and JOHN DAVID; FLOYD HUNTER bought it in 1933. The barn on the property was built in 1856. MR. HUNTER, born in 1894, worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad for 40 years, and MRS. NANCY SUSAN HEADLY HUNTER ,, born in 1900, taught school for 11 years in Avella, Pennsylvania.
Other early settlers were SAMUEL BAXTER , who in 1836 owned all the land on the right near the bottom of COOK'S HILL.
The WILLIAM PATTERSON home was built in 1841 on 32 acres about two miles from Oak Grove Cemetery.
ROBERT BROWN LATIMER, grandfather of MARY L. BROWN, married CHARITY HENDRICK on January 24, 1839. Their son, ROBERT GEORGE, was born in a log cabin in 1851. He later married MARY ANN MARCHLAND and moved into the new LATIMER-BROWN home in 1831. They had five children: HARRY, MARY, EMMA, BROWN AND EDNA. MARY LATIMER married JOHN BROWN in 1871 and moved into the homestead in 1914. MR. BROWN died in 1973 at the age of 96. The property on which the Latimer -Brown home stands was once part of the JOHN BAXTER farm. MRS. MARY BROWN was 95 years old September 16, 1975. BROOKE COUNTY GENEALOGY INVITES YOU TO SUBMIT YOUR STORIES OF FAMILIES, AREAS, BUSINESSES ETC