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THE WELLSBURG AND WASHINGTON TURNPIKE
by Frank O. Chapman and Dorothy (Waugh) Chapman
The American Revolutionary War over, the soldiers returning to the coastal colony from which they had entered the long conflict for freedom were not satisfied with what they found. Work was scarce. Many of those who had owned property and businesses before the war had either lost it to the cause for freedom or for the support of their families left behind.
In the service, they had heard interesting stories of the rich lands beyond the mountains in the Ohio Valley and were told of the land patent of 400 acres they would receive simply for the taking.
These veteran freedom fighters were men of strong will and of above average education for the time. The years spent away weaned them from the ties of home. They wanted their share of the freedom they had fought for. They wanted land, a home they could call their own, a family, education for their children and the right to worship God as they saw fit as they were of strong religious belief. They were restless and willing to cast their lot in the lands of the unknown.
Reuniting with their families or marrying their girl friends, each spring saw a new movement of settlers heading west. Each year they had to go a little farther to find unsettled lands.
The settlers coming to the western panhandle of Virginia mostly from eastern Virginia, Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania. As they arrived at Catfish, (now Washington, PA.) they had two choices; either head for Wheeling, some thirty odd miles, or go west on the Washington Trail to Charles Town, a distance of some twenty miles to the Ohio River.
The Washington Trail followed the high ground through West Middletown, Williamsburg (now Independence, PA.) and across the state line into Virginia. The Trail led past what is now Highland Springs Golf Course, and after passing the high hill on the south side, turned to the south through Shangri La, the Brooke Hills Park and came out on Pierce's Run about a mile from the present Washington Pike. It then followed the run to Buffalo Creek and the creek on to Charles Town.
This trail was anything but an all -weather road. The heavily laden wagons, many times with four to six teams of horses, herds of cattle, sheep and hogs, that passed this way churned the trail into a sea of mud. The fording on Buffalo Creek became almost impassable and at times disastrous.
These pioneers, with the years of experience in transportation during the war, were not about to put with this heartbreaking trail. They laid out a new road on over the ridges, down Panther Hill, up the other side to about the location of Hillcrest Drive where it swung to the south out past David Hubbard's home and down over the hill into Charles Town about Fifth Street.
CHARLES PRATHER purchased four hundred acres from the COX brothers on the Ohio River in 1788. In 1791 he had it surveyed and laid out to be a town. In 1792 he secured a charter from the State of Virginia and named it Charles Town. The area at that time was part of Ohio County, Virginia. In 1797, as the population increased, a new county was formed, Brooke County, named for Governor ROBERT BROOKE. The new county extended from Short Creek on the south to the top of the panhandle. Dissatisfaction of the people in the northern part caused Hancock County to be formed in 1848.
The name of Charles Town, county seat of Brooke County, was changed to Wellsburgh in 1816 in honor of ALEXANDER WELLS (there is a correction here), who married the only daughter of CHARLES PRATHER.
In 1807 the Charles Town and Washington Turnpike Co. was formed. They applied to the state for a charter and subscription of stocks to be sold to finance the grading and all-weather surfacing of the road from Charles Town to the state line. Nothing came of this effort and in 1817 a second try was made which also ended in failure.
The Wellsburgh and Washington Turnpike Co., under the leadership of CORNELIUS GIST, on September 22, 1821, received approval of their application to the state for funding and construction of a toll road. The right-of-way was to be sixty feet wide with fourteen feet width of crushed limestone and eighteen inches in depth with two feet of crushed sandstone on either side. Where possible there was to be a nine foot clay road along the side for use in the summer time to protect the animal's hoofs from the stones of the pavement.
In 1882 the road was surveyed and some changes made in the route. The major change was on the hill going into Wellsburgh where it was curved down the hill entering town at what is now Seventh Street. Work was begun immediately and materials were used from farms along the way as found available. Much of the work was done by the farmers as they could find time to be away from their farm work. Many of them purchased fifty-dollar shares of stock and paid for them in labor and material.
In November, 1834, ROBERT MOORE, president of the Turnpike Co. at that time, notified the state office in Richmond that the road was complete, the toll gates in place, the houses for the toll keepers finished and the road would be under toll in a few days.
The cost of the entire project was $18,783.33, eleven thousand of the amount having been raised locally and the balance paid by the state of Virginia.
In the light of costs in 1975, it is interesting to read the tolls charged: twenty hogs or sheep, two cents; twenty cattle, three cents; a horse or mule, one cent; a two -wheeled carriage, two cents; a four-wheeled carriage, six cents; and a cart or wagon with wheels, two cents. Special rates were made for those living along the pike who used the road regularly. There was also special compensation for those who helped maintain the surface in good condition. The pike was under toll until 1910 at which time it was taken over by the county. In 1919, the road was asphalted and because of the solid construction of the base, little had to be done other than surfacing. In the middle 1930's under a state project, the pike was completely regraded with the tops of the hills graded off and the low places filled in. Many of the curves were straightened. The entrance into Wellsburg was changed to Tenth Street to improve the grade.
Settlers coming to the pike area arrived in greatest numbers in the 1780's and 1790's. Some came before the Revolutionary War not wishing to be involved in a conflict with their home land. They could cross the mountains and avoid military service by risking their scalps to the Indians. Many did loose their lives to Indian raiders before 1800, but with the turn of the century, little danger from Indians had to be feared.
The pioneers in choosing a home sight looked for a strong flowing spring and built a log cabin nearby to give shelter to their family until they cleared the land. As they prospered and received a patent or deed for their chosen land, they built new homes.
For the clearing of the land, many saw mills were kept busy in the area. These mills supplied sawed lumber for new homes and buildings. Some all frame homes were built but many were of brick and stone. The bricks were usually burned at the location from the clay soil dug from the basement and foundation of the house. When stone was used, it was usually because stone was obviously available nearby.
Driving east on the Washington Pike out of Wellsburg, if you look to the top of the hill to the left, you will see an old two-story red brick house. This was the Mendel home, ancestors of the present Mendels of Wellsburg, and was built in the early 1800's. It was a well built home with beautiful fire places crowned with while marble mantel pieces which were no doubt carried from the coast by wagon freight.
On the hill to the right, but not visible from the pike, is the home of DAVID WAUGH HUBBARD and his wife, the former HELEN HERVEY. At the time when the old trail passed that way, one of Dodridge family had a cabin there. This house burned sometime around 1850. ADAM KUHN built the present large brick home in 1856. He was an attorney, a banker and for one term clerk of the county court. He owned a considerable amount of property and was influential citizen of the area. When the house was built, they must have been using the old Washington Trail as the house faces the trail rather than the new Wellsburg and Washington Turnpike. The house is large and spacious and some of the ceilings are fourteen feet high.
At the top of the hill on the left where KENNETH DENBOW now lives, is the Jacob house which was shown on the Turnpike map of 1822. No doubt it was only a log cabin then as I understand that the present house was built around 1832 to 1834, and was owned by SAMUEL JACOB. This house was remodeled and stuccoed in the 1950's.
On the right, across the pike is a red brick home now occupied by the widow of FRANK (Bud) TRAUBERT. This house was built in 1878 by DANIEL JACOB when he married his second wife, maiden name ELIZABETH HAMMOND, the widow of JAMES WAUGH.
Traveling on out the flat past the trailer court, you will see an old brick home now occupied by CLAUDE DUTY. DANFORTH BROWN, son of OLIVER BROWN, built this house before 1822 and the old spring house can still be seen in the east corner of the front lawn. At the foot of Panther Hill, down a road to the right was Brown's Still House. Here, no doubt, Brown turned grain to whiskey for shipment down the river to New Orleans as it was more profitable to ship in liquid form than as grain. NOTE This following noted by ~~~~~~ fits into above, first paragraph -Mrs. Chapman said this information was received after the article was written. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
was the VALENTINE MENDEL home. Valentine Mendel was a Hessian conscription soldier (for a correction of this information go HERE) brought by the English to fight the colonists. At Cornwell's defeat at Yorktown, the English returned to England, left the Germans behind.
VALENTINE MENDEL was one of the Germans and he received a grant of land back of Wellsburg extending from Cross Creek to Buffalo Creek. This he subdivided and sold in farms.
Early in the 18th century a farm road lead from Wellsburg up Skull Hollow and over the hill past the WILSON cemetery and down to the Washington Pike.
KELLY PARK an Irishman arrived in Wellsburg in 1813 and purchased 75 acres of land on the Skull Hollow road and in 1815 built the home shown in these slides a copy of the home he left in Ireland. There were 6 large rooms in the house, 3 huge stone fire places and one in the living room, dining room and kitchen. The majority of the exterior was built from stone quarried on the land and the interior sawed from trees at a nearby sawmill.
After the death of JOHN BROWN, the house came up for sale and was purchased by KELLY PARK who by then wanted to live on the Washington Pike. Kelly Park had two sons, ROBERT and GEORGE. Robert remained on the family farm and developed the Park addition. George established his home in Follansbee and operated the Park Hardware Company far into the 20th century.
For many years there was a good dirt road leading up Panther Run where there used to be several houses. On the Turnpike map REEVES Mill is shown to have been in this direction. I am satisfied that this was a sawmill.
The very early settlers coming into this area found an abundance of panthers, or painters as they called them. My mother, CLARA HUNTER CHAPMAN, often told me as a boy of the tragedy that led to the naming of Painter Hollow and Hill.
A widow lady, no name that I remember, lived up this run. As there was no welfare or social security in those days, she worked for a living for housewives of the area. Work those days was by the day and lasted from dawn to dark. One night after dark she was going up the run road with a bag of laundry over her shoulder, and a panther sprang from a tree overhanging the road and killed her. Mother always said that on real dark nights you could still hear the screams of the woman and the squalls of the big cat. As a boy, I used to go up that run to Varnar's to play with the boys and you can bet your bottom dollar that I was never there after dark.
The foot of "Painter" Hill used to be at run level as crossed by the original turnpike. At the foot of the hill, just as you start up, on the left, was a very old log cabin known in my childhood as the Magee house. On up the hill a short distance, a lane led to the right to the HINDMAN farm.
The Grimes Golden Memorial Park is now located at the junction of the Brady Ridge Road. Before 1800, THOMAS GRIMES settled at this location and built a log cabin on the hill above a spring. Around the spring he planted an orchard and in 1802, he discovered that he had an apple tree bearing beautiful and very tasty golden apples of an unknown variety. Grimes took some of these apples in to a meeting of the county court and after examining and tasting the apples the court officially named them Grimes Golden. This fruit is now grown the world around where apples grow and is enjoyed by all. The spring at the side of the turnpike not only supplied water for the Grimes family but filled a trough at the side of the road for the refreshment of all passing animals.
In 1922, the Franklin Country Women's Club erected the beautiful stone watering trough in the park as a memorial, marking the location of the first Grimes Golden Apple Tree.
THOMAS GRIMES was a prosperous farmer and influential in county affairs. In the early 1800's he built the brick home on Brady's Ridge where EDWARD R. GORHAM now lives.
Proceeding east, you will soon come to a house below the road on the right which is a log house covered with clapboards and now aluminum siding, and occupied by EDMOND GRAY. This house, because of the double porch, one up and one down, was probably built around 1850. It has been owned and occupied by the HEDGES family for most of this century.
WHITE'S Tavern used to be across the pike from the present water office. it was a large frame building built in the 1790's. After is ceased to be used as an Inn and Tavern, it was used as a residence. Most of this century, it was occupied by the Sanders' family and in 1971 was torn down.
Entering the front door of White's Tavern, the bar was to the left with the kitchen directly behind it. On the right was the parlor and behind that was the dining room with a fireplace. Going straight up the stairs from the front door, you entered the ballroom which was the popular place for parties, dances and public meetings in its heyday. To the rear of the ballroom there were small rooms for overnight guests.
The Genteel Ridge Road, with White's Hill leading south away from the pike is one of the oldest roads in the county. On the Wellsburgh-Washington Turnpike map of 1822, it is listed as CASNER'S Mill Road. The best information I found, indicates that Casner's Mill was a sawmill. A Casner married a daughter of WILLIAM SMITH, and operated a mill on the ridge.
Four of the early settlers on the east side of Genteel Ridge Road held land patents for property extending from the old Washington Trail on Pierce's Run to the Genteel Ridge Road. The first is HENRY HERVEY with a patent dated 1785 and signed by PATRICK HENRY. This property is still in the Hervey name. It is said that the Hervey family named Genteel Ridge Road, Genteel, because of the character of the people living there. They worked, played and attended church together and the needs of one became the concern of all.
The farm south of the Hervey farm was settled by THOMPSONS of whom I have no knowledge at this time. Next came the JOSEPH GIST property, who was a descendant of CHRISTOPHER GIST who surveyed with Washington. The Gist families of the county, who have been so active in business and in the development of the good life of the area, all can trace their ancestry to CHRISTOPHER GIST.
WILLIAM SMITH settled on the next farm and his ten children account for many of the Smiths still here. It is said thatWILLIAM J SMITH returned to Baltimore, after he had chosen his land, to bring his wife. On the return journey, they were forced to take refuge from a storm in a cabin, in a grove of trees, near Independence. It was there that their son, EDWARD, was born.
The fourth family, BOZMANS, settled on land now known as the GEORGE BOWERS' farm. Up until some forty years ago, their cabin still stood and the Bowers family lived in it when they bought the property. The Bozman family moved to Morgan County, Ohio around 1850. After the Civil War, their daughter, ELIZABETH, married my grandfather, NATHANIAL C. CHAPMAN, grandson of the Nathanial Chapman who was a half-brother of JOHNNY APPLE SEED, JOHN CHAPMAN.
After our side tour on Genteel Ridge, we proceed up Chapman Hill which was known as CALENDINE'S Hill until the turn of this century. This property is listed in the deed books as the CALENDINE PLANTATION. The first large log cabin was on the south side of the pike, west of Parkway Drive, just about in the back yard of JERRY CASSANDER'S home.
J.D. CALENDINE built a brick home in 1849 which I now own and occupy. The same builders that built Drover's Inn in 1848 built the Calendine Plantation house the following year. The bricks for both buildings were burned on the hill between the houses. The architectural design of the house is similar.
Christian doors, with the panels forming a cross, are used throughout the Calendine home and the door latches and brass knobs made in England, still function satisfactorily. The dwelling is of heavy oak framing which is mortices and pegged. Thick stone foundation and three-brick thick walls, all lead to construction of long durability. A small Indian mound was removed to build the Calendine house and artifacts are still being found; such as a skull, bones, Indian beads and so forth.
The road map of 1822 lists only one house in what is now known as FOWLERSTOWN. It is theRICHARD STARR log cabin, still standing, across the parking area from Drover's Inn. Richard Starr purchased the land from Daniel Calendine who had in turn purchased it from three previous owners in the 1790's. The side road, now known as Northview or Rabbit Hill Road, was called the Steubenville Road, as people of the eastern part of the county used this route when going to Steubenville, Ohio.
WILLIAM FOWLER was one of the very early settlers coming into the area from Baltimore. Relatives of the family say he was a Baptist preacher on Sunday and made whiskey all week. He owned land from Cross Creek to the Washington Pike, along the Fowler Hill Road and across to the Steubenville Road where EARL FOWLER now lives. The four front rooms of the Earl Fowler home, two up and two down, were built by William Fowler in 1806. His son, JOHN FOWLER, operated a grist mill on Cross Creek at the lower end of Fowler Hill Road.
With the growing importance of the Wellsburgh and Washington Turnpike, and with steam power coming into use for powering mills, JOHN FOWLER decided to locate on the pike. He chose the present sight of Fowlerstown which was named for him.
In 1848, JOHN FOWLER built Drover's Inn which served as a regular resting place for Drovers and travelers. As time passed, it houses the general story and the Fowlerstown Post Office. In the V formed by the junction of the Steubenville Road and the Washington Turnpike, the grist mill was built and was operated up into the early years of the 20th century. Across what used to be a garden plot southeast of Drover's Inn, there still stands a frame cottage, which was built for ROBERT DOUGLAS, shortly after he married MARY FOWLER, daughter of John Fowler. Later in the the house where W.JUDSON HERVEY now lives and moved his family across the pike. Here Robert Douglas built a shop where he made wagons and buggies and did repair work for travelers and farmers.
Just beyond the cottage house was a small building which was called the drug store by the Fowlers, but known generally as the saloon. This business was operated by VEASY FOWLER, a deaf mute, who married MABEL BAXTER and lived in a log and frame house next door. My grandfather, THOMAS HUNTER, used to say that he bought drugs from Veasy by the gallon for the hands in harvest and he thought it was whiskey.
Many stories are told about the general store and post office. Grandfather would ride up to the store on horseback for the mail and WILL FOWLER, who later operated the store and post office, would say, "Tom, there is a card here saying that the fruit trees you ordered are in town." "Good," Grandfather would reply, "Just throw it away and I'll go get the trees." Another time, Will said, "Della's music came from New York and the girls are trying it out on the piano. Wait a minute, and I will get it for you." There were no secrets in this mail in Fowlerstown Post Office.
To the east of the Robert Douglas house, still stands the GEORGE McCREARY home now owned by HARLEY J. LOVE. Between the two houses and to the rear was the wagon shop and Grange Hall. GEORGE McCREARY, grandfather of the McCrearys of Wellsburg, operated a shoemaker and cobbler shop in his home for many years. He later moved to Wellsburg and opened a business on Seventh Street across from the City Building.
Down a lane to the north, just through Fowlerstown, is a home built in the early eighteen hundreds by a man named COOK and now owned by WILLIAM COLLEY.
To the south, you will see an old brick home far back on the hill, which was the proud and elegant home of Dr EDWARD SMITH. At this writing, th home is in a state of ruin and surrounded by heavy undergrowth. This, the home of one of the most outstanding citizens of the nineteenth century in Brooke County, was built somewhere around 1825.
The following quotation from a newspaper clipping, in brief describes the life and activities of Dr. EDWARD SMITH.
"Dr. Smith's memory is still cherished for his ministrations as a physician, his public service as a law maker and a benefactor to Franklin community. He served in the Virginia legislature a number of terms before the Civil War, and was especially active on the questions of transportation, free schools and slavery. He was also a member of the fourth legislature of West Virginia. The franchise for the railway from Pittsburgh to Steubenville was secured largely through his efforts.."
From the turnpike map of 1822, I find that WILLIAM FOWLER, Jr., brother of JOHN FOWLER of Fowlerstown, lived just east of the Fowler Hill Road on the north side. No doubt, his too was a log cabin at that time. In the 1840's William built the brick house which is still there and now owned by Helen Hervey Hubbard.
Franklin Manor is subdivided from what has been known to most of us of the present century as the Mathias Hensler Farm. For many years prior to this, it was owned by William Magee, a descendant of one of the old families of Brooke County. On the 1822 map it is designated as property owned by WILLIAM CLAYTON.
The road leading into Brooke Hills Park was originally known as the HINKSON Road. At the entrance stands the second tollgate house now owned by Clarence Riggs. South on Hinkson Road is the home of the lateW.C. GIST, who gave the lands for the development of the park. The Gist home was built early in the eighteen hundreds, probably by the Hinkson family.
W.C. GIST, served Brooke County as Agricultural Agent for some thirty years, during his tenure in office, he was the leader in securing the extension of electricity to nearly every rural home in the county. His example and leadership for the boys and girls in 4-H Clubs and his active participation in church and community affairs did much to advance the good life of the people of the entire area. Though his name may be forgotten, his deeds will influence the people of this part of the country for years to come.
On south, in the park, to the top of the hill, is the S.C. Gist home and the big red barn now serving as the Brooke Hills Play House. S.C. Gist was the father of W.C. Gist, and as W.C. had taken over the lands of his father at his death. These lands also were given for the park. The home was built by one of the members of the Applegate family and S.C. GIST came into possession of the property through his marriage to ANN APPLEGATE.
The BUCKEY brothers were early pioneer scouts guiding travelers into the area and helping them to locate land and building sights near strong springs. One of the boys married a Dodridge girl and settled on the hill at the lower end of Buckey Hill Road where Pete Cattaruzza now lives. In 1802 he built the four-room stone house which still stands. This is an interesting building with heavy stone walls and deep silled windows. It had two rooms up and two down as many of the early homes were constructed. The staircase has been replaced but you can still see the marks of the original steps on the wall consisting of only four steps, each some thirty inches high.
The ridge beyond Franklin School was known in 1822 as SCOTTS Ridge. The stone house just east of the ridge on the south side of the pike, was built by ROBERT SCOTT in 1825. This house was preceded by a log cabin and my mother and JOHN GOODof Wellsburg both tell a story about the last Indian raid on the Washington Pike occurring here in the late seventeen hundreds.
I do not remember mother ever naming the people living there at the time. As she told the story, confirmed by Mr. Good, there was a man, his wife, their small child and slave living in the cabin. The father was away hunting when a party of Indians came to the cabin. The mother quickly placed her sleeping child in the bottom of a large wooden barrel and covered it with straw. The Indians carried the woman and the slave away with them and the slave was later found killed and his body left at one of their camp sights. The woman was never heard of again, but the father returning to the cabin heard the cries of his child in the barrel and it was safe again in its father's arms. The who and when of these tales will probably never be known, but there is little doubt that they were based on facts passed down from generation to generation, as evening stories told before the fire.
The ROBERT SCOTT family, with their fourteen children, were well liked in the community and strong supporters of the church. HAMILTON CREE, a Methodist circuit rider, always stayed with the Scott family when passing this way and married their daughter,KATHERINE.
The Crees settled and built a home just East of Buckey Hill Road on the north side of the pike. This home was torn down some fifteen years ago. The Crees of Wellsburg trace their family tree to this beginning.
On the south side of the pike, a short distance east of Shangri-La Drive, stood the APPLEGATE house built early in the 1800's. The first half of this century it was occupied by the HUFFMAN family and was torn down in 1971. The style of this home was much like that of other brick homes built before the Civil War. It was a large home, and in the south-west corner to the rear, there was a windowless room with a narrow stairway leading up to it where the slaves slept. Close by the house are two stone grave markers were, it is said, the slaves were buried. The stones do not bear inscriptions.
Highland Springs Golf Course and Waugh's subdivision now occupy a part of what was once a patent of land to MAJOR McGUIRE from the state of Virginia for his services during the revolution. Major McGUIRE was one of the earliest settlers in the area, and tradition has it, rather than risk trouble with the Indians, he purchased the property from them for a sack of beans and a plug of tobacco.
JOHN PAULL, of Eagle Manufacturing, now lives in the McGuire home. Mr. McGuire built his first cabin where the frame part of the Paull home now stands. In 1801 McGuire built the brick front section on the home. When CAMPBELL WAUGH came into ownership of the property at the turn of this century, he removed the cabin portion and built the frame section, as it now stands. The Waughs owned the property for over fifty years and operated an apple farm, shipping apples to many states.
A story is told that shortly after the McGuire family settled here, their son was bitten by either a rabid wolf or dog and died a horrible death of rabies. The family started a cemetery on the hill and this family burial ground may still be seen in the Highland Springs Golf Course.
It is interesting to note that Route 88 in 1822 was known as McGUIRES Road. At that time, it left the pike at the GEORGE GIST farm, now owned by Robert Baron, and passed over the hill coming on to Route 88 just before reaching the McGuire house. As the road went on south, it turned east traversing the ridge back of what was the ELISHA CRAFT property, on over the hill and returning to Route 88 at WELCHES' Lane, now Henslers property.
The home, occupied now by Robert Baron, and for so many years owned by Gists, was probably built in part before the Civil War by Dr JOSHUA GIST.
To the north of the pike just before arriving at the Pennsylvania state line was a home owned by the PALMERS in 1822. To date I have not been able to trace records of the exact location of the house or descendents of this family.
The Washington Pike area is as old as our nation and there is much research still to be done and pages of interesting facts to be put in print; but this, that I know, I have written, hoping to interest others in research. I do not claim all that I have written to be unquestionable fact, as it is often hard to separate fact from fiction.
In 1976 we will celebrate the two hundredth birthday of our nation. In my opinion, there are three basic factors leading to the success and greatness of our country; the Home, the Church and the Schools.
The Spanish came to the south seeking gold and riches with which to return home; the French came to Canada seeking trade; but the English came to our shores with their families to colonize, seeking land of their own, freedom to worship God as they believed and the right to education for their children. They fought in the Revolutionary War with a will to win that they might govern themselves; and two hundred years of success has proven their principles.
Homes were scarcely established in the area before they turned their hand to building a church which also served as a community school. The very earliest settlers lived in groups in stockades to protect their families from Indian raids. The men went forth in day time to clear and till their fields returning to the stockade at night for protection.
One of the first churches, noted in early writings of the area, was a log church on PIERCES RUN probably somewhere near the present STONE CHAPEL. In the 1835 deed for the Stone Chapel property, it is interesting to note that it reads in reverse to most deeds for early church properties in that it says it may be used for religious purposes when not being used as a school.
What is now known as the McADOO RIDGE once extended across McGUIRES ROAD back of ELISHA CRAFT house and straight on to Independence, Pa. At the junction of these roads was located the first meeting house of the LOWER BUFFALO Presbyterian Church. It was probably surrounded by a stockade and served also as a refuge from the Indians. There was, and may still be, a dug well marking the spot of the old church and fort. Paul Craft tells me that many arrow heads, bits of pottery and so forth were found there when cultivating the area.
Southwest of the church, down the hill on McAdoo Ridge, is the Lower Buffalo Cemetery established in 1795 and surrounded by a heavy stone wall. The names of many of the early settlers can still be read on the headstones in this early burying ground.
The Turnpike map did not mark the location on PIERCES Run Road which probably still followed the route of the original Washington Trail, perhaps joining with the HINKSON Road. At about the point where Pierces Run Road now joins the pike, a school was located which also served as a church meeting house. I found no specific record of this building, but feel that its presence led Dr EDWARD SMITH in 1830 to give land at this location for a church and community burial ground. The history of Franklin Methodist Church is well recorded from the time of Dr. Smith's donation of the land. The first log church was built in the southeast corner of the property with the first graves located nearby.
Two stories cover the background of the name Franklin Community. One was, that a passing drover, by the name of Franklin died and was the first man buried in the cemetery. The other story, according to my mother and her family before her, credited logical reasoning for the name Franklin to Dr. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN whose fame was household talk at the time.
The log church served the growing community until 1852 when a new brick church was built at the front of the grounds facing Washington Pike. The building was distinctive in that it had two front doors, one for the men and boys, and the other for the women, girls and young children. In the late 1800's, a young man of the community married a young las from the city and she was horrified when left by her husband at the ladies door of the church. It is said, that the following Sunday, her husband triumphantly sat with her through the services. This broke the custom and after that families joined together in worship.
On Easter Sunday, 1902, early in the church services with a full congregation, a terrible tornado swept the roof from the building leaving death and destruction. Mother, who was there with her parents and family, tells of people fleeing in panic in all directions, and of debris from the roof falling from the funnel cloud causing many injuries. The horses tied to the hitching racks at the side of the road, broke loose and ran away home dragging buggies and carriages, adding to the distress of the hour.
Those killed were, ROBERT GIST, nine year old son of J.C. Gist of McAdoo Ridge; STELLA BRADY, sixteen year old daughter of John Brady of Brady Ridge, and a few days later a man.M. HARVEY, died as a result of his injuries. Rev. G.M. ALLSHOUSE suffered a broken leg and other serious injuries as he stood at the pulpit when the gable end of the church came crashing down.
A story is told of CLINT McKINLEY who was invariably late for church. It is said that he rode horseback from his home on Pierces Run and was hitching his horse to a fence post when the storm struck. Brother Clint calmly untied his frightened hose, mounted and returned home.
So ended a sad chapter in the history of Franklin Church. But it was far from being a closing chapter with these faithful people who had served God and to this day are still strong and looking to God for leadership.
The congregation continued regular worship in the Franklin School and immediately initiated plans for a new church home. The Cree family donated seven acres where the present sanctuary now stands and the building was dedicated to the worship of God in 1904, during the ministry of Rev. Geo. S. Baggett. In 1917 the steeple of the church was struck by lightning and caught fire. Only by the united efforts of everyone was the building saved from total destruction. Over the years, it has been remodeled and lovingly cared for by a continually growing congregation. In 1958 an educational unit was dedicated which not only provided space for a large Sunday School but serves the community in a multitude of ways. The original sanctuary was built at a cost of six thousand dollars in 1904, while the new educational unit represents well over a hundred thousand dollar investment.
In the 142 years that Franklin church has so faithfully served its people, it has sent forth sixteen Methodist ministers in the service of Christ. They are as follows:
The first school, to my knowledge, was the log building mentioned previously, located on the south side of the pike near the present location of PIERCES Run Road. This school must have served for several years and then three school were built to make a school within walking distance for all the children of the area.
FRANKLIN School was a one-room brick building built on the north side of the pike where EARL SMITH now lives and joining the present Franklin Church property on the west. This land was donated by WILLIAM FOWLER, Jr. in 1869. This building served until the Franklin Consolidated School was opened in 1926. The building was later torn down when the Smiths built their home.
Number 9 School was also a one-room brick building located on land now owned by Douglas Levelle, a short distance off Washington Pike on an abandoned road that once joined the Washington Pike and Northview Road.
This school was destroyed by a tornado on March 25, 1913. Not a child was injured as the teacher had luckily called all of the children into the doorway to watch one of Chapman's haystacks blow away from an adjoining field.
When the NUMBER 9 School building was destroyed, my father FORREST E. CHAPMAN, was serving as a member of the Cross Creek District School Board. It was his opinion that Franklin Community was in need of a consolidated school. His opinion was not accepted and the HOPE FARM School was built in 1914 and served until the Franklin Consolidated School finally became a reality in 1926. The Hope Farm School was remodeled into a home by Tom Bowers and is now owned and occupied by Sam Hughes.
The GIST School was a one-room frame school located on McAdoo Ridge Road where James and Laura Gist Inman now have their new home.
Cornelius Gist, a direct descendant of Christopher Gist, came to McAdoo Ridge and settled on a large tract of land in 1802. The J.C. Gist home, which has long been familiar to all of us, was built by Cornelius in 1814 and was torn down in 1972.
Cornelius Gist, mentioned previously as president of the Washington Turnpike Company when the road construction became a reality, was also a leader in the establishment of free schools and in community advancement. His son, J.C. Gist, and wife Elizabeth, following in his footsteps, gave the land for the McAdoo Ridge Grade School in 1869. This school served the area until the Franklin Consolidated School opened in 1926. The McAdoo Ridge School was destroyed by a tornado in 1944.
From a rich farm area of the nineteenth century with widely scattered homes, waving fields of grain, pastures well populated with sheep, cattle and fine horses, the Washington Pike has grown into a heavily populated residential area of the twentieth century served with all of the luxuries of the land. As the land was then populated with proud and vigorous people, so it is still owned by people who love their homes, school and church and are still proud to say they live on Washington Pike.
Map and records secured from Richmond,
Virginia and recorded in the Brooke
County Court House.
H.C. Fell Photographic services
Nancy Caldwell Dates and records
Elizabeth Bowers Recollections
Paul Craft Recollections
Clara Hunter Chapman Records
Mrs. Dorothy (Waugh) Chapman October 1996 by Gwendolyn M. Hubbard)