Appalachia, Big Ugly Creek, Burbus Clinton Spurlock, genealogy, Hamilton Fry, history, Huntington, Jefferson District, Lincoln County, merchant, Midkiff, Nancy Ann Spurlock, Nancy Fry, Nancy Spurlock, Robinson Spurlock, West Virginia
Appalachia, B.C. Harris, Branchland, Carlos Hatfield, Chapmanville, Chauncey, E.M. Jeffrey, genealogy, Guyandotte, Guyandotte River, Henlawson, history, Huntington, Island Creek, J.D. Parsley, J.F. May, Lincoln County, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mud Fork, Omar, West Virginia, Williamson
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, we find the following story dated 29 March 1927:
All doubt as to the body of the woman found a mile above Chapmanville last Friday being that of Mrs. J.D. Parsley of Omar was removed that evening. Identification was positive on account of her wedding ring and her shoes.
So badly decomposed was the body, the flesh of the face having wasted away, that identification would have been impossible except for the ring or bits of clothing. In fact, its condition was such that it was recovered with sand at the place where found, after the identification was completed and after Undertaker B.C. Harris reached the scene, it being decided to await instructions from Mr. Parsley. The body had been in water more than three months, for it was on December 21 that she was drowned in the flooded waters of Main Island Creek near her home between Omar and Chauncey. From that point to the point where the body was found is 22 miles, according to estimates of some deputy sheriffs who are familiar with Logan county distances.
Friday evening Mr. Parsley was located in Huntington, whither he had moved a few weeks ago to engage in the real estate business.
Mr. Parsley came to Chapmanville on the Saturday morning train, bringing a casket with him. Sunday the body was brought on a railway motor to Henlawson and then was taken by way of Charleston to Wayne county for burial. This was done because of the certainty the railway company would not transport the body from Chapmanville to Huntington or to any other point on a passenger train.
Mr. Parsley, it is said, recognized a scar on his wife’s body–a scar left by a surgical operation.
The finder of the body was a Scarberry boy who lives near the place where it was found. It was lying near the shore, partly covered by silt, with the head wedged under a log or between two logs, according to reports heard here.
From the day of Mrs. Parsley’s tragic death till the body was found scandal-mongers busied themselves circulating reports that she had not drowned but had gone away of her own accord. As late as last Wednesday a Banner reporter was told that she was living in Guyandotte.
Concerning the drowning of Mrs. Parsley The Banner on Friday December 24 published the following account:
In the swollen waters of Main Island Creek Mrs. J.D. Parsley was drowned near her home between Omar and Chauncey at about 5:30 Tuesday evening.
Stepping into a necessary outbuilding that stood on the creek bank behind her home, the building suddenly toppled over and crashed into the swirling tide. Her screams were heard by several persons, among them Carlos Hatfield, a neighbor, who rushed to the rescue. When he reached the bank he saw Mrs. Parsley struggling in the water close to the shore and at the same time being carried swiftly forward by the stream. Just behind her was the building from which she had extricated herself. He waded into the waters and was almost within reach when the building turned over on her and shoved her beneath it out of sight. Before she reappeared on the surface she was too far down stream and too far out in the swift current for Hatfield to reach her.
Reports received here indicate that a son of E.M. Jeffrey of Omar was attracted to the scene and got a glimpse of either Mrs. Parsley or the building, or probably both, and followed along the bank until he saw the building crash into the bridge at Chauncey. The impact shattered the frail structure into pieces that were soon carried from view.
During the night and Wednesday forenoon searchers scanned the banks of the creek in what proved to be a futile effort to find the body.
Mrs. Parsley was nearing her 40th birthday. Her maiden name was Clay, according to her neighbors, and it is said her parents live at Branchland. She leaves no children, though Parsley is the father of several children by a previous marriage.
The Parsleys moved to the present home last August, when he leased a garage from Oscar Napier. This is located near the home of Dr. J.F. May and also close to the garage of Carlos Hatfield, previously mentioned as having tried to rescue the drowning woman. Before moving to the Omar-Chauncey neighborhood, Parsley had a grocery store at Mud Fork. At one time he was in the merchandise business at Williamson.
When the drowning occurred Parsley was at work in his garage. Word came to him that a woman had drowned, but it was half an hour or more before he realized that the victim was his own wife.
Source: “Body Found at Chapmanville is Identified as that of Mrs. Parsley Drowned at Omar on December 21,” Logan Banner, 29 March 1927.
Mrs. Parsley’s death record is found here: http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=1953328&ImageNumber=3233
From the Logan Banner of Logan, West Virginia, dated January 5, 1911, we find this editorial:
“The bounteous harvest of holiday business is past, and the so-called dull season is upon our business man. But why a dull season? Some of our business men are going around with a face as long as a shingle, and to see them and hear them talk about dull business reminds one of a man in the last stages of consumption who is resigned to his fate. They appear as though they see bankruptcy staring them in the face. What they need is a little stiffening of the backbone. They need not expect business to be as good as it was through the holiday season, but they should remember that the people of this generation must be fed and clothed and furnished with whatever comforts they can afford, and as long as this is the case, there will be a continued demand for goods and merchandise of all kinds, and business will go on in the same old way. The trouble with the business men of this city is that they talk down instead of talking up. If the merchant talks dull times, the farmer, the miner, the teamster, the carpenter, the professional man and all others will catch the contagion, and then business will be dull, but if they take an optimistic view of the matter and talk up, the opposite will be the result.
“There is no county in the state, and probably not in the union, that has a more brilliant future than Logan. Logan is today the best town of the state of its size, and it has much to be proud of. The coming year will witness greater development throughout the county than any two previous years, and instead of our business men going around with their lips hung down, they should be right now planning a vigorous campaign to capture their fair share of the prosperity that is sure to abound. Let them rouse themselves from the lethargy which now enshrouds them and be up and doing. Logan is all right. The fault is your own if you do not prosper. It is here for you. If you don’t get it, it will be your own fault. With the railroad going on up the river, and new coal operations opening up within sight of one another, and with our fine quality of coal and timber, nothing but Divine intervention can keep the Guyan Valley from blossoming as the rose. Stop your whining or get off the earth. Take hold and boost or the wheels of progress will mash you into smithereens.
“Logan is all right.
“It may be that you are too slow to keep up.”
36th Virginia Infantry, African-Americans, Appalachia, Battle of Kanawha Gap, Big Creek, Big Creek School, Burley Stollings, Buzzard Hill, Chapmanville District, Chapmanville School, Charles I. Stone, civil war, Confederate Army, Crispin Stone, Daisy Pettit, Daisy School, Dare Devils, Ed Stone School, Edith Richardson, education, Fort Sumter, French Dingess, Garrett Fork, genealogy, George Hill, Godby Branch, Guyandotte River, history, Holden, Hugh Thompson School, Hugh Toney, J.A. Vickers, J.G. Beymer, John Conley, John Garrett, John Godby, John stone, Kitchen School, Lane School, Local History and Topography of Logan County, Logan County, Lot W. Adams, Mabel Lowe, Native American History, Native Americans, Pigeon Mountain, Poplar Camp Creek, Prudential Coal Mine, Rosa Barker, Sid Ferrell, Simon Girty, Spanish-American War, Stone Branch, Stone Branch School, Thomas Huff, Thomas School, Union Army, Vette, Violet H. Agee, West Virginia, World War I
Teachers identified the following schools in Chapmanville District of Logan County, WV, and offered a bit of local history in 1927:
Big Creek School, est. 1852
Edith Richardson, teacher
Big Creek School was built of logs in 1870. Crispin S. Stone taught the first free school in his kitchen in 1870. A log building was erected the next year by the people. A Baptist Church exists here as of 1906. Many soldiers of the Civil War served from here. Two are still living. George Hill of Holden served in the Spanish-American War. Sid Ferrell of Big Creek was wounded in World War I when he left the trenches ahead of his command. The first merchant started here in 1904. Prudential was the first coal mine, just below here, in 1905. The first gas well was drilled here in 1909. Big Creek was formerly named “vette.” On the left of Big Creek (stream) looking downstream is Buzzard Hill and on the right is Pigeon Mountain. Pigeon Hill was named due to the great number of pigeons resting there. Big Creek was formerly called Poplar Camp Creek from a surveyor’s camp made of logs. The town was pretty well built up since 1902.
Lane School, est. 1887
Mable Lowe, teacher
Two room frame building
Four Confederate soldiers and one Union soldier lived here during the war. Garrett Fork was named for John Garrett, an old soldier.
Under the entry for Godby Branch: Godby Branch was named for John Godby. Old settlers claim that Simon Girty who married an Indian squaw lived on Godby Branch for several years. He cut his name on a large beech tree that fell in 1890. John Godby told the story.
Chapmanville School, est. 1892
Lot W. Adams, teacher
Four rooms and two outside rooms
There is a large Indian mound in Chapmanville. French Dingess reportedly fired the first gun at Fort Sumter. The Guyandotte River was reportedly named from the Indian word meaning “narrow bottoms.” Company D, 36th Virginia Infantry, known as the Dare Devils, organized here in May 1861 with Charles I. Stone as captain. Later it combined with Co. C, 36th Virginia Volunteer Infantry and was known as the Logan Wildcats with Hugh Toney as captain. The Battle of Chapmanville Mountain was fought in the fall of 1861 here. Major Davis was wounded and captured and his original is still kept by his relatives. He charged fifty cents a month per pupil and the textbooks were free. A large beech and a large white oak plainly marked a corner trees on the Thomas Huff 850-acre survey made on June 3, 1784.
Stone Branch School (colored), est. 1902
Violet H. Agee, teacher
Kitchen School, est. 1905
Uses three one-room buildings
John Stone said there were a few straggling bands of Indians here when he came to Stone Branch in 1807 but committed no depredations after he settled. John Stone taught the first school in this district and maybe in the county at Stone Branch in 1812. The textbooks were made by him with goose quill pens.
Hugh Thompson School, est. 1916
J.G. Beymer, teacher
One room frame building
A school house erected in 1916 was blown down in a heavy storm, killing John Conley, an old citizen who had taken shelter under the floor. The house was not used for school this year but was rebuilt the following year.
Ed Stone School, est. 1919
Rosa Barker, teacher
One room frame building
One Confederate soldier lived here during the war.
Thomas School, est. 1919
Burley Stollings, teacher
One room frame building
Two Confederate soldiers lived here during the war.
Daisy School, est. 1920
Daisy Pettit, teacher
One room frame house
Source: Local History and Topography of Logan County by J.A. Vickers (Charleston, WV: George M. Ford, State Superintendent, 1927).
Adam Lambert, Andrew D. Robinson, Appalachia, B.C. Curry, Big Ugly Creek, Boone County, Burbus Toney, Charles Spurlock, constable, Edley Elkins, education, Fourteen Mile Creek, genealogy, Guyandotte River, Harts Creek, Harts Creek District, Henry H. Hardesty, Hezekiah Adkins, history, Isaac Elkins, James White, Jefferson District, Jeremiah Lambert, Jesse Gartin, John Fry, John H. Brumfield, John Lucas, justice of the peace, Kiahs Creek, Laurel Hill District, Lewis Queen, Lincoln County, Little Harts Creek, Little Ugly Creek, Logan County, Methodist, miller, Rhoda Elkins, Richard Adkins, Richard Elkins, Sarah Elkins, Squire Toney, timber, timbering, Wayne County, West Virginia, William Lucas, William West
From “Hardesty’s History of Lincoln County, West Virginia,” published by H.H. Hardesty, we find this entry for Harts Creek District in Lincoln County, West Virginia:
This is the most southern subdivision of the county. It derives its name from Harts creek, a tributary of the Guyandotte river. On the north is Laurel Hill district, on the northeast is Jefferson, east Boone county, on the south Logan, and on the west Wayne. Guyandotte river flows northwest and divides the district into two nearly equal parts. There are several small streams, among which are Little and Big Harts creeks, Little and Big Ugly creeks, Kiahs creek, and Fourteen Mile creek.
The first settler was Richard Elkins, who reared his cabin in the month of September, 1807. Here he removed his family, and here Charles Spurlock became his first neighbor. Other early settlers were: Esquire Toney, John Lucas, Edley Elkins, John Fry, Hezekiah Adkins, John Brumfield, and Richard Adkins. Rhoda, a daughter of Edley and Sarah Elkins, was the first white child born in the district. The first grist mill was built by James White about the year 1821. It was a small tub-wheel mill, water being the propelling power. Isaac Elkins built the first saw mill in 1847 or 1848. It was constructed on the old sash-saw plan, and had a capacity for cutting from 800 to 1,000 feet per day.
The first school was taught in a log cabin one mile above the mouth of Big Harts creek about the year 1832, but who the teacher was cannot now be ascertained. The date, however, is remembered by an old resident, because it was the year in which he first visited this section. The first house for educational purposes was built near the mouth of Big Harts creek in 1834. It was a five-cornered building, one side being occupied by the ever-present huge fire place. There are now ten public school houses in the district, “some of which,” says an informant, “are in bad condition, but will soon be replaced by frames;” 334 boys and girls attend school in this district.
The first sermon was preached here in the year 1823 by a Methodist minister named William West, and here the same year he gathered a little church, one of the first ever formed in the valley of the Guyandotte river; but of its history or who composed its membership, nothing is known. When the writer asked of an old settler the question: “Who were the first members?” his reply was: “The register is gone, and no one living can tell.” When asked who organized the first Sabbath school, he replied: “There never was one in the district.”
The first township officers were as follows: Supervisor, Burbus Toney; justice of the peace, Jeremiah Lambert; constable, Jesse Gartin; clerk, Andrew Robinson; treasurer, B.C. Curry; school commissioners, Adam Lambert, William Lucas, and Lewis Queen. According to the census of 1880, the population was 1,116.
Source: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Vol. 7 (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1974), p. 106-107.
NOTE: I descend from Richard Elkins, John Fry, John H. Brumfield, and Jeremiah Lambert.
For Readers, Writers, and Lovers of Historical Fiction
My journey to a new life
Forget where your feet are and simply enjoy the view.