A newer volume, The History of Logan County....Updated... is now available from the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, and notes by additional historians and genealogists have been added. All proceeds from the first printing of the book will be donated to the Logan County Historical Society and the Logan County Landmark Commission to purchase a statue in the likeness of Chief John Logan, for whom the city and county were named. First printing, 1996. "The History of Logan County" can be ordered from The Chamber of Commerce, 311 Hudgins St., Logan, WV 25601 - Phone (304) 752-1324 - Price is $12 plus $1.40 shipping. Please support this effort by ordering your copies today. Additional information can be found on the Logan County GenWeb page.
Russell County was formed from Washington, in 1788; Wyeth from Montgomery, in 1790; Kanawha from Wythe and Greenbrier (which was formed from Montgomery in 1778), in 1792; Monroe from Montgomery and Greenbrier, in 1799; Tazewell from Wythe and Russell, in 1799; Giles from Montgomery, Tazewell and Monroe in 1898; and Cabell from Kanawha, in 1809. The territory of Logan, as it exists today, was part of Fincastle from 1738 to 1776, then a part of Montgomery until 1790, a part of Wythe until 1792, a part of Kanawha until 1809, when it became a part of Cabell and remained as such until it was organized into a county in 1823.
Upon the passage of the law in 1792, referred to in our last chapter, the owners of grants made before that time, saw the necessity of seeding and cultivating the lands which had been patented to them before the expiration of the period to which that right had been extended (1799), and at once went to work to get some one to take charge of their lands. In the company of John Breckenridge, at the time of the battle of the Islands, was one James Workman, who in addition to being a gallant soldier, was in every respect a trustworthy gentleman. Breckenridge, as soon as possible, employed him to take charge of his survey at the Islands (Logan C.H.) and in 1794, James Workman with his brothers Joseph and Nimrod, built a cabin on the Island and planted a few acres of corn. They planted the same land again in 1795 and 1796, and in the fall of the latter year. James Workman, who was a man of family, moved his wife and children from their old home in Wythe (now Tazewell), and settled on the Island, where the three brothers continued to live until the year 1800, when they moved upon the farm now occupied by Henry Mitchell. More will be said of this family in a future chapter.
The first permanent settlement of which we have any record was commenced by William Dingess, a son of Peter Dingess, a Montgomery county [?], in the year 1799. Peter Dingess was a German, but just when or under what circumstances he came to America, is shrouded in doubt, which will never be dispelled. One account given us by one of his prominent descendants, is, that he came to this country before the War of the Revolution and settled in Montgomery County, and in evidence of this, furniture etc., brought with him from the "Fader Land," is pointed out; especially a finely finished bureau, which was, for a long time, an heirloom in the family, and a peculiar shaped gourd which was grown in Germany, and used by his son John Dingess as a powder gourd, within the memory of the present generation. Another account given us by William A. Dingess, one of his grandsons, is, that some time between the years 1750 and 1760, that his parents with their family embarked for America, that fell disease carried off his parents on the voyage, that he and a sister landed at Baltimore, neither of whom could speak a word of English, that from some cause they became separated, and that he never saw her or heard of her again. That wandering about the streets, homeless and alone, a merchant from Montgomery County, Virginia, took charge of him and brought him to Montgomery, where he grew up and married a wife, and afterwards served in the War of the Revolution. It is impossible to say which story is correct, but of one thing we are assured, and that is, that he lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, and raised a family of eleven children, four boys and seven girls and died there in 1800. The names of his sons were William, Peter, John and Charles A., and his daughters, Harriet, Betsy, Susan, Nancy, Sallie, Peggy and Polly, who intermarried with Sam Peck, John McClaugherty, William Henderson, David French, (who was, for a long while Clerk of the Courts of Giles County), Ezekiel Smith, William Smith and James Bright, who emigrated to Tennessee, and was the father of John Morgan Bright, who for twelve years represented Tennessee in Congress. Charles A., died unmarried in Mercer County, Col. Napoleon B. French, a son of David French, is still living in Mercer County, aged 96 years.
William Dingess, the oldest of the family, was born in Montgomery County in 1776, and married Nancy McNeeley, and purchasing of John Breckenridge the survey of 300 acres which covers the present site of Logan Courthouse, and a portion of the farm across the river where Mrs. J. W. Desking now lives, moved upon it in 1799, and built a residence where J. S. Miller now lives; the old chimney of which is still standing. John Dempsey came with him and build a cabin on the little island, but afterwards moved to Island Creek, near where Sam Jackson now lives. William Dingess was said to be almost a giant in strength, but so peaceable that no one could induce him to fight. While he was born at too late a date to engage in the Indian warfare on the border, he, on one occasion, joined in the pursuit of a band of Indian marauders and followed them as far as the Falls of Guyan, where, killing an Indian, he took off a part of his hide, out of which he made a razor strap, and kept it during his lifetime. He had no children by his wife, but was the reputed father of a child born to Katie McComas, who was always known as Peter Dingess, and was for a long time regarded as the best physician in Logan County. Katie McComas was also the mother of the late John Garrett, of Big Creek, one of the most highly esteemed citizens of Logan County.
In the year 1800, Peter Dingess and John Dingess, brothers of William Dingess, joined him and became permanent settlers, of whom more will be said hereafter.
Some time in the next year or two Captain Henry Farley, of Montgomery County, who had served with distinction in the War of the Revolution, and who has been heretofore mentioned as the leader of the whites in the pursuit of the Indians in 1792; with Garland Conley, who had married his eldest daughter, Bettie, settled at the mouth of Peach Creek. He brought with him three stalwart sons and five marriageable daughters, and as might have been expected, the big house at the mouth of Peach Creek, and it was said to have been the largest house in the country, was always full.
Of what tales that never grow old were told, we have no record, and the man in the moon has never divulged the vows which he witnessed, yet we know that enough was said to divide the happiness of Captain Farley's home among five families.
The blushing Sallie became the wife of Peter Dingess during the year 1806, and they set up housekeeping just across the river where Mrs. John W. Deskins now lives, and to the happy couple there was born, on the 30th day of October 1806, William Anderson Dingess, who, during a long and useful life (dying December 13th, 1893, in his eighty-eighth year) bore the proud distinction of being the first white child born in Logan County. The other children born to this marriage were John, who intermarried with Sallie Moore; Guy, who married Rhoda Toney; Charles F., who married Betty Toney, both of these were the daughters of William and Polly (Caperton) Toney; Polly, who married Lewis Lawson; Matilda, who married James Lawson, both sons of Anthony Lawson; Julyantes, who married Charles Smoot; Minerva, who married W. W. McDonald; and Hattlett [Harriett?], who married John Justice.
Peter Dingess was a prominent citizen and was for a long while one of the justices of Cabell County.
Another one of the blooming daughters of Capt. Farley, (Chloe), intermarried with John Dingess, who then settled near his father-in-law, at the mouth of Peach Creek. His children were William, who married a daughter of Josiah Stollings; Julius, who married a daughter of Ben Smith; Harvey, who married a daughter of Joseph Adams; Henderson, who married a daughter of Joseph Adams; John and Peter, both of whom married daughters of Washington Adams; Sallie, who married James Butcher; Peggy, who married John Gore; and Nancy, who married William Chapman, all of whom are dead except Sallie and Henderson. All of them except David had a large off-spring.
The daughters of Captain Henry Farley were Judith, who married Thomas Thompson, and, who, after the death of Thompson, married Robert Hensley; Matilda, who married Carter T. Clark; and Mary, who first married Stephen Hensley, and afterwards married Pryyhus McGinnis. Of his three sons, John and Thomas, both married Miss Pinsons of Kentucky, and William was married four times, first marrying Bettie Phillips, second Phoebe Muncy, third Polly Williams, and fourth, Jane Jones. All of them left large families, and with the Dingesses constituted one of the largest family connections in Logan County, and more will be said of them hereafter.
At about the same time that Captain Farley settled at the mouth of Peach Creek, Richard Kezee, another hero of the Revolution, built a cabin near the present residence of Major William Stratton and the branch which flowed past the old homestead still bears the euphonious name of Kezee. His descendants all moved to the State of Kentucky, and many of them are now living in Pike County, of that state.
About the same time David McNeeley settled where Floyd Buchanan now lives, and afterwards moved upon the farm now owned by J. E. Robertson. For some reason he was nick-named "Jagger," and the place, to which he removed on Robertson's farm was called "Jaggerstown." His descendants are quite numerous, and the name is familiar not only in Logan, but in all the surrounding counties, and many of them at an early day went with the "Course of Empire" westward. Among his descentants is Rev. John Green McNeeley, the present pastor of the Desciples Church of Aracoma.
John Dempsey, who is referred to as having come here with William Dingess, in 1799, was the father of seven sons and three daughters. His sons were William, who married Nancy, a daughter of John Vannatter, who, with his sons and daughters, came from the south branch of the Potomac about 1811; Jack, who married Minerva Vance; Thomas, who married Dicey Lucas; Joseph, who married Sena Vance; Andrew, who married Martha Starr; Mark, who married Lucinda Ward; and Lewis, who married Nancy Stepp. His daughters were Poll, who married John McNeely; Jane, who married Jerry Vernatter [sic], and Rachel, who married James Vannatter.
Richard Elkins, of Montgomery, also came with William Dingess and settled near the big island on Island Creek. The island was covered with a heavy growth of cane, and Elkins leased it from Dingess and cleared it out, and the first year that he cultivated it in corn he raised three thousand bushels, or about one hundred bushels to the acre. (a few acres of the Island had been cleared before that time by the Workman brothers heretofore mentioned, and cultivated in corn.) He was also the father of a large family his wife being a Miss Maguire, of Montgomery. His sons were Archibald, who married a Miss Gillaspie, of Tazewell, James, who married his cousin - a daughter of Zach Elkins, of Hewett; Robert, who married the widow of Edward McDonald and who was formerly a Miss Harvey; Israel, who married a daughter of William Browning; Richard, Jr., who married a Miss May, and Eddie and Harvey, whose wives are unknown. His daughters were Lucretia, who married James White; Martha, who married Elijah Elkins (son of Wm. Elkins, of Newett); Nancy, who married William Walls; Susannah, who married John White, (son of Jack), and Hannah, who married William Moore, of Tazewell. This last mentioned couple joined the Mormons and were with Joe Smith at Nauvoo. Zach and William Elkins, brothers of Richard Elkins, settled on Hewett and, like Richard, had numerous descendants, but we are unable to give their names. From these three brothers, however, are descended the Elkins family of Logan and adjoining counties.
David McNeely, who has been heretofore mentioned as sthe progenitor of the large McNeely family, was the father of four sons - John, who went to Illinois; Sam, Joe and William - and one daughter, who married Ben Cary, who is the progenitor of our Cary family in Logan and Mingo. No doubt there were other sons and daughters of David McNeely, but we have been unable to ascertain their names. The family is a large one and is scattered over several counties.
Isaac Cole, a native of England, who came to Montgomery County, just before the War of the Revolution, who was a gallant soldier for our independence and who was with the Clay brothers in following the Indians down Cole river as heretofore mentioned, settled near where Major Straton now lives, about the year 1800, where he lived for about one year, and buried one of his daughters; and then moved to Island Creek, and settled near the mouth of what is now known as Cole Branch. His wife was Kate Thompson, of Montgomery County, (Now Giles County) Virginia. After remaining on Island Creek for a year his family became tired of frontier life, and he returned to his old home near Pearlsburg where he died at an advanced age. Isaac Cole was a noted scout and a man of great force of character and will power. Hon. L. D. Chambers, of Rum Creek, is his grandson.
Thomas Childress, another Revolutionary soldier of Goochland County, and who married a Miss Parrish of the same county, settled about the same time near the forks of Island Creek, but after remaining a few years, went further down the river, and settled near the present site of Susenberry's mill. The Childresses of Cabell County are his descendants.
Robert Lilly, of Fluvanna County, came to Montgomery while a boy, and married Miss Bridget Conley, a sister of Garland Conley, heretofore mentioned as a son-in-law of Henry Farley. In 1800 he purchased of William Ward ne [one?] of his surveys in the lower end of this county, and settled on it at or near the place where Andy Fowler now lives, near Chapmanville, in 1801. It is said that an Indian chief accompanied him from his old home in Montgomery to his new home in Logan and remained with him for some time. Lilly was the father of twelve children, six sons and six daughters. Of his sons, Thomas went wouth when a boy; Robert married married a daughter of Garland Conley; William was never married; John married a daughter of John Adkins of Kanawha and move to that county; James married a daughter of James Ferrell, and settled near the mouth of Big Creek; and Edward Bailey, who is still living, married Susan Butcher, a daughter of Joshua Butcher. Of his daughters, Elizabeth married William Thompson; Sarah married Garland B. Conley; Polly married Patton Thompson; Fannie married Simeon Payne of Cabell County; Dolly married Joseph Myer, and moved to Missouri; and Nancy died unmarried.
Garland Conley, who has been mentioned as a son-in-law of Henry Farley, first settled on Island Creek near where Mrs. J. W. Deskins now lives. He was the father of five sons and three daughters. His sons were Col. Henry Conley, who was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, and who first married a Miss Thompson, and after her death a widow named Dingess, who was the daughter of Washington Adams; Thomas Conley, Jr., who married a daughter of Thomas Conley; Garland B., who married a daughter of Robert Lilly, and afterward a daughter of William Farley (Hopping Bill); John, who married a Miss Ward, of Kentucky; and James, who married a Miss Cumby. The Thomas Conley mentioned above as the father of the wife of Thomas Conley, Jr., was a cousin of Garland Conley, and was better known as Thomas Hackett. He had one son - Gordon, who went to Ohio - he was also the reputed father of Manum Brumfield. Of the daughters of Garland Conley, Juliet, the oldest, who was born in Island Creek on the 25th day of December, 1806, and said to be the first white girl born in the limits of Logan County, married Robert Chambers. She is still living and is the mother of Rev. B. S. Chambers, one of the most eloquent divines of the M. E. Church, South. Judy, the second daughter, married Rob Lilly, Jr., and after his death, married George Hensley; and Dolly, the third daughter, married Wesley Stollings. She is still living.
Jacob Stollings, who settled on the farm now owned by W. F. Butcher, opposite the mouth of Crawley Creek, was the father of four sons and one daughter. His sons were Josiah, the father of Wesley, William, Nelson, Lorenzo, and Griffin, and two daughters, one whom married William Dingess, and the other James Hill; Griffin, who is the father of Col. J. E. Stollings, a prominent attorney of Boone county, and twice a member of the Senate of West Virginia; Isaac, who is the father of Granville Stollings, of Coal River; and Jacob, who went to the interior of the State. His daughter married William Hinchman, of Rich Creek.
Edward Chapman, who settled at the present site of Chapmanville, married Mary Godby, a daughter of William Godby of Big Creek, and was the father of three sons - Burgess S., who married a daughter of Henry Farley, of Pigeon; William B., who married a daughter of John Dingess, of Peach Creek; and John R., who married a daughter of Washington Adams of Crawley. John Stone, who settled at the old Stone farm in 1809 was also represented in the county. He was from Pittsylvania County, where he married a Miss Jennie Shelton. Among his sons are Crispin I., who was born in Pittsylvania County in 1807. He married Miss Mildred Workman and died in January, 1892, in the 85th year of his age. He was one of the best and most useful men in Logan County, and during a long and honorable life, served the people well and faithfully in several official positions among which were Justice of the Peace, Surveyor, Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Superintendent of Free Schools. He left three sons, Edwion, Charles I., amd M. Dyke, and several daughters. Samuel S., another son of John Stone, married a Miss Hatfield, of Cabell; he also left a large family of sons and daughters. John Stone's daughters were Dolly, who married Isaac Morgan, for a long time a member of a member of the County Court of Logan County, and for one term a member of the Virginia Legislature; Mary, who married Dr. Peter Dingess, who was also a member of the Virginia Legislature; and Chloe, who married Edwin Robertson, who was, up to the time of his death, Clerk of the Courts of Logan County. Of the children of Edwin Robertson, John Edwin and Chloe, who married Dr. George W. Lawson, and Sidney B. Robertson, are still living. We will have more to say of this family in another chapter.