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Early Calhoun County (W)VA Pioneer Families and their Relationships

Gilmer County was formed from Lewis and Kanawha counties in 1845. The families below are in the Gilmer Census for 1850 with an Arnoldsburg post office. In 1856, Calhoun County was formed from Gilmer with the southwest border running along the West Fork and the Little Kanawha River, near the village of Arnoldsburg. To the west of this border is Roane County and to the northwest is Wirt County. Many of these families were enumerated in all of these counties as they were formed.

From Hardesty's History of Calhoun County:

The first and second decades of this century (19th) saw many of them settled on the Little Kanawha and its tributaries, within the limits of what is now Calhoun County.  Of the many we name of these the first settlers of the county . . . Peter McCune, Sr., Anthony Parsons, Thomas Cottrell, Dr. George Conley, Philip Starcher, Peter Cogar, Isaac Mace, William Brannan, Peter McCune, Jr., Adam O'Brian, Alexander Huffman, James Arnold, Barnabas Cook, George W. Hardman, Michael H. Haverty, Thomas Holbert . . . . These were the men who became the pioneers of Calhoun County.

From John House writings: Jacob Starcher, who bought the Parsons' farm about 1812, may justly be called the "father of Ripley". Present town of Ripley is said to be located on portion of old Starcher farm. Name appears as Statzer in records.  Jacob’s brother Philip Starcher married Mary Bush, ‘a sister to Joseph Parsons' wife’. Philip and Jacob were sons of Jacob and Barbary Starcher. Philip was born in Hampshire County VA. Marriage to Mary Bush was in Harrison.

Joseph Parsons was born in Randolph County per census. His father is said to be Charles Parsons. Joseph’s wife was Elizabeth, sister to Mary Bush. Surnames of spouses of Joseph and Mary Bush Parsons’ children were Schoolcraft, Cottrell, Dewees, McCune, Stewart, Connolly and Mace. Birthplaces for some of the children are unknown; some born in Harrison; some married in Jackson. Indications are that some were in Lewis County and Gilmer counties also.

From Robert Weaver website:  One of Calhoun's most historical figures of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Peter McCune, (1748-1832) was the first permanent settler in Washington District. Coming from Ireland to the Monongalia-Harrison County area, he enlisted twice during the American Revolution. McCune married 14-year-old Christina O'Brien in 1881, the daughter of explorer Adam O'Brien. The relationship started in 1880, after the O'Brien's had sought refuge from Indians at Fort Richards near Clarksburg.

From History of Gilmer County:  The first permanent English settler in the county was Peter McCune. He had explored the area shortly after the end of the American Revolutionary War with his father-in-law,  Adam O'Brien, and decided to move his family to the county in 1810. He built a cabin at the mouth of Leading Creek.  Peter McCune’s daughter Catherine married Anthony Parsons.

Thomas Cottrell/Cottrill married Mary "Polly" O’Brien, Adam O’Brien’s daughter and Christina O’Brien McCune’s sister.

From Hardesty's History of Harrison County, WV - Elk District: The first settler in this district was Thomas Cottrail, who built a cabin in 1778. The first saw mill in that part of the county was built by Thomas Cottrail, the pioneer settler, two years after he became located here, 1780. His son Thomas Harrison Cottrell Jr. married Mary Parsons, daughter of Joseph and Mary Bush Parsons.  

From Hardesty’s History of Calhoun County: The first wedding was a double one, two taking place at the same time and place, the high contracting parties being Thomas Barnhouse and Mary Bush, and Thomas Cottrell and Mary Parsons. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. William Hacker.

From Pioneer West Virginia:  Prospective settlers came into what is now Calhoun County, prior to the Revolutionary War. They made tomahawk settlements, and some probably built cabins. There were but few, if any, permanent settlements before 1810. Among early pioneers to the region were Michael Haverty, Archibald Burris, George Hardman, Salathiel Riddle, Philip Stallman, Valentine Farrell, Thomas Holbert, John B. Goff, Job Westfall, Alexander Huffman, Peter Coger, Isaac Mace, Peter McCune, Adam O'Brien, Thomas Cottrell, Barnabas Cook, and Dr. George Connolly.  The Connollys along with the Jarvises, lived for a decade or so in Lewis County, adjoining Harrison to the southwest. Both families had children born in that county. It is believed their entrance to the Calhoun wilderness was about 1834 or 1835.

In 1833 George Conley/Connolly owned 140 acres on West Fork - Book 1 page 191- Sims Land Grants Index.

From Hardesty’s History of Calhoun:  The first school was taught by Dr. George Conley in the year 1835. The house was a small cabin, erected according to the style of architecture employed in building all the early pioneer school houses. It was located on the right fork of the West Fork.  The West Fork of the Little Kanawha flows in a north by west direction through the district, and its tributaries and sub-tributaries, together with Beech Fork, a branch of Henry's Fork, constitute the drainage.

Two of George Connolly’s sons married two daughters of John and Sarah McDade Greathouse and a third son married a granddaughter of John and Sarah.

George Connolly, father of above George, applied for a Revolutionary War pension in VA in 1831 and stated: I lived when called into service in Richmond County of this state and returned to the same county after the war, where I lived 18 years; then removed to Harrison County and stayed 16 years; then to Lewis County and stayed 2 years, and then to Kenawha County all in this state where I now reside and have done so for 9 years.

This would put him in Richmond County from about 1786 to about 1804; in Harrison County VA from about 1804 to 1820; in Lewis from about 1820 to 1822 and in Kanawha from about 1822 to about 1831.

Peter Coger was born in PA in 1753. He lived in Shenandoah County, Virginia, and enlisted in the Revolutionary War from Rockingham County, VA. He applied for pension from Lewis County, Virginia, December 3, 1832. Two of his children married Starchers, and two married Maces. Grandchildren married Starchers, Greathouses and others.

Isaac Mace/Mays/Maze was born July 16, 1755 in Augusta County, Virginia. He married Sarah Cogar, daughter of Peter Cogar. Isaac Mace enlisted as a substitute for Abram Brake in 1781. He served under Captain Hopkins and Cunningham. He was granted a pension May 29, 1833, for two years of service as a private. Isaac was dropped from the pension roll in 1835.

William Wrighter Brannon was born about 1765 in Maryland. Calhoun county spouses for his children were Wilson, Helmick, Moore, Barnhouse, King and Miller.

From Hardesty's History of Calhoun County:  John Stump Jr., was born in Gilmer County, Virginia, in 1824, a son of Absalom and Margaret (Bush) Stump. In 1842 he settled in what is now Calhoun County, West Virginia, and was married May 5, 1842 to Elizabeth Huffman. She was born in Randolph County, Virginia in 1824, a daughter of Alexander and Hannah (Vannoy) Huffman.

James Arnold had at least 2 sons – James W Arnold and Charles D Arnold who married sisters Anna and Lucretia Nichols, daughters of Levan and Margaret Mace Nichols. Their sister Rebecca Nichols married Daniel McCune, son of Peter, and their son Peter married Martha "Patsy" Parsons, daughter of John and Mary Greathouse Parsons. Other Nichols siblings married spouses named Wayne, Schoolcraft, McCune.

Levan Nichols was born in Kent County, MD 1756 and came to Fort Redstone in 1772 with his parents. The family returned to Kent County Maryland in 1774, but soon returned to Virginia. Levan joined the Pennsylvania Militia in Fayette County, PA in 1776 as a regular (S-9440) and did garrison duty at Fort Redstone, at Camp Union and at Fort Donnely. He also served in the VA line under Colonel Crawford at Point Pleasant and Fort Warwick. Levan married Margaret Mace in Randolph County VA 19 Nov 1800. One source shows Margaret as daughter of Isaac Mace, but marriage record shows father as John. Levan presented a land deed in Kanawha County VA court for proof March 9, 1802. He was listed in Kanawha County land records in 1807 and in land records and tithables in 1811. Levan and Margaret Nichols and family moved to present day Calhoun County WV about 1820. He was pensioned in Lewis County VA in 1833 (Pension Number 23027.). In 1850 census Gilmer County VA Margaret is listed as age 74 and living in the household of her daughter Lucretia and son-in-law C. D. Arnold.

Barnabus Cook was the first Justice of the Peace on the West Fork in what was then Kanawha County. Cook and a comrade Elijah McCumber were missionaries and the first minister to preach a sermon within Washington District in Calhoun County. (In Arnoldsburg in 1820 according Bishop's History of Roane Co). From Hardesty's History of Calhoun County: The first sermon was preached in 1830 by Barnabas Cook, a minister of the Christian church from Ohio. Barnabus Cook married the daughter of Peter and Christine O’Brien McCune.

From Minnie Kendall Lowther - History of Ritchie County: George Hardman ..."the fifth and last child was born, and his name was "George Washington", for the fond parents declared that his very features were like none other than the great General. He grew to the intelligent manhood that his early youth promised, and married Miss Rachel Goff, granddaughter of Salathiel Goff". He served twice as sheriff of Calhoun County.

Michael Haverty married Sarah Stout. Their granddaughter Sarah Haverty married Peter Hagan Greathouse, great grandson of John and Sarah McDade Greathouse.

Thomas Holbert‘s daughter Martha Ann Holbert married Isaac W Nutter. Their son Jacob Nutter married Matilda Greathouse, granddaughter of John and Sarah McDade Greathouse. Martha and Isaac and family are listed in the census for Lewis County in 1840, Ritchie County in 1850, and Calhoun County in 1860