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Portions of "A Brief History of Jackson County"
Published in 1982 by the Jackson County Historical Society  *   *   *  Indicates that a portion of the original has been omitted.


French and Indian War and before is believed to have been a primary factor in the desertion of the Shawnee and Delaware towns in this section. By 1749, when Celoron de Blainville’s French expedition came down the Ohio, all the Indian towns were deserted, the Shawnees having moved westward to the Scioto river and its branches, and the Delawares north to northeastern Ohio.

The first explorer of the county to leave a record of his visit was Captain Christopher Gist, who was locating lands for the Ohio Company, a Virginia land company. Gist and his son entered the county from the northeast via Wirt County on February 17, 1752, traveling down the length of the extreme eastern portion of the county to the ridge above the Poplar Fork of Thirteen-mile creek in Kanawha County. Thence he traveled along the ridge between the streams emptying into the Great Kanawha and Mill Creek to Ten-mile Creek on the Ohio in Mason County, which he reached on February 22nd. On the 23rd, they traveled north along the Ohio, passing over LeTort (Letart's) Creek, and entered this county again on the 24th at Mt. Alto, then traveling up the Ohio to Wood County. Mill Creek he called Smith Creek for Robert Smith, a Pennsylvania trader who had probably trapped on the stream.

In the fall of 1770, George Washington and his party explored the area of the county along the Ohio River. The famous or infamous Indian chief, Kiashuta, head man of the Iroquois on the Ohio, had a hunting camp at present Ravenswood at that time, and Washington paid him two visits. Later, he was granted two large sections of land, one of 2,448 acres of the great bottom where Ravenswood now stands and another of 4, 395 acres of the bottom at Millwood.

The Shawnees, Delawares, and Mingoes were the three tribes most bloodily connected with West Virginia during the late Colonial and early Federal eras. These Indians were then settled in Ohio: the Shawnees generally along the Scioto River and its branches; the Delawares in the region of the Muskingum watershed and Northeastern Ohio, and the Mingoes along the Upper Ohio in the area of present Steubenville. These three tribes were largely responsible for the many wars which ravaged the thinly settled regions of Northwestern Virginia for over 40 years. Only the decisive victory of General Anthony Wayne at Fallen Timbers, Ohio, on August 20, 1794, and the Treaty of Greenville, Ohio, a year later, ended the Indian menace.

Though there were no permanent white settlers in this county until the spring of 1796, when Indian warfare had ceased in our state, the war parties of the various hostile tribes had long made use of this county as an undefended corridor for attacks on the settlements in the Monongahela Valley. The Ohio was without settlements between Belleville, Wood County, and Fort Randolph, at Pt. Pleasant, so the warriors would cross the Ohio at the mouths of Mill or Big Sandy Creeks and travel up those Valleys and thence over the hills and mountains to the Monongahela and Tygart River Valley settlements. Captain Cornelius Bogard, of the Randolph County Militia, wrote to the Governor of Virginia that: "The vacancy on the Ohio River between Belleville and the mouth of the Big Kanawha is worst inlet to the Indians I know of."

The pioneers at Belleville and Pt. Pleasant often hunted and trapped in this county.  In February 1793, Malcolm Coleman, of Belleville, while on a hunting trip at present Cottageville, was killed and scalped by a war party of Indians.  Daniel Boone, the great pioneer, who lived for several years in the Kanawha Valley, was also a trapper and hunter in the bounds of present Jackson County.

Jesse Hughes, the famous Indian fighter of the Monongahela Valley, later settled in the this county and died here.  

While there were no settlers here during the Revolution, many men who fought in that was later made this county their home and were the ancestors of many of its present citizens.  Among these old soldiers were the following:  Patrick Board Sr., Jacob Baker, William Bibbee, Joel Buffington, David Bumgarner, John Carney, Thomas Carney, Jesse Carpenter, Samuel Carpenter, Benjamin Cox, John Casto Sr., William Cunningham, John Dewitt, Uriah Gandee Sr., Thomas Good, David Harris, Jesse Hughes Sr., Thomas Hughes, William Hannaman, Cornelius King, Francis Kin, James McDade, James McKown, John McKown, Stephen Kitts MIller, John Nesselroad, Constantia O'Brien, Charles Parsons Sr., Joseph Parsons, Michael Rader Sr., Henry Rayburn, Benjamin Reynolds, Zechariah Rhodes, Elijah Runnion, David Sayre Jr., Jonathan Sheppard, Abraham Staats, Charles Smityh, Samuel Tanner, Andrew Welch, Benjamin Wright Sr., Jonathan Wright and Bazzel Wright.

When the first settlers came here from the Monongahela Valley in May 1796, "there was not a stick amiss," in the county.  Benjamin Cox, William Hannaman and James McDade, who were all Revolutionary veterans, settled on the Ohio river bottom near Millwood at that time.  A child born to Hannaman is said to have been the first white child born in the county, although another legend says that John Fink Parsons, son of William Lowther "Captain Billy" Parsons and his wife, Susan (Fink) Parsons, was the first child born, taking place in a sycamore tree near Millwood. 

Early settlers in the county usually made their homes along the level creek and river bottoms leaving the hills for hunting and the pasture of their stock.  As the bottom lands became more thickly settled, the late arrivals and the sons of the early settlers were, perforce, obliged to make do on the hills and narrow bottoms along the smaller streams.  Among the earliest settlers, in addition to the four mentioned above, were:  Adam, Henry, John, Charles and Joseph Parsons; Cornelius and Francis King; John Douglass; John Warth; Jonathan and Benjamin Wright Sr.; Daniel, David  and Joel Sayre; Jesse, Job and Thomas Hughes; Joseph Hall; Isaac and William Hyde; Abraham, Elijah, Cornelius, Jacob and Isaac Staats; Jacob Starcher; Thomas Flowers; John Bibbee; Jacob Baker; Andrew Hushan; John Boggs; Patrick Board; Joseph Wright; William Nesselroad; John, William Sr., William Jr., John J., Jonathan and George Casto; William Bonnett; John, Charles and Thomas Carney; John, Nicholas and Solomon Harpold; Robert Curry; Lawrence Lane; Shadrack Rice; Thomas Coleman; Christopher Barringer; David Bumgardner; Andrew and Dempsey Flesher; Uriah Gandee Sr. and Jr.; John Greathouse; John Greer; Isaac Lockhart; James and Michael Rader; Adam V Scyoc; Samuel Somerville; Samuel Tanner; Adam Wetzel; Joshua Woodruff; John Smith; Ephraim S Evans, and many others, whose many descendants still reside in this county and all across the nation.

When the first settlers came here, Jackson was still part of Harrison and Kanawha counties.  Wood was formed from Harrison in 1798 and Mason from Kanawha in 1804.  As the population of the area that later became Jackson County increased, the settlers became more and more dissatisfied at being obliged to go all the way to Charleston, Pt Pleasant and Parkersburg, over the poor trails, or none at all, to transact business or attend court.  In 1831, they sent a petition to the Virginia legislature praying for the formation of a new county.  This prayer was granted and Jackson, named for the then President, Andrew Jackson, was created from Mason, Kanawha and Wood Counties.  The estimated population of the county at that time, which included much of present Wirt and Roane Counties, was some 3300 souls.

On May 23, 1831, the first County Court for the new county met at the home of John Warth, on Warth's Bottom, in present Union District, for the purpose of organizing the government of the county.   The following "Gentlemen Justices," appointed by the Governor of Virginia, comprised the court:  John Warth, the presiding officer and oldest justice, George Casto Sr., Barnabas Cook, George Stone, Gilbert Boswell, Henry Sherman, Ephraim S Evans, Benjamin Wright Jr., John McKown and Tapley Beckwith.   John Warth was appointed the first Sheriff; Benjamin Wright Jr., County Clerk;  . . . 

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Ripley did not become the county seat without a fight.  IN 1832, a petition was sent to the Virginia legislature by citizens of the county upholding the selection of Ripley as the county seat against a move by John Warth and other along the Ohio to move the seat of justice to that area.  This failed, but in 1838,  Henry Fitzhugh and numerous citizens of that area and the upper end of the county petitioned to have the county seat moved to Ravenswood.  This second try also did not succeed, but not for lack of trying.  The last move to bring the seat of justice to Ravenswood was in the general election, November 2, 1886, when a vote was taken, Ripley winning over Ravenswood, 2, 593 votes to 459, which seemed to settle the matter for good.

Slavery was never popular or widespread in the county.  IN 1831 the following persons owned slaves:  Thomas Boggs, 2; James Boggs, 2; John Boggs, 4; John Kouns, 1; Gideon Long, 1; William L Lewis, 1; John McKown, 1; Ezekiel McFarland, 1; James Rader, 2; Joseph Rader, 2; Michael Rader Sr., 6; Michael Rader Jr., 1; John Warth, 7;  Sarah Wright, 1; George White, 1; and William C Wlls, 1.  A total of 34 slaves, aged 12 and up, likely there were half again as many young children of slaves.   Only where there were large areas of comparitively fertile, level land was slavery in any way profitable, and there was not much of that in this county, except along the Ohio and larger creeks.

Most of the early settlers in the county came from the Monongahela valley.  Later, many came from Western Pennsylvania, the Greebrier and Upper Shenandoah valleys, and Southwest Virginia, especially Russell County.  After the Civil War, there was an influx of settlers from the Muskingum valley of Ohio and other sections of the North.

Early settlers came by flatboat on the Ohio river; later, by packhorses over the poor trails or traces from the central and southern parts of the state.  It was too costly and unhandy to bring much in the way of furniture, etc. with them when moving to this area, so most of these articles were homemade.  . . .

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The early cabins usually consisted of one room of about 20 by 24 feet.  In one end was a huge fireplace usually taking up the whole end of the cabin, with a high mantel, over which the settler usually hung his rifle.  The chimney was commonly made of split slats covered with red clay mud and was known as a "cat and clay" chimney.  In these fireplaces, logs of considerable size could be burned -- iron firedogs being used to hold the logs in place.  The roof was often made of hewed boards of chestnut or locust wood and held down by pins made of yellow locust, or by other poles laid crosswise.  These roofs often lasted for 50 to 70 years, often outlasting the walls of the cabin.  .  .

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Some Wills and Bonds:

Page 199 - John Harvie, Will of Henrico County, VA, 26 Nov. 1806 - Wife, Margaret; Daughters - Amelia, Julianna; Sons - Lewis, John, Edwin; Daughter - Jacqueline; Probated - 8 April 1807, Mason County.

Page 203 - Adam Parsons, Will, 29 Nov 1839; Daughter Polly Stewart; Son-in-law, William Stewart, Executor; Probated - 28 June 1841.

Page 204 - Mordecai Thompson, Commissioner of Revenue Bond, Oct 25, 1841 for 1 years.

Page 205 - Travis Parsons, Constable Bond, 28 Feb. 1842.  Until next reg. apt.

Page 205 - David Kemp, Constable Bond, 28 June 1841 until next reg apt.

Page 207, 208, 209 - John McKown, Sheriff Bond, 9 May 1841, till first quarterly term of County Court, 1842.

Page 210 - John Hartley, deceased, Appraisal of Property, 26 April 1841; Appraisers; (not given); William Sheppard, Administrator.

Page 211 - John Hartley, Sale Bill of Personal Estate, 11 Nov 1840; Purchasers:  Mary Hartley, Andrew Full, Ezekiel McFarland, George Sellers, William Sheppard Sr., Moses Doolittle, Charles Ingram, George Campbell, John Sellers, John Carder, Abraham Ingram, Thomas B Hartley, Thomas T Hartley, Jacob Bumgarner, Thomas V. Hartley.

Page 213 - James Rader, deceased, Sale Bill of Property, 17 April 1840; Purchasers:  Michael C Rader, John A Hyre, Thomas Cunningham, Charles Parsons, George Knopp, Robert Rader, H. C. Rader, Michael Rader Jr., George Parsons, Hannah C. Rader, Alfred Kinnaird, James Davis, David Litton, Joseph B Wlf, Benjamin Rollins, Hugh Cobb, George Lattimore, Henery H Price, John S. Vandine, Abraham Casto, Jonathan Rollins, John H. Westfall, John Rader, Jacob Potts, James Thomas, John Kountz, Isaac Rollins, Edward Hart Rader.

Page 218 - Abraham McCoy, deceased, Estate Settlement, 24 Sept. 1841; Wilkinson Williamson, Administrator:  Andrew Wilson, Commissioner; Heirs:  Widow McCoy, Esther McCoy, William McCoy, Abraham McCoy, John, Emily, David and AGnes McCoy.

Page 218 - James L. Cheuvront, deceased, Appraisal of Estate, 6 Nov 1840; Appraisers - Warren Reed, Henry Sheppard and Isaac Lockhart.

Page 219 - James L. Cheuvront, deceased, Sale of Estate, 10 Nov 1840; Aaron Cheuvront, Seller; Purchasers:  Eliza Cheuvront, James Smith, Isaac Cheuvront, Mary INgles, Francis McGraw, Warren Reed, Lunsford Thorn, Amos Cheuvront, Joseph Cheuvront, William Flinn, Henry Sheppard, Isaac Kettleman, Aaron Cheuvront, Joseph Haywood, Charles INgram, Mary Flinn, William Maddox,  Burrel Morehead.

Page 223 - John Baker, deceased, Settlement of Estate, 27 Dec. 1841; James and Westley Baker, Executors

Page 225 - William Casto, deceased, Appraisal of Estate, 17 Dec 1836; Appraisers:  Adley Arrington, John Harpold and George Casto.

Page 226 - William Casto, deceased, Sale Bill of Person Property, 27 Dec 1836; Johnathan Casto, Administrator; Purchasers:  Mrs. William Casto (Widow), George Kessel, William Casto Jr., Jesse McDade, Lewis Fife, Benjamin Casto, John Rawlings, John Utt, John R. Harpold, Christopher Hersman.

Page 227 - James Lockhart, deceased, Estate Settlement, 22 Nov 1841; James H Henry, Administrator.

Page 228 - Reuben Reynolds, deceased, Appraisement Bill, 11 Aug 1841; Appraisers - A. G. Ingram, William Roach and Benjamin Riddle.

Page 230 Reuben Reynolds, Sale Bill, 12 Aug 1841; Purchasers - John W. Stewart, Abraham Ingram, Thomas Reynolds, Andrew Boart, John T. Reynolds, John Wright, A. G. Ingram, Walter A Seaman, Edward Greathouse, Samuel MIller, Basil Wright, S. A. Board, Thomas Carpenter, John Riddle, John Paxton, Isaac C. Ingram, John P. Thomason, Clerk.

Page 231 - John Dewitt, deceased, Appraisement Bill, 4 January 1842.

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