By Barbara Shrodes.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT.....
In the last issue of our newsletter, I wrote of the extremely serious problems we are facing as an association. I received a very kind letter from one of our members, which stated, “I would like to understand the problem more clearly. I understand it is hard to get volunteers to man the museum. I don’t understand why the membership is decreasing rapidly. Please explain. Also, what do you see as the solution to these problems?” this is my answer:
You have received the correct number of newsletters. We issued only three newsletters last year. This was an attempt to save money for the association. You have also gotten the gist of my last president’s message concerning the serious problems facing the MFAHS and the Sedgwick House Museum.
One problem we have is the financing of the association itself. We get money from three source: memberships, book sales, and fees to visit the museum. This amount is extremely small. We have to depend upon the Belmont County Tourism Council, the Martins Ferry Rotary, and various other donations to keep the museum running. The Sedgwick House Museum is open on weekends during the summer months because the Martins Ferry Rotary finances our ability to hire a guide for those months.
Right now, we have approximately 125 members. The number is decreasing because of death and the decision of some members not to renew their memberships. A great majority of these members are from out-of-state locations and most of the local members choose not to help in any other way, except financially.
The MFAHS officers and board of directors are doing the main work to keep the museum open. Barb Shrodes, Joyce Roy, Rosie Thomas, Dorothy Roy, Mary Philo, Phyllis Kane, Charmyn Doty, Mary Staley, and Nancy Nixon are those who are putting in long hours and hard work to keep the MFAHS viable and the Sedgwick House Museum open.
I believe the only solution to the problem is getting more people involved in a more effective way. Nine people cannot be counted on to shoulder the entire burden of operation for the MFAHS. The sharing of the heritage of Martins Ferry with its residents is very much in danger.
At first the roads in this area were little more than trails and bridle paths through the woods, marked by blazings on trees.
The first road through Belmont County was the Zane Trail which led from Wheeling to Zanesville. For many years this was the only way pioneers could travel east or west. It was dangerous due to the Indians and robbing whites. Eventually, ruts were worn to the depths of a horse from the heavy use.
Ebenezer Zane was employed by the government to make a road suitable for wagons. It took two years and was finished in 1798, but was poorly done. Zane received considerable tracts of land in Wheeling and Chillicothe for this work.
In 1811, work began on the National Road in Cumberland, Maryland. By 1825, the National Road was through Belmont County. It reached Vandalia, Illinois in 1840. The cost was $34,000. per mile and $100,000. for the section from Bridgeport to Fairview, a distance of 28.5 miles.
From dawn to dusk the road was crowded with droves of horses, cattle, sheep and pigs, along with Conestoga wagons, mostly headed west.
Since there were no gasoline taxes or license plates, the roads were paid for by tax levies, assessments and tolls. A percentage of the sale of public lands was earmarked for roads. To pay your share of road taxes you could work three days per year on the road with a pick and shovel and this would settle your obligation or if you had horses, you hitched them to a road scraper and worked one day. Everyone helped in some way.
Plank roads became popular about 1845. Various road companies were formed which constructed the plank roads and erected toll houses. The cost ran about $2,000. per mile and they lasted approximately seven years. Two of the advantages were that they could be used throughout the year and heavier loads could be hauled on them.
Some of the toll houses in this area were:
The top of Bridgeport hill on Route 250
The “cut” on Colerain Pike (approximately where Colerain Pike and Ferryview Road Converge
The vicinity of Hilltop School on Route 250.
In 1852, a company was organized and built a plank road from Wheeling to Cadiz, a distance of some twenty miles. In a few years the planks were worn out and thrown away, and a good turnpike was made of stone. The toll for a man and horse was $.02. It was run by the Inter-County Highway system. In 1925, the State Highway Department took over, paved the road and did away with the toll house.
Colerain Pike existed prior to 1816. Glenn’s Run was surveyed in 1805. A petition was presented to the county commissioners on March 9, 1908 to remove the toll gates on the Martins Ferry and Colerain Turnpike, but the commissioners deferred any action. The Pike was improved with brick around the year 1922 and finished by 1927.
The first cars appeared on the roads around 1908-10, but were of little value in the winter. Consequently, people still relied on their horse and buggy.
Pease Township, erected August 15, 1804, was the second township formed from the original four. It was named for Judge Calvin Pease, one of the presiding judges at that time. It is bounded on the north by Jefferson County; on the east by the Ohio River; on the south by Pultney Township; and on the west by Richland and Colerain Townships. It contains about twenty-six sections, although the sections along the river are not regular. Wheeling Creek crosses the southern part of the township on its way to the Ohio River. Two branches of it are Slaughterhouse Run and Frazier’s Run. Evidently there was once a slaughterhouse on the first one. Frazier’s Run got its name from a Frazier family who were early settlers. Several streams flow directly into the Ohio River: Deep Run, Patton Run, Glenns Run and Moore Run. Patton Run was named for William Patton, a settler about 1804. Glenns Run probably took its name from the Glenns Run opposite it on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River. A Glenn family lived on that run, one member of which, David Glenn, was taken prisoner by the Indians in late summer, 1781. Glenns Run has two tributaries, Nixon Run and Buckeye Run. Nixon Run was named for John Nixon, an early settler. Buckeye Run is noted in Cochran’s “Bonnie Belmont”. Moore Run, south of Wheeling was named for Joseph Moore who lived there in early days.
The highest elevation is 1304 feet in section 2 in the northwestern part of the township.
BRIDGEPORT, at that time called CANTON, was laid out by Ebenezer Zane May 9, 1806 and recorded by him. After the bridge was built over Wheeling Creek in 1815, the name was changed to BRIDGEPORT.
Joseph Kirkwood, a son of Captain Robert Kirkwood, lived south of Bridgeport. January 28, 1834 he laid out a town and named it KIRKWOOD. It is now part of Bridgeport.
The Aetna Iron and Nail Company, May 30, 1873, laid out a village north of Bridgeport and called it AETNAVILLE. It is now in the Bridgeport Corporation.
MARTINS FERRY was settled first by Charles Norris and named NORRISTOWN. This settlement was broken up by Col. Harmer by order of the United States government on complaint of the Indians whose title to the land had not been relinquished. March 5, 1788, the land was granted to Absalom Martin who had assisted in the early surveys of Ohio. In 1795 he laid out a town and named it JEFFERSON for his favorite statesman. However the town was not built at that time. Ebenezer Martin, a son of Absalom Martin and a nephew of Ebenezer Zane, again laid out a town, March 13, 1835, and named it MARTINSVILLE. When a post office was to be established the same year he found there was another Martinsville in Clinton County, Ohio, so he changed the name to MARTINS FERRY.
BURLINGTON, north of the original Martins Ferry, but now a part of it, was recorded by Saith Hunt, February 3, 1816. It may have been named for Burlington, Vermont, or Burlington, New Jersey. When a post office was established December 12, 1881 with John J. Smith as postmaster, it was named DON for his son.
GLENHURST is a small settlement on the north side of Glenns Run and it was laid out and recorded by the Kehrer family, January 8, 1925.
GLENDALE was once a flag stop on the C&P Railroad, north of Glenhurst.
RAINEY was also a flag stop north of Glendale at the coal mine of William J. Rainey. When the Gaylord Mines were opened near Rainey, the mining settlement was called GAYLORD. The two are practically the same place.
PATTON RUN was a flag stop at the run of the same name north of Gaylord.
DEEP RUN was another flag stop, north of Patton Run.
ALLENHURST is a small hamlet north of Deep Run, laid out and recorded by Chris W. Heil, January 22, 1915. It is now part of Yorkville which is a town in Jefferson County.
SENORA is a small community farther up Deep Run from Allenhurst. It was recorded by Senora and Charles D. Paden, May 15, 1914.
UPLAND is a residential district on the hills back of Martins Ferry. It was recorded by Lawrence Hinds, July 12, 1903.
BROOKSIDE is a village on Wheeling Creek, west of Bridgeport, evidently named from its location. It was recorded February 12, 1900.
ACER was a hamlet northeast of Brookside. It was recorded by Ross J. Alexander, May 22, 1883, and named Acer, the scientific name of maple trees.
FLORENCE is a mining settlement at the Florence Mine of the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company. It was named for the daughter of F. M. Osborne, who was president of the company when the Florence Mine was put in operation.
Martins Ferry is a town greatly interested in basketball. We’ve always been known for our aggressiveness on the court whether we win or lose. It doesn’t matter how anyone figures it, Martins Ferry is a fighting high school when it comes to sports. In past years, many fine athletes have gone from Ferry to play the role of professional or coach.
The 1954-55 Purple Rider team lost more than it won, but even so, this is only statistics. In points yielded, we were low; but our percentage of points was admirably average. The team had fair bench power and McGrew and Carson as holdovers from last year.
Carson was excellent at the pivot spot as his point total shows. Dan McGrew did good work also on the rebounds and set-shooting. His one shot in the last seconds of a game was enough to win it. We narrowly missed losing several times, but “where there’s a will to win, there is a win.” Jack Green, Foddy Heil, and Phil Miller also did well to prove the Purple Rider’s determination to play a good game. Coach Weisgerber, in his four years at the helm, has done an excellent coaching job.
To “Mickey” and his coaching staff and the team; we say, “Thanks a lot, fellows.”
Row 1: J. Carson, R. Mattern, F. Heil, Captain; R. Godfrey, P. Miller Row 2: Coach Weisgerber, M. Meyer, Manager;
K. Craver, J. Blackford, J. Bondy, D. Kasun, L. McConnaughy, Manager; E. Turvey, Manager; Assistant Coach Young