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Doors to the Past

Brief History of Salt Rock

A Brief History of the Salt Rock Two-Room Elementary School 

Compiled by Thelma Morrison Matthews 

Principal Salt Rock School     1935


Transcribed from a copy by Ed Griffith 3/22/2002

The copy was not very clear and in those areas I could not read, I used the following: (?)


A Brief History of the Salt Rock Two-Room Elementary School 

            The history of Salt Rock Community begins in the latter part of the 18th  Century.  A roving band of Indians from the Ohio River found its way up the Guyan river, entering Giles County, Va. And stole sixty head of horses.  The band was pursued by a number of citizens of that county, among whom were General McComas and Adam Hatfield, the father's of the McComas and Hatfield families since so prominent in our community life and history.  The horses were found in the narrows between Walter Swan’s and Thomas McCallister’s on land now owned by the latter.  The Indians had them resting and grazing on wild pea vine then so abundant in the woodlands everywhere.
            Grand William Morrison, by name, in early days and before there were any roads, carried salt on pack horses from the Kanawha Salt Works.  After the roads were improved he used oxen and a cart, and then when they were still better he used an ox-wagon.  Patrick H. Morrison and others drilled a well along the river, a short distance below Salt Rock bridge.  The drilling was done by hand, or what they call a spring pole.  How deep the well was, they did not know, but they obtained salt water.  Then they procured large kettles, built a furnace and manufactured salt.  Hence, the name Salt Rock, which we like so well.  The stones of the old furnace may be seen today on the river bank near the bottom land owned by W.H. Fraley.
            At the beginning of the Civil War, and even later, there were several large land owners in this community.  Hezekiah Swann owned practically all the land on what is now known as Tom’s Creek, and The farm at or below the mouth of Cabell Creek, where Roach is now located.  Solomon Midkiff owned the land on the east side of Guyan River from a point just below Salt Rock to the mouth of Upper tom’s Creek, a distance of nearly two miles, and up Trace Creek for a like distance, besides a farm in Lincoln County.  John Porter owned the land on the west side of the river.  Fronting the river for near two miles and, running back to Smith’s Creek and Madison, Robert Ross owned two large tracts, one on the head of Smith’s Creek and one on Upper Madison.
 

            The early people manifested an interest in Education.  One of the first school houses to be built stood on the point where Walter Swann now lives.  A man named Rube Thacker was its first teacher.  After that, but before the Civil War, William Bramlet, and perhaps others, taught there.  There was also a schoolhouse located on Smith Creek near where William Paugh now lives, teacher unknown.  James Porter taught at the mouth of Smith Creek and at Salt Rock.  Then came William Alego, who taught at several schools near and at Roach.  The first free school in this vicinity, and perhaps the first in McComas District, was built at the fall and winter of 1865.  It was located between Walter Swann’s and Thomas McCallister’s, and continued there for about 9 years.  Its first teacher was a man named Rodermer from Ohio.  Scholars attended this school from a distance of three and a half miles, some of them thirty or thirty-five years old.  Then came schools at Ousley’s Gap, Merritt’s Creek, the Peyton School house on Trace Creek, and finally two schools on Madison and one at Salt Rock.  These schools continued four months out of twelve and were very well attended.  Gradually, the school term has lengthened to 8 months.  The early settlers came into the Community to work in the Salt Licks.  There were several salt wells at that time, and it was then that it was settled.  The settlers cam from many of the adjoining communities.  They came with ox-team and horses and their small supply of rude made furniture.  They engaged in the Salt Work which was a new industry for them.  Most of them had formerly been farmers.  Some of the early settlers of this Community were:  John porter, James McComas, Solomon Midkiff, Roland Bias, Gabriel Nelson, Patrick Keenan, Harvey Rolfe, William Gill, James Porter, Alex porter, John Morrison, Peter Jordan, J.J. Rousey, John McCain, W.E. Morrison, Jaruel Porter, And many others.  Some of their descendants are Abraham Lincoln Roberts, John porter, Irving Lucas and others.

                                 Early Schools in the Community

            The church was built before the school and the children went to school in the church for a long time.  The nearest school to the first school at Salt Rock was on B.S. Perry’s farm.  The seats were just benches with no backs on them.  The county built the first school in this community.  The first teacher of this school was Joshua Kemper Heath, then a farmer.  He had completed what we now would consider the fourth grade, and came in this community from Tyler Creek, Cabell County to teach school.  He had never taught before.  There were about thirty children attending the first school.  They didn’t go in classes and grades as we do now, but in just any book they could obtain.  If they had an Arithmetic, they went in it, or a Speller, they went in it Etc., Men and women all ages attended the school.  Some of the men had long black beard.
            The present building was erected August 1918.  seventeen years ago.  There were approximately 25 attending the first school.  The primer, first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades were taught in the building now standing.
           There are 104 pupils now enrolled in this building.  Grades are taught from the Primer to the Eighth Grade Inclusive.
           Teachers who have taught in this community of Salt Rock are ; William Bramlet, George Keiser, William Algeo, H. J. Rousey, Alexander (?) (possibly Donahoe), William Gill, Elsie Gill, Suda Hech, Bertha Phipps, Faye Gill, (?)(possibly Dressler), Iva Thornton, May Gill, Mr. Jaruel Gill, Charlie Bowling, Myrtle Swann, Opal Hinchman, Ruby Ashworth, Lovie Gill, (?) (possibly Halda) Midkiff, Garnie Sanson, Mayne Hutchinson, George Hutchinson, Will Carroll, J. A. Coffman, Edgar Swann, W. E. Carter, Vivian Gothard, Wallace Broter, Ida Gill, Nettie Bias, Evelyn Coffman, Ethyl Adkins, Lavonia Hilbert, Shirley Hinchman, Velma Matthews Thelma Morrison Matthews.

                                       Program of Activities

Our school maintains a Parent’s Reading Circle which is enjoyed very much by the parents, and also a Parent Teacher’s Association which is enjoyed by all the community as a whole.  And A Adult Education class was also established, which was attended rather faithfully.

                                         Values:

            Our Community has sponsored the feeding project for the school, which was helped by all the Community.
            The Board of Education is building two new rooms on Salt Rock school which will make it a four room school next year.  They are planning on having a cafeteria, auditorium and a furnace, which will all be something new to the school.

                                        Palestine School

            The school was built by the County and B. B. Ray erected the building.  This building is 45 years old. When the school was first built about 35 children attended.  The first 5 grades were taught.  The first teacher of this school was Miss Georgie Swann.
            Some of the descendants of the first settlers in the Community are:  Charles McComas, Walter Swann, and Blackburn Bias.  The early settlers farmed most of the time.  They raised everything they had to eat.
            Some of the teachers who have taught at Palestine are:  Thelma Fellure, J. M. Fellure, Dorothy Lucas, Nettie Bias, Shirley Hinchman, Benjamin Bledsoe, Jessie Hatfield, Myrtle, Lambert, Myrtle Swann, and many others.

                                       Walnut Grove School

Walnut Grove school was first built in 1876.  It was a one room log building.  The seats and teachers desk were all made out of logs.  There was one window on each side of the house.  There was between 20 and 25 children attended the first school.  The first five grades were taught by someone who came to the community to teach.  Walnut Grove school is the oldest building in Cabell County.  The first teacher of this old building was Rev. Steele.

Some of the early settlers or descendants of the early settlers were:  Calvary Morrison, Burl Farley, Burton Hensley, Eli Morrison, W. E. Morrison and others.
            The first teacher in the present building was Anna Self.  Some of the other teachers are:  Georgia Swann, Wallace Porter, Stewart Adkins, Eva Morrison, Thelma Fellure, Ora Morrison, Lottie Bostic,


(At this point page 6 appears to be missing from the copy I obtained from Marshall University)

(however they did send all pages that are in their files)


People who contributed to this History of Salt Rock Are:

(Uncle) John Porter

W. E. Morrison’s History

Mrs Dewey Jobe          Salt Rock

Mr. J. H. DeJarnett       Salt Rock

A. O. Rousey   Salt Rock

 

 Palestine

Mrs. J. M. Fellure

Walter Ray

 

Walnut Grove

Eli Morrison

R. C. Hutchinson

Mrs. W. D. Paugh

 

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