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Cabin Creek District

Taken from History of Charleston and Kanawha County West Virginia and Representative Citizens, W.S. Laidley, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, 1911.
Cabin Creek district lies on both sides of the Kanawha. On the south side of the river it extends from Loudon, below Field's creek, up to Fayette county at Montgomery and includes the waters of the Kanawha. This takes in Paint creek, Cabin creek, Slaughter's creek and Field's creek. On the north side of the Kanawha, it includes Witcher's creek, Kelly's creek and Buffalo fork of Simmon's creek.

There is a corner of Rock Camp fork of Bell creek where Nicholas, Fayette and Kanawha join and the line runs from thence to the Kanawha river at the mouth of Simmon's creek at Cannelton; thence down the middle of the river to lower end of Montgomery; and thence to Raleigh county, crossing Paint at the mouth of Laurel branch. The old road came down to Gauley river at the mouth of Twenty-mile and then up Bell creek and thence down Hughe's creek, or Kelly's creek, their heads being near.

The first white man who dared to attempt to settle in the Kanawha valley was Walter Kelly. In the early part of the year 1774 he removed his family to the mouth of the stream which has ever since borne his name now within the limits of this district. His settlement was eighty-five miles west of Donnally's fort in Greenbrier, and was at the time the most western English settlement in America. Its destruction by Indians and the tragic end of some members of the family have already been narrated in this volume.

The murder of one individual or a dozen families did not deter the sturdy pioneer from his onward march in the conquest of the wilderness, and accordingly, before a year has passed after the destruction of Kelly's settlement, we find Leonard and William Morris both residing almost in sight of the fatal spot. Their settlement is elsewhere noticed. Among those who here found homes and become actual settlers in the next years were John Hansford, Sr., Thomas Foster, Ransom Gatewood, Robert Perry, John Jarrett, John D. Massey, Gallatin G. Hansford, William Johnson, John Wheeler, Shadrach Childers, Peter Likens, Spencer Hill, William Pryor, Barney Green, Thomas Trigg and Shadrach Hariman. The latter was an Englishman, who came to the Kanawha valley and married Susan Pryor; this was, most probably, the first marriage contracted on the banks of the Kanawha. They had to go to Fort Savannah (now Lewisburg) for license. He was killed by a roving band of savages, on the 7th day of March, 1791, on what is now known as Donnally farm, near Charleston.

The same year in which Hariman was killed, there came to the valley a family by the name of Wheeler; they remained two years at the Kelly's creek settlement, and then removed eight miles farther down the river and began an improvement. Several months passed away, autumn came and brought with it the lurking band of Indians. One evening, when the family - six in number - were seated in front of the cabin engaged in roasting chestnuts, and all unconscious of their fate, a savage scream rent the air, the report of a dozen rifles resounded among the mountains, and, with the exception of one lad, nearly grown, every member of the family lay dead upon the ground. The boy ran and made his escape to Kelly's creek, where he related the bloody story. A company of soldiers went down the next morning, but only to find charred remains of five human bodies among the smoking ruins of the cabin, into which the savages had carried them before applying the torch.

Staten's run is a small stream which empies into the Kanawha a short distance below the town of Cannelton. It derives its name from the following incident. Soon after the formation of the county, in 1789, James Staten, Leonard Morris, William Morris, John Jones and John Young made a journey to Charleston, for the purpose of attending court. After having finished their business at the county seat, they set out on horseback to return to their homes. When near the above mentioned stream they were fired upon by a number of Indians, and, although a perfect shower of balls whistled past them, but one took effect, and that caused the death of James Staten. The others put spurs to their horses and rode safely away. The stream has ever since been known as Staten's run.

In 1777 - early in the quarter of a past century - was gathered the first Protestant congregation in the Kanawha valley. No minister proclaiming the glad tidings had yet lifted up his voice in this (then) wilderness land, but the old pioneers in obeyance of the spiritual injunction, "assemble yourselves together," met and organized a congregation. Soon the Macedonian cry was heard east of the mountains, and Revs. John Alderson, Mathew Ellison, James Johnson and John Lee responded to the call, came west of the mountain barrier and assisted in carrying on the good work already begun.

Among the names of those who were members of this primitive church we find the following: Leonard Morris (the first permanent settler), Levi Morris, Benjamin Morris, William Morris and wife, Katie Carroll, William Morris, Jr., John Jones, John Hansford, Jane Hansford, David Jarrett, William Huddlestone, Edward Hughs, Lewis Jones, Mary Malone, Susanna Malone, Leah Alderson, Thomas Trigg, Polly Ellison, Polly Winsor, Nancy Hariman, Richard Hughs, Matilda Winsor, and John Meadows. This was the beginning of the Kanawha Baptist church of today.

Of towns, this district has Cannelton, which came into existence through the manufacture there of oil from cannel coal. It is opposite Montgomery, and this latter town is in Fayette. Handley is a railroad town, on the C & O. railroad. There are also Clifton, called Dego, (now Pratt), Cedar Grove, East Bank, Coalburg, Shrewsbury or North Coalburg, Chelyan, Lewiston.

On Cabin creek, it is town all the way up, and the places are not large as towns, but extremely busy as coal properties. This district is noted for having seen the beginning of the settlement of Kanawha, at the mouth of Kelly's creek and at the mouth of Paint creek. Paint creek was an Indian thoroughfare for the upper New river, a cut-off, or short route, less difficult to follow than New river.


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