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Jefferson District

Taken from History of Charleston and Kanawha County West Virginia and Representative Citizens, W.S. Laidley, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, 1911.
Jefferson District extends along on the south side of the Kanawha river, from Davis Creek, near to Lock No. 7 just above Scary Creek. It includes Gallaton's branch, Coal river and Tacket's creek and branches, Two and Three quarter Mile creek, Watton's Creek, Spring Hill Station and St. Albans. Then there are Fall Creek of Coal River, Brown Creek, with Amandaville and Lewis Station.

It is noted for having the most crooked stream in the world. A man can place his corn on his back, then go to his boat and float to the mill and get his meal, put it on his back, and float on down the stream and get back to his house.

At Tornado, there are the upper falls of the Coal River, but there is no telling where the lower falls are. The Coal River railroad forms a junction at St. Albans, and coal, timber, and almost everything can be brought down on this road.

Coal (formerly Cole) River divides this district into two unequal parts. This stream has its source in the counties of Boone and Fayette, and flows in a northwest direction until it discharges its waters into the Kanawha, twelve miles below Charleston, and forty-eight above Point Pleasant. It is a beautiful mountain stream, and was named in honor of Lewis Cole, who was a soldier in the Big Sandy expedition under General Lewis, in 1756. To prevent starvation, the army disbanded or broke up into small companies, that they might be more successful in hunting; the party to which Mr. Cole belonged came over upon the waters of this stream, and were thus its first discoverers, and in honor of the leader of the party, it was named Cole river. Since the discovery of vast deposits of bituminous coal along its entire course, it has been spelled C-o-a-l, but upon the early maps of Virginia and by early writers, as well, it is spelled C-o-l-e.

The first settler upon its banks, or in the district, was Lewis Tackett. He first located some distance up the river, but soon removed to the mouth, where he built Tackett's fort, at the time (with the exception of Fort Randolph at Point Pleasant) the most western outpost in Virginia. It was destroyed in the year 1788 by a powerful band of Shawanese Indians. Soon after its destruction other pioneers came to assist in rebuilding it. Among them were Joseph Thomas, James Thomas, Richard Teays, a Mr. Roberts and Samuel Turley. All were actual settlers, and all became prominent in the early history of the Kanawha valley.

The first marriage in this district was that of Levi Jones and Mary Thomas.

The first grist-mill, not only in the district, but the first worthy of the name in Kanawha county, was built at the upper falls Coal river, by Joseph Thomas, in 1801 or 1802. Our informant says that "it accomodated the county for fifty miles around." The first postoffice established was at Colesmouth.

Among the earliest ministers were the Revs. Lee and George, Baptist ministers, and Francis Guthrie and Burwell Spurlock, of the Methodist Church. By reference to the old records of the Greenbrier Association (Baptist) it will be seen that the Coal River Church was admitted into that body in 1803, and this was doubtless the first society formed in this section of country.

The Methodist Episcopal Church (South) was organized by Rev. Amos, in 1857, with the following membership: Stephen Capehart, John Overshiner, Jerry Searhol, Anderson Rock, George Overshiner, Wyatt Creas, Mattie Wilson, Parthena J Wilson, Parthena Wilson, Mrs. Lasley, Ann Willimson, Branche and Wilkinson. At the same time there was organized a Sabbath school in connection with the church. Stephen Capehart was the first superintendent. With the exception of a short time during the Civil war, it has never suspended.

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