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The principal streams are Campbell's creek, Burning Spring creek, and Simmon's creek, all flowing southwest and emptying into the Kanawha. The surface is rough, and it may be said to consist of "mountains of coal," outrivaling both in quantity and quality any locality of similar extent in the state.
It is said that the first cabin was erected by Abraham Baker in the year 1790. Among the earliest settlers were David and Joseph Ruffner, John Alderson and Samuel John Shrewsbury. The first settlement was made just above the mouth of Tinkersville, the oldest town in the district. The Ruffners were prominent men in developing the mining and salt manufacturing interests in this locality, a notice of which has already appeared in this history. They built the first grist mill ever erected within the limits of the district, in the year 1803. It was a water-mill with one run of stone. An old pioneer says it was a model "corn-cracker."
The first school appears to have been taught about the year 1820, by a gentleman named Ezra Walker, of Athens, Ohio. His successor was George Taylor. The building was a one-story frame, erected by Gen. Lewis Ruffner, at his own expense. It was the first school building in the district, which is now well provided with both white and colored schools.
The old Kanawha Salines postoffice was one of the first in the valley. It has recently been discontinued, and Malden is now the only one in the district.
It is not recorded who preached the first sermon. The Methodists and Baptists appear to have held meetings contemporary with the first settlement, but no organization appears to have been perfected until 1816, when Rev. Henry Ruffner organized the First Presbyterian church of Malden.