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Poca District

Taken from History of Charleston and Kanawha County West Virginia and Representative Citizens, W.S. Laidley, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, 1911.
Poca District lies on the northwest side of the county adjoining Jackson county, and is on the stream known as Pocatalico river, which flows into the Kanawha river about fifteen miles below Charleston. It is rather sparsely settled, but has some good farms, plenty of timber and coal, oil and gas, and is a good district in which to live a quiet life and behave yourself. The people generally vote the republican ticket. They have one town Sissonville, named for an old resident, who is almost forgotten, and it has not made any special effort to enlarge its borders or crowd its boundaries. There are some good people in this district, and it adjoins Jackson and Roane counties, which are overflowing with oil and gas, and there are coal works on the waters of Poca.

Kelly's creek, Frogg's creek, and Derrick's creek, respectively named from the first settler's upon their banks, all flow south and empty into Pocatalico. Tupper's creek, named from an early trapper, runs northeast and falls into Pocatalico. First and Second creeks, named in their order from Fisher's settlement at the mouth of Tupper's creek, are likewise tributaries of Pocatalico.

The surface of Poca for the most part is broken and hilly. Limestone is found in considerable quantities on Pocatalico near the mouth of Kelly's creek. Iron ore also abounds; by analysis it is shown to contain sixty per cent of iron. The soil consists chiefly of a red clay, and ranks among the best wheat lands in the county. The principal varieties of timber are hickory, poplar, beech and oak.

The first settler in the district was a man of the name of Johnson, who, about the year 1802, erected a cabin near the mouth of Tupper's creek. He was not long permitted to enjoy the solitude of his mountain home, for other settlers soon moved in; and among his earliest neighbors were Joseph Hines, Jonathan Derrick, who came in 1810, John Fisher, James Sisson, John Dawson, Robin Atkinson, George Boggess, and David Shirkey.

The first grist mill was built by Johnson, the first settler; it was located on Tupper's creek on lands now owned by Robert Ransom. It was but a shed covered with clapboards, under which one run of stone twenty inches in diameter - water was the propelling power. The first saw-mill was built by John Pasons, on the site where Sissonville now stands; it was constructed after the old "sash saw" pattern, a "flutter" wheel being used as the driving power. It was built at an early day, but the exact date is not known.

The first schoolhouse was built at the mouth of Schoolhouse branch, now called Second creek. It was a common, round, log cabin, one end of which was entirely taken up by a huge fireplace. Of the present schoolhouses in the district the most are for white, but several for colored pupils; and there is a good general attendance.

The oldest church edifice was the Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal church, which formerly stood in the "Low Gap," one-fourth of a mile south of Sissonville. It was hewed log building erected by Henry Sisson, John Sisson, James Sisson, David Shirkey, and John Fisher. Castello H. Bates did the carpenter work. It was pulled down in 1873.


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