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Folsom

 

Communities of Wetzel County

Folsom and surrounding area was owned by Henry Talkington until it was spotted by a young man, Hezekiah Hood, who traveled about the countryside working for farmers. This tract of land consisted of 100 acres and Hood purchased it by paying $500 down and gave his note for a similar amount.

Hood and his wife, Elzina Ice, moved into a log cabin located at the crossroads of the present State Route 20 and Trader Run in the year 1883. Elzina Ice Hood was a descendant of "Indian Billy" Ice, who was born in Holland in 1725.

About two years later, the Hoods started their first store which was located in the "end bedroom" of their cabin home. The first stock consisted of tea, coffee, sugar, tobacco and snuff. From the beginning, Mrs. Hood looked after the business for her husband who was an excellent worker and a good manager, but had little "book learning". Elzina Hood obtained part of her education at Barrackville where she stayed with the Straight family, who were her mother's relatives. She taught one term of school on Richwood Run, Wetzel County.

When Mr. Hood told his neighbors he intended to erect a story-and-a-half log structure, sixteen by twenty feet, adjacent to his home, "Preacher Sam" Starkey declared he was crazy! Hood was wise in continuing to build, for the oil boom that shortly occurred in the Smithfield and Folsom section, made his business highly profitable and opened up a wide trading area.

The first Post Office, which was operated by Henry Talkington for a short time, was moved into the Hood store and Elzina Hood served as Postmaster for fourteen years. The Post Office was established during the first administration of President Grover Cleveland. So, as Postmaster, Elzina Hood requested of the President that the post office be named for his wife, Frances Folsom Cleveland.

In 1900 the Hood store, warehouse and home were destroyed by fire. Their oldest son Fountain, bought what stock was salvaged and operated a store for two Years. In 1902 a new store was erected on the original site and included the extended residence presently owned by Max Hood. After April 1, 1904 Fountain, Freeman and Fleming carried on the business as Hood Brothers. The store was operated by different members of the family for many years until the building was remodel.

Another store was centrally located in the Folsom community on the sight of the present Odd Fellows building. It was owned by Dave Bennett, who later became Sheriff of Wetzel County.

On the hill above the Pentecostal Church, where the railroad station was located, Ebb Edgell had a barber shop and O. R. Kincaid had a store beside a large hotel, under which was another store owned by Katy Carlin.

Since the oil boom subsided, most of the buildings and businesses which flourished are gone as are the oil derricks that were scattered throughout the area. One of those buildings was a grist mill operated by H. Hood and his son, Free, accommodating farmers for miles around. They paid for the grinding with some of the fresh cornmeal. Folsom Volunteer Fire Department now occupies the sight of the old mill.

This account of the growth and early history of the Folsom community was compiled from records kept by Elzina Hood and her second son, Freeman E. Hood, by his younger daughter, Ruth Hood, with insertions of her recollections. She followed in her grandmother's footsteps, but served only a few years as Folsom's postmaster, retiring in 1975 after teaching several years.

Source: History of Wetzel County, West Virginia 1983