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Silver Hill

 

Communities of Wetzel County

 

Silver Hill is located about eighteen miles east of New Martinsville in Center District, on Laurel Run. It was settled in the year 1825 by James A. Wood. There are between fifty and sixty families living there now on the surrounding ridges and in the valleys. In the late 1800's and early 1900's there were over one hundred families in Silver Hill. This was due to the oil boom. At one time, there were two general stores, a blacksmith shop, a grist mill, a hotel, a speakeasy, an undertaker, a school, a barber and two churches.

In the 1850's, W. S. Swan was a store owner; in the 1880's E. P. Haught owned the store; in the 1900's Morris Rulong and Son, and Chris and Clarence Yeater had a store; in the 1920's and 30's Hinerman and Pyles, O. W. Yeater and Fred Adams. The store and Post Office were operated by Fred Adams. The building was large with a high ceiling and required a large pot bellied stove to take the chill off the air in the winter time. Saturdays in the winter months were the busiest time. The ladies came to bring butter and eggs to trade for staples for the family. The men came to get the mail, hear the latest news, and to swap some very tall tales. In the 1940's Herb and Dale Yeater owned the store. Herb Yeater ran the store and Post Office for twenty-one years and was the last store in Silver Hill in 1965. A new Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department is now on the site where the store once stood.

Some of the men who ran a blacksmith shop were: G. W. Blatt, Geho and Harlan, Cecil "Butch" White and Bernard Myers. It was fascinating and a little scary to hear the hammer ringing on the anvil and see the sparks from the forge coming through the cracks of the wooden building.

Some of the early doctors were: Dr. James Duffy; Dr. E. P. Haught, Dr. D. Walker Richmond; and Dr. Coffield was the last doctor out in here.

The grist mill was owned and operated by C. A. Ramsey and sons, Elmer and Ernie. A hotel was operated by W. J. Derrow. Tom Allen was the undertaker. In 1912 a flood washed his caskets away, some say as far as Paden City! Jasper Baker was the local shoe cobbler. "Daddy" Crawford operated the saw mill. Winning McFadden had a stonequarry on Johnson Ridge. Jehu Johnson ran a speakeasy.

William Smith was the barber. The barber shop was open only on Saturdays. Mr. Smith, who lived on Carney Run, came to cut hair and shave the customers. The means for heating the water for the "Sanitary Shaves" was an oil lamp placed in a nail keg with a wash pan of water on top. That pan of water was used all day. (So the story goes.)

Two churches served the community, the Methodist Church on Macedonia Ridge and Miller's Chapel Church of Christ. Both churches are still here. Some early ministers were: Ockeltree; Riddle; Stevens; Lloyd Fast; Byrd; Esker Groves; John P. Keiffer; Myers; Reynolds; F. E. Smith; J. W. Arnold; Chester Gray and H. E. Taylor.

The school in Silver Hill was the old Silver Hill School and the last year for it was 1907-1908. The last teacher there was Arlena Miller. The new Silver Hill School on the hill started in 1908-1909. The first teacher was Nancy Jane Richmond. The last yearfor this school was 1958-59. Joe Newman was the teacher.

Some of the first mail carriers were: Hiram Hilton; George Harlan; Willy Stern; Archie Stern; Albert Babe; Carl Carney; Henry Greathouse; Ike Lemasters; John McPeak and Edward Ebert.

There are several cemeteries in the community. One of the larger ones in the Jolliffe Cemetery. Macedonia Cemetery is another one. There are many smaller cemeteries located on the ridges of some of the farms. There is a Long Cemetery, a Lemasters Cemetery on Carney Run and a Lemasters Cemetery off McBride Ridge, to name a few.

Most of the families in the area are descendants of the early settlers. An old store ledger still exists dating 1890-1910 and contains over four hundred peoples' accounts who dealt with the Silver Hill store.

Other schools in the area were: Macedonia, Greenfield, Brock Ridge, Carney Run, Des Moines, Rosefield, Greenwood, Schidler and Fairview Ridge. Some teachers were: D. W. Richmond, W. J. Stern, Denzil Yocum, Ruth Sidell, Fred Pyles, Essie Hemerlick, Ray Witschey, and Thelma Allen.

Some think Silver Hill got its name from the silver trees in the area.

Submitted by Janet Hilpert and Reva Durig Mason

Source: Wetzel County West Virginia History 1983