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Edward Doolin
The First Settler

 

The earliest white settler along the Ohio river, in Wetzel county, was Edward Doolin, who came here about the year 1780, and made a settlement near Doolins Spring, one mile from the mouth of Fishing creek, on lands now owned by the heirs of Philip Witten.  He there built two cabins, one for himself and wife and the other for his negro slave.  He owned a large survey of lands lying on both sides of the stream which still bears his name, and including what in now known as Fishing Creek bottom.  The lines of his survey are well established, and have been made familiar to the courts of Wetzel in divers suits of ejectment.

He had hardly broken the solitude of this vast wilderness, when he was visited by a tribe of Delaware Indians who came at night and took away his negro slave into captivity, and returning at day break, and finding Doolin in his front yard, shot and scalped him.  His wife, who was still in the cabin lying abed with the new born babe beside her, was not molested.  Mrs. Doolin was a woman of remarkable beauty, and the savages fearing that it might prove fatal to compel her to accompany them while in her delicate state of health, urged her to remain there for a few days, until she entirely recovered, promising to return and take her with them to be the wife of their great chief.  This alluring prospect, however, did not seem to have charmed the white beauty into lingering there.

At that time a blockhouse stood near the present residence of Mrs. Eliza Martin, in the limits of the present town of New Martinsville.  Its solitary inmate, when these occurrences took place, was a man named Martin, who heard the report of the firing in the early morning, in the direction of Doolin's clearing.  He made a reconnaissance and found the body of Doolin lying in front of his cabin.  Entering the house he wrapped Mrs. Doolin in blankets and taking the infant in his arms, assisted her to the blockhouse, where he placed the widow and orphan in a canoe, and transported them up the Ohio to the mouth of Captina creek.  He then returned with a few comrades, and they buried the body of Doolin in the spot known as Witten's garden, where his grave is still to be seen.  And every spring the Easter flowers bloom over the dust of Edward Doolin - the first white settler of Wetzel, and one of the few white men killed by the Indians within her borders.