History of Clarksburg

by Paul E. Maxwell
(Written c: 1975)
Submitted by Hiram W. Lynch

     Note P 1, par 2. The Indian trail going westward from Clarksburg, followed Limestone Creek to Wolf Summit, down Turkey Foot run to Ten Mile Creek, down Ten Mile to the mouth of Salem Fork, thence up this stream to the headwaters of Middle Island Creek. An alternate route left Limestone at Johnsonís Run, between Reynoldsville and OíNeil, crossed Strother Hill and down New Creek to Ten Mile thence upstream to Salem Fork Where it rejoined the original trail.

     In 1802, David Maxwell a Revolutionary War veteran settled in the Ten Mile area where he purchased an extensive acreage at ten cents per acre and established a home stead at the mouth of Salem Fork. Feeling sure that he would be on the future road regardless of which route it followed. When the road was constructed it followed the Wolf Summit route down Ten Mile to the mouth of Hallís Run where the engineers decided to proceed over Tunnel Hill to Salem fork, thus bypassing the Maxwell home by a good mile.

     Although at the time the turnpike was constructed it passed through Maxwell property at the extreme southern boundary, they scorned the idea of moving their domicile to be near it. And the next several generations deplored the stupidity of engineers for their decision. At that they had a logical point. Freight wagons with a normal load for comparatively level ground were compelled to halt at the base of the hill, double hitch their teams to a single wagon and cross it one wagon at a time. By following the water level route a mile and one half longer, this could have been avoided with a saving of valuable time and useless wear and tear on the draft animals.

     Todayís multi-lane, divided highway roughly paralleling the old turnpike, built for automotive traffic and using modern earth moving machinery, cuts down hills, fills in valleys bypasses communities, taking the most direct route from one major point to another. Properly ignoring the expediency of primitive men and animals.

     In 1822, George Morris chose a beautiful location on Strotherís Hill for a home site. It is quite likely that his choice was in part influenced by the possibility that it might be on the future turnpike. Like Maxwell he guessed incorrectly but being of a persevering nature, promptly negotiated a trade for a farm at Wolf Summit which was bisected by the new road. Here his son Manley conducted a successful tavern business until the coming of the rail road put him out of business

     Note P 3 par 1, An ex-slave was John Blair. He fled from his master in the late eighteen fifties and endured incredible hardships on his treck through the mountains before reaching Clarksburg. Here he found a kindly welcome and refuge from his pursuers. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the Union Army and served for the duration. After and unsuccessful search for relatives left behind in Virginia, he returned to Clarksburg as a permanent resident, living there as a respected, useful citizen to a ripe old age. He was only one of many other blacks with similar experiences.

     Note P 7, Par 2. During the Civil War, the organized militia was made up of men middle aged or having large families of dependants. After the Union Army had completed fortification of Pinnickinnick and Lowndes Hills the militia was activated and took over the duties of manning the forts. Each enlisted man spent three days per week at military duty and four at home working his farm.

     Captain John M. Ritter of the Harrison County militia is my authority for the following. Although there were numerous reports of impending attacks by the Confederates non of them materialized. Other than routine camp chores, their most onerous duty was augmenting the small, Clarksburg police force on Saturday nights. Subduing drunken, disorderly employees of the army supply depot. The small city and county jails could accommodate only the few criminally inclined but the others were confined to the arm stockade over the week end and Monday morning found them sober and back on the job.

The End

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