Bingamon
by Richard R. Wilt

      David M. Morrow is a man of whom I have always been curious. David was my grandfather's step father. David was my great grandmother's third husband. Elvira Thomas Davis Stiles Morrow. She had first married Turner L. Davis on July 28, 1862 and had three children. After the death of Turner, Elvira married John Wesley Stiles. Elvira and John Wesley were married in Marion County, WV very near what is called Metz, WV. They lived on the left fork of Campbell s Run commonly known as Stiles Run. The Stiles family had lived in the area for several years. John, my great great grandfather had received the land from his father, Stephen Stiles.

      As the Civil War was coming to an end John had decided to take his family west and settle in Iowa. Just after the birth of their youngest child, John and Sarah (Park) Stiles started their trek west accompanied by Sarah's father and mother moving west to Iowa. Soon after they arrived in Iowa Sarah died and John returned to West Virginia with his children leaving his youngest child, Stephen Nelson Stiles with his maternal grandparents.

      Before leaving West Virginia John had sold most of his land he owned in Marion County by quit deed, using the proceeds to travel west. Upon his arrival back in Marion County, John and his children moved back on land that he still owned on Stiles Run. John being a widower with six children ranging from 6 to 14 years of age was in need of a wife or housekeeper. There was an arrangement made by friends and neighbors to find John a new wife. John married the widow of Martin VanBuren Moore, Anna McCoy Moore on May 4, 1865. Martin Van Buren Moore had died as a prisoner of war in Andersonville prison. Anna had a seven year old son and a five year old daughter and was only in her mid twenties.

      After being married for a few years in 1873 John was involved in a land dispute with his siblings. He had to go to court suing his siblings to give him a clear title to the land he had sold by quit deed prior to leaving to go west. If the court had not ruled in his favor most, if not all, of the deeds he had written prior to leaving to go west would have been invalid. Some of this land is located in what is now the small town of Metz in Marion County. The court found in John's favor so all the deeds remained in effect. In all of the transactions the portion of land on which John and his family lived was deeded to his sister Eunice Stiles Sturm. There must have been no dispute between John and his sister Eunice because John and his family lived there until all his children had grown and left home. All of John's children were gone from home in 1880 when John and Anna were listed in the Mannington District with in the 1880 census. John died Jun 15, 1899 and Anna is found living alone as head of household in 1900 Monongalia County census.

      John's eldest son John Wesley met Elvira Thomas Davis after her first husband had past away. They married prior to 1874 since their first son Isaac Alburn was born on October 1, 1874. John Nelson was the second child born on October 26, 1876 and the third and last child, James C. was born June 4, 1882.

      John Wesley died June 20, 1883 leaving Elvira with their three sons. All of Elvira's children from her first marriage had since left home and married. Elvira remained in Marion County for the next six years until she met David M. Morrow from Harrison County. David had been married to Edith McIntire and had divorced.

      David was a man of many talents. He was born in Pennsylvania and grew up learning the Cooper trade from his father. David married Edith McIntire Mar 13, 1856. David and Edith had three children, Elizabeth, Sena, and David E. In the 1880s Edith sued for divorce with the charges of drunkenness and mistreatment. The farm on which they lived on Bingamon Creek had been deeded to David and Edith by Edith's father, Enoch McIntire, one of the earliest settlers in Harrison County, VA. Soon after their divorce David went to court asking for custody of his son David E. and possession of the Bingamon Creek farm. The Court ruled in his favor and he and David remained in their home in Harrison County on Bingamon Creek.

      Elvira and David married on January 31, 1889 and Elvira with the three boys moved to Bingamon Creek with David M. and his son David E. Just after a year of marriage David E. became ill and died on August 19, 1890, thus leaving the farm in his fatherís name.

      David was also what is called an herb doctor. He made and sold many different elixirs and medicines made from the local plants. A very large book has been passed to me by my grandfather containing many formulas and mixtures for making many things, such as medicines, paints, dyes, and other chemical mixtures. The book is titled ďThe Dictionary of Everyday Wants and NeedsĒ printed in 1876. Several notes can be found throughout the book in Davidís hand writing.

      After the death of David's son he became much closer to his three stepsons. They were not rich but David did supply a good income for a farmer in those days. He had an extensive work shop. When I was young I would always enjoying going into my grandfather's work shop because it was fascinating. It was full of power tools and equipment, not as we see today but they were run by an elaborate belt system which ran a large circular saw, band saw, a lathe, and drill press. In David's day the belt system was run using a small steam engine but my grandfather ran the belt system with a small gasoline engine converted to run on natural gas which was free to my grandfather.

      David continued his trade in coopering and wood working. David built furnisher which probably several of his pieces could be found distributed throughout descendants of Bingamon Creek residents in the late 1800s. I still have in my possession a small table and my son has a bedstead made by David. David was also known for furnishing many caskets for families of departing loveones. Davidís name appears in the Harrison County records when he had to resort to suing for payment of the caskets he had made. It was one of those cases where you could not take back your handy work. It seems that after a funeral not only the deceased is gone but debts of the funeral were forgotten.

      James, my great uncle, died at the age of 20 from cancer on August 13, 1902 leaving his brothers, Alburn and John. When David died on April 9, 1903, he willed the farm to Alburn and John with Elvira holding her right to the house for her life time. The farm was divided into two equal parts with Alburn, being the eldest to live in the home with his mother. Alburn had married on February 22, 1894 to Sarah Eliza Ashcraft and were living in a small cabin on the farm at the head of Nutter Run. After David's death Elvira remained in the home place and Alburn moved his family into the home place.

      John had married Lora May Robinson whom he had attended school with at Long Run School. There names appear as classmates in the Harrison County Catalog of schools and students in 1896. John and Lora married on February 3, 1897 and moved to Upshur County where Lora had inherited a small farm left to her by her grandfather, Minter B. Miller. The farm was located at Kesling Mills and she had inherited it in conjunction with her half brother, Luther David Miller. She and her brother had divided the farm and she obtained the portion with the family home. Luther became a well known Silversmith in Upshur County.

      John and Lora lived in Upshur County for a short time, probably less than a year and so the story goes, John became homesick and wanted to move back to Bingamon Creek. He wrote his brother Alburn and asked that he bring a horse and wagon to Upshur County and move their furnishing back to Bingamon. Lora came back and moved in with Sarah and her mother in law until the household furnishing were moved back to Harrison County. I do not know the exact date but John, Lora, Ashby, and Willie are listed in the 1900 census living in Viropa where John was working on the Fred Sturm farm as farm boss.

      Lora always told the story that when Alburn took the horse and wagon to pick up the furnisher and return to Harrison County, that on their way back from Upshur County the horse developed the whins and they had to stop in Peeltree, WV and get another horse. The farmer they dealt with wanted to much for another horse that it really upset my grandfather. He had no choice but to pay the price to rent (buy) the horse for the remaining miles to Bingamon Creek. As the story goes my grandfather was so upset about the charge for renting the horse when he got home all he did was remove the harness from the horse, smack it on the rump and yell, since you are such a great horse you can just find your own way home. They had paid more than the horse was worth. No one knows what happened to the horse, possibly it made its way home and maybe it didnít, no one really knows.

      John worked on the Sturm farm until around 1910. John and Lora sold the coal rights of the Upshur County land to W. G. Davis in 1902 and sold the farm to John Kesling in 1903. They bought a small parcel of land at Pine Bluff. John, Lora and three children moved into the old Shinn house at Pine Buff and were living there in the 1910 census. In 1910 Alburn was living in the old home place on Bingamon but his mother, Elvira Morrow (census Marion County 1910) was living as a boarder in Marion County with a daughter, Bell Shultz, from her first marriage. Alburn and Sarah moved from the home place back to the small cabin at the head of Nutter Run because Sarah and Alvira could not cohabitate. Probably the reason Elvira was living with her daughter in Marion County.

      During this period John built a new house on the land he and Lara had purchased at Pine Bluff on Bingamon Creek. After they moved into their new house, their fourth child, Virginia Beryl was born on September 26, 1911. The family continued to live at Pine Bluff until they sold their property to the Western Maryland Railroad. They then moved into the Morrow home for a short time while John built a new house very near to his motherís house. Their fifth child, Catherine was born here on June 16, 1918.

      Johnís mother, Elvira Thomas Davis Stiles Morrow, passed away on June 16, 1919. John and May sold the house that John had built near his mother to his son, Ashby on November 17, 1921. John and May moved into the Morrow home place with the two youngest children, Virginia and Catherine.

      After Elviraís death Alburn and John deeded the their portions of property to each other giving John the house and Alburn the small cabin and land on which he and Sarah lived.

      John and May remained in this home until October 1, 1948 when they sold their property to the Consolidated Coal Company. John built a new house directly across the road on his adjacent property.

      This house was very primitive by modern standards. They had only cold running water furnished by a small spring just above the house. They had running water but no other modern plumbing. It was a very nice small house but seemed quite adequate for John and Mayís needs. My mother, Virginia Wilt made a trip, at least, once a week to visit and to pick up and deliver the laundry, witch she did for her mother and father. I always liked visiting my grandparents because grandma always had baked goods of all kinds. There was always, corn bread, biscuits, cookies, and cakes or pies all of the time. They lived in this house until 1951 when the Consul offered to buy all of their remaining property on Bingamon Creek, so my grandfather and grandmother bought a house next door to my family on Pleasant Hill in Shinnston. The house belonged to a widow named Angeline Marino, and had been rebuilt after the Shinnston Tornado of June 29, 1944. Mr. Marino had been killed in the Tornado. Angeline was a very old fashioned Italian lady that did not believe in modern indoor plumbing. She had only cold running water in the kitchen and no bath. She had an out house built on the rear of the property. Before John and May moved in, my father, Herbert Wilt and my grandfather dismantled the outhouse and used the wood to enclose the back porch and install a modern half bath and also built a shower located in the basement. They also plumbed the kitchen and bath with hot and cold running water. This was and still is a very nice house. It was very small and only contained one bedroom, a living room, large kitchen, and bath. May did not live here long because she passed away on October 23, 1951 from a stroke. John continued to live here while taking all of his meals with my family next door. John ended his life on April 25, 1953 by his own hand. He was very distraught and depressed after the death of his wife Lora May. He always said, "He could not remember when he was not married to May."

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