Meadowville Rich in Love of an Earlier Day
By Stuart Levi Johnson
Published under “Bits of Barbour” in the Belington Exponent ca 1933
Submitted by Louise Righman



Part three


Old Ironmaster:
      If we go back to New Jersey to 1750 we find Garret Johnson owning and operating an iron mill. What more natural than that his son Robert should come to Virginia and build a mill to grind the corn and wheat of his neighbors and that he would operate a still which turned out the best liquor in the section. [During research contrary to some early writings, Johnson researchers have found nothing to confirm that either Garret Johnson (1708-1766) or his son Robert Johnson (1744-1831) owned or operated an iron mill in New Jersey. There was an iron furnace and forge located in Hunterdon County, New Jersey as early as 1757 that was owned and operated by a Samuel Johnson/Johnston and his son Robert, but to date no direct relationship has been established between the Iron Mill.

Garret Johnson:
      At Johnson Mill, about four miles east of the village is an old mill race made of giant trees hollowed and fitted together to carry water from a spring several hundred yards away to the mill on Teter Creek. Here the home of Robert Johnson III forms a museum of heirlooms of the Johnson family. Four-poster beds and poster half beds vie with inlaid chest of drawers, coverlets and rare old chairs dear to the heart of the antique lover. A great deal of this furniture was made for Rebecca McMillen Johnson when she came to Johnson Mill in 1807 from her home in what is now Preston county as a bride of Levi Johnson. It is hoped that someday the old part of the Elliott Cemetery on the hill overlooking Meadowville will be restored for here too must lay the remains of many who served their country in the War of Independence. Three years ago the stones of Robert and Mary (Vannoy) Johnson were found almost covered with grass. How many other stones have been buried or knocked down we do not know but certainly it was one of the first in the country for dated stones show that it was in use fifty years before the Elliotts, for whom it is named, came to the section.

Store Opened:
      About 1829 William Elliott and his brother opened a store in Meadowville. They too were of New Jersey stock, their father David having come from that via Loudoun County, Virginia and settled at Webster, [Taylor County] in 1814. He had served as an officer in the Continental Army in New Jersey. At the time the Elliotts established their store, goods were hauled by team from Baltimore. Later when the Baltimore and Oho Railroad was under construction, at Thornton, Taylor County became their trading point, and still later the teams were sent to Webster. From the daybooks of this store for the years of 1831-1833 we glean an idea of the way our ancestors lived. Common purchases were leggin, corgeal, logwood (a dye, not firewood, and which mixed with copperas, produced a black dye used for woolens, iron nails, thread, shoes (this is an uncommon entry as most of the shoes were made by a cobbler who regularly visited the village), side combs, brandy, buttons, muslin, bed ticking and lead. Old Records:

      A common entry is one vial of peppermint and one bottle of brandy which I have been told, when mixed together mad a most potent drink guaranteed to produce anything from green snakes to white elephants. The list of articles which were traded for these eluxuries is much more varied and interesting. Practically everything was paid for in trade and this included feathers, chestnuts, hams, mink skins, snakeroot, buckhorns, muskrat skins and butter. The Elliotts made Meadowville and on the death of the original Elliott brothers, the sons of Samuel inherited the store and it was operated under the name of D. T. Elliott and brothers. Whereas these men died it was inherited by the sons of the Rev. James Elliott who operated it until a few years ago when it passed to other hands. The original log building built by William and Samuel 105 years ago is still standing and is used as a storeroom to the more pretentious building which has replaced it. One of the destructions made when the new turnpike grad was put through the village was the old Parsons house, a part of which was originally log and which was a saloon long before the Civil War. The name of the man who operated the saloon has been lost in the passage of years Before the Civil War, Col. William Johnson moved his family to Meadowville and ran a profitable tavern for several years. The original tavern was destroyed by fire in 1874 but he house erected immediately thereafter still stands.


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