This page was last updated on: 4/7/02
What's in a Name?
Article by Sam Rogers, Logan Banner '95
So, they were named: Accoville, Accoville Flats, Accoville Hollow, Airport Road, Amherstdale, Aracoma, Atenville, Baisden, Banco, Barnabus, Becco, Big Creek, Bills Branch, Black Bottom, Blair, Bradshaw Hollow, Braeholm, Bruno, Buffalo, Canney Branch, Canoe Branch, Cartwright Hollow, Central City, Chapmanville, Chauncey, Cherry Tree, Christian, Claypool, Clothier, Combs Addition, Cora, Cow Creek, Crawley Creek, Crown, Crooked Creek, Crystal Block, Cyclone, Curtis, Davin, Davey Hollow, Dehue, Dempsey Branch, Deskins Addition, Dingess, Dingess Run, Dog Patch, Earling, Ethel, Ferrellsburg, Frees Fork, Frogtown, Garetts Fork, Godby Branch, Godby Heights, Greenmont, Greenville, Guyan Terrace, Harts, Hatfield Bottom, Henlawson, Hetzel, Hewett, Hidden Valley, Holden, Huff Junction, Hunt, Island Creek, Jeffery, Justice Addition, Kelly, King Shoals, Kistler, Kitchen, Lake, Latrobe, Low Ash, Leet, Littie Harts, Logan, Lorado, Lundale, Lybum, Madison Creek, Mallory, Man, Maysburg, McConnell, Melville, Merrill Park, Micco, Mill Creek, Mitchell Heights, Monaville, Monclo, Monitor, Mountain View, Mount Gay, Mud Fork, Neibert, Omar, Ottawa, Peach Creek, Pecks MiII, Phico, Point Branch, Red Camel, Rich Creek, Ridgeview, Riley, Rita, Robinette, Rock House, Rock Lick, Rocky Branch, Rossmore, Rum Junction, Sarah Ann, Sharples, Shively, South Man, Steamwell, Stowe, Slagle, Stirrat, Stollings, Stone Branch, Sunbeam, Sun Valley, Superior Bottom, Switzer, Taplin, Three Mile Curve, Three Forks, Toney, Toney's Fork, Trace Fork, Twelve Pole, Upper Trace, Valley View, Verdunville, Victory Point, Wanda, West Logan, Whites Addition, Whitman, Wilkinson, Yolyn, and Yuma.
So, what's in a name? Would a rose smell as sweet if it were called by any other name? I think so, then again, maybe not. Afterall, sweetness, like a name, is on the tongue of the speaker. These names you see above have become a part of all of.us that make our home in Logan, West Virginia. Not a day goes by that we don't come in contact with them in one way or another. They are important. When we identify with them, we identify ourselves.
LOGAN COUNTY, when formed, was a large portion of West Virginia. It included all of what is the present counties of West Virginia. It included all of what is the present counties of Logan, Mingo and Wyoming. It also claimed part of McDowell, Boone, Lincoln, Cabell and Kanawha counties in West Virginia; and parts of Giles and Tazwell in Virginia. Today, Logan County covers an area of 455.82 square miles.
Logan County was named in honor of Tahgahjute, a Cayuga, Iroquois. Tahgahjute was born in New York and was the second son of Shikellimus, "the Enlightener". Tahgahjute was called John Logan after James Logan of Pennsylvania, the man who educated him. He later became a leader of the Mingo nation in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia.
The City of LOGAN, the County seat, is situated on the banks of the Guyandotte River. The official elevation of the city is 682 feet. It was first known as "The Islands". The city itself was established in 1826 by an act of the General Assembly of Virginia and designated to be the County Seat.
The first town of any size was known as Lawnsville, or LOGAN COURTHOUSE but when it was incorporated in 1852 by an act of the Assembly, the name was changed to ARACOMA through Thomas Dunn English leadership to honor the daughter of Indian Chief Cornstalk. Princess Aracoma was married to a white man, Boling Baker by name. She was mortally wounded in a battle between early settlers and her band of Indians at a battle site on what is now the City of Logan.
In 1907, the name of the town was changed to Logan by an act of the Legislature of West Virginia. A Mayor-Council form of government is employed by all municipalities within the county. The town of Logan is located on Route 10, just off Route 119.
SARAH ANN: Sarah Ann, I'm told is named for one of the early settlers of the area ... Sarah Ann Bragg. Others tell me it was named for Sarah Ann Hatfield, while another tells me it was named for Sarah Ann Kelly, daughter of prominent Logan County Coal operator. Many people of Logan still use the name
CRYSTAL BLOCK to refer to the area we know as Sarah Ann because of the first major coal company that was named Crystal Block. CRYSTAL BLOCK is located on U.S. Route 44 (formerly 119). SARAH
ANN is known to be the final resting place for many of the Hatfield clan.
MICCO: Is the initials of the Main Island Creek Coal Company. So be it. MICCO is located on Route 44 (formerly 119). I know very little more. CRAWLEY CREEK: I've heard that Crawley Creek was named for a young soldier from Tennessee that was killed in a battle with the Indians in the area.
To know me, by name, is to know a friend. To know my name, and not know me, keeps us strangers. This rings true whether we are strangers in a place we call home or in a place we've never been. A friend can know paradise, a stranger can only know about paradise.
Our roots are deep in the place we call home. But, the love we have for something is only as deep as those roots. This is my way of encouraging you to participate in, the Logan County Historical Preservation Society's project of Place Name, and Tourism.
The relationships of LOGAN an MINGO counties has always been as if marriage held them together. So, it was from the rib of LOGAN COUNTY that MINGO COUNTY came into existence in 1895. Yet, the lands of each have always been entwined ... and of one heart. Both Logan and Mingo are of proud Indian origin. We talked about Logan last time. Let's talk about MINGO this time. Logan was an Iroquois, but later became known as a Mingo. Mingo is one of those words where the meaning has changed over time. Let's use the word Swastika for example. Before it became the emblem of Nazi Germany and is today looked upon by people of the world as evil, it was a sign of good luck and success Greeks.
In the beginning, Mingo or Mingwe was used to symbolize people of the spring ..."Spring People". These "Spring People" were Iroquois and others from affiliated tribes that would in the spring of the year return like migrating birds to their homes in the north. However, during the late colonial period with the Indian tribes being tom apart (taking different sides) by the many wars taking place on the North American continent, there were those that still wandered or migrated away from the battle fields. They became (were) known as Mingo. But, other, more furious, Indians who were detached from their tribes of origin, and still bitter, began to roam the frontier in guerrilla fashion. Their stealth and treacherous manner was in direct dispute with that of the "Spring People". As is the nature of the human mind, these two different bonds would gain fame in a most anti-synonymous way. All roving groups would become the famous or infamous Mingo.
It is said that the grandson of Floyd Hatfield who, with Devil Anse Hatfield, was among the first settlers on MALE CREEK.
Now, let's across the mountain to VERDUNVILLE that was named about 1920 by a Mr. Downey who
[misprint - one line of text omitted from article at bottom of page] WWI, then returned to become post master.
Now, do you know what that area was called before the name Verdunville was attached. It was called "SHEGON". so I'm told. There was a time when they had just begun to mine the MUD FORK area. And, the men coming across the mountain to get to the opening had to pass an old farmer's house. Being friendly, they would always ask about the old farmers health and that of his wife. After a time, it became a habit for both the miners and the old farmer to greet one another after each shift. Then one day it happened. As usual, the mimers asked about the farmers health. "Okay," he said. "How's your wife?" they asked. "Oh, she gone," he answered. The word began to spread among the miners that crossed the mountain to work, everyday. As one miner passed another, coming and going across the mountain, they could only talk about the old farmer in the language he himself used ... she gone, he would say ... she gone. Whether she died or just took off, I don't know, but SHEGON.
Time is a magic adventure. Yet, the more we want to make it our own, the more fleeting it becomes. We can reach with both hands to grasp hold, while being totally oblivious to the fact that it is drawing us closer to the unknown. Only with a dream can we hope to catch a fleeting glance of this faceless and emotionless phenomenon called time.
Look in the mirror everyday and you will see no changes on the face that looks back, but forget about that reflection for a year or two .... then look again. Time will [misprint - one line of text omitted from article at bottom of page] retained, but they will be memories of that person you once knew.
Nothing stays the same whether we talk about a person, a place, or a thing. Each place, like each person or thing, is a result of those images that transcend history. Over time, they too will change or be forgotten. Sometimes the change happens so slowly that we don't recognize it as a change. At other times, the change is sudden and implicit. Either way, we that tag along, learn to accept and even adopt any concept or name that is constantly repeated. We soon forget the importance of the discovery and remember the image in the mirror.
None of us are immune to the evolution of time, for the closer we come to eternity, the easier it is to define. Seek time! Search every crack and cranny for It, but know this, that the only way to preserve it is by passing it on to those that will follow.
The History of LOGAN COUNTY is worth preserving in the name of time. Since much of our lives have been dominated by the coal industry, let's start there. Picture this: It is Thanksgiving Day in the year 1904. A steam engine builds up pressure and begins to belch out white clouds of impatience in its wait to travel along the newly completed railroad tracks that had opened up the secluded beauty of Logan county to the industrial world outside.
The miners of Fisher-Mounts Coal Company had, just the day before, finished loading the trail of cars behind the train's steam engine. It was Harry S. Gay (a Pennsylvania native) who had leased the land from Moses Mounts that would connect a rail line and a coal company in an [misprint - one line of text omitted from article at bottom of page] This first load of coal to eventually travel by rail from Logan county would leave from MOUNT GAY, West Virginia on Thanksgiving Day, 1904. If MOUNT GAY had another name before this, I do not know it ... do you?
Other place names that I know of associated with the coal industry and not a previous name are the following. I know I'm not getting them all, so help me out.
HOLDEN is another name that has come about because of the coal industry. It was Albert F. Holden's (a native of Ohio) Island Creek Coal Company that followed Gay's first shipment of coal, by train, about a month later.
BECCO took its name from the Buffalo Eagle Colliery Company, which probably began to happen in the 1910' S.
MICCO, of course, was taken in about the same time era (1910's) from the Main Island Creek Coal Company.
LORADO didn't get its name from Lorado, Texas. Instead, we find that LORADO is a derivative of Lorain Coal and Dock Company.
I want you to notice that most of these names are coming about in the first part of the 20th Century. I'm sure these places were called something before the coal companies took over. If you know, how about letting, the Logan ounty Landmark Commission know.
We know that MONITOR took its name from the Monitor Coal and Coke Company a few years after the turn of the century. The town area itself was Wilkinson, which was named for Judge John B. Wilkenson who owned much of the land in that area. Growing up, I never knew it as any other name than
MONITOR. I guess that came about because of Monitor coal and Coke Company and the Monitor Drive-In Theater. How the "name" MONITOR originated, I don't know do you?
AMHERSTDALE we know takes its name from the Amherst Coal Company, but what we don't know is how the Coal company brought that name to Logan in the first place. I suspect it comes to us via AMHERST, Ohio, a city near Lorain, Ohio. However, Massachusetts has an Amherst and so does Canada. With all the thinking done, I've found that AMHERSTDALE was named for AMHERST COUNTY, Virginia. Of course, a DALE is a valley.
OMAR is another town that got its name from coal, or did it? When I was a small boy, I remember hearing some people refer to OMAR as the Omar Mining and Reclamation Company. That still didn't explain the name Omar, although it hinted that coal was its source.
CHAPMAN(S)VILLE, since its incorporation in 1947, has been an integral part of Logan county and southern West Virginia. If her past is any indication, then that reflection shows a bright future.
MELVILLE is another one of those names drawn from the coal industry. The Melville Coal Company. How it became Melville I'm not sure. Do you know? I would assume one of the owner/operators was a Mel or Melvin. However, did you know that the entire hollow was once known as BANDMILL HOLLOW. During the days of the lumber industry there were many, many sawmills, some larger than others, and some using different methods of making the various cuts. The sawmill at BANDMILL HOLLOW evidently used a large belt that formed a band to rotate the saw blades. So, when you wanted to take your logs to the mill, then you could designate which one by simply saying, "Take them to BANDMILL
Have you ever heard of VANCEVILLE? Once there was a VANCEVILLE in Logan county. But, somewhere in the early 1910s a coal mining community was erected and a Post Office built on the lands of Judge J.B. Wilkinson. Post Offices needed names and so did communities. This came at the height of Monitor Coal Company and the Mona Mine's existence. Since J.B. Wilkinson had already loaned the name Mona to both in honor of his daughter, the name was also garnered for the Post Office. And, sooner than later the whole area accepted the name of MONAVILLE.
Here's a new story that I haven't been able to verify, but what good is a story if you can't tell it? Besides, how Will the truth ever be known if no one speaks up?
STONE BRANCH, it appears, deserves more county recognition than it now receives, at least historically. Sources tell me that the first school in the county was taught by John Stone in 1810. He organized this school in Chapmanville and even made his own text books. It was C.I. Stone that captained a company of Confederate soldiers called the Chapmanville Dare Devils, later the Logan Wildcats. Hugh Toney led the unit at times when Captain Stone was not available. This is also one of the few instances when, a coal company took the name already in place ... that of "Stone Branch Coal Company" on lands purchased from Nannie Stone around 1903.
When the Logan area was sparsely populated, people were directed to locations by family dwellings, creeks, valleys, etc. Such was that of the Barnabus Curry family who settled on Island Creek in the early, early 1800's. The Curry and Browning families grazed their cows on the pasture land in the nearby hollow, while referring to it as "Cow Creek". BARNABUS and COW CREEK were all part of the family homestead.
Ever heard of BEAR PEN. Well, Davy Crockett may have killed them there B'ars, but we had our own bear trapper. BEAR PEN got its name from the bear pens Hiram Mullins used to set to capture them.
Picture this! You believe you are the last person on earth, but in your search for survival you meet someone coming in the opposite direction. You, and this second individual, now believe that you are the only two people left on earth. The individual asks your name. What do you tell him? And, if this person has no name (amnesia), what will you say that it is?
If I were to ask you to locate ISLAND CREEK on a map, could you do it? Some believe it is a stream, some believe a district, and some believe it to be a place. All are correct when speaking of specific occasions, events, or areas.
The next time you are in the ISLAND CREEK area notice the "race" or "tide" area that has developed in the land just before its merging with the Guyandotte River. Here, some of the richest farming land in West Virginia (or anywhere else) was developed, over time, through deposits brought down from the
ISLAND CREEK stream and several others, like: MUD FORK, WHITMAN CREEK, and Holden's
COPPERAS Mine Fork(s). The merging of these streams also produced several small islands and one larger island that we now call "THE ISLAND".
Around 1800, three families would become prominent figures in the settlement of the areas we are now discussing: Dingess, Dempsey, and Farley. For the time being it's only important to note that these men and their families purchased and farmed this wilderness land. Then, about 1805, Captain Henry Farley gave the land of his daughter Sallie to Peter Dingess, the son of William Dingess. The two newlyweds would set-up housekeeping across the river at a place we now call DESKINS ADDITION. But, there's more to the story and more in the name. The land just to the south and west Peter and Sallie would do their farming because of the rich bottom lands (previously discussed) they found there. One parcel of farmland they (area citizens) identified as CHERRY TREE because of a large wild cherry tree and several smaller cherry trees that grew there. Another parcel they referred to BLACK BOTTOM because of the rich black soil that had cascaded down the various valleys to make the richest and most plush farmland anywhere. Another important parcel of land they (the Dingesses) farmed was identified as DEMPSEY'S ISLAND; which has long since disappeared from that area, but was first inhabited by John Dempsey. John Dempsey built a cabin on the island in 1799, but found that a permanent residence would be safer if built a litter further up the creek since spring floods would, quite often, cover the little island. The Dingesses and others also farmed along the (Guyandotte) river. This part of their farm was simply, THE BOTTOM, or the RIVER BOTTOM. These were the first names, all were brought about by necessity. Even though "most" Indian hostilities had subsided, there were still problems with renegade Indians, outlaws, wild animals, and other, emergencies that required, at least, area identifications. When a man or woman left the house to work in the field, they might be gone all day, Those left behind would most certainly want to know in what vicinity they would be if help was needed for one reason or another. I can picture in my minds eye Peter telling Sallie that he would be plowing the field at CHERRY TREE, or BLACK BOTTOM, or DEMPSEY'S ISLAND, or the RIVER BOTTOM.
Later, these names would be changed for the new inhabitant or they would take on a different connotation for the uneducated, or uncaring. History has a way of letting you make your own decision. Here is what I have found.
During the 1820's to 1850's there were many new settlers (pioneers) coming into the area. You start seeing names like Elkins, Hatfield, McNeely, Childress, Burgess, Mullins, Conley, Stollings, Stone, Chapman, Godby, Toney, Hinchman, Vanatter and, many, many others. However, during this period place names were only important for identification purpose. Families were too busy eking out an existence to worry about naming an area after themselves. If these people were seeking notoriety, they would have stayed east of the mountains.
Along came the Civil War, bringing with, it the need for more absolute mapping. Still, most areas retained the semblance of a frontier, both in spirit and settlement. However, the turn-of-the-century saw frontier life, frontier justice, and frontier ideology come to an end. Capitalism would ride in on a horse called the "Industrial Revolution" that had, until now, evaded this mountain sanctuary. Personal names, tags, and identification was now of utmost importance.
Without going into the broadest history, and sticking to the story about the names at the mouth of
ISLAND CREEK, let us continue with what changes took place with the coming of the coal industry.
The areas we are discussing are in such a scramble now that its hard to separate where one begins and the other ends. Just as the shifting and changing patterns of population have changed the land, so has history changed our lives and our views for the future. If you've had a chance to read "Mountain Boy"
you'll see that the coal industry started from a very paternalistic, segregationalistic position. I firmly believe many prejudices could have been eliminated had integration been accomplished at the time mining camps were being constructed.
Instead, we were separated by housing, areas. I'm not just talking black and white, I'm speaking rich and poor, western European and eastern European, English and Irish, Indian and Mexican. It goes on and on. I know this is the long road (story) home, but it can't be helped. For .... by chance, and only chance a black (Afro-American) community was established and fostered by the coal industry at the original site of BLACK BOTTOM rounded by the Dingess family and later the DESKINS (ADDITION) family. From that time to this, many of us wrongly or rightly correlate BLACK BOTTOM with the Black Americans living there during the early and middle part of this century. And, it didn't help (even with good intentions) any when in the July 24, 1928 edition of the Logan Banner, K.F. Deskins, Duke of Deskins Addition.... attempted to change the name to WHITE BOTTOM ... something that didn't take and shouldn't have. Misconceptions on the part of many have fueled ill feelings even wars. Was WHITES ADDITION the outcome? No matter...., History is a tool for learning. BLACK BOTTOM has been a very important part of our lives...., even from the beginning. And, take my word for this...., BLACK
BOTTOM's central location in Logan county will only enhance its importance to us both economically as well as historically. DESKINS ADDITION was named for and by the Deskins family. We don't know who did it, but someone suggests that George Washington must have come through that area because the CHERRY TREE that was once there, is gone, or is it? I cannot tell a lie.
MOUNT GAY we discussed in an earlier issue. DEMPSEY'S !SLAND is gone, but maybe now it won't be forgotten. ISLAND CREEK is a creek, but doesn't foster many islands.
What's in a Name? Only the mind can place a value.
Let's talk a little bit about some of the other streams in our area. The first one that comes to mind is the GUYANDOTTE. Most historians give impetus to H.C. Ragland's idea that the GUYANDOTTE
RIVER was named for a French trader that had established a trading camp at its mouth. As you may or may not know, Henry Guyan was chased from the area into Virginia by angry Shawnee, but would remain familiar to the area by joining several later expeditions along its banks. One such verified journey was made with Andrew Lewis during the Sandy Creek Expedition of 1757. Thus "GUYAN" to donate Henry's name and "DOT" to mark the spot where Henry Guyan had established his trading post. There are others that hold to the theory that GUYANDOTTE is a corruption of the Indian word Kayan-wan-deh, meaning niece; which is reasonable since this river is a tributary of the mother river, Ohio. Another, but far-fetched theory has it that there were two men operating that trading post at the mouth of river, one a Frenchmen Guy and the other a German named Otto, Guy and Otto. Who first put those names together to form the word GUYANDOTTE isn't known? And, it don't sound to accurate in either case.
There's not much doubt about who or when the SANDY RIVER was named. Major Andrew Lewis, or one of his men put the English name on it during/after the Sandy Creek Expedition of 1757. Some think it was named to honor George Sandys, a prominent Virginian of the era. However, the best and most probable theory is that it takes its name from the sandy soil beneath its body of water and along its banks. If anyone has marched through an area like that of the SANDY... you'd call it SANDY, or worse.
How about the TUG or as some call it, the left-hand fork of the SANDY RIVER? We hear most often that the TUG was named when Colonel Preston's men were compelled to eat their "TUGS" or thongs to appease their hunger while on a search and destroy expedition. To me, that theory is a little weak since records show that Preston's men started out "well-equipped" and game in the area was still abundant, including fish and fowl. I believe the TUG got its name at this time, but not for the eating of saddle or shoe thongs, but from the need to TUG along their supplies behind them as that trekked the river. Note, that there were individual TUGS where the person tied his belongings (supplies) in a wax cloth and allowed the weight of this personal baggage to be carried (tugged) on top of the water behind them, lessening the weight burden. Entire outfits (units) would place their supplies and belongings on a raft, covered with waxed cloth, and pull on their supplies and cargo packages from the banks of the river. Going downstream, of course, would make it necessary to tug on their ropes to hold back the weight of the package being drawn by the current. The idea of using creeks and rivers to ease the burden of carrying supplies from one place to another was the easiest and most popular method for moving west through the wilderness of the Appalachian mountains.
BURNING CREEK takes its name from the natural gas that was exuded above the water of a stream then set afire by lightning or man. There are at least two BURNING CREEKs in Mingo County.
MARROWBONE CREEK was also named during General Preston's retreat (1779) when his men found the remains of a Buffalo Carcass that had been left behind when Preston's men were in hot pursuit of some 30 retreating Indians. However, when those 30 rejoined another force of approximately 1000 Shawnee coming in the opposite direction, Preston and his mountaineer army decided a hasty retreat was the better part of valor. Therefore, the marrow inside the bone, and the scant left-over meat on the bone left a day or two earlier by the same army had become an important nutrient for the stew they would concoct over an open fire at BURNING CREEK.
PIGEON CREEK was the trail of march during Preston's retreat. So called because of the many pigeons that resided in the area. Note here, that pigeons belong to the dove family and are easily domesticated or tricked thus the slang PIGEON. By the way, it was at the mouth of PIGEON CREEK that Charles Lewis died and was buried.
Preston's troops tried to evade the oncoming Indians by making a dash up a small creek now called
HELL CREEK, so called because of the barrier of stone they encountered on the journey. They retreated back to PIGEON CREEK and continued east until they were lucky enough to kill several elk at the mouth of another small creek. Preston's men would designate it as ELK CREEK.
As the party advanced along the shallow creek, Preston would send a hunting party out ahead under command of Ben Cole. They followed PIGEON CREEK to its head then crossed over, following a small stream to its forks. There, the entire army would rest for several days while sending out various scouting parties to survey and investigate.
General Preston's army crossed through a gap in the mountains to follow another creek which would later be called GILBERT CREEK after the American patriot, scout, and spy called Joseph Gilbert who was killed near a lick on the creek in 1792 by an Indian hunting party. From GILBERT CREEK, Preston marched to the GUYANDOTTE RIVER and followed it, while reconnoitering the entire area.
Passing a nearby stream emptying into the GUYANDOTTE, some of the men broke ranks to pay respect to a comrade that had fallen during an earlier fracas with the Indians. They filled in the sunken grave of Peter Huff, and, then and there, would forever christen it as HUFF'S CREEK. From there, hunting patties would follow the GUYANDOTTE a little further down to the place they knew would be teeming with buffalo. Previous hunting expeditions into the area had already designated FALO CREEK.
And, then there was PINE CREEK. Such a place was it! Once it was covered with a beautiful blanket of green pine from its sky blue peaks to the filling of its deep, crevassed valleys. Green pines lined the tiny streams that meandered from their summit in the sky to the CREEK of ISLANDS (Island Creek). Then.... came those men with axe and saw. Cut, cut, cut..., clear cut, and everything was gone except its name - PINE CREEK.
Let's continue our discussion about the streams that have helped to form these majestic mountains. We talked about PINE CREEK, near Omar, that no longer has its full growth of pines, but now let us talk about TURKEY CREEK that may, or may not have turkey pens along its banks. I don't believe anyone, like Ed Bailey, still keeps tIurkeys there but the name has remained.
Now, BEECH CREEK and BEECH FORK still have beech trees, but I wonder if they still have those giant trees that mountains men encountered on their way west. Scout Benjamin Cole certainly saw those tall gray-barked monsters when he selected a camp site for Preston's weary army. The forks of the creek where Preston's army rested now bears Benjamin Cole's name and so does the little stream we call
BEN'S CREEK. Cole's selection of a camp site was no accident because there was plenty of game in the area, brought there by a large deer lick at a nearby creek, causing these and future adventurers to call it LICK CREEK.
Of course, ALUM CREEK would get its name from the alum waters produced by the acrid minerals found there. For some reason I want to pucker-up every time I hear the work ALUM. And, like ALUM
CREEK, SULPHUR CREEK is one of those self- explanatory names.
History tells us that MILLER'S CREEK got its name from Emille Millard, and early scout, hunter, and pioneer. You say, well, Miller is not the same as Millard ... How the name? As you know, a Miller is one who works in, operates, or owns a mill. It's archaic, but people would ask a miller's occupation, he would not say "I'm a Miller". He would answer by saying he was a Millard. A miller was a very popular and important person in his community in the early days of America.
Did you know that GILBERT CREEK was once upon a time called KETTLE CREEK? It was called
KETTLE CREEK because a survey party working for Gordon Cloud in December 1795 came upon a kettle in the stream, and not being familiar with the James Gilbert story, they picked up the kettle and placed it in a prominent place.... at the stream's mouth. This is how they marked the creek and how they designated it on their survey records as KETTLE CREEK. GILBERT not KETTLE would live on.
Wonder why I'm spending so much time in Mingo County. To me, Mingo county is Logan's rib, thus, we will always be part of one another.
How many of you know the difference between DINGESS RUN and DINGESS RUM? Well, one they drank, and the other is where their cows grazed (run). Along DINGESS RUN is another little creek called CAMP CREEK. At one time, before the Dingess's came, William Madison and his small army camped on DINGESS RUN, near the mouth of what is now CAMP CREEK. Anybody out there know where I can find SUNFISH CREEK? Named for the many sunfish (PANFISH) found in the stream during the very first surveys of the area. We now know SUNFISH CREEK as BIG CREEK; which was to help separate it from its tributaries during several, early disputes about land claims, along/near its banks. The arguments probably referred to the several streams as the larger of the streams in the debates as the BIG CREEK. The town at its mouth would, of course, be called BIG CREEK. Some of those claims can be found in early Virginia court cases.
HARTS and HART'S CREEK is named for Stephen Hart, an early hunter, scout, and pioneer, that had a hunter's lodge at the forks of the Creek. Stephen Hart seems to be one of the true mountain men. His history shows plenty of movement, when civilization would get to close, he would move to greener pastures.
Now, there are those place names that appear in/on almost every creek and valley. The first one that comes to mind is ROCKHOUSE, ROCKHOUSE HOLLOW, ROCKHOUSE CREEK, ROCKHOUSE
BRANCH, etc. All that is ROCKHOUSE comes from the old necessity of quick, but ample shelter. The easiest shelters to find during the early days of exploration of these mountains was an overhanging cliff. To make it a home, all the pioneer hunter had to do was box-in the front to make it a comfortable dwelling place that could be used over and over again, trip after trip. It was also a way of helping the next fellow since these structures were hardly ever tom down.
Another, but less promising site to build a dwelling place was an area designated by early settlers as
FROGTOWN. FROGTOWN'S cropped up anywhere a people built their community. FROGTOWN'S were usually the low land area's that often flooded or retained water for long periods of time. Long enough, at least, to have a community of frogs to take over the area as their own.
MAN is probably one of a kind. Most of us know, of course, that MAN derived its name from the last syllable of Mr. Ulysses HitchMAN's name who was a prominent citizen that served LOGAN COUNTY in the House of Delegates. in 1918.
Just up the road from MAN and stretching between tall mountains is BUFFALO CREEK. We all know that it was named for the buffalo that once roamed that area, but did you know there was an interim period when this stream (area) was called ROCKCASTLE CREEK because of a castle shaped rock that once adorned its most prominent mountain.
How about the following coal camp towns?
One of the earliest mines in the county can be found at ROSSMORE, named for J.J. Ross, General Manager of mines located in that vicinity.
PHICO, of course, was named for the Phillips Coal Company that operated mines in that locality.
MONTCLO is one of those combination names. CLOTHIER and MONTGOMERY. Both were large stock holders in area coal companies and prominent citizens of the area.
YOLYN as most of you know was named for Lynn Yoder. YO(Der) LYN(n).
SLAGLE is the maiden name of Mrs. John Laing, a property owner and developer in the area.
DEHUE or DEHEW is named for Mr. D.E. Hewitt who owned and operated a bandmill up the hollow.
DAVIN was named for John Davin, who became President of the Nickel Plate Railroad after serving as an officer on the C&O Railway.
BLAIR is named for the Blair family of Philadelphia that invested a considerable amount of money in BLAIR lands through their firm of Blair and Company.
SWITZER is named for a former mayor Johnathan Switzer, of Huntington, and who operated a mine on this early village site.
WYLO, of course, is a combination of Wyoming and Logan. Very appropriate since its a border community.
Why name our county LOGAN? Listen to this great man's speech and then you will know.
"I appeal to any white man to say that he ever entered Logan's cabin, but I gave him meat; that he ever came naked, but I clothed him. In the course of the last war, Logan remained in his cabin an advocate for peace. I had such an affection for the white people that I was pointed at by the rest of my nation. I should have ever lived with them had it not been for Colonel Cresap, who last year, cut off, in cold blood, all the relation of Logan, not sparing my women and children. This called upon me for revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many, and fully glutted my revenge. I am glad there is a prospect of peace on account of the nation; but I beg you will not entertain a thought that anything I have said proceeds from fear. Logan disdains the thought. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? No one! "
What's in a name? You can bet your life it's more than meets the eye.