Friday, April 15, 2011

Unknow aspects of Talcott, West Virginia and the Big Bend Tunnel

It seems that history and even the Church is 'quiet' upon aspects of the Railroad and the building of the Big Bend Tunnel at Talcott, West Virginia.    One can 'google' the "Legend of John Henry: The steel driving man verse machine" to read about the legend.  

Within the legend, it took 3 years to complete the tunnel and hundreds of workers died during the construction of the tunnel.  

Yet, where are they buried?   Most of the graveyards around the area are small.   There are three churches in the town, one of the being in the above photo.   It is peaceful and quiet, very tranquil, and even seems a bit inviting towards a visitor or visiting soul.   

Where are the church records of preachers and pastor during this time and even subsequent years until the 1890's? 
Where are the graveyard records of people buried in the various plots during the thirty years between 1870 and 1900?

There are two 'Unknown or Unnamed" Cemeteries in Summers County, according a USGenWeb researchers.

Miller does indicate there were two doctors in the town prior to 1911 and a 'undertaker' in his book "Summers County, West Virginia, then and into the present 1850 to 1910".  This is available as a PDF document and key-word search able.    A contemporary anthropologist having studied at Virginia Tech indicates specific burial patterns based upon proximity to a church and local within Appalachia.  

Yet, even with the known aspects, many things remain unknown in searching for "The Ghost of Mary".   As alluded too in prior writings;  Mary Daniel was born 1846 and died January 1st, 1888.   She married a John Henry Wykle, on the 15th of May 1871, in Raleigh County, West Virginia.   They resided in Talcott, West Virginia, during the 1880's, having several children.  One of whom was a daughter, Nora Clinton Wykle, in 1885.   Grandmother Nora, was only 3 1/2 when her mother passed away.    

As it is a mystery to Nora's grandchildren, it is even a mystery to our kin-folk the Daniel relatives.   We have agreed that she is buried somewhere in Summers County, West Virginia, thus far concluding.     

Monday, April 11, 2011

The River Mists of January 1, 1888, Talcott, West Virginia

I recon what occurred and I can only deduce a possible event...John H. Wykle was 10 years old when the Civil War broke out, so he was just a young boy. His brother, Allen Caperton Weikle, was older and joined the Confederate States of America, as a soldier and came back to Monroe after the war was over. So, since work was hard to find on the farms in Monroe and the opening up of the coal fields in Fayette and Raleigh Counties he either walk or road horseback to Hinton and then from there to Prince and worked in the Royal Coal Mines. While there, he met and became friends with the Daniel family.
Who knows, he may have even been a boarder in a boarding house that was owned by the William and Chloe Daniel. He fell in love with Mary Daniel and being that the only Justice of the peace or marriage official was in Beckley, the entire family had a wedding event with John H. Wykle and Mary Daniel getting married in 1871, on the 15th of May. He probably saved as much money as he could and then purchased some land in Monroe County, near his Father's and Mothers. So over the years, him and Mary, occasionally visited the Daniel family in around Royal and Prince. Mary's brother, a William C Daniel, he was connected to his wife's people from Greenbrier and Fayette, so he remained in the New River Gorge area.

John and Mary, they had several children up until her death in 1888.  Her death certificate record indicates being recorded in Talcott, West Virginia on January 1, 1888, listing her parents William and Chloe Daniel and her husband John H. Wykle.   Nora, she was 4 years old when her mother died. John, he tried as best as possible to take care of the children and even enlisted the help of family members or neighbors around him. Then, in 1891 or 1893, he remarried Ms Sarah Payne. Grandma, she would have been old enough to remember her.   John and Sarah, they had a daughter. 
When Nora became a teenager, around 15 or 16, she was staying with family because everyone was poor farmers and it was difficult for family to feed a large family. So, she was in Summers County. James Ward and Nora, they had gone to school together and "were sweet-hearts"; but they didn't get together, it was 1900 or 1901.
Nora, she met Mr. Carter and had the first 6 children. James Garfield Ward, he met Florence Anderson and they married, in 1905 and divorced without any children. Then about 18 years later, around 1919. Mr. Carter had died and Nora had a 6 children some who were almost adults. Now, if Mary had been buried over in the towns of either Royal, Prince, or Talcott, West Virginia, then the possibility of the following might have occurred.
Nora is traveling over the mountains and down along the river to put flowers on her Mothers grave or to visit with her Daniel family relatives and kin folk. While in Summers county, she runs into James Andrew Garfield Ward, her sweet-heart from years ago. James Andrew Garfield Ward, he too had worked in some of the mines in the New River Gorge, and was more of a farmer than a miner. Florence, his first wife, they had divorced. So, in 1920, there abouts, Nora and Gar got married and moved up into the mountains at Hix, West Virginia and started their family.
Then during the onset of the Depression and in the Depression they lost their farm in Summers County. So, heartbroken, Nora returned home to help her father John manage the farm and needing a place to live and raise the children. Nora and Gar then moved to Monroe County along with their children; Arnold, Arzula, Elverta and the earlier children she had with Mr. Carter.   Uncle Eldridge, being born in Monroe county.

No one seems to know where Mary rests: Talcott Cemetery, Royal Cemetery, Prince Cemetery, Daniel Cemetery, the Nehemiah Daniel Cemetery, the Tabor Cemetery. Yet, her descendants spirits have traveled over hill and dale, across bridges and around curves. We've searched in hollers and up on ridges.

A Daniel cousin says  "Try the Miller Cemetery out on Dry Branch near Naoma, in Raleigh County".... For a hundred and twenty three years her spirit travels peacefully Raleigh County, Fayette County, Summers County, and Monroe County along the roads, over the rivers, through the woods.    It is a mystery where Great Grandma Mary Daniel Wykle is buried.   Her parents are buried in Raleigh County, her brother is buried in Fayette County and her husband John H. Wykle is buried in Monroe County.  And the written death certificate says Summers County.   There were only two official "undertakers" in Summers County during those years from 1880 to 1908.   It was wintertime and the ground was frozen...

Talcott, West Virginia, had a post office, doctors, schools, churches, a hotel, and a saloon.  It had a population just over 1,200 people in the late 1800's.   It is a mystery....lost along the rivers mists of time, January 1, 1888.  

Talcott, West Virginia. More to the town than just "The Legend of John Henry"

Talcott, West Virginia

The ferry at Talcott was established for Griffith Meadows on the third Monday in August, 1871, and the rates of ferriage were fixed as follows:

Two horses and wagon $ .25
One way for every additional horse 05
Horse and rider 10
Foot passengers 05
This ferry is still in existence, never having been discontinued. This ferry was established at what was known then as Rollinsburg, now Talcott, Rollinsburg being the name of the post office at that place up to the time of the building of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad through this county in 1872.   From page 134.

Justice of the peace was E. C. Flint was appointed justice of the peace for Talcott District
on May 13, 1881.  From page 168

The post office at Talcott was first known as Rollinsburg, named after Charles K. Rollyson, who owned all the lands around and has left as his descendant and our present citizen, C. S. Rollyson, commonly known as "Shan," residing on a part of the old homestead on Big Bend Mountain. Rollinsburg was on the opposite side of the Greenbrier River from Talcott.  From Page 356, History of Summers County, West Virginia.

The first church in all the region of the Talcott country was a log church which stood within 200 yards of where the residence of Ben R. Boyd now stands, on top of the Little Bend Tunnel. It was a Union Church, worshiped in by all denominations ; built of logs, covered with boards, and was burned prior to the Civil War and never rebuilt, but a new church—Pisgah—a Methodist house of worship, was built on top of the Big Bend Tunnel, where the present Pisgah Church now stands. All the original churches were log buildings and of the most primitive character, covered with clapboards, built from the trees of the forest by the people of the community, who joined in aiding for miles around.

On Saturday, May 28, 1887, Rev. C. D. Kincaid was elected pastor, and served until December, 1892. This is known as the Rollinsburg Baptist Church, having been founded when that was the name of the post office at that place and before the construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, and before the founding of the present thriving village of Talcott. This congregation now occupies a comfortable frame church building. This church was organized on August 29, 1868, by Rev. Martin Bibb, assisted by Rev. Rufus Pack and Rev. Henry C. Tinsley, three of the pioneer Baptist ministers of this section.  Page 306 and 307, History of Summers County.

Merchant and store owner:
Patrick, the other child, died in 1884, aged twenty-three. Joseph, the oldest son of John and Florence Nowlan, married Miss Mary Keeney, of Kanawha County, in 1865, and now lives on
a farm near Pence Springs on Greenbrier River, once owned by his uncle, Samuel Graham. He has been a prominent farmer in the county. His son, John C, has been a justice: another son is an
attorney and telegraph operator ; Elmer, now living at Alderson ; Rebecca, Florence, who married Rev. C. T. Kintner; Stars, J., is a merchant, and Wm. C, lately died at Talcott, having married a Miss Huston, a daughter of the veteran station agent. E. P. Huston. He was a practicing physician. Page 369, History of Summers County.

This is a steel bridge spanning the Greenbrier River at Talcott Station, and is owned by the Talcott Toll Bridge Company, a West Virginia corporation, of which Nathaniel Bacon, a direct descendant of the Virginia patriot of that name, celebrated m prose and poetry as well as in history as the hero of "Bacon's Rebellion," and the hero in the famous novel, "Hansford," is president, and J. A. Fox, of Hinton, general manager and the largest individual stockholder.
The bridge was contracted for and the construction begun in 1904, and completed in 1905. The piers are concrete and the superstructure iron, and it is the first and only steel bridge across Greenbrier River in the county. It is 400 feet long, and occupies the site of the old Rollynsburg Ferry, later Talcott Ferry, of which Thomas C. Maddy, the old Confederate soldier, was for
many years the owner and ferryman. The bridge company purchased the old ferry and employed Mr. Maddy as bridge-keeper.  Page 736, History of Summers County.

CORONERS. Summers County has never had but two coroners—L. M. Dunn and G. A. Fredeking—who were appointed by the county court.  From page 755.

At Talcott the first doctors to locate were Drs. J.W. Ford and J. W. de Vebber. These gentlemen practiced under the firm name of Ford & de  Vebber for a number of years. After the dissolution
of the firm. Dr. Ford continued, and still resides in that town and practices throughout that vicinity.  Page 780.

The first doctor to locate at Talcott was Dr. Thos. Bray, the English surgeon, about 1871.
There was an itinerant doctor, who for many years did a rambling practice in the lower end of the county. He was a "Thompsonian" or "herb doctor," and something of a genius in his way.
Page 782.

Miller, James H. 1908 History of Summers County from the earliest settlement to the present time.