Sunday, May 16, 2010

Streeter Sold for One Dollar

Alfred Beckley, the founder of the city of Beckley, sold many acres of his 170,000 acres in the 1830's and 40's. Samuel Pack was one of many buyers.

Samuel Pack, "living under the White Oak Mountain" as Beckley describes in his notes, caused a stir among members of Beckley's family. In 1833, William and Samuel Pack bought a total of 1,800 acres from Beckley. But this wasn't the end of the story. In 1840 there was a compromise in a District Court lawsuit (Beckley vs. Pack) in which Beckley sold to Samuel 185 acres including Pack's Mill for $1.00.

I am curious about this because local historians have written that Pack's Mill was built in 1845.
If the details of this suit are correct, then there must have been a mill in existence before the Pack acquisition.

Either way, it is an interesting piece of history that the area of Streeter was bought for a buck.

Source: History of Raleigh County, by Jim Wood, 1994.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

John Lilly, Important Ancestor To Many

" I took possession of a double log cabin built for me in the fall of 1835, by Mr. John Lilly, Sr., of Blue Stone, and I changed the name of my residence from 'Park Place,' a name given it by my kinsman, Clarkson Prince -- to that of 'Wildwood."-- Gen. Alfred Beckley (father of Beckley WV).

John Lilly (1794-abt 1860) lived near the Jumping Branch/Streeter area. At the time Lilly built the house for Alfred Beckley there were only 4-5 families between the Bluestone and the Beckley area. In fact, Beckley notes this in his own writings.

My own relatives should note that John Lilly was one of our ancestors. He was the grandfather to Ida Jane Lilly (first wife of John Wesley Basham).

As for Beckley, he owned roughly 170,000 acres in Southern WV- what is called the Moore-Beckley patent. Many of our ancestors bought property from him, including Samuel Pack who bought the Streeter area (more details pertaining to this later).

Source: History of Raleigh County, Jim Wood, 1994.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

John Basham: Postmaster, Shop Owner, and Teacher

John Basham (pictured on the right) was born in Summers County. I was told he attended Concord College (I am still trying to authenticate this). He was a teacher as well as a farmer. His first marriage was to Ida Jane Lilly (or 'Violet'). They were distantly related (both shared Robert Lilly and Mary Francis Moody as Great Great Grandparents). His second marriage was to Lucy Pack Wills (they were both widowers). Lucy and John were first cousins (John Pack who built Pack's Mill was a grandfather to both). As a brief anecdote, I spoke with Macy (Pack) Basham "Aunt Macy" (married to John's son Guy) in 2010 (she is now 98 years old). According to her, John "Grandpaw Basham" was a "good man...he loved to read and farm. If there wasn't sweet milk or cream to use for his meal he would use buttermilk- he never complained or asked specifically what he wanted to eat". He taught school in a one room school house on White Oak Mountain. He was also a farmer and a postmaster of Streeter, WV. When he was a baby(according to Macy) his mother would take him with her to the spring (creek) to fetch water. On one trip they were chased by a panther. His father, Alexander, died in the Civil War in Richmond when John was a baby. Years later, he and his son Ray traveled to Richmond but they could not find the tomb. John inherited the land on White Oak Mountain from his father Alexander Basham who acquired much of the land from his father-in-law John Pack.

The general store and post office were originally owned and operated by Lucy. After her marriage to John they shared the responsibility. Then about 1923 he inherited these businesses after her death (most of his income came from this). John died in 1941 and was buried at the Basham Cemetery (along with his 1st wife). Lucy is buried with her first husband (along with several children from both marriages) at the Pack/Harvey cemetery on Streeter Road.
*Right click on photo for better view.
Sources: Macy Basham, Wayne Harvey of Hinton, and Jack Pack of Streeter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

John Pack, Wealthy Land Owner

John Pack was born around 1809 and died in 1890. He is responsible for building "Pack's Mill" which served Streeter and the area for nearly a hundred years.

John Pack, along with Michael Harvey, owned much of the land in and around Streeter and White Oak Mountain in the mid 1800s. Many Bashams, Estridges, Harveys, Lillys, Halsteads (descendants of Ed Halstead) and Packs of Summers County can trace their roots to one of these two men or their brothers/sisters.

John married Elizabeth Dell Harvey and settled in Streeter. He had five sons and three daughters: Preston, John Jr., James, William, Samuel, Nancy, Rachel and Jane*.

Later they moved to Raleigh County where he was a successful farmer and cattleman. After Elizabeth died he married Betsy Rollyson. They were the parents of two sons and 1 daughter: Albert, Tom and Haley.--(History of Summers County, 1984 by the Summers County Historical Society, Concord University Historical Archives).

He is buried at the Pack Cemetery on Streeter Road. Descendants of John Wesley Basham should note that his second wife Lucy Pack Wills along with many of their children are buried here as well.

* Online sources show John Pack descended from Matthew Pack (son of Samuel Pack). I am unsure if a generation was omitted accidentally by Summers County history writers or if John descended directly from Samuel). Also, I am pretty sure his daughter 'Jane' was 'Mary Jane Pack' who married Alexander Basham (parents of John Wesley Basham).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jack Pack

The other day I was driving down Streeter Road and saw an older fella sitting alone on his porch. I was out doing some research- looking for our ancestor's grave sites, etc.- so I decided to stop my car and ask him some questions.

Turns out his name is Jack Pack and he is a descendant of John Pack (the man who built "Pack's Mill" in 1845). Jack is a little hard of hearing; nonetheless, he is a nice man and is a wealth of information about Streeter and the genealogies of the Pack, Basham, and Halstead families.

He knew Ed and Lilly (Basham) Halstead*. Ed and Lilly owned a small piece of land at Streeter and were well known in this part of the county.

Jack served in WWII in Japan under General Douglas MacArthur. He is 84 years old.

*Lilly Basham Halstead was the daughter of John Wesley Basham who operated the general store at Streeter.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Little Blue Stone River

The Little Blue Stone (variant spelling: Bluestone) River (which runs through Streeter) is one of two tributaries of the Blue Stone River (the other is Blacklick Creek). It is one of many creeks and rivers that make up the watershed of the Mississippi River.

It is formed by the confluence of the White Oak Branch and Jumping Branch.
Facts from the U.S. Geological Survey:
Classed: Stream
Elevation: 1,447 ft

(note: Streeter's elevation is 1,982 ft)

Sources: U.S. Geological Survey online, and Wikipedia

The Bluestone has been compromised by PCB contamination left over from former coal mining (Virginia does not recommend eating carp from Bluefield, Va). Also, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality does not recommend any contact recreation in the Bluestone due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria (WVa. Dept. of Health and Human Services has also issued recent 2010 health advisories related to fishing the Bluestone):

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rhoda Anne Pack and the Rhoda Anne Memorial Church

Rhoda Anne Cooper, born 1851, was the daughter of Alexander and Mary Anne Farmer Cooper. She married Samuel Pack (owner of Pack's Mill at Streeter) and they lived in the Streeter area. The following is taken from History of Summers County (published by the Summers County Historical Society): "Samuel and Rhoda Anne Pack were known by word and deed as true and loyal Christians. The church at Streeter was named in honor of Rhoda Anne Pack. Samuel Pack was a loyal and patriotic citizen and a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. His death on July 12, 1895 was considered a great loss to the community. Rhoda Anne died April 11, 1937 at the age of 86. They were the parents of 11 children: Lucy married John L. Wills and J. Wesley Basham*, George W. Married Louie Vest, Andrew married Cleopatra Harvey, William married Lucinda Johnson, Alfred Married Virginia West and Mary Cooper, Laura married John Lilly, Amanda married Grover Adkins, Jebediah Preston never married, Samuel married Elizabeth Dunbar, Cecil married Willie Harvey, and Effie Fay never married."
*Samuel Pack was father to Lucy and uncle to her second husband J. Wesley Basham (both were grandchildren of John Pack).
--(note: although the photo is titled 'Samuel and Rhoda Ann' in the book, I am pretty sure this was not her husband Samuel. He died around the age of 50 and the fashions they are wearing are not 1890's fashion- the era he died).

Dates for the founding of Streeter

Streeter was established originally as "Vandalia", Sept. 3, 1885. The name was changed to Streeter Oct. 2, 1888. I am not sure of the significance of either name yet. Vandalia after Vandalia Harvey (one of the postmasters in the village)? Streeter???... to be continued.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Old Water Mill at Streeter

The Mill was built by John Pack around 1845. After his death in 1890, it passed down to his son Samuel, then to his grandson William Alexander Pack. The mill ceased operation in 1935.

Born in 1809, John R. Pack owned approximately 40,000 acres of land in Summers County. Many of his descendants inherited his land in and around Streeter (John Wesley Basham, his grandson, inherited property on White Oak Mountain from him).

--Sources: photo via "Summers County In Vintage Postcards", copyright 2005; Interiew with Jack Pack, May 2010.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mary Draper Ingles and Indian abductors cross area

The Streeter/Ellison Ridge area was crossed by Mary Draper Ingles and her Shawnee Indian abductors on their way to an Ohio Indian camp from the Draper Meadows Settlement in Va. 1755. They followed an old Indian trail that came up the Bluestone River to where the Suck Creek empties into it, then they followed Suck Creek to Paint Creek: "From the mouth of Indian creek the Draper's Meadows party came down the river, on the west side, to the mouth of Bluestone river, when they left New river, going up Bluestone a short distance, thence crossing over Flat Top Mountain, and probably following very much the route of the present Giles, Raleigh and Fayette turnpike, to about the head of Paint creek, thence down it to the Kanawha river"---Sources:WV Archive Online (Charleston Daily Mail 1937); Douglas Wayne Harvey of Hinton (descendant of Stella Wills)

Streeter circa 1900

Streeter in the early 1900's was very different from what it looks like today. There was a saw mill*, and general store/ post office (operated by John Wesley Basham and wife Lucy). The Rhoda Ann Memorial Missionary Baptist Church was built in the mid 1900's in honor of Rhoda Ann Elizabeth Cooper Pack (an aunt to John Basham). The deed to the church was owned by many Packs and Harveys.

A narrow grade train track once reached into Streeter for hauling timber. The track was financed by Princeton Bank & Trust. The track was later washed out by a flood.

Guy Basham worked in the mill (bloggers great uncle). According to Macy Pack Basham (his wife), Guy would make a gong of sorts out of a saw blade and bang it during wedding processions.

A school house (pictured above) once rested near the land now occupied by the church (via WV archives online).

*Some sources say it was a flour mill.