CHAFIN LAND ON RICH CREEK

Agent Contact:
Neal Roth, 304.667.3794

OVERVIEW

Chafin Land on Rich Creek is 1173 +/- acres of remarkable land located on Rich Creek.  This property not only offers the landowner a multi-use mountain forest and the opportunity for commercial development, but a historical connection to one of the legendary figures of southern West Virginia – “Devil Anse” Hatfield. The property is well suited for outdoor recreation, timberland investment, wildlife/nature connection and commercial development.  Chafin Land on Rich Creek offers direct access to the world famous Hatfield-McCoy Trail.  Surface and Mineral Rights are being are included in the sale of this property.  Existing coal and natural gas leases offer annual income to the landowner.

ATTRIBUTES AND HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1173 +/- acres of multiple use land located in Logan County WV
  • Over 3 miles of access to the world famous Hatfield-McCoy Trail
  • Frontage on Rich Creek Road County Route 10/04 south of Rita, WV
  • Just 25 minutes to Logan, the Logan County Seat
  • Perfect for recreational activities including ATV riding, mountain biking, hunting, shooting sports, hiking and nature viewing
  • Pope and Young whitetail deer country, one of four counties that have archery only whitetail deer hunting season
  • Tomblin Wildlife Management Area is an elk restoration area and is only 30 minutes away
  • With over 3 miles of Rich Creek flowing by the property and almost 2.5 miles of intermittent streams, water is not an issue
  • Timber has not been harvested since the late 1980’s
  • Premier wildlife habitat
  • Nearby is the Guyandotte and Tug Fork rivers – perfect for anglers and water recreation enthusiasts
  • 78,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas are nearby for the outdoorsmen
  • High percentage of commercially – operable ground supporting recreation and potential for numerous future rustic cabin sites
  • Darkest of skies with little light pollution for star-planet gazing & astrophotography Elevations range from 1115’ to 2240’
  • Fur bearing – deer, black bear, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox, chipmunk, opossum
  • Winged wildlife – eagles, hawks, owls, ravens, turkeys and Neotropical songbirds
  • Low taxes, low population density
  • Surface and Mineral Rights are transferred to new owner

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: N 37.718946, W -81.935333
Address: Rich Creek Rd, Lyburn, WV 25632. No 911 address is assigned to a property without structures.
Elevation Range: 1115’ to 2240’

  • The nearest US Post Office is in Man, WV. Zip 25635 – 8 miles
  • The nearest hospital is Logan Regional Medical Center – 14 miles
  • 15 minutes to a convenience store and gas station in Man
  • 20 minutes to Logan and big box stores
  • 90 minutes to Charleston, WV state capital. Four-lane highway except for the last 5 miles
  • Less than 5 miles off State Route 10, four-lane highway from Logan

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

To travel to the property from Logan WV on the four lane State Hwy 10:

Starting at intersection of State Route 73 and US 119 in Logan, drive east 10.2 miles on WV-10. Turn right on Rich Creek Road, at bottom of ramp (0.2 miles) turn left on Rich Creek Road, travel 4.2 miles to northern end of property.

Property is on both sides of Rich Creek Road for approximately 3300 feet, then on left hand side for remainder of boundary line.

It is recommended that a SUV type vehicle only be used to access this property.  Rich Creek Road is part of the Hatfield-McCoy ATV Trail network.

MINERAL RESOURCES

West Virginia is one of the states in the US that has two separate ownership titles – those being SURFACE RIGHTS and MINERAL RIGHTS. Both of these rights are conveyed with this property.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

UTILITIES

Water: Well may be drilled or springs developed
Sewer: Septic tank system may be developed
Electricity: Possibly on-site
Telephone: Possibly on-site
Internet: May be provided by satellite services such as Hughes Net
Cellphone Coverage: Good on higher ridges, none in valley

ZONING

There is currently no county zoning in Logan County. All prospective purchasers are encouraged to contact the Logan County Health Department for answers regarding installation of utilities. Further information on county zoning may be answered by contacting the Logan County Commission.

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

The property is classed as Residential Vacant

DEED and TAX INFORMATION

Deed Information:

1165 Acre Tract – Deed Book 205/Page 352
5 Acre Tract – Deed Book 321/Page 536
2 Acre Tract – Deed Book 84/Page 314
1 Acre Tract – Deed Book 72/Page 487
Acreage: 1178 +/-, deeded in four separate tracts

Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Logan County, West Virginia
Triadelphia District
1165 Acre Tract – Tax Map 143 Parcel 7
5 Acre Tract – Tax Map 123 Parcel 8
2 Acre Tract – Tax Map 143 Parcel 3
1 Acre Tract – Tax Map 143 Parcel 2

2020 Real Estate Taxes: $4,408.74 Total of all Tracts
1165 Acre Tract – $3,892.68
5 Acre Tract – $44.36
2 Acre Tract – $314.96
1 Acre Tract – $156.74

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Logan County School District

Public Elementary School:
Logan Elementary School
Man Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Logan Middle School
Man Middle School

Public High School:
Logan Senior High School
Man Senior High School

Colleges:
Southern WV Community and Technical College, Chapmanville, WV
University of Charleston, Charleston, WV
WV State University, Charleston, WV
Marshall University, Huntington, WV

“DEVIL ANSE” HATFIELD & CHAFIN LAND COMPANY

Most people know of the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud that pitched two families against each other for over 150 years on the West Virginia and Kentucky border.  The patriarch of the Hatfield Clan was William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield who was married to Levicy Chafin, the Great Aunt of the founder of Chafin Land Company, Don Chafin.  Don Chafin is famous in his own right for supporting the mine owners as Sheriff of Logan County during what is known as the Mine Wars in southern West Virginia in early the 1900’s.  The Mine Wars culminated with federal troops being called in to end the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921.

During one Devil Anse’s many times of having to escape the McCoys or the Law, it is rumored that he hid out in a cave near the head of Rockhouse Creek which a portion of this property joins.  The Hatfield Family Cemetery is less than 2.5 miles west of Chafin Land on Rich Creek.

Don Chafin was the sheriff of Logan County, West Virginia (1912-1916 & 1920-1924) and a commander in the Battle of Blair Mountain. As Sheriff of Logan County, Chafin was a fierce opponent of unionization.

Chafin’s most notable anti-union measures came during the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, when he organized an effort to prevent armed miners from crossing through Logan County.  At the start of the August 1921 battle, a large group of miners began to assemble south of Charleston along Lens Creek, and prepared to march south to Mingo County, and free their fellow miners who had been imprisoned under the martial law decree for violent acts. The path of the march would take the miners directly across Logan County, causing fear for Chafin and his backers. Chafin declared, “No armed mob will cross Logan County”, and prepared to stop the miners as they crossed Blair Mountain.  Chafin’s pronouncements and preparations were regarded with contempt by the miners, who took up the cry, “We’ll hang Don Chafin to a sour apple tree.”  One of the leaders of the miners, Ed Reynolds, later testified that a central aim of the march was “to kill Sheriff Don Chafin”.

Sheriff Chafin assembled a force of thousands of local townspeople, sheriff’s deputies, and national guardsmen. His forces successfully prevented the advance of the miners until federal troops intervened and forced the latter to disperse in what is known as the Battle of Blair Mountain.  As a result of his actions, Chafin became a hero of the mine operators and an enemy of the miners.

In 1924, Sheriff Chafin was implicated in the operation of the Blue Goose Bar by his one of his deputies and a cousin Tennyson “Tennis” Hatfield the son of ‘Devil Anse’ Hatfield.  He was arrested in connection with moonshining and sentenced to two years in prison. After his release, he became an important figure in the Democratic Party of West Virginia, and a lobbyist for the coal industry.

In 1936, Chafin moved to Huntington, where he purchased a number of properties including the Guaranty Bank, on top of which he built a penthouse as his home. He lived in semi-retirement there for the rest of his life.

In his later days, Chafin trained coon dogs, and was known as “one of Huntington’s wealthiest men” and a “familiar figure” in the city. He suffered several heart attacks in his later life, and eventually died on August 9, 1954 in a Huntington hospital after a surgical procedure.

The biography of the life of Don Chafin, “The Incomparable Don Chafin”, was written in 1962 by author George T. Swain.  It is out of print but can be found in numerous libraries and online for purchase.

Chafin Land Company was formed in 1950 by Don Chafin and Arthur Chafin, his son.  The company has managed the properties since that time.

RECREATION

The property offers fantastic recreational opportunities. Numerous recreational activities are anchored by the nearby Guyandotte River, Tug Fork, New River Gorge National Park and the numerous state maintained lakes and parks, as well as the Tomblin, R.D. Bailey, Tug Fork, East Lynn and Big Ugly Wildlife Management Areas.  For the Off-Road adventurer, you have the world famous Hatfield McCoy Trail System joining the property line!

HATFIELD-McCOY TRAILS SYSTEM

Chafin Land on Rich Creek offers unparalleled access to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails System (HMTS).  The property has almost a mile of direct frontage and over 2 miles of indirect access on the Rockhouse/Devil Anse Trail System on Trail #22 of the HMTS.

The HMTS is made up of 1000 miles of trails and located in the rich mountains of southern West Virginia. The 1000 mile HMTS is second only to the 2000-mile-long Paiute ATV Trail in Central Utah.

As one of the largest off-highway vehicle trail systems in the world, HMTS is open 365 days a year and offers something for every skill level. The trail system caters to ATV, UATV, and motorbikes (dirt bikes), but hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders can also use the trails.  The trail system is a multi-county project, including West Virginia counties Logan, Kanawha, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Wayne, Lincoln, Mingo, and Boone.

The name of the trail system is derived from the names of two families, the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s, who famously feuded near the West Virginia and Kentucky border after the Civil War.

Law enforcement officers patrol the trail to assure compliance with safety regulations. Motorized users of the trail system must wear a DOT-approved helmet and are prohibited from “doubling” (having a passenger), unless their vehicle is designed for two people. These rules, and a host of others, have allowed the trail system to enjoy a quality safety record, despite an increase in ATV-related injuries around the country.

HUNTING – On Property and Nearby

With 1173+/- acres of your own private land to hunt plus thousands of wide-open public lands, Chafin Land on Rich Creek makes an excellent destination for hitting the trails on a hunt. From whitetail deer, trophy feral hogs and native black bear to turkey and gray squirrels, the game is as diverse as the mountain landscape behind it. West Virginia’s hunting seasons start early in the spring and transition throughout the fall months. If you’re looking to connect with nature through a hunt, this is the place for you.

Logan County is one of four counties that allow only archery hunting for whitetail deer. These four counties produce Pope and Young quality bucks annually.  This past year the new state record whitetail buck was harvested in nearby Wyoming County.  This buck scored a gross of 195” and a final score of 191 2/8”!  If you are an archery hunter, this is the place to be in West Virginia!  You may hunt with firearms for all other game species in these counties.

Wildlife Management Areas in West Virginia provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to disconnect and reconnect with nature in its purest form. Discover wildlife native to the state and explore the scenic vistas that call these areas home.

There are five Wildlife Management Areas within a one hour drive: Tomblin, R.D.Bailey, Tug Fork, East Lynn and Big Ugly.  These areas provide over 77,000 acres of public land to enjoy.  Elk have been introduced to the Tomblin Wildlife Management area only 30 minutes from property, hunting is prohibited at this time.

FISHING – Nearby

An angler’s paradise, West Virginia is home to wide-open lakes, expansive rivers and babbling brooks just waiting for you to cast a line. From fly fishing our famous brook trout to trolling the river for prized smallmouth bass, there’s plenty to reel in from our network of more than 20,000 miles of streams and 100 lakes. Locally there are several rivers and lakes to wet a line in any day of the week.

Warm Water Fishing in the R.D. Bailey Lake, Horse Creek Lake, Guyandotte and Tug Rivers are some of the best in the region.  Great fishing is found on both rivers for largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, tiger musky, walleye and bluegill.

Cold Water Fishing for trout can be found throughout the eastern part of the state.  Locally there are several streams within an hour’s drive: Elkhorn Creek, Clear Fork, Pinnacle Creek, Dry Fork and Panther Creek.

WATER-SPORTS – Nearby

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the nearby Guyandotte River, Tug River and R.D. Bailey Lake ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing.

WILDLIFE

The hardwood forest produces tons of acorns, hickory nuts beech nuts and black walnuts. Whitetail deer, wild turkey, squirrel, raccoon, bobcat, fox and a diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls, eagles and hawks make up the resident wildlife population.

MINERAL RESOURCES

The property is being offered with SURFACE and MINERAL RIGHTS intact as described in those certain tracts or parcels of land with the buildings and improvements thereon, and and the easements and appurtenances thereunto belonging, containing an aggregate 1,173 acres, more or less, situate in Triadelphia District, Logan County, West Virginia, more particularly described in deeds of record in the Office of the Clerk of the County Commission of Logan County, West Virginia, in Deed Book 205/Page 352, Deed Book 321/Page 536, Deed Book 84/Page 314 and Deed Book 72/Page 487; shown on Tax Map 143, as Parcels 2, 3 and 7, and Tax Map 123, as Parcel 8.

Gas Reserves:

  • Leased by Diversified Gas & Oil Corporation, Canton, OH 44718
  • Two (2) producing gas wells provide monthly royalty payments since the 1950’s.
  • Monthly gas production royalty of an eighth (1/8th) of the selling price in excess of $0.12 per thousand cubic feet.

Coal Reserves:

  • Coal reserves are currently under lease with Hampden Coal Company, LLC, Gilbert, WV
  • Estimated coal reserves based on report by Blackhawk Mining LLC in 2016 notes:
    • Thermal Coal – 108,000 Tons (7,000 Tons Stockton Seam and 101,000 Tons Coalburg Seam)
    • Met Coal – 492,000 Tons (206,000 Tons Upper Alma, 13,000 Tons Upper Cedar Grove & 110,000 Tons Lower Cedar Grove Seams).
  • Coal lease has a minimum annual rental fee of $10,000.

FOREST FARMING

The most common crops are medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Other crops that can be produced include shade-loving native ornamentals, moss, fruit, nuts, other food crops, and decorative materials for crafts. These crops are often referred to as special forest products. Here are some specific examples of crops:

  • Medicinal herbs: Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, bloodroot, passionflower, and mayapple
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake and oyster mushrooms • Native ornamentals: Rhododendrons and dogwood
  • Moss: Log or sheet moss
  • Fruit: Pawpaws, currants, elderberries, and lowbush blueberries
  • Nuts: Black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and beechnuts
  • Other food crops: Ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, and honey
  • Plants used for decorative purposes, dyes, and crafts: Galax, princess pine, white oak, pussy willow branches in the spring, holly, bittersweet, and bloodroot and ground pine (Lycopodium)

SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID

Just like 175 years ago, when the first mountaineers settled the area, the property would be self-sustaining in times of necessity – even without electricity.

  • Fresh water for drinking and cooking would come from springs or a drilled well
  • The forest would provide fresh food (deer, squirrel and turkey)
  • More land could be cleared, and the land would be used to raise livestock, vegetable gardens, berry patches, fruit orchards, and row crops of corn, oats and barley
  • Beehives would provide honey and beeswax for candles
  • The forest would provide firewood for heating and cooking, lumber for building, maple syrup and pounds of nuts (beechnuts and hickory nuts)

WATER

Rich Creek, a perennial (blue line) stream, flows through and beside the property for about 3.3 miles. There are over 2 miles intermittent (dashed blue line) streams that flow into Rich Creek from the property.  There are approximately 2.4 miles of ephemeral branches on the property that feed into Rich Creek either directly or by the intermittent streams. There should be frequent water flow in the streams and branches, particularly during rain events and periods of snow melt. Numerous springs may be found throughout the property.

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

The Property’s timber resource, 1173 acres +/-, is composed of some very quality Appalachian hardwoods. Some of this timber may contain veneer logs for export. This timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and can be managed to provide cash flow opportunities to offset holding cost and long-term asset appreciation.

  • In 2003 a property appraisal was completed by Gaddy Engineering Company, Charleston, WV.
  • The report noted that timber had not been harvested from the property since about 1988.
  • Also noted in the report was that the next timber harvest could be expected in about 25 year or approximately 2028.
  • Estimated timber volume of 1.54 million board feet by the end of this period.

It is suggested that a professional forester be consulted to verify the timber growth predictions reported in the Gaddy Engineer Company appraisal were achieved in the past 18 years.

Species composition: The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of:

  • Black Cherry
  • Sugar Maple
  • Poplar/Cucumber/Basswood
  • Red Oak Group
  • White Oak/Chestnut Oak
  • Soft Maple
  • Hickory
  • As well as a host of other species (birch, beech, sassafras, wahoo, buckeye)

Forest-wide, most stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultural legacy.  Many sections of the forest are ready for a selective thinning which will generate considerable income.

Diameters are well represented across the commercial spectrum with a notable mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock.

Several “Heritage Trees” are scattered throughout the forest creekside edges. These ancient trees, some 200-300 years old, have withstood the test of time, weathering ice, wind, lightning strikes and fire. The forest is healthy and presently there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Wooly adelgid are present and the Ash component will be eliminated by the borer in the next decade.

The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and cool green mosses.

SURROUNDING AREA

TOMBLIN WMA – 25,156 ACRES

With more than 25,155 acres sprawling over Logan and Mingo counties, Tomblin Wildlife Management Area’s mosaic of habitat types are home to a variety of wildlife species. There’s deer, turkey, bear, squirrel, rabbit, grouse and other gamebirds to be found. But the most impressive wildlife roaming these hills is elk.

Elk were once native and common in West Virginia, but timbering and hunting in the 1800s caused these majestic animals to disappear. Thanks to the efforts of the DNR and several partner agencies around the country, elk are once again roaming freely in the Mountain State.

Tomblin WMA was created in 2015 as part of an elk reintroduction plan for southern West Virginia. This effort is a major conservation initiative and would not be possible without the help of key partners like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which helped fund all stages of the project so far, and The Conservation Fund, which helped the DNR acquire tens of thousands of acres of land.

LAUREL LAKE WMA – 12,856 ACRES

Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) occupies 12,856 acres, and its heavily wooded surroundings offer a range of outdoor amenities. In-season hunting is welcome with wild turkey, black bear and white-tailed deer. The WMA offers excellent opportunities for fishing in 29-acre Laurel Lake within the WMA with smallmouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, brook trout, bullhead, largemouth bass, brown trout, pumpkinseed and pickerel.

CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK – 4,000 ACRES

Surrounded by the beautiful mountains of southern West Virginia, Chief Logan State Park is a 4,000-acre haven with lodging, conference facilities, campgrounds, hiking trails and a variety of outdoor activities and attractions. Chief Logan State Park is one of the most visited facilities in the West Virginia State Parks System and is known for its annual “Christmas in the Park” drive-thru holiday light display. Chief Logan Lodge and the surrounding state park are within a few miles drive from each other. Separated by a scenic mountain, guests can stay and enjoy the amenities at Chief Logan Lodge, and then take a short drive to explore the surrounding state park.

Like the surrounding town and county, Chief Logan State Park is named after Chief Logan, a leader of the Native American Mingo tribe who lived in the area before the American Revolutionary War. The park was designated a recreation area in 1960 and became part of the state parks system in 1968. The park also has historical ties to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. A Kanawha 2700 Class locomotive, donated by the C&O Railroad in 1961, remains on display today.

CABWAYLINGO STATE PARK – 8,296 ACRES

Located on 8,296 heavily forested acres in southern West Virginia, Cabwaylingo State Forest is a beautiful destination to relax and unwind. The forest, located in Wayne County, gets its unique name from the four surrounding counties: (Cab)el, (Way)ne, (Lin)coln and Min(go). Cabwaylingo State Forest was established in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps in an effort to rebuild wooded land in southern West Virginia. This effort was instrumental in getting the state’s park system established. Over the years, CCC workers built log cabins as well as the many trails and shelters still in use today.

R.D. BAILY LAKE  WMA – 17,280 ACRES

Perfectly situated within a rugged terrain with steep hills and resplendent trees, R. D. Bailey Lake is a paradise for nature lovers, RV vacationers, and recreation enthusiasts. Located near Justice, on the Guyandotte River, off US Route 52 in West Virginia, this US Army Corps of Engineers park is easily accessible by RVs, trailers, and other motorized vehicles via various major and minor roads.

Opportunities for fun abound at this lake park, ranging from boating on the lake to angling for bass, walleye and channel catfish, tiger muskie and panfish. Hiking and biking trails are also available for campers and visitors to use while exploring the park. Horseback riders also visit the wildlife management area for equestrian pursuits. A variety of game species are equally present within the park for hunting enthusiasts to go after. Moreover, there are three recreation/day-use areas equipped with picnic facilities that make picnicking a memorable activity.

LOGAN COUNTY

Logan County was formed in 1824 from parts of Giles, Tazewell, Cabell, and Kanawha counties, then part of the state of Virginia. It is named for Chief Logan, famous Native American chief of the Mingo tribe. Logan was one of fifty Virginia counties that became part of the new state of West Virginia in 1863, by an executive order of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

In 1921 it was the location of the Battle of Blair Mountain, one of the largest armed uprisings in U.S. history. More recently, the Buffalo Creek Flood of February 26, 1972, killed 125 people when a coal slurry dam burst under the pressure of heavy rains, releasing over 100,000,000 US gallons (380,000,000 L) of waste and water in a 30-foot (9.1 m) wave onto the valley below. The communities of Lorado and Lundale were destroyed and 14 other communities heavily damaged, including Saunders, Amherstdale, Crites, and Latrobe.

The tourism industry is emerging. Important developments include the Hatfield-McCoy Trail and the Williamson Area Railroad Museum. Additional tourism projects include the annual Hatfield-McCoy Reunion and Marathon, the King Coal Festival, and the preservation of Matewan as a national historic district. The completion of four-lane Appalachian Corridor G (U.S. 119) has opened the county to visitors from north and south.

GUYANDOTTE RIVER

The Guyandotte River is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 166 miles long and is formed in southwestern Raleigh County by the confluence of three streams, Winding Gulf, Stonecoal Creek, and the Devils Fork. The Guyandotte flows initially west-northwestwardly into Wyoming and Mingo counties. It turns briefly northward in Mingo County and enters Logan County, where it turns north-northwestwardly for the remainder of its highly meandering course through Logan, Lincoln and Cabell counties. It enters the Ohio River from the south at Huntington, about 5 miles east of the city’s downtown.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam in Mingo County causes the river to widen as R. D. Bailey Lake in Mingo and western Wyoming counties.

The Mud River joins the Guyandotte at Barboursville in Cabell County. The Slab Fork joins the Guyandotte in downtown Mullens in Wyoming County. Big Ugly Creek joins the Guyandotte in Lincoln County.

Early History of the Guyandotte River

The Guyandotte River It was named after the French term for the Wendat Native Americans.  This watershed remained relatively undeveloped by expanding American industry and agriculture even into the first part of the 19th century. Before American General “Mad Anthony” Wayne’s army defeated Shawnee Blue Jacket’s combined Amer-Indian forces at Fallen Timber in 1794, war parties continued hitting settlements in southwestern Virginia in a vain attempt to retake former territory. The ancient war trails up Kanawha valley and through eastern Kentucky were too crowded for Virginia and Kentuckians to allow safe passage for aboriginal warriors, but the Guyandotte River, Tug Fork, and Levisa Fork valleys remained unsettled enough to allow war parties to pass relatively undetected. During the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, several nations’ armies demanded bear skins for warm winter wear and decorative clothing, like the tall bear skin hats of the British soldiers. In a three year period (1805-1807), some 8,000 bear hides were shipped from these watersheds to New York merchants, like John Aster for European markets.

It was during this time frame that Mary Ingles was captured from her home near Bath, VA and was taken through the area eventually escaping capture in nearby Kentucky.  The book “follow the River” details her journey along portions of the Guyandotte River to find her way home.

REGIONAL INFORMATION