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West Virginia Archives & History

Glenwood Community

Prepared By Hustlers Farm Women's Club, and R. Erastus M. Bowling

The idea of preparing a history of a community as a legacy to its citizens was not born of a sudden impulse. For many years educators have been endeavoring to create community pride by means of a history of the community's development with the view of making the coming generations more familiar with the factors which were responsible for its growth and development.

It has been the endeavor of the writer to prepare a few pages of the authentic history of Glenwood community. If she has succeeded she has at least contributed something to the cause of community education; and it is her hope that this contribution may enable each individual to begin that preparation that will make it possible for him to sketch, for himself or for others, a picture showing in accurate, outline and feature, the noted men and events that go to make up the history of Glenwood community.

Before entering upon the study of the recent history of our community, it is proper that inquiry be made regarding the early pioneers who dwelt here before the coming of the present generation.

Just 77 years ago, when wolves were howling in the wilderness wild turkeys scanning the hillsides, and deer wending their way across the hills and valleys, there immigrated to this neighborhood our first pioneers, John Carr and J. J. Hethington. This was the year 1847. J. J. Hethington dwelt where his son, J. T. Hethington, now resides; and John Carr settled on a farm just below the present Glenwood Park. Here later he died and was survived by his two sons,

D. H. and W. R., who fell heir to his estate. Thus it was held until the death of W. R. Carr, at which time it passed into the hands of his two sons, D. T. and W. R. Carr, and thence into the hands of strangers.

Just a little later there came to this conmunity a third family, by the name of Bailey, who purchased a farm between the Carr and the Hethington farms; these three constituting the citizenship of the community between Glenwood and the old pigeon roost. They lived in humble log cabins, and did not then, as now, require contributions from the four quarters of the globe to furnish their breakfast table; yet the homely fare and crude cabins and furniture produced the hardy race that raised this community to its present position. Inured to hardships and brave and valorous from their early youth, they sustained the fatigue of the chase, and the battlefield, and with strong arms turned the wilderness into fruitful fields. They have left to their descendants the rich inheritance of a community blessed with good churches, good schools, and good roads.

In the days of these early pioneers any person could be an eye-witness to that unique and interesting spectacle of the flight of wild pigeons, the last flight of which occurred about 1870. For a fortnight, previous flocks of five or six birds, pioneers of the great horde to follow, could be seen flying about, searching for the feeding grounds. Finally came the great flight.

Any clear, crisp, autumn day there could be seen a faint haze, the remnant of Indian summer, dimming the distant hills. The leaves were turning brown and yellow but for the most part had fallen while the fruits of the hickory, beech, and chestnut were falling from the trees, all harbingers of autumn.

Sometimes the silence of early morning was broken by a rushing sound as a great column of wild pigeons came flying swiftly down the valley. These columns were so wide that they reached almost from hill to hill, and so dense as to darken the sun, so that candles had to be lighted in the houses. As the birds passed directly overhead, the swishing of their wings could be distinctly heard amid the roar of their flight, which was like that of a rushing wind. Hour after hour they would pass. When the sky was cleared away, it was found that they had established themselves in a general camp at "Pigeon Roost", on a ridge about two and a half miles northeast of Glenwood Park. That ridge still retains the name of "Pigeon Roost".

The history of Glenwood community is important also because of the fact that here, during the Civil War, a battle was fought. This battle was coincident with the burning of Princeton by the Confederate soldiers.

The land around what is now Glenwood Park was originally owned by James Carr, whose residence was at an intersection of the Matoaka Pike where the Faulkners now live. This land later passed into the hands of Colonel J. A. Carr who resided there for many years, his son, E. B. Carr, later falling heir to the same.

The land now owned by W. R. Harman is a portion of what was once an estate owned by a man named Tracy. This vast boundary of 500 acres was later sold to Colonel J. B. Baily for the sum of $1500.

Here he lived until after the Civil War when his niece, Mrs. Chas. Harman, fell heir to it.

The land around El Centro was purchased on the 16th of May 1827 by Charles Dare from Ezekiel and Susana Smith. The boundary contained 450 acres of land and was purchased for the sum of $400. This land passed consecutively to Charles Dare Jr.; to James Henry Dare and his brothers and sisters; to Henry Dare's Heirs, one of whom is Mollie L. Day, a present resident of this community. On this property is Maple Acres, a little hamlet made up of residences.

While the early population was scattered, it gave evidence of long years of settlement. No sounding bell called these frontiersmen together at the place of worship, but they were worshippers in all that the term implies. Ministers had gone among them, and after organizing a congregation had made the home of the pioneer a preaching place. There the men who felled the forest on the hills and in the valleys, gathered for services as often as the itinerant minister came.

The first church house to be erected in Mercer County was located near the present New Hope church, the structure being built of logs. Several years later this building was replaced by a frame chapel, which was later used as a school house. Since that time there have been two more churches erected; the former of which burned, the latter being the present New Hope church.

The approach to these early homes and places of worship was made by roads, which were nothing more than trails through the forests. Later the Raleigh and Grayson turnpike was established and completed in the year 1855. This was followed by a second road which lay along Brush Creek, intersecting with the old Gayewell Road at the James Carr place.

Although we have but few early records of educational work in this community, the old school master was then abroad in the land. The first effort to establish a school seems to have been made near New Hope in the fall of 1866 and the nucleus thus formed seemed to have expanded into several schools, as this school zone had a radius of twelve miles. The oldest member of the Brush Creek Farm Women's Club, Mrs. J. T. Hethington, was a pupil of this school.

Among the first teachers of this school was Charles G. Candill, a devout Christian and an efficient leader. The first effort to establish a school in the center of the community was that of the Carr school at the present Glenwood Park, erected in 1912. This was a one-room school and housed all the grades until the year 1921, at which time a two-room brick was built on a hill at the back of the first structure. The latter is now used for the intermediate and advanced grades, while the former houses the primary grades.

To enumerate the achievements of Glenwood community would be to recall the progress of our people and their activities during the last seventy-seven years. The modern homes, churches, standard schools, farmers' institutes, farm women's club, and Four-H clubs, are some of the evidences of progress that trace their origin and development to the co-operative spirit of the community. Among the later developments which favor the community are the macadam roads, which intersect at Glenwood, and the interurban car line which ties this intermediate neighborhood with the two neighboring towns, Princeton and Bluefield.

In a financial and business way, there has also been made a great development. The modern dairy and the poultry farm are thriving enterprises in many parts of the community; while near the comImity center, strong mercantile companies operate in up-to-date buildings with modern fixtures, handling a full line of the goods which they advertise.

But the educational and social work of a community is the chief source of its life and existence, and is of far greater importance than any other effort undertaken by it. Whenever the school and community organizations get well established, they revolutionize the life of a community. The school raises the standard of neighborhood while the social opportunities of the clubs are educational and serve to banish isolation and its evil effects. In educational work agriculture should be particularly emphasized; but rural education should not be limited to matters of agriculture. It should cover all the fields of mental activity, and science, and history, and literature. In the broader fields of educational advancement, our schools will be found to take first rank. All the schools have raised their standard score, and particularly has the Carr school developed from a one-room rural school in 1911 to a three-room semi-consolidated school in 1921, and from a school with 52 points for the term 1922-25 to a first-class standard school during the term of 1923-24. The school also supports two well-organized literary societies, a Four-H club, a West Virginia reading circle for girls and boys, and an enthusiastic parent-teacher organization. No discussion of the work and influences of a community is complete without some consideration of what has been done by the women. Here must be considered the "Hustlers Farm Women's Club" organized in the year 1919 by Miss Gertrude Humphreys, county home demonstration agent. This is a very progressive club consisting of 23 members, and is functioning as an uplift in the community. Professor Bailey says, "On the women depend to a greater degree than we realize the nature and extent of the movement for a better country life, wholly aside from their personal influence as members of families."

Our story of Glenwood Community is completed. We have learned how the wild animals once roamed over its then wild domain. We have seen how the early settlers came and occupied the land, and how from the first settlement in 1847 they seemed destined to subsist and deliver the key of success to our very progressive community of today. Since that time we have seen this community of Glenwood advance to the front rank of the communities comprising Mercer County.

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