Prepared by A. J. Legg
As an explanation of how this community got its name, the following story has been handed down from generation to generation:
A hunter went into the mountains near what is known as High Rocks and succeeded in killing two deer. He could nor carry both of them to his cabin as he went in that evening so he bent down a sapling and hanged one of the deer on it thinking that it would be safe until the next day. He took the other deer home with him.
Upon his return the next day two panthers were feasting upon the deer that he had left the evening before. He promptly shot one of them, the other was so enraged that it rushed upon him before he got his gun loaded again, so he threw gunpowder in its eyes which caused the panther to retreat to a safe distance until he got his gun loaded and shot it also.
From this incident, it is said, the name of Panther Mountain was applied to the entire community in Jefferson District, Nicholas County, West Virginia, lying between the mountain and Gauley River.
Some say that Captain George Fitzwater was the hero of this story, others attribute it to another pioneer.
It is said also that Captain George Fitzwater camped for two weeks under a rock, just above Pine Grove schoolhouse with nothing but venison to eat. He was hiding from the Indians. Dirt has washed under this rock now so that there is not much space but the writer can remember when there was considerable space under this rock. Quite enough to shelter a person.
As to the exact truth of these stories the writer is not able to say. We know, however, that Captain George Fitzwater was one of the first white men to visit this part of the country, since we find that he took up one hundred acres of land by authority of land warrant Number 20196 issued October 28, 1783, survey made December 14, 1798, and patent issued June 13, 1801, by James Monroe, Governor of Virginia.
This one hundred acres is described as cornering upon another tract of land owned by said George Fitzwater. George Fitzwater got a patent for two hundred and fifty acres on January 14, 1800. This land was sold to Charles W. King and conveyed to him by deed dated June 4, 1801. I am led to believe that this Captain George Fitzwater was a soldier of the Revolution since he held a land warrant dated 1783 and the land was not claimed until December 4, 1798. This Captain George Fitzwater still has grandchildren living in Nicholas County.
The oldest mark that I have found in the community is some hieroglyphics cut on a beech tree just over the brink from Arnette Church with the date 1797. I know nothing of the maker of the marks.
According to Campbell's reminiscence Charles W. King moved from Wythe County, Virginia, in 1810 and made a clearing on the land purchased from Captain Fitzwater. He had taken up land on Patterson's branch in 1798, and he purchased the two hundred and fifty acres from Fitzwater in 1801, so it seems that Charles W. King was here and took up land about twelve years before he moved his family here.
In 1822 Charles W. King got patent for one hundred and thirty acres of land now occupied by Orbin Cavendish and others. In the course of time Charles W. King died and was buried in the cemetery on the two hundred and fifty acres purchased from .Captain Fitzwater.
In a very early day Jonathan Dunbar settled on land on Backus Branch. It is thought that his house stood on land now owned by H. E. Backus. We do not know the exact date of his settling here but the court records show that he had part in the first circuit court of Nicholas County in 1818, also that Alexander Brown was in attendance at this court, so we must conclude that the Browns and Dunbars both came to this community prior to the year 1818.
Alexander Brown lived on Laurel Creek on the farm now owned and occupied by Mrs. J. W. Backus. This is just outside of the Panther Mountain Community but Alexander Brown had a son Dr. William Brown and a daughter Mrs. Joseph Backus, both of whom settled in the community and have descendants still living in it. Dr. William Brown lived at the head of Backus Branch on the farm now known as the Burdette place. He was a farmer and a doctor of good repute and a man of considerable influence in the community. He was a staunch Union man during the Civil War and while he was too far advanced in years to join the federal army he did not let an opportunity to aid the federal cause pass without doing what he could for the advancement of what he advocated. His son William K. Brown settled in the community and raised a family of useful citizens of whom W. G. Brown of Summersville was the eldest. His other son Wesley Brown moved to the West soon after the Civil War.
One of Dr. William Brown's daughters, Martha A., married William A. Burdette and they settled on the home place, lived and died there, leaving a family known and respected by the entire community. We have not been able to find the exact date in which Joseph Backus came to the community. He married a daughter of Alexander Brown but I am not sure that he first settled in the community but he did live in a house on Backus Branch at an early day. The house stood where H. E. Backus now lives. It was a log house, noted for the nice, true work done on the hewing of the logs and building of the walls.
Joseph Backus had a reputation of being a very careful workman and he was also noted for his promptness at church. He had a certain place to sit at church and if he was not on hand in time to get his place it was pretty strong evidence that there was something seriously wrong.
Joseph Backus left four sons, Benjamin F., Henry, .Alexander, and Isaack, and two daughters, Mrs. Dempsey Baker and Mrs. Levi Nutter. Benjamin F., known as Frank Backus, married Caroline Grose, a daughter of William Grose, and settled on the home place. His father and mother moved to a house on the hill but in sight of the old house. There was born to this union five children, Clark, Alexander A. ,Bloomfield, and Rufus G. The only daughter, Lucy,died of flux when she was only eight years old. The mother died also of this dread disease.
Benjamin F. afterward married a Miss Dorsey and moved out of the community.
Rufus G. Backus, youngest son of the family, grew up, entered the ministry, joined the V/est Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, rose rapidly until he became District Superintendent which position he held for a number of years. He is still an active minister in the West Virginia Conference.
Henry Backus, second son of Joseph Sr., married Mary Ann Grose, a daughter of William Grose. They settled on Backus Branch raised a family of four sons, Weldon W., George W., William P., and Henry E.
Henry Backus had the reputation of being a very careful farmer and orchardist. He subscribed for and read the American Agriculturist, the only agricultural paper that came into the community at this early date. He was skilled in grafting and introduced many new varieties of apples among his neighbors by grafting them upon native stalks. He knew most standard varieties of apples by name and could identify them at sight. He died in the prime of life of a throat disease. His wife lived to be eighty-four years old.
We do not know much of Jonathan Dunbar who settled on Backus Branch except that he raised a family. One son, Jonathan, lived on the head of the Mason Branch above the Charles W. King property. He married a daughter of William Legg who lived on Laurel Creek. They raised a large family of daughters. The two sons died of tuberculosis when young. One daughter, Mary, married Clark Grose and settled in the community. Another daughter, Talitha A., married John Cavendish, lived in the community for a number of years, but finally moved to Montgomery, West Virginia, where she still lives. The other daughters married but finally left the community. Jonathan Dunbar died at about the close of the Civil war. A daughter of Jonathan Dunbar, Sr., married Dr. William Brown who lived on the Backus Branch. The other members of Jonathan Dunbar, Senior's, family moved out of the community.
John R. Mason came from Virginia and married Elizabeth King, daughter of Charles W. King at an early date. We do not know the exact date of his settlement in the community but it was probably about the year 1825. He settled on the land which Charles W. King purchased from Captain George Fitzwater and lived on this property until his death a few years after the war. His wife lived until she was very old. Of this family there were three sons and two daughters. The two daughters both died young. Henry, the oldest son, married Caroline Walkup from Fayette County. John Marion, the second son, married Jane Spinks and settled on a part of the home place. Their children are known by all in the community. Charles D., Augustus L., and Omar W., sons of John M. Mason still live in the community and are honest, law abiding, and useful citizens. John M. Mason died at the age of eighty- six years. Marshall Randolph, youngest son of John R. Mason lived in the community until he was well along in life when he moved to Mason County, West Virginia, where he died a few years ago.
Thomas Legg, one of three brothers who came from Monroe County, Virginia, now West Virginia, settled on the farm now known as the Renick place early in the history of the community. He was a good citizen but unfortunately he risked too much to help another person. He became surety for another, had the debt to pay, lost his home, and moved to Fayette County where he reared a large family all of whom became useful citizens. His grandson Charles H. Legg returned to the community in the year 1860, married Harriet J. Grose. They settled in the community and lived there for the remainder of their lives. His wife died in the year 1885 leaving a family of eight children all of whom are still living. He afterwards married Serena Hull who died in 1910 of measles leaving seven children all of whom are still living. Charles H. Legg died April 5, 1929, at the advanced age of ninety years.
After Thomas Legg left the community Willis Martin moved to the farm he had left and lived there for a number of years, he got into trouble and moved to Illinois leaving the farm to his step- son, James A. Renick, who married Margaret Grose, daughter of William Grose. They lived on this farm, except for a few years during the Civil War, until their death, both living to be quite old. They raised a large family, but all are dead at this writing, 1929, except Mrs. Margaret Harrah of St. Albans, West Virginia.
Henry Hess took up one hundred acres of land, the land on which Albion post office is now located. The patent of this land is dated November 17, 1820 and signed by Thomas M. Randolph, Governor of Virginia. Hess lived on this land for a number of years but in the course of time sold his farm to William Grose and moved to Fayette County.
I do not know just when William Grose moved to the community but he first settled on a tract of fifty acres taken up by a man named Foster and we find that he made survey of and got patent for one hundred and forty acres adjoining this land on September 1832. His father had moved to Line Creek in 1815. William married Susan Koontz of near Keslers Cross Lanes so we conclude that they settled in the community prior to the year 1832.
William Grose was born in the year 1799 and came from Bath County, Virginia, to this county. He and his wife were industrious, good citizens, they accumulated considerable property. They bought the Henry Hess farm, moved to it and lived there until their death, both lived to be old. They reared a family of eleven children. William Grose was a leader in his church. He and his wife belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a licensed exhorter and was an earnest, forceful speaker. Some of his friends asked him to obtain license to preach but he thought that this was out of his line of work so he preferred to remain as an exhorter and local worker in the church. His oldest son A. J. Grose moved to Cooper County, Missouri. His second son Franklin Grose married Sarah Keenan, they had one son A. D. Grose, while he was yet a little child his mother died in the year 1848 and was buried in the Grose cemetery.
A. D. Grose, "Andy" as he was called, grew up at his grandfather Grose's home and married Estaline Harrah. They settled on his father's farm which adjoined William Grose's farm and was the place where William Grose first settled in the community. Franklin Grose lived with them until his death which occurred about the year 1880. He was somewhat of an invalid and spent much of his time caring for the children. George Richmond Grose was the eldest son of A. D. Grose's family, the second child was a daughter who afterward became the wife of State Auditor Arnold C. Scherr, the second son, Wesley, died at the age of three years and was buried in the Grose Cemetery beside his grandmother Grose. The next son of A. D. Grose's family, Arthur Grose, is a practicing attorney in Columbus, Ohio. A. D. Grose moved from the community when his son George Richmond, was thirteen years old.
George R. Grose taught school for a few years in Fayette County, West Virginia, then went to Ohio Wesleyan University where he graduated with the degree of A. B. 1894, and received the degree of D. D. in 1908, and L. L. D. in 1916. He also received the degrees of M. A. and S. T. B. from Boston University. He married Lucy Dickerson of Cadiz, Ohio, June 28, 1894. He was ordained minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1896. He served as pastor of Cherry Valley Church, Leicester, Massachusetts, for three years then he went to Boston where he preached for three years, then at Newtown, Massachusetts, for five years; then at Lynn for three years. From there he went to Grace Church, Baltimore, for five years and from here he was called to the presidency of De Paw University at Greencastle, Indiana, in 1912. He served as president of this institution for eleven years and left this work to become a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church to which position he was elected in 1924. His home is now in Peking, China. He is author of the following books: "Religion and the Mind", "The Outlook for Religion," "Life of James Whitford Ashford," "The New Soul of China," and "Edward Rector."
Covington Grose, third son of William Grose, married Nancy Walker. They had three sons; George Grose, Clark Grose, and Joseph T. Grose. The mother died and was buried at the old Walker Cemetery on Laurel Creek. Covington Grose married again but soon left the Community. George Grose was a very studious boy and reached manhood at just about the time that the free school system was established in the community. He taught his first school in the community and afterward taught school in the winter time and attended summer schools until he obtained a good education. He was reputed one of the best if not the best educated man in the county in the early days of the free school system. He perhaps exercised a greater influence in the community and its surroundings than any other person. Especially was this the case among the younger people. He died in 1916 and was buried in the Grose Cemetery.
Clark Grose, second son of Covington Grose, married Mary Dunbar and settled in the community. He was a leader in the church, was honest and industrious. He took a pride in having the best stock on his farm that he could get. He served one term as member of the Board of Education, died at the age of forty-six years and was buried in the Grose Cemetery. He left his farm in good condition and has one daughter Mrs. Emma Mason still living in the community. His son Edward A. Grose lives at Fairmont, West Virginia.
Joseph T. Grose moved to Fayette county in early manhood where he taught school, was elected County Superintendent in 1887, served one term; then worked as bookkeeper for William Beury Cooper and Company for a few years, was elected County Clerk in 1896. He served in this office for six years. He then organized the Bank of Fayette and became its cashier. He has helped to organized several other banks and business institutions. He has accumulated considerable property and lives at Fayetteville, West Virginia. William Grose, fourth son of William Grose, Sr., married Miss Becky Anne Stephenson and lived in the community. Then they moved to Hutchinson's Creek where he became owner of more than one thousand acres of land. He was father of the Revered Logan S. Grose and Professor Walter R. Grose of Buckhannon. His second son, B. F. Grose, still resides on the farm owned by his father. He is a successful farmer and business man.
Socrates Wesley, youngest son of William Grose, Sr., lived with his parents until they died and then became owner of the farm. He was an earnest church worker, a licensed exhorter in the church, and was class leader in the church for years. He died in the fall of 1887 and was buried in the Grose Cemetery.
Benjamin Dorsey the first settler on the Samuel Neil land was one of the first settlers of the community. Though we do not know the exact date of his coming it must have been some time before 1830. He cleared out a farm and raised a family of five sons and three daughters, whose names were: John B., Robert L., Socrates, Samuel, Andrew, Benjamin, Sarah, Elizabeth and Talitha. Samuel died in early manhood and Socrates moved to Iowa.
John B. Dorsey married Margaret Summer and settled on lands adjoining his father. They raised a large family but while the younger members of the family were still small Mrs. Dorsey died. Their children were Lorenzo, William W., Rensselare Vaught, Lydia (who married Lewis Walker and moved to Illinois,) Jennie (who married a Mr. Bell and moved out of the community; she was the mother of attorney C. W. Bell of Zela, West Virginia), Evermont, Clark, Lizzie (who became the wife of M. B. Mason), Viola and Catharine, the last two named both died young. John B. Dorsey afterward married a Mrs. Neil daughter of Hiram Walker. One son from this union is still living. He has served as office deputy assessor of the county for several years.
Although John B. Dorsey's family all removed from the community, one member, Rensselare Vaught Dorsey, on account of his business success deserves especial mention.
Rensselare Vaught Dorsey was born December 16, 1854. He attended the schools of his time and afterward a school taught by P. D. Horon. He obtained a teacher's certificate and taught two terms of school in Nicholas County. After which he went to Illinois where he taught one term of school and then returned to West Virginia. He married Victoria C. Neil in 1879 to which union four children were born. He moved to Hurricane, West Virginia, where he engaged in mercantil business for about twenty years. He was elected sheriff of Putnam County, West Virginia, in 1896 and again in 1904. He owns an interest in two tobacco warehouses, is a stockholder in Twentieth Street Bank of Huntington and is a director of Putnam County Bank. He has extensive oil and gas investments and owns a four-hundred-acre farm near his home at Hurricane. He is a member of the Baptist Church.
Robert Dorsey married Alice Cavendish and settled on the home place. To this union was born two children. Hanceford, the oldest, is still living. Mrs. Dorsey died in a few years and Robert Dorsey married Margaret Kincaid. There were several children born to this union but all are dead. Robert and his wife both died in 1877.
Sarah Dorsey married Alexander Cavendish and they settled on land adjoining John B. Dorsey. They reared a family of seven sons and one daughter all of whom removed from the community except Benjamin B. Cavendish, who died at the age of forty-nine years, and Joseph F. Cavendish, the youngest son who married Ermina J. Legg and settled in the community. Joseph died at the age of sixty-nine years leaving a wife and nine children living. The children have all removed from the community except Orbin Cavendish who still lives with his mother and is now serving as commissioner of the Board of Education. Two daughter Vina and Letha still make their home with their mother when not engaged in teaching school. They both hold diplomas from Marshall College as graduates in the Normal Course.
This completes a brief sketch of the families that resided in the community prior to the Civil War except the Crookshanks family who moved across the line from Grand District about the time of the Civil War and resided in the community for about twenty years. The father of this family was Franklin Crookshanks a son of Robert Crookshanks an early settler who resided just over the district line.
Franklin Crookshanks was an easy going, honest citizen. He married a Mary Jane Rose. The family consisted of four sons and two daughters. The two older sons, William and Robert, were just old enough to appreciate the advantages of free public schools at the time that the system was adopted by the new state of West Virginia. They were both good natured boys. William was a great boy for having fun which sometimes led him into trouble with the teacher who as a rule was pretty strict and arbitrary. The teachers of those days had not learned any better method of controlling delinquent boys than by using the rod of correction freely. These boys attended school regularly and grew up to early manhood with sufficient education that they passed the teachers examination successfully and both taught school in the county for a few years. William allied himself with the Republican party though his father was a Democrat and the Democratic party was in a majority in the county. In a course of time he was nominated by his party for circuit clerk of the county. His party was several hundred votes in the minority but when the votes were counted it was found that William Crookshanks was elected circuit clerk of the county by a safe majority. After serving the people for a term of six years, with credit to himself and to the people who elected him, he moved to the town of Richwood where he has been twice elected justice of the peace.
After teaching several terms of school Charles Robert Crookshanks (or as the name is now spelled, Cruikshank) attended college at Richmond, Virginia, and a Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, and became a licensed preacher in the Missionary Baptist Church. He preached a few years in West Virginia then went to Virginia where he has preached to several different churches. At present he is located at White Stone, Virginia, where he has preached to a congregation for more than eight years. He is nearing three score and ten but there are still a number of his old schoolmates who attended the Backus school with him remaining in the community. They are all proud of the success in life of the Rev. Charles Robert Cruikshank of White Stone, Virginia.
We have traced the families who first settled the community up to the present generation giving especial attention to those who remained in the community and those who won distinction in their various pursuits in life after leaving the community, though we have given but little attention to churches, schools, and the political affiliations of the people. It does not seem that the people took must interest in politics prior to the Civil War though most of them were opposed to human slavery and so far as we know there was not a colored slave ever owned in the community.
The Brown family, the Backus family, the Masons, the Renicks and the Groses were all adherents to the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Dunbars and Dorseys held to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Cavendishes were Baptists. There were no organized churches in the community prior to the Civil War but all active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church held membership at Bethel Church on Laurel Creek. The Methodist circuit rider had a regular appointment to preach in William Grose's house. As William Grose's home was a regular stopping place for the preacher, his children took advantage of this and they used him both as preacher and teacher. The Grose family accumulated the largest private library in the community and they took advantage of every available means of getting an education. There were a few crude school houses in the community before the war.
One of these school houses stood up the hollow back of where O. W. Mason now lives. It was a log house with puncheon floors and a log cut out of one side for a window. I am told that greased paper was pasted over this opening. The early school teachers of the community were Marshall Keenan, Franklin Grose, and perhaps others. Isaac C. Cavendish taught a school just after the war in one of the Dorsey dwelling houses. I think that William Renick taught the first free school that we had in the community in the winter of 1867-1868 in Franklin Backus' kitchen. The second term of school was taught by George Grose, his first experience in teaching, during the winter 1868-1869 in a dwelling house used for preaching services and vacated by A. J. Grose. The house stood where Orbin Cavendish's house now stands. Some of the pupils walked for three or more miles to attend the school. He had a large school of pupils whose ages ranged from five to twenty-three or twenty-four years.
After this two schoolhouses were built, one for the upper part of the community and one for the lower, and the Board of Education arranged to have four months of school each year but the school was to be kept in these houses alternately. George Grose taught the first school in each of these houses. In a few years the board decided to have school in each of the houses every year. Of the teachers in the upper school, called the Backus School, who taught school in the early days of the free school system, I recall the names of George, James Koontz, Alfred Groves, Rev. Jos. L. Smith, who later became county superintendent of schools, W. W. King, who afterward became a distinguished preacher in St. Louis, Missouri, and John McCutcheon, who afterward became a prominent preacher and president of a Theological Seminary.
In the earlier years of the lower school George Grose taught the school most of the time. There were several persons who came from other places to attend his schools. Among these was J. C. Hull from Fayette County, who afterward attended college and attained the degree of D.D. He rose to a high position both as a preacher and lecturer and exercised a wide influence in the church, but unfortunately lost his mind before he hardly reached middle age and died in an asylum for the insane. J. T. Grose taught this school for a term or two. He then went to Fayette County where he served as county superintendent of schools and was afterward elected clerk of the county court.
The other school in the community was known as the Dorsey School and was situated in the lower part of the community. It was also called the Panther Mountain School. It was usually a small school but some very good teachers were employed and the students took interest in the work.
When the Civil War broke out a large majority of the people of the community favored the Union cause. The people did not join the army but their sympathies were with the Union cause. Benjamin Dorsey Jr., joined the Confederate Army and was severely wounded at the Batle of Droop Mountain. C. H. Legg joined Captain Isaac Brown's company of state soldiers and wore the Federal uniform until the company was disbanded. He received an honorable discharge.
Of the incidents of the Civil War which occurred in the community, I will record the following:
While General John B. Floyd was camped at Carnifex Ferry some Confederate scouts came into the community. They took several horses from the people and as they passed the first small drain west of where Arnette Church now stands they were fired on by Captain Ramsey and a few of his men who were concealed in a laurel thicket. One Confederate soldier was wounded, Ramsey and his men escaped unhurt across Gauley River. John M. Mason passing along the road late that evening picked up a sword lost by a Confederate officer.
Just after the battle of Cross Lanes three soldiers from Colonel Tyler's army had escaped to the woods. They came in to James A. Renick's home and were hid under a cliff and fed until it was safe for them to travel. One of these a Mr. Condit visited the Renick family two or three times after the war.
The day after the Battle of Cross Lanes Major Andrews and seventeen other Union soldiers wandered in to William Grose's place where they were fed and given some rations to take with them. They traveled on down the river and reached the Union camp at Gauley Bridge.
Edwin Spriggs, a Union soldier from Ohio who belonged to General Rosecrans' army with two other soldiers were crossing the river and their boat capsized. All were drowned. Some time afterward Sprigg's body was found just below the Edz ferry near where Albion post office is now located on the Nicholas side by William Kincaid, a boy living just across in Fayette County. John B. Dorsey, Franklin Grose, C. H. Legg, and perhaps a few others buried the body, which later was raised and identified by a Union scout named Carpenter. It was afterward taken up by his brother aided by John Dorsey, Alex Cavendish, C. H. Legg, and others and removed to his old home in Ohio.
My father, C. H. Legg, had built a cabin and moved to a new clearing about one-fourth of a mile back from the public road. Near the close of the war, my grandfather Legg, Franklin Grose, his son A. D. Grose, Lieutenant Samuel B. Koontz, who had recently returned from the Richmond rebel prison, and my father were near the road just about where Pine Grove school house now stands. We heard shooting and saw men running their horses. My mother, of course, was scared so leaving my sister and I at the house she hastened to see what had happened. She found my grandfather Legg and Franklin Grose had been taken prisoners by the Confederate Captain Holstead and a party of his men. Samuel B. Koontz, A. D. Grose, and my father had escaped to the cliffs.
The soldiers also had Dr. William Brown with them as a prisoner. They would not allow my mother to return to her home until they had gone within a mile of the ferry. The Confederates seemed to be fearful of Union soldiers in the county so they were afraid to let my mother return for fear that she would carry news to their enemies. This was the last incident of the Civil War that occurred in the community and it is the only incident remembered by the writer.
James A. Renick, Covington Grose, and A. J. Grose moved their families to Ohio during the early part of the war. Soon after the war Covington Grose and James A. Renick moved back to their farms but A. J. Grose moved on to Missouri and never returned. He lived and died near Clifton City, Missouri, at the ripe old age of 89 years.
At the close of the Civil War everything was in rather disorganized condition. The free school system had never been introduced into the state. There had been no schools of any kind in the community during the war and church service was of rare occurrence. The majority of the people held to the Methodist Episcopal Church though there were a few Missionary Baptists and a family or two of Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Methodist Episcopal preacher, Benjamin Darlington visited the community, whenever he though it safe for a Methodist preacher to travel over the county, and preached for the people. Benjamin Darlington had a reputation of being a faithful servant of the Lord and a true servant of his church. After the war he was assigned the Nicholas circuit with A. D. Perry, a young preacher as his assistant. They preached in the community regularly once a month for three years. After him Rev. L. H. Jordan preached for three years then a preacher named Rhodes was assigned to the work but he only made one trip and gave up the work which fell to Rev. George C. Wilding, an enthusiastic Welchman, who had just entered the ministry. He traveled over the circuit and preached his third sermon at an old house used for worship which stood where Orbin Cavendish's house now stands. After one year's service he was assigned work near his home at Point Pleasant. He afterward became a noted preacher and lecturer. He died a few years ago in Jersey City, N. J.
After the Rev. Geo. C. Wilding, Rev. N. C. Berkley, a Confederate captain, served as preacher for three years. Then came Rev. F. H. J. King for another three years who was followed by Rev. A. T. Morrison for three years more, and then Rev. George H. Williams, another Confederate soldier, preached for another three-year period. For a number of years there was no regular church class organized but after a time a separate class of the M. E. Church was organized with S. W. Grose as leader, which trust he held until his death in 1887. James A. Renick was leader for a while, followed by Clark Grose, J. E. Renick and Ira W. Legg, who is still class leader.
The Methodist Episcopal Church had kept up an organization and had regular preaching in the community for many years, first in a dwelling house then in a school house. In the course of time they decided to build a church and in May 1903 Arnette Church was completed and dedicated. Since that time the church has been kept up and the people have had a church building of their own in which to meet together for worship.
Of the other persons who moved to the community, lived for a number of years and took an active part in the community work we will mention Leonard Crookshanks who lived for a number of years just over the line from Grant District. He was class leader of the M. E. Church, South, at Tipton but took an active part in Sunday School at the upper school house of our community. His wife died before he moved to the community. His family consisted of two daughters, Ada and Flora, who both married and moved away, and three sons, Thomas, Alfred, and Luther, who also moved away. The father died some time before the family moved from the community.
B. F. Legg moved to the Jonathan Dunbar place and lived there for a number of years then moved with his family, except two of his sons, Gordon and Newmen, to Virginia where he died a few years ago. B. F. Legg and his wife were Baptists but they worked with other churches in the Sunday School work and community prayer meetings.
Joseph F. Harrah married Margaret Renick and lived in the community for a number of years. He was an industrious and enterprising citizen. He took great interest in schools and the church work but after a residence of about fifteen years he and his family moved to Roane County. His present home is St. Albans, West Virginia.
The community furnished the following soldiers during the World War: Wiley Mason, who was wounded in action; James H. Burdette, who spent more than a year overseas; Lawrence Legg, who went overseas; Clarence and Francis Legg each of whom spent considerable time at camp and were just ready to go overseas when peace was declared; Roy and Herbert Legg, overseas soldiers (Roy Legg was gassed and almost lost his life but partially recovered from the injury), both of whom grew up in the community but moved to another community; Oliver and Ote Cavendish, both served overseas and their younger brother, Orbin, who was called to camp but on account of an injury from burning his foot when he was a boy was sent home after a few days stay in camp.
The following persons, who at the time of their graduation were residents of the Panther Mountain Community, attended colleges and normal schools and attained the degrees indicated: W. G. Brown, B.S.; J. E. Brown, B.S.; W. T. Burdette, B.S.; and Theodore A. Cavendish, Jr., A.B. Vina Mae and Letha Cavendish hold standard normal certificates. Bernice A. Legg, Ethel Mason, and Ethel Legg hold short normal certificates. Norine Backus, Audrey Legg, and Carl Legg hold high school diplomas. Edward A. Grose, Theodore Cavendish, Ote Cavendish, Mrs. Leora Cavendish-Snyder, Wiley Mason, Lawrence Legg, Ivy Frances Legg and Leoma Cavendish are graduates of business colleges.
Audrey Legg is a student at New River State School and there are five students from the community at Nicholas County High School at this writing, 1930. Mary Keenan, Maisie Legg, Bonnie Lee Legg, Edith Legg, and Robert Johnson.
There are many unmarked pioneer graves in the Grose Cemetery at Albion, and as a matter of records for those who may want to check up at some future time we are listing those who are buried there.
Beginning first row at the southwest corner the graves in rotation are: Covington Grose, Franklin Grose, his wife Sara Grose, Wesley Grose (second son of A. D. Grose), Bertie Copeland, Aggie Copeland Dunlay, Viola Grose, a Baber child not known, Hezikiah Copeland, and Mary F. Copeland. Second row beginning at the South, Mrs. Henry Martin, John S. Nutter, Elisha Williams, Mrs. Pritt, vacant space, Walter Pierson, infant child of Wellington Grose, James A. Renick, Margaret Renick, and George Grose. Third row beginning at South, Rebecca Serena Legg, Charles H. Legg, Harriett J. Legg, Caroline Backus, Lucy Backus, William Grose, Susan Grose, Jerusha Nutter, Clark Grose, Mary C. Grose, Eva Bobbitt. Fourth row beginning at South, youngest child of Clark and Mary C. Grose, Thomas O. Harrah, a grave not known for certain, Socrates W. Grose, vacant space, Harry Cavendish, and Joseph F. Cavendish. Fifth row beginning at the South, Myrtle Mason, infant child of A. L. and E. S. Mason, infant child of Ira W. and Mary Legg, vacant space, infant child of B. B. and Mary Cavendish, and Benjamin B. Cavendish. Sixth row beginning at South, Mary A. Legg, and Arvin P. Legg. There were forty- two graves in the cemetery on January 2, 1930.
In submitting this brief narrative the writer has made considerable effort to obtain the actual facts and to briefly record the most important events that have occurred in the community and to give due credit to those who endured so many hardships and much sacrifices to establish a community with the advantages of church and public schools. We hope that our account of those who have acted their part so well in the past will be an inspiration to the present generation and if they perform their part as well as their predecessors that some one else will take up the work I have begun and give credit to whom credit belongs.
Community Histories Index