In writing up the history of Sago the author had to depend
largely on the notes of others. He endeavored to get data as
accurate as possible; but, doubtless, there are some minor errors
in the production. He is especially indebted to Rev. L. B. Moore,
Judge O. L. Moore, and A. J. Marple for notes on the early period
--E. R. Grose
Sago has a very picturesque location. It is situated along the banks of a beautiful, clear, and swift running little river, called the Buckhannon, whose course is hemmed in by the hills on either side, and whose banks are lined, in many places, with the hemlock and the rhododendron, our state flower. In winter those plants often bend with masses of snow, and they, with the dashing waters and broken pieces of ice rushing against the rocks, which lift their heads above the waters, present a scene of beauty as fine as may be found anywhere.
The county seat, called Buckhannon, is located six miles north on the same river. Now, a branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad runs southward, hugging closely the river bank; and also the Coal and Coke, now a part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad System, crosses the river from the east to the west, running from Elkins to Charleston. These railroads are modern innovations.
In 1801 the first permanent settlement was made near where the railroad bridge of the Coal and Coke crosses the river. The man who made this settlement was Zedekiah Morgan, who, with his wife and two grown daughters by a former wife (Ruth Dart) and a baby (Theadore) left his comfortable home at Newtown, Connecticut, and traveled by wagon and foot, through, what was then much of the way, a wilderness and settled here in an unbroken forest. No neighbors greeted these weary travelers on their arrival. The forest was, with the exception of Indian trails, pathless. The home must be carved out of the unbroken wilderness. To the east, some thirty miles, the comparatively old settlement of Tygart's Valley could be reached. Northward at Buckhannon and below a few scattered houses could be found.
In a short time a home was established and land was cleared. Other settlers soon came, and more homes were started.
Zedekiah Morgan was a thrifty man. In Connecticut he had been a dealer in lands; and, in his new home, he provided himself with a goodly scope of land and for his two sons, Joshua and Ezra, who, with their families, followed him two years later to Virginia.
Ezra settled where Adrian is now situated. Some years later Elbridge G. Burr married his daughter, Emily; and, after the death of Ezra and his wife, the farm was known as the Burr farm. Another daughter, Eliza, married Benjamin Gould of Bull Run; and a third, Maria, married Jacob Hudkins of Barbour County.
Joshua settled where Ashley Morgan now resides, who is his grandson. His children were Isaac, Chester, and Lydia. Isaac married Mandana Gould and made his home on the home farm. Chester married first a daughter of Ezekiel Townsend, then Nancy Talbott, and for his third wife, Delilah Boyles. Lydia married Major Thorp, who, with his family, later had much to do with the development of Sago.
In a short time the two single daughters of Zedekiah Morgan were sought and won by young men from the Tygart's Valley settlement. One can imagine their coming for more than thirty miles through an unbroken wilderness for the purpose of courting. Ruth married George Weese, who lived below Beverly; Naomi married Adam Stonacre of near Beverly, and, after his death, she married John Brooks, a brother of Dr. Amos Brooks of French Creek. Their descendants are the Kettles, Weeses, Stonacres (Stonakers), Bakers, and a good many others of Randolph County. One of Naomi's grandsons, Mr. Eli Baker, married two sisters from Upshur County. They were daughters of William Sexton of Brushy Fork. After one was cut down by disease, in due time he married the sister. From this union came Judge Baker, of the U. S. Federal Court. Naomi, after her second marriage, removed to the West.
The second set of children of Zedekiah Morgan by his second wife, Rebecca Watson, were Theadore, Watson, Alfred, and Fanny.
Watson grew to manhood. He decided to attend school and went to Beverly for this purpose, where he contracted fever and died.
Alfred was the first white child born at Sago, in the year of 1804. He remained on the old homestead all his life, dying during the Civil War. He was united in marriage with Martha Henderson in 1836, who outlived him many years. Mrs. G. W. Burner was their only child. Alfred and his wife were earnest Christians, and their example had much to do in making the community noted for its morality. They were constituent members of the Sago Baptist church, which was formed some time in the fifties. Mr. G. W. Burner who had married their only daughter bought the Bunten Mills and a farm one mile north of the Morgan farm. Mrs. G. W. Burner died in the fall of 1923. She was a lovable woman and was honored by all her neighbors and her large family of sons, daughters, and grandchildren. Her sons and daughters are noted for their useful lives in the community.
Theadore married Lydia Rude in 1823 and settled on Slab Camp where he reared a large family.
Fanny, the youngest of Zedekiah Morgan's children, married James Bunten, in 1827, who was from the town of Dunbarton, Merrimack County New Hampshire. Mr. Bunten came to Sago in 1825 or 26. He bought a farm north of the Morgan farm and built mills for sawing lumber and grinding grain. In connection with the gristmill he installed simple machinery for carding wool. As late as 1900 many of the older citizens still talked about their having gone to that mill with grain and wool.
The children of James Bunten and Fanny Morgan Bunten were Sarah Ann, Elsey Rebecca, Watson M., Burnham A., Walter B. D., Harriet, and Sirene.
Sarah Ann Bunten married George Collins Moore of Morgantown in 1844. They settled on the opposite side of the river from the Bunten farm. Here they reared a large family of much distinction.
James Levin, the oldest child of this union, was born in 1845. When the need was great for soldiers to defend the Union, he volunteered in Company B of 10th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry and served till the close of the Civil War. Some time after the close of the war, he married Saida Cypert of Clarion County, Pennsylvania. In partnership with his Uncle Watson Bunten, he bought mill property at Crawford, Lewis County, where he reared a large family and made a comfortable living. In his old age he sold his property and went to Oregon and from there to California where he died. His children are Ivy V., Myrtle L., Lilly R., Ralph G., Ried L., Zamie F., and Daisy May, all of whom were living at the time of their father's death.
The second son, Lorenzo Byron, was born in May 1847. He entered the Union army in 1862 and served three years and three months. He was severely wounded on the day that Richmond was evacuated. He came home on crutches in July 1865; attended school; worked as a carpenter; taught school; served as County Superintendent of Schools; studied at Brown University and in Crozer Theological Seminary; entered the Baptist ministry in 1872; served as pastor for twenty- seven years in West Virginia, Ohio Secretary for State Missions in West Virginia for six years, and Secretary for the West Virginia Baptist Education Society for nineteen years. He now lives in Parkersburg. In 1872 he married Almira A. Brooks, daughter of Dr. Amos Brooks of French Creek. She has shared with him for more than fifty years in the labors, sorrows, and vicissitudes of a busy life. Mrs. Moore died in the summer of 1924. Their children are George Amos, Laura Blanche, Oscar Frank, and Dora. Three others died during infancy. George Amos died in Minneapolis, Minn. when he was forty years old. He was a successful teacher. At his death a wife and two boys were left. Frank also lives in Minneapolis and has a wife and two sons, James and Robert. Laura is a teacher in the Parkersburg High School; and Dora is a librarian in the Ohio Wesleyan College at Deleware, Ohio.
Oscar Leopold, the third son, was born in 1849. He entered the Union army in 1864 in Company M of 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, and took part in many battles in the Shenandoah Valley and at Richmond. After the war he studied and taught. In 1874 he went to Abilene, Kansas, where he studied law. He was elected as County Attorney in 1882; in 1895 he served as Regent of the State University; for twelve years he served as Judge of the 8th Judicial District of Kansas; and in 1911 he was appointed as Reporter of the supreme court of Kansas, a position which he has held for many years, with residence at Topeka. In l875 he married Miss Ida Wilson of Abilene, Kansas.
Sarabel, a daughter, was born in 1854. She taught school. In 1878 she married Samuel Neely. To this union were born five. children, Frances, Addie, Fred, Clyde, and Demosthenes. The father was killed in a logging accident while the children were young; and the mother had to labor hard to rear her children. She faithfully and lovingly performed the hard task. She died at Buckhannon, at the age of 67 years.
Ida May, another daughter, was born in 1857. She was a teacher and was Postmistress at Sago for several years. She resided at Sago, at her old home, taking care of her parents till l893 when she died of fever at the age of 36 years.
The remaining children, Dora Ianthe, Burnham B., Clarence W., and Frances Jane, all died in October of 1865, of typhoid dysentery.
Mr. Moore and Mrs. Moore lived to a ripe old age. Mr. Moore died in the fall of 1895, and Mrs. Moore, several years later.
Two brothers came to Sago and settled some time between 1820 and 1825. Their names were Cornelius and George Clark. They came from Connecticut. They and their families added much to the history of Sago.
Cornelius Clark, on leaving his native state, first settled in Ohio, but later came to Sago and purchased land lying between the Zedekiah Morgan and the James Bunten farms. He was somewhat eccentric, but was an enterprising business man. He built a dam across the river and constructed a mill on each side of the river, one for grinding grain and manufacturing Castor and Linseed oils and other products, and the other for sawing lumber. The Castor oil was made from the Castor bean and was sold in the tablet form; and the linseed oil was made from flaxseed and used for common purposes. He also bored by the means of a wood drill a well 500 feet deep for salt water and, for a time, made salt at Sago. He then opened a coal mine, so that he might obtain fuel for his furnace. People, for more than thirty miles, came on horseback to buy this salt.
His wife, Abigail, was a very intelligent woman. Their children were Lyman, Cornelius, James, Martha, Mary, and Lusannah. Mary married Earl Young; Martha, Alonzo Young; and Cornelius, Lucinda Young. Cornelius died before he reached the meridian of life. Lyman was graduated at some college in the East. He became a Unitarian preacher and was deemed a pastor of distinction in the state of Massachusetts. Mr. Clark sold his farm to Mr. G. W. Burner soon after Mr. Burner's marriage and removed his family to Illinois. James and Lusannah settled and remained in Illinois.
A grandson of Cornelius Clark, born in Upshur County, George Holly Young, was graduated from a college located at Springfield, Illinois, and became a professor in the same institution. He was an educator of some distinction.
George Clark, brother of Cornelius, located on the west side of the bend of the river below the James Bunten farm. Afterwards he built a house on the hill above the Bunten Mills. He was an intelligent citizen. He cleared a large farm and worked very hard. He was a magistrate for several years and was called by the familiar name of Squire Clark. Reverend L. B. Moore went to school to him one cold winter. He taught in the old schoolhouse near the Clark Mills.
George Clark's children were George Henry, Albert, Ambrose, Barnaby, Ellen E., and Adelaide. George H. and Ambrose (Bun) lived to a good old age. Ellen married John L. Smith of Buckhannon. Adelaide married for her first husband Alonzo Bunten, son of the late Harriet Bunten of French Creek. Albert went West ; and common report said that, while carrying the mail, he was killed by the Indians in Utah.
For his first wife George Clark married in New England a Miss Barnaby, who was the mother of all his children. After her death he married Mary Ann Bunten, a niece of James Bunten, who had come from New Hampshire to visit her uncle; and, perhaps, she was the best informed lady in the community. As a teacher she was unexcelled. She taught before the Civil War, the old-fashioned subscription schools. When the Free Schools were adopted she was one of the finest teachers in the state.
About 1840 Henry T. Carter settled at Sago, first on the farm of Alfred Morgan; and then he bought land a mile or two south and reared a large family. He had come from Albemarle County, Virginia and had married a Miss Emerson. He was one of the highly respected citizens of the community. He was industrious, and noted for his wonderful memory. For many years he was one of the deacons in the Sago Baptist church. His children were John, Mary, Henry, Thomas Addison, Mardonius, George, Page, Eliza, Lena, and Delia.
Of Henry T. Carter's children John became the most famous. He was the most illustrious preacher that emigrated from Sago. Perhaps, there was no more eloquent preacher in the state. After preaching for a while among the surrounding Baptist churches, he began, near the close of the Civil War, his noted pastorate of the Parkersburg church, which lasted for twenty-five years, and which resulted in the building up of one of the most influential churches in the state. He then became the pastor of the first Baptist church in Raleigh, North Carolina; and for seven years he was regarded as one of the strongest preachers of that state. From there he returned to West Virginia and preached for the Baptist churches at Elizabeth and Spencer. He had much to do with the organization of the General Association and served on its boards for many years, in denominational affairs his counsel was invaluable, and his influence was very great.
The remaining children of Henry T. Carter, with the exception of Mardonius who died of scarlet fever when young, grew to maturity and became influential citizens. Henry E. was a Baptist minister but less renowned than his brother John. Mary married Herbert Phillips who later lost his life in the Civil War. Afterwards she married Rev. George E. Brown and lived many years in Buckhannon, but at Mr. Brown's death she went with her son Jerome to Parkersburg, where she died a few years ago. Addison, after being twice severely wounded In the Civil War, died some twenty years ago at Tallmansville, where he had a large farm and where he had reared a large family of much influence. Martha married William Moore of Holly Grove, and has also passed away. Page removed with his family to Oklahoma a good many years ago, where he died in the spring of 1924. Eliza, Lena, and Delia are still living (1923) and reside in Parkersburg.
Another family which came at an early date was the Norvell family. The father's name was Seneca. He and his good wife were among the good, splendid citizens of the community. For years he was Postmaster. He was also clerk of the Sago Baptist church for years,- a position which his granddaughter Lina has filled these later years.
Seneca Norvell's children were Abner, Susan, and Sophronia. Abner lived in Sago till he died in a ripe old age, and was a fine, honest, upright man. He married Ellen Bean, and his children are Edgar, Roena, Warren, Anna, Burnham, and Willis, who are well-known as fine citizens of the county.
Another man who had much to do with the religious and moral standing of Sago was Major Thorp. He came from Connecticut at an early time and married Lydia Morgan, daughter of Joshua Morgan. They settled on what was called the French Creek road. He was also a deacon of the Sago Baptist church and superintendent of the Sunday school, always faithful to his duty. Two of his children died early in youth. Charles M. B., Belle, Martha, and Hattie grew to matured life and became useful members of society. Charles married Polina Grose and settled on a part of the home farm where he reared three children from this marriage. He died in the winter of 1924. Martha and Hattie are both living at this date (fall of 1925). Martha married Dr. C. G. McKinley, and Hattie married Sherman Brady.
Situated on the hill just west of the Burner home was a farm owned by Abram Cutright. He built himself a house and married a Miss Wetherholtz. He was a large fleshy man; and he was industrious, and respected by all his neighbors. His children were Sally, Minerva, Calvin, and Granville. Sally was afflicted with epilepsy and died a tragic death at a spring on the hillside above the Burner home. She was found with her face in the water. Minerva married Asbury Cutright and was the mother of Doctor Dennis Cutright. Calvin married a daughter of Nathaniel Cutright. Granville married Miss Jane Beer, one among the good women of this earth; They reared four sons, whose names are Lyman, Ralph Greely, Frank, and Delos. Lyman was a lawyer by preparation, and was killed at the meridian of life by lightning on June 24, 1910. Ralph Greely is a successful physician at Rock Cave, West Virginia. Frank is professor of Botany and Zoology in the Concord State Normal College at Athens, West Virginia. Delos is an efficient clerk at Berlin, Maryland.
Just a little while before the Civil War John Beer of Pennsylvania bought his family into the neighborhood of Sago. He first settled at the mouth of Truby's Run and operated a sawmill. Later he purchased the farm on the east side of the river from the Cornelius Clark farm. His children did not all come with him, but, after the Civil War, his son Solomon came with his family. Those who came with him were Reuben, Jane, George, John, Esther, and Mary. His wife was a splendid woman and anxiously trained her children. The family added much to the welfare of the community,- in school, in church, and in social life. Reuben served in Company E of the 3rd West Virginia Infantry (afterwards the 6th Cavalry). He married Nancy Boggess and went to Pennsylvania to live, George served in the Union army and taught school for half a century in Upshur County. He is the father of Dr. O. B. Beer of Buckhannon, a well-known surgeon in West Virginia. Jane married Granville Cutright, and Mary has spent most of her life in the far West.
Mr. John Beer was married twice. For his last wife he married Barbara Casto, and from this marriage there was reared a large family of boys and girls who have become useful citizens in the county. Barbara, his second wife, was known by all as Aunt Barbara. She was a very hard-working woman, noted for her quickness to anger, but was much honored for her willingness to help her neighbors in case of sickness.
The farm known as the Elbon farm was first settled by James Tenney, a soldier of the Revolutionary War. Later it was sold to a Mr. Boyles, who was the father of Dunk and Frank Boyles. About 1860 Mr. Granville Marple bought this farm and lived there for several years. Then he sold the farm and bought another on Grassy Run, which is now owned by Roy Carter. For years this farm was owned by Mr. John Elbon, a well known mechanic. After his death it is still owned by his family, and the report has it that his son Earl is now the possessor, having bought out the rights of the other heirs. On this farm is an old graveyard where many of the old pioneers of Sago and nearby communities are buried.
Another family which came to Sago before the Civil War was the James Bryan family. First they lived in the old Alfred Morgan house at the upper ford. Then Mr. Bryan bought land on the east side of the river south of the Elbon farm and built a home. One of his daughters married Nicholas Ours; another, Meerbach Ours. One married David Tenney, and the youngest, Dolly, married John Moss. The three boys, Henry, William, and Elmore, served in the Union army.
In the early days a family by the name of McCracken lived for a time where John F. Burner now has a fine home.
A family named Childers also lived in the Sago community in the early period.
Captain Ferrell, father of Mortiner, Robert, and Skidd Ferrell, lived in Sago for a while during its early period and had a blacksmith shop near the run just above the Burner home.
After Cornelius Clark left the community there lived for a while in the vacant house David Bosley. He was the miller, the carder of wool, and the shoemaker. He was a jolly fellow, and his shop was a resort for many at night where he told some marvelous tales.
The widow Casto lived on the road to Indian Camp and had a large family of children. There were three boys, Simon, Henry, and Elmore, and four girls. One daughter married George Hoover; another, a brother of Mr. Hoover; another, a Mr. Huffman of Indian Camp; and Barbara became the second wife of Mr. John Beer. Mrs. Casto was a tall and stately woman. She and her daughters were great workers.
Northward joining the George Clark farm Mr. William Casto owned land. Mr. Casto, commonly known as Bill Casto, was a unique character. He had married a Miss Westfall, of a prominent family in the county. Mr. Casto was not a hard worker; he sought pleasure in the sports of his day. His children attended the Sago schools. He was the owner of several hound dogs and delighted to get a group of the boys of the neighborhood to go fox-hunting with him. The baying of the dogs was sweet music to him.
The Chipps family, the Clark Cutright family, the Samuel Bowyer family, and the Isaac Wamsley family lived a short time in Sago during the early period. Isaac Wamsley built a house near the mouth of Truby's Run, which was burned in later years.
Dee Tenney lived a while in the John Beer house. A Rev. Mr. Betts resided for some time in the Bunten house; and a Rev. Mr. Sisk lived for a short time in the old Morgan house. Both ministers were pastors for the Methodist denominations near Sago.
A family named Colyers lived on the Thorp farm for a short period of time, perhaps two or three years. One of the children was killed by the bite of a copperhead.
Just after the close of the Civil War the Grose family came to live in the old Morgan house, but John A. soon bought land on the French Creek road from Benjamin Gould and built a home there. This family of four girls and two boys added much to the social welfare of the community.
Another large family of young people lived at the close of the Civil War in the George Clark house. (The Clarks had gone to Buckhannon to live.) This was the Elbridge Burr family. The father was known as Little Elbridge to distinguish him from Elbridge G. Burr, who lived where Adrian is now situated. There were William and Benton who had reached home from the Union army, three younger boys and four girls. One of the daughters married Gabriel Bean of Indian Camp; another, Luke Bosley, also of Indian Camp. Joseph, the youngest son, spent most of his life in West Virginia. He traveled about a good deal from one county to another; he also lived for short periods of time in several states. He died in the winter of 1924 at Buckhannon having reached a fairly ripe old age.
The William Kiddy family came to Sago in 1866. Mr. Kiddy had, before this time, lived a while at Buckhannon and then for a short time on Grand Camp, on the farm how known as the Cal Brady farm. His wife was Hannah Krush. Their children were James, John, George, William, Joseph, Fannie, and Krissie. This family has been of great importance to the welfare of the Sago community. James and William made their homes in Sago.
Another family that has added much to the betterment of Sago is the Nicholas Ours Family. Mr. Nicholas Ours came to Sago in 1837 and settled on the farm now owned by Lincoln Tenney. Mr. Ours was married twice. The children of his first marriage were Levi and Margaret and those by his last wife (Avis Tenney) were Nicholas; Meerbach, Hazzledon, and Julian.
Mr. James Tenney, the paternal ancestor of the large and numerous family of that name in Upshur County, was a native of Massachusetts. He had three brothers who emigrated to the different sections of New England. He came to Virginia about 1806 and finally located on what is now known as the Elbon farm about 1820. His wife was Thankful Shippy of Rhode Island. Their children were James, Samuel, Josiah, Peter, Elisha, John, Reuben, Clara, Avis, Mary, Thankful, and Philo. Mr. Tenney owned a large tract of land, perhaps more than a thousand acres, around and east of the Elbon Hill. From this large family of boys one can readily see why there are so many Tenneys in Upshur County. These descendents have contributed materially to the social, educational, and economic development of Upshur County.
This family was so closely connected with Sago that it should be mentioned as a part of Sago. Mr. Burr owned in his day the whole section of what is now known as the town of Adrian. He was a very prosperous farmer. He and all his family were known as very industrious people. The daughters, Melvina, Ada, and Minnie and also a son, John Ezra, were members of the Sago Baptist church and regular attendants of the Sunday school. For a time the church was largely dependent on this family for its singing. The family was one of intelligence and education.
John Ezra was the strongest light in this family. He entered the Union army and was severely wounded. He was discharged on account of his wound; and, as soon as he was able, he turned his attention towards getting an education. He prepared for college at Waterville, Maine; then he entered Brown University, Rhode Island, where he was graduated. He then went to Newton Baptist Theological Institute; and, after three years of study at this place, he was ordained to the Baptist ministry. He was pastor of a Baptist church at Fisherville, Maine, and then at West Medway, Massachusetts. After ten years of service he became a victim of tuberculosis. He had a desire to come to the old home in West Virginia to die; and, accompanied by his wife and sister, Melvina, became as far as the top of the Allegheny Mountains where he breathed his last in a railroad train.
At Brown University he and Rev. L. B. Moore were roommates. The other children of this family also took kindly to education. Ada was a graduate of Young Ladies' Institute at Steubenville, Ohio. She taught school in Upshur County. Minnie finished a course of study at a school in Greenville, Ohio. Claude, a son, taught school and spent some time at West Virginia University in the preparation for civil engineering. Melvina did not attend school away from home. She may have attended the French Creek Academy and subscription schools near home. She was greatly handicapped by nearsightedness. At the present time (fall of 1925) all the members of this family are dead with the exception of Claude, who lives at Buckhannon.
Tradition has it, that Patrick Peebles of Charlemont, Massachusetts, made in 1800 a temporary settlement in the vicinity of Sago. It states that he returned to Massachusetts the latter part of the same year. He gave a glowing account of the Virginia lands and induced as many of his neighbors as he could to come to them. So he and Zedekiah Morgan came to Sago in 1801; and Mr. Morgan, as it has been stated, made a permanent settlement. It seems from tradition that Mr. Peebles was in and about the Sago settlement for eight or nine years. It is not known how many, if any, of his family came with him and Mr. Morgan. In 1810 he and Mr. Morgan built a sawmill on what is now known as the Sawmill Run near its mouth. It was a crude affair. A temporary gristmill was also built with it. Shortly after their completion these mills were destroyed by a flood. This disaster discouraged Mr. Peebles. So he went back to Massachusetts and remained till 1819, when he returned to this part of Virginia with his entire family and settled on the waters of French Creek, near the site of what is now known as the village of French Creek.
Mr. Peebles had several children. James Peebles, his son, lived with the late Harrison Wingrove who had married his sister. This James Peebles was noted for the fact, that in 1849 he went to California in search of gold. The late Mrs. Jane Sexton was another daughter. She was the mother of Mrs. Ashley Gould, Mrs. Garland Ferrell, James, and Jane Sexton.
Perhaps it is important to remember that Patrick Peebles and the Goulds all came from Charlemont, Massachusetts.
The people of Truby's Run have always identified themselves with the people of Sago. They attend church and Sunday school at Sago, and have always claimed Sago as their Post Office.
The Henry Wilfong family settled on the waters of Truby's Run before the Civil War. In this family were several children; namely, George, Samuel Henry, John, Daniel, Columbus, Bilda, Phillip, Abraham, Mary Elizabeth, Loise, Tilda, and Loretta. Four of the boys, George, Samuel Henry, John, and Daniel, served as soldiers in the Civil War on the Union side. Samuel Henry lost his life in the service of his country. The family is noted for its industry and has added largely to the development of the Truby's Run locality.
The Nelson Jones family lived in the Truby's Run vicinity before the Civil War. Mrs. Jones was Martha Jane Hinkle. She is still living, being about 96 years old (1925). Mr. Jones died shortly after the Civil War. Mrs. Jones was left with four small children. She was a heroine from the standpoint of work. She and her children cleared out from 75 to 100 acres of land. Her children are Sarah Ellen, Cora, Emma, and John. John lives on the old home place and is noted for his thrift and good citizenship.
The James Black family is another prominent family of this section. Mr. Black settled here before the Civil War. His children were Alex, Lorenzo, Abraham, Olive, Bettie, Mary, Mart, and Sarah. Lorenzo and Mart were in the Union army. Mart was killed at Buckhannon. It is said that, after he had been laid out for dead, he rose and walked across the room. The descendents of this family are many; and a good many of them live in their paternal locality and are noted for hard work and thrift.
Isaac Cutright was an early settler. He was the father of Thanner Cutright, of Alton.
As it has been once stated Isaac Wamsley was an early settler. His sons were Noah B., Charles, Luther, and Albert. Noah B. was a fine penman. All the sons are now dead.
During the Civil War Peter Tenney lived a mile and a half east of Sago. He had several children; namely, Peter J., Josiah, Jonathan, John C., Ezra, Rufus, William, Sandusky, Sarah C., Labana, and Mrs. G. N. Zickefoose.
John L. Boggess married a Miss Boyles and lived on the road that leads to Mount Washington church. His children were Thomas Haymond, Celia (wife of Eliza Stansbury), Nancy (wife of Reuben Beer), and Mollie (wife of I. M. Bennett). Mr. Boggess came from Marion County. His father was Colonel Boggess, a man of distinguished note.
Enoch Westfall, a son of George Westfall and a brother of Martin Westfall and a number of others, came to Truby's Run about 1880. He had two children, Preston and Lummie. His ancestors were among the earliest settlers in Upshur County. Preston married a sister of John Jones and lived for several years on Truby's Run; then he sold his farm and went to Ohio to live and there he has resided ever since. Lummie married John Jones and has always lived in the old home section.
James Dean was an early settler on Truby's Run. His sons were Harrison, Clinton, Marion, and Granville.
Christian Simons was also an early settler in this section. The writer is under the impression that James and Job Simons were his sons.
Some time after the Civil War the Isaac Wamsley house burned at night. John Quick and his family lived there then. Mr. Quick was not at home that night. Mrs. Quick, her two children, and two children of a neighbor by the name of Kimbrew were burned to death. Their remains were found in the position of the beds; and the remains of all five were buried in one grave in the Elbon Cemetery.
The Rebels made a small number of raids in the Truby's Run section and through the heart of Sago. They stole horses and foodstuffs, but perhaps their main object was to capture Union soldiers, strong Union sympathizers, and deserters. Lack of space forbids the telling of many of the various experiences that the citizens had with them. It is said that they were about to shoot Mr. Abner Norvell; but the writer does not recall on what provocation. Here is a very interesting incident. Two Rebel deserters came to the home of Granville Marple one evening when Mr. Marple was away from home. Mrs. Marple, her children, and a Miss Cutright (daughter of Isaac Cutright) were the only people at the Marple home. Mrs. Marple kept them over night. The next morning she sent them to one of her neighbors, Mr. James Black. A day or so later during a Rebel raid one of these deserters was in the house at Black's when some one chanced to look outdoors, and just at the yard fence was a squad of Rebel cavalrymen coming in. There was no time to leave the house. Mrs. Black, known as Aunt Sally, suggested that this deserter get in bed, which he did, and she put on the feather bed and made up the bed, covering him up head and heels. The Rebels came into the room but did not discover him.
Another interesting episode connected with the Rebel raiders is this. About the same time that Mrs. Black had her unique experience with the deserter, Mr. Elmore Cutright, father of Big Gran, came to Mr. Marple's home on his way to hide in the woods from them. He asked for a piece of bacon, which was gratefully given him. He had a pone of bread under his arm; and just as he started down the hill towards James Bryan's a rebel squad of cavalry came on the top ridge towards Black's, about one-fourth mile away. They saw him running and fired at him. Mr. Cutright ran with all his might and made tracks. They did not chase him far. Mr. A. G. Marple, who was a boy at that time, was an eye-witness of this event.
This church was founded in 1856. Its founders were Lucy T. Henderson, Hester M. Summerville, Henry T. Carter, Martha Carter, Major Thorp, Lydia Thorp, and Roxana F. Burner.
This church has wielded a large influence in the lives of the Sago people. It has never been large in numbers but has stood faithfully for the best things in life; and only eternity can tell the influence it has exerted.
Among the noble men who were its pastors were Aaron Barnett, Reuben Kemper, Henry Langford, Mr. Fisher, George E. Brown, Lloyd Holden, J. A. J. Lightburn, and G. G. Laughlin. There were others of note, but lack of space forbids the mentioning of their names.
Soon after its establishment a Sunday School was organized, to which the young as well as the old went. Not much was done for a time except to read the Scriptures and commit verses to memory. Some of the young people would, in competition, commit long passages of Scripture; for example, L. B. Moore and John Carter. On one occasion L. B. Moore had committed two chapters in Mathew, and it took him so long to recite them, that no one else had a chance, and consequently he was pronounced the winner.
The church sent out as ministers, John W. Carter, L. B. Moore, and Henry E. Carter. John W. Carter was the first to go. It was a high honor for any church or community to send forth such a man. Later L. B. Moore and Henry E. Carter were ordained at the same time. The career of L. B. Moore and that of John W. Carter have been given. Unfortunately Henry E. Carter had received a poor education. He had not improved the time as his brother John had; and, coming into the ministry after he had married and had got quite a family of children, he could not devote the necessary time to study and preparation. He was in a sense eloquent; and many thought him to be a strong preacher. He remained for some five or six years in the community, preaching to the various Baptist churches near Sago. Later he went to North Carolina and then to Virginia. It was reported that he died at Lynchburg, Virginia.
Another man who went out as a minister from the Sago church was Richard Wood. He was a member of the church at the close of the Civil War. He had a desire to preach, and he let it be know to some of the influential members, but, after a careful consideration, the church decided to postpone his ordination for some time, on account of his lack in qualifications. But, in the meantime, he was invited to come into the ministry of the United Brethren church, and the offer was accepted. He preached for many years for this denomination and made a very acceptable minister of the Gospel.
It is worth noting that the Sago Baptists held services in the old log schoolhouse from 1856 to 1873. This building stood on the river bank just below W. W. Burner's present residence, at the chestnut tree. In 1873 the first framed churchhouse was built. This building is now used as a barn by W. W. Burner. The present church-building was erected in 1893. It is located at the foot of the hill on the road that leads to Gould.
Before the Civil War Mrs. George Clark (nee Ann Bunten) was by far the most noted and best teacher. She taught in the front room of the Clark house above the Bunten Mills. This school was in session for many winters. Each parent had to pay a fixed amount for each child who went to school. The New England people were used to having schools in old homes and were glad to pay, so that their children might be taught. Their example inspired the whole neighborhood, and the school was popular. Besides being a fine teacher, Mrs. Clark knew how to awaken a desire in her pupils for an education. Pupils came from the adjoining communities to her school. One of the features cultivated was an exhibition at the close of each term. A stage was built across the end of the little old Baptist church; and these exhibitions drew crowded houses. Among the young people who attended her school were John W. Carter, John Ezra and Ada Burr, Simon Strader and sisters, Nancy and Mary Boggess, Delilah Boyles, Granville Cutright, Harriet and Sirene Bunten, James, Lorenzo, and Oscar Moore, Jane, George, and Esther Beer, Ambrose, Lyman, James, and Lusannah Clark, Roxana Morgan, Seymour Simons, the Pringle boys, Crites, and Thrashers.
Other schools were taught by different persons in the community before the days of the Free School System. Mrs. Sarah Ann Moore held summer schools at her old home. Roxana Morgan conducted school at the Morgan home. Martha Wiloby and Sirene Bunten taught terms at the little old church. At the latter place George Clark and Eli Westfall taught winter schools. One winter Isaac Wamsley taught at the mouth of Truby's Run at his home.
Two diversions of the neighborhood were the spelling schools and debates. Spelling was cultivated in those days. John W. Carter was the champion speller. Often he would spell down long rows of contestants. Mrs. George Moore, her daughters, May and Belle, Lena, Delia, and Eliza Carter, and Hattie Bunten were also excellent spellers. The debates were, for a time, quite popular, and people came from the adjoining neighborhoods to hear and assist. In this way a number of the boys first learned to think on their feet and before people.
Sago is noted for two of its settlers being in the Revolutionary War, Zedekiah Morgan and James Tenney. Mr. Tenney is the James Tenney who first settled on what is now known as the Elbon farm. There is no available record of Mr. Tenney's experiences in this war. Mr. Morgan served as Master of Transportation, and there is in the Archives of Connecticut an account of his services.
In the Mexican War of 1848-49 Mr. Seneca Norvell served as a soldier; and Mr. George Moore enlisted, but the war closed before he had the opportunity to see service.
The community of Sago when the Civil War approached was found to be intensely loyal. All its families stood for the Union. George Clark for years was an ardent abolitionist and took the New York Tribune. He circulated it all over the neighborhood. The influence was great. John Carter read it and was all aflame for the freedom of the slaves. Mr. George Moore was a democrat, but voted for Stephen A. Douglass, and when the war came on followed his leader as a strong advocate of the Union. It has always been a matter of some surprise that the Carters, Norvells, Bryans, and George W. Burner stood so strongly for the Union. All had come, or their ancestors, from East Virginia; and most people who came from there were in sympathy with the South. It was a great blessing to Sago that there was a union of sentiment, as it kept down strife and discord. This condition of things prepared the way for the young men of the community to volunteer in the United States army when the call came.
It is difficult to get a complete record of all the Sago boys who served in the Civil War. But the following lists include perhaps about all of them who lived within two miles of the Sago post office.
The first company recruited in Upshur County for the Union army was Company E of the 3rd Virginia infantry. It was made up in l861. At that time there was no West Virginia. This company was afterwards mounted and called the Sixth West Virginia Cavalry. In it were Andrew and Henry Bryan, Simon and Elmore Casto, David and George Thrasher, Benjamin and Isaac Tenney, Reuben D. Beer, Granville Cutright, Samuel H. Wilfong, Henry C. Boggess, Andrew Black, Marshall Gould, J. E. Montgomery, and Walter and Burnham Bunten.
The Upshur Battery was recruited in 1862. In this group of soldiers the following Sago boys were numbered; namely, George W. Burner, Duncan, Frank, and Michael Boyles, John Haney, Peter, Jonathan, and Josiah Tenney, Wm. F. Bryan, Wm. H. Bowyer, Nicholas and Meerbach Ours, Abraham Rollins, William Burr, Clayton Cutright, Aaron Strader, and Seymore Simons.
In Company B of the 10th West Virginia Infantry, recruited in 1862, were Thomas A. and Henry E. Carter, James L. and Lorenzo B. Moore, Richard and Alexander Wood, and John A. Grose, who came to Sago to live at the end of the war.
Company M of the Third West Virginia Cavalry was recruited in 1864. The Sago boys that enlisted in this company were John Ezra and Benton Burr, Charles Farrow, George Beer, Martin and Lorenzo D. Black, and Oscar L. Moore.
George Wilfong was also a Union soldier and belonged to Company D and B of the 10th West Virginia Infantry. William W. Woods, who was reared in the home of G. W. Burner, enlisted in a Maryland regiment. John and Daniel Wilfong were also soldiers of the Union, but we failed to locate them in their respective companies,
It is remarkable that only one Sago boy joined the Confederate army, and this was Isaac Thrasher. He was induced to go South while he was working in Barbour County; for there the sentiment for the South was rather strong. Without a doubt, had he remained at Sago he would have joined the Union army as his brothers did. Perhaps no other community can be found where sentiment was unanimous for the Union, and where so many young men joined the Union army.
In the great World War several Sago boys were taken into service. The following list includes those that were taken to the training camps; namely, Mason Cutright, Frank Ours, Ralph Kiddy, Forest Beer, Dorphy Black, Clifton Alestock, and Lloyd Waugh. Mr. Waugh and Mr. Alestock were the only ones sent to France. Mr. Waugh was in the first line of battle for about seventy days, and took part in the great battles of Argonne Forest. Mr. Alestock was in the second line of battle one day and night (in the Argonne Forest). Mr. Cutright was not long in a training camp, but rendered service to his country by cutting timber in the far West. Mr Ours did special service at Washington, D. C.
Sago is renowned for a large number of teachers; and most of them were born and reared in the community. Several taught the old-fashioned subscription schools. The following names include, perhaps, all her teachers; namely, Mrs. George Clark, Mrs. Sarah Ann Moore, Roxana Morgan, Martha Wiloby, Sirene and Hattie Bunten, George Clark, Eli Westfall, Isaac Wamsley, James, L. B., Oscar, Belle, and May Moore, Addie Neely, Jane, Solomon, Reuben, and George Beer, Claude and Ada Burr, John, Delia, Lena, and Eliza Carter, A. J. and Frank Marple, Lina, Anna, and Willis Norvell, Lyman, Ralph, Frank, Delos Hugh, and Golden Cutright, E.R. and S. C. Grose, Pleasant Bunner, Lura, Leda, and Ralph Kiddy, Andrew and Henry Ours, Nellie and Virginia Burner, Mrs. E. R. Grose, C. J. C. Bennett, and Lena Teets.
Sago has turned out several college graduates; namely, John Ezra Burr (Brown University), Lyman Clark (a college in New England), C. J. C. Bennett (Leland Stanford and Columbia), Frank Marple (Ohio Wesleyan), Frank Cutright (West Virginia University and Columbia), E.R. and S.C. Grose (West Virginia University). Others who attended college for some time but did not graduate are L. B. and Oscar Moore, John W. Carter, Claude, Ada, and Minnie Burr, Lura and Leda Kiddy, and Mrs. E. R. Grose. C. J. C. Bennett was the greatest scholar of the community; he had his doctorate degree from Columbia. Frank Cutright has his master's degree from Columbia; and E. R. Grose, his master's degree from West Virginia University. The other graduates have only their bachelor's degrees.
The Sago people that have finished normal courses are E. R. and S. C. Grose, Frank Cutright, Lura and Leda Kiddy, and Mrs. E. R. Grose.
Sago has furnished three teachers for the State Normal Schools; namely, C. J. C. Bennett, Frank Cutright, and E. R. Grose. Mr. Bennett was President of the Fairmont State Normal for several years. Two city superintendents came from Sago; and they are Frank Cutright and S. C. Grose.
At present (fall of 1925) there must be about a dozen boys and girls of Sago, attending the high schools. Among them are Arah King, Charles Burner, Mary Ours, Carl Grose, Gladys Casto, and Bernice Tenney.
Sago has furnished the following preachers; namely, John Ezra Burr, John W. and Henry Carter, and L. B. Moore, all of the Baptist church, Lyman Clark of the Unitarian church, Frank Marple of the M. E. church, Dow Bryan of the M. P. church, and Richard Wood of the United Brethren church. The careers of these ministers except that of Dow Bryan have been mentioned. The Reverend Bryan has spent the greater portion of his ministry in Virginia. He is a strong preacher, regardless of the fact of his very poor opportunities for an education for the ministry.
Sago has really produced but one physician, and that is Ralph Cutright, who was for years located at Rock Cave but now at Tennerton. Dr. Burton at one time owned the farm, now known as the Elbon farm, but no one now remembers whether he lived there or not. Dr. Lincoln Ours and Dr. Bronson lived near Sago and rendered good service.
Four of Sago's boys have become lawyers; namely, O. L. Moore, Will Carter, Lyman Cutright, and J. C. Carter. Of these O. L. Moore made a great record, which has already been mentioned.
Sago has contributed three sheriffs, Granville Marple, A. J. Marple, and H. F. Ours; one judge, O. L. Moore, mentioned before; two deputy sheriffs, A. G. Ours and A. J. Marple; two members of state legislature, Senator Will Carter and Delegate H. F. Ours; one county superintendent of schools, L. B, Moore; and one clerk assessor, Frank Ours.
Some of the Sago people have done work along art; namely, Georgia and Nola Burner, May Moore, Minnie Burr, and Lena Carter. Two graduate nurses came from Sago, Elsey Marple and Frantie Hoover.
Sago is noted for a long list of merchants; namely, W. W. Burner, and his brother and sister, John F. and Nola, B. W. Miller, and his brother, Arthur, Claude Kiddy, W. R. King, J. C. and Baker Carter, Ed. Neely, Bud Bean, F. M. Carter, Glenn Hamner, Lyman Cutright, Grace Gillispie, James Kiddy, P. S. Engle, Abel Strader, Mr. Hefner, Samuel Neely, Mr. Fitzgerald, and Annie Ours.
The following persons have studied telegraphy: Harold Burner, Lowell Elbon, Ralph Kiddy, and Dode Casto. Sago has furnished two locomotive engineers, Tom Wilson and Earl Elbon. Will Ours is Sago's radio expert. Several millwrights were citizens of Sago; namely, John Elbon, Patrick Peebles, and Zedekiah Morgan. Mr. Obe Elbon, who died in early manhood, was a very promising mechanic.
Sago has produced several carpenters; namely, Abner Norvell and sons, Edgar, Warren, and Burnham, John Elbon and son, Obe, Dave Reed, Lomon Casto, and William Crites.
Sago community is noted for the following bookkeepers: Delos Cutright, H. F. and Parley Ours, J. C. Carter, and Willis Norvell. John Sharps is Sago' s inventor. Some of the Sago girls taught music in private families, and the following may be listed: Claudia Burner, Martha Thorp, and two or three of the Carter girls. Mr. John A. Burner was a noted singing master. Major Thorp, his son Charles, his grandson Willis, and Benjamin Tenney are the stone masons of Sago.
No one seems to know definitely how Sago received its name. It is said that it was named in this way. Mr. Alfred Morgan was appointed postmaster of the settlement. He was puzzled over what to call the community. So the story goes that he asked a Mr. White, a cattle man, to suggest a name; and he introduced the name "Sago". No one now knows why he offered this name.
The Tenney Mill was constructed in 1867 by John N. Tenney. In its day this mill was greatly patronized. It had different owners, one of whom was Calvin C. Gould, the author of a small book, "Who Were the Mound Builders?"
The Ours gristmill was built by Nicholas Ours, Jr. in 1893. This is one of the finest mills in the county, and renders great service to many farmers.
A Mr. Chipps built a gristmill on Truby's Run in the early period of Sago, but this mill was not long in operation, and consequently did not accomplish much.
The Terrell oil well was drilled by the Terrell Brothers of Pennsylvania about 1863. No one now knows how deep the well was drilled. A complete test was not made, for the promoters ran short on funds.
Waitman Linger built a handle factory about 1906 and operated it for five or six years.
Sometime in the 80's Mr. Major Thorp began the manufacture of tobacco, with the assistance of a Mr. Messenger. However, this enterprise was short-lived, and no gain was acquired.
Mr. W. W. Burner operated a sawmill for five or six years in the 90's, near the present site of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station and depot.
The Buckhannon tramroad was built some time in the 80's, and was in operation for about ten years. It extended from Buckhannon up to Alton.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was constructed about 1890, and the Coal and Coke was built in 1903, 04, and 05.
A stave mill was in operation for about three years on the Peter Engle farm some time in the 90's. It was owned by a Pennsylvania company.
The Smoot and Berthy sawmill manufactured lots of fine lumber for five or six years, in the latter part of the 90's. It was located near the mouth of Sawmill Run, on the Engle farm,.
Cal Fletcher operated a sawmill on the Thorp Run for two or three years in the later 80's, and sawed Major Thorp's timber.
The Stockert Brothers had a sawmill on Sawmill Run, where Estridge Alestock's residence is now located, during the years between 1885 and 1890, and sawed the fine poplar timber that stood on the large tract of land, owned by the Price Brothers of Pennsylvania.
Other sawmills have operated for short periods of time in recent years; namely, those of Roy Phillips, Phillips Brothers, and John Elbon.
The George Burner No. 1 (58) well was drilled by the Citizens Natural Gas Company, on the site where the Elbon residence is now located, some time about 1902 or 1903. It was abandoned as a dry hole, having made a show of gas in the Fourth Sand, at the depth of 2211 feet.
During the last two years of the World War four coal mines were in operation, and gave employment to twenty men or more, at different times.
The first jeweler in the county was Samuel Meerbach, who came to Sago vicinity, direct from London in the 20's, and lived as a hermit on the waters of French Creek, on the farm now known as the Jacob Lewis farm. There is some .tradition about Meerbach. One report says that he had a good deal of money and that he was murdered for it. But be it as it may, his death was always a mystery to his friends; and no one yet has found his treasure. Some still claim that there is a hidden fortune of gold and silver at the place where this man dwelt; and a few men have searched for it in vain.
A rousing temperance society was organized at Sago while L. B. Moore was teaching there. It lived a good number of years, and was a prominent factor in the education of the community. It was brought about on account of some drunkenness from the use of hard cider.
For years many of the older Sago people held in memory many pleasant events that had their setting in connection with the old log church, which was also the old log schoolhouse. The writer shall relate one of the school events. Rev. John Carter taught school there one winter. It was customary in those primitive days to demand a treat of some kind at Christmas from the teacher; and upon the refusal to treat, if the teacher were a man, he was taken to the river and given a good ducking, even though it were necessary to cut a hole in the ice. John refused to treat; and, on the day before Christmas, the bad boys indicated their purpose of taking him to the river. He immediately showed fight and soon got away from them; he jumped over the fence above the road and made for the top of the hill. The boys strung after him. He outdistanced them, and reached the woods and was soon out of sight. Becoming tired of chasing him, they came back down to the schoolhouse. >From the smiles of the girls they suspected that he had reached the schoolhouse before they had arrived. So they immediately began a thorough search; and the mill was one of the places hunted over by them. After a few minutes of search there they found him concealed in a sack of wool under the carding machines. He at once surrendered to them, and told them that he would bring a sack of apples next morning. This he did, and all were happy over this incident.
This story is taken from the notes of O. L. Moore. Mr. Moore was a pupil at this time; but he was too young to take part in the chase.
Superstition and belief in witchcraft existed to some extent in Sago during its early development; but most of the pioneers were pretty well educated for their day; and this explains why these two primitive drawbacks were of no consequence. A variant of the story of the headless horseman was known by some of the old settlers. Uncle Billy Casto used to tell that this headless character dwelt somewhere along the ridge that runs from the Granville Cutright farm to the Clint Jack farm. He claimed that he had seen this ghost more than once; and also he told that Granville Cutright saw this spook one time and that it threw its saddle at him and then ran away.
Sago is noted for her men of wit. Mr. Abner Norvell and the Cutright brothers, Clayton, Leonard, and Judson, were well known in recent years as whetstones of wit. There were perhaps others before their day. All are dead now except Judson Cutright. Any place had its entertainment when one of those men was present. If they all had engaged in a wit contest, no one could easily have decided upon the victor.
Mr. William Bean, a brother of Mrs. Abner Norvell, had charge for some time of the carding machines when they were in the Bunten Mills and after they were moved to the G. W. Burner Mill. Mr. Bean was skillful in carding wool; he was also noted for his brilliant mind.
Sago has an excellent early history,- a heritage, of which the present generation should be proud, and for which it should be grateful. It is very incumbent on the boys and girls of the present generation to appreciate this heritage and to carry on the upbuilding of Sago in the same spirit and effective way as did their foreparents, so that the next generation will receive an inheritance greater than the one that they have received.
Community Histories Index