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West Virginia Archives & History

A Brief History Of Sanger Community

Prepared by Mrs. G. A. Stickler

Sanger is situated on the waters of Meadow Fork Creek three miles east of Oak Hill and three miles from Thurmond which is on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

Early Settlers

The first settler in this community was a sturdy pioneer, Mr. L. W. Jones, who moved here from Amherst County, Virginia, in a covered wagon with his wife and four children in the year 1849. He hired a man to come with him and bring his servant. At this time Sanger was a wild wilderness and had no connections with the main highways When Mr. Jones came, his servant made the road as the journey progressed. He settled on a tract of land then known as the Dunn Survey. In a short time he became dissatisfied and wanted to return to his native state, about that time his father-in-law, Mr. Joe Massey visited him and persuaded him to remain and raise tobacco, which he did. In 1853 he built the brick house which stands today as a relic of the first settler. The next settler was Mr. William Bibb who lived where the Sanger Postoffice now stands. He soon became dissatisfied and sold out to Mr. Henry Sanger. A little later Mr. J. W. Stone moved to the place now known as Lyman. This composed the settlement up to the Civil War. In 1869, Mr. J. G. Hurt moved on what is known as the Hurt farm and is still living here. He is 86 years old, the oldest settler living.


In a few years these energetic pioneers decided their children must be educated so they went to work and built a school house out of round poles where the house of Lomer Burgess now stands and Mr. William Bibb was the first teacher. At this time the teacher was not paid a sufficient salary to enable him to pay board so the custom was established for the teacher to board among the pupils. At the close of the school each day it was interesting to note the many cordial invitations the teacher received from the pupils which is quite different from today. The question of today would be who the teacher would get to go with. Another interesting feature was the first one who got to school each day got to recite first. It seemed to run on the principle of first come first served. In a few years this building was burned. There being no insurance the settlers again had to go to work to build another. This one was located opposite the Sanger graveyard. Here Miss Mattie Jones (Now Mrs. Masters), J. R. Ford, J. S. Thurmond, and others taught for a number of years. Then it was decided to change the location and a one room frame building was built on the present site. In 1907 .it became necessary to have a larger building and another room was added to this structure. Again in 1925 another room was built making it a three room school. Last year the school was scored and it is now rated as a first class Standard School, having the common organizations such as Four-H club and Parent-Teacher Association. From this school many noble men and women have started preparation for their life work and have become very successful. The school is now under the supervision of principal A. C. Gwinn who is an efficient man for the place and has helped much in raising the standards in the community.


The early settlers united, with the Fayetteville Baptist church, that being the one closest. Later Rev. John Thomas of the Brethren church bought the farm now owned by G. A, Stickler and moved there. For a number of years regular services were held by the Brethren. Then for a short time there was no regular preaching. In 1906 Rev. G. W. Adams, pastor of the Oak Hill Baptist church, began holding service once a month in the school house. In 1908 he was succeeded by Rev. T. H. Fitzgerald who was pastor until 1921. Under his splendid leadership the Gentry Baptist church was built in 1911. In 1923 Rev. J. E. Gibson took charge of the work and has been very successful and is held in high esteem by the people of the community.


The first leading industry was tobacco raising which was very successful and progressed rapidly until the year 1900 when the Prudence Coal Company began operating what is known as the Jones and Lyman mines. Mining has been very successful and at the present six mines are in operation. A few of the inhabitants are farming.

In general the community is progressive and forward looking. There is a good community spirit. The people are ever looking after the welfare of the community and the interest and the well being of all. They hope to reach a high goal in the future.

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