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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
Undated
December 1864


Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
December 14, 1864

For the Intelligencer.

Weston – The Asylum – Lewis County – Coal and Oil.

This place is the county seat of Lewis county, situated on the south side of the Westfork of the Monongahela river, twenty-three miles from Clarksburg and near the centre of the new State. It is a thriving town, of about 1,500 inhabitants, a bea[u]tiful court house, bank, two good hotels, a foundry, five stores, a first class drug store, steam mill, &c., &c.

On the north side of the river stands the beautiful and substantial structure, the Hospital for the Insane. It will be a magnificent building when completed, over 1600 feet front, built in the most substantial manner, out of closely grained blue sand stone, slate roof and finished to correspond. One cannot but think when viewing it that it will stand the test of time for ages and pass to future generations a proud monument of art as well as philanthropy.

One wing is already completed and furnished with the necessary heating apparatus for steam – hot and cold baths, &c., and occupied by about sixteen patients under the supervision of Dr. Hills, formerly of the Insane Asylum at Columbus, Ohio, a man eminently fitted for the place, who together with his estimable wife, attendants and patients form a little community of their own, each one moving and acting in their own peculiar sphere; kindness and affection reigns supreme. No straight jackets, hand-cuffs, chain or ducking apparatus seen or tolerated here, of of yore; for you must know that until within the last twenty-five years the insane were treated with the utmost severity with straight jackets, terrible shower-baths, hand-cuffs and other tortures. No wonder reason took its everlasting flight. But now by what is called the “non-restraint systems” reason and common sense have a chance to act and to resume their sway, and the over-excited brain is invited soothingly and sweetly to cease its wanderings and hallucinations – to think, to reason, and to become a responsible being. We understand it is now ready to receive and accommodate twenty to thirty more patients, and I would say to the friends of the unfortunate that by all means bring them immediately; as the chance of cure is greater when early treated, as is any other disease.

The county of Lewis abounds in mineral wealth, although hidden by the finest farming and grazing lands in the United States, yet under its surface lie immense beds of coal, of the finest quality, which is furnished at 6 cents per bushel; and recently the oil excitement has sprung up. From the usual signs of oil, such as burning springs and surface indications along a line extending from the borings in Pennsylvania to the borings in West Virginia, one can almost trace an imaginary oil line. Already borings have been commenced in Harrison county on the east, and in Gilmer county on the west. Oil has been obtained, and from thence to the Ohio river oil territory has brought immense prices and eagerly sought after. So we predict a bright future for Lewis. Lands are cheap, ranging from $3 to $25 per acre. Large tracts of wild lands in this and Braxton, Nicholas and Kanawha counties, can be had lying along the route of the projected railroad, (West Virginia Central Railway,) for which a charter and right of way has already been granted, and a large amount of the stock taken, offering to capitalists a safe and lucrative investment which is already being eagerly sought after.

Yours,
Rambler


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: December 1864

West Virginia Archives and History