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Wayne County News
November 22, 1923


Chimney Rock on a point south of Ceredo and overlooking Twelve Pole has carved upon its face the letters "G. W."

Are these the initials of the father of our country, and did he cut them there?

It is traditionally told in Wayne and Cabell counties that Washington surveyed the first land grant here, the John Savage grant of 28, 627 acres lying along the Big Sandy and Ohio Rivers.

We have been told that Washington, the future leader of the Revolutionary army and first president of the United States, first carried the rod and compass across the hills of Wayne county. And it is a historical fact that the Savage grant here was deeded by the grouchy old George III, who later aggravated our forefathers to the point of breaking away from England and starting anew politically. Thus it is true that Wayne county has a romantic connection with the two foremost figures in the founding of our country. And the incident marks in a way the beginning of Wayne county, for a frontier begins to develop along with the plotting of the farm lands.

A representative of this newspaper grew doubtful as to whether Washington ever trekked the hills here and went to the state library at Charleston in charge of Clifford R. Myers and put to him the question at the beginning of this article.

What History Says

"There is no authentic record of Washington's ever being in Wayne county, or surveying there or in Cabell," says Mr. Meyers. "Washington kept a careful journal and notes in his surveying and travelling (sic), and none of his recognized biographers ever mentioned the Savage grant as Washington's work.

"Washington was sent to to the Ohio valley by Lord Dunmore to lay off thousand of acres for the ex-soldiers of the French and Indian wars. He and his assistant William Crawford proceeded to gather to the mouth of the Great Kanawha. There they separated, Crawford and his party going to the mouth of Big Sandy to survey the grants in that section, including the Savage grant, and Washington headed a squad that moved up the Kanawha.

"Crawford was working under the direction of Washington, who had charge of the entire work in the Ohio valley. In marking the lines it was natural that he use the initials of his chief instead of his own, which explains the initials in that section," concluded the state librarian, a man who, by the way, apparently knows the contents of thousands of volumes and can turn almost instantly to any section in the middle of a little known book. This is especially true of the history section.

The land grant made to John Savage and his company was deeded by George III of England on December 15, 1772, and was given the men "for divers good causes and reasons."

Many of the family names in Wayne county today are to be found on the company's roll. A complete list was published in this newspaper a few years ago.

Last week the initials "G. W." were found on an old beech tree on the campus of Marshall college, and a Huntington newspaper ran an item saying it was believed that they were cut there by Washington himself.

Each one of the soldiers in the first land grant here was given 460 acres. The section here was included in the territory known as Fincastle county in Virginia.

After the land was plotted off it was not many years until the first settler put up his log cabin. The first in the present limits of Wayne county was at the forks of Big Sandy, erected in 1796 by Samuel Short.

Almost this time, or perhaps before, a man named Harmon lived in a cave in the face of a cliff near Fort Gay. He held off a party of Indians successfully from his stronghold.

Another early settler was Robert Tabor.

The first settler in the lower end of the county built in the lower end of Ceredo. He was Stephen Kelly. About 1708 he was joined by Nathaniel Bellomy, who reared his log cabin about 100 yards from the end of the C. & O. bridge which spans Big Sandy.

William Hatten settled just below the mouth of Whites Creek. Leonard Sharp settled at the mouth of the creek now named for him. The first settler at the mouth of Miller Creek was Samuel Hensley. All these are on the waters of Big Sandy.

The first settlers where Ceredo now stands were John Stewart and John Brown. James and Moses McCormick took up their abode at the mouth of Twelve Pole.

The first cabin on the upper waters of Twelve Pole was erected by a man named Nevens in 1790. James Bias made his home on Lick Creek in 1802. David Bartram came in 1803. In 1807 five other cabins were erected on the waters of the little creek: Jesse Adkins, Thomas Napier, Berry Adkins, John Ferguson, and William Napier.

In 1802 Jesse Spurlock and Samuel Ferguson came from Tazewell County, Virginia, and erected log cabins near the town of Wayne.

In 1806 David France came and it was he who first planted an apple tree in Twelve Pole valley. John Thompson operated the first still in the county about the same time. Chester Howe put up the first grist mill.

But regardless of whether George Washington cut his initials on Chimney rock, near Ceredo, it is a well known fact that Wayne county's early history is full of romance. Tales of pioneer life when this section was a wilderness are still told around the hearthstones of Wayne county homes.



Burgess, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Baisden, who has been sick, is able to be out again

Mr. J. T. Mills is spending a few days in Huntington.

Harvey A. Straley left for Rossmore where he expects to work.

Fannie Watts was the Sunday guest of Verlia Jackson.

Victor H. Mills of Breeden spent Sunday with home folks.


Mrs. C. C. Perry, who has spent [time] with relatives in Virginia and Kentucky, has returned home.

Ike Brown of Easerville, Virginia, has been visiting Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Perry.

Mrs. Sanford Stafford is seriously ill.

Mrs. Albert Crum was recently called to the bed side of her grand daughter, Charlotte Mae Perry of Williamson, who is very ill.

Fannie Lovins, who is taking training at the Williamson hospital, was the recent guest of home folks.

Henry Perry was a recent visitor in Louisa.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Frasher of Kenova are visiting Mrs. Gursie Pratt.

Wade Chaffin of Webb was recently visiting Mr. and Mrs. Lee Waller.


Ollie Brown has returned home after spending a few days with relatives in Williamson.

Everette Browning, Sam Ferguson, and Joe Brown, who have been working at Logan for some time have returned home.

Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Jude of Williamson are visiting relatives here.

James Perry has bought some timber from Marion Brown and is now sawing here.

Marion Ferguson of Tick Ridge has bought a gasoline grist mill.

Polly Anne Ferguson was recently visiting Mr. and Mrs. Moses Damron on Perry Ridge.

H. Lowe of Radnor was a recent visitor here.

Transcription by June White

Wayne County News