Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My home town and Chief Cornstalk...

A recent post on this site highlighted an Indian Chief named Cornstalk. See this article.

My home town, Oceana, Wyoming county, West Virginia is connect to this famous Indian Chief.

Here's how. In an official sounding article "COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY WORKERS OF THE WRITERS PROJECT WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION IN WEST VIRGINIA" published in August 1940, the connection is described. See the entire publication.

The first settler in Wyoming county was an Englishman by the man of John Cooke.

Indian uprisings in the western part of Virginia and along the Ohio River called John Cooke to military duty in 1774. A member of Captain Buford's Bedford County Riflemen, he marched with General Andrew Lewis to meet the forces of Cornstalk, Chief of the Northern Confederacy, at Point Pleasant. Before the actual fighting began in this battle, however, John, and others were dispatched to Fort Clendenin for supplies; nevertheless, he is listed on the Point Pleasant Monument as a soldier in that battle.
Later he and family returned.
Site of the first settlement, county seat for 57 years, and today the center of a developing industrial area, Oceana, in the drama of Wyoming County, has held the center of history's stage. In 1799, John Cooke, weary of his less adventurous homeland near the Narrows of New River, brought his four stalwart sons to the confluence of the Laurel and Clear Forks of the Guyandot River, and with axe and whipsaw built the first permanent home in the region.
And finally...Cassville, no Sumpterville, then Oceana...
William Cooke, third son of the first settler, donated the one-acre square, and around it surveyed a townsite of thirty, one-fourth acre lots, which were sold to relatives and friends. At first named Cassville to honor the American statesman, Lewis Cass, the town was renamed Sumpterville in a court order dated 22 November, 1851, because Cassville already existed in Wayne County. In 1853, Thomas Dunn English, author of "Sweet Alice, Ben Bolt", who was then practising law in Wyoming County, persuaded the court to change the name to Oceana to honor the younger of Chief Cornstalk's daughters.
So, first John Cooke fought Cornstalk then his town was named after Cornstalk's daughter...its a small world.

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