HISTORY OF BARRACKVILLE (submitted by Marjorie Smallwood)
The town of Barrackville was named in honor of one of the early settlers, a John Barrack, a blacksmith whose shop was located near the site of the present post office. "This was taken from the Journal of J. F. McNeely of Mannington in 1936." In tht case it would be in the neighborhood of the Saxman Street Hardware store. Records show tht Adam Ice received a land grant of 337 acres at the site of Barrackville in 1785 William Ice (1725-1830) was better known as Indian Bill from the fact he was captured by the Indians when a child. After returning to civilization he patented 500 acres of land. The Ice cemetery and the western part of Barrackville were a part of that parcel. Billy is buried in the Ice cemetery and the ice Association in 1929 placed a Plaque on his marker. In 1840 a Baptist clergy man C. J. Garrett a home missiionary came to the home of Patrick Clelland who was living near the present site of Bethlehem Mines. He held services in this home. In 1841 this group organized a church taking the name of Bethesda Baptist Church. In 1842 a church was built on a hill overlooking the town. The land was purchased for the amount of $20.00 and deeded for the use of a church by Adam and Phoebe ice. In 1876 the second church was built. It was a larger frame building near the site of the original "Meeting Place." (House) The present church is located on Pike Street and was erected in 1921. It is a brick structure. To the best of our knowledge there are three houses in Barrackville that were built in the late 1700's. Two of these homes were owned by cousins named Ice. They are now in possession of Mrs. C. D. Snyder and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ely. The other one was built by Edgar Straight and is now owned by the Harden family. It is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Ted Toothman and family. The Covered Bridge is on of our most famous landmarks and according to records discovered in Richmong Virginia an agreement was signed between Austin Merrill and John and Robert mcConnell in april 1853 for construction for the stone work at $4.50 per perch. On April 25, 1853 an agreement was signed between Austin Merrill and Eli Chenoweth for the construction of the super-structure at $12.50 per lineal foot. The report was that it would be completed by November 1853. Even when the bridge was built Barrackville was an old and thriving town. Bailes Ice operated a grist mill and sawmill that drew trade from miles around. The Robinsons had a hominy mill in operation not more than 100 yards from the north end of the bridge. The Barracks were bush shoeing horses and oxen, making oxen yokes, and repairing wagons. Edmund Conaway's general store supplied its customers with dry goods, notions, flour, and salt, some of which were hauled overland from Winchester, Virginia. The store was also the only voting place in the western part of the county, except in Fairmont. Prior to the building of the bridge, most of the families lived on the northwest side of Buffalo Creek, known now as the "old part" of the town. The bridge, which spans said Buffalo Creek has survived war, fires, and over-loading for well over one hundred years, but there have always been some people trying to preserve it. Bailes and Dolly Ice prevailed on Gen. William E. Jones to spare the bridge at the time of Jones' Raid on April 29, 1863. It is now registered in "The National Register of Historical Places." William B. Ice deeded a parcel of land in 1855 for the erection of the Methodist Church and Parsonage. Stone was hauled to the site and grading was done by oxen. Water was carried for the workers from across Buffalo Creek through the Covered Bridge. It was of stone construction. John Barrack was the first assistant Sunday School Superintendent. Shortly after the church was built they added the parsonage, a frame building which was replaced by a modern stone structure in the late 1930's. The church has been remodeled several times, but still has the same stone original structure. Meetings were only held in the summer months when first organized. On June 23, 1852 the railroad was completed. On the first complete run from Fairmont to Wheeling, a big banquet was held in a grove of trees near here. The railroad was built entirely by Irishmen with the crudest of tools. Usually nothing more than a pick and shovel. "The above information was taken from "Marion County in the Making." Population figures for Barrack ville were: 1870 114 1880 124 1890 200 "These figures from "Marion County Centennial Year Book, 1963." The school system, like the covered bridge is over 100 years old. The first school was a one-room built in 1850 near the Baptist Cemetery. Later, a two-room building was in use in 1875. It was built on a site next to the now operating Dairy Mart. Much later it was enlarged to four rooms. A modern brick building was built in 1911, making it possible to have eight grades of elementary and two years of high school. Later it was increased to three years of high school. In the fall of 1924 the present building was in use and all twelve grades available. In the 1970's a "kindergarten" was added. During a summer Normal term in 1896, lightning struck the building killing a Miss Yost of Mannington. In 1915 a building ws built at the No. 7 mine to accommodate the first, second and third grades. "The above information taken from the ALPHA of 1935" The first Mail service around 1877 was housed in a building in north Barrackville near the present site of the Conaway Feed Store. Later, it was located nearby or just across the road. Then it was moved to the Hayes General Store close to the Feed store but on the main highway. It has also been situated in buildings on both the north and south side of the covered bridge, in Wm. Billingsley's General Store, in a building next to the Saxman Street Hardware store, and in the brick building located near where the Dairy Mart stands. It is now housed in a beautiful building all its own. Our present Postmaster is Howard Smith. In 1881 Andrew and Martha Ice for the sum of one dollar, deeded a parcel of land for the building of the Christian Disciples Church. there were meetings in homes a few years before a place of worship was built. The logs and lumber were hauled by team and wagon by N. J. Straight. The main structure was brick, which were made on the ground where the church was erected. the name of the church was later changed to The Church of Christ. The present building was completed in 1962 on the same site. Several mercantile and grocery stores have been operated by different families. About 1892 A. M. Conaway built the frame store on the corner of Saxman and Pike Streets. it has also housed stores operated by Wm. Billingsley, James Conaway, Ralph Steele, Oliver Kisner, Oce Smith and now is occupied by Tom Satterfield. J. F. Ice built his store in the early 1900's He also was the town barber. It has housed many other merchants including Charley Floyd, Lewis Maxwell and the Clay Wilsons In the late 1920's a Piggly Wiggly store was opened in building which is not Floyd Construction. Charles Conaway and Charles Clayton operated a general feed mill, first from the barn of Conaway on the Fairview pike, but later they built a building in north Barrackville about 1890. In 1921, Lawrence and Harry Conaway purchased the business and it is now operating at the same site. One interesting note is that of the hospital that was being built in or around 1892. A Doctor Blair was the builder but before it was completed, he died. His widow sold the house to Mr. William Neptune, father of Mrs. Jessie Stewart. She was born there. There was a lumber yard in north Barrackville, just north of the iron bridge that spans Finches run. It was still in operation in the early 1900's. The first street car through Barrackville was 1907. It is told that on the day it made its first complete run, which was from Fairmont to Mannington, every one desired to ride. Martha Straight Bock was on the car carrying a wet dish cloth. In 1918 the Mafia, as it is known world-wide or more commonly in West Virginia as the Black Hand, made its terrifying appearance in Marion County. Its victims were either italian or Italian descent. They got letters threatening death and or punishment to their prospective victims. The letters were signed with a crudely drawn picture of a hand, which was painted black. they were located around Maple Point. The above information taken from "Marion County Centennial Year Book 1963." Jamison Coal Company opened the first mine here in 1910. In 1916 an explosion occurred, killing 30 men. In 1920 Bethlehem Steel Company purchased the mine and again in 1925 another explosion took the lives of 16 men. In 1935 there was a tipple fire killing three men and badly burning six. In 1916 Jamison Coal Company built the first doctor's office, employing Dr. E. P. Smith to care for their imployees. We learned from the National Boy Scouts of America that the organization was started in 1910. President William Howard Taft was the first honorary president. A spokesman for the organization said that it is impossible to pinpoint the first American troop since many units operated before Boy Scouts of America was incorporated. Barrackville had a school teacher, Chariles [hic] Pugh Guice, who wrote to England for information concerning scouting. In 1910 he organized a troop and he was the first Scoutmaster. "This information given by Oral F. Wilson, a member of that troop." During the years of 1920-21 a Carbonic Plant was built close to the mentioned feed store. They manufactured carbonated water. They closed in 1925 because of the high cost of shipping. In 1915 another improvement in transportation was noted, when a brick road was laid between Fairmont and Fairview. In 1920 Michael and Kenneth Barrackman erected the town's first filling station and garage. It had one hand-operated pump. In 1920 Dock Wilson built and operated a much needed hardware store. About the same time Dr. Earl Gower opened the first Drug store. It was later purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Guy Payne and operated until the 1960's. The summer of 1923 saw the encampment of the National Guard units. they were billetted in the bottom land between the main highway and Buffalo Creek. It was an interesting sight to watch the troops march and drill in Barrackville. Most Rev. John J. Swint and M. B. Mitchell of Bethlehem Mines, signed a long term renewable lease on January 7, 1924 at Mine 41. The company furnished a carpenter foreman and helpers to erect a ready-cut building. On January 13, 1924 the All Saints Catholic Church offered its first Holy Mass. During the long coal mine strike in 1924, baracks were built close to where the United Mine Worker's Union Hall now stands. It housed some of the families from the mines as well as some of the company's guards or Yellow Dogs, as they were then called. Stemming from the need of fire protection, a Volunteer Fire Department was organized june 8, 1931 with eighteen members. Clyde Floyd was the first Fire Chief. The first equipment was a two-wheeled cart that was housed in a small building on the school property. There was an old church bell on the building used to summon the firemen. They also had one axe, one fire-plug wrench, two hose connection tighteners, 250 feet of old hose, 500 feet of new hose. The first fire siren was installed on top of the school building at a cost of $29.97. There are five of the original eighteen members living. Clyde Floyd, Dock Wilson, Willard Ely, Robert (Bob) Tennant and Ralph Talkington. In 1946-47 our first real fire truck was purchased and put in service. Arthur Allgauer is the present Fire Chief and has done much to improve fire protection of the town. It is now located in the building purchased by the town across the highway from the Town Hall. The building ws formerly the Barrackman Garage noted earlier Our Honor Roll Board was dedicated April 29, 945 in memory and honor of the men and women who served in the Armed Forces of our Country. In 1950 Bethlehem Mines deeded a parcel of land for the Good Hope Baptist Church building. It was erected in 1956 and the Rev. C.M.F. Wylie was the first minister in the new church. In 1953 Harry Bane and Elwood Moon formed the Bane and Moon Heating Company. It is located at present in a new housing unit on Pike Street. The need for a town hall was ended in 1958 when the townspeople donated many, many hours of hard work and with donations from Bethlehem Mines Corp. the now-standing community was erected. The town was incorporated in 1968, the election being held on March 8. Coy Brock was the first mayor, Ira Shreve, our first police officer was employed in 1974. Darroll Courtenay is the present mayor. This notation was made in the Christian Herald August 1962. "The Church of Christ congregation in Barrackville is one of the oldest and most faithful congregations in West Virginia With the help of Mrs. Azaz Michael who is 98 years old, and many, many others, it is the hope that these items are correct.