Henry Clay Iron Furnace

Small, workable iron veins were discovered in many areas of West Virginia, and small furnaces were set up at these spots for smelting the ore and manufacturing bar iron for the pioneer blacksmiths.

Iron was used for making cooking utensils and iron grates. Most of the iron furnaces were built in the Cheat River Valley near Ices Ferry and along Deckers Creek in the Monongahela River Valley. The Decker's Creek Iron Works, also called Rock Forge, produced bar iron as early as 1798, although the most extensive iron works were on the Cheat River. At Pleasant Furnace, built on Quarry Run about 1798, Samuel Jackson produced large quantities of bar iron and sold it in exchange for cash, grain, and country products. Since the Pleasant (Davis) Furnace was small, it did not supply enough iron for Jackson's use. So new furnaces were built, such as Woodgrove, Henry Clay, and Anna, all near Ices Ferry on the Cheat River. Since iron manufacturers preferred charcoal over coal for the furnaces, the lumber industry in the area was encouraged and thrived. During its peak years, in the 1840s, the Jackson Iron Works was a well-known establishment, employing as many as 1,200 workers. A thriving community developed with over 100 homes, four times the size of nearby Morgantown.

Info by : West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey