Bernard Lee Butcher.

Genealogical and personal history of the upper Monongahela valley, West Virginia, under the editorial supervision of Bernard L. Butcher ... with an account of the resurces and industries of the upper online

. (page 1 of 49)
Online LibraryBernard Lee ButcherGenealogical and personal history of the upper Monongahela valley, West Virginia, under the editorial supervision of Bernard L. Butcher ... with an account of the resurces and industries of the upper → online text (page 1 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




Ill |||i|!i': :i II i|i: |:i; T I

3 1833 02263 5756

Genealogical and Personal History


Upper Monongahela Valley




Member of West Virginia Historical Society; Organizer and Corresponding Secretary

of Marion County Historical Society; former State Superintendent

of Free Schools of West Virginia

With an Account of the Resources and Industries of the Upper
Monongahela Valley and the Tributary Region

— BY —


Professor of History, West Virginia University

Together with Various Historical Articles by Staff Writers






Copyright, 1912
Lewis Historical Publishing Company




^ ej^


The Fleming family has occupied a prominent place
FLEMING in the history of Virginia and West Virginia for more
than a hundred years, and Aretas Brooks Fleming is
one of its most prominent members.

As legislator, judge and governor of the state, he has served the state
and his native country with fidelity, and reflected credit upon himself and
the people whom he served. Public-spirited as a citizen, he carried his
enthusiasm for righteousness and efficiency into the offices he has held. He
attracted the attention, especially while governor, of the whole country to
the, then, almost undeveloped mineral and timber resources of West Vir-
ginia, by pubhc addresses and published articles in trade and other papers.

The fact that he was engaged, with others, in the active develop-
ment of the natural resources of his state, in his own county and other
counties of the state, gave his words and writings as governor great
weight with strangers looking for investments and new locations; and,
with other causes, was the beginning of the great industrial development
which has followed in the state, especially of the Upper Monongahela
Valley. He has been stockholder and director in many of the industrial
enterprises in Fairmont, Marion and other counties, and says as a rule
he has lost money in the investments made in other states, but has never
lost money on an investment in Marion county. His natural dignified
simplicity and cordiality of manner has won and held hosts of friends,
making him welcome wherever he goes.

Governor Fleming is a man of medium stature, and has been hearty
and vigorous all his life, taking no vacations from his work, but about
five years ago his doctor prescribed a vacation on account of his health,
and he traveled several months abroad; but since his return he has fol-
lowed the advice of his old physician (as often as he could think of it)
who directed him to work when he felt like it and to quit early.

He has always had a youthful appearance, and tells a good story on
himself when he first went to Pruntytown to hold court after his appoint-
ment in February, 1878, as judge. He wrote the hotelkeeper to reserve
him a room with fire. Mr. Rogers, the hotel man, was not acquainted

402 Upper Monongahela Valley.

with him personally. So when he reached the hotel and applied for a
room with fire Mr. Rogers, who was expecting a large elderly man, said
he had no room with tire except the room reserved for the new judge,
whom he was then expecting, and inquired if the new guest was
acquainted with the new judge. When assured that he was and would
answer for any objection on the part of the judge for using his room,
Mr. Rogers said, "Well, young fellow, if you make it all right with
the new judge, you can have it."

Governor Fleming was born on a farm near Middletown, now Fair-
mont, in Harrison, now Marion county, Virginia, now West Virginia,
on October 15, 1839, being the eldest son of Benjamin F. (q. v.) and
Rhoda (Brooks) Fleming. He was reared on his father's farm, and
attended the private and select schools of the neighborhood and in the
town of Fairmont, acquiring a thorough preparatory education. After
this, beginning in 1859, he completed the course of law lectures under
the famous Dr. John B. Minor, at the University of Virginia. He taught
school in Marion and Gilmer counties, in which last-named county he
located for the practice of law in 1861, after being admitted to the bar
in Marion county. He opened a private school at Glenville, the county
seat, while waiting for clients. Clients came faster than usual to so young
a lawyer, and he sOon called on his brother, Robert F. Fleming, to take
charge of the school while he attended to his practice. This brother after-
wards was elected judge of the circuit court in that circuit. The war
between the states, however, came on, and the future governor returned
to Fairmont, "the courts being silent in the presence of the flagrant
war." He was elected prosecuting attorney in 1863, under the new state
of West Virginia, for Marion county, and at the close of his term in 1865
was reelected and served a second term of two years. After the war closed,
he formed a law partnership with the late Judge Alpheus F. Haymond,
who afterwards, in 1872, was elected one of the judges of the supreme
court of appeals of the state. The same year, 1872, Mr. Fleming was
elected to the house of delegates from Marion county, and again in 1875,
serving on the judiciary committee and on other important committees,
in 1872; and in 1875 as chairman of committee on taxation and finance.

From the time he began to practice until 1878, a period of about fif-
teen years, he became attorney for one or the other parties in many of
the important cases pending in Marion, Monongalia and Harrison

Upper Monongahela Valley. 403

counties, and held a leading position at the bar of these and adjoining
counties. About this time the judge of the second judicial circuit, the
Hon. Charles S. Lewis, died, and Mr. Fleming was in February, 1878,
appointed by Governor Henry M. Matthews to fill the vacancy. At the
ensuing election in the fall of 1878, he was made the nominee of his
party and was elected by a large majority, carrying every county,
although the circuit was largely Republican. In 1880 he was again
nominated for the same office and carried his old circuit, consisting of
six counties, four of which were Republican; he was also elected as can-
didate for judge of the new circuit composed of Marion, Monongalia
and Harrison counties, provided for by the amendment to the constitu-
tion ratified at that election. Both circuits were largely Republican, and
he carried them both by large majorities.

This very flattering approval and testimony to his efficiency as a
public servant was very unusual at that time in our political history, and
especially in a presidential year. Judge Fleming continued to occupy
the bench in the new circuit until the fall of 1888, completing more
than ten years of service on the bench. In August, 1888, at Hunting-
ton, he was nominated for governor of the state by the Democratic state
convention, and accepted the nomination and resigned his place on the
bench, September 1,1888. His opponent for governor on the Republican
ticket was General Nathan Goff, now a judge in the United States circuit
court of appeals, who had then been In congress several terms from
the first district of West Virginia, and candidate for governor in 1876,
a brilliant orator and the idol of his party. The result of the election
showed a small margin in favor of General Goff on the face of the
returns, with the balance of the Democratic ticket elected. The Demo-
cratic state executive committee was dissatisfied and instituted an investi-
gation; they charged that there had been a large number of illegal votes
cast for the Republican candidate, especially in the new mining regions
on the Norfolk & Western railroad. At the request of this state com-
mittee, and numerous other prominent citizens. Judge Fleming Inaugu-
rated a contest for the office of governor before the legislature. A joint
committee of both houses was appointed by the legislature, and after
taking a vast amount of testimony, reported a majority of votes in favor
of Judge Fleming, having excluded a large number of votes both for
General Goff and for Judge Fleming, which were found by the joint

404 Upper Monongahela Valley.

committee to be illegal. After discussion before the legislature by emi-
nent counsel, the legislature on February 4, 1890, declared Judge Flem-
ing duly elected, and on the 6th day of the same month he was inaugu-
rated governor. The contest, carried on with utmost vigor by both
parties, developed no personal animosity between the contestants them-
selves, who were in fact personal friends long before the contest and
have been ever since.

Governor Fleming, as a leader of his party during his term of office,
was very successful in holding his party together, and rendering it
valuable service; but his greatest service to his party, as well as to his
state, was in his efficient administration of the duties of his office and
economical character of his administration, also his constant effort to
induce capital to enter the state for investment, and aid in the building
of railroads, opening of mines, developing timber lands and oil and gas

During the most of Governor Fleming's business life from about
1874 he has been identified with the coal development of the Upper
Monongahela Valley, with his father-in-law, the late James Otis Wat-
son, who was the pioneer coal operator in this region. Together with
the sons of Mr. Watson, he was interested in the organization of the
early coal companies, which have acquired coal acreage on the Monon-
gahela and West Fork rivers. One of the first was known as the Gas-
ton Gas Coal Company, which was reached by a branch railroad, built
by the coal company, from the Baltimore & Ohio railroad at the head
of the Monongahela river up the West Fork, which mine is still oper-
ated as a part of the Consolidation Coal Company.

He has been identified with all the coal operations of the Watsons
under the various names of the Montana Coal & Coke Company, West
Fairmont Coal Company, New England Coal Company, Briar Hill
Coal & Coke Company, and others. He was also identified with the
late Senator Johnson N. Camden in the building of the Monongahela
River railroad, along the West Fork to Clarksburg, resulting in the
opening of the big Monongah and other mines along the West Fork,
most of which are now operated by the Consolidation Coal Company.

As the coal, oil and gas business developed and railroads were built,
he was actively identified in all of the efforts for advancement, both in
the Upper Monongahela Valley and other parts of the state. When

Upper Monongahela Valley. 405

the Fairmont Coal Company was organized in 1 901, he was one of its
directors and its attorney in the purchase and consohdation of other
companies into it, largely owned by the Watsons, who purchased nearly
all the active coal companies in the Fairmont region about the year
1 90 1. This company in turn has since developed into the Consolidation
Coal Company, owning vast properties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia,
Maryland and Kentucky, the governor maintaining his place on the
board of directors, and as general counsel for the company in West
Virginia. He is a director in the Cumberland & Pennsylvania and in
the Monongahela River Railroad companies. Governor Fleming has
been identified and interested in the building of the traction lines in
Fairmont and Clarksburg, and the connecting lines between these cities,
and to other points, in recent years. He has been identified with the
National Bank of Fairmont from its beginning, in which he is a
director. He is a stockholder and director in the Watson Company,
which owns the fine stone ten-story bank and office building known as
the Watson building, which was recently erected in the city of Fairmont.

Governor Fleming has also been identified with the educational
interests, both state and local institutions, and was one of the founders
of the State Normal School at Fairmont, originally organized as a
private institution, and afterwards turned over, in 1863, to the state as
a gift from the owners, in consideration of the establishment of a State
Normal School at Fairmont. This institution has for many years justi-
fied both the state and its liberal founders in its establishment. He has
had many formal honors and has served local constituencies as faith-
fully in small offices as he has the state in the larger places. In the year
1 88 1 the State University conferred on him the honorary degree of
Doctor of Laws.

Governor Fleming's father and mother were Presbyterians; for
many years he has been a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of

Governor Fleming married, September 7, 1865, Carrie M., eldest
daughter of James Otis and Matilda Watson. He says his wife and
mother are largely entitled to the credit for whatever success he has had
in life. His children are: i. Gypsy W., married Charles E. Ward, of
Charleston, West Virginia, January 18, 1894; two children: Mar-
garet F., bom in 1895, and Caroline B., bom in 1897. 2. Ida W.,

4o6 Upper Monongahela Valley.

married Walton Miller, cashier of the National Bank of Fairmont,
April 23, 1896, and died in 1906, leaving one child, Helen. 3. George
W., and 4. Virginia W. Fleming, twins, born 1874; Virginia unmar-
ried; George W. married Doris Underhill, December 1 1, 1905 ; is one
of the vice-presidents of the Consolidation Coal Company, and resides
in Baltimore, Maryland. 5. Brooks, born in 1882; married (first)
Amy Dodson, in 1906, who died in 1907; (second), 1910, Marie
Antoinette Boggess, to whom one child, Caroline, was born in 191 1.
He is assistant manager of the West Virginia division of the Consolida-
tion Coal Company.

The name of Fleming is as old as any of the
FLEMING many time-honored family names of Scotland, and

has worthy connection and honorable mention in
numerous important events in Scottish history, that have passed into
song and story. During the stormy political and religious times of
Scotland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, persecution,
on account of religion, was prevalent, and it was during one of these
periods when reason and justice were supplanted by prejudice and
wrong, four brothers of this family, William, Robert, Archibald and
John, were driven by church tyranny to the North of Ireland, where
the wonderful Scotch-Irish race was passing the nursery stage of its
existence, ere being transplanted to this country to attain its full develop-
ment in the pathless forests of the new world. The four Fleming
brothers above named emigrated to this country, settling in 1741 in
Penn's colony, on the Delaware, taking up lands in what is now known
as Mispillion Hundred, Kent county, Delaware. This land is still own-
ed by their descendants. In 1789, John, with three of his brother Will-
iam's sons — Nathan, Boaz and Benoni — removed to western Virginia
and settled on lands along the Monongahela river.

Of John Fleming (one of the four brothers) there is but little
account. After a few years the brothers Nathan, Boaz and Benoni,
were joined by their sister Mary and family, and their stepmother (Ann
Hudson) and her son Thomas. Gradually their children scattered
until now almost every state and territory in the union boasts of some
of the name as worthy citizens. As a family they are notably upright
and trustworthy. Their history shows the guiding hand of a kind

Upper Monongahela Valley. 407

Providence. "Their lines are fallen unto them in pleasant places; Yea,
they have a goodly heritage." The Flemings have been known for
more than a century as one of the steady, industrious and progressive
families of western Virginia, and many of its members have held with
credit and honor prominent and responsible positions in both Old and
West Virginia commonwealths.

The following concerning its ancient history was published in Den-
ver, Colorado, December, 1893, in "The Great Divide," from the pen
of Henry Dudley Teetor, M. A.:

The statue of an armed knight with a fret upon his shield, hands elevated
in a praying posture, sword by his side, and legs across, may be seen in
Fumess Abbey, Lancashire, England, an ancient burial place of the Fleming
family. It was placed there generations ago in memory of Sir John Le
Fleming, a Crusader.

One branch of the Flemings still bears a shield charged with a fret — a
heraldic composition of the cross and Norman mascle indicating that the
family had a founder, one or more, in the holy wars.

The surname of this illustrious family, according to the sentiments of
the most approved historians and antiquarians, was at first assumed from a
person of distinction, who in the days of King David I. (1124), a Fleming,
by nation, transplanted himself into Scotland and took the surname Flander-
ensis, or Le Fleming, from the country of his origin.

Robert Le Fleming, the direct and immediate earl of Wigton, was one
of the great barons of Scotland under King Edward I., of England (1272-
1309). It was this Sir Robert who repaired to the standard of Robert the
Bruce, and with a few trusty friends, all brave men, accompanied him whom
they thought their lawful sovereign in adventure at Dumfries where they
killed Sir John Cuming, and never rested until they set the crown upon the
head of the immortal monarch, on the Feast of Annunciation, A. D., 1306.
He was succeeded by his son, Sir Malcom Fleming, Lord of Fulwood, also
in great favor with the king, who made him a large grant of land in Wigton-
shire, and also governor of Dunbarton Castle and sheriff of the county.

He was succeeded by his son. Sir Malcom Fleming, who was a forwarder
and assister of the right and title of David II., Brucian line. He succeeded
his father as governor of Dunbarton Castle, and discharged the trust with
the utmost fidelity. During the whole of the usurpation of Baliol, this castle
was a place to which the royalist did flee and with great security resort. Here
Sir Malcom had the honor to shelter and protect, in that evil time, Robert
Lord High Stewart of Scotland, afterwards King Robert II. (1371). His
highness was graciously pleased in reward of Sir Malcom's signal loyalty
and fidelity in his service to create him Earl of Wigton. The good earl fell
sick and died soon after. He left his estates and title to his grandson,
Thomas Fleming, second earl of Wigton.

4o8 Upper Monongahela Valley.

Malcom Fleming, Earl of Wigton, was in great favor with James V. by
whom he was constituted Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland. He was
slain in the service of his country at the battle of Pinkey, September lo,
1545. He married Janet, daughter of King James IV., and by her had a son,
James Fleming, who being a nobleman of fine and polite parts, by special
favor of Mary, Queen of Scots, made her Lord High Chancellor. He
accompanied Queen Mary to Scotland, and died in Paris, December i, 1558.
He was governor of Dunbarton Castle and distinguished himself for his zeal
and loyalty to his queen.

The Flemings, who became Lords of the Barony of Slane, county Meath,
Ireland, descended from Archibald Fleming, who went from England to
Ireland, A. D., 1173, with Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, and took part
in the Norman invasion and Conquest of Ireland. The Lords Fleming, of
Slane Castle, numbered, successively, twenty-three. This branch of the
family came also originally from Flanders, with William the Conqueror,
whose wife is known in history as Matilda of Flanders.

Sir Thomas Fleming, son of the Earl of Wigton, emigrated to Virginia
in 1616. Many of the family followed him to the same colony, one of whom
was Colonel William Fleming, and another, the father of James Fleming,
who was born in Iradell county. North Carolina, in 1762. He served in the
revolutionary war ; afterwards removed to Ohio, where he died in 1832. He
was the great-grandfather of Hon. Josiah Mitchell Fleming, of Denver,

Another descendant of these Wigtonshire Flemings was Colonel John
Fleming, who emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky in 1790. He was the
grandfather of Hon. John Donaldson Fleming, late United States district
attorney for Colorado.

The marriage of Lord James Fleming, governor of Dunbarton Castle, to
the daughter of Lord Ross, took place in Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. A
banquet was spread in the park adjoining the palace. There is still a dam
traceable which held the water back to make an artificial lake. Queen Mary
graced the occasion with her presence. It was a highly esteemed privilege to
me personally to walk around upon the scene of this historic marriage. The
incident is so pleasantly picturesque and associates Queen Mary so agreeably
with one of her subjects, that it is gratifying to reflect on Lord Fleming
proving a steady friend to the Queen throughout her subsequent troubles.
He stoutly maintained Dunbarton Castle in her favor against the regents and
against Elizabeth's general, Sir William Drury.

Archbishop Richard Fleming, founder of Lincoln College, Oxford, was
bom in Crofton, county York. He was educated at University College,
Oxford, and in 1407 was appointed proctor of the University. In his early
days he was an ardent disciple of Wyclifife, but recanted and espoused the
cause of the Pope. In 141 5 he was prebendary of Langford, Church of
York, and in 1420 bishop of Lincoln. In 1428 he carried into efifect the
decree of the Council of Constance, which ordered that the bones of Wycliffe
should be disinterred and burned to ashes. It is remarkable that the endow-
ments which he gave to the University have contributed to educate more

Upper Monongahela Valley. 409

than one celebrated opponent of the opinions he so vehemently espoused;
among them it is sufficient to name John Wesley, who was sometime fellow
of Lincoln College.

Major General James Fleming was buried in Westminster Abbey where
I saw his monument, of which an illustration is given. He was born in 1633,
died in 1751, spending forty years of his life in the British army.

Gleaston Castle was the seat of the Flemings after the Norman Conquest,
being a special grant by William the Conqueror to Sir Michael Le Fleming,

The ruins of Furness Abbey, founded in the twelfth century, are among
the most picturesque and extensive in England. The finest feature of the
ancient remains are the chapter house and the triplet of grand Norman
arches. In the Abbot's chapel are two effigies of Norman Knights, twelfth
century, said to be the only ones of the kind in England; and the allusion in
the opening sentence to this article, is the one to them — the effigy of Sir John
Le Fleming.

Dunbarton Castle is built on a rock two hundred and forty feet high and
one mile in circumference — a rock trodden by Roman soldiers two thousand
years ago. When Queen Mary as a child was sent to France to be educated
at the French court, she was brought from the monastery of Inchmahome, in
the Lake of Menteith, to the Castle of Dunbarton on the 28th day of Febru-
ary, 1547, and on the 17th of March embarked from it to the palace of St.

As a royal-fortress-residence it was entrusted to the custody of the Flem-
ing family for generations — from Sir Malcolm Fleming, time of the Bruces,
to Lord James Fleming, time of Queen Mary. I stood under its walls and
listened to the sermons its stones have been preaching during the lapse of
centuries :

"One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the
earth abideth forever."

"Tell ye, your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and
their children another generation."

In the article is the Fleming coat-of-arms and ensign with the motto:
"Pax Capia Sapicntia." "Fleming A. D. 1066."

The following is the genealogy of the Fleming family lines, espe-
cially of those inhabiting the Virginias, including all of the Marion
county branches and those residing in and around the city of Fairmont,
West Virginia :

(I) William Fleming, one of the four brothers who emigrated to
this country from the North of Ireland, in 1741, was born in Scotland,
January 5, 1717, died May 5, 1784. He married (first) Jean Frame,
bom July 26, 1726, died March, 1768; married (second) Ann Hud-
son. Children by first wife : Mary, born 1745, married Matthew Flem-
ing; Andrew, born 1748, record unknown; Nathan, see forward; Will-

4IO Upper Monongahela Valley.

iam, born 1755, died 1772, unmarried; Boaz, see forward; Beniah,

Online LibraryBernard Lee ButcherGenealogical and personal history of the upper Monongahela valley, West Virginia, under the editorial supervision of Bernard L. Butcher ... with an account of the resurces and industries of the upper → online text (page 1 of 49)