Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Heaters of Oil Creek

One of the earliest families of Orlando is the Heaters. Their immigrant ancestor, John Heater, came to the colonies on an English prison ship. It seems that, like pioneer John Hacker and so many others, the sentence to be transported to the Colonies was a great opportunity for him. He settled first in Pennsylvania. In the early 1790s John and wife Mary were living in what is now Braxton County. For the most part, the Heaters settled along Sand Creek, which runs into the Little Kanawha River. South of Burnsville in Braxton County there is a town and a cemetery called Heaters on the Right Fork of Sand Creek.

The Heaters came to Orlando with the John and Mary’s son. William L. Heater b ~1794 d. 1885 married a Cogar girl: Mary. I don't know the time or order of events, but I have read that a Coger family settled a few miles to the east of the Heaters and we know William and Mary raised a healthy family of seven boys and 5 girls along Oil Creek. Among the spouses William and Mary’s kids chose, there were 2 Poseys, 2 Skinners, 2 Riffles, 2 Blakes and a Conrad.(Also a Wymer, Cox, Ocheltree, Starcher, Sharp and Plyman.) In this second generation, if I have done my research carefully, only one child, Thomas, left the Oil Creek area. The remaining 10 kids of William and Mary produced a 3rd generation of Oil Creek (Confluence) Heaters: more than 30 kids named Heater and maybe 22 whose moms were Heaters. These kids spread out to Glenville, Chapman, even as far as Clarksburg. Many remained along Oil Creek.

In that first generation of Heaters born along Oil Creek, William and Mary’s son Peter Heater and daughter Nancy’s husband George W. Blake, both Confederate soliders, were killed in the Civil War. (Nancy remarried, Calvin Skinner, who had served in the Confederate Army and had deserted in 1863.)

We don’t know what happened to grandmother Mary (Coger) Heater, but John died after she did, of asthma, in the spring of 1885 at the home of his daughter Nancy Skinner.

I hope some of the Heater family can supply photos and stories of the Heaters in Orlando.

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