In the latter years of the 1800s, education was still a rather novel undertaking in central West Virginia. There were no mandatory school laws at the time and many families frankly did not see the need for much in the way of formal education. Around the end of the 1800s, Lewis County undertook an extensive school building program in rural areas in order to provide basic education to rural students.
The Upper Clover Fork School
Robert T. Crawford
Crawford, who later was superintendent of schools for Lewis County and Dean at Glenville State College, was a firm believer in keeping the community aware of the conduct of the school under his charge. In 1913, Crawford sent a report of his school on Clover Fork to the Weston Independent newspaper which was published on November 25, 1913. He reported,
Some of the Upper Clover Fork students who were neither absent or tardy from school in October, 1913: Patrick Carney, Fred Holbert, John Murriner, Charles McIntosh, Margaret Carney, Mary Holbert. (ed. note: Mr. Crawford listed all the boys, and then the girls.)
Patrick and Margaret Carney, brother and sister, were the children of James and Catherine (Kate) Moran Carney. Patrick was a long-time resident of Clarksburg and worked for the Feeney Roofing Company of Clarksburg. This roofing company was owned by Jimmie Feeney, an Orlando native. Patrick died in 1985. Margaret Carney married John Dolan, Jr. of Clarksburg late in life. She was a resident of Weston at her death in 1995.
Fred Holbert and his sister Mary were the children of Abia and Margaret Etta Holbert who owned a nice farm on Clover Fork near Mount Hope Church. Mary’s first year in school was the first year that Mr. Crawford taught school. Fred was one of the earliest Orlando natives to graduate from a four year college. He received a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in 1928. Mary married Russell Ellyson, a teacher and native of Gilmer County. Mary was attended Glenville State College. She wrote and published several books and she and her husband traveled the western hemisphere before settling at Morgantown.
Upper Clover Fork School in 1914-1915, the year after Mr. Crawford's report
Front Row: Della Holbert, front row on left. Girls in striped dresses, second row Lena Skinner, front row on left Lula Skinner, front row to Lula’s left is Lola Skinner. Girl in checked dress in second row is Mary Holbert. Boy in suspenders in second row is Charley McIntosh. To his right is Robert Holbert. Boy in third row on right is Fred Holbert. In back row on left is John Murriner. All others are unknown.
John Murriner was the son of Newton and Mary (Rohrbaugh) Murriner. This farming family lived on upper Clover Fork.
Charles McIntosh was the son of George and Mary (Lyons) McIntosh. Charles lost his mother when he was young and was placed in an orphanage in Charleston, along with his younger brother. When he was six years of age, he was placed in the custody of William J. Cunningham and Mary Weaver Cunningham, a childless couple of upper Clover Fork, who raised him as a son until his adulthood. Charles later resided in Walkersville and was a teacher in Lewis County at the time of his death in 1958. In his early teaching career, Charles returned to the upper Clover Fork School as its teacher and gained admiration during a Lewis County 4-H gathering with the imaginative symbol for his school: a flag emblazoned with a clover leaf mounted on a pitch fork. Charles married his teacher’s, Robert T. Crawford’s, sister Lena Crawford.
The Pocket Watch