Sunday, November 08, 2009

Stories of Dumpling Run

by David Parmer

What’s in a Name?
The early maps of Braxton County simply called it the “First Left Hand Fork of Oil Creek.” That name is quite a mouthful. A tastier morsel however would be “Dumpling Run,” which is what this short two mile creek came to be known, both locally and officially. This writer asked 88-year-old Mrs. Helen (Hawkins) Losh of Narrows, Virginia, who was born and reared on Dumpling Run, how this name came to be. Although Mrs. Losh was not absolutely sure, she believes the name was derived from the delicious dumplings which were served up during the early part of the last century by her grandmother, the matriarch of Dumpling Run, Mrs. Martha Mick, wife of C. C. Mick. This theory is a deliciously evocative explanation and is deserving of more seasoning which will be revealed later in this article.

Heading near the Gilmer County line, Dumpling Run flows for about two miles in a southwesterly direction from its source to Oil Creek. On the opposite side of the ridge which marks the head of Dumpling Run, Schoolhouse Run and Tumbling Run begin. These Gilmer County streams flow northwesterly into Heaters Fork, which in turn flows into Indian Fork.

A road follows Dumpling Run from the Oil Creek Road to, and over, the ridge which demarcates the watershed of Dumpling Run. Even today, the Dumpling Run county road is a primitive road, much as it was during the early part of the 20th century, but is now visible to thousands of people daily who travel on Interstate 79 through Burnsville. This road was important in the early 1900’s for the transport of logs and sawn lumber from the historic town of Rudkin which was but a short distance from the head of Dumpling Run. Near the mouth of Dumpling Run was a planing mill, and located within a short distance at Burnsville were a saw mill, a veneer mill and a rail siding. As a natural feature, Dumpling Run can be said to be insignificant, although it was a valuable source of water to the stock farms which dominated the location over a hundred years ago.
.At the Mouth of the Creek
The Jane Lew Lumber Company
At the mouth of Dumpling Run, between the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Oil Creek, a large planing mill operated for many years, providing employment for between 40 and 50 people according to the Burnsville Kanawha Banner in an August 1911 issue. G. R. Proudfoot of Buckhannon had operated a mill at this site in the early 1900’s and then sold the site to the Jane Lew Lumber Company in 1904. The Jane Lew Lumber Company bought a more modern mill which was in operation at Shaversville (between Heaters and Flatwoods) and moved it to the Oil Creek site. The mill was further modernized by the purchase of a 92 horsepower automatic cut off steam engine manufactured by Brownell Company of Dayton, Ohio. This engine had a self contained side crank with an overhanging cylinder, 12 inches in diameter with an 18 inch stroke and 80 pounds boiler pressure, running at 225 revolutions per minute, which made it state of the art at the time.

Right: Burnsville: Gowing Veneer Mill Log Pens along bank of Little Kanawha River where "log rollers" worked the logs to be processed by the mill. This photo was taken around 1910. The Coal and Coke trestle can be seen in the background.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad maintained a siding at the planing mill and finished lumber was shipped out from this point. Logs for processing were also received by rail at this siding. The planing mill was chronically in financial distress as the timber resources around Burnsville became thinner after forty years of harvesting the local virgin timber tracts. Additionally, Mills closer to the remaining hardwoods in the Webster and Braxton highlands did not incur the cost of transportation for raw materials as did the Dumpling Run plant.

The Jane Lew Lumber Company became insolvent and in 1910 was bought for $15,000 by John I. Bender, G. B. Fisher, George Marple, C. W. Marple and A. W. Berry who formed a new corporation called the Central Lumber Company. This new corporation under the management of J. A. DuBois, operated the mill until 1918 when it burned. After the fire, the plant did not re-open and the site was sold to J. L. Coberly.

Early employees of the planing mill who lived on Dumpling Run were Manderville Godfrey and Oscar Hawkins. Joe Wine of Chapman Run of Clover Fork reports that his grandfather, Howard Posey, son of Ruddle Posey of Posey Run, also worked at the planing mill.

The Denizens of Dumpling Run
In the 1920’s and 1930’s
1. Ruby Gibson
This writer knew her as Ruby Gibson. Ruby lived near the mouth of Dumpling Run in a house no longer there, on the upper side of the road. She lived with her son “Pete” Gibson (whose true first name was “Leonce”) and her daughter Edna Martin. Edna’s father was Loyd Martin, Ruby’s first husband, whom she married in 1917. A portly woman, usually dressed in a loose-fitting dress, Ruby could be seen walking to Burnsville to buy food or for some other business. Frequently, drivers would stop and give her a ride. In the late 1940’s when I first came to know her, few people owned automobiles, and many people, especially women, did not drive. Ruby’s maiden name was Dalton and she was originally from Lewis County. She had, in her time, three husbands. In 1931, Ruby married H. M. Gibson. This marriage was short-lived and in 1938 she married Okey Wine, but for some reason, she continued to be referred to as “Ruby Gibson.” In 1956, Ruby married Reverend Emery Keller, a widower, who was the retired minister of the Orlando United Brethren Church.

Helen (Hawkins) Losh was a classmate of Ruby’s daughter Edna Martin and recalls that the two of them were prone to creating a little mischief at the Dumpling Run School. On one occasion she and Edna stuffed the winter boots of the teacher, Billy Cunningham, full of wadded up paper and anything else they could find. Needless to say, Mr. Cunningham was quite surprised after school when he started to put on his boots for his return walk home to Burnsville. Edna married Richard Posey of Sutton. Edna’s blonde haired brother Pete did farm work in the area and was known to take a drink or two.

2. Clarence C. Taylor and Myrtle (Hamrick) Taylor
Living near the mouth of Dumpling Run, the Clarence Taylors were among the most successful farmers and stockmen in central West Virginia. In 1936 the land books of Braxton County reveal that Clarence owned around 34 acres on Oil Creek purchased from Jessie and Goldie (Posey) Wine. Carl Taylor, the oldest son of Clarence and Myrtle, carried on the successful farming and stock raising tradition of his parents, as did daughter Vada (Taylor) Kidd and her husband Frank Kidd, who adopted animal husbandry as their life’s work. Carl, who graduated from Burnsville High School in 1931, and was an avid supporter of his school, leased several grazing areas from local landowners in the Dumpling Run and Oil Creek valley for the many cattle he raised. For many years, the Kidds conducted their farming operations on Flesher’s Run until the Burnsville Dam was built and they had to move to a new cattle farm on Curry Ridge.

Right, above: Clarence and Myrtle Taylor and their son Carl, Christmas day, 1954.

3. Manderville and Genevieve (Harris) Godfrey
Manderville Godfrey, born in 1880, was the son of Samuel and Sarah Godfrey. Genevieve Harris, was the daughter of Albert Jenkins Harris and Mariah Jane (Fox) Harris, who lived further up Dumpling Run. Their Dumpling Run home was on the western side of the valley. It is believed that Manderville was an early employee of the planing mill at the mouth of Dumpling Run. Manderville and Genevieve raised six children: Leona, Laverna, William, Eugene, Sterling and James. Eugene, known as “Bud,” married Ernestine McNemar of Orlando. In 1941, the Godfreys purchased a home in Burnsville from Jeff Collins. It was located on the hill above the old Burnsville Academy.

Right above: Manderville and Genevieve (Harris) Godfrey
Left: Three of Genevieve and Manderville's children, Sterling, Eugene and Bill

Right: Genevieve (Harris) Godfrey

4. Tom and Gay Zinn
Tom and Gay Zinn were natives of Lewis County but were long time operators of a livery stable in Burnsville. Their Dumpling Run farm, purchased from Lucie Berry, was part of the Robinette tract which originally consisted of 366 acres which George H. Robinette bought from Patrick Foley and others in 1881. Patrick Foley was also an original owner of the larger Donohoe and Conley tract, a part of which was sold in the early 1880’s to C. C. Mick, which had been partitioned among the original owners. Foley’s portion of the partitioned lands stretched all of the way to Hyer’s Run. Robinette fortunately owned the mineral rights to his 366 acre tract when the oil and gas boom occurred in the Oil Creek valley in the late 1890’s and the royalties he received from the West Virginia and Pittsburgh Gas Company allowed him to retire to Baltimore where he died in 1914. Reserving the mineral rights, Robinette sold the surface rights of his acreage to H. J. Lloyd, a hardware man from Burnsville, who later sold part of the land (95 acres) to Lucie Berry. Gay Zinn also bought 9 additional acres from Lucie Berry. Even though the Zinn home was not even close to the Dumpling Run road, Helen (Hawkins) Losh advised the writer that she can remember the aroma of the salt-rising bread frequently made by Gay Zinn which she could smell as she walked up the road to her own home.

The name Zinn is a revered name in the sports annals of Burnsville High School. Tommy Zinn, the only child of Tom and Gay Zinn, was an all-sports star for Burnsville High School during the mid 1930’s. Tommy received accolades galore during his football days as well as a football scholarship to the University of Kentucky after his graduation from high school in 1936. During his college days, Tommy participated in the ROTC program and became an officer in the glider Infantry during World War II. Sadly, he was killed during a combat patrol in Belgium during Operation Market Garden in early 1945.

You Read it First on the Orlando Webpage
An unknown fact is now revealed for the first time on the Orlando webpage. Despite the legions of professional genealogists who rush to make family connections with people who become celebrities or people of note, the following disclosure, as far as is known, has been overlooked by them all. In the preceding paragraph, reference is made to George H. Robinette who owned 366 acres on Dumpling Run which he purchased in 1881. When oil and gas was discovered in the Oil Creek valley in the 1890’s, Robinette formed the Robinette Oil Creek Oil and Gas Company and entered into a lease agreement with the West Virginia and Pittsburgh Gas Company to exchange drilling rights for royalties. Many people became wealthy or financially comfortable overnight by the discovery of oil and gas. Robinette was no exception, but instead of Weston amenities, he found his comfort in Baltimore. All of this of course in this day and age seems of little consequence, except that George H. Robinette of Dumpling Run was the great-grandfather of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., the current Vice President of the United States.

Right, above: Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Jr., greatgrandson of G. H. Robinette

5. Homer and Ollie Vankirk
Homer and Ollie Vankirk were tenant farmers on the Harry Crutchfield property on Dumpling Run in the mid 1930’s. The Vankirks had two daughters, Rissie and Jean, the latter of whom was known as “Sweetpea.” Helen (Hawkins) Losh passed the Vankirk homestead each day as she walked to and from her own home which was a short distance above the Vankirk home. Helen remembers the Vankirks as a pleasant hard-working family and sadly remembers the terrible flood of 1937 which took the life of Ollie. To this day, Helen is amazed that “Sweetpea,” survived the deluge of water which came crashing down Dumpling Run. After the wall of water had passed, Helen’s sister Georgia was the first to reach “Sweetpea” who had been stranded by the water. Helen recalls that Ollie had been lost to the water as she was trying to save her cow, after having first saved her chickens.

Left above: Rissie and Jean Vankirk
Right above: Ollie Vankirk

6. Ma Jane Harris
Helen (Hawkins) Losh remembers that it was customary and a sign of respect in the days of her youth to refer to neighbors as “Aunt” or “Uncle,” or in the case of Mariah Jane (Fox) Harris, as “Ma Jane.” Ma Jane was a widow when Helen was young, her husband Albert Jenkins Harris having died in 1930. Ma Jane had several older children but only Evelyn, Hadden, and Mart were at home when Helen was a teenager. Helen recalls that Evelyn, who was afflicted by a “drawn head,” was an excellent accordion player and that her brother Martin played a very nice fiddle. Louise (Crutchfield) Knight, daughter of Tom and Mary (Harris) Crutchfield, however, recalls that her cousin Martin could play the fiddle “a little” but his sister Evelyn could not only play the accordion but was also an excellent fiddle player. Regarding Martin’s fiddle playing, Louise observed that Martin was a “little slow with the bow and couldn’t keep time.” Ma Jane’s older children included Mary, who married widower Tom Crutchfield in 1920; Genevieve who married Manderville Godfrey; Haddon who remained single; Thurmond who lived a little farther up Dumpling Run; and Isma who died young.

Left, above: Martin Harris, Evelyn Harris
Right: Hadden Harris

Ma Jane’s husband, Albert Jenkins Harris, had been a farmer but in his early years he was a “log roller” for the Gowing Veneer Mill in Burnsville. Some old time residents of the area may remember the veneering mill in Burnsville and the pens which lined the south bank of the Little Kanawha River for about five hundred feet above the plant which were used to store logs until they were used by the plant. A “log roller” manipulated the logs within the pens and directed logs which were floated from upstream into the pens. Louise (Crutchfield) Knight recalls stories from her grandmother about her grandfather’s “log rolling” days which required the log rollers to work in all kinds of weather, regardless of conditions. On one winter workday Albert’s legs became so greatly swollen that his trousers legs had to be cut with scissors in order for him to get out of his wet pants.

Ma Jane, who was the daughter of Jacob Fox and Elizabeth (Wade) Fox, died in 1940 and was buried at Olive Chapel above Burnsville.

7. Dee and Audrey (Crutchfield) McPherson
First, about the house: the “stone house” on Dumpling Run was a novelty and drew a lot of attention from area residents who mostly knew only frame houses. This writer recalls that as a youth he made a trip to Dumpling Run on foot with another barefooted boy to “get a look at the stone house.” The square, two story stone house with a hipped roof was built on a knoll. Dave Kuhl tells us "The stone house of Dumpling Run was built by Lewis and Cornelia (Kuhl) Brooks around 1905-1910 from stone quarried on the site. Cornelia's father Christian Kuhl (1839-1918) died there. It is believed that Cornelia's nephew, Mirth Kuhl, was born in the house around 1905. The stone walls of the house were sturdy and would have been cool in the summer. The house was later owned by Sam and Violet Cogar."
Right: left to right, unknown (possibly the stone mason) Lewis Brooks, Cornelia (Kuhl) Brooks and Cornelia's niece Ada Martin.
The home was sold to Dee McPherson and his wife Audrey (Crutchfield) McPherson. Dee McPherson was a drayer and worked with teams in the oil and gas fields and in general hauling where vehicles couldn’t go. Later Dee operated a saw mill close to the Burnsville School and a gasoline filling station and garage on Main Street in Burnsville. An interesting fact about Dee’s saw mill is that he powered the large circular saw with an automobile engine hooked up to natural gas. Dee’s wife, Audrey, was a daughter of George Thomas and Laura Belle Crutchfield and grew up on Dumpling Run. Dee and Audrey had three children, Joe, Pauline and John.

Like many other houses in Burnsville, the stone house stood in the way of Interstate 79 and had to be torn down. The stone was sold by John McPherson, son of Dee and Audrey, supposedly to be used for rebuilding the home, but at last report the stone lies in a field somewhere between Weston and Buckhannon.

8. “Spot” Riffle
The Spot Riffle home on Dumpling Run was just past the home of Homer and Ollie Vankirk. According to Helen (Hawkins) Losh, the house lay below the road and as a walker came to the house all that could be seen was the roof. Louise (Crutchfield) Knight remembered “Spot” Riffle well and revealed the fact that “Spot” was a female. When the writer asked why Mrs. Riffle was called “Spot,” Louise replied, “Why, she had a spot on her cheek!” Spot’s daughter, Mamie, married Thomas L. Posey of Orlando and her daughter Ida married Ernest Huffman. Martha (Huffman) Godfrey of Burnsville states that “Spot” Riffle was her grandmother and the “spot” on her cheek was actually a mole. “Spot’s,” actual name was Nora Bragg. She was the wife of Asa Riffle.

9. Allen Granberry “Thurman” Harris
It is not clear why Allen Granberry Harris, son of Ma Jane and Albert Harris, came to be known as “Thurman” but he went by this name rather than his given name. Thurman lived just further up Dumpling Run than his mother. Thurman was married to Margaret “Maggie” Riffle, daughter of Asa and Nora Riffle. Sometime during the late 1920’s, Thurman and his family moved to the Sutton area. After Thurman’s death at age 40 in 1928 as the result of appendicitis, his widow married David O. Greathouse of Burnsville. Maggie died in 1937 of tuberculosis and was buried in the Quickle Cemetery..

10. Oscar and Bernice (Mick) Hawkins
“They would just glide across the dance floor; they were such graceful dancers,” Helen (Hawkins) Losh said of her parents, Oscar and Bernice Mick Hawkins. Indeed, this description of Oscar and Bernice Hawkins as graceful dancers was common knowledge to music aficionados of the Oil Creek area. Square dances were common occurrences at the Hawkins homestead on Dumpling Run during the early decades of the 20th century. Not only was Oscar a dancer to be imitated, he also had a reputation as a caller of dances.

Right: Oscar and Bernice (Mick) Hawkins
Left: four of Oscar and Bernice's children- Oleta, Sherwood, Thelma and Oscar Jr.
Oscar and Bernice, the daughter of C. C. and Martha Mick of Dumpling Run, were married in 1909. After living a few years in Burnsville, Oscar and Bernice bought the J. H. Ritter farm on Dumpling Run for $5300, a sizable sum for the day. This farm consisted of two tracts totaling approximately 200 acres. Originally belonging to the pioneering Henderson family who were early comers to the Burnsville area, the land had also for a short time belonged to H. J. Lloyd, a Burnsville merchant. While the land was owned by the Henderson family, extensive orchards had been expertly planted and yielded bountiful harvests of all kinds of fruit. Helen (Hawkins) Losh recalls that the early harvest fruits had been planted at lower elevations and the later producing trees were step-laddered up the hill. No finer orchards were known in the area. During the Depression, Oscar, like many others, was out of work, and lost his beloved Dumpling Run farm to foreclosure. Helen (Hawkins) Losh, then a young teenager, recalls that when the bank came to sell the farm and the farming equipment she went up the hill as far as she could go in order to not hear the painful call of the auctioneer. Helen advises that Gilbert Reed, the principal of Burnsville High School, where all the Hawkins children attended, was the successful bidder for the plow horse and harness which he then returned to Oscar. Helen says that such kindnesses are not forgotten. Oscar and Bernice moved to another home in Burnsville where Oscar died in 1956. Bernice died in 1988 at age 91.

Left: Gilbert Reed .

The Dumpling Run School
The one room school serving Dumpling Run was located between the Oscar Hawkins farm and the Tom Crutchfield farm and had been a part of the Crutchfield farm. Many well known teachers served this school. Eulah, Freeda, and Cleva Mick, daughters of Dumpling Run residents Albert Mick and Ida (Hawkins) Mick, taught the Dumpling Run students. Other teachers who served the school were Mary McNemar, Ernestine Hyre, Beulah McPherson, Dudley Goodrich, Billy Cunningham, James Mick, and A. W. McNemar. The school year 1941-1942 was the last year for the Dumpling Run School and thereafter the students were transported to Burnsville.

Left above: Dumpling Run School
Right: Students of Dumpling Run School in the 1930s.

Louise Crutchfield and Martha Huffman recall that James Mick, the last teacher at the Dumpling Run School, had some sort of sleep disorder and that he would fall asleep during the school day. However, Martha says that the students didn’t take advantage of the situation and that the Dumpling Run students were “good kids.”

Helen (Hawkins) Losh still recalls with great trepidation the 8th grade examination which was required for all students to go on to high school. The small booklet with thin pages was packed with math problems which somehow had eluded her during her years at the Dumpling Run School. This writer has a copy of the 8th grade examination given in 1931. One math problem from that examination inquires: “A coal bin is 12 ft. long, 8 ft. wide, and 6 ft. deep. How many tons of coal will it hold, coal having a legal weight of 80 pounds to the bushel (1 ¼ feet)?” Helen recalls that she had little problem with the other sections of the test, but she still gets a headache thinking about the math portion even seventy five years later.

Left: Click on the page of the test to enlarge it.

11. Ernest and Ida (Riffle) Huffman
On a hill on the western side of Dumpling Run lived the Huffman family. The Huffman family moved to Dumpling Run around 1934 from Hyre’s Run. Martha (Huffman) Godfrey recalls that her father, Ernest, did some farm work for Francis Flinn, and that part of his pay was apples from the Flinn orchard. Martha remembers the apples as some of the largest she has ever seen. Martha’s mother, the former Ida Riffle, was the daughter of Doris “Spot” Riffle who lived farther down Dumpling Run. Martha’s brother, Russell, was the janitor of the Dumpling Run School and carried water to the school from the Oscar Hawkins place. He also gathered the kindling for the stove which burned coal. One incident in her brother’s work at the school is still vivid to his sister even today. On a trip to get water at the Oscar Hawkins place, he encountered a cantankerous dog which sampled a piece of his leg. When the Huffman family moved off Dumpling Run in 1942 to Shock Hollow near Bower, the Dumpling Run School closed because without the five school age Huffman children there weren’t enough students to keep the school open. .

12. George Thomas “Tom” Crutchfield
In 1995, Miss Laura Belle Crutchfield, the late revered English teacher at Burnsville High School, wrote in the Heritage of Braxton County, a sweet and fetching story about the elopement of her grandmother, Laura Belle Berry, daughter of Sheriff David Berry, and George Thomas Crutchfield. In 1887, the two nineteen year olds decided to run off and marry without parental consent and had gotten as far as Wirt County before the swain and his sweetheart were apprehended by her father, the sheriff of Braxton County. However, the young lady obviously held some sway over her father because he consented to their match and set them up on a farm on Dumpling Run. Tom and Laura Belle lived happily on Dumpling Run and became parents of eight children: Frank, Charles, Harry, Ray, Audrey, Fred, Edith, and Earl. They lost a son in 1906, when 13 year old Earl was struck and killed by lightning while he sheltered under a tree on the hill across from the Dumpling Run School.

Left: children of George Thomas and Laura Belle (Berry) Crutchfield.
Right, above: George and Mary (Harris) Crutchfield
Right, below: children of George Thomas and Mary (Harris) Crutchfield, Louise, Stanton and Ruby.

In 1917, Laura Belle Crutchfield died at the age of 48. In 1920, Tom remarried 21 year old Mary G. Harris, daughter of the late Albert Harris, and the widow Ma Jane Harris of Dumpling Run. Tom and Mary had three children: Ruby, Stanton, and Louise. After 26 years of marriage to Mary, Tom died at age 78.

13. Albert and Ida (Hawkins) Mick
Albert Mick, the son of C. C. and Martha Lawman Mick, was born, reared and remained a longtime resident of Dumpling Run. Later in life he moved to Parkersburg. Albert’s wife, Ida, was the sister of Oscar Hawkins. Albert and Ida were the parents of four daughters, Eulah, Freeda, Cleva, and Faye. The first three of the Mick daughters were life-long teachers who got their start in the teaching profession in schools like Dumpling Run, Posey Run and Orlando. Eulah ended her teaching career in Canada, Freeda in Parkersburg and Cleva in Florida. Faye married Glen Godfrey and raised her family on Dumpling Run.

Albert was a dutiful son but took exception to his father’s use of corporal punishment. Clint Mick maintained a stock of hickory switches in the rafters of his barn. After his father used the switches on an occasion, Albert broke all the switches and admonished his father to cease and desist, much to the relief of the many victims of Clint’s old hickory withe.

Left: Faye, Cleva, Freeda and Eula Mick.
Right, above: Albert and Ida with Eula
Right, below: back: Cleva, Ida, Albert and Eula, front: Faye, Freeda Mick

14. Francis and Ertha Flinn
Near the head of Dumpling Run, on its western bank, was the farm of Francis and Ertha Flinn. The Flinns had no children, nor did they seek luxury in their homestead. Helen Hawkins Losh recalls that the Flinn house was built over their barn so that the roof over their heads was also the roof over the heads of their farm animals. According to Martha (Huffman) Godfrey, her father, Ernest Huffman, a near neighbor, did some farm work for the Flinns during harvest period. Helen Hawkins Losh also recalls that the first Murphy bed she ever saw was in the Flinn home. Helen remembers that Mr. Flinn was a good fiddle player. We do know that Mr. Flinn was born in Gilmer County and his wife, the former Ertha Spaur, was a Wimer on her mother's side and born in Lewis County. They were married in Jane Lew in 1923.

15. The Ptomeys
Henry Ulysses Grant Ptomey
obviously was named after the Union general and President of a similar name but for some reason, perhaps by mistake, his first name is indicated as “Henryinstead of “Hiram” on his death certificate. This citizen of Dumpling Run went by the name of “Grant” during his lifetime which obviously was easier to say than his full given name. The son of William W. Ptomey and Ellen Beeson Ptomey, Grant was born in Barbour County and came to Braxton County at an early age with his family. The Ptomeys arrived in the Burnsville area about the same time as Captain John Burns who established the first band saw mill in the State of West Virginia at Burnsville. It didn’t take Grant long to make the acquaintance of Brenice Mick, daughter of C. C. and Martha (Lawman) Mick of Dumpling Run, and soon afterward they were married. C. C. Mick liked to keep his family close and in 1909, he conveyed to his daughter Brenice Ptomey 107 acres adjoining his own farm. Grant and Brenice lived on their Dumpling Run farm the remainder of their lives and are buried in the C. C. Mick Cemetery on Dumpling Run.

Left: Henry Ulysses Grant "Grant" Ptomey with his neice Georgia Hawkins.

16. C. C. and Martha (Lawman) Mick
“Though age has palsied the hands and dimmed the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clinton Mick…;” William M. Kidd in 1934 thus commenced a dedicatory biography and celebrated the lives of the wizened patriarch and matriarch of Dumpling Run. Later published in the June 1985 issue of the Braxton Historical Journal, this article chronicled the tale of one of the earliest settlers on Dumpling Run. Married in Upshur County in 1865, C. C. Mick and his wife Martha came to the wilds of northwestern Braxton County around 1880 and settled at the headwaters of what was then known as the First Left Fork of Oil Creek on land purchased from Michael and Mary Donohoe and Tom and Ellen Conley who owned a much larger tract stretching from Posey Run to Buffalo Shoal Run and into Gilmer County. This unsettled remote area was covered with a virgin forest. To earn his living as a farmer, this forest first had to be cleared and a home had to be built. The Micks had first acquired a small one acre parcel from Donohoe and Conley and it was on this tract that they built their log home. Four years later in 1884, C. C. Mick bought a 114 acre tract from Donohoe and Conley and in 1887 bought a 217 acre tract from A. W. Brown. Through frugality and shrewd dealing, C. C. Mick became a large landowner, owning several hundred acres on Dumpling Run.
C. C. and Martha Mick became the parents of thirteen classically named children, eleven of whom survived: Sylvanus, Leonides, Camillus, Lucullus, Archillus, Irus, Bertus, Demetrius, Cyrus, Brenice, and Bernice. Martha lived until 1936 when she died at age 89. C. C. died a few months later at age 88.

Right: C.C. and Martha (Lawman) Mick
How Dumpling Run Got its Name
In early deeds of record in the Braxton County courthouse, the colloquial spelling “Dumplin Run” is used rather than “Dumpling Run.” Later deeds use the more formal spelling. Be that as it may, the question remains about how the name of this creek changed from “First Left Hand Fork of Oil Creek,” to “Dumpling Run.” Earlier in this sketch, Helen Hawkins Losh indicated that name was derived from the dumplings made by her grandmother Martha Mick which were somewhat famous. In his 1934 tribute to C. C. Mick, William M. Kidd endorses the theory advanced by Helen (Hawkins) Losh. Kidd wrote, “The name of the creek, Dumpling Run, originated from Clinton Mick’s peculiar penchant for apple dumplings. In his younger days, as he accumulated small sums of money from his tireless labors, he would employ men to help him fell the timber that stood in abundance on every side of his humble home. His inducement to laborers was a stipulated amount for the daily hire and a promise, always kept, that apple dumplings by the pot full would be served for dinner and supper. From that time until present day the little creek has borne the name of Dumpling Run.”

. . . . .
Comment by Kenneth Pumphrey:
James Pumphrey owned a livery stable at the corner of 6th street and C avenue in Washington D.C. One of his regular customers came in and requested a white faced roan mare that he preferred to ride. Unfortunately that horse was not available so the man agreed to use a black horse that was not completely halter broken and could not be tied up, someone had to hold him when he was not being ridden. The man asked that the horse be saddled and ready to go at a certain time. The man came at the appointed time and got the horse. He rode him to the Ford Theatre where he got a man to hold the horse while he went into the theatre and shot Mr. Lincoln. Needless to say that was John Wilkes Booth who had been a regular customer of the Pumphrey Livery for a long time. He rode the horse for quite a distance then put him in a thicket and shot him.
The daughter of James Pumphrey married a guy by the name of Robinette who just happens to be an ancestor of Mr. Joe Biden.

Comment by Charles Crutchfield Jr.:
My father, Charles Crutchfield Sr., was the son of G. T. Crutchfield by his first marriage [to Laura Bell Berry] and grew up on Dumpling Run. After my father became an adult and married he took up residence in Burnsville. During the Depression, my father lost his job with the gas company. To supplement the family income, my father sent me to clear out a six acre patch on my grandfather’s farm on Dumpling Run and to plant it in corn and beans. Brush and weeds had to be cut and burned before the ground could be plowed. My high school friend Russell Rucks assisted in the clearing and planting of the corn and bean patch. I remember it as being quite a job, but necessary during the hard times of the Depression.

Comment on the Jane Lew Lumber Company by David Parmer
In the story above it is stated that the Jane Lew Lumber Company planing mill was located “between the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Oil Creek.” It is important to note that in the days of the Jane Lew Lumber Company operations the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was located on the eastern side of Oil Creek, probably 300 feet from the waters of Oil Creek. The present day railroad tracks are in the location of the former Coal and Coke Railroad. Since the planing mill consisted of a log yard, a railroad siding, the planing mill itself, a finished lumber yard, a barn and an office, a substantial amount of space was required. The mill property consisted of 1.85 acres and all of the acreage was used.

Comment by Louise Crutchfield Knight
I am the daughter of Tom Crutchfield and Mary (Harris) Crutchfield and was born and raised on Dumpling Run. I very much enjoyed the story about Dumpling Run and thought I would pass along some of my memories.

Jean Vankirk, foster daughter of Ollie Vankirk who died in the flood of 1937, was my best friend. We played together all the time on Dumpling Run.

I remember the Manderville and Genevieve Godfrey family very well. Genevieve was my mother’s sister. In addition to the Godfrey children named in the story, there were two more daughters, Evelyn and Ivy.

When my grandfather Jenkins Harris died in October 1929, I had just been born and my mother could not attend the funeral. When the funeral coach took the casket past our house, my mother was in tears, so I was told in later years. At the time, my grandparents Harris were living in the Cyrus Mick house which was up and across the road from our house.

I might also share some information about the Harris family which has been passed down the generations. My great-grandfather who took the name Hiram Harris was a Cherokee Indian who married a Dutch white woman, whose name I can’t recall. Of course during those days, such unions were frowned upon, and were not legally recognized.

I was unaware that the Flinns had a barn under their home, but I do recall that Albert Mick had a barn under his.

My half-brother Frank Crutchfield owned the farm the Vankirks lived on and also owned the farm where Martha Huffman’s grandmother lived.

When I was very young I remember attended a dinner at the home of C. C. Mick at the head of Dumpling Run. I was too young to remember whether apple dumplings were served.

I also recall the many square dances at the Hawkins home on Dumpling Run and also recall the dances we had at our home also. I learned to dance from my father, Tom Crutchfield, and I believe I danced just like him. Dances were a happy occasion when I was growing up.

Comment on Dumpling Run farmers by Uncle Zeke, per David Parmer
~ In his December 28, 1922 Buzzardtown News column Uncle Zeke poked a little fun at Dumpling Run resident Ernest Huffman. He wrote, “O.P. McCord will have to go ‘way back and sit down when it comes to big hogs. Ernest Huffman of near Burnsville has the county skinned two blocks. He recently killed a “hawg” which took him and another fellow all one afternoon to kill and dress. We didn’t hear the exact weight of the pig but we were told it would weigh near fifty pounds. From it they rendered one pound of lard and made a teacupful of sausage.”

~ Prior to moving to Dumpling Run, Frances Flinn lived just over the ridge in Gilmer County on Heaters Fork. Uncle Zeke commented on Mr. Flinn’s sterling success as a sheep farmer in his August 25, 1927 column. “Frances Flinn of Heaters Fork informs us that he recently sold three lambs that tipped the beam at 105 pounds each. He must have fed them on pie.”

Comment on Salt Rising Bread by Donna Gloff
“. . . it doesn't use yeast, it has a "cheesy" aroma while rising and baking, it has a dense crumb and is really best when toasted.” from Kimberly Ann at, describing Salt Rising Bread.

By: Valarie at "THIS IS NOT AN EASY BREAD TO MAKE! It is tricky, but worth the effort for one who loves that very different, pungent smell of salt-rising bread. The cornmeal used for the starter must contain the inner germ of the corn and a constant warm temperature must be maintained."

1 cup milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
6 cups all-purpose flour

1. To Make Starter: Heat the milk, and stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the cornmeal and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place this in a jar in an electric skillet or crock pot with hot water in it. Maintain the temperature around 105 to 115 degrees F (40 to 47 degrees C) for 7-12 hours or until it shows fermentation. You can hear the gas escaping when it has fermented sufficiently. The bubble foam, which forms over the starter, can take as long as 24 hours. Do not go on with the bread-making until the starter responds. As the starter ferments, the unusual salt-rising smell appears.

2. When the starter is bubbly, it is time to make the sponge. Place the starter mixture in a medium-size bowl. Stir in 2 cups of the warm water, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the shortening and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Beat the sponge thoroughly. Put bowl back in the water to maintain an even 105 to 115 degrees F (40 to 47 degrees C) temperature. Cover, and let rise until light and full of bubbles. This will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

3. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of the warm water and combine it with the sponge. Stir 5 1/4 cups of the flour into the sponge; knead in more flour as necessary. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and manageable. Cut dough into 3 parts. Shape dough and place it in three greased 9x5x3 inch pans. Place covered pans in warm water or uncovered pans in a warm oven with a bowl of hot water, maintaining a temperature of 85 degrees F (30 degrees C). It will take approximately 5 hours for the bread to rise 2 1/2 times the original size. The bread will round to the top of the pans.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

5. Bake bread at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until light golden brown. YOU CAN DRY SALT RISING CULTURE!!! Save 1/4 cup of a successful sponge and pour it into a saucer, cover with cheesecloth and allow to dry. Store dried flakes in plastic in a cool, dry place or freeze until needed for salt rising bread. When ready to make the bread; dissolve the flakes in the new warm starter and continue with recipe. This will give a flavor boost to your bread.


  1. It was on Dumpling Run that my Dad bought his first farm in 1929. He promptly lost it to the bank and leased it back. It was there that my oldest brother was born and died before his second birthday of tetanus. See my Riffle Run Stories in


  2. I really like the concept of telling the story of a town. I'd love to do it of my home town in Iowa. You may have inspired me to try, again. THANKS!

    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family, as well. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I'm fairly new, as well, and have found it most stimulating, especially the Daily Themes.

    Keeping telling those ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)

  3. Hi,my name is Donna Young-I am from the Mick family-Sampson (Bud) Mick was my GGGrandfather, I would like to ask permission to copy some of the information and pictures,on this page, to add to my family tree. I really would appreicate it.
    Thank you,Donna

  4. Dear Donna Young,Thanks for asking. David Parmer who wrote this article and I, the publisher of this blog, are always delighted that someone appreciates and is finding a use for the material. If you want to publish it on the internet or in hard copy for public consumption we each want to be consulted. However, for family use, please feel free to use what is useful!
    -Donna Gloff

  5. Thank you so much Donna and thank David for me--do you all have information and pictures on the family tree that goes back from C C Mick to Tobias Mick and Elizabeth Schieder. These are the ones I am having problems with finding-- Have some info but no pictures. Also do you all have any info about the Native Anerican part of us-having hard time with proof on that too. Know it is there but can find anyone who has verification.
    Thank you again for allowing me to add it to my family tree. I do not publish anything on the internet. I share with family but never publish.

  6. Priscilla SorrentinoWednesday, October 13, 2010

    Thank you so much! I am the youngest daughter of Jean Vankirk. Jean passed away in October, 2003. Do you have any other information on her short time in Dumpling Run?

  7. Hi, My name is Homer Mick. My gg Grand Father was Charles Mick who married Edith Rexroad. I believe Tobias Mick would be my ggg Grand Father.Can anyone confirm this and give me any information on Tobias Mick. I would love to have pictures if possible. I live in Austin, Texas. You can respond to

  8. Hi, My name is Mike Hibbs . I have really enjoyed reading all the stories about Dumpling Run. I was born on Dumpling Run in 1954 and moved back here in 1987. I loved spending time at the Frank and Ertha Flinn home when I was growing up.