The Foreman Massacre took place on September 26, 1777 at the Narrows just north of Glen Dale, WV. Captain William Foreman and twenty-one militiamen from Hampshire County, Virginia were killed in an ambush by indigenous warriors. In 1835, a light horse company in Elizabethtown (now Moundsville, WV) raised money for and put up a sandstone memorial headstone at the Narrows where Foreman and his men’s remains were buried after the attack. Then in 1875, the stone and remains were moved to Mt. Rose Cemetery in Moundsville, WV by the County Court (now County Commission). The stone was placed in a concrete puddle in 1974 and is in very poor condition. The sandstone is cracking off on the front and back of the stone and there are many chips and cracks on the sides. The front has the historic inscription on it so will not be addressed in my civic service project because a skilled mason conservator would be needed to repair it. The back, however, is something I can help with. I have done a great deal of research on gravestone preservation over the last few months. I consulted skilled conservators Bekah Karelis and Sarel Venter of Adventures in Elegance based in Wheeling for advice on my project.
Funding for my project is still pending but I purchased Natural Hydraulic Lime 5.0 from Otterbein and a consolidant from Bellinzoni called Strong 2000 that will be used in the preservation work. First, the damaged part of the stone that is falling off will be removed and the consolidant will be applied with a paintbrush. The stone will be completely saturated with distilled water and the lime putty will be plastered on and covered with wet burlap to cure. Once dry, it will be lightly sanded down until flush with the original stone. Then the cleaning process will begin with distilled water and a soft bristle brush to remove the green organic growth and black carbon residue. In the heavily soiled spots, D/2 Biological cleaning solution will be used. Once these steps are completed, the stone will look better and be preserved for many years to come.
Pending additional funding, I would like to also take the project further and place a clear acrylic box around the stone to protect it from weather and pollutants. I also would like to place a granite plaque next to the Foreman Stone that has the inscription written out so it is easier to read, a summary of the massacre, and the stone’s journey from the Narrows in 1875. Bekah and Sarel also recommended the concrete puddle surrounding the stone be lifted out of the ground and a plastic sheet be placed under it to further help protect the stone from weathering. Once this project is completed, this portion of Marshall County’s Revolutionary War history will be looking its best!
Evan is the Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving with the Cockayne Farmstead for the 2020-2021 service year.
When starting the process to identify potential sites for a Historic Property Inventory (HPI) form I was able to work off another Preserve WV AmeriCorps member, Iain Mackay's work and that of another Preserve WV AmeriCorps member who had done some work compiling West Virginia Green Book sites and determining which were extant, demolished, or questionable. It took me a couple hours of searching to find possible sites to research. I knew of some sites in Jefferson County, but discovered that HPI forms existed for those and I decided to find a site closer to home so that I could go take pictures if needed. Using Google Maps and preliminary internet searches I could not solidly identify or find information on any of the possible Fairmont sites, so I moved my focus up to Morgantown to try again. My colleagues had already determined that two of the five Morgantown sites no longer existed, and the remaining three were all tourist homes (individual homes that would offer lodging).
The three tourist homes in Morgantown were: “Okey Ogden—1046 College Ave,” “Mrs. Lizzie Mae Slaughter—3 Cayton Street,” and “Mrs. Jeanette O. Parker—2 Cayton Street.” Unfortunately, Google Maps is not great in that area and has no street view on Cayton Street, but I was able to determine that 1046 College Avenue did exist and real estate information indicated that the existing structure was the correct age to have been Okey Ogden’s Tourist Home in the 1950s. Next I turned to Ancestry to dig into the census records and find any information on Ogden. I could find him and his family in the census records between 1900 and 1940 in different homes in Morgantown, including the 1046 College Ave address starting on the 1930 census. I also discovered that Ogden was a veteran of World War I and served in the 542nd Engineers. This is where the process took its first turn. There are few records available in Ancestry or Fold3 connected to Okey Ogden’s military service. However, there was a digitized request form for his military headstone after his 1953 death (his grave and headstone are in East Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown, WV). The person who requested Ogden’s headstone was Mrs. Linnie M. Slaughter, the proprietor of the Green Book site at 3 Cayton Street. Somehow Slaughter and Odgen were connected. According to the scanned map cards digitized by the Monongalia County Assessor’s Office, Lizzie M. Slaughter acquired the plot for 1046 College Ave in 1953, the same year that Okey Ogden died. When I delved into the parcel maps and tax records for Cayton Street I discovered that Linnie M. Slaughter’s name was on all three plots of land, along with Jennette O. Parker. At this point I knew that all three structures were extant, expanding my project from one HPI form to three, and all three proprietors were connected in some way.
The difficulty in connecting Ogden, Parker, and Slaughter together was the different last names. I knew that Slaughter and Ogden were directly connected because Slaughter had requested Ogden’s headstone. However, after about an hour of searching I could find no record of Slaughter’s marriage to Charles William Slaughter to determine her maiden name. The break-through came after switching to focus on Jennette O. Parker. In the tax map cards Parker was always listed together with Grace Edwards, who I determined was Parker’s daughter. By following Parker and Edwards backwards through the census records I determined that Linnie M. Slaughter’s maiden name was Edwards; Grace and Linnie Mae were sisters from Jennette Parker’s first marriage to Charles Edwards. Parker was her married name from her second marriage to Hartley Thomas Parker. I was able to trace Jennette Parker through her first marriage record to Edwards and discovered that her maiden name was Ogden. Jennette O. Parker was Okey Ogden’s sister.
Considering how often Green Book sites are lost due to demolition, extensive changes, or poor documentation it was amazing to find this cluster of three extant sites all together and discover how they were all linked to members of the same family. Okey Ogden’s tourist home only operated between 1949 and 1952; these were the years between the death of his mother (who owned the home prior) and his own death in 1953. However, Jennette O. Parker and Linnie M. Slaughter continued to run their tourist homes into the 1960s when the final edition of the Green Book was published. As I continue to work on the HPIs I hope to dig further into local records to piece together more of the lives of this family that committed themselves to providing safe lodging for black travelers for more than a decade.
Dr. Katie Thompson is a Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving with Clio during the 2020-2021 program year.
How do you do historical research for a site few people previously considered historical? This was the question I was faced with when my program director at Preserve WV AmeriCorps, PAWV's national service initiative, put out a call for volunteers for a new project. The project centered around The Negro Motorist Green Book, a series of African-American travel guides published by Victor Hugo Green. The Green Books, as they were colloquially known, were published from 1936 to 1966. They listed locations for black travelers to eat, stay, and socialize without fear of complications or danger. Early editions of the Green Book contained places Victor Green knew of or had heard about through his travels as a New York City mailman. As the popularity of the guides grew, readers began submitting their own information; by 1949 the Green Book contained hundreds of entries spread across every contiguous state.
One complication to consider was changing addresses. Hotel Capehart in Welch initially had the address 14 Virginia Avenue, but the name of Virginia Avenue has been changed to Riverside Drive. Other locations moved from one site to another. Moss’s Garage in Beckley was located at 501 South Fayette Street for many years before moving to 135 South Fayette Street. Finally, one of the most common types of entry in the Green Book was private residences willing to rent a room. The homes of normal regular people rarely command attention or recognition, making finding these homes a tall order.
I employed several methods in my attempts to locate West Virginia’s Green Book sites. One helpful tool was comparing copies of the Green Book from different years to look for changes in address or operation. Historical city maps showing street names were similarly helpful when contrasted with modern ones. However, by far the most effective tool at my disposal was Google Maps. Beyond simply providing address information, the satellite imagery and street view technology were huge boons. Satellite imagery allowed me to check if a building was still standing, while street view let me see locations as if I were actually there. If the streetview of an address showed a modern office building, it was pretty safe to conclude that the Green Book site was demolished. Likewise, when the streetview showed a building that looked relatively older, it was often possible to use architectural clues to narrow down if the building was once a Green Book site. My work was primarily a broader overview that set the stage of other AmeriCorps members to dive deeper into the history of specific Green Book sites.
Iain MacKay is a West Virginia native and WVU graduate serving with Clio through Preserve WV AmeriCorps.
In March of 2018, Bryson VanNostrand of VanNostrand Architects approached me at a conference with a very intense “suggestion”. He told me to make sure I let the City Manager know that Hinton HAS to do something with the Hardwoods Building. He then later spoke on a panel at the conference. Everything he talked about on the panel spoke to me. He was my type of community leader! Being very new to Hinton and to the Economic Development Scene, I really didn’t know which building he was talking about. I had recently submerged myself in the land of Volunteerism, and this was just another conference I was adding to the list in hopes of understanding what I need to do here. What was my calling?
Shortly after, coincidentally, Hinton was offered some Technical Assistance Funds through the West Virginia Community Development program HUB CAP. Our team was huddled around a table coming up with ideas. I suggested getting the Hardwoods Building structurally analyzed. For some reason, this mission was burned in my brain. The team was supportive, the building was in need, and I knew just the person that had the heart in the project. I learned then, not everybody is into historic preservation. I didn’t even know it was important to me. I was just merely following through with a firm suggestion and happened to be in a position to get it done. I also knew if anybody was going to do it and do it right, it would be VanNostrand Architects.
About a year later, through all of my volunteer work, an AmeriCorps opportunity with the Hinton Historic Landmarks Commission opened up. This was such an important move for me. I was now able to focus on all the work I had been doing, and in a capacity to see more projects get done! To get compensated for doing dream work, is an absolute dream!
The Hardwoods Building never left my sight. I dug for hours to find any and all information on this structure. It was historically known as the New River Grocery and is located in Hinton’s heart of the Railway Development District. This structure has been identified as the 6th most important historic structure in the Hinton Historic District to be rehabilitated. It is a three-story brick and timber structure, and was originally built as a grocery House, hence the New River Grocery. What it’s most known as to the community, was a roller rink back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Lots of people remember going on their first dates here, birthday parties, and skating for hours and hours, Great memories were made on every inch of that property.
Most recently it housed a woodworking shop, specializing in garden needs, called New River Wood. When this tenant vacated, they left all their woodworking equipment. Most of the equipment was not useful to hobbyists, seeing as they were machines built for high power.
By now, the City of Hinton had acquired the property. The City also had no use for the equipment, and it was just sitting in the way of helping visualize what a great space this could be! Among the heavy duty machinery, there were what seemed like decades of saw dust, and just overall mess.
I have come to the conclusion, I may be the only person interested in preserving this building. The City didn’t have capacity to seek funding, and this poor building sat vacant. Deteriorating more every single day. Every rain drop that fell, compromised the structure just a little bit more. The roof was failing quickly and something needed to be done fast.
In efforts to make the building more appealing to anyone that was in the right position to listen, I happily offered up to clean the building up as my AmeriCorps Civic Service project. I figured it would be easier for people to understand the beauty of the building if it looked nicer. Plus, the effort was relatively free for the City. Win! Win!! After a successful clean up, I then took inventory of all the equipment. Being that it was City property, an auction would have to take place. I was crossing my fingers, hoping there would be enough money generated to help stabilize the building. I was sorely wrong. The money raised was just a drop in the bucket. However, there were lots of new owners of old equipment that got an extremely great deal on really expensive pieces.
By this time, I am feeling defeated. I did not know what to do. Fortunately, I attended a Summit about a month after the Auction and ran into our old community Coach with the HUBCAP program, Kaycie Stuschek. She suggested applying for the Development Grant with the State Historic Preservation Office. It was due in about a month, which wasn’t much time, but I knew I could get this done. Up to this point, I had loads of information, pictures, stabilization quotes, everything I could possibly need! Now it was time to write my first big girl grant!
The grant application was accepted. Covid happened. It took almost a year to receive the Bid package and get things moving in the direction we have been shooting for. During that year, the building crumbled more. I had thought the previous condition was bad until I walked in recently. It became worse, in the matter of a few months. Thankfully, I had my trusty ol' architect, Bryson, lend me an hour of his time to see what damage had been done. It wasn’t good. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am currently writing another grant application to hopefully secure 100 % of the funds to get the deterioration to come to a complete stop. Meanwhile, we will soon be accepting bids to fulfill the first round of grant money.
This has been a long process. Lots of faith, patience, and work has taken place. Maybe this is why historic preservation isn’t for everyone? I am bound and determined though to save this structure! The Hardwoods Building is extremely important to how Hinton became the booming town it once was. In my mind, this building could do it again for another century, but probably more like two. If you are interested in donating to this project, you can send a check to
City Hall c/o Hardwoods Stabilization
322 Summers St.
Hinton, WV 25951
Candice Helms is a Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving with the Hinton Historic Landmarks Commission.
My name is Candice Helms. I am currently serving my 3rd term as an AmeriCorps Member with Preserve WV. AmeriCorps has been an instrumental part of me establishing this new community as my own. It has helped me be part of the "greater good" in efforts to help provide my son with a bright future within the community.
Of all my Civic Service Projects I have done, cleaning up the Esquire Cemetery has been the most fulfilling project to date. Esquire Cemetery was deeded to the trustees of the town of Hinton in 1892. It was established that this would be a "colored" cemetery.
On December 12, 2020, the day I conducted this project, about 25 people came out and really uncovered a great deal of History. There were Veterans' graves that haven't seen the light of day. Veterans as early as the Spanish American War. There were also prominent doctors, pastors, and relatives of community members that live here today.
This project has organically spun into other projects. For instance, I highlighted a handful of some of the people buried in the Cemetery on the FB page I created. The posts generated lots of memories from around the community and also had an overall positive vibe. From these posts, I keep learning the History and have made relationships that have invested time to helping the Black Community preserve their, OUR, History as it happened.
Candice has served as a Preserve WV AmeriCorps member with the City of Hinton's Historic Landmarks Commission between the years of 2019 and 2021.
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