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The Mantel out of the Nickell’s Mill Homestead

In my last post I mentioned the fantastic fireplace mantel we were able to acquire at the Dickson House auction. Shortly after the auction I was contacted by multiple individuals with information about the origin of the mantel. I’ve since visited the location, taken measurements, and verified the information as accurate. The mantel came out of the parlor of the Nickell Homestead at Nickell’s Mill, which like the Dickson property, is also on Second Creek (downstream) right on the border of Monroe County and Greenbrier County, in West Virginia. It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places. Unlike the Dickson home however, the Nickell house is unfortunately in a state of disrepair, and is perhaps past the point of no return. However, the Nickell house actually retains most of its woodwork, and all of its other mantels. Interestingly, I’m told that the mantel, which adorned the home’s parlor, is believed to have been lost in a 1964 card game by its-then owner, John Hinchman Nickell. The property remains in the hands of Nickell descendants to this day, with the exception of the mill, which was also apparently lost in a card game by the same owner, and is now demolished.

Jarrett’s Fort on Wolf Creek

Just like Byrnside’s Fort, Jarrett’s Fort was one of the chain of small private forts through the Revolutionary War era Greenbrier Valley, which served mostly a defensive purpose, as a place to house local inhabitants in times of danger, as well as to garrison Virginia militia “Indian Spies,” who were tasked with patrolling the likely travel corridors for Indian war parties.

The “Singing Cave” of Indian Creek and the making of gunpowder by frontier settlers

A local historian friend sent me this scan of an original 1777 document, signed by early frontiersmen of the Greenbrier Valley, where they are leasing the mineral rights of property belonging to one Jacob Mann, containing a cave with valuable saltpeter, which was used to make gunpowder. From the best that I can read it, …

Read moreThe “Singing Cave” of Indian Creek and the making of gunpowder by frontier settlers

The hanging of David Creigh

In November of 1863, a struggle took place in this Greenbrier County, WV house, and two men would die in the end. This is the home of David Creigh, who in November of 1863 was a successful merchant. Within 6 months, he would be dead. The home is known as “Montascena,” and is circa 1834. This is one of my favorite local history stories. As the somewhat-nearby historical marker suggests (actually it’s nowhere close to the house, really), this was the site of a Cold Mountain style Civil War drama…. 

The Search for James Bryan, French Indian War Ranger, Revolutionary War Veteran, Survivor of Valley Forge, early Point Pleasant settler, and my 5th great grandfather

One of my first attempts at uploading some of the Facebook videos we did this winter, into one larger video for Youtube. This documents our search for the homesite and grave of James Bryan, my 5th great grandfather – the only paternal grandfather who’s grave I haven’t found. At least back to the first of them to come to America.