CALHOUN MEN DIED FLOATING LOGS DOWN RIVER

(01/23/2014)

By Bob Weaver

A number of Calhoun men died in the early history of the county rafting logs down the Little Kanawha, the West Fork of the Little Kanawha, and numerous small streams leading into the rivers.

The logs were floated down to Creston and then headed down river to Parkersburg.

It was dangerous business for timbermen, often doing the log floating during high water.

Early newspapers had frequent accounts of the hazard.

Before newspapers, my great-great grandfather David Riggs, a resident of the Hur-Barnes Run area, died in 1859 rafting logs down Barnes Run. He had lived here only ten years.

-Bob Weaver

DEATH ON THE RIVER

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 2/9/1897.

Jim Price, of near Altizer, was drowned in the West Fork at Richardson last Tuesday, February 9. 1897.

He with two other men were running a raft of square timber out of the creek and passed over the Richardson dam all right.

As is usual in running timber in that stream the raft went bow formost against the bank below in what is known as a whirl pool, to get out of which is generally necessary to swing the raft.

This, it seemed, Mr. Price attempted to do, but the raft being too long for the width of the creek the upper end caught the shore on the opposite side of the creek and it then began to sink in the middle and the waves lash across it.

It seems that he had his coat laying on the raft and he ran to pick up but about the time he reached the coat his foot slipped and he fell almost down and the waves caught him in the face and swept him off below the raft.

He not being able to swim only struggled with the water a distance of about 100 yards, once getting near enough the shore to reach a willow twig which broke and he sank.

Several men were on the opposite side of the creek, but were powerless to render any assistance.

It is said that one man was on the bank near him and could have saved his life by handing him a pole or anything, but made no effort to do so.

At the present writing his body has not been found.

Mr. Price was an honest, hard working man, and his sudden and untimely death casts a sudden gloom over his family and the community in which he lived.


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