RACCOON RUN BLACK COMMUNITY ONCE FLOURISH IN CALHOUN - Community Remembered By Treacy Jane Stump In 1969

(12/03/2017)

A Negro Community Once Flourished in Calhoun
By Treacy Jane Wilson Stump (1969)

From my earliest recollections, there was a colony of colored people living not far from our home, perhaps I should say across the hill from our home. 

I never knew the year these folks settled there; however, they owned several hundred acres among the hills, from Raccoon, Three Forks and extending to Bear Fork.

Their farms were all hillside, no roads, only paths.  Occasionally one would find a wagon road (that is the path was wide enough for a wagon to go on).  These people dug their living out of these hills, with a few days extra work they did for their white neighbors.

They were poor, but independent, had their own school, which building also served as a church.  Most all were church going people.  Some couldn't read or write, but some had a little education.  They all had one thing in common, to give their children all the education they could. 

There was a man named John Sutton who had married Amanda Radcliff.  He was well educated and taught their school for years.  There were no preachers among them and they depended on their white neighbors to fill their pulpit.  The Rev. Billy Schoolcraft of Millstone is the only minister now living that filled their need.

They purchased their supplies mostly from the late W. Ellsworth Stump and the late Ralph W. Bennett of Stumptown.  The Stump store was closer for them.  They received their mail at the Apple Farm post office, now discontinued.

Even though their education was limited, they were very polite and courteous. 

When they had revival meetings or Christmas programs, their white neighbors were invited and given the best seats in the house.  They never went to church with the whites unless invited. 

One man I remember stands out among the others for his long prayers at our church.  He was Jacob Catlipp, better known as Jake.  A large man, he came very reverently into church and always took a back seat.  After the pastor would deliver an hour-long sermon, he would call on Brother Jake to pray.  He would walk halfway down the aisle, fall on his knees and how he would pray!   His wife's name was Dora.  They had a family and when this family was grown they moved to Parkersburg.

A family by the name of Ivory lived on the Bear Fork side of the hill.  There were some children, as all these families had several in number.  Mrs. Ivory's name was Jenny, and she was blind for many years before she died.  Despite her handicap, she found her way to church. 

One of the daughters married a man by the name of Lewis "Lew" Grant.  As their family grew, they moved to Clarksburg.  Most all the family are now deceased.  Their heirs still own the farm on Three Forks.  Other family names were Martin, Galloway, Muse and Henderson.

One family perhaps most widely known was that of Bone and Carry Radcliff.   Bone was a nickname, but no one would know him by any other name.

  He was born during slavery and was owned by the Hays Family of Arnoldsburg.  He always had high respect for his former master.

  The Radcliffs owned a farm and lived at the head of Raccoon.  Mr. Radcliff was married twice and I've been told he was father of 24 children.  His last wife was Carry McDonald.  He used to be called on to care for sick animals or stock by his white neighbors, and Carrie and her girls worked for whites, especially if there was sickness - they never refused.

They did well toward educating their family, and all had enough to get by with, and some were college graduates.  I remember Raymond, who was principal of a school near Morgantown; also Lottie, a teacher in Detroit and Beulah, who retired not many years ago after teaching 42 years in Scott's Run section of Monongalia County.

  For years after all the rest had moved out, one daughter, Libby, and her husband, John Adams, lived at the old home.  They, too, have passed on, and all that remains of the colored community is a cemetery with a few markers still standing at the head of Raccoon.


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