On this grassy field and nearby hills beside the West Fork once stood
the long-forgotten and short-lived Village of Hassig, upstream from
the better known Village of Richardson (Hur Herald Photo)
By Bob Weaver (1996)
Hassig was a place forgotten, rarely remembered and little
So forgotten, it was not placed on a map and rarely mentioned in a newspaper.
The village sprung into existence about 1902 after oil and
gas gushed from the C. R. Bee rig, about one
mile above the better known Village of Richardson.
A partial view of Richardson about 1907,
note children playing ball in far field
The boom caused a frenzy with Carter Oil Company securing leases,
drilling wells, and building transmission lines.
Located on the lower West Fork of the Little Kanawha River, both
Hassig and Richardson have vanished as the
20th century ends.
Hundreds of men from Creston, Cremo, Hur,
Rocksdale and from neighboring Roane County, came to the valley to do work. Several German
immigrants located here, including the
Kemmners and the Fritzs.
Richardson-Hassig oil field workers in 1903
(Photo courtesy of Randall
Richardson was already a well established village of about 100 people
when Hassig was born in it's shadow, one mile upstream.
Richardson had the well-known water mill and dam which ground grist
and milled lumber, along with stores, a hotel,
drug store, physicians office, barber shop, church and livery.
Whytsell, local historian, and his wife, Blanche (both have passed away) have long resided at Hassig, later known as Hassig Yard.
Randall has memories of his
father, Edwin Whytsell, telling stories
about Hassig, when he began to plow up multitudes of old beer bottles
from the Parkersburg Brewery 1902, which
were discarded from the two saloons located in the
large bottom he has used for a garden.
remembered seeing some pictures of Hassig when he was a small child,
the village had three general stores to supplement the saloons. Orville Grimm had a store in the river
bottom while Daniel Haas had a store against the
Calhoun hillside near Randall's house. Alex Ritchie had a store across the West Fork on the McDonald Farm on
the Roane County side, he recalled.
Hass Brother's Store at Hassig about 1910, with bananas
hanging on porch (Photo courtesy of Helen Rampp
Alex Ritchie had a store across the West Fork on the McDonald Farm on
the Roane County side, recalled Randall.
There were six to eight houses in Hassig proper, surrounded by drilling
rigs and field houses. Carter Oil sold their
company to Hope Construction and Refining in 1926, who then sold out
to South Penn (Pennzoil) in 1943.
village itself was practically gone by 1920, although oil and gas
buildings remained, including the company house
into which Randall and Blanche moved in the 1940s, replaced by a new structure.
Post Office was moved to the Hassig site,
and Blanche was the postmistress until it closed in the early 1950's.
At one time a specially-built paddle boat was used to transport goods up and down the West Fork from the Creston harbor.
"It had spikes on the ends of the
paddles so it could get over the sand bars," said Elva Duskey
Wilson, granddaughter of Confederate
Moccasin Ranger, Daniel Duskey. She reported it brought field supplies
above the Richardson Dam to Hassig, the
boat apparently being "jacked" over the dam.
the boat was taken to Arnoldsburg during river
Traveling down the fork, there are few clues to the long-gone village.
- Thanks to Peggy
Whytsell Stemple, Randall Whytsell, and others who have helped revive
the Village of Hassig.