Destructive Fire At Freed - 1933

Freed was visited Sunday by a very bad fire which burned four buildings all belonging to B.B. Shimer. The fire started from a small cottage which was occupied by Grandma Shimer. A gas line burst in her house.

No one was at home there but E.E. Shimer who had been staying with his mother. He received very severe burns and had a narrow escape getting out of the burning building. A two story building which was formerly Roy Morrison's store building and residence burned. It was occupied by Okey Shimer and family also a building and grist mill and a garage were burned.

Just a few things were saved out of Okey Shimer's residence. B.B. Shimer's residence and Alfred Ford's residence were saved. We haven't learned if any insurance was carried on any of the property destroyed by fire.

Monument to be Erected - 1914

The descendants of Phebe Tucker Cunningham, one of the most noted women of pioneer days, whose capture by the Indians is familiar to every reader of Indian warfare, will dedicate a monument to her memory on July 18, in the old Collins burying ground, at Freed, this county, where she lies at rest.

Her husband Thomas Cunningham, sleeps at Frederick's Mills, in Ritchie county, on his old homestead, and a movement is on to mark his grave, also.

Few pioneers have a more interesting history or a longer line of descendants scattered throughout the state.

G.W. Shimer Dead - 1911

Another veteran of the civil war answered the final roll call on Tuesday morning, October 3, 1911 at 11 o'clock, when the venerable George W. Shimer passed to his reward from his home at Freed after a long period of ill health which terminated in paralysis.

Mr. Shimer has been a communicant of the U.B. Church since 1865 and was a highly respected citizen. He was born in Allegheny county, Maryland, on April 1, 1832, and there grew to manhood and was married on December 14, 1858 to Miss Rebecca Poling; and immediately after casting his vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, set out, with his wife, for the wilds of West Virginia, and settled near White pine, in Calhoun county; and though he has resided at different points, he has ever since been a resident of that county.

He enlisted for the Union in 1861 in company C of the 11th West Virginia Volunteers and followed the old flag for three years, and later in life joined the G.A.R.

He is survived by his aged companion and eleven of his thirteen children, viz: W.W., J.M., B.B., Okey, Mrs. Cordelia Simmers, Mrs. Lena Snyder, and Mrs. Ola Snyder, all of Calhoun county, Sherman, of Wirt county; James, of Pennsylvania, E.E. of Smithville, and Mrs. Mae Hays, of Hartley.

Forty-nine of his fifty eight grand-children and fourteen great grand-children also survive.

The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock from Hoy Chapel, at Freed, and was in charge of the U.B. Minister of Tannersville. Interment was made in the Gainer cemetery near one mile from Freed. The G.A.R. Post at Smithville had part in the services.

Hot Air Balloon Sighted - 1910

Citizens of Brooksville and Freed Communities were startled Sunday afternoon by the appearance of a huge balloon soaring among the clouds over their heads. Dr. Wright and other men who were on Leading creek, got close enough to the balloon to converse with the occupants.

The name of the balloon was the Miss Sophia, and the two occupants names were Afman and McCullough both of St. Louis. They had started in a race with another balloon from Indianapolis, Ind., Friday morning. They stopped for the night at Solmon Haullp's, near Lough. The balloon was from there shipped to McFarlan from whence it was shipped back home Monday.

Snakes Alive! A Snake Tale - 1907

The truthfulness of the following snake story is vouched for by several of the county's best citizens and we are constrained to believe it is true although it does sound a little like a farmer's dream. One day last week while hunting bees in the woods near Freed, Rev. Willis Shimer and Dow Collins killed 18 copper-head and 7 rattle snakes on a piece of ground not larger than a sheep's skin.


John Snyder was born July 5, 1841 in Bedford County Pennsylvania and came to Calhoun about 1861, changing his name to Snider. His father was David (who drowned in Webb's Mill Pond in 1861) and Mary Swager-Snyder. John Snider had the first cabin and timbered near Nobe and later enlisted in Co. C, 11th Infantry (Union) at Smithville, Ritchie County VA (WV) on August 15, 1866. John Snider married Caroline Collins, daughter of J. Hezekiah and Roanna Maze-Collins, one of the founders of Freed.

Snider died January 17, 1915 and is buried at Saunder's Cemetery, Calhoun County. He has many descendants who once lived and later moved from Calhoun

Lawsuit Gets Heated at Times - 1895

The law suit between Dr. I.C. White and R.F. Hickman, which has been attracting so much attention for some time was brought to a terminus before Squire Elliott, on Leading creek, last Tuesday night about midnight.

It was tried by a jury who found for defendant Hickman. The history of the case briefly told is about as follows: During the early days of May, last, forest fire got into and burned some fence for Dr. White. About the same time Hickman had fire in a clearing and the fire which burned White's fence came from the direction of Hickman's clearing, after which the Dr. and others made an examination of the premises, and believing he had sufficient evidence to prove that the fire did come from Hickman's clearing, suit was brought for damage.

There were about thirty witnesses examined in the case and from the deportment of some of them it was apparent that some bitter feeling existed, and the bouts between Attorneys Ferrell for the plaintiff and Stevenson for the defendant, looked at times like there might be bloodshed, provided some one else would do the fighting. Ye Editor who was a disinterested spectator at the trial spent a pleasant day in the leafy grove, met a number of acquaintances and friends, secured several new subscribers, collected some money, enjoyed the hospitality of Wash Freed and his estimable lady, and last, but not least, ate the greater portion of a fine pike for dinner, which was duly appreciated.

After the verdict of the jury, accompanied by J.T. Waldo and Attorney Stevenson, we hit the path for home, rounding into town between three and four o'clock a.m., feeling that we had been well paid for our journey. We hope to meet the good people of Leading creek and vicinity, but we also hope it will be under more favorable circumstances or, at least, when they are not in a throes of excitement over a law suit between two neighbors


Calhoun County Now the Center of Oil Attractions in West Virginia

As stated in our last issue, the oil well on the Metz farm came in on the 25th ult. and is a good well. At least, it is so good that every one who can do so, is getting hold of all the territory in that neighborhood that they possibly can, and they are paying right handsome sums for it, too.

Instead of the Gordon sand, the flow of oil was struck in the "Berea grit," and when the sand was first struck nothing was found but a slight showing of oil and a little gas. A few hours later, while Mr. Lowther was at the shanty, which is supplied with gas from the well, oil came spurting through the gas line into the fire. It was but the work of a few minutes to get the oil saver on and the oil piped off to the tanks. The well had drilled itself in, and is yet to do more than it is doing now.

As soon as the word got out that oil had been struck, oil men began to come here and at present the hotels are full of them, and more are arriving daily.

It is hard to give what the well is making as reports conflict, but as the well has not been drilled into this sand, having just touched it, the fact is assured that we have an oil field here in Calhoun.

Work on the Gillespie well is progressing slowly on account of breakdowns.

It is rumored here that the oil well being drilled on Bell run of Lower Leading Creek came in a strong producer. Up to the time of going to press, we have been unable to ascertain definitely as to the truth of this, but it seems to have come from a reliable source. It is said that the well is as good or better than the Metz well. If this be true, it gives us two oil fields in this county.

Some of these stories were transcripts from the Calhoun Chronicle by Norma Knotts Shaffer.