Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Train Schedule

This B & O train schedule describes the various stops traveling from Grafton to Belington. As you can see the train stopped in Cecil as well as Cove run both of which are now covered by water. The schedule neglects to mention the other three communities that where located down the valley. They may not have been large enough to deem necessary a train station. Cove run which is located in Barbour County my have been a stop merely for train servicing reasons. I have yet to run across any evidence that Cove Run was an actual community, however, the search continues.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Scene of Destruction

During a trip to the West Virginia University Downtown library I ran across this picture. It graphically demonstrates the effects the building of the dam had on this portion of the Tygart River Valley. It appears that this photograph was taken shortly after the gates of the dam where closed for the first time. As you can clearly see, peoples homes are floating in the rising waters. Looking out at the still waters of the lake, it is easy to forget what was lost when the lake was born. This picture remines us of what once was.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cecil Moved Away

Cecil was once a “happy and prosperous community that might some day become as large a city as Grafton.” In fact as many as 400 people once lived in the town of Cecil. A Canadian owned coal mine was the main employer in the community. This, however, would change in 1923 when the company abruptly closed the mine, dismantling many of the buildings it had erected. According to the Postmaster, Mr. Balebridge* the population of Cecil dropped from 400 down to 50 in a months time. The town was no longer one of “hustle and hurry” and the “mercantile business was not what it once was.” The post office and store remained after the mine had moved on.

This newspaper article puts a new twist on the story of this small town. The real danger to Cecil may not have been rising water but in fact the loss of jobs. It is unclear thus far in my research what happened to Cecil for the next eleven years before the flooding of the valley. This story does shed some light on the approximate size and the types of buildings located within the town.

*This may or may not be correct the document is difficult to read

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cecil Revealed

This picture was taken in Cecil, WV around the turn of the century. Unfortunately the angle of the photo does not reveal much of the actual town, however, it does show a few buildings in the background as well as a some of Cecil's residents. Also notice the small "Cecil" sign in the middle of the picture. This photograph was found in the archives of the U.S. Corps of Engineers office located above the Tygart Dam.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Honor Sage of Cecil

During a recent trip the library I ran across an old news story which was first published in The Grafton Sentinel. I thought that it was interesting because it concerned a man named Mr. McDaniel who had lived in Cecil. He spent most of his life tending to his farm; however, he was also involved in the Knottsville districts Board of Education and known as a poet. For nearly 57 years he lived in an around Cecil until he was forced to leave when the government took the land to construct the Tygart Dam. Mr. McDaniel, according to the news story, "relinquished (his land) with the deepest sorrow." This story may not give us much in the way of hard facts about Cecil or the other towns but it does put a human face on the effects the building of the dam had on people’s lives. I have posted the story so if anyone would like to read the entire article they can do so.

This news story was found in "The History of Taylor County
" by Charles Brinkman Chapter 711a Pg. 253

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Four on the River

Before the construction of the Tygart Dam there where four small communities located within the valley that is now engulfed by the lake. The first, Yates, was located near the modern day swimming area of Tygart Lake. Stonehouse was the second located a little further up the lake about two coves down from Yates. The third was called Cecil and may have been the largest of four communities according to my preliminary research and it was located in modern day Hailslip Cove. Cecil as a whole my not have been swallowed up by the lake, however, it seemed to have disappeared from the maps after the forming of the lake. The fourth small town was referred to as Sandy and was located close to the lakes head waters. It appears to have been located around the line where the lake flows from Barbour into Taylor County. It is unclear thus far in my research if these locations where small towns or only small groupings of houses but what is clear is that they where once real places where people lived there lives.

As you can see I have added a map to give a better idea of the locations of these towns. I researched and found the coordinates of all four communities using the U.S. Department of Interior's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).