Jeff Harvey

Before we continue with our look at what William Sanders II had to say in his book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV”, (McClain Publishing, 1994), I want to say thanks again to the people who have commented either face-to-face or via e-mail about the column. The compliments are welcome and I’ll do my best to address any specific questions you may have.

For those who have artifacts related to Clover Bottom, I haven’t been able to get a hold of Dr. Fuerst, but Lois Miller of the Mercer County Historical Society said that the MCHS would be interested in obtaining said artifacts. Their phone number is 304-426-9017.

The attack on the Clay family by the Shawnee saw them caught in the open near the Bluestone River where they were washing clothes. Tabitha and Bartley Clay were killed on the spot while Ezekiel Clay was captured and taken to Ohio, near the present-day Chillicothe, where he was burned at the stake.

The two Clay children were buried in haste in the bottom then later reburied as the first two graves in the Clay cemetery on the hill. The last person buried in the cemetery was George Pearis Brown’s uncle Victor Brown in 1924.

Along the old Raleigh-Grayson Turnpike stood the old Shiloh Baptist Church. It stood very close to the entrance road to the cemetery. Across the river off of the old RGT was the Cabin Branch Road, the old road pointing west off of the RGT. Sisters Elizabeth Yost and Addie Sneed, both in their 80s, recalled the last burials in the cemetery, while Robert Honaker and George Pearis Brown played in the cemetery in the1920s and 1930s. They recalled at least 37 graves and gravestones with a lamb and a dove carved on them, graves of children.

The cemetery and most of the bottom were owned by Conley Snidow in that time and in the 1940s and he closed the cemetery for further burials, but kept the grove of trees for cattle loafing and grazing without regard for the cemetery. He also displayed signs indicating that the massacre and burials occurred in the developmental area known as Lake Shawnee.

Dr. Fuerst spent two summers digging on the site and had expressed that Clover Bottom where Mitchell Clay Sr. settled, was the most important prehistoric village site in West Virginia .He also expressed disappointment with the lack of appreciation of the site by the state and the present property owners. Sandes called for the state to assume control of the area, for a park state or federal, and redeemit fromits clutter and continued misuse.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter at the Princeton Times. Contact him at

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