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.

There is one request that maybe some of you with long ties to Elgood can help me with. Lila Sneed is doing some research on Preston Luck Vest who was born in Elgood in 1883 and died there in 1962. The two old store buildings are still standing in Elgood. Which one did Preston run after he retired? Contact me with any information you might have and I’ll pass it on to Lila.

We started our study of Clover Bottom last week. This week we’re going to look at some of the prehistory of the area, starting with the existence of ancient grave sites in the area dating back over 1,000 years.

The prehistoric villagers of Clover Bottom, at the Spanishburg Mill Dam of Clover Bottom of the Bluestone, at Crump’s Bottom and Island Creek Bottom on the New River loved the fertile bottom land for crops and village settlements as were the first European settlers of what is now Mercer, Monroe and Summers counties.

Sanders then cites an article in the March, 1989 edition of National Geographic reviewing similar sites in Ohio and Kentucky, which focuses on the wholesale plunder and commercialization of Native American artifacts and calls for laws protecting such sites. Sanders then takes a similar stance calling on the state to act to preserve not only archaeological sites, but old graveyards.

Sanders then goes to the founding of Mercer County in 1837. When it was formed, Mercer County extended along the New River to Flat Top Mountain at present day Hinton, with Flat Top Mountain rim to its junction with East River Mountain and with the East River Mountain back to the New River.

The first settlers chose the best land along the area. Andrew Culbertson and Thomas Farley chose the New River bottom, first called Culbertson’s bottom, then Crump’s Bottom. At the same time, Mitchell Clay claimed the Bluestone Valley which later became known as Clover Bottom.

Both Culbertson and Clay were driven out by the Shawnee. The former new returned to the area, while the latter’s family did consolidate the Clover Bottom farm, which remained in the family for generations.

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