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Washington District

Taken from History of Charleston and Kanawha County West Virginia and Representative Citizens, W.S. Laidley, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, 1911.
Washington district extends on the east side of Coal river from Jefferson up to Bull creek. It has Smith's creek, Alum creek, Little Brier and Big Brier creeks. Tornado is its largest town, but there will be others. It is noted for its excellence and varieties of coal, for its timber and its transporation facilities. It extends eastward to Loudon and has Boone county on its south, and Lincoln on its west. Possibly there is more room for development in Washington than in any other district, and it is being developed. It is near the Lincoln oil and gas field and has its own coal.

Coal river washes its entire southwestern boundary. Smith creek, named in memory of Joseph Smith, the first settler upon its banks, Crooked creek, Alum creek, named for an alum rock about one mile from its mouth, Bear creek and Brier creek, named for the green briers that grow along it, all flow in a southwesterly direction and discharge their waters into Coal river.

Joseph Thomas removed to the fall of Coal and erected the first cabin within the present limits of the district about the year 1800. Soon after him came James Thomas, Samuel Beach, Leonard Nicholas and Joseph Smith, and a few years later they were followed by Randolph Auler, Thomas Nance, Joseph Brown, Joseph Smith, Thomas Maupin, Joseph Midkiff, Richard Bryant, John Hill, Jacob Hill, John Turley, and Allen M Smith. All were actual settlers, and they found what they came to seek - homes.

The first grist-mill was erected by Joseph Thomas, at the falls of Coal river about the year 1812; it was a round log structure, with one run of stone, a tub wheel, and ground nothing but corn.

Tradition says that the first school ever taught on Coal river above its mouth was four miles above the falls, by a man named Stanley, in the year 1816. About fifteen pupils were in attendance, receiving instruction under the old "Subscription Act." The house was a rude cabin with a "dirt" floor and a V-shaped chimney, which occupied one entire end of the building.

The first church organization perfected was the Upper Falls Baptist congregation, in the year 1817. The second was the Baptist church at the forks of Coal, a few years later.

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