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West Virginia Archives & History

A Brief History Of Triune Community

Prepared by E. C. Brown

This sketch does not purport to be a complete history of the Triune community. To write such would require the skill of a trained historian. On account of the obscure sources of information, many names have necessarily been omitted. It has been the aim of the writer to give the names of the principal families, and as far as possible, the names of the different members of those families, hoping that these names and incidents may recall to the minds of those familiar with the community other names, and that later on, this sketch may be revised and improved uppon as new information is supplied.

The Union Grove school of Clinton district, Monongalia County, is situated at Triune, a small village on the Fairmont pike about 13 miles from Morgantown. The Fairmont pike at this place follows a ridge, extending for several miles north and south.

This ridge is a natural watershed, the west side of which sheds its waters into White Day Creek, while the east side is drained by the tributaries of Booths Creek. This ridge is said to have been an early Indian war path, or at least the route which was followed by bands of Indians traveling from one section of the country to another. It was known as the "Eastern Trail".

The big rock standing not far from the road on the Smith farm near Halleck, is said to have been the site of one of their camps, as Indian relics were found there by some of the early settlers. It is known that the band of warriors who killed James Brain and captured his two sons, Isaac and Benjamin, in Snowy Creek Glade, camped at this place on the first night of their retreat toward the Ohio River. This occurred in April, 1778.

We know that this section was at one time inhabited by Indians, or at least visited by them, as certain relics, such as flint arrow heads, spear heads, etc., have been found on practically every farm in the community.

As this section was also inhabited in the early days by bears, wolves, deer, elk, panthers, and buffaloes, it is reasonable to suppose that most of these darts were lost by the Red men while in pursuit of game, while some may have been destined for another mark, such as a two legged animal having a white or a red skin.

Early Settlers

The community of Triune is particularly rich in the history of men and women who have attained to eminence, not only in their home community, but in other parts of the country where their work has called them. Within the limited scope of a work of this kind however, little more can be given beyond a bare mention of their names.

The original settlement at Triune seems to have been made by a number of English families who came over directly from the old country about the year, 1842. Being people of good character and sterling worth in the respective countries from which they came, these people emigrated to a new land, and cleared the forests and tilled the fields. The wool from the sheep, and the flax which they cultivated in the fields furnished them with material for wearing apparel, which was spun and woven by their own firesides. Their fare was obtained principally from the forests and the corn fields, supplemented by pork or beef, and fish from the streams.

In the course of time, as trees could be obtained, orchards were set out and fruit was added to the list as one of the staple articles of diet. The most commonly used vehicles were the ox cart and the sled, which were used both on week days and Sundays.

Such was the stock from which the present generation of Triune community is descended.

Identified with this first settlement we find the names of Kays, Eugle, Snowden, Bennett, Thompson, and others. In the cemetery of the old Summers church lie buried four veterans of the War of 1812; Lewis Williams, Elijah Jacobs, Samuel Kisner, and Silas Stevens. Silas Stevens was also a veteran of the Mexican War. His widow, who died recently at the age of 100 years and is also buried here, is said to have been among the last widows of the War of 1812.

In this cemetery are also buried ten veterans of the Civil War; Elza Jacobs, Jefferson Kisner, Isaiah Robe, Robert Robe, Joseph Guynn, Alexander Rumble, James Williams, Oliver P. McRa, Benjamin Philipps, William Snowden, and Willie E. Moran, a veteran of the World War.

The above mentioned families all seem to have arrived and settled here at about the same time, so the credit for the first settlement would naturally be divided among them.

According to the best information at hand the name "Triune" was given the community center by Albert Bennett, who served as post master for a number of years. It was named Triune from the fact that three roads joined at this place.

The school is designated as the Union Grove School. It was named by Rev. Good, a Methodist Protestant preacher, who held a meeting there soon after the school was established.


Samuel Bennett, who was one of the original settlers, was an English immigrant. By trade he was a miner. His wife, who is well remembered by some of the present residents, gave an interesting account of their voyage across the Atlantic, which required six weeks. They had seven children: Timothy, William, Albert, Ann, Sarah Ann, Joseph, and Samuel. It is said that William witnessed the coronation of Queen Victoria. Timothy was for a number of years an influential citizen of the community and died just recently in Morgantown. William was the father of Joseph, Cornelia, Annaria, Priscilla, and Frank. Annaria is the wife of William Guynn, the local merchant at Triune. Sarah Ann taught the first term of school in the old log school house, known as the Mount Pleasant School. This building stood at the forks of the road, just a few rods south of where the Bethel Church now stands. Alm Bennett, the daughter of Albert Bennett, was also a teacher and taught one term at the Union Grove school. She is now the wife of Ephriam Morgan, ex-governor of West Virginia.

Elijah Jacobs, another one of the pioneers of the Triune settlement was the father of eight children: Jemima, Moses, Mary, Jacob, Elijah, Elizabeth, Nancy and Strother. The children of Jemima who married Oliver P. McRa, were as follows: Edgar, Thomas, Waitman, Duncan, Lucretia, Elijah, and Virginia. Elijah still resides on the home place near Halleck. Virginia died within the past year.

Edgar, deceased, was a veteran of the Civil War. Thomas is a minister of considerable ability in the Ohio M. E. Conference. Waitman died in (1872). Duncan, who now lives in Charleston, taught in the local schools in his younger days, held an important position under Governor Wm. M. O. Dawson, is known as a contributor to various periodicals and magazines, and is the author of sever books and pamphlets. Elijah, a prominent church worker, has been identified with the cause of education all his life. He has been a Justice of the Peace, served as Overseer of the Poor and is at the present time Secretary of the Board of Education of Clinton District.

The children of Moses Jacobs were Elza, Loueeza, Mary Lindsey, Susan, Lee Ann, Nelson, Ella, and Luther.

Jacob's children were Benson, Belle, Marshall, Edward, and Charley, all of whom became influential citizens in their respective communities.

Strother Jacobs married Letha Tarleton, a daughter of Elijah Tarleton. Their daughter, Evelyn Jacobs became the wife of Isaac Powell. A son, Columbus Jacobs, studied medicine and attained great skill as a surgeon. When he died in Frostburg, Maryland, a number of years ago, it is said he had undergone about sixty-two surgical operations, all of which he had himself directed. Letha's second husband, Richard Fast, was a member of the Virginia Legislature and was the father of Richard Ellsworth Fast, who served for a time as Colonel of the first regiment of the West Virginia state guards, and was also a member of the West Virginia University faculty for a number of years. He died several years ago in Pasadena, California.

Silas Stevens, a veteran of the War of 1812 and of the Mexican War, was married twice. His first children were Henry, John, Edgar, Asby, and Rebecca. The children of his second marriage were James, George, Frank, and Grant.

Of the first children, Henry went to Tennessee and became president of a university in that state. John was a leader in the church and was a miller by trade. He ran a mill on White Day Creek for a number of years, and was the father of Esaac Stevens, who died recently in Blueville, Taylor County. Asby was a preacher and is remembered as a fine scholar and an able member of the West Virgina M. E. Conference. It is said that one day while visiting at a neighbor's house, among other books he came across a Greek dictionary. The neighbor told him that if the book would be of any use to him he might have it. Rev. Stevens remarked that it was just what he had been wanting for a long time, as it would help him out in his work in translation.

This goes to show that although the educational facilities were very meager among some of the older settlers, they made good use of the opportunities which were presented to them for improvement.

Edgar Stevens was known as a music teacher, and was the father of Ison, Rawley, Salome, and Mary Jane.

Lewis Williams, another one of the pioneer settlers of the Triune community, had six sons, Caleb, James, Foster, Seth, Lewis, and George.

Caleb was the father of Lowrey and James, the former of whom lives not far from the Triune store at the present time.

James, the son of Lewis, was the father of Emma Guthrie, deceased, and Adolph. Adolph lives at the forks of the road just south of, and adjoining the Harrison Jacobs place, and is the father of a large family, several of whom saw active service in the World War. They are engaged principally in the timber business and farming.

Among other pioneer settlers we may mention Billy Carroll, the father of Rebecca, Sarah, Tilly, and William; William Snowden, who also had a son named William; Richard Sargeant; John Funk, whose son, Van Funk, was killed in the Custer Massacre; and William Downedy, the father of West Downey and Lucinda Rumble, deceased. West Downey is known as one of the prominent citizens of the community at the present time, and has served as Justice of the Peace. He is the father of Goff Downey and Nettie Jeffers.

Joseph Guynn, a veteran of the Civil War was the father of Marion Guynn, deceased, and William Guynn. Marion and William both raised large families, several of whom live in the community. Bertha Moran a daughter of Marion, lives on what is known as the Charley Holland place. Jesse E., a son of Marion, and a prominent educator and church worker, now lives in Kingwood.

Deck Ashcraft, deceased, another prominent citizen, was a resident of the community for over thirty years. He is the father of Elsie Van Gilder, deceased, and Willie H. Ashcraft, who is at present cashier of the Commercial Bank at Morgantown.

West Phillips was the father of Elvira Jones and James Phillips, the local blacksmith and auctioneer. Jim lives on the home place just a few rods north of the store, and his shop is one of the busies places in the community, winter and summer.

Jefferson Kisner, another veteran of the Civil War, was a son of Samuel Kisner, who was a veteran of the War of 1812. Jefferson was the father of George Robey Kisner, one of the prominent and respected residents of the community at the present time.


The early settlers in the Triune community seem to have been mostly Methodists, and about the year (1846) the members of the M. E. church erected the first church building, which was known as the Fairmont M. E. church. The name has since been changed to the Summers Church.

During the years of 1875-77, the church was under the leadership of Rev. Frederick Ford. Rev. Ford was known as a man of strong character and very decided opinions. He was a veteran of the Civil War, served as 1st and 2nd Lieutenant, and was promoted to Captain of Company F, 15th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry.

During a recent encampment of the G. A. R. at Washington Captain Ford and Granville Brown, who served as First Lieutenant of Company C, 14th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, were guests of Congressman "Junior" Brown on a sight seeing tour of the city. They also visited Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington. Captain Ford was the father of Captain George M. Ford, the present State Superintendent of Schools, of West Virginia.

During the residence of the Fords at Triune, they lived in the house now occupied by James Summers, just a short distance below the church.

The deed for the Summer Church is dated March 24, 1846, and was made by Jonothan Summers to Elijah Jacobs, Lewis Williams, Jacob Key, Isaac Reed, and Samuel Kisner.

Although most of the early settlers were Methodists, quite a number of the people in the community at the present time are Baptists, and in (1895) the people of this denomination erected another church building which is known as the Bethel Baptist Church. This building was erected under the pastorate of Rev. Snodgrass. The church was named by Mrs. O. B. Johnson.


The first school of which we have any record in this community was built in the woods just below where the Summer church now stands, near a fine spring of water. Conforming to the custom of the times, it was built of logs. This house was erected about 1842, and the builders were Elijah Jacobs, Jonothan Summers, Moses Kinkaid, Samuel Bennett, Jacob Kees, and James Robe. George Williams and George Armstrong were two of the first teachers.

This building was used only a short time, and about 1850 another log building was erected on the ridge, at the forks of the road, just a few rods south of where the Bethel Church now stands. This building is still standing, although it has been moved across the road, and is now being used as a stable. This was known as the Mount Pleasant School. The first teacher of this school was Sarah Ann Bennett.

In the winter of 1859-60, Judge John W. Mason taught one term at this school. In November 1909 on the 50th anniversary of this term of school, exercises were held in the Summer Church, at which Judge Mason presided. When the roll was called, eighteen former pupils of this term of school answered to their names.

The next school house was built about 1872, about one half-mile farther north, near the road. The contractor for this house was George Doolittle. The members of the Board of Education at this time were Alexander Rumble, Timothy Bennett, and Granville Brown. As the Free School system went into effect in West Virginia in 1865, this was the first Board of Education in Clinton District. Up to this time there had been only four school houses in the district, but under this board, eight school houses were built.

After the Mount Pleasant school was discontinued, and before the school was established at Union Grove, two terms of school were held in an old house belonging to Leonard Hileman, one of the residents of the community at that time. This was known locally as the "Hileman College."

Some of the teachers of the Mount Pleasant school were as follows: Melessa Sanders, Sarah Sanders, George Holt, George Williams, Sarah Ann Jacobs, Elijah Jacobs, William Mason, James Mason, Isaac Cartwright, James Farrell, and Mary Sammons.

The teachers of the Union Grove school, so far as known are as follows, being listed in chronological order after the year 1900: Ezekial Trickett, Jack Joliffe, Hosea Stansberry, James Murphy, John Chipps, Kate Griffith, Taressa Howell, Elijah McRa (1884-5), Fannie Bennett, Luther Brown, Emma Van Gilder, Maud Wilson, C. E. Stansberry, Addie Ireland, Warren Markley, Gilbert Stewart, Willie Price, L. C. Williams, Willie Ashcraft, Marion Brewer, Cyrus Snyder, Jennie Richardseh, C. E. Stansberry, Alma Bennett, C. W. Stansberry (1901-2-3) Anna Larkin (1904), Blanche Beer (1905), Jesse Jenkins (1906), Ethel Shafer (1907), Fred Reppert (1908), E. E. Hale (1909), J. F. B. Gregory (1910), J. E. Guynn (1911-12), Bertha Wilson (1913), Margaret Kneff (1914), J. E. Guynn (1915), E. C. Brown (1916), Effie Jenkins (1917), J. E. Guynn (1918-19-20), Josephine Haigh (1921), E. C. Brown (1922), J. E. Guynn (1923), Mary Corrothers (1924), and E. C. Brown (1925-26).

When the Free School system went into effect in 1865 the enumeration in Clinton district was 630. The enumeration at the present time is 610.

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