Old Stone House
THE OLD STONE HOUSE
One of the Landmarks of Brooke County
One of the Landmarks of Brooke County
(Source?? This was among my notes, thought I should share it with all of you. GH)
S. Merrimer, who has resided on the E.R. Tarr farm for several years past, occupying the old limestone house, was a former resident of Monroe County, Ohio, "The Black Hills", but a real fine old gentleman just the same and one who is welcomed as a citizen of Brooke County. Mr. Merrimer is well pleased with this community.
The old stone house referred to is one of the most original in architecture in the county, having been built of limestone in its native state, crude, in a manner rough hewn as the rock came from the quarry and durable, as has been shown by its long standing. Several years ago the building showed signs of age, but Mr. Merrimer has made repairs until the old home is in a measure itself again. Nearby stands a huge elm tree whose branches shade one of the finest springs in the county.
Who first settled the 400 acre tract of land which was embodied in the present Tarr farm?
Vallentine Mendel, a German, took up the tract under the Tom-a-hawk right, which means that one simply took his hatchet and notched around the tract, paid his taxes, etc., and became sole owner. The tract included the E. R. Tarr farm, the G. M. Parks farm and the H. G. Mendel farm on the Wellsburg and Washington Pike.
Vallentine Mendel was the forefather of all the Mendels in this section. One of his sons, Felty Mendel, built the old limestone house in about the year 1825.
Previous to this in 1809 or 1810, a large still house three stories high was built of great hewn oak timbers, all of the timber used in the construction being cut from the farm. Felty Mendel built the old limestone house to be used as a warehouse for the big distillery, the products being stored in this until shipped down the river on flats. It has been suggested that the people in this vicinity at that time did not drink, and accordingly the "spirits" were shipped to southern points. There were three distilleries in sight on "Pioneer Point", one having been located at Hank's spring, one at the site of the old stone house and the third in Spring run, just below the brick homestead now occupied by E. R. Tarr.
Pioneer Hill was the scene of great activities in those early days, and among the amusement entered into was target practice, this being the great gathering point for hunters of both Indians and game. Men came even from Wetzel county to engage in the firearm practice, and the man who could shoot at longest range and hit the mark was the hero of the hour.
In 1839 Campbell Tarr, Sr., father of W. H. and Eugene Tarr, bought of John Mendel, of Wheeling, about 200 acres of the original Mendel tract.
In speaking of the Mendels, it has been stated that every person by the name, meet them where you will, away in the west or at far distant points, seem evidently to belong to the one family tree- the Mendels of Brooke County.
[If you have family stories that you would like to share, please do send them to us. E Mail address is on the web site Gwen Hubbard BCG]
For further interesting story, read "Old Hanks" story under Resources on this web site.
This information shared by one of our readers February 2006
It was with a great deal of interest that I read the article on your site titled "The Old Stone House". After reading the description of the house and the surrounding area, I had no doubt that the article was about the building we refer to in our family as "the farmhouse". It was situated on the Conaway farm beyond Pleasant Hills, outside Wellsburg. My father, Paul L. Conaway, purchased the property on which the farmhouse was located in 1941. It was previously owned by E.R. Tarr. We had heard many stories about the history of the building- including a connection to the Whiskey Rebellion (1790's), but your article has dispelled most of those stories.
Over the years my dad remodeled the interior, constructed additions to both ends of the house and added a dormer to the attic. My wife, Sharon, and I lived in the house after we were first married, as did my twin brother, Don.
After that time, the house was vacant for quite a few years and slowly deteriorated. It fell into such a state of disrepair that my mother, Mary M. Conaway- now 101 years old herself, decided to have it taken down. The demolition was completed in early October 2005. We salvaged the limestone and the hand-hewn timbers which were part of the construction. I would be glad to share any additional details about the construction, recent history, etc. with any of your members.