Weekly Features

Historically Speaking- Block House 1906- Well known Capitalist Buys Land by Glass Factory to Build Town

While looking through some of these amazing newspapers donated to the Doddridge County by the Beamers who recently purchased the Herald Record, I found this interesting article shining some light on Blockhouse and the surrounding area.

   I shall pass it on to you as it was relayed in the newspaper at the time of   original print:

   “For some time past, the press of this town has made an effort to get the people interested in building houses in this town to accommodate the people who are employed and will be employed on the large glass factory east of town.  The large concern is now about ready to commence operations and there are more than seventy-five families, we are informed, who are seeking homes.  The greatest difficulty heretofore encountered has been the inability to secure suitable lots for building purposes close enough to the factory to justify the investment of the necessary amount of money to provide hoes for these people.

   The matter of sufficient homes for the workers has been an ugly thorn in the flesh of Manager Zenor for several weeks, and the solution of the problem was not reached until last week, when J. E. R. Sine, a well-known capitalist of Clarksburg purchased of the Maxwell heirs what is familiarly known as the Block House Hill, opposite Lewisport, in the east end of town.  This beautiful rolling piece of land adjoins the grounds of the Ideal Window Glass Factory and presents one of the finest opportunities for investors that we have seen in recent years.  The lots would be very valuable were there no glass factory near them, but the proximity of this gigantic industrial enterprise makes them doubly so.  However, no big price will be asked for these lots.  It is predicted by some that they may sell very cheaply.  They will be sold at public auction on Monday, October 5, 1906 and will be knocked off to the highest bidders.  No one need pay more for these lots than his judgement leads him to believe they are worth.  However, they will be gilt-edged property and an investment in them is bound to be as safe as bank stock.

   Mr. Sine, the gentleman who will give the sale, made a cash purchase of the property from the Maxwell heirs.  He is well and favorably known throughout the state as one of its most reputable citizens and a straight-forward and capable businessman.  He is a brother of the well-known, Prof. A. G. Sine, the capable president of the Mountain State Business College, of Parkersburg.

The site which Mr. Sine has purchased and which the next few months will see converted into a thriving little town gets its name of Block House Hill from the dark days of the sixties.  When an invasion of this section of the state was threatened by the southern forces, a block house for the defense of the town was erected near the road on the north end of this tract.  The old war relic was many years ago torn down, but a part of the old foundation and the mark of an old well still remain.

    Two important things that we almost overlooked in our account and which will interest the people will be the giving away of a twenty-dollar gold piece and a $250 free lot on the day of the sale.  Every person over fifteen years of age will be given a free chance on the $20 gold piece, and every purchaser of a lot will be given a free chance on a free lot.  Col. J. C. Morrow, the well-known Pittsburg auctioneer, will cry the sale.  One of the best bands in the state will furnish music.”

This priceless documentation of Blockhouse Hill is only one of the untold number of articles documenting our history in real time.  This collection of newspapers includes West Union Record, West Union Herald, and Salem Herald from the years of 1932-1977 and much of the history goes back to the late 1800s and turn of the century. They are yellowed and brittle due to their age, but they are so vital to our history. 

If you can donate to help us digitize them, please make check payable to Doddridge County Historical Society, Inc., P.O. Box 444, West Union, WV  26456 and note in the memo, “newspapers.”  Thanks to everyone who has answered our call to date.  We cannot do this without you.

God Bless and Stay Well

Patricia Richards Harris

Doddridge County Historical Society