Early Settlement of Lowell

Near the same time that Colonel Graham founded his new home, a Mr. Vanbibber located [45] on the opposite side of the river on the land now owned by Mr. George Keller. How long Vanbibber remained there is not known, but presumably for a short tine, as Conrad Keller, who bought his claim, settled there before Indian hostilities ceased in this section, which was about the years 1778 to 1780. The name of Vanbibber is mentioned as one of the early settlers of Kanawha county and is believed to be the same man here referred to.

Also at or about the same time Samuel and James Guinn, two brothers, settled and made their home near that of Graham. Before the Lowell settlement the Grahams and Guinns were neighbors on the Calf Pasture River and had even both sailed over the blue waters from Ireland. It was, therefore, but natural that, in seeking new homes, they likewise sought old friends; furthermore, they were related, at least by marriage, the wife of Samuel Guinn having been the widow Elizabeth Graham, nee Lockridge.

The writer was personally acquainted with Sam- [46] uel Guinn and most of his family. He had five sons: Moses, Samuel, Andrew, John and Ephriam and two or three daughters, all of whose names cannot now be recalled. one by the name of Ruth married James Jarrett, Sr., of Muddy Creek, and was the mother of the late James and Joseph Jarrett.

Samuel Guinn, Sr., moved from the Lowell settlement to Lick Creek about the year 1800 and died there March 25, 1839 In the 94th year of his age. His two grandsons, Hon. Marion and Sheriff Harrison Guinn now own the farm owned by him. He accumulated considerable property and it is said that, at one time, he had $12,000 in silver, which he divided among his sons some years before his death. The writer remembers to have seen his two sons, Samuel and Andrew, carry their part of the silver by his father’s house in common grain bags and, in bulk, there was about one-half bushel in each. This they carried over Keeney’s Knob to their home near Lowell. Considering the fact that it was generally known that [47] Guinn had this money laid up in his house and that it was also an open secret that his sons were invited on a certain day to receive each his share, it would seem rather a hazardous venture to lay two thousand five hundred dollars on a packhorse and to travel the public highway alone over mountains and through a sparsely settled community a distance of fifteen miles, but such was the case.

We cannot but conclude that the people of those days were more honorable than now.

An anecdote is related of Mr. Guinn, which we think worthy of place. It is said that, upon a certain occasion, while attending to some business in Lewisburg, he fell in with some gamblers who induced him to play a game of cards. Knowing that he had plenty of money, they allowed him to win the first few games, then proposed to double the bet, to which he replied that his mother had always told him it was a wise man who knew when to quit. So saying, he arose from the table and bade the gamblers “good day”.

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