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”.

Leave a Comment