A Negro Community Once Flourished in Calhoun
By Treacy Jane Wilson Stump (1969)
From my earliest recollections, there was a colony of colored people
living not far from our home, perhaps I should say across the hill from
I never knew the year these folks settled there; however,
they owned several hundred acres among the hills, from Raccoon, Three Forks
and extending to Bear Fork.
Their farms were all hillside, no roads, only
paths. Occasionally one would find a wagon road (that is the path
was wide enough for a wagon to go on). These people dug their living
out of these hills, with a few days extra work they did for their white
They were poor, but independent, had their own school, which building
also served as a church. Most all were church going people.
Some couldn't read or write, but some had a little education. They
all had one thing in common, to give their children all the education they
There was a man named John Sutton who had married Amanda Radcliff.
He was well educated and taught their school for years. There were
no preachers among them and they depended on their white neighbors to fill
their pulpit. The Rev. Billy Schoolcraft of Millstone is the only
minister now living that filled their need.
They purchased their supplies mostly from the late W. Ellsworth Stump
and the late Ralph W. Bennett of Stumptown. The Stump store was closer
for them. They received their mail at the Apple Farm post office,
Even though their education was limited, they were very polite and courteous.
When they had revival meetings or Christmas programs, their white neighbors
were invited and given the best seats in the house. They never went
to church with the whites unless invited.
One man I remember stands
out among the others for his long prayers at our church. He was Jacob
Catlipp, better known as Jake. A large man, he came very reverently
into church and always took a back seat. After the pastor would deliver
an hour-long sermon, he would call on Brother Jake to pray. He would
walk halfway down the aisle, fall on his knees and how he would pray!
His wife's name was Dora. They had a family and when this family
was grown they moved to Parkersburg.
A family by the name of Ivory lived on the Bear Fork side of the hill.
There were some children, as all these families had several in number.
Mrs. Ivory's name was Jenny, and she was blind for many years before she
died. Despite her handicap, she found her way to church.
of the daughters married a man by the name of Lewis "Lew" Grant.
As their family grew, they moved to Clarksburg. Most all the family
are now deceased. Their heirs still own the farm on Three Forks.
Other family names were Martin, Galloway, Muse and Henderson.
One family perhaps most widely known was that of Bone and Carry Radcliff.
Bone was a nickname, but no one would know him by any other name.
He was born during slavery and was owned by the Hays Family of Arnoldsburg.
He always had high respect for his former master.
The Radcliffs owned
a farm and lived at the head of Raccoon. Mr. Radcliff was married
twice and I've been told he was father of 24 children. His last wife
was Carry McDonald. He used to be called on to care for sick animals
or stock by his white neighbors, and Carrie and her girls worked for whites,
especially if there was sickness - they never refused.
They did well toward educating their family, and all had enough to get
by with, and some were college graduates. I remember Raymond, who
was principal of a school near Morgantown; also Lottie, a teacher in Detroit
and Beulah, who retired not many years ago after teaching 42 years in Scott's
Run section of Monongalia County.
For years after all the rest had
moved out, one daughter, Libby, and her husband, John Adams, lived at the
old home. They, too, have passed on, and all that remains of the
colored community is a cemetery with a few markers still standing at the
head of Raccoon.