(02/21/2021)
Newspaper account early 1900

The first settler in this area appears to have been one Archibald Burris, who built a cabin about 1810. John Ball built one on the south side of the Little Kanawha between 1835 and 1845. Samuel Barr built a log cabin nearby about the same time, and it still stands. It has the distinction of having been in three counties and two states without ever having changed its location.

The founding of Grantsville as a municipality was the result of a 13-year dispute over the location of the county seat.

The West Fork people wanted the court house at Arnoldsburg, but the bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly when the county was formed in 1856 provided for its location on the Little Kanawha.

Court was held at two places for a time and later Arnoldsburg residents went so far as to construct the foundation for a court house there.

Meanwhile the Civil War had been fought and West Virginia had separated from the "Old Dominion." The final move in settling the court house dispute came when a new town was laid out on the Simon P. Stump farm, and named Grantsville in honor of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Perhaps a better description of the founding and settling of Grantsville is contained in a poem by Miss Nettie Stump.

"Back in years of long ago - When Grantsville began to grow, Was a wilderness by the riverside Where snakes and rabbits loved to hide. Simon P. Stump owned this farm, built a house, resembled a barn. He also put in a little store, with some goods kept on the floor."

Thus Mr. Stump gave the ground for the court house to the county, then sold lots for the town when Grantsville was incorporated in 1887.

"A. H. Stump, my father, was the first mayor - handled his work with care, Also had a blacksmith shop, where the farmers loved to stop," said Nettie Stump. Not long after that time came industry and the gas and oil business had its beginnings here:

"A gas well drilled near the town, You could hear it roar miles around."

Then the Calhoun County jail was built:

"The first old jail was made of brick, walls crumbly, defaced, and thick."

Miss Nettie brings her epic to an end with this observation:

"Now we proudly tip our cap - Grantsville is found on the map."

The Yellow Creek oil field, opened in 1901, attracted outside capital to the county, and since then oil and gas have been found at many points in the area.


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