"CISCO" JACKSON'S RITCHIE COUNTY MANOR HOUSE - Civil War Era Dwelling, A Mover And Shaker


Cisco Jackson Civil War era 15-room house, Ritchie
County decorated for Christmas in recent times

2021 photo of house is now occupied by the Blake family

The house has massive fireplaces and stair-
cases to the second floor, and a circular stair-
case likely approaching the servants quarters

By Bob Weaver

I recalled the wonderment of a five-year-old boy staring out the car window at the huge mansion house at Cisco, traveling well-worn Route 47, the best passage to Parkersburg from Calhoun in the 1940s.

It was an awesome place, while living in a small four room dwelling, no electric and a privy out back, particularly noticeable was the large mailbox erected along the roadway with a trolley system to pull the mail up the hillside.

The historic Henry J. Jackson (1813-1865) and his wife, Lydia Reger Jackson (1816-1877) settled at the Forks of the Hughes River, Ritchie County, which was later to become the Village of Cisco on Route 47 (Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike).

Historic Cisco during early 20th Century

Many well-populated towns sprung early in Ritchie County because of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in 1835 and the coming of the B&O Railroad during Civil War days. Cisco was one of them, although a very small village.

Henry "Cisco" Jackson was a shaker and mover in 1800s, near the Hughes River, Rt. 47

The original Jackson's son Henry Lancisco "Cisco" Jackson (1838-1900) built his 15-room mansion house on about 400 acres along Route 47 likely during the Civil War, in what was to become the Village of Cisco, he being instrumental in building the first church near his homestead.

"Cisco" married Mary Jane Lemon in 1858, having at least two children.

The Jackson family shaker and movers in the sparsely settled area and were involved with farming, making improvements to the turnpike, delivering mail and being a Justice of the Peace, much connected to other earlier settlers, Pribble and Marshall.

Pribble Cemetery at Cisco has about 75 graves, including
the Jackson family, their extended family and slaves

The original Jackson plantation included quarters for multiple slaves, including an elderly emancipated slave who lived with the Jacksons, all buried in the nearby Pribble Cemetery.

The house has seen a number of owners over the past 150 years, including descendants, and it remains a landmark. In more recent years major restoration was done by Steve and Betty McCloy Curfman, who owned the property for 18 years before leaving.

Ritchie native Steve Curfman, a well-known regional artist and his wife Betty McCloy Curfman (above) spent years on restoration and had annual Christmas parties where they decorated all 15-rooms, then inviting groups from Parkersburg and the area for tours, including the Jackson Brigade Reunions.

The Curfmans', now living in Harrisville, enjoyed the manor house, and restoring it, Steve, while working on art project said, "I wanted to come home to a place where there was real people. I'm not getting rich painting, but I'm enjoying what I want to do. Life is too short to be doing something you don't enjoy doing"

"It was the most awesome and glorious place we ever lived, and devoted lots of hard work to restore it," said Betty Curfman. It is currently owned by the Blake family, who allowed the recent photographing of the house, said "It's been our dream house."

Elderly Lorraine Enoch Kerns, Cisco's great-grandaughter, who once lived in the dwelling, described the house:

"It had open fireplaces downstairs, burning wood. In fact they cooked in the fireplaces in Cisco's time, a fireplace in the living room and parlor. There was a big cook stove in the kitchen. The time I lived there, they had installed a bathroom, likely the first in the area. It was a lovely home, the walls thick with beautiful hardwood trim, lots of big wooden double doors."

Near the manor house is an Adena or Hopewell native American Indian mound, dating back 1500-3500 years ago. At least 100 years ago it is reported that the mound was pillaged.

In conclusion, it is noted that the Jackson's settled at Cisco, a short distance from the Hughes River, history telling us that the first "pale-faced strangers" that ever trod the Little Kanawha River Valley and its fork, the Hughes River, were Colonel William Lowther and Jesse and Elias Hughes. Indian killer Jesse Hughes claimed the privilege of conferring his own name upon it.