The Washington's Western Lands Museum and
Sayre Log House
Located in Riverfront Park-Ravenswood, WV
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m
No admission charge (donations accepted)
Washington's Western Lands Museum
Located in the Riverfront Park at Ravenswood, the Washington's Western Lands Museum occupies the old Lock #22 Building along the beautiful Ohio River. The Sayre Log House is located in front of the museum. The two buildings are operated under the auspices of the Jackson County Historical Society, which attempts to collect and display items relating to the history of Jackson County and its early settlers. The Washington’s Western Lands Museum takes its name from the fact that the land upon which it stands was once part of two large tracts owned by George Washington within the present boundaries of Jackson County.
Lock Building No 22 is owned by the City of Ravenswood and was remodeled to house the Museum in 1970. Numerous display cases are filled with articles showcasing the Ravenswood of bygone days. There are displays of Indian artifacts, military memoribalia, photos of Ohio riverboats, Lock #22, and much more. There is a fine collection of paintings by local folk artist David Homer McFarland.
As an appropriate setting for objects, the Museum has room settings which include: a Victorian parlor, a country store, an adjacent tool shed, and a school room. Objects of special note include: a glass sided horse drawn hearse and a pump organ made in Cincinnati and brought up river for use at Muses Bottom c. 1875.
Sayre Log House
Originally located on Cow Run, the Sayre Log House has been restored to the period 1840-1880.
Abijah Sayre and Ellen Hartley were married in 1874. Abijah’s parents, Ephraim and Mazilla (Hunt) Sayre, gave them 25 acres of land. Logs were cut and hewed and this house erected in 1875.
Abijah and Ellen Sayre had seven children and when the two oldest sons became young men, a large kitchen and parlor were added to the log structure, and the whole house was weather boarded. Here the Sayres lived the rest of their lives. When the youngest son, Thomas E., got married, he bought part of the farm and built his home. He eventually bought the entire farm. Abijah died in 1925 and Ellen in 1934. After that the log house was unoccupied and used for storage.
In August 1982 Thomas Sayre donated the log house to the Jackson County Historical Society. The City of Ravenswood agreed to lease a piece of ground in Ravenswood’s Riverfront Park directly across from the Museum for the house. The Sayre house was dedicated during the Ohio River Festival in August 1983.
New Books Available
Willie Chester Clark (1861-1939) was editor of The Ravenswood News from 1915 to 1928. In 1922 he and his wife, Nevada, took a 19-day 2,000 mile camping trip from Ravenswood through the northeastern states in a Model T named "Lizzie". On their return, the Clarks published a small booklet with details of their trip. Sherri Heavener of the Harrison County Historical Society has had this booklet republished. Her father found a copy of the booklet in an old house torn down in Ravenswood in the 1950's. Heavener has donated the original to the museum at Ravenswood. No other copy of the book has been found.
In 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and their daughter, Florence, embarked on a camping trip to the Pacific Ocean in their modified Chevrolet touring car. The trip lasted 123 days with 12,000 miles traveled. The book, "Touring with Leaping Lena" was published on their return. Western author, David Dary, of Oklahoma has the only known copy of the original. It was sent to his family, the Longs, who lived in Oklahoma at the time of the trip. The Clarks had stopped and visited with them on their way west. The Long family had formerly lived in Ravenswood and had been owners of the Victoria Inn. Dary has had this book republished entitled, "Touring the West with Leaping Lena, 1925".
The Clarks had traveled and lived in many parts of the United States. He was born in Iowa, she in Missouri. They were married in Washington state and lived in Idaho and Tennessee before coming to Ravenswood. On each of their trips they visited relatives, friends, former co-workers and many acquaintances they had made over the years.
According to David Dary the Clarks also published a book about a trip taken in 1923 titled "Flivvering Along Ancestral Trails."
A copy of this book is in the Ford Motor Company archives in Detroit.
Each book gives us a glimpse of travel in those days; the daily flat tires, the unpaved roads and mechanical breakdowns. In 1925 the Clarks mentioned taking pictures at all the scenic sites on their trip. Neither Heavener nor Dary has been able to find descendants of the Clarks to see if any of the photos still exist.
Mr. and Mrs. Clark are buried in the Ravenswood Cemetery.
Both the 1922 and 1925 books are available at amazon.com
Jackson County Articles Added
In the summer of 1976 The Jackson Herald began a series of articles by Corinne Staats Fisher on Jackson County history. Mrs. Fisher, daughter of Enoch and Allie Carney Staats, had been researching and collecting information on the history of our area for many years. She edited her collection for this series which ran for a two-year period in the newspaper. Mrs. Fisher was a graduate of Ripley High School, received her AB from Marshall University and her Master's degree from West Virginia University. The Jackson Newspapers has graciously given us permission to add this series of articles to our website. We will be adding Mrs. Fisher's Civil War articles soon. She also wrote a series of articles on the history of Jackson County churches which we hope to add at a later date.
To view these articles click on Jackson County History on the menu at left.
Corinne Staats Fisher (1911-1998)
2016 Jackson County History Hero
The Jackson County Historical Society nominated Susanna Holstein as our Jackson County 2016 History Hero. She was recognized along with others from across the state for their contributions at History Day at the Legislature on January 29th in Charleston. Susanna has been the co-host of “Here We Come A-Caroling,” an informative and entertaining program about the history of Christmas carols and tales in Appalachia that has been presented in venues across West Virginia and surrounding states for the past five years. She hosts the annual “Do You Believe?” ghost walk, a one-hour lantern stroll through downtown Ripley that incorporates historical Jackson County events such as the Civil War confrontations, the state’s last public hanging, and the tragic death of Harry Ripley.
Welcome to Our Website
Jackson County Historical Society was organized in 1969 and continues to be a leader in the preservation of the history of the county.
The Society meets the third Sunday of each month in Ripley and operates a museum in Ravenswood. We also have an active genealogy committee. We are excited to present this website as an endeavor to preserve and present information in a new way. This website will be updated continuously as our volunteers have time to add information. Here are just a few of the areas you will want to visit.
- Area Deaths section- This section is updated regularly. Obituaries are searchable by last name and open in a printer friendly format.
- Facts and Tips section - This section has hundreds of tips about the various types of research. Use the drop down menu at the top to search the section you would like more tips about.
- Public Download area - This section features some of the great articles and photos featured in the "Do You Remember" section of The Jackson Herald. Articles will continue to be added.
- Civil War -This area features dozens of articles from old JCHS newsletters concerning the War with rosters of Jackson County Union and Confederate soldiers.
- The folklore and history section provides expanded information on the county's formation and way of life for early settlers
- Do You Remember area of the public download section has close to 100 articles and a 50 page name index.
7,300 Obituaries and Counting
"It is as natural to die as to be born."-----Francis Bacon, 1597
Our Area Deaths section now contains over 7,000 obituaries. The obituaries came from a variety of sources. Thousands had been glued to index cards by volunteers over the years. Some were glued into composition books, others in notebooks, old textbooks or loose in folders and boxes. They span well over one hundred years. While the ones from the 1800’s are rare a few do exist. This massive undertaking would not have been possible without the efforts of those who have passed on and left behind their collection of clippings.
The most requested information of genealogists contacting the local libraries or the Society is for obituaries. The libraries have microfilm of the local newspapers from 1935 to the present with some earlier years available. However, it takes time to search the microfilm especially if you do not have the death month. Many tombstones only have the year of death.
Some of the older obituaries were lenghtly but gave little genealogical information sometimes saying a gentleman was survived by a wife and six children without any names of survivors. Some obituaries for women gave their name as Mrs. John Doe with not even a mention of the first name.
A special thanks to the volunteers who have spent many, many hours typing these obituaries so the public has access to them.
At present there are no plans to put current obits on the site as they are available elsewhere.