Malden District

Taken from History of Charleston and Kanawha County West Virginia and Representative Citizens, W.S. Laidley, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago , 1911.

    Malden district is next above Charleston on the north and east side of the Kanawha. It has Campbell 's creek, at the mouth of which was the famous salt spring that brought the Ruffners to Kanawha. It has Malden as its town, which once was larger than Charleston , had more business and more money, and was the headquarters for the salt trust for years. It is called a "has-been", but there is more history in it than one book could hold.

     The principal streams are Campbell 's creek, Burning Spring creek, and Simmon's creek, all flowing southwest and emptying into the Kanawha. The surface is rough, and it may be said to consist of "mountains of coal," outrivaling both in quantity and quality any locality of similar extent in the state.

     It is said that the first cabin was erected by Abraham Baker in the year 1790. Among the earliest settlers were David and Joseph Ruffner, John Alderson and Samuel John Shrewsbury. The first settlement was made just above the mouth of Tinkersville, the oldest town in the district. The Ruffners were prominent men in developing the mining and salt manufacturing interests in this locality, a notice of which has already appeared in this history. They built the first grist mill ever erected within the limits of the district, in the year 1803. It was a water-mill with one run of stone. An old pioneer says it was a model "corn-cracker."

     The first school appears to have been taught about the year 1820, by a gentleman named Ezra Walker, of Athens , Ohio . His successor was George Taylor. The building was a one-story frame, erected by Gen. Lewis Ruffner, at his own expense. It was the first school building in the district, which is now well provided with both white and colored schools.

The old Kanawha Salines postoffice was one of the first in the valley. It has recently been discontinued, and Malden is now the only one in the district.

     It is not recorded who preached the first sermon. The Methodists and Baptists appear to have held meetings contemporary with the first settlement, but no organization appears to have been perfected until 1816, when Rev. Henry Ruffner organized the First Presbyterian church of Malden .

     The town of Malden , W.Va. , was incorporated in 1883, but in 1885 the charter was allowed to lapse after the marshal had been shot by an intoxicated man. The first mayor of Malden was Mose Norton, the second, William Reynolds, and the third, Dr. Potts. The town has at different times had different names, they being in their order as follows: Terra Sallas, Kanawha Salines and Malden . There are five general stores in the town, as follows: L.P. Oakes, J.E. White, W.H. Goodwin, W.J. Krantz and W.E. Casper. E. Oakes has been postmaster since 1903. The only physician is Dr. W.F. Shirkey. The town has two hotels, and one two-room school which is taught by Miss Lorena Canterberry, principal, and Miss Florence Shamlin. The former has a class enrollment of 21 and the latter of 56.

     Masonic Lodge of Malden has a membership of 130 and has its own lodge room. The lodge was organized in 1827, the present charter dating from 1865. The worshipful master is Lawrence A Christy; senior warden; treasure, Frank D. Jones; secretary, J.N. Scott; senior deacon, M. Chambers; junior deacon, Preston Snowden; tyler, Squire R.P. Shrewsbury.

Malden Lodge No. 77, I.O.O.F., was instituted September 15, 1875 , with five charter members, as follows: C.S. Abbott, D.A. Cole, F.M. Atkins, J.J. Jacobs and J.J. Krantz. All of these are dead except J.J. Jacobs. The lodge building and fixtures were burned twice and were partly insured each time. There are now 99 members and worth of the lodge is about $3,000.

Sultannas Lodge K. of P. No. 87 was instituted Jan. 1, 1894 , with 25 charter members. At present there are 185 members.

Malden Kickapoo Lodge, Improved Order Red Men was instituted in Ocotber, 1893. It has a present membership of 68.

Harmony Council No. 16, Ancient Order American Mechanics, was instituted in 1883 with about 40 members. The highest membership was 128. At the present time there are 65 members. They own their lodge room and the property is valued at about $1,500. Mr. Oakes gave $200 to the building.

     The M.E. Church at Malden was built between 1832 and 1840. About 1844 or 1846 the church divided. There are about 60 or 75 members. A new church edifice is now in the course of construction, which will be a brick structure 35x50 with an alcove back choir, vestibule four feet extra and will cost $45,000. The present pastor is Rev. Rowe. The building committee is composed of H.J. Hervey, Aubrey Kratz, J.E. White and Dr. W.F. Shirkey. The church is practically on the same site as the old one except that it is about ten feet to the front of the old church. The church is in a prosperous condition. Malden , Danville and Putney constitute the charges of the pastor.

     The Southern Methodists took charge of the M.E. Church now known as the Northern Methodist by reason of a majority in the voting, but after the Civil War the property was restored to the Methodist or what is known as the Northern branch of the church by the courts. The Southern Methodists erected a very neat structure but are not holding services in it.

     The Baptists have a strong membership at Malden .

     Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church, Charleston and Malden or the "Licks" as it was afterwards called was organized by Dr. Henry Ruffner. Dr. J.M. Brown was the first pastor of both Charleston and Malden . After the separation Rev. Brown remained with the Charleston church and Rev. Stewart Robinson was the first regular pastor of the church at Malden after the separation. The present pastor is Rev. J.W. Carpenter who came here in 1907.

     The first house of worship was called a meeting house, which was located on the Ruffner estate below Georges creek. This building was in use until about 1838 and could be used by all denominations for religious services. About 1839 or 1840 Col. David Ruffner erected the present house of worship with his own means and since that time this brick structure has been used as a house of worship by the Presbyterians. Kanawha Salines church was organized September 1, 1841 , it having been known previously as the Kanawha Presbyterian church at Kanawha Salines and Charleston , W.Va. The present membership of the church is 72.

     At one time 42 salt furnaces were in operation in and around Malden . Now there is only one furnace owned and operated by J.Q. Dickinson & Co.

     J.Q. Dickinson & Co. plant or furnaces were erected for the manufacture of salt in 1832 by Dickinson and Shrewsbury or by Dr. Putney. The plant was destroyed by flood in 1861 and rebuilt by J.Q. Dickinson early in the seventies. Capacity, 150 barrels, daily. Other products are calcium chloride and bromine. Five or six tons of calcium chloride are produced daily and 125 pounds of bromine.

     The brines found in the Kanawha valley are different from those discovered in other parts of the country. By analysis of the W.Va. Geological Survey, Vol. 5, they are found to be 98.28 per cent pure, whereas the reports in the same volume of the product of one of the plants in the Ohio district is given as 91.31 per cent pure, and another of the Ohio plants, 95.32 per cent pure, both of which indicate that the salt has 3-7 per cent less impurities than the salt in other districts. Owing to this purity this product has an exceptional value as a meat curer or preservative. With the exception of the Snow Hill plant this is the largest plant ever operated in the valley. The last furnace to cease operation was the Brooks furnace two or three miles above Charleston . The next to the last was the Snow Hill furnace, operated by Dr. J.P. Hale. Mr. Charles Dickinson has been in charge of the plant since 1898. The furnace is run by gas piped thirteen miles from Boone county, W.Va. A combination of gas and coal is used for fuel. It is expected to increase the capacity of the furnace to 175 barrels daily.

     The stock breeders especially in the blue grass district use the salt manufactured in the Kanawha valley.

The Campbell Creek Coal Co., located at Malden or just below is a very old company and has operated and worked out several mines.

     Malden has one saloon.

The Campbell 's Creek Bridge Tragedy

     It was on the night of
the 24th of December, 1875 , that Thomas Lee was waylaid and murdered by Rufus Estep and John Dawson, on the iron bridge spanning Campbell 's creek at Malden . On the next day (Christmas) the perpetrators were arrested by the officers, taken to Charleston , and lodged in jail, there to await trial on the charge of murder. The murder of Lee was so unprovoked that a mob was at once organized, resolved to avenge his death by lynching Estep and Dawson . Philip W. Morgan, high sheriff of the county, together with John W. Lentz, John T.S. Perry and Silas Morgan, having learned of the intention of the mob, under cover of darkness removed the prisoners to Barboursville, and placed them in the Cabell county jail; but, fearing that the mob might learn of their whereabouts and follow on, they, two days later, removed them to the Wood county jail at Parkersburg.

     Here they remained until the convening of the circuit court of Kanawha county in January, when the court and prosecuting attorney having concluded that there was no longer danger of mob violence, ordered the sheriff to return the prisoners to the jail at Charleston , that they might be ready for trial. But no sooner were they brought back than "Judge Lynch" announced himself ready for work, accordingly ordered the circuit court to at once try and convict the prisoners, else he would proceed to the execution himself. On the 24th of January, 1876 , the prisoners were brought into court and arraigned upon the charge of murder. Their attorneys R.H. Freer and Abram Burlew, asked for a change of venue, and offered, as a reason for doing so, the fact that an armed mob existed, and owing to its presence, it would be impossible to secure a fair trial for the accused. Their motion was strongly opposed by John E. Kenna and James H. Ferguson, attorneys for the state. Judge Joseph Smith reserved his decision until the next morning, and the prisoners were remanded to jail.

     Meanwhile, the matter was being discussed at the courthouse. Thomas Hines, a journeyman tailor at Charleston , walked into a shoe shop on Anderson street , and cut the throat of J.W. Dooley, a colored shoemaker, who died from the wound in twenty-five minutes. Hines was at once arrested and lodged in jail. Judge Smith never rendered his decision, for that night a mob surrounded the jail and took Estep and Dawson, and at the same time it was joined by fifty colored men, who took out Hines. All marched to Campbell's creek bridge, and there the two former paid the penalty of their crime on the very spot on which they committed it; and at the same time Hines expiated his by hanging to the limb of a honey-locust tree three hundred yards above the bridge. The mob dispersed, and the bodies were cut down and buried the next morning, under orders from the authorities. Thus met and adjourned the first and last court over which "Judge Lynch" has presided in Kanawha.