Mannington, West Virginia

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Mannington is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States located in the hills of North-Central West Virginia. Known as Mannington since 1856, the town is rich with history and heritage – from Native American relics to frontiersmen and their settlements to Civil War legends. Perhaps what makes Mannington most unusual is the impact of the oil and gas boom in 1890 that literally changed the shape of the town. The population of Mannington was 2,124 at the 2000 census.



Early History

At the time of the first settlement, the west fork of Buffalo Creek was known as Warrior’s Fork, while the North Fork has historically borne the name of Pyle's Fork. One of the first settlers in the area was John Ice, who was born in the valley of the South Branch of the Potomac River in what was then Virginia. As a child, Ice and his father searched in vain for his mother, two sisters and brother who had been captured by the Indians. The mother was never found, although the children ultimately were. Only John's brother, known from then on as "Indian Billy" returned to the family. The sisters chose to remain with their one time captors (Prichard 1983).

Indian activity was not uncommon in the area and many settlers and travelers met their fate at the hands of the Indians, including John Madison, the cousin of James Madison the future president, who was killed on a surveying trip in the area in 1783. Although not necessarily as a result of this, James Madison did procure, as an investment, some land on Brush Run and Pyles Fork just north of Forks of Buffalo.

The earliest population concentration did not occur in what is now Mannington, but rather approximately two miles west of Dent's Run. Most of the land now falling within the city limits, some 1,360 acres (5.5 km2), was owned by Robert Rutherford, a Revolutionary War financier and an intimate friend of George Washington. In 1799, Rutherford sold his Forks of Buffalo holdings to James Brown of Berkeley County, Virginia, who, after experiencing financial setbacks, eventually sold the property at public sale in 1824 to a group of Baltimore, Maryland, investors which included William Baker. Baker apparently bought out his partners and, in turn, sold the parcel to James Hanway, a surveyor living in Monongalia County, who parceled the land and began selling it. This final transaction occurred in 1840 and it was then that the area now known as Mannington had its genesis.

After the parceling of the land around the Forks of Buffalo, interest in the area increased as did the population. A number of log houses began to be built, with the accompanying entrepreneurial activities that one might expect in an early settlement. By 1850 a tavern owned by George and Samuel Koon appeared in the heart of the burgeoning town. Not long after the tavern was opened, the Forks of Buffalo began to be known as Koon Town. While the local inhabitants may have used the newer name, the United States government failed to do so, in 1850 naming their first postal office in the community the Forks of Buffalo Post Office. It was not until 1856 that the village officially became known as Mannington, named after Charles Manning, a civil engineer with the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad. Manning was well liked by the community and the inhabitants were eager to have a more "dignified" name for a growing town on the new railroad line.

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