The Marietta Times, September 3 & 4, 1988 (date
By Roger G. Kalter, Times Staff Writer
mix of riverside bungalows and trailers, an underground house, two taverns, a
service station and a little white church skirt the Ohio
River in the shadow of what was once a notorious moonshine town.
this mile-long hamlet along Ohio
7, three miles south of Matamoras, still are full of stories about illicit
whiskey made during prohibition in the wooded hills overlooking the Ohio.
early days of the 20th century, there was little else in the way of
work in the tiny community, which today has 75 to 100 residents.
simply did what they had to do,” said the Rev. Frank Conley, minister of Beavertown United Methodist
Church. His church was converted from a one-room
school house perched on the hillside.
has ministered the church nearly 28 years, believes stories told about the
town’s moonshine history are worse than deserved.
is not as bad as the name carried down through history,” said Conley, who lives
in Sardis. He also ministers churches at Mt. Olive
and Locust Grove.
“I came in
as a young minister. I was new,” he
said. “And I stayed there. I’ve always had the freedom to worship
there. It meant the world to me.”
has a special quality that pulls it together when hard times fall on residents
ever came to Beavertown hungry and then left hungry,” Conley said. “When there were disasters or desperate
needs, the town pulled together to fill that need.”
Conley said his small congregation is extremely spiritual, it is another spirit
that comes to mind when many residents and former residents talk about the
“When I was
a kid, the cow went dry and my dad gave me moonshine,” said Earl Flowers as he
nursed a mug of beer at Whitey’s Tavern.
Flowers, a retired construction worker, spent seven years building the
Pleasants Power Station, which looms overhead south of town on the West Virginia side of
the Ohio River.
remoteness and ruggedness of the terrain made the Beavertown area a natural
place to hide stills and their pig-tailed tubing. Some abandoned equipment is said to still dot
enforcement officials occasionally attempted to shut down the operations during
Prohibition, but at least several attempts ended in failure.
neighbor threw a federal man into a mash barrel head first,” Flowers said.
Marietta historian Jerry
Devol said one of his ancestors had a run-in with the moonshiners, too. Fax Devol was a Marietta constable in the early 1920s.
O”Neill got a complaint about the moonshine operations and sent Constable Devol
to do something about the problem
up in the middle of the river without any clothes,” Devol said. “They took his gun, his clothes, threw him in
a row boat and told him never to come back.”
Beaver, 65, of Matamoras was born in Beavertown during 1923.
“It was a
town where you generally minded your own business,” Beaver said. “You were taught never to look too much up
the hillsides or at the houses so you wouldn’t see anything. If someone saw you looking up there, and then
their still was raided, they might blame you for it.”
watch his grandfather, Robert, in action, however.
Beaver’s two sons made moonshine, and he rowed their product across the Ohio River to West
Virginia customers, Walter Beaver said.
“I was too
young, they wouldn’t let me go,” he recalled.
had a sophisticated alarm system to watch for law officers. That system
apparently included someone in the courthouse who tipped off the local
Robert Beaver’s house would yell the name of a nonexistent dog, and by the time
the law arrived, family members were all sitting around the dinner table.
one close call, however, when Robert Beaver’s sons dashed down to the riverside
and escaped across the river in a row boat to West Virginia as the law closed in, Walter
Beaver said. The two hitched a ride to Sistersville, W.Va.
and then were picked up by a friend who brought them back to Beavertown.
“Scotty” Scott would fly in and land in corn fields and a small landing strip
to collect loads of the Beavertown moonshine for sale elsewhere, said historian
Devol. Police couldn’t cope with the
area’s first aviator because they were limited to land.
moonshine was touted as the only way to earn a living in the community, Lyle
Beaver set up another business there.
“I had a
barber shop when I was 12 years old cutting kids’ hair,” said Beaver, who is 80
and still working part-time in his Matamoras shop. “I cut for 10 cents. If they didn’t have a dime, I didn’t charge
Beavertown Has Esprit
News, Sunday, May 9, 1976
By Diana McMahan of The News Staff
O.—Throughout its long history, Beavertown has been known to have an unusual
amount of community spirit, and esprit de corp among the people who live
this is because the large majority of people who have lived there for the past
125 years have been friends, as well as being related to each other—sisters,
brothers, cousins, down through the fifth and sixth generations!
perhaps it’s because they have shared so many of the same experiences. During historic times, the people of
Beavertown not only lived in close proximity, but they worked side by side, on
family and community projects.
One of the
best known of the community projects was a fleet of mussel boats, a combined
project of the Beaver and the Mount families.
shells were sold to button factories, chiefly the factory located at St. Marys, W.
Va. However, before the mussel shells could be
sold, they had to go through a rough processing.
was mostly the Beavertolwn men who manned the mussel boats, it was the women
and children who waited on shore and did the dirty work.
boats were equipped with poles about 10 feet long, each pole having about 40
lines going down it. Each line contained
sturdy wire hooks with four barbs each.
These hooks dragged along the river bottom, and mussel shells would
clamp shut on the hooks.
men had the boats of the Beavertown fleet filled with the big Ohio
River mussels, they would dock and the women and children took
had to be completely cleaned before they could be sold to the button
factory. The women had huge fires
roaring on shore, and they could fill the big pots with mussels.
the mollusks were cooked, they had to be cleaned. The mussel boat fleet was truly a community
project, and everyone participated.
addigtiion to the fleet of mussel boats, the Beaver family had prospered, and
they owned at least two packet boats on the Ohi River.
were named Beaver No. 1 and Beaver No. 2.
These boats seem to have been a family or community project, including
both ownership and the crewmen who worked on them.
these two boats are not presently known.
However, the “Matamoras Enterprise” dated Dec. 17, 1914 has a note listed under Sheets
Run items. “Beaver No. 2 is going to run
excursions to Marietta
this week. Now is the time to do your
family can trace its genealogy back to Michael Beaver, who came from Germany. He married Catherine Benine, and they brought
their family first to Maryland,
then to the Oho Valley in 1838, settling on Sheets Run
on the Arthur Taylor farm.
lived out their lifespan on the farm and are buried in a small family grave
yard. Michael Beaver, born 1784, died July 28, 1860, aged 75
years, nine months and four days. His wife’s stone reads born Sept. 10, 1796, died Sept. 5, 1858. They had three children, Nancy, Rachel and
born May 16, 1831
in Maryland. Once in Ohio, he remained his lifetime, marrying
(1856) Rebecca Thompson, daughter of Benjamin Thompson of Pennsylvania. Although Andrews Washington County History
states that they had 13 children, the family Bible lists only 10. John Beaver died Nov. 21, 1913, and is buried in the
older section of the Parr Hill cemetery.
Thanks for Beaver historical details goes to Eileen Thomas, who has done
a complete study.
The name of
Beaver crops up often throughout area history, not only in Beavertown, but in
the outlying areas. Peter Beaver moved
north to Matamoras and was one of the fore thinking men who signed the first
petition for incorporation in 1846. First
Post Office bore the name of Dawes, for Rufus Dawes, rproponet of the ill-fated
Bellaire railroad. However, it was not
established until 1882.
Beavertown area also boasts several important firsts!
it is thought the very first man to live in Grandview Township
was David Shepherd, who built his cabin right below Beavertown. He came down
the river, lived here an undetermined amount of time and then moved on.
permanent settlers in the township were most definitely the Dickerson brothers,
who took over the Shepherd claim. They
were Thomas, Revolutionary War veteran.
And his brothers, Vachel and Kinsey, who were famed as Indian scouts
throughout the Ohio
Valley, often traveling
with Jonathan Zane and Lewis Wetzel.
BEAVERTOWN derives its name from the fact that everyone in
the village had the family name of Beaver or is related.
The post office was established in
Beavertown and named Dawes Post Office. The first postmaster was James Cochran
in 1882, Daniel Webber in 1885, Samuel Cochran 1889, Sethathiel Hutchinson
1891, Aurelius Ellis 1893, William Beaver 1894, Fredrick Joy 1907, and when the
appointments rescinded, William Beaver was postmaster until 1911 when the
office was dissolved due to rural free delivery from New Matamoras.
Lock and Dam No. 16 was completed
in 1917. It went out of operation March 1975 with the opening of Willow Island
Dam. Charles Yates, Nelson Blair, John Newlin, Jeff Workman, Bernard Diddle and
Clyde Johnson were lockmasters. The two lock houses on the other side of Route
#7 were where the lockmasters and employees lived with their families.
Earl (Junkie) Beaver, the son of
William Beaver, who was born and raised in Beavertown gave me this account of
Beavertwon when he was 88 years old.
During the time the locks were
being built, Beavertown was a prosperous community. Dan Beaver had a grocery
store. William Beaver ran a confectionary called “Pop’s Store.” The Pete Dunn
house was once a two-story home which served as a restaurant, pool room and boarding
house. Earl ran the pool room in 1914-1916. John Mount had a grocery store,
which Earl and his father bought. These businesses were all located at the
crossroads of Parr Hill and the Old
After the relocation of Route #7,
Earl and Clyde Paynter formed a partnership and built a new store. This was located
at the foot of Parr Hill Road
and left side of Route #7. They also planted 300 peach trees of Parr Hill.
(This was located out from the old schoolhouse.) In the early 50’s they sold
the store to Eugene Holdren. This was where the community met to do their
Danford Beaver was the last owner
of the store property. He tore it down.
John Mount built a new store above
the Lock property, which he ran until his death in 1950.
Early records for the Parr Hill
Church were not
preserved. There was an old log church on the other side of the road. Earl said
he was 10 or 12 years old when the present church was built. Some of the early
preachers were Reverends Rogers, Davison, Clarence Hubbard and Earl Brown.
The first school house was on Parr
Hill. It was located where John and Amy Beaver had their marble home. The
schoolhouse had two rooms, with four grades to a room. Some of the teachers
were Grover Heddleson, Charles Brown, Clyde Paynter, Iva Keller, Edna Fox,
Glenn Miller, and Ann Harrington. Jessie Armstrong taught the 1920-21 school
year. Around this time, William Beaver traded for some land and the community
built a new schoolhouse. Teachers were Glenn Miller and Nathaniel Kidd. School
was held there until the late 20’s when students were transferred to New
Matamoras. George Beaver was the first bus driver. In 1930 the school was
remodeled and the E.U.B.
Church was started. Rev.
Frank Conley came on Sept.
There are two cemeteries in
Beavertown. The Parr
land was donated by Henry Ellis, Albert Slack and Alma Taylor. The other
cemetery, the older of the two, is located at the intersection of Parr Hill
road and the old road. Records show Henry Frank, a Revolutionary War Soldier is
Various notes on Beavertown
Fairview Church located at the top of the hill.
Early Records for the Parr Hill Fairview E.U.B. Church were
not preserved. There was an old log church on the other side of the road.
In Grandview Township there are at least 17 Cemeteries and
Located: Grandview Twp Road 22, Sheets Run on left side of
1’4 mile on hill behind Doyle Taylor’s home.
Daniel Beaver d. June 6, 18_9 in the 46 year of his age;
Footstone with D..B.
Nesbert Mount d. June 8, 1871 aged 46 yr 3 ms 7 ds; with
this tomb My husband has his spirit rest above in realms if bliss it never dies
but knows a Savior’s love.
Rachel Lee July 5, 1851
Mary Mount January 21, 1851
Michael and Catherine Benine Beaver once owned this
property. It was on Sheets Run were Art and Alma Taylor lived. There they
reared nine children. They are buried under a cedar tree near their home. The
stoned have large roses engraved at the top wand were bought in Wheeling, West
Virginia. Michael and Catherine (Benine) Beaver each Sunday morning as hey
heard the church bells ring would walk their children to service at the Parr
Hill Church. Among the other families that would follow along were the
Hutchison’s, Flowers’, McCall’s, and McMaster’s.
Michael and Catherine Beaver died at home. That’s the way
they did it back then.
Earl Beaver said he was about 10-12 years old when the
present church was built. This renovated church is absolutely beautiful.
Freshly painted floors, walls, and ceilings are bright and clean. The original
old fashioned pews, cut with a keyhole design on top, have been painted same
rich brown as the floor. The old wood stove, manufactured by the Pick Oak
Bellaire Stove Company is shiny and black, a tribute to the late Victorian days
when the church was built.
~On the stone, now laid with prayer, let thy church rise,
strong and fair; ever, Lord, Thy name be know where we lay this cornerstone~
~By wise master-builders squared, here by living stone
prepared for thy temple near thy Throne---Jesus Christ it’s cornerstone~