Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My family lived at the Lunatic Asylum!

Halloween is just around the corner so what better time to take another look at my Flesher family! What’s the connection you ask? Well, one of the ‘most haunted places in America ‘sits on land that was once owned by my 6th great-grandfather. The Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV was built in the early 1860’s on what was once Henry Flesher’s farm. (So, the title was  a bit misleading) The present day Lewis County Courthouse was built on the ‘threshing floor’ of his barn. Henry owned many acres in what is now Lewis County. Henry was one of the first white settlers in the area where he and his wife, Elizabeth Bush, raised 10 children. I descend through his daughter Anna and her 2nd husband Charles Parsons. I have some ‘dirt’ on Anna but that’s for another post!  

The town of Weston was first named Preston then briefly named ‘Flesherville’ but the family didn’t care for that so the name was changed to Weston. No one really knows where the name Weston came from but it was NOT Henry’s middle name. Prior to being Weston the area was Augusta County, Harrison County and finally Lewis County. Some have said that it would not be incorrect to compare Henry Flesher to Daniel Boone. He was just as tough and rugged as the more well know pioneer. I can’t imagine what West Virginia was like in the 1700’s! History tells us that it was not a safe place that is for sure! Indian attacks were quite common through the 1700’s and Henry Flesher has been credited with the last Indian killing in the area. Henry himself was attacked and almost killed by an Indian while returning to his cabin after working in his fields. The following is from “A History of Lewis County, West Virginia” written by Edward Conrad Smith and published in 1920.

Stone Coal Creek
The first attack following the close of the Revolution took place on the spot destined in later years to be chosen as the seat of government of the county. About the middle of October, 1784, assisted by Paulser Butcher, then a mere youth, but later one of the largest landholders in the county, Henry Flesher had been engaged in hauling logs for a stable to be built near where the Baptist church now stands. Flesher went to his house to get a bell to put on his horse preparing to turn him out to graze in woods. When he reached the ravine which came down the hill about where Bank Street now is he was fired upon by an Indian lying in wait. The ball passed through his arm, and he immediately started to run to his cabin. The savage ran after him and almost succeeded in overtaking him at his own door. In attempting to kill him before he entered the house the Indian, using his gun as a club, brought it down against the logs of the house with such force that the stock was shattered. Mrs. Flesher succeeded in pulling her husband into the house, and then scared the Indian away by calling- upon the other men in the house to fire. The family spent the night in the woods, fearing a renewal of the assault. There is a tradition that Mrs. Flesher carried her husband into a thicket near the house and spent the night under the widespread limbs of a sycamore which stood at the mouth of Stone Coal creek. The next morning she met John Schoolcraft, who summoned help from West's fort. Another account states that a young woman of the family reached Hacker's creek the next morning and that the remainder of the family were guided into West's fort by Edward Hughes. The Flesher family and young Butcher remained at West's fort until the near approach of winter made it unlikely that any savages were in the vicinity, when they returned to their home.

Henry Flesher’s name is found no less than 65 times in the book and anyone interested in reading more can find the book online for free at: 


I also transcribed Henry’s will today 

(I can spell.... just transcribed what I saw!)

Henry Flesher

  In the Name of God amen I Henry Flesher Sen of Harrison County and State of Virginia am of perfect mind and Memory thanks be given unto God Caling to Mind the mortality of my Body and Knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Die Do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament that is to say princepally and first of all I give and recommend my Soul unto the hand of almighty God that it and my body to be buried in a Decent Christian burial and as Souching Such worldly Estate. I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my wife her bed & ___ furniture that belongs to __bed- Andrew [smudge] & [smudge] Peter my three sons the House Each the Share [smudge] My son Henry is to have the Plantation Whereon [smudge] I Now Live Beginning at the upper corner Tree Then [smudge] urning over the river to Peter Flesher cornor then with the Meanders of the river to the mouth of Stone Coal creak then up sd Creek with the Meanders thereof to the upor End of apopla bottom to a small D___ and up the Same to the Line & to my Son John I give the Tract of Land on poke creek Lying between Peter Flesher Line and John P Dwallading thereto Sixty Dollars in Cash out of my movable &to my Son William I give the Land Lying on the Lower Side of Stone Coal Creek ___ the Line runs Joining Land with Charles Parsons ading thereto __him fifty Dollars and the old Sond mares coalts to my Grandson David Sleth I give to Him the Bull Mares Coalt and as for all the remainder of my Estate Shall be Sold at Publick Sale and Eighteen monthly Credit given and then my wife Elizabeth to have her ____ of the money when my Debts is Paid and the Balances to be Divided equal amongst my four Daughters Ann Elizabeth Mary and Susannah but as for my Son Henry Shall pay to John and William Each Eighty Dollars in hand for their part of the old Plantation as Soon as they become the age of twenty one years but as for William he shall be Bound for for traid at the age of the age of Seventeen and I also appoint___ my Sons Adam and Henry Flesher as my Executors & administrators there shall also be no due __ three pounds out of my Daughter Susannahs Share for the Land She now Lives on ___ Creek & I Do hereby utterly revoke and Disannull all and any other fomer will and Testament in any wise before Named ___ Witness whereof I have here unto Left my Hand and Seal this Twenty Sixth Day of November One thousand and eight hundred and two
Signed Sealed & Delivered by the said Henry Flesher Sen S__is his Last Will and Testament

The words Henry Flesher is wrote in German (not my comment this is stated in the actual will)
In the presences of
Paul Butcher, John Law

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I'm a descendant of Henry's. My grandfather Ralph Flesher told me this story growing up. I'm going to have to ask him how the family tree goes. I believe he has the news paper article of Henry getting attacked. My email is if you have any more info!