histoty of volcano wv - Mackey's Antique Clock Repair parkersburg wv


Mackey's Antiques & Clock Repair
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101

   304 422-7274

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The following account was told by the late J. J. Shore and the late Mrs. Addie lark. They also owned the very first newspapers printed after the fire four days after the little town of Volcano was destroyed. The account that follows is tragic and yet interwoven with humor. The tragedy which made Volcano a ghost town occurred Aug. 4. 1879.

The first reunion and annual picnic held after the great fire was held Aug. 16, 1893, four years after the disaster in the Recreation Park on Dils lot where the McKinley School now stands. According to the two former residents to whom we owe this account the little oil city of Volcano at the time of the fire was larger than Parkersburg, with a narrow gauge railroad known as the Laural Fork and Sand Hill railroad which connected with the B. and O. at Laural Hill near Eaton Station ad is a distance of 3 1/2 miles there were two weekly. papers in the town and it from these papers we obtain most of our information. They were compiled and printed by the Volcano editors the printing was done on a Parkersburg press, no doubt. The papers were the Volcano Lubricator an the West Virginia Walking beam the fire origin was never fully agreed upon. Here is what the the newspapers had to say  

Story of the Fire in a Nut shell Monday morning, the 4, of August is a date that the people in the regions will never forget. It has been firmly stamped upon the memories of all of them. The fire fiend has done the work. about 4 o'clock on the morning just named, Volcano was aroused from her slumbers by the cry if fire and in the shortest possible time the hills and hollows of White oak were swarming with men, woman and children. all apparenty anxious to get a parting look at the doomed city the watchman james frey and Arch Williams, had just Parted for their homes believing all as safe, but they had been gone but about ten minutes when the alarm was given by Jennie Tavennr, who at that time was living at he opposite hill from the scene of disaster. Several men arrived on the spot immediately and couId have checked the fire if there had been a' sufficient quantity of water on hand. Unfortunately, however, water is one of the scarcest articles in the regions, and there was no other alternative but to let it burn. The fire originated in the Thompson and Barnes dry goods and grocery store, in the basement.

From there it went to Graham and Smith's store, then across the street to Wade Farrow's residence and the Nicholis hotel, then to the Walking Beam printing office. By this time the fire had gotten such head way as to make it impossible to try stopping it, and on it went, It went taking both sides of the street (jay-walking) making a clean sweep of everything until it reached the Silcott's hotel. where there was a break in the buildings of about 50 feet and by the hardest work the fire was checked on· the upper end of the street.

On the hill above the town Warner and Co.'s derrick was cut down to stop the fire going· up the hill and getting into several tanks of oil. on the opposite hill one of Whitman's derricks was cut down to save the oil houses on Marietta run. A crowd off faithful workers stay ed at O'Brien's machine shop, saving it and the whole upper portion of the town. Along the railroad it swept everything from the Volcanic engine house on down to Mr. Stiles' old store house and the upper pumping station of the TransIportation Co. Places Burned Following is a list burned: 

The Volcanic office, Odd Fellows hall, Kennedy's restaurant, Nicholi hotel, Wade Farrow's residence' stable, postoffice building, jim Frey's house, Bell's stable, Farrel's news depot, Roberts' torpedo office. Shufelts shoe store, Hizer's meat market, Devore's jewelry store, Pontious and Hardy's office, Walklng Beam office, barber shop, Chubbuck's office, Graham and Smith's store, Thompson and Barnes store, Whitman's store, dwelling and maIchine shop Transportation Co.'s pumping station, Stiles' old store· building, depot, telegraph office' ware rooms, barrel house, three derIricks, Volcano enginehouse, JenInie Tavenner's house, Smith's boiler works, nine tanks, 630 barrels of heavy oil worth $3,600, all a total loss, Some of the people were rather scantily clad the morning of the fire. Barrels were scarce.

William Cooper Stiles Jr. came to Wood County in 1857 to investigate the potential of the oil field near White Oak on the eastern border of what is now Wood County. He returned in 1864 to form the Volcanic Oil and Coal Company. Stiles purchased 2,000 acres, began drilling, and laid Out the town that by 1870 was called Volcano. In its heyday Volcano had nearly 4,000 permanent residents. Stiles died in his Volcano home on December 17, 1896.  



Thornhill, Mr. Stiles' Mansion, before it was abandoned and fell into disrepair - Picture by Mike Naylor


Volcano town hall - Picture by Mike Naylor


John Shaffer's store. John Wilson's Bowling Alley and saloon in the foreground.


power on the old Laurel fork and sand Hill railroad 1897


old Power Station Housing Gas Engines and the Large Wooden step-up power wheels


Harry Fleming, pump station Engineer Harry had a Life time of service in the oil fields. 31 years with the power oil Company at Volcano  


Harry Fleming, beside the gas Engine he has tended for 31 years. from the Fly wheel of this Engine, power is stepped up to drive the 18 foot wooden wheel. Valcano 


corner of Thornhill store and town hall. Mrs. Gates and John Schaffer.


Stiles residence, Thornhill Farm


Thornhill Store


Residence of E. W. Staples and Dr. W. H. Sharp.


The Old Stiles House looking East.


MR. West's House and Pole Swell


The Old Stiles House, Looking West.


Mr. West on porch and the Arbor that is over 100 Years Old



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