Background – Coon’s Fort and Coon’s Run, Marion County, West Virginia

Background – Coon’s Fort and Coon’s Run, Marion County, West Virginia

The West Virginia COON families are said to be descended from Philip COON who supposedly emigrated from either Germany or Holland, and his son, Joseph.1 Philip and Joseph were early settlers in the western Virginia wilderness (the District of West Augusta) in 1772.2

In 1776, the District was divided into three counties: Ohio, Yohogania (later removed), and Monongalia, making the COON settlement in Monongalia County, Virginia, in an area which in 1784 became Harrison County, Virginia, and finally Marion County, Virginia, in 1842.3

The state of West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the Civil War and was admitted to the Union on 20 June 1863.4 From roughly 1842-1863, then, the COON settlement was in Marion County, Virginia, and in 1863, the area became Marion County, West Virginia.5

In 1777, Philip and Joseph COON built an “Indian Fort” called “Coon’s Fort” by the stream upon which they lived. That stream was at some point named “Coon’s Run.”6 It is still called Coon’s Run today.7 Although the fort no longer stands, there is an historic marker near the site.8

Coon’s Fort Historical Marker, US Hwy 19 just west of Worthington, West Virginia. “COON’S FORT – To the south, Indian fort built in 1777 under direction of Captain James Booth. It was an important place of refuge for many early settlers in this valley. Near by was the iron furnace built by Benjamin Brice in 1812.” Used with permission of Ancestry user hawkinslee.

Coon’s Fort Historical Marker, US Hwy 19 just west of Worthington, West Virginia. “COON’S FORT – To the south, Indian fort built in 1777 under direction of Captain James Booth. It was an important place of refuge for many early settlers in this valley. Near by was the iron furnace built by Benjamin Brice in 1812.” Used with permission of Ancestry user hawkinslee.


A more detailed description of the location of Coon’s Fort can be found in Haymond.9

Shinnston, W. Va., 4-3, 1908.

Mr. Henry Haymond,

Dear Sir: – Fort Coon was situated on the west bank of Coon’s Run about three miles from its mouth and confluence with the West Fork River. The site of the old fort is in Marion County about one half mile from the Harrison County line on the late Peter B. Righter farm. It was in the territory of Harrison County from 1784 until 1843 at which time Marion County was formed….

Respectfully,

B. A. Reeder.

My confusion on the location is that in this letter to Haymond, B. A. Reeder states that Coon’s Fort was 3 miles from the mouth of Coon’s Run. The source of a flowing body of water is where it begins, and the mouth is where it flows into; thus, the mouth of Coon’s Run is at the West Fork River, but 3 miles from the mouth yet on the bank puts it farther south than what I expected.

Below is an embedded topographical map showing the location of the Coon’s Fort historical marker and the location of Coon’s Fort as described in the letter to Haymond (“on the west bank of Coon’s Run about three miles from its mouth”). Also shown are the source and mouth locations of Coon’s Run as it flows today (from higher to lower elevation, south to north, beginning in Harrison County, West Virginia), and a blue line showing the roads along the stream.10

 


Citations

1.^ Cline Morgan Koon, “Two Thousand Descendants of Philip Coon (Koon) of West Virginia : A Genealogical Study of the Family in America” (typescript ms., n.p., 1970), 1; imaged by FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/454380 : accessed 9 July 2016); citing Family History Library microfilm 833,044. This page numbered manuscript is primarily a compilation of approximately 700 handwritten family group sheets. On each sheet is only a generic list of materials consulted. The reliability of the data cannot be easily confirmed or disputed because of the lack of explicit source citations for each piece of data, and minimal to no explanation of evidential thought processes. On pages 1-6, Koon provides a single-spaced historical introduction with a short list of references, including a drawing of Coon’s Fort made in 1970 by W.D. Koon, and some information about the original settlements of Philip and Joseph Coon.

2.^ Henry Haymond, History of Harrison County, West Virginia : from the early days of Northwestern Virginia to the present (Morgantown, West Virginia: Acme Publishing Co., 1910), 27-28; digital images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/ : accessed 24 July 2016).

3.^ Map of US (http://www.mapofus.org/ : accessed 22 July 2016), “Maps of West Virginia.”

4.^ Wikipedia (https://www.wikipedia.org/), “West Virginia,” rev. 18:59, 25 July 2016.

5.^ Map of US (http://www.mapofus.org/ : accessed 22 July 2016), “Maps of West Virginia.”

6.^ Haymond, History of Harrison County, West Virginia : from the early days of Northwestern Virginia to the present, 182.

7.^ On Google Earth and in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database (http://geonames.usgs.gov/), it is called Coons run with no apostrophe. On Bing maps, it is called Koons Run.

8.^ The Historical Marker Database (http://www.hmdb.org/ : accessed 23 July 2016), “Coon’s Fort.”

9.^ Haymond, History of Harrison County, West Virginia : from the early days of Northwestern Virginia to the present, 64.

10.^ Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) (http://geonames.usgs.gov/ : accessed 23 July 2016), “Coons Run.”


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5 Responses to Background – Coon’s Fort and Coon’s Run, Marion County, West Virginia

  1. Pingback: Latest Post on Coon Genealogy Blog | Diggin' Up Graves

  2. Denise Foerter says:

    I am a direct descendant of this family.

    Like

  3. Katrina Huebner says:

    Thank you for this information! I am a direct descendant of Joseph Coon’s, through his son Conrad. I will be in this area at the end of May and am hoping to find the sign and Coon’s Run!

    Like

    • It was a very exciting adventure for me! It was probably a couple of decades ago, but I believe I ended up asking someone to direct me to the location. I would not be surprised if the Marion County Historical Society could help out, too. I hope you’ll post here about how it goes, Katrina.

      Like

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