Earlier McComas Pioneer Families and Shed Mountain
Jason Odle emailed me this photo because he liked it. But when he told me it was taken on "SHED MOUNTAIN" I quickly emailed
him back asking exactly where it was located. His direction were
Jason grew up in this area and played on this rock formation frequently he said. Below is an article written by Barty Wyatt about this
mountain. Barty also at one time wrote for a paper published and known as the
Mora Circuit News. I wonder if the store that Mr. W. M. Smith operated was in the same building
as the one I later knew as "Conners Store" ran by D.H. Conner for many years? The following is a quote taken from a letter
written by Elihu Pigg which is displayed in its entirity on an Early Pioneers Page link of this website:
- Travel the paved road from McComas towards Matoaka.
- When you reach the top of Conner Mountain (the area where the gravel road turns off to the left)
- Instead of turning onto the gravel road look directly to the right and continue up that mountainside.
- Thats Shed Mountain
"In 1912, I hurt my hip in the coal mines and was laid up for awhile. I became ill with rheumatism as a result of the accident. When I got a little better, D.
H. Conner and I bought out a stock of goods from W.M. Smith near Giatto. I moved there in the fall of 1913 and stayed until January 1, 1915.
I knew that our
business was heading for a downfall. We decided the best thing to do was to dissolve our partnership. I then decided to move to Matoaka. I sold my goods and
groceries for a few months before moving back to McComas. After moving back to
McComas I still sold groceries and other merchandise"
picture supplied by Bruce Conner is a little blurry - its the Conner Store owned by
Dock Huff "D.H." Conner
The store is now gone and Roscoe and Susan Odle have built their beautiful home on the site.
Lamar Hollow, Giatto and Matoaka are in the direction behind the store.
McComas would be in the direction behind the person taking the picture.
Could this Shed have sat more in the area we may know as the public roadway today? The gap of
the mountain does run that way. The story of the Indian trails in Barty's article below tie in very closely with the Fact or Fiction page I did on the "Early Pioneers"
Indian Village location also. I've read that Barty Wyatt was a man who did many things from teaching school, working in a sawmill,
working at Crane Creek, writing many many articles on local history, to building houses.
The Old Mercer Campmeeting Shed
written by the late Barty Wyatt
quoted from "A New River Heritage" Volume IV page 128-129
Back in the dawn of Mercer County's history, the old Shed was constructed between the years 1830 and 1840 on the headwaters of
Crane Creek and the mail route extending from New Hope to Oceana, In Wyoming County.
author William Sanders published 1994 by McClain Printing Company, Parsons, WV
The Old Shed was a great gathering place or center, not only for Mercer County but for the adjoining counties. In the 1830s, before the formation of
Mercer County and afterwards, preaching was done in the homes and in the groves. Each community had its grove in which to hold church meetings in the summer
season, but the winters held very little preaching.
The first log meetinghouse built by any denomination in southwest Virginia, was by the Baptist at Alderson in Greenbrier County, in 1783.
In those early years from 1783 to 1840, there being no place for Baptists to hold associations and the Methodist to hold
camp meetings, a group of citizens got together during the years of such great need and built what was known as the Old Shed as a place of worship.
The main purpose of the shed was to protect the congregation from the rain.
Such stalwarts as Reverend John Alderson, James Ellison, Matthew Ellison, Robert Sayers Sheffey, Zacheriah Munsey, James Calfee, and others held away. This particular structure was located in a gap on the mountain above Giatto
separating the headwaters of Crane Creek from that of Widemouth Creek and being located near a spring on a farm owned by Rufus Allen McComas. The framework
of the shed consisted of round poles with three lines of eleven posts each of locusts and chestnut were set in the ground at a depth of three feet to support the massive roof which
was approximately thirty by eight feet. The posts were from six to eight inches in diameter and twelve feet long. The rafters were made of round poles in uniform size. It was covered with clapboards three feet long and weighted down with round poles. There
was not a nail used in the construction of this shed, it was a bored and pegged job throughout. When completed, it gave a covered area of twenty-four hundred
In addition to the shed, numerous tents were set up on the ground to take care of large numbers of people attending the meetings.
These meetings were held in warm weather. July and August and when crowded for room, people would bring blankets from home, and sleep under
the stars at night.
My grandmother Wyatt was one of those "Shouting Methodists" and she has attended the Camp Meeting at this place and heard Robert Sayers Sheffey
preach. He spent much time in the home of my grandmother who lived just over the mountain in the pine-clad hills of what is now Wyoming County. I could write a sizeable book
on the many stories that she told me about Preacher Sheffey. When the preacher visited in their home they always tried to have either honey or
fish on the table. When either one was set before him he would lift his eyes heavenward and shout over the food.
In the gloomy past this old, lost to memory, landmark was often thronged with hundreds of worshippers from a vast churchless area with only a
few ministers to carry them old-time, soul-stirring gospel messages to a hungry people.
The writer has endeavored to give you some idea of looks of the old shed as it appeared to him in 1894, just seventy-six years ago. For many years
after it ceased to be used for preaching services, it became popular as a picnic ground.
In my research for material on this story, I found only one man who had heard about the old camp-meeting shed--Graden Godfrey. The man who had
heard about the old shed was born near the spot.
This structure was built on an old Indian trail which extended from the Indian towns in Ohio to the Guyandott River at what is now
Joes Branch Post Office. When roads were built they followed this Indian trail religiously.
The last time that I visited the site of the old shed was in 1912 where I found W. M. Smith of Athens operating a large general store with an enormous coalfield trade.