On November 29, 1899, for an investment of $11,000 the Jennings brothers Cortez Hicks and Bishop Worth, acquired a piece of property in WV that included a sawmill, dam, machinery, and a railroad that ran from the Dry Fork Railroad to the mill from the Middle Mountain Boom and Lumber Company.
The town of Jenningston was founded in 1905. By the end of August, the company store was opened. The house that would become Laurel River Club Bed and Breakfast was being built for the company superintendent. B. Worth and his wife Ella. Thirty-five men and a team of horses arrived from Pennsylvania. In November the post office was opened in Jenningston. B.W. Jennings was the first postmaster but was succeeded by Frank Rice.
On July 1, 1909, the Jennings sold all of the property in and around Jenningston, to A. G. and E. G. Allen of Maryland who owned the newly formed Laurel River Lumber Company. This included 18 miles of railroad, 400 million feet of uncut timber, the mill, store, all houses, and animals. The selling price was $1,400,000. It also included the newly built hotel, the Laurel Inn, that had just opened. After selling out, the Jennings family bought farmlands in Towanda, PA, where they operated The Jennings Farm for many years.
By 1919 the mill employed 300 men with a monthly payroll of $25,000 to $30,000, but it was short-lived. Because logging was the only industry in Jenningston, when the trees were all cut there was nothing left to sustain the people. The mill was closed in August 1921 and its equipment sold off. It sold its lands on January 22, 1922, along with the company store. In February it sold its houses, which were torn down for the lumber and used in neighboring towns. With no work, the population slowly drifted away. The post office closed on October 13, 1922, but reopened at the train station and remained open till June 5, 1939.
The official end of the Laurel River Lumber Company occurred on January 18, 1923. The last company house was destroyed in the flood of 1985. The only two houses left are the Fred A. Perley house and the Superintendent’s house, which is now the Laurel River Club Bed and Breakfast.
History of Tucker County West Virginia by Homer Floyd Fansler
Nancy Hawke Bomboy a great-grandaughter of Cortez Hicks Jennings
Michelle Elizabeth Knight a great great granddaughter of Cortez Hicks Jennings
A Brief History of Jenningston by Keith Allen
A Pictorial History of Dry Fork Railroad WV and Surrounding Areas by Chris Kidwell
If you would like to know more, come and visit and experience the history first hand.
The main square includes B.W. and Ellla Jennings house, (later to become Laurel Club River Bed and Breakfast), the General Store, and the Laurel Inn along with others.
Center men with pipe in hand, Cortez Hicks Jennings and with pipe in mouth, William Worth Jennings
Temporary Logging camps were set up to house the loggers outside of town.
Home of Bishop and Ella Jennings and over 100 years later, the Laurel River Club Bed and Breakfast.
The mill contained a double band saw and gang saws. By 1907, the mill produced 125,000 feet of lumber per day.
The Laurel River Lumber Company was formed when the Allens purchased the mill from the Jennings. In 1912 the lumber mill caught fire and burned down, only half the lumber was cut at that point so it was rebuilt.
In 1918 the Laurel Inn was completely destroyed by a fire.
In 1911 The Laurel River Company donated 3,663 square feet of land to build the church. Pastor Percy W. Metheny was also the teacher at the Public School for a time. In 1910 a Union Church was built in the upper end of Jenningston.
Built before 1910 and closed permantly in 1945
One of the three streets in Jenningston that ran parallel to each other.
Center Street also called Main Street, went straight down through town.
The General Store
1910 temporary logging camp.
Workers would use their script at the company store.
Good for one pint of milk.
The company store where the script was exchanged for merchandise.
The depot that the post office was moved to until June 5, 1939 when it was permanently closed.
This postcard is postmarked mailed from Jenningston, WV
Perley and Crocket Boarding House
There were three different hotels in Jenningston and perhaps not all at the same time.
One of the three known hotels in Jenningston.
This is the mill dam, perhaps the one that the Jennings brothers bought in 1899.
Not near as busy today and a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
The Dry Fork River Runs right beside the BnB.
We love to meet new guests and are having a blast managing the Laurel River Club Bed and Breakfast and educational farm surrounding it. Come relax and enjoy a taste of country life!
A very special thank you goes out to Nancy Hawke Bomboy (great granddaughter of Cortez Hicks Jennings on the far right) and Michelle Elizabeth Knight (great great granddaughter of Cortez Hicks Jennings in Center) What a wonderful visit and great time sharing information about the family who was responsible for the town of Jenningston, WV. We hope you continue to return year after year!
This book has provided us so much information for our research! A huge THANK YOU to Chris Kidwell for the time that he has given us and the thirty + years that he put into making this book. Worth every penny. We keep a copy for our guests to enjoy on our coffee table in the living room, order it on Amazon or pick up your copy right here at LRCBnB!