The village of Ramsey
takes its name from James Whitely Ramsey an early settler. Ramsey bought
a part of the Schuyler Hamilton land where Ramsey now stands. He was living
there early in the 19th century. He lived in a two story log house on the
present Elliott Moore property. The house had two fireplaces one in the
kitchen and one in the living room. Two rooms upstairs, three down with
two porches. James Whitely Ramsey and his wife Betty were pioneer citizens
here before Wise County was formed.
They reserved one half acre of their land
around the family plot for a resting place for all posterity. They lived
in an age when seeds were seeds and meant almost life or death to the early
farmer. "Aunt Betty" planted her peas early one spring morning. The old
rooster came along later and took them all up. That
night "Aunt Betty" took her lantern, butcher
knife, needle and thread and went into the chicken house, felt of the crop
of all the chickens until she came to the guilty one, then took him down,
slit his crop, recovered her peas, sewed up the incision and placed him
back on the roost. The next day she replanted her peas but we are not told
whether he repeated the offense.
According to the
History of the James C. Dougherty Family, the Hamilton family was the first
settlers at the present site of Ramsey. James C. Dougherty married Elizabeth
Hamilton at Ramsey in 1796. Her mother and father sleep at that place.
(Family History of James C. Dougherty).
The earliest record
found concerning this Hamilton family is of Schuyler Hamilton who was born
in 1789. He enlisted in the War of 1812 at Lee County Courthouse, July
1814 and served until January 1815 and was discharged at Norfolk, VA. He
was a Sergeant in Captain Neils Company. Schuyler Hamilton was living at
Ramsey in 1816 in a log house near where the railroad cut passes between
Grant Rose's store and home. Seventeen children were born to him here.
In 1855 he took up 160 acres of bounty land allowed to Veterans of the
War of 1812. Schuyler Hamilton died between 1861 and 1863 and was buried
in the Laurel Grove Cemetery at Ramsey. His wife Susannah Dotson Hamilton
died also during the Civil War and was buried at the same place.
Dave Bowman lived
in a log house near the Gilley property early in the frontier days of Ramsey.
Hoge Bruce lived back in the woods about one mile north of Ramsey in an
old log house. The place now has grown back into a wilderness. The only
thing remaining is a pile of old chimney stones and a few old scraggly
apple tress. The place still is known as the old Bruce place.
The Blessing family
came from Wythe County and settled on Clear Creek before the Civil War.
John Blessing owned a tract of land on Clear Creek in 1856. James W. Blessing,
a son of John, had a son Anderson who married Jane, a daughter of James
was killed at the battle of Bulls Gap three days after his arrival there.
Solomon, a son, also of James Blessing, was a Civil War soldier. He married
Emily Moore of Scott County in 1862 and gave his occupation as a soldier.
Solomon Blessing Return to Wise
to Articlesbought a tract of 171 acres of land on a hill north east
of Ramsey from George W. Kilgore, Commissioner, it being part of the DeTebuef
mortgaged land and built a home upon it. He kept this land for several
years, but sold it and moved to Missouri. The place still retains the name
of Blessing Ridge. Ephraim Fraley owned the present Williams Farm on Bear
Creek and lived in an old log house near the present site of the farm house
now standing. Very little of this farm was under cultivation at the time.
Fraley owned it
with exception of a few acres around Bear Creek. The balance was a dense
The house where Ephraim Fraley lived was
condemned by Dr. Miles and burned because some occupants had smallpox.
John Gardner was
the first Postmaster at Ramsey. He was succeeded by Dave Nickels. After
Nickels the post office was moved to Norton and the people were served
by Rural Free Delivery. Later a post office was established with Bob Creech
as Postmaster. Bud Huff was the 4th postmaster, followed by Lilburn Falin,
Judge Robinett, and by Maude Trinkle who was the last Postmistress.
H. Clay Osborne
and sons had the first store at Ramsey near about the Gilley lot. The first
school was taught where Bertha Collins lives near the cemetery. The sawmill
company put up the building for a church and school house.
The first dated
markers at the Laurel Grove Cemetery are: Charles, son of Billy Huff, born
August 5, 1812, died June 10, 1862 and Polly, wife of Charles Huff, born
July 12, 1817 and died June 15, 1877.
The name Ramsey
was carried on until 1893. Then the Gladeville Improvement Company later
known as Clear Creek Improvement Company, Inc., in 1895 came to Ramsey
and bought up a lot of land and divided
it into lots to establish a town. The company
proposed to call the place Clear Creek. The post office there was known
as Clear Creek, but the train stop was always called Ramsey.
The first train
came through Ramsey in the spring of 1892.
The Norton Bedding
Company built a mattress factory at Ramsey in 1920 and ran the same about
Ephraim Fraley first
lived before he moved to the Fraley Farm in a two story log house across
Bear Creek from Ramsey.
Lewis Hamilton was
running a water Grist Mill on Clear Creek where the road starts up to the
Patch as early as 1875. It was a one story
James Clemmons was
running a water Grist Mill where the last bridge crosses Guest River near
the cemetery as early as 1889.
It also was a one story log building.
James Whitley Ramsey House
James Hamilton Settlement
Location: At east end of Ramsey, 200 feet
east of Overhead Bridge on north side of Route 64, adjacent to the Laurel
Date: Built about 1840.
Owners: This place was bought by Schuyler
Hamilton and sons at the sale of the State Mortgaged Land November 21,
1853, although they had some kind of claim to the land long before this.
Schuyler Hamilton and sons sold a portion to James Hamilton another son
of said Schuyler. James Hamilton lived on Rocky Fork and
was killed at Prince's Flats (Norton) in
1863. Either he or his heirs sold to Charles Huff perhaps by title bond
(no provision was made for deeds at the first sale of the mortgaged land).
Charles Huff died intestate and his widow and heirs sold to James W. Ramsey,
perhaps by title bond. At the resale of the mortgaged land James W. Ramsey
again bought this land from a Commissioner March 24, 1879. He sold to his
son Charles C., January 31, 1880. Charles C. Ramsey sold to J. E. Lipps,
September 16, 1892. J. E. Lipps, sold under the name of Clear Creek Improvement
Company to Alexander Moore, November 10, 1919. Moore still owns this place.
Before Lipps sold this place to Moore he rented it to various parties.
Description: The house was a hewn log, two
story, three room. One room on each floor in the front part and a kitchen
built to the rear. Glass windows, batten doors, stone chimney at South
end of main part and also a
stone chimney at the east end of the kitchen.
The earlier residents cooked on the fireplace in the kitchen. The house
had a clapboard roof, floored with yellow poplar planks and ceiled with
same. One flight stairway, plain,
made of yellow poplar. Plain plank mantel
held up by wooden brackets.
One can yet see
the remains of the old chimney foundations and the place was surrounded
by an orchard some few of the old apple trees still standing. This house
was torn down about 1919 or 1920.
Historical Significance: James Hamilton was
a son of Schuyler and Susannah Dotson Hamilton. He was married to Mary
C. Wheatley. James was killed at Prince's Flats (Norton) in 1863. His grandson
Wade B. was
Clerk of Wise County from 1912 to 1920.
Charles Huff married Polly,
a daughter of Simon and Phoebe Hollingsworth Dotson. Polly Huff was a sister
to Susannah Hamilton, wife of Schuyler.
James Whitley Ramsey,
after whom the town of Ramsey was named was a son of Joel and Polly Ramsey,
born in Washington Co., VA, May 17, 1819, died June 6, 1889. He was married
to Elizabeth (Betty) Culbertson, who died and was buried in Tennessee.
James Whitley Ramsey
was a very prominent man in his day and it seems that he was quite well
known over the county, although the only political job he ever held was
that of a Justice of the Peace, qualifying at the April term of Court 1869.
After his death his posterity all left Wise County, perhaps most of them