A Visit To
Old Tyree Tavern
I have hesitated to show this article to anyone up until now because of the error Mr. Donnelly makes in identifying "Samuel Tyree" as the builder of the Old Stone House. We believe, as the historical marker on U. S. Highway 60 says, that Richard Tyree built the Old Stone House in 1824. In any event, Mr. Donnelly even contradicts himself by asserting, in another article ("Adams Wrote of Civil War Experiences"), that "William Tyree" built the Old Stone House. Finally, in 1966, Shirley Donnelly credits our ancestor, Richard F. Tyree, as the builder.
Perhaps these inconsistencies simply reflect Mr. Donnelly's evolving understanding of the historical facts. However, they remind us to maintain a healthy skepticism when it comes to the details of these essays.
Thankfully, no one has suggested anything other than 1824 for the date of construction. Perhaps this is because "1824" was boldly engraved in one of the stones from which the house was built!
Robert F. Tyree
"A Visit To Old Tyree Tavern At Clifftop"
Yesterday And Today, 1961
While off from work a few days I made a little journey to the old stone house on the James River and Kanawha Turnpike near Clifftop, the historic Samuel Tyree Tavern, a noted landmark in Fayette County.
Frank Rogers of Danese and I made the trip in his jeep. The stone house was built in 1824 and continued in the Tyree family until 1884 when the property was purchased by the Longdale Iron Company, which had begun developments at Clifftop, two miles distant.
Babcock Coal and Coke Company next secured the property. Under the prodding of the late Gov. William A. MacCorkle the new owners spent thousands of dollars in restoring the old stone structure to something of its former glory. E. V. Babcock and his brother Fred, owners of the house and the surrounding countryside, were interested in historic matters and carried out the suggestions of the former chief executive of our state.
THIS HOUSE was a famous stage coach stop. Daniel Webster holed up there to hunt a month in that area. Andrew Jackson, Thomas Benton, Henry Clay, John Breckebridge, and Matthew F. Maury were guests of Tyree in their days. During the Civil War the house was used frequently as headquarters of whichever force happened to be in control of it at the time.
A short distance from the tavern used to stand the huge log barn where horses which pulled the stagecoaches were stabled. Hewn logs were used to build this barn 50 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high. I have seen it many times but it is no more. It was torn down and the logs hauled away.
It is worth a trip to see the tavern that looks today like it did when Samuel Tyree built it 137 years ago. Living in it now is the family of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Williams. They take the Beckley Post-Herald and read this column, they say.
Since October 7, 1960, the Williams family have lived in this house, moving there from Beauty Mountain. Their children, Joyce and James, were there the day Frank Rogers and I called. Living with them are two daughters who married brothers. Mrs. Marshall Williams was Eliabeth Small before she was married. Beauty Mountain, where the Marshall family formerly lived, is about a couple of miles from Edmond. While at the stone house, we drank water from the chalybeate spring that has flowed there for centuries. The Williams family told us to look out for snakes by the spring but Rogers told them to let the snakes look out for themselves!
[More follows but not of particular interest to the Tyree family.]
Uploaded with permission of The Beckley Register-Herald.
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