“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ridgeville in Mineral County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Vandiver - Trout - Clause House

Vandiver - Trout - Clause House Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 30, 2016
1. Vandiver - Trout - Clause House Marker
Inscription. Located on a 1766 Fairfax grant and site of a former blockhouse. Built by John Vandiver in early 19th century; soon operated as an ordinary. Henry Trout purchased the house in 1869, repairing damage done during the Civil War. In the latter half of the century the house was also a post office and polling place. In 1904 the property was sold to Henry Clause, the inn's last proprietor.
Erected 1982 by West Virginia Department of Culture and History.
Location. 39° 20.991′ N, 78° 59.552′ W. Marker is in Ridgeville, West Virginia, in Mineral County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 50 and Knobley Road (Local Route 9) on U.S. 50. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington WV 26710, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Claysville United Methodist Church (approx. 4 miles away); Keyser / Averell’s Raid (approx. 5.6 miles away); Nancy Hanks (approx. 5.8 miles away); Potomac State College (approx. 6.1 miles away); a different marker also named Keyser / Averell’s Raid (approx. 6.3 miles away); Dr. John Green (approx. 6.4 miles away); Washington’s Host (approx. 7 miles away); Mayo and Savage (approx. 9.4 miles away).
Regarding Vandiver - Trout - Clause House.
Vandiver - Trout - Clause House Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 30, 2016
2. Vandiver - Trout - Clause House Marker
An “ordinary” is a tavern. This house today is private property.
Also see . . .  National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form. Statement of significance, written by James E. Hardin, Historian, Dept. of Culture and History.

The relatively short interim between the end of the French and Indian War (1763) and beginning of the American War of Independence (1776) witnessed an influx of settlement in that section of Virginia south of the Potomac River known as the Northern Neck. Although the Vandiver-Trout-Clause House was not constructed during this period, it does trace its antecedents to a land grant of the era of renewed "opening" of the frontier. By the early nineteenth century roads through Allegheny Mountain passes were becoming increasingly important to western development, and it was movement of people and goods along what became the Northwestern Turnpike that fostered establishment of a residence, farm, inn-tavern-ordinary at the crossroads community now known as Ridgeville, Mineral County, West Virginia. Because the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal followed the Potomac River to the north and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad meandered along the same stream, the turnpike became a significant thoroughfare during the Civil War, and the old tavern hosted people and activities associated with events of that divisive affair. Unlike many such establishments, however, this
Vandiver - Trout - Clause House image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 30, 2016
3. Vandiver - Trout - Clause House
inn did not lose its business to river, railroad and improved road transportation; it continued to host travelers well into the twentieth century.

The land on which the Vandiver-Trout-Clause House stands was first transferred from Thomas, Lord Fairfax in 1766. Shortly after the French and Indian War it was probably improved to some extent, but permanence in the form of a substantial house and a productive farm waited until the construction of the present building early in the nineteenth century and its development into a tavern or ordinary catering to westward trudging pioneers and eastward moving travelers and drovers. A fellow named John Vandiver apparently built the dwelling at this place where an old wagon road from the Romney area to the east reached Knobley Mountain at what is now Ridgeville and headed south toward a pass near present Antioch. It was surely the subscription turnpike (called the Northwestern) from Winchester to Parkersburg on the Ohio River that proved the spur to business here at this fine house on a prime location along the eastern edge of the front of a range of mountains in the heart of the Alleghenies.

Farming remained a primary pursuit, yet the inn became noteworthy and comparatively prosperous. In addition, a blacksmith shop took on importance because of location along the road and nearness to some iron ore developed by the Allegany Goal and Iron Manufacturing Company, an enterprise in which John Vandiver held an interest. Vandiver seems to have arranged for either of two Hull sisters or their husbands to run the ordinary, for they licensed the premises as early as 1844, and at the time of the Civil War the postmaster from the office at New Creek Station (Keyser) wrote of visiting Hull House several times for meals, meetings and a chance to disseminate mail and information. It was at this latter time, too, that a brigade of Union forces is said to have camped in the vicinity, and the house is mentioned traditionally as the place of lodging for the commander's party (potential for historic archeological work on the property is enhanced by this possibility).

Henry Trout, a man of some local esteem, bought the property in 1869. He is said to have repaired damage to the left front of the house done by Civil War-era mischief or other activity on the part of military personnel, and to have reopened it as an inn. Henry's son, James, either lived here for a short time or visited frequently, but he was more often planning business enterprises at Keyser, acting as sheriff of Mineral County, or reminiscing about having represented this area at the First General Assembly of the Restored Government of Virginia and the Second Wheeling Convention in 1861 (Hampshire County delegates met at Hull House before leaving for Wheeling) and helping create the state of West Virginia. During the Trout residency postal service was apparently provided here for some time, and, landmark that it had become, the house seems to have been used as a polling place for a number of years.

After Trout's ownership of about twenty-four years the house passed to a family named Mott, and in 1904 it was purchased by Henry Clause, a man of strong religious principles who had recently run a hotel or similar business at Elkins. Clause opened a hotel here, continuing the tradition with one major change: liquor was no longer served. In addition, his wife, Olivia, became local postmistress and used a small room for these functions.

With the passing of Henry and Olivia Clause, the hotel business ended, perhaps in part because of improvements in roads, vehicles, rail service and development of more modern facilities at larger towns. The house continued to be occupied by their adopted daughter until her death in the early 1970s. It is now owned by a long-time area resident who has brought to this place fond memories and a desire to preserve the old inn in a way that is expressive of its significance to this small Mineral County community. (Submitted on February 28, 2016.) 
Categories. Notable Places
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 104 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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