JMill_heritage

Henry McWhorter Cabin

Nothing remains of the Edward Jackson log cabin, but there is a cabin at Jackson’s Mill—the McWhorter Cabin. Henry McWhorter was born in New Jersey in 1760. While living in Orange County, New York, he enlisted as a Minuteman at age 15 to fight in the Revolutionary War. After his term of service expired, he volunteered six more times in a 22-month span. Afterwards, he lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he married Mary Fields. In 1786, the couple moved to Hampshire County, (West) Virginia. Three years later, Henry sought a home in the wilds of McKinneys Run in Harrison County. In 1793, the McWhorters moved again, this time building a log house by West’s Fort (near present-day Jane Lew) on Hacker’s Creek. That house was moved to Jackson’s Mill in 1927. This cabin is not the boyhood home of Thomas Jackson nor is it an exact likeness, since there is no reliable evidence describing the appearance of the Jackson Cabin. The McWhorter Cabin stands as a symbolic reminder of an early-style frontier home, possibly similar to the one in which Jackson lived.

The hewn-log McWhorter Cabin measures 18 feet by 24 feet and is markedly different from modern-day log houses because its chimney is built inside the walls as protection from Indian attacks. An outside chimney could conceivably be knocked in, exposing a gaping hole and rendering the occupants defenseless. McWhorter and his family lived in this cabin for 37 years, during which time it served a variety of functions including post office, church, and meeting house.

Henry, a millwright, also constructed Lewis County’s first gristmill in 1793. It primarily ground corn and later could make flour as well. Eventually, a sawmill was added on the property as the population in West’s Fort/Jane Lew area grew. In addition to his business, Henry was a member and class leader of the Methodist Episcopal Church for 60 years. Involvement in these activities made the McWhorter name well known in the surrounding area.

After a series of security debts left Henry financially embarrassed, the family was forced to leave the homestead in 1827 and return to McKinneys Run. Henry died there in 1848. He is buried alongside his wife in the McWhorter Cemetery.

The McWhorter Cabin today serves as a memorial to two of Lewis County’s early prominent families—the McWhorters and the Jacksons. Henry McWhorter’s keen initiative and sense of community interest were important factors in the early settlement of this area. Though the McWhorter Cabin is not an exact replica of Stonewall Jackson’s boyhood home, it does typify a rural early 19th century (West) Virginia homestead.