1878 – Passenger Describes Train Trip To Mahan’s Farm

Historian J. H. Newton vividly described his trip from Hollidays Cove (Weirton) to Wheeling.  Traveling on the Pittsburg-Wheeling–Kentucky railroad, he recorded what he saw at every stop including Mahan’s farm (now Follansbee) and Cross Creek.

Between Hollidays Cove and the vicinity of today’s Follansbee there were three river ferries that transported goods and passengers to the Steubenville marketplaces. The Upper Ferry crossed near the Old Panhandle Bridge at Hollidays Cove. The second, called the Middle Ferry, was located very near where Market Street Bridge is today.  The third, called Lower Ferry, was located south of the Market Street Bridge near the land owned by “Uncle Tom” as locals referred to Thomas Mahan. As Newton arrived at the Lower Ferry, he noticed the Mingo Iron Works as well as the Jefferson Furnace and Nail Works on the Ohio side of the river.

Newton describes the Mahan farm vicinity in the following way: “on the left is the fine brick residence of Mr. Thomas Mahan, a well-to-do farmer, more familiarly recognizable as “Uncle Tom,” being a worthy disciple of the plow, whom affability and genial turn of mind retains for him universal respect.  But, not being afflicted with neighbors to disturb him on the even tenor of his ways, he can well afford to be “Uncle” to a whole community and keep in store an every ready friendly greeting for all.”  Nearby were the farms of Mr. Burgoyne and Mr. Devinney.

Further down the river, at the Cross Creek stop, Newton described the view as beautiful and secluded.   Its appearance was more business oriented than the Mahan vicinity.  “There was a platform and switch, with a warehouse, owned by Mr. C. Devinney, who purchases grains, wool, etc., besides acting as the depot agent.”   Newton noted that the view of the Ohio River near the mouth of Cross Creek was dotted with steamers and barges.

With the coming of the railroad, the area historically called Old Mingo Bottom increasingly became identified as Mahan Station or Mahan Village, named after the prominent family in the vicinity.