William Tyree 
- Born: Nov 22, 1807, Lewisburg, Virginia
- Marriage: Rebecca McClung 
- Died: Jul 29, 1888 at age 80
Known as Col. William Tyree. In Fayette County, West Virginia, there are two historical structures which used to be wayside taverns operated by the Tyree Family: the Halfway House in Ansted and the Old Stone House at Clifftop. The historical marker in front of the Tyree Tavern in Ansted says:
Regular stop on the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.
The original building, dating from before the Revolution,
was rebuilt by William Tyree, 1810. During the winter of
1861-62, it was headquarters for the Chicago Gray Dragoons."
This tribute refers to Col. William Tyree, born 1807, but it is unlikely he actually performed the renovations at the age of three. Local historian, W. T. Lawrence, comments: "John Jones, the Indian fighter, received a 400 acre land grant, and the second owner was a Skaggs, who sold to his son, and the son sold to George Hunter. On September 19, 1838, George Hunter sold Halfway House and 200 acres of land to Francis Tyree and William Tyree for $5,000. These were the only owners of this tract of land at that time. I believe they made a mistake on this marker which would cost $1,000 today to fix, so they left it."
A couple blocks away from the Halfway House is Ansted's Westlake Cemetery, a 7.5 acre plot donated by Col. William Tyree in 1883, the year of his death.Many Tyrees are there. Also interned there is Gen. Stonewall Jackson's mother.
About seventeen miles east of Ansted on Highway 60 is another historical marker for a Tyree Tavern, the Old Stone House.
OLD STONE HOUSE
Southwest is the Old Stone House, built in 1824 by
Richard Tyree on the James River and Kanahwa
Turnpike. It was visited by Jackson, Clay, Webster,
Benton, and other notables. Here Matthew Fontaine
Maury wrote his book on navigation.
William Tyree, born 11/22/1807 in the Long Ordinary in Lewisburg, as 5 year old enrolled in Dr. John McElhanney's new Lewisburg Academy, in the years 1822-1823 William and Hudson M. Dickinson attended Rev. Remley's Academy in Lewisburg, traveling to and from together. In 8/11/1836 Dr. McElhanney married William to Rebecca McClung, daughter of Joseph McClung and sister to Margaret McClung who married William's brother Francis; they had four children before Rebecca died 4/1/1842 (aged 24 years 11 months and was buried in graveyard of Old Stone House with infant son George Wm. Tyree, who died 6/16/1842). McElhanney married William for second time 2/13/1844 to Sarah Campbell McClung (born 2/14/1815, died 1888) cousin to deceased Rebecca and daughter of Andrew McClung and Eva L. Christensen; they had one son. William was Sheriff of Fayette from 1831 to 1846; he settled in Mountain Cove (now Ansted, West Virginia) circa 1832 and bought (with brother Francis' help on father's death) Half Way House (inn) from George Hunter; William enlarged the inn and it became known as the Tyree Tavern. As inn-keeper William became Justice of the Peace, sometimes Post Master and head of the County Militia (with title of Col.); he also served his County in the Virginia Legislature from 1855 to 1856. When the clash of the Civil War split the area, the Tyree's became Confederates; and William raised a volunteer company, Company C. of the 22nd Regiment of the Virginia Infantry; as instigator he became Captain. Typhoid fever forced him to release his command in 1862; Dr. Henry Dickinson succeeded him as Captain; William's two adult sons remained with the group until the close of the War. William's greatest trial was probably when a Federal Company of Dragoons took over his tavern and made it their headquarters, forcing William and his family to move behind Confederate lines. The discovery of coal in his area made William a wealthy man "in English stocks"; the failure of the English Company left him and his property unsettled. He served as High Sheriff of Fayette from 1877 to 1881. At his death 7/29/1883 (from cancer of the tongue) at the home of his Dr. son, Woodson Andrew Tyree, he willed his graveyard to the community, newly named Ansted. He was a member of the Methodist Church.
by Hettie Wood
Two Reporters Created Myth of Lovers Leap
"Probably the first white man to set foot on land which is the present site
of the town of Ansted, were Capt. Thomas Battes, Robert Fallam, Thomas Woods,
and others, who in 1671 discovered the Kanawha Falls. From the journal kept
by Captain Battes, we learn that about noon of September 16, the party
refreshed themselves from two wild turkeys shot near what is now the sight of
(Turkey Creek) Ansted, and that later on the same day they came to the Falls
of the Kanawha.
"About one hundred years later, Gen. Andrew Lewis with an army of
eleven-hundred men passed through the territory of Fayette County on their
way from Camp Union, now Lewisburg, Greenbrier county, to join Lord Dunnmore
in a campaign against the Northwestern Confederacy of Indians. This campaign
resulted in the battle of Point Pleasant which was fought October 10, 1774.
In the journal of Colonel Fleming, who was with General Lewis in the
campaign, we can follow their course through this country. In this journal
is recorded that on September 17, the Army camped near Mountain Cove post
office, which is now owned by J. B. Lee and on September 18, they passed
through the present site of Ansted early in the day, and continued over
Gauley mountain, camping on the headwaters of Rich Creek for the night. Some
of the men who passed through this section with their army led by General
Lewis were so well pleased with the location of the land that they came here
as settlers some few years after the close of the Revolutionary War.
"As early as 1790 the families of James Lykens, James Taylor, Bailey Wood,
William Parrish, and others settled on the present site of Ansted. They
occupied the land without title. The same year these pioneer settlers built
the first church to be erected in Fayette County. It was a log bulding known
as the Hopewell Baptist church, and stood on the Tyree land immediately in
the rear of the Fountain Neal home.
"One early historic incident in connection with this route occurred in 1791
when Indians appeared before Fort Clendennin, now Charleston, and laid seige.
The ammunition was about to give out, and to save the fort from capture 'Mad
Anne Bailey' made her famous ride from Charleston, through the present site
of Ansted and on to Lewisburg bringing back the much needed supplies which
enabled the garrison to hold the fort against the attack of the Indians.
"In 1785 John Jones obtained a survey made by a Mr. Welsh, the surveyor of
Greenbrier county, and located a four-hundred acre tract of land on the
present Ansted site. A patent for this tract was issued to Charles Skaggs,
"The town of Ansted was named in honor of David T. Ansted and dates its
progressive history from the year 1873, when the Gauley Kanawha Coal co. was
"In West Lake cemetery, which is located on the top of a beautiful wooded
hill in the town of Ansted, is found a humble marble slab marking the last
resting place of the mother of 'Stonewall Jackson.' When she died, she was
the wife of Blake B. Woodson, the first clerk, by apointment, of Fayette
county. Her former husband, the father of Stonewall Jackson, died and was
buried at Clarksburg. Stonewall Jackson was reared by his uncle, but there
is strong evidence that he spent at least a part of a year of his boyhood
days visiting his mother near Ansted. Mrs. Woodson died and was buried in
1831, the slab was not erected until after the Civil War.
"The Tyree tavern was the location of the first post office at Ansted; it was
established about 1827 and given the name of Mountain Cove by George Hunter
who owned this property at the time and who became the first postmaster.
This was probably the first post office in Fayette county.
"The beautiful, romantic legend of Lovers Leap has thrilled many visitors,
who have climbed down the steep rocky path from this small county village to
stand on the rock high above the New River canyon.
"The legend says that many years before the coming of the white man, a young
Indian poet named Tame Eagle lived beside the beautiful river in the lodge of
his father, who was an arrow maker. One day Tame Eagle was sent by his
father to the lodge of Chief Thunder Cloud, high on top of a rocky mountain
beside the river. Tame Eagle was greeted by Amonita, beautiful daughter of
the chief when he reached the lodge. 'I am Tame Eagle, son of arrow maker,'
he told the Indian maiden; 'come to see chief Thunder Cloud.'
'I am the daughter of Thunder Cloud,' she replied, 'let me take your arrow as
a token to my father.' Tame eagle showed embarrassment for he carried no
arrows. He was not a hunter or a warrior, but cared more for the beauty and
mystery of the mountans and forests than for the heat and excitement of
battle. But Amonita was attracted by the handsome young Indian, and that
night when the lodge fires were flowing softly in the valley, she met him at
the jutting rock that overlooked the moonlit river far below. They met often
at the rock, but chief Thunder Cloud did not approve of these meetings, for
neither Tame Eagle nor his father was a warrior. But the chief's appeals,
promises and threats could not lessen the love of the daughter for the poet.
"They were seen at the rock one evening by Big Wolfe, one of Amonita's
suitors, Insanely jealous, the brave rushed to tell Thunder Cloud that
despite his warnings Amonita had met the poet again. Soon the drums began to
sound in the village as the chief gathered his braves to capture Tame Eagle
and burn him at the stake. As the drums grew louder, Amonita heard the sound
and knew its meaning, but it was too late, for the braves were streeming down
the twisted paths from the village, led by her father Big Wolf.
"Chief Thunder Cloud shouted for his daughter to leave the poet and to run to
safety, but she refused to listen. The lovers clasped hands and stood for a
moment at the edge of the rock then arm in arm they leaped off into the deep
"Not so romantic, but much more interesting is the story how the legend
really began. In 1841, a cholera plague swept over the Ohio-Mississippi
River valley, causing many residents of that section to come north to escape
the dreaded disease. Among them were two young journalists from New-Orleans,
who came to the home of Thomas B. Hamilton. The Hamilton farm included most
of the land that makes up the town of Lovers Leap. The old Hamilton House
stood where the John Ward family now lives according to the late W. J.
(Jessie) Phillips. Mrs. Hamilton mentioned to the young reporters that a
huge rock was located on the farm which they might get a good view of the New
River. The two men hiked to the rock and spent many hours there apparently
dreaming up the legend that is known throughout the state."
(The Fayette Tribune; September 26, 1963; Pages 4 and 5.)
National Historic Register:
Tyree Stone Tavern ** (added 1975 - Building - #75001884)
Also known as Old Stone House
E of Clifftop off U.S. 19 on SR 10, Clifftop
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
Architectural Style: No Style Listed
Area of Significance: Commerce, Transportation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1825-1849, 1850-1874
Historic Function: Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Hotel, Secondary Structure
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-function: Secondary Structure
Halfway House ** (added 1978 - Building - #78002792)
Also known as Tyree Tavern
Off old U.S. 60, Ansted
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Skaggs,Joseph
Architectural Style: Other
Area of Significance: Military, Transportation, Exploration/Settlement, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1875-1899
Historic Function: Domestic, Government
Historic Sub-function: Hotel, Post Office, Single Dwelling
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-function: Single Dwelling
Land Grants Fayette County, 1861:
287 acres Gauley Mountain
56 acres Horseshoe Creek
13 acres Horseshoe Creek
William married Rebecca McClung .