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Mysterious origin of ‘Old Woman Run’ explained

By David Sibray
Sharp-eyed travelers visiting the historic district at Sutton, West Virginia, may observe that two swift streams come coursing down out of the hills to join the Elk River there.
Though no sign says as much, the uppermost stream is named “Old Woman Run,” and the lower is “Granny Creek.” One might suppose they were named for two elderly women, but this was not the case, according to the late John Davison Sutton.
In his “History of Braxton County and Central West Virginia,” published in 1919, Sutton, grandson of the town founder, described the naming of the two streams, the origins of which appear to be entirely unique and coincidental.
“It might be of interest to some to know how Granny’s Creek received its name,” Sutton wrote on page 40, referring to a survey being made in the wilderness on the upper Elk in the early 1800s.
“At the time the survey was made, there was great danger of the Indians, and there being no settlement, the surveying party had to live as best they could. In the party was a young man who complained of the hardships and often made the remark that if he were at home with his grandmother he could get green beans and other vegetables to eat, and the surveyor called the stream ‘Granny’s Creek,’ a name which perhaps it will retain until grandmothers are no more.”
About a mile upstream of the mouth of Granny Creek, Old Woman Run comes bounding out of the hills, and perhaps its tale is more fascinating.
“This stream empties into the Elk River at the upper end of the town of Sutton, and Granny’s Creek at the lower end,” Sutton explained.
“These streams run parallel feet distance and heel not far apart. Lying between Granny’s Creek and Old Woman’s Run is a break in the formation, and there are many large cliffs of rock—dens where, in early days, wild animals gathered in great numbers to shelter. As late as 1870, it was difficult to raise pigs or lambs in the neighborhood.
“A few years after the settlement had been established, there was a very large she-bear which made its home in this wilderness of rocks and laurel and reared several broods. Hunters gave it the name of ‘old woman.’
“The bear had escaped for several years. It was known by its very large tracks. At last, it was killed a little above where Moman Rhea now lives, and the citizens gave the stream the name of Old Woman’s Run.”
Today, Old Woman’s Run joins the Elk just above the landscaped lawns of the Cafe Cimino Country Inn.


Sutton resident questions Corps changes at South Abutment area

Bill Hopen, a prominent sculptor, and local resident of Sutton has questioned recent activities at the South Abutment area of Sutton Dam. The Corps of Engineers recently demolished a picnic shelter behind the Dam as well as removing portions of the swimming area that was also at the South Abutment boat launching area and parking lot.

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Sutton Town Council discusses various topics

The Sutton Town Council conducted their most recent meeting on November 12. The meeting was called to order at 6:01 pm by Recorder/Acting Mayor Joan Bias. All council members were present. Mayor JL Campbell was absent.

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DHHR announces Energy
Assistance Program available

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) will begin mailing applications for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) on November 16, to those who received LIEAP this past season.

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New Exit Ramp open on I-79

Braxton County travelers will notice a major change when traveling north on I-79. The West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the new exit ramp has opened at the I-79 Exit 99 project in Weston. On Monday, November 9, construction crews officially opened the ramp to traffic exiting I-79 SB at Exit 99.
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