I love digging into random bits of history about my home state. Sometimes, when I’m traveling through on my way to or from the farm, I take side roads and just see what turns up.
Like the Tyree Tavern aka Halfway House in Ansted, WV. It’s an old stagecoach inn that was built around 1810. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster allegedly lodged here.
Well, that’s worth getting out of the car! The property is currently for sale for $200,000. Hmmmm. Tempting! I climbed the odd porch stairs to the second story, peered in the windows, and stood on the original coaching stand. Oh, the feet that stood there before mine!
The tavern was called Halfway House because it was halfway between Charleston and Lewisburg on the James River and Kanawha Turnpike. Which, by the way, is now a very curvy paved road that you can still travel.
Everything about this place intrigues me and it absolutely REEKS of stories. But perhaps the most intriguing thing about it are the words carved over the right front door (there are two front doors).
1862 Headquarters of the Chicago Gray Dragoons
Just a little research turned up that this company was part of the Civil War battle of Rich Mountain just north in Randolph County. It so happens that in my upcoming novel, The Right Kind of Fool, there’s a scene where kids in 1932 reenact that battle for a town pageant. And there I stood, in the same spot as those soldiers I’d so recently read about from more than 150 years ago.
I can’t tell you how much of a kick I get out of tripping over history. So many connections–connecting us all!