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Darrahs



My branch of this family ended up in Montana, but were originally farmers from the Corydon, Iowa area.  Before that, this family lived in Monongalia County, West Virginia around the Pennsylvania border.  I would love to be able to trace this family back farther than Henry, so if you have any info please let me know.  I think the Darrahs were originally Scottish people who may or may not have lived in Ireland.

Grandpa DorrahGrandma Dorrah

Pretty sure these two are Robert and Barbara Jones Darrah.

Many thanks to Connie, who sent me a lot of literature mostly dealing with Robert "Robin" Darrah.  From "The Monongalia Story", page 598, we know that the first school in the community known as McCurdysville was known as the Darrah School, and was started about 1845.From page 75 of "The Monongalia Story" is this excerpt:

"The Road to Morgantown.  One of the earliest examples of Monongalia County folk literature is the famous "Road to Morgantown," the author of which is unknown but believed to be Joseph Park and the date likewise unknown but apparently about 1832.

The story concerns Robin Darrah, a resident of Miracle Run, in western Monongalia County, who is directing a stranger to a county seat.  Along with illustrating the garrulous nature of some backwoodsmen, the account gives sidelights on living conditions of the day and the people mentioned were real men and women living in the area at the time.

The text follows:

"STRANGER.  My friend, can you tell me the road to Morgantown?

ROBIN DARRAH. (Throwing an armful of chips which he was carrying from the yard).  By the grace of God I can tell you as well as any man in the county, for I've been there myself.  You come past old Joe Tuttle's, didn't you?  With his lip stickin' out like your foot, and the amber running off his lip sufficient to swim ducks.  He chaws tobaccy, sir!

STRANGER.  I care nothing for him.  I've come past there.  I wish to get to Morgantown.

ROBIN DARRAH.  Well, you'll take up the hill past old Blink-eyed Baldwin's, all the blacksmiths we have in the county; the cussedest iron roaster you ever saw in the born days of your life.  He will burn up forty plowshares a year, if you'll take 'em to him.  A few days ago, Jake (dang his name) and Bets (dang her too! For I can't think of either of their names), was running off to get married over in Pennsylvania, and stopped at Blink-eyed Baldwin's to get their hosses shod.  He blowed and blowed and the devil a shoe he made and whether they got married or not I'm unable to tell.  He's got a little stewed up old woman for a wife about as big as your fist, about so high! and she keeps the whole country in an uproar with her lies, running from house to house, and tattling.  And she's got her name up, so that it's Mattie Baldwin here and Mattie Baldwin there and Mattie Baldwin in everybody's mouth.  And there's not a lawsuit in the county in which she is not summoned as a witness for somebody, and whether she swears or not I'm unable to tell you, but I believe she swears lies.

You'll take down the hill from there to old Dave Chew's that married old Aaron Foster's widder.  You'll turn around his farm to the right-that road will lead you down to Dan Cokes, the dog shooter; he has killed all the dogs in this county, so if you're afraid of dogs you needn't be alarmed, for there's not a dog left to bark at you, and it's Dan Cokes her and Dan Cokes there and Dan Cokes in everybody's mouth.  He ought to be made pay for the dogs, and I think he will before he gets through with it.  The other day me and my son, Joe, was going through a field and up jumps a fox and the dog took after it, and we've never heard of the dog or fox since till this day, and then the fox was about 350 yards ahead of the dog till he hasn't got back yet, and I expect Dan Cokes killed him.

You just keep down the fun from there and you'll come in among the fattest, lustiest set of Negroes you ever seen in all the days of your life.  Their name is Dowd and it's Dowd here and Dowd there and its Dowd in everybody's mouth.  I've one of the cussedest lawsuits with them you ever heard of in your life, and it's all about slander and there's Tom P. Ray, Clerk of the county court at Morgantown and Edgar C. Wilson the best lawyer in Virginny, both say I'll beat 'em as slick as a bone and it's all about slander, though I never slandered anybody myself.

You'll cross over a pint there and fall over to another run.  By turnin' to the right you'll come down to old Bill Messers.  He married a Metz and her name is Peg, and she's the cussedest woman to swear you ever heard in all your life, sir.  Her hair sticks out like a scrub broom.  She don't comb it from one week's end to another and it's Peg Messer here and Peg Messer there and Peg Messer in everybody's mouth and she can outswear Mattie Baldwin!

You'll turn there to the left and that will take you to a pint and you will fall over into Jake's Run, named after old Jake Straddlers in Indian times, and it's settled with Tennants from head to mouth!  And they are the cussedest set of men to fight you ever saw in all your born days.  Whenever they have a log-rollin' or any comin' together of the people, their jackets are off, and the blood flyin' and all hollerin' fair play.  The father will fight the son and the son will fight the father.  The brothers will fight one another.  There's old Enock Tennant, a steppin' foulest Tennant among 'em.  But there's Black Ben, Pete Tennant's slave, I'd like to forget him.  He's the only white man among the Tennants.

You'll turn up that run by turnin to the right, nor road to turn you off, till you fall on the head of the Little Paw Paw, to my son-in-law's Ben Shuman's, one of the ugliest men you ever saw in your lifetime and it's Ben Shuman here, and it's Ben Shuman there and it's Ben Shuman in everybody's mouth; he keeps the whole neighborhood in an uproar with his lies.  But I must say that Ben Shuman has the best breed of dogs in the county, and he's going to have a lot of pups soon.  My Joe spoke a pup and I 'low to go over day after tomorrow myself and buy the mother and sell her to my brother-in-law, Joe Koon, for a gallon of whiskey, or a bushel of corn.

John Hood's got the best store in Blacksville.  There's going to be a famine on the creek for Shep Lemaster and Joe Park are selling their corn at 25 cents a bushel and they'll have to give 50 cents for the same corn back again between this and harvest.  And Bill Lantz and Bill Thomas have got a barrell of whiskey apiece and are retailing it out at a bushel of wheat to the gallon and they'll get all the wheat in this neighborhood and that wheat will go from there to Pittsburgh and I'm drawin' a pension at this time, and devil a bit more right have I to it that they have, but there was old Andy Cobley and Jake Brookover got me before the squire and didn't care what I swore so they got part of the money.  All the exploit I ever done in my life was to kill my mother and then the gun went off my accident.

STRANGER.  Goodday, sir!

MRS. DARRAH.  Robin, the gentleman don't know no more about the road now than if you hadn't said a word.

ROBIN DARRAH.  Hold your tongue, old woman.  By the grace of God, he can't miss the way, and I know he recollects it, for he said good morning and we parted."

 


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