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Bulltown


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Bulltown was named for Captain Bull, a Delaware Indian chief who settled there on the banks of the Little Kanawha River in the summer or fall of 1765 with five families of relatives to escape the warfare afflicting other frontier areas. The Bulltown Indians made salt from nearby salt springs and traded this commodity to white settlers. They remained on friendly terms with the whites until 1772, when the Adam Stroud family was killed at the mouth of Strouds Creek, on the nearby Gauley River. While Shawnee from Ohio probably killed the Strouds, local whites accused the Bulltown Indians and, in retaliation, massacred them. If Captain Bull escaped, he may have been killed in 1781 by other white fighters, or he may have lived until the 1790s.

Bulltown later developed into a local industrial center as a white community, with gristmills by the 1820s and prosperous saltworks by the 1830s. Salt was carried to larger towns to be traded or sold. There was a tannery by 1850, using the abundant salt and water. During the Civil War, Union and Confederate troops occupied Bulltown from June 1861 until April 1865 because the Weston & Gauley Bridge Turnpike crossed the Little Kanawha River on a covered bridge at this site. The Battle of Bulltown took place on October 13, 1863. Guerrilla units also fought around Bulltown.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now owns Bulltown as part of its Burnsville Reservoir and manages it as the Bulltown Historic Area.

Written by Barbara J. Howe