High Street, in Williamstown
by Charles Scroggins
Originally High Street was called Mill Street. Until 1918 Mill Street ran through to Hopewell Hill and the Barnes Pike, and ended at Steam Branch Mill. Sparks Lowe and others had the Mill Street Road closed because men would ride their horses on this road to miss the toll gates on the main road. When the road was closed, this part became a short street, only about a quarter of a mile long, and was called High Street.
When the railroad came through Grant County, a bridge had to be built on Mill Street. The bridge had been completed only a short time when a train came through carrying an object as high as the bridge. The object caught the center of the bridge, causing the bridge to collapse on the track. It took awhile to get the bridge repaired, and this caused much inconvenience to the people who needed to get to the other side of town.
Many of the first buildings on High Street are still there, but many have been replaced. The Hogan home, a beautiful white brick house, was replaced by the post office. Behind the Hogan house was a livery stable, which is now used for plumbing supplies. The alley between the stable and the post office was called McDuffy Avenue. McDuffy Avenue extends across the street between the home of Dr. Rich, then curves to come out opposite Williamstown School.
Mr. Duffy, an English broker lived on McDuffy Avenue. During the threat of the Civil War, he buried a large amount of silver in the yard surrounding his house. According to stories told, the McDuffy silver is still buried there. Many people have believed this legend and have looked in vain for the silver. The McDuffy house is located directly behind the Dr. Rich home. The mother of the Mr. Charlie Stroud of High Street was a McDuffy. She lived and died in the McDuffy house.
An April 27, 1892, Mr. Dunlap's stable on High Street caught fire. Prompted by the April winds, the whole stable was soon a solid sheet of flame; sparks were carried from the stable to two other houses nearby. Men and women from all over Williamstown came with buckets and blankets to fight the fire. The stable soon burned to the ground, and the firefighters then concentrated on saving the two houses. During all this confusion, a woman was found dead in another house on High Street. Six women carried her body down to Main Street for protection from the fire. Suddenly Mrs. Marcell's house on Main Street caught fire from the sparks blown from High Street, but the people managed to keep it from being totally destroyed.
Most of my information came from Mrs. Tom Dunlap, whose house is filled with interesting old pieces of furniture and china. Mrs. Dunlap's mother came from New Orleans, she was of French descent.
From a collection of essays written in American Literature Eleven. The class was taught by Ms. Hazel Ogden of Grant County High School in the 1963-1964 school year, and was typed by the typing classes of Mrs. Mattie Cox. It is copyrighted by the Grant County Schools, and is used here with their kind permission. We found a copy in UK's King Library.