Originally from Ashe County, North Carolina, Ham and his oldest son, Charles from a previous marriage, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. After the war, Charles was never heard from again, but Ham made it home to North Carolina only to find himself in poor health and his farm in badly need of major repair. So...he and Jennie packed up their children and set off for the newly formed state of West Virginia.
In addition to Charles, Ham had another son from his previous marriage named James Frank, who went by Frank. Jennie, having also been previously married, brought with them her youngest daughter, Clarissa (Clara/Kate). The family was also comprised of two other children shared by both Ham and Jennie, Jefferson David (David) and Robert Lee (Lee).
In West Virginia, they bought some land from whom it is believed to be Peter Belcher, which quickly became known as Bower’s Ridge. While in WV, two more children were born to the couple, Wiley Columbus and Cynthia.
Ham’s health never did improve, and in 1869 cousins came and took him back to North Carolina where he died and was buried. Jennie and the rest of the family stayed in West Virginia. Jennie died in 1902. With the exception of only one son, the rest of the couple’s children are buried in the family cemetery.
In 1895, Wiley married Christina (Teenie/Tina) Belcher and took over the house and the farm. In 1915, presumably to make room for the couple’s 10+ children, Wiley expanded the original house, building a 7 room frame structure around the cabin. Wiley died in 1959, and when the state began clearing land for the new state park, plans were to demolish the house. As demolition began around 1965, the original house was discovered and it was decided that it should be preserved. Today, it boasts the title of one of the county’s oldest standing structures.
Today, both the cabin and the Bower family cemetery are rumored to be haunted.
Photo from Find-a-Grave contributor, Old Hokie