Johnson, skip, River on the Rocks - The Birch River Story,
McClain Printing Co, Parsons, WVa (2001)
Strange STRANGE CREEK HISTORY

Strange Creek Lodge No 130 A.F. and A.M. is located in the unincorporated Village of Strange Creek of rural Braxton County, West Virginia. Braxton County is in the middle of the State and is bisected by Interstate I-79. Strange Creek is accessed by either the Servia or the Frametown exits along W. Va. Route 4, across the Elk River.

Strange Creek was formerly known as Savage Town, and was named for the family operation of coke ovens, which shipped its product down the Elk River by barges to Charleston, the State Capitol.

Its current name, Strange Creek, is a result of the Strange Creek Legend . That legend is the kind of stuff movies and books are made from, and cheap wine and booze is named for. It is most thoroughly discussed in Chapter 18 of Skip Johnson’s book River on the Rocks – The Birch River Story, published by McClain Printing Company, Parson W. Va. (2001) (www.mcclainprinting.com) entitled “William Strange and the Legend of Strange Creek”.

Some time between 1794 and 1795 William Strange was a young surveyor’s cook, or at least part of a surveyors crew that was taking pack horses to a certain location to rendezvous with the surveyors. They were surveying a large land grant that was commonplace at that time.

During this rendezvous, Strange became lost. Some say Strange became scared and lost due to thinking that he was under attack from Indians, as Indian raids were commonplace in this area back then.

Supposedly a skeleton was found somewhere on current day Strange Creek. Some say there was also an old musket and the remains of a dog. Most importantly there was a carving on a tree, which, according to Skip Johnson “the wordings differ in every telling” but is the “heart and soul of the Strange Creek Legend.” The version I like is:

Strange is my name,
And strange the ground,
And strange that I
Cannot be found.


Little wonder, after the last barge spilled on the shoals at the “end of the world” bend in Clay County, that this little rural community adopted its current name, Strange Creek. I guess the name “Savage” just simply hit too close to home.

As regards the Masonic Lodge, according to local residents, the original lodge was located a few miles from the present-day lodge in a place called Meadeville. Then, in 1908 it burned to the ground, which would explain why there was a duplicate charter issued to Strange Creek Lodge #130 in November of 1908. In dire need of a place to hold meetings, the lodge was then moved to the upstairs of the present building, which originally was Ballengee’s General Store, owned by a man named James Ballengee. The second story door on the front of the building was the original entryway to the lodge hall, with a set of wooden steps running parallel up the front of the building to that door. Then, when the store went out of business, the downstairs was converted to a dining hall. Just a note, interestingly, James Ballengee’s son married the daughter of Sherman McMorrow, who was the first Master of Strange Creek Lodge #130. Originally chosen as a temporary lodge hall, it has remained here in this building for the last 97 years.