Historic McLaughlin Cabin in Marlinton – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
On Saturday, July 9th, 2016 during Pioneer Days festivities, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the restored McLaughlin Cabin, the oldest building in Marlinton. The restoration was completed over the past 9 years. The construction was sponsored by the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission and completed by the hard work of many volunteers. Jason Bauserman, Chairman of the Landmarks Commission talked to us in the yard of the cabin before the ceremony, and explained how the restoration came about.
“It was originally over here by the Catholic Church” said Jason. “They had bought it to extend their parking lot, and there was an old house there and it was covered with old asphalt shingles. When they started peeling that back, lo and behold here was a log cabin in behind. And then they found out well gee, it was the Squire Hugh McLaughlin’s cabin and it’s the oldest known building in Marlinton. This is 9 years ago and it was purchased by the Barn Wood Builders who are out of Lewisburg. They were going to tear it down and take it out to, I believe, to Iowa. But when Ruth Morgan here in town -she’s the one who also saved the Oprah House- she just said ‘No, they’re not buying it –we will pay you 15 thousand and we will take it down and we will build it back up here in Marlinton.’ A lot of people from the community have come together to save it. So now we have the celebration and dedication of the Squire Hugh McLaughlin House that was built in 1850.”
The building was taken apart on its original 10th Avenue location, transported to its new home on 4th Avenue in 2007. The actual move was completed in one day, with the basic frame of the cabin being reconstructed on the new site on the same day.
So who was Squire Hugh McLaughlin? He was born 0n 2/24/1801 and spent his early years in Jackson’s River, Bath County Virginia before moving to Marlinton where he built his house on 10th Ave. near the Huntersville-Stanton Turnpike – now U.S. Route 39. He also ran a tavern and a hotel out of the house. His first wife, Nancy Gwin died in 1844 and he married Elizabeth Gum, who was the widow of Otho Gum. McLaughlin had the title of Squire because he was a member of the county court for 18 years. Squire Hugh McLaughlin was from Scott or possibly Scott Irish descent, His father was brought to Augusta County, Virginia as an indentured servant.
His many descendents include current County Commissioner William Beard, whose grandmother was Lucy McLaughlin a direct descendant of Squire Hugh and Andrew Must, Squire Hugh’s great-great- great grandson, and was one of the many volunteers who helped move and restore the McLaughlin log Cabin. We talked with Squire Hugh McLaughlin’s great granddaughter. Nobel McLaughlin Byer who travelled from her home in Mountain Grove, Virginia to attend this dedication of her great grandfather’s cabin. Nobel describes exactly how she is related to Squire Hugh.
“I’m Nobel McLaughlin-Byer” said Nobel “I am the daughter of Vernon Pole McLaughlin, who was the son of Harper McLaughlin, who is the son of Squire Hugh McLaughlin. So that’s how I am related to Squire Hugh McLaughlin.”
Although most people call the McLaughlin building a “cabin” I was educated by some of the people present who helped in the restoration that technically log cabins only have lofts while log homes have full second floors – as does the McLaughlin log cabin…err… log home. The cabin was built by Squire Hugh himself and looking at the log construction today shows that it was built to very high standards. This is evidenced by the use of “V” and “Dove” notches to connect the log ends.
The County Historic Landmarks Commission will be looking to rent the building out for special occasions to help defer some of the costs put into moving and restoring it.
I would like to thank the many-many people present at the ribbon cutting that day for providing much of the information contained in this story. They were too many to mention, and I did not even catch the names of some of the people who talked during the ceremony or to me individually, but thanks to all of you.