Mar 252012

The old Reip farm was the home of Goldie Reip Elliott. Built, according to family recollection, by either Goldie's father Frank Reip or grandfather Peter Reip, it was in an area south of Grantsville, WV known as "up on the West Fork." The West Fork (of the Kanawha River, I believe) passes through an area in southern Calhoun County along Rt. 16.

As late as the 1950s and 1960s it had the reputation of being a wild area with one section known as Bear Fork because black bear were common there. As a kid at this time, I can remember begging my family to take us up there when we visited the Elliotts and see the bears. We never did.

The old Reip home is up in this — what used to be — remote area. To get there, take Rt. 16 south of Arnoldsburg and at Orma, turn left on the appropriately named Left Fork road which follows the Left Fork river. Several miles down this road is Euclid. There, at Euclid — which you should think of as a locational name rather than a town — turn right across the river on to county road 11/3 (and what Google Maps also calls "Granny She" road) headed south. Within several hundred yards to the east (left) is a beautiful tiny valley and a narrow dirt lane leading up it. About a hundred yards up the track is where the Reip house stood.

The house, viewed in these photos from the lane, is no longer standing. It was torn down in the early 2000s and a new house built in its place by the owners, who are I believe descendants of Frank Reip's third wife, Ethel Barr Vannoy.

My mother Maxine Elliott Mottice remembers visiting this house when she was a child. She recalls how difficult it was to reach since it was so remote. [Note: During the 1970s she and I attempted to get to the house one spring but were unsuccessful because there was no bridge crossing Left Hand and the water was too high to drive through. By the 1990s when we again attempted a visit, a bridge had been built and we were able to find the house easily. At that time we enjoyed the hospitality of the current owners as they allowed us to see the inside of the house. This was the first time my mother had been to the farm since before she was married.]

The house may have started out as a log cabin as there were massive hewn timbers atop the stone foundation. There was a large stone fireplace in the front room that heated the house. In back of the house was a fairly large barn that was used by Frank Reip (at least in part) for drying tobacco. My mother always referred to this as "the farm" and also remembers horses there.