Log house living put to modern test in Wellsburg

PIONEERS — Sisters, from left, Robin Jenkins and Debra Kimball spent the weekend living as pioneers at the 1788 Wells Log House in Wellsburg. -- Amy Neeley

WELLSBURG — Debra Kimball said every time she drove through the city of Wellsburg she felt drawn to the 1788 Wells Log House, located near the Town Square.

“I kind of felt sorry for it,” she said. “It didn’t have a heartbeat. I wanted to adopt it; bring it back to life.”

So that is what she is doing with the help of her sister, Robin Jenkins.

The sisters belong to the 13th Virginia Infantry Angels of the Battlefield Women of Living History re-enactment group.

Kimball said she and Jenkins plan a “girls’ weekend” every year, and this year they decided to spend it in the log house. The two spent the weekend in period clothing and used only those things that were available at the time the house was in use.

This added for some hijinks when the two needed to get supplies at the local grocery story.

“The lady asked, ‘Where are you two from?’ and I said the mountain,” Kimball said laughing. “She said, ‘What mountain?'”

“She is always getting me into trouble,” Jenkins said.

Vickey Gallagher, president of the Brooke County Historical Museum and Cultural Center, said the ladies started with scrubbing the floors and cleaning the place up.

“Someone told me whoever built this house had money because all the wood is cherry,” Gallagher said.

The women and their group then started decorating the house all with authentic period pieces that they plan to leave in the house for the future events they hope to have.

“We brought everything up in her wagon,” Kimball said, referring to her sister’s pull-along trailer.

Kimball said the plan is to continue to make upgrades to the home and eventually be able to open it to the public. Gallagher said at this time the house is not open to the public.

“We need to keep it alive,” Kimball said. “We want to do living history out of it.”

Kimball and Jenkins said things like adopting the house are very close to their hearts.

“My sister and I should have lived in a different era,” Kimball said. “The pioneer times is where our heart is.”

The sisters will also be performing at the Brooke museum on Nov. 10 as Nancy “Rebel” Hart, a Civil War-era spy; and Dr. Mary Walker, the first female surgeon who served during the Civil War.


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