Most legends begin as a true story; as they are told and retold, they slowly morph into what they are today and still evolve. With time, the truth in a legend sometimes seems unbelievable, but there is always one part you think could be true.
Maybe this is true, minus the fluff and embellishment over the years. Remember that as you read:
The Legend of Strange Creek.
William Strange was a pioneer settler who came to the Elk Valley in 1795 with a group to survey the lands in the region. The group included Henry Jackson, Hall, Reger, and William Strange.
They came from Upshur County and an area in northeastern West Virginia to the Elk Valley, more specifically the junction of the Holly River. Once they were there, they hired a local guide, Jeremiah Carpenter.
During this time, there were no settlements except the home of Jeremiah Carpenter; he had a small cabin, and the rest of the area was wooded.
Each man in the group had a job, while William Strange's duties involved cooking, and he was in charge of the food and utensils, and they were carried on a packhorse horse, that he was in charge of. However, during the first day in the woods, Strange lost his way to the meeting point Carpenter had set.
The others stayed in Carpenter's home, and when they discovered Strange did not show up at the meeting point, they searched for him. They found that Strange and his horse wandered back and forth for miles, and he tied the horse to a bush and must have proceeded through the woods alone.
The group found the horse and continued searching the woods for Strange; even extending out for miles. They discovered a spot where Strange slept, and one of the members fired his gun, hoping Strange would hear the shot and find them, but he did not.
Two years prior, Carpenter's brother had been killed by the Natives, and he feared they were still around and would hear and ambush them. Carpenter instructed that no more firing of the weapon would be permitted. However, the group had a trail that Strange left and continued to follow deep in the mountains, slowly disappearing.
Strange was never found.
Years later, it was rumored that hunters found the bones of Strange at the foot of a large beech tree, and his name was etched into the bark with the following saying:
"Strange is my name, and I'm on strange ground, And strange it is that I can't be found."
The area was Turkey Creek, and it has been since renamed Strange Creek, and it is still called that.
However, there are other versions of the story. Some say William Strange's real name was William Bill English Dodrill. However, the legend may never be confirmed, as it is a legend.