Marker Text: Howard's Lick, (3 Mi. W.), or Lee White Sulphur Springs, was once owned by Gen. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee of Revolutionary War fame. It was owned later by Charles Carter Lee, brother of the beloved Gen. Robert E. Lee.
(Reverse Side) Here John Jackson and wife, great-grandparents of Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, settled about 1750 and here was born Edward Jackson, grandfather of the great military genius, before the family moved to the Buckhannon River.
Location: On WV Route 259, just north of Mathias, WV north of the turn off for Lost River State Park. Erected by the West Virginia Department of Culture and History in 1980.
Thomas “Stonewall” Jonathan Jackson was the great-grandson of John Jackson and Elizabeth Cummins (also known as Elizabeth Comings and Elizabeth Needles). John Jackson was a Protestant who moved to the American Colonies from Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland. While living in London, he was convicted of the capital crime of larceny for stealing £170; the judge at the Old Bailey sentenced him to a seven-year indenture in America. Elizabeth, a strong, blonde woman over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, born in London, was also convicted of larceny in an unrelated case for stealing 19 pieces of silver, jewelry, and fine lace, and received a similar sentence. They both were transported on the prison ship Litchfield, which departed London in May 1749 with 150 convicts. John and Elizabeth met on board and were in love by the time the ship arrived at Annapolis, Maryland. Although they were sent to different locations in Maryland for their indentures, the couple married in July 1755.
Lee White Sulphur Spring at Lost River State Park. Spring under the shelter. Click any photo to enlarge.
The family migrated west across the Blue Ridge Mountains to settle in this valley in present day Hardy County, WV in 1758. In 1770, they moved further west to the Tygart Valley. To read a more detailed description of Howard's Lick and the Jackson family you can visit this link at the West Virginia Archives and History web site
Legendary Confederate General Robert E. Lee's family also had a presence here in the valley in what was called “Lee White Sulphur Springs” an attempt to start of a health resort was began, but the original name of “Howard's Lick” was retained by the early settlers of the area.
Lee Cabin in Lost River State Park, photo taken from the location of the spring in photo above.
John Howard and his son came into this area by way of the Lost River valley, then followed the stream known as Howard’s Lick Run to the spring and made camp at the deer lick thereby giving their name to this location. Their first view of the beauty of South Branch of the Lost River Valley was from the top of the mountain that also bears their name. This area was part of Lord Fairfax's Northern Neck of Virginia land grant and after exploring this area John Howard and his son went to Loudon to report their discoveries to Lord Fairfax.
A portion of the Springs property along Howard's Lick Run was conveyed to General Henry Lee (Light Horse Harry Lee) of Revolutionary fame by the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1796. Gen. Lee’s fame also rests on the memorable words used in his eulogy of George Washington: “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Henry Lee built a log cabin near the Lee White Sulphur Springs to use as a summer retreat from the heat of their eastern Virginia home. The cabin still stands within the boundary of Lost River State Park and is an historic museum, known as Lee Cabin. It was built about 1800, and is a two-story, frame and hewn-log structure.
Another view of the Lee Cabin.
The Lee family also incorporated a portion of the land it under the name of Soda Springs Company in order to establish a resort based on the medicinal qualities of the water, but this effort eventually failed years later. The property remained in the Lee family until 1879. The State of West Virginia acquired the property, cabin and spring in the 1930's as a portion of Lost River State Park. The Lee Cabin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
At the time of Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee's death in 1818, his four sons inherited a vast area of land including his possessions in Hardy county. Charles Carter Lee’s three brothers conveyed their interests in immense tracts of land to him, including 18 tracts in Hardy and Shenandoah counties. Charles Carter Lee, oldest full brother of General Robert E. Lee, came into possession of thousands of acres of forest land that had become a burden to his brothers.
Marker as seen looking north on Route 259.
Mr. H. S. Carr, who owned later own the property described Lee White Sulphur Spring: “The waters, of the purest white sulphur, rise from a bed of solid rock, and are of a temperature unequalled by any other sulphur springs, being uniformly 52 degree Fahrenheit at all seasons of the year – ten degrees colder than the Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs. By analysis they are shown to be medicinally superior to the Greenbrier White, containing no lime and a larger per cent of soda than any other sulphur spring known in Virginia.”