Town of Hundred
The town of Hundred is located in Wetzel County in West Virginia. It is named after two pioneer residents who lived to be over 100 years old. They were the first residents of the area and settled there before 1800. The Church family had given several plots of land to the town including what is now the cemetery. One of the state’s 16 covered bridges is located in Hundred. It crosses over Fish Creek and is 36 feet long.
Backstory and Context
Henry Church was born in Suffolk, England on November 30, 1750. He came to the colonies as a soldier to fight during the Revolutionary War. Once the war was over, he married a Quaker woman named Hannah Keine. Hannah Keine was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1755. The pair had 8 children together. The family cleared the land and built their home on what is now the most prominent corner in town-in fact, the Bank of Hundred was later built here in 1906.
The spotlight was put on the couple when the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was completed in 1852. People would often walk by and see them sitting on their porch in their rockers. They would say “There’s Old Hundred.” Once the railroad was completed, they wanted to take the couple on a trip from town to Wheeling. Henry Church declined the trip saying “No, I never did make a show of myself and I never will.” From then on, the conductors would also point out the couple to passengers on the train, noting how they were the oldest people in the state.
The couple passed away a mere two months apart. Henry Church passed away on Sept 14, 1860 at 109 years, 9 months and 14 days. His wife, Hannah Keine passed away on July 27, 1860 at 106 years old. They were happily married for 82 years. The couple lost one daughter when she was 63. He was said to console himself with the thoughts that “she was a puny child and he had no thoughts of raising her.”
The town of Hundred was incorporated in 1894. It was named after its two founding settlers who lived to be over 100 years old. The first mayor was A.F. Gilmore and the town’s first recorder was F. M. Keller. Wetzel County’s oil and gas industry started in Hundred in 1886 with the first gas well which is still producing today. One of the state’s last 16 covered bridges is still standing in Hundred. It was built in 1880 or 1881 and very few details of its construction are known. It is a kingpost truss bridge that is 12.75 feet wide and 36 feet long. It still carries traffic today. In 2001, renovations were done by Lone Pine Construction of Bentleyville, Pa for the cost of$218,409. There were originally several covered bridges in the area but Fish Creek bridge is the only one that survived. Hundred has the distinction of being the only place in the United States with this name. As of July 2017, the Town of Hundred has a population of 286.
Moyer, Armond. Moyer, Winifried. The Origins of Unusual Placenames. Emmaus, Pa. Keystone Pub. Associates, 1958.
Null, Andrea. Wetzel Country. E-WV. June 14, 2013. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1158.
Covered Bridge, Fish Creek. Wetzel Country. . Accessed April 23, 2018. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/wetzel/81000609.pdf.