Andrew Phalen of Putnam County, West Virginia

As we learned in two previous posts on Andrew Phalen and Elisabeth Finkemeijer, we know that the couple may have met but definitely married in St. Louis, Missouri in 1840. Two children were born to the couple while they still lived in St. Louis: Elizabeth Isabelle, born 1841 and William, born 1843. If there was a “Margaret” born in 1840, as Hardesty’s claims, I am unable to locate a birth or baptismal record for her.

By 1845 the couple had arrived in what was then Kanawha County, Virginia most likely on land between Manila Creek and Plymouth, West Virginia where Andrew Phalen purportedly opened the first coal mine in the area. I have yet to obtain land or tax records for Andrew Phalen. What I can attest to is that in the 1850 Federal Census for Putnam County (formed from Kanawha in 1848), Andrew Phalen is listed as a “Collier” – a coal miner – with his birthplace given as Scotland.

As discussed previously, Andrew was born in Port Morien, formerly known as Cow Bay, in Nova Scotia, Canada. A Family Group Sheet listing Andrew’s parents and siblings is provided for you to review showing the number of births before and after him. The marriage record of his parents Patrick Phalen and Margaret L’Angot is also provided in a previous post. I correspond(ed) with three of our distant Phalen “cousins” in order to gather the details regarding the siblings and parents.

1845 appears to be the birthdate of my ancestor, Andrew Jackson Phalen. At the time the Census was taken (1850) there were only two adults and two children in the household. Andrew Jackson Phalen is listed as four years old in 1850.

1850 Putnam County Census
1850 Putnam County WV Census: Andrew Falan, 41, b. Scotland; Elizabeth Falan, 40, b. Germany; [daughter] Elizabeth Falan, 8, b. Missouri; [son] Andrew, 4, b. (West) Virginia
I only know from family stories handed down that the mine itself was situated at Plymouth, or what we called when I was growing up “Plymouth Backwater.” The mine was leased to the Energetic Coal Company which, in turn, was leased to Thomas Bancroft. Hence the name of the town of Bancroft, West Virginia where many of my relatives live today.

By 1860, the family had grown by one more: Susanna Phalen, aged 8. Again, the surname is spelled “Falan.” If other children were born between Andrew Jackson Phalen and before (or after) Susanna Phalen, I have been unable to discover evidence. In short, Elizabeth Isabelle (or Isabella), Andrew Jackson, and Susanna were the only surviving children of Andrew Phalen and Elisabeth Finkemeijer. This document again conflicts with Andrew’s actual birthplace as well as that of Elisabeth. It gives “Hanover, Germany” as her birthplace. Of course, I question the veracity of this since, on the ship list, she is listed as having come from Lahne, a location in the vicinity of current Wroclaw, Poland, nearly 400 miles east and south of Hannover. Regardless, she left the former Prussian Empire behind in 1837 to come to America.

1860 Putnam Census
1860 Putnam County WV Census: A. Falan, 51, Farmer, b. Scotland; E. Falan, 50, b. Germany; E. Falan, 18, b. Missouri; A. Falan, 14, b. Virginia; S. Falan, 8, b. Virginia.

It is through children Elizabeth Isabella Phalen and Andrew Jackson Phalen that descendants were born to Andrew and Elisabeth. Elizabeth married John M. Walters and bore him four children before his death. She subsequently married William S. Higginbotham but whether any children were born of this union, I have yet to determine.

Son, Andrew Jackson Phalen married Mary Jane Kimbleton or Foster, whose actual surname I discussed in another post. This couple bore at least 13 children, one of which I just learned about in the past week. I am descended from their son, John Henry Phalen. Many of Andrew Jackson’s sons moved away from the Poca / Plymouth / Bancroft area to the vicinity of Cabin Creek, Cedar Grove, Mammoth, and Sharon in Kanawha County where they continued to work as coal miners.

Daughter, Susanna Phalen, married Lewis Erwin Showen or Schowen, bore at least three children who can be documented, and none of them survived. Susannah, her daughter Elizabeth, and perhaps son William are buried on Schowen’s Hill at Bancroft. William and his brother John Andrew, aged 7 and 2 years old respectively, died at Poca in 1880 just days apart from “Quinsy,” an ‘inflammation of the throat, especially an abscess in the region of the tonsils,’ according to an online medical dictionary. I would think both boys were buried at the Varner Cemetery next to the Poca Middle School where I also suspect that Andrew Phalen and Elisabeth Finkemeijer are buried in unmarked graves. Susanna and Lewis Showen’s daughter Elizabeth died in 1899 at the age of 20. I have been unable to locate a record of death but, according to, she is buried on Schowen’s Hill, very likely near her mother, Susanna, in the Catholic area of the cemetery. Susanna died in Racine, Meigs County, Ohio, and was brought back to Bancroft (still called Plymouth at the time) and buried on Schowen’s Hill as well.

Here is a Family Group Sheet for Elizabeth Isabelle Phalen Walters before her marriage to William S. Higginbotham.

Here is a Family Group Sheet for Andrew Jackson Phalen and Mary Jane Kimbleton/Foster. I didn’t include a group sheet for Andrew Jackson and his second wife, Mary Ann West as no children were born to them.

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