End of Era at Table Rock

WHEELING – For decades, Table Rock Farm in Ohio County has been a curiosity for history buffs seeking a chance to walk the same woods and fields that the area’s settlers and Native American population inhabited centuries ago.

With its famed rock formation that resembles a massive table to its aquifer supplying water that the Indians believed held healing powers, Table Rock is one of five original homesteads built in the county.

The home, with its large columns and stately appearance, was constructed in the mid-1800s by Samuel McColloch, a nephew to Sam McColloch of the McColloch’s Leap fame. Members of that family worked the farm for decades.

The property was purchased in 1931 by the Andrew C.M. Hess family, which has had several generations occupying the home and farm buildings on more than 400 sprawling acres.

The original cabin with its wide, stone fireplace also still stands on the property.

Today, the farm is at a crossroads, as the house and several acres of property have been placed up for sale by Hess’ grandchildren after their uncle, Christian Hess, died. Christian was a collector of many interesting and valuable items, from pottery to walking canes, train whistles to fine china and more. He loved tinkering in the workshop and appreciated fine wood.

Andy Hogan of Wheeling – who is named for his grandfather, Andrew Hess – and his siblings have been tasked with liquidating their uncle’s estate.

“My uncle Chris collected anything with the name ‘Wheeling’ on it. He loved china and so many other neat things. After we picked out some stuff, we knew we had to have an auction for the remaining items,” Hogan said.

That’s where Jim Frio and his auction services enter the picture. Frio has been assembling, tagging and pricing items for one of several sales he believes will be required for the extensive inventory of items.

The first auction is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Table Rock Farm located on Table Rock Lane north of Wheeling. Inspections begin at 9 a.m. At that time, Frio said the “farm stuff” will be put on the auction block.

The remaining antiques, collectibles and historical items will be sold at future sales, with the first slated for June 1 at the Frio auction house at The Highlands.

That “farm stuff” includes hand tools, anvils and blacksmith forges, wooden kegs, a vintage sulky and wagon, fireplace cooking kettles, a 10-foot by 8-foot wooden storefront, corn shellers and numerous cabinets, tractors, a 1968 Army Jeep and more.

“These are usable tools and things that we hope will attract the people who can still use them,” Frio said. “There are also some really great (horse drawn) sleighs including one with a back seat.”

The property has held items dating back to the 1700s and 1800s including highly collectible furniture, Hobbs art glass, Avon pottery made in Tiltonsville in 1904, and historical books from the Ohio Valley.

Hogan’s late mother, Mary Ann, grew up at Table Rock and often took her six children to the farm to enjoy its history and its traditions.

“That’s why we are keeping a lot of the acreage. This was my mom’s home and we always loved coming here. It’s not the same now without her or my uncle here. It was time to do this,” Hogan added.