A tribute, penned in 1958 by his granddaughter
“Goodbye, proud world, I’m going home.”
As the little Greenbrier train puffed up the valley, Andrew Price, returning from a trip to Pittsburg or New York, would speak those words.
Known as the “Sage of Pocahontas,” this poet, historian, editor, geologist and lawyer loved his home above all else.
Pocahontas County was to him “the life I love, the life I prize, seems tame to world-worn weary eyes.”
Andrew was never troubled with the “fallacy of the elsewhere.” He believed that a man’s education should begin at home.
When he found a tomahawk in his front gate, he studied Indian lore until he became an authority on the subject.
The streams of Pocahontas County were full of fish, and he became one of West Virginia’s best fishermen and wrote many articles for and wrote many articles for Field and Stream.
It was not hard to find fossils in those days. Andrew began a study of geology and turned his woodshed into a rock museum. At his death the collection was given to the West Virginia University Geology Department.
One reason Andrew Price reaped so much from his environment was that he “was a man of immense energy.” His philosophy was “live while you live and then die and be done with it.”
As president of the West Virginia Historical Society, he spoke in every county but three. For many years he wrote editorials for The Pocahontas Times.
At the same time, he was clearing a plot of mountain land and building a farmhouse. He felled the trees himself and each evening he would come in dripping with sweat.
In 1904, Andrew was nominated for Congress, and in 1928 he was nominated for state Supreme Court judge. Both times he went down to defeat with the Democrats.
For eight years he served as Marlinton Post Master.
Some say he worked himself to death. This tall, strong man died at the rather young age of 59.
Andrew Price was born in Rockingham County, Virginia. His father, who had a master’s and doctor of divinity degree, heard that Marlins Bottom – where he had been born July 19, 1830 – needed a preacher. Promptly, he loaded his children on a spring wagon and set out for the promised land. At Marlins Bottom (now Marlinton,) his salary was $500, paid mostly in produce. All his dreams died and the children grew up in abject poverty. According to Andrew, many a year they lived on potatoes and salt with bacon and Sartor Resartus – “a glance at the rafters.”
From this early poverty Andrew learned charity.
Many stories are told of his kindness.
He never refused to pick up a hitchhiker. Once, when his baby granddaughter was in the car, he picked up a man who had smallpox.
When some hornets built a nest on his front porch, he refused to let the nest be destroyed. The hornets stung everyone in the house but him. Andrew said he got along well with hornets.
Once, he was seen getting off a train carrying a dirty, ragged child in each arm.
At home in any company, he expressed himself with native humor. By being himself he was completely different. When he was addressing a group in Clarksburg, a wealthy dowager said to Mrs. Price, “It must be wonderful to be married to a man like that.”
Although he was received with acclaim wherever he went, Andrew Price always said he would be unhappy away from home.
The frantic souls spurred on by lust,
For power and place till all is dust;
…never know the sweet release
Among the purple hills of peace.
My books, my friends, my mountains free
Have been and are enough for me.”
Written in 1959 by Andrew Price’s granddaughter, Ann Randolph Hoke, student at West Virginia University, for her Journalism class.