Clover Lick is one of those towns that hasn’t had a lot of its history put into print. A quick Google search tells you it was founded in the early 1900s as one of the many C&O railroad stops in Pocahontas County.
While just a few houses and a Depot are about all that’s left today, Clover Lick’s history remains alive in the memories of those who call the area home.
People such as Richard and Jane Beverage. Richard is the fourth of seven generations of Beverages to grow up and live on the family farm, a stone’s throw from Clover Lick, on the aptly named Beverage Road.
Richard attended Poage Lane School for six years, then caught the bus to attend schools in Marlinton for the remainder of his education. Jane grew up in Dunmore, but remembers the one trip she took to Clover Lick when she was a child.
“My uncle, Lee Kessler, lived up there,” she said. “He was the caretaker for a place – he lived in a big house. Lee Kessler was my grandmother’s brother. She and I walked to Dunmore, caught the mail truck to Sitlington, got on the train at Sitlington and came to Clover Lick. That was my only train ride. We walked up there to that house and stayed for about a week.”
In its heyday, Clover Lick looked a good bit different than it does today.
The original site of the depot is marked by a concrete foundation for the signal. There also remains a house, concrete pump house. At one time, there was a bunkhouse, water tower and stock pens near the railroad.
The town also had two stores, a section house and two mills.
“[The lumber mill] went through two hands, I know,” Richard said. “Deran and Wise. That’s the people that owned it. The only store I remember was Coyner’s.”
“Coyner’s Store,” Jane interjected. “They had feed. They had groceries. It was an old country store that had anything people would want. The post office was inside that building.”
“Back of Coyner’s Store, there’s a field and there was a stave mill there,” Richard added. “They made barrels. There were houses up along that way, too.”
The town was a hub for everyone who lived in and around Clover Lick. It allowed for shopping, transportation and business transactions.
Along with purchasing items that came to the town via the train, the Beverage family would also sell items that were transported elsewhere by train.
“We hauled pulpwood there,” Richard said. “While the train was still there, we cut it and took it down there and put it on the cars. That’s the way it was.”
“That train brought in so many things,” Jane added. “Richard’s parents would order stuff from catalogs, and they would send it on the train and drop it off in Clover Lick at the store. Then they would go pick it up.”
The Beverages also made barrels of sauerkraut for the wood hicks living at the lumber camps on the mountain.
“Dad used to go to Elk River to Sam Hannah’s. He had a wagon with a team of horses, and he’d haul cabbage back here,” Richard said. “They would make kraut, barrel it, finish it up, take it down there, put it on the train for the lumber company.”
“They’d haul it up there and feed the people up on the mountain,” Jane added.
Because of the railroad, the area became home to Italian immigrants who came to build the track and their memory is honored with the small community called Little Italy.
“The Italians came in and settled there while they were building the track,” Jane said. “That’s where Little Italy came from. One lady carried water on top of her head – she had to go to the spring to get her water – and the kids would watch her carry that water on top of her head.”
With the influx of new and local residents, Clover Lick became a highly populated area and the sense of community grew with the help of school and church activities.
“They had a lot of kids that went to school there,” Jane said. “You had the river crew that lived on the Greenbrier River out of Clover Lick. There was a pile of them that came down to school. They would walk down to the store and catch the bus.
“They’d get together and play softball,” she continued. “Elizabeth Kessler had a 4-H club, and they met at the schoolhouse. They had meals and all. They had all kinds of activities. It was a good place for the youth and there were things to do. The school was pretty much a community center.”
Near the school were the town’s two churches – Episcopal and Methodist.
Like a lot of the lumber company towns that popped up in Pocahontas County, Clover Lick didn’t maintain a large population for long. Once the timber was cut and milled, it was time to move on to the next part of the forest. The mills closed, followed by the railroad.
“When I came here, Clover Lick was a booming place,” Jane said. “The mills went first. I can remember the train there, but I don’t remember the mills.”
While some families left with the lumber company, several stayed, like the Beverages. Italian immigrants married into local families and remained, and many families are adding new generations of Clover Lick residents.
“Quincy Friel’s dad had a house right there where you cross the bridge [in Clover Lick],” Jane said. “He is the only native right now, that I know of, that’s living there in Clover Lick. There are some other families – like the Gardners – they have been here from way back. As for the Coyners, they were some of the first settlers – that would be my thoughts.”
The railroad track was taken up, which made way for the Greenbrier River Trail, several houses have been renovated and some new folks are moving in.
So, the spirit of Clover Lick remains and the sense of community continues to welcome visitors to the town that was home to so many in the past.
“Everybody associated with each other, and I thought it was a very connected area,” Jane said. “There were a lot of kids. I just felt like it was a very connected bunch. People helped each other, and they had parties. They all got together.”
Clover Lick is located 10 miles northeast of Marlinton along the Greenbrier River. The Depot sits beside the Greenbrier River Trail at Milepost 71.2.