January 7, 1965
There have been few Christmas seasons with so mild weather. Showers brought forth a rainbow on Christmas Day. And the same day Roy Dever picked a dandelion in his back yard. Robins were in abundance and singing a few days before the New Year. January 1 is supposed to be the rule day for January and it was snow and sleet and rain – and miserable. Warm weather in December is not supposed to be a good sign for a good growing season, and if January 1 is “warm and gay, ‘twill be winter weather in May.” But we missed that.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. John Rexrode, of Bartow, a son.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Defibaugh, of Roanoke, Virginia, a son, named Nelson Daniel.
James Leroy Mayes, five-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Mayes, of Cass; burial in the Arbovale Cemetery.
Miss Lillie Jane Rider, 84, of Marlinton; a daughter of the late Charles Wilson and Margaret Hamilton Rider. Burial in Mountain View Cemetery.
Mrs. Margaret Rose Underwood, 85, of Hunters- ville; daughter of the late James and Adaline Thornton. Burial in the Beaver Creek Cemetery.
James Crawford Gum, 73, of Durbin; retired postmaster at Durbin. Burial in the Arbovale Cemetery.
Kenneth Roger McCarty, 20, of Alexandria, Virginia, formerly of Frost; son of Frank and Gladys Bussard McCarty. Burial in the Mount Zion Cemetery.
Doc Raymond Vaughan, 81, of Hillsboro; son of the late Henry M. and Nancy M. Vaughan. Burial in the Emmanuel Methodist Church Cemetery near Hillsboro.
Peyton E. Pyles, 77, of Scottsville, Virginia. Born at Huntersville, the son of the late Jacob Beckley and Sarah Jane Buzzard Pyles. Burial in Scottsville Cemetery.
On the 30th day of April, 1910, as near as we can figure out, Old Hellion visited the Old Field Fork of Elk and killed three sheep and ate his fill and left a sheep for further reference in the woods of the Gauley side of Elk about half a mile from Gibson’s house on the river.
Gibson had a bear trap that weighed sixty pounds and he set it at a place that the bear would pass in going to the sheep and then styled three guns near the trap. That was the first day of May. That night at 11 o’clock Gibson thought he heard the sound of a gun, and he got up and went on the porch and discussed with other members of the family, who were awake, whether he had really heard a shot or not, and as he stood there the two other guns boomed out in an unmistakable manner. The guns set had been a 32 Winchester, a 44 Winchester and a Winchester shotgun.
The question then before the house was whether it was the proper thing to go to the place at once or wait the slow coming of daylight. The sensible thing to do seemed to be wait until morning, and if Old Hellion was dead the carcass would be there in the morning, and if he was not dead he was no fit and proper person to meet up with at midnight. But Gibson had still another gun, another 44 Winchester, that he could rely upon, and he took a lantern and went forth to see what all the shooting was about.
All was quiet until he got almost to the spot and then there was a terrible commotion. The bear had got the trap on a front foot and had been shot three times and had tried to go away and had traveled some twenty or thirty feet into a thicket and there the drag on the trap had caught in the root and anchored the brute.
When the hunter came near, the bear commenced to thrash about in the brush and beat the sixty pound trap on the logs in a frenzied manner, and growl and snort, so that the family at the house anxiously listening a half mile away could hear plainly.
Gibson was there in the mountain in the night time and he could not see the bear or tell just what was going on. He could not understand why the bear did not come out of that. He could not handle the lantern and hold the gun too, but about that time a bright moon came up and shone on the scene.
Gibson decided to go into the thicket and shoot the bear that by this time was crouching somewhere just out of sight. Never was a man in more danger. He got to a place in the brush where he was within a few feet of the bear. The bear raised on his hind feet so close to the hunter that the hunter felt the chain of the trap come up between his legs and there within a gun’s length of him stood the bear, ready to fall on him, and the hunter raised his gun and shot the bear through the heart, and the great brute fell down dead at the hunter’s feet.
The bear was estimated to weigh six hundred pounds. The hide was eight feet, six inches long by seven feet, six inches wide, and it is probably the biggest and best bear hide ever taken in this country It is now a rug in the office of Dr. Parr, Martins Ferry, Ohio.
The record showed that the bear had come for the sheep and had stepped in the trap and that had set off the spring gun shooting the 44 ball. This shot had hit the bear in the jaw. Then as he struggled with the trap, he let off the shot gun that had hit him behind the shoulder but had not penetrated the cavity of the body. The 32 gun had hit the bear squarely behind the ear and the ball lay flattened against the skull.
The fact that the old time mountain rifle would not shock a bear sufficiently to stop it unless the shot penetrated the brain or the heart made bear chasing a sport that depended on the strategy of the bear dog. The hunter had to be greatly favored to be able to kill a brute. If a bear took to a tree it was not particularly difficult, but the biggest and most dangerous bears would not tree from hounds, and if a shot came from a mountain rifle it generally resulted in the bear going away from that place and being lost. So the old time hunters who got the most bears had a habit of carrying a very large and sharp hunting knife and when a bear was bayed they would go in and stab the bear to the heart by reaching over the back and using the knife on the opposite side from that on which they stood. In this way the bear struck from them and did not harm them, whereas, if they had stabbed form the other side on which they stood the bear would rip them up with a stroke of the paw.
This country we are writing about is where the late Hugh Sharp lived his long and interest life. He was a prosperous farmer, but his pleasures consisted of bears and bees. He hunted the first and cherished the last. He had many bear scalps to his name. He was a great friend of Johnny Phillips, of Fairmont, and it was there that Johnny Phillips came bearing all the earmarks of a tenderfoot on his first visit. About the time he arrived, a deer fleeing before the hounds came flashing by the house and Phillips hot five times and hit the deer each time and brought it down; next day he shot mark with the local hunters and beat them all. He happened to be a crack shot and he could shoot all around the local talent, and so he made good with them and was accepted into the brotherhood.