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Minnehaha – the hospitality place

Pocahontas County has always had the distinction of being a place of hospitality, and that distinction may have found its beginning at Minnehaha.
Minnehaha Springs, located north of Marlinton on Rt. 39 is a pastoral community today.
Through the years, it went from a community of two or three families, to a resort area that boasted “rest, recreation, recuperation and restoration, ball games, swimming, horseback riding, radio, music, singing, study, reading, tutoring – and all that at very reasonable rates.
There was a time when ladies and gents, dressed to the nines, rolled up the rugs and danced the night away, enjoying Lady Baltimore cake near midnight.

Life was not “all work and no play” in the early days of Minnehaha. Dances were  well-attended, common occurrences. The August 13, 1914 edition of The Pocahontas Times reported on a dance held at the hotel: “A number of young people from Marlinton and elsewhere thoroughly enjoyed the dancing until a late hour. Refreshments, consisting of ice cream and Lady Baltimore cake, were served at eleven o’clock.” Photo courtesy of Preserving Pocahontas/Fannie Overholt collection
Life was not “all work and no play” in the early days of Minnehaha. Dances were well-attended, common occurrences. The August 13, 1914 edition of The Pocahontas Times reported on a dance held at the hotel: “A number of young people from Marlinton and elsewhere thoroughly enjoyed the dancing until a late hour. Refreshments, consisting of ice cream and Lady Baltimore cake, were served at eleven o’clock.” Photo courtesy of Preserving Pocahontas/Fannie Overholt collection

Mrs. Sidney Wilson, assisted by J. C. Harper, II, Lee White, Mrs. Maggie E. Lockridge, Mrs. Elmer Moore and Miss Mamie White compiled History of Minnehaha Springs community about the year 1928.
That history bears repeating, so here it is:
The territory referred to as Minnehaha Springs community consists of Douthards Creek, Cochran Creek and about five miles of the Knapps Creek Valley.
It consists of several residences, a post office, two stores and two churches. There is also a hotel and a bathhouse and summer home of Colonel H. R. Wylie, of Huntington. This home was formerly the Allegheny Club, belonging to the Allegheny Sportsmen’s Association.
Minnehaha Springs is located where the waters of Douthards Creek empty into Knapps Creek, near the base of the Allegheny Mountain. The elevation is about 2,500 feet.
In the past, the mountains have been noted for their timber, as well as for game. The valleys are rich and productive and the people are prosperous.

Early Settlers
Being only three miles from the historic town of Huntersville, we do not boast of having permanent settlers quite so early as other sections of the country. We find, however, that a man by the name of Knapp lived in our community prior to 1751, when Marlin and Sewell lived in Marlinton. Knapps Creek was named for him.
One of the earliest permanent settlers was Michael Daugherty, a native of Ireland, who settled where his great-grandson, W.G. Ruckman, now lives. He obtained a patent for all the land from his home down the valley to what was known as the Lockridge lands.
It is not certain what other settlers were in the community prior to 1600.
Price’s History of Pocahontas County states that, at that time, there were only 155 persons in what is known as Pocahontas County, so probably there were not more than two or three families in this community.
Early in the 19th century several persons made settlements, obtaining their patents from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Among these early settlers in the Knapps Creek Valley, should be named Lanty Lockridge, Michael Cleek and Henry Harper, Sr. Each of these men owned large tracts of land.
No definite information is available as to the first settlers of Cochran Creek and Douthards Creek, but Joseph Seybert and a Mr. Alderman settled on Cochran Creek in a log house near the Rimel home, and lived there many years, about the year 1881 or 1882.
The writer recalls him as a very aged man. He was small in stature, jovial in disposition, and was well-known for his hospitality to the many wagoners who sheltered under his roof when hauling supplies from Millboro, Virginia, into our county.
From 1825 to 1860, our community seems to have enjoyed a period of prosperity. The rich lands in the valley were cleaned up, the old up-and-down sawmills were built, which sawed some of the choice pines into lumber, from which frame houses were built to take the place of Jaynell Graham
Editor
 
Pocahontas County has always had the distinction of being a place of hospitality, and that distinction may have found its beginning at Minnehaha.
Minnehaha Springs, located north of Marlinton on Rt. 39 is a pastoral community today.
Through the years, it went from a community of two or three families, to a resort area that boasted “rest, recreation, recuperation and restoration, ball games, swimming, horseback riding, radio, music, singing, study, reading, tutoring – and all that at very reasonable rates.
There was a time when ladies and gents, dressed to the nines, rolled up the rugs and danced the night away, enjoying Lady Baltimore cake near midnight.
Mrs. Sidney Wilson, assisted by J. C. Harper, II, Lee White, Mrs. Maggie E. Lockridge, Mrs. Elmer Moore and Miss Mamie White compiled History of Minnehaha Springs community about the year 1928.
That history bears repeating, so here it is:
The territory referred to as Minnehaha Springs community consists of Douthards Creek, Cochran Creek and about five miles of the Knapps Creek Valley.
It consists of several residences, a post office, two stores and two churches. There is also a hotel and a bathhouse and summer home of Colonel H. R. Wylie, of Huntington. This home was formerly the Allegheny Club, belonging to the Allegheny Sportsmen’s Association.
Minnehaha Springs is located where the waters of Douthards Creek empty into Knapps Creek, near the base of the Allegheny Mountain. The elevation is about 2,500 feet.
In the past, the mountains have been noted for their timber, as well as for game. The valleys are rich and productive and the people are prosperous.

Early Settlers
Being only three miles from the historic town of Huntersville, we do not boast of having permanent settlers quite so early as other sections of the country. We find, however, that a man by the name of Knapp lived in our community prior to 1751, when Marlin and Sewell lived in Marlinton. Knapps Creek was named for him.
One of the earliest permanent settlers was Michael Daugherty, a native of Ireland, who settled where his great-grandson, W.G. Ruckman, now lives. He obtained a patent for all the land from his home down the valley to what was known as the Lockridge lands.
It is not certain what other settlers were in the community prior to 1600.
Price’s History of Pocahontas County states that, at that time, there were only 155 persons in what is known as Pocahontas County, so probably there were not more than two or three families in this community.
Early in the 19th century several persons made settlements, obtaining their patents from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Among these early settlers in the Knapps Creek Valley, should be named Lanty Lockridge, Michael Cleek and Henry Harper, Sr. Each of these men owned large tracts of land.
No definite information is available as to the first settlers of Cochran Creek and Douthards Creek, but Joseph Seybert and a Mr. Alderman settled on Cochran Creek in a log house near the Rimel home, and lived there many years, about the year 1881 or 1882.
The writer recalls him as a very aged man. He was small in stature, jovial in disposition, and was well-known for his hospitality to the many wagoners who sheltered under his roof when hauling supplies from Millboro, Virginia, into our county.
From 1825 to 1860, our community seems to have enjoyed a period of prosperity. The rich lands in the valley were cleaned up, the old up-and-down sawmills were built, which sawed some of the choice pines into lumber, from which frame houses were built to take the place of the log houses of the earlier days. Also grist mills were built to grind the grain. Roads were built, mail routes and post offices were established.
Then came the devastating results of the Civil War, and it took years of toil and hardship to rebuild. The bridge that had been erect-ed across Knapps Creek near our village was not rebuilt until 18 years ago in 1910.
Among the leading citizens and real estate owners who occupied the community soon after the Civil War, should be mentioned a Mr. Alderman, Henry Sharp and Benjamin Herold who located on Douthards Creek.
Mr. Herold owned a large tract of land extending from what is now known as the Rimel land and the J. G. Sharp land to the public road at the Springs.
Mr. Sharp was a good citizen known far and wide for his hospitality.
Among the first settlers on Knapps Creek should be mentioned Colonel James T. Lockridge, William Cleek, Sr., Joseph Seybert and Samuel Harper, a son of the pioneer, Henry Harper.
Colonel Lockridge owned the farms that are now owned by Mrs. Maggie S. Lockridge, and D. W. Dever, and a large boundary of mountain land. He was a man who served his country in various positions. He was Colonel of the 127th Virginia Militia, and was at one time a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Next up Knapps Creek came William Cleek, Sr., who was a large real estate owner and dealer in livestock. He was especially fond of horses and kept many fine ones.
Then the venerable Mr. Seybert, occupying the land now owned by H. A. Shinaberry and L. R. Hiveley. His work was done so thoroughly and systematically that it is worthy of imitation.
Samuel Harper was a farmer and dealer in stock, and also operated a mill, a sawmill and a blacksmith shop.
The lands owned at and near the Springs by Benjamin Herold, were purchased in 1876 by Henry White, Sr., a native of Highland County, Virginia. Mr. White, by industry, honesty and economy, built a nice home and he and his descendants have contributed largely toward making this a better community.
About 35 years ago, D. B. McElwee purchased about 200 acres of the White farm. The land on which a part of the village now stands, and also Col. Wyllie’s land is a part of this purchase.

Industrial Enterprises
Mr. McElwee was the real founder of the town, as he conceived the idea that there should be a trading point and a post office here. He built two residences, owned a small store, and was instrumental in the establishment of the first post office which was called Driscol, in honor of Col. John Driscol, an extensive operator at that time in pine timber.
The logs were floated down the streams to Ronceverte where they were sawed into lumber. When the lumbering ceased to some extent the town failed to grow. About 13 or 14 years ago, H. M. Lockridge and the late Dr. J. B. Lockridge, anxious to see the developments on and near the Lockridge homestead started new enterprises.
The large mineral spring on the Lockridge farm seemed to offer especially fine advantages. The water was tested first in 1891, then again in 1910, and found to be analogous in character with the water of the Hot Springs of Bath County, Virginia, and of Bethesda Spring, Waukesha, Wisconsin.
It was named Minnehaha Springs, because of the Indian relics found near it, and perhaps the fancy that Pocahontas, the princess for whom our county was named, might have lived at some time in this section, so the name of the other famous Indian maid was perpetuated.
A company was organized, known as the Pocahontas Mineral Water Development Company, to place this mineral water on the market and to develop the property.
A hotel was completed in 1914, on the top of the hill above the spring, and a bathhouse with a splendid pool at the foot of the hill. The water is the same temperature year-round – about 75 degrees.
Mr. H. M. Lockridge was instrumental in helping to organize the Allegheny Sportsmen’s Association.
Four thousand, four hundred acres of land were obtained here and in the adjoining mountains. A beautiful building known as the Club House was erected at the edge of a pine grove on the brow of the hill overlooking the Douthards and Knapps Creek valleys.
Our townsman, Winston Herold, was the contractor, and completed the building in 1915, at a cost of $20,000.
For many years it was filled with guests during the summer months. The fish in the creeks and the game in the mountains furnished excellent sport. A herd of elk from Yellowstone National Park was turned into the surrounding park, and also several wild deer. At one time there were a number of imported Chinese and Austrian pheasants in the park, also.
In 1826, this property was purchased by Col. H.R. Wyllie, of Huntington, and has been made into a beautiful summer home…

The Allegheny Sportsmen’s Association Club House was built on the edge of a pine grove overlooking the Douthards and Knapps Creek valleys. In more recent history, it was known as Allegheny Lodge. It was destroyed by fire October 17, 1983. Photo courtesy of Preserving Pocahontas.
The Allegheny Sportsmen’s Association Club House was built on the edge of a pine grove overlooking the Douthards and Knapps Creek valleys. In more recent history, it was known as Allegheny Lodge. It was destroyed by fire October 17, 1983. Photo courtesy of Preserving Pocahontas.

Copy of History of Minnehaha courtesy of Jud Worth.

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