Joe Smith is the host at Pocahontas County Historical Museum this summer and reports a return to previous year visitation numbers after a disappointing drop last year. The museum is open every day in the summer Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Before the summer season Joe was hard at work repainting the entrance room (dining room). He has also received monetary donations to help with painting the other downstairs rooms. He and B.J. Gudmundsson have reorganized many exhibits, and Joe built a display for books in the museum shop.
The museum was the site of old time spelling bees and Pocahontas County knowledge contests, which were well-attended during Pioneer Days. Trevor Hammons provided music out on the porch before and after the contests. Currently on exhibit in the entrance room is Trevor’s First Place Entry in the State Social Studies Fair about The Hammons Family.
The museum is the home of the Historical Society, and the June meeting was held there to show off the recent innovations. The hallway has now become a display center of historical society events and early leaders. In July, members traveled to Bath County for their historical society’s tour of five historic sites, and on August 12, we will hold a meeting at 11a.m. prior to the celebration and tour of Camp Bartow, where the Battle of Greenbrier River was fought.
Recent additions to the museum collection include two items donated by Ed and Agnes Simmons Friel, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Seebert Lane. Agnes’s mother, Mary White Simmons, rescued a wooden pharmacy medicine chest after the auction of the Royal Drug Store. It had been used in several previous drug stores in that building, so is, possibly, well over 100 years old. Mary White refinished it and disposed of the medicines inside the small compartments in the drawers. They also donated a hedge trimmer used by Agnes’s grandfather, Letcher Simmons, who was the foreman of the print shop of The Pocahontas Times, and used the trimmer for the hedges of his huge garden, stretching from Second Avenue to the river at his home.
Last week we received a gift from Ellen Gragg Rudd, of Perry, Ohio. Arriving in its original mailing tube was a pristine First National Bank 1918 calendar, complete with its 2-cent stamp. It was addressed to Mr. Geo. Edgar Gragg at Hosterman. Hosterman was a former logging town in Pocahontas County. The beautiful lady pictured is “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” a copy of a well-known painting by H. Bucher. We thank Mrs. Rudd for this appropriate reminder of the centennial of World War 1, delivered to one of our long-gone communities.
If you have not visited the museum this summer, come and see our changes, additions and your favorite reminders of pioneer families and family history.
Remember, too, that the Price History Room at McClintic Library in Marlinton is open on Saturdays during the summer, in addition to the library’s regular daily and evening hours, giving you access to many of our extensive sources and the digitalized archives of The Pocahontas Times and Ancestry.com, as well as other library resources.