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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What battle fought in Pocahontas County was the most extensive Civil War conflict in the State?
A. The Battle of Droop Mountain.
Q. What Civil War battles were fought in the northern end of Pocahontas County?
A. Greenbrier River at Bartow and Camp Allegheny

Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
By William T. Price

Distinctive Natural Features

Where every thing seems to be more or less unique, as in Pocahontas, natural curiosities individually do not cut much figure, yet special mention may be made of the cliffs at the end of Droop Mountain, which have but recently become famous, and will be one of the features of tourists entering our county by rail up the Greenbrier; the “Ice Cave” of Droop Mountain; the “Cranberry Meadows” west of Hillsboro; the Falls of Hills Creek; the Turkey Buzzard Cave, near Mt. Vernon; the Black Hole near Linwood; the Saltpetre Cave at the head of Swago Creek; the Overholt Blowing Cave, surpassing the historic Windy Cove of Old Millboro in Bath, near McClintic’s Mill, four miles from Marlinton; the stone foot log and rock parlor table at the head of the Dry Branch of Swago; the Buttermilk Spring on Gauley, about opposite Gibson’s across the mountains; and “Gun Boat Rock,” near Split Rock.

Killing frosts early and late made the working of land a precarious source of subsistence until a comparatively recent period in the history of our county. As late as 1810, the fact that corn would ripen at Marlin’s Bottom enough to be fit for a meal was nearly a year’s wonder. Gardens for onions, parsnips, cucumbers, pumpkins and turnips; patches for buckwheat, corn, beans, and potatoes, for many years comprised the most of pioneer farming enterprise in the way of supplementing their supplies of game and fish. The implements used for clearing and cultivating these gardens and truck patches were of home manufacture, and for the most part rather crudely constructed, as mere makeshifts are apt to be.

The people were very frequently molested when at work, by the Indians. And on this account the men would carry their guns with them and have them always in ready reach, and while at work they would be on the lookout lest cunning scouts in ambush would shoot them down while at their endeavors to win their living by the sweat of their faces.

It being scarcely possible to keep a work horse because of the raiding Indians, most of the labor of farming had to be done with hoes. In the course of time, when horses and oxen could be kept and used, plows were in demand. The first plows were made entirely of seasoned hardwood. An improvement was made by attaching an iron plate to the plowing beam, and the “shovel plow” was evolved.


Among the citizens of our county in late years from the forties to the sixties, that took a lively interest in everything that promised to promote the interests of education, morality and the prosperity of the county generally, John Hartman Ruckman deserves more than a brief notice.

He traced his ancestry to one, Samuel Ruckman, a native of England, and born in 1643. The Ruckmans had lived a while in north east Wales, bordering England, and thence came to Long Island, New York, in 1682. Thomas Ruckman, son of Samuel Ruckman, the Welsh emigrant, was born on Long Island in 1682, and his son James Ruckman, another link in the ancestral chain, was born in New Jersey in 1716. James Ruckman’s son, David Ruckman, was born in New Jersey in 1747.

David Ruckman is the progenitor of the Ruckman relationship in Highland and Pocahontas counties…

David married a New Jersey wife, Susannah Little…

David and Susannah Ruckman were the parents of four sons and four daughters: Elizabeth, Sophia, Mary and Hannah; Samuel, John, James and David Little…

John H. Ruckman, in whose memory this biographic paper is specially prepared, was the eldest son of Samuel Ruckman, Esq., of Highland County…

John H. Ruckman was born in Highland County, then Bath, November 11, 1810. He married Mary Bruffey, daughter of Patrick Bruffey. He first settled on the old homestead on Back Creek, and then moved to Pocahontas, about 1845, to the Bradshaw place near Millpoint. He finally located on the Greenbrier, opposite the Stamping Creek junction, where he built a fine residence and spent several years. John and Mary were the parents of eight children: Caroline, Sydney, Charles, Samuel, James A., William Patrick, David Newton, and Polly Ann…

John H. Ruckman’s second wife was Mary Wooddell, near Greenbank. In 1863, he sold out his possessions in Pocahontas and moved to Georgia, where he died a few years since…

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