Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What is the oldest church building in Pocahontas County and where is it?
A. Hamlin Chapel, on Stony Creek.
Q. Name the municipalities in Pocahontas County.
A. Durbin, Marlinton and Hillsboro.

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

Distinctive Natural Features

To smooth and pulverize the earth for planting, the place of the harrow was supplied by a crabapple tree or a blackthorn bush, pressed down by heavy pieces of wood fastened on by hickory withes or strips of leather bark, and some nice work was done by those extemporized harrows. The first harrows that superseded the crab and blackthorn, had wooden frames shaped like a big A, and the teeth being made of seasoned hickory or white oak.

The first scythes that were used to cut the meadows were handmade by the neighborhood blacksmith, and were hammered out instead of whetted to put them in cutting order. The sneathes were straight sticks, and in mowing the mowers were bent into horizontal, semilunar fardel shapes, as if they were looking for holes in the ground, or snakes in the grassy weeds.

For handling hay or grain, forks were made of bifurcated saplings of maple or dogwood, carefully peeled and well seasoned. The writer remembers with pleasure a dogwood fork presented to him by his father, and this fork compared with the hickory rod kept in pickle for lazy, absent-minded boys, was a thing of beauty and the joy of many a summer day in the meadows. It became smooth as ivory, and was the last of the wooden forks I have ever seen used, and the last shocks I built with it were in the meadow just above the Island, more than fifty years ago.

When the pioneers came to need more land than mere patches, they would chop three or four acres “smack smooth” and a log rolling was in order. By invitation the neighbors for miles would meet with their teams of horses or oxen, to assist in putting up log heaps for burning. This being done, a feast was enjoyed, and all returned homewards.

The next thing was to burn the heaps. Outside the clearing a wide belt was raked inwardly to prevent the fire from “getting away.” The preferred time for using fire was usually some night when all would be still and calm. The first thing was to burn the clearing over, thus making way with smaller brush, undergrowth, and other “trash.” It was an impressive sight to witness as the smoke and flames of the burning heaps arose like pillars of fire by night, while the men, sweaty and sooty, passed among them keeping up the fires.


Among the citizens of prominence in the organization of the county was Edward Ervine, late of the Greenback District. His residence was at the head of Trimble’s Run. This homestead is now occupied by his son, Preston, and David Gregg, a son-in-law.

Mr. Ervine was born April 2, 1790, near Miller’s Iron Works, Augusta County, and lived there until manhood. He married Mary Curry, who was born June 20, 1794. Upon leaving Augusta County soon after his marriage, he settled on Back Creek, near the Brick House at the mouth of the Long Draft. They were parents of ten children, seven sons and three daughters…

Their son, B. F. Ervine, entered the Confederate service, was captured on the Upper Tract in 1861, and died a prisoner of war soon after…

Edward Ervine became a citizen of this region some time before the organization of the county, and was one of the first members of the County Court. Upon his removal from Back Creek he settled on lands bought of Bonaparte Trimble, who lived in Augusta county, not far from Buffalo Gap. The improvements at the time of his purchase consisted of a primitive cabin, an acre or so of cleared land, and he reared a large family there.

He held the office of magistrate for almost his lifetime, celebrated numerous marriages, presided at a great many trials and issued more warrants than can be readily enumerated. His disposition was jovial, and his humor seemed inspiring… For a long while he was a member of Liberty Church, and was a model specimen of the plain, straight-forward, Scotch-Irish Virginian. It appears from the Curry records in Augusta that Mr. Ervine was a lineal descendant of one of the three Curry brothers who came to the Valley of Virginia with the earliest emigrants…

The type of religion he inherited in Scotland and the north of Ireland tended to blend in personal character indomitable industry, wise provision, and satisfying comfort, and the ideal of his endeavors was to have a home of his own amid fields and meadows. Of such homes, an eloquent writer says: “The homes of our land are its havens of peace, its sanctuaries of strength and happiness. Hence come those principles of probity and integrity that are the safeguards of our nations.”

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