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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Fishing Trip
Continued from last week…

The fish continued to bite freely and the loads got heavier, and when we came to the mouth of Big Laurel Creek, which pointed back home, there was but one question and that was how to get back home with our catch as soon as possible. It was to follow the course mapped out for us at home, for the trip so far as we were concerned was an exploration. So we plodded up the creek between solid walls of big laurel and still the fish bit until we finally had to throw away the poles, roll up the lines and struggle on up the creek bed until we came to the road that led through the gap and brought us down to the familiar farms on Stony Creek, which comes into the river about a mile above where we lived.

I have brought many thousands of fish home in my time, both before and since then, but I cannot remember any such weight of mountain trout as we three boys dumped out at the house on that occasion.

The rule has changed now, and twenty-five trout is the limit of a day’s catch, and I heard a good deal of grumbling about it this year when so many men found their day’s sport halted on the threshold by the limit being reached.

It was some years before I was able to figure out what had become of the Dutch Bottom. But I came to know the river as well as I knew our own farm, and to fish and hunt there was one of the great resources of my life.

Then came the timber men and spoiled the sport, but the time will soon be when it will be given back to the Red Gods, and the ravages of man will be covered and restored by nature, and there will be once more a perfect retreat. Nature alone is permanent. And maybe the time may come when I can go there and cast off my years and fish for trout again.

October 12, 1911

Messrs. George McCollum and Francis McCoy have returned from their visit to Oklahoma, and their feeling seems to be, for the present, Pocahontas is good enough for them yet for a while at least. They report that George Hamilton and his sons, Frank and Pat, are well satisfied with their change and prospects. The old gentleman still retains his good humor, and thinks it is so funny to have a ride on a cyclone once in a while.

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Nickademus, Swecker’s old horse, ran off last Friday night with Aunt Jane Curry and Mrs. C. B. Swecker. It ran over a bridge and threw them out of the buggy.

Mrs. Swecker had a hole run through her nose and upper lip, and her face badly mashed. Mrs. Curry had a big hole cut in her face and was badly hurt. Medical aid was rendered by Dr. Little and others. They are both getting along fairly well under the circumstances.

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So far as is known to the writer of this paragraph, our readers have never known the inventor’s account of how the lock-stitch sewing machine was discovered by James E. A. Gibbs. As told by Mr. Gibbs to his family, it was to this effect: Upon seeing a cut of one of the first machines in an advertisement, his curiosity was so intensely aroused, that he spent much time in theorizing how the hidden part of the machine performed its work in sewing.

He became satisfied that the hook he had devised would fully explain the question in hand, and for the time being thought no more about how the unseen part did its service. In the meantime, however, while on a visit to his old home in Rockbridge county, near Fairfield, he learned that a friend who was a tailor, living in Fairfield, had quite recently procured a sewing machine and was using it in his business. Upon visiting his friend at his shop, Mr. Gibbs requested him to let him know all about the inside workings of the instrument. Greatly to his surprise, Mr. Gibbs found out there were two threads and a shuttle, instead of one thread and a hook. He said nothing about his feelings of surprise at finding out that he had made an invention without knowing it.

He returned to his Pocahontas home and from a laurel root found somewhere between the Marlinton Bridge and the Island, most probably, he carried his model, and a patent soon was applied for.


October Court adjourned today after a two weeks’ term – the longest and busiest in several years.

Two cocaine vendors were sent to the penitentiary under the McLaughlin law – William Fitzgerald for seven years, and Dave Murray for five years. Both are young men. They operated in the lumber towns of the upper Greenbrier. The trial of Harry Wier, recently captured in Cumberland, and held on a charge of selling cocaine was continued until January.


In the year 1910, there were 411 children born in Pocahontas county and there were 104 deaths. Of the 104 deaths, 45 were children under five years of age, and 24 others were persons between the ages of 60 and 90 years. In 1909 there were 540 births and 135 deaths; in 1908, 118 deaths. Of last year’s children, 220 were boys and 191 girls, and 400 white children and 7 colored. Last year, 56 males and 48 females died, while in 1909, 67 males and 68 females died; and in 1908, 59 males and 59 females made up the death list…

The population of Pocahontas county in round numbers is 15,000 with a death rate of 7 to the thousand and a birth rate of 27…

On the whole, we believe the figures show Pocahontas to be the good place to live that we have always believed it to be.

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