Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What is the highest point in Pocahontas County?
A. Bald Knob at an altitude of 4,848 feet.
Q. What is the lowest point in Pocahontas County?
A. Where the Greenbrier River goes out of the county below Droop Mountain, at an altitude of 1,975 feet.

Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
By William T. Price
Distinctive Natural Features and Social Customs

Another interesting pioneer social gathering was the “raising” of a dwelling or a barn. Nothing pecuniary was expected, simply a return of like service when notified.

“Huskings” were popular at a certain period. In some communities they would come off in the day as a matter of business, not recreation or frolic.

But the typical “husking” was prepared for with some elaborate preparation. The ears would be pulled from the stalks, husks and all, and placed in ricks. This “husking” usually came off on some moon lighted night.

A managing “boss” was chosen who arranged the men on opposite sides of the rick, and the contest was who would be the first to break over the crest line.

Finding a red ear was considered good luck and so every ear would be noticed as it was broken off. Whoever scored the most red ears was the champion of the “husking bee.”

While the fathers and sons were thus laboriously but joyously disporting themselves at the corn ricks, the mothers and daughters were gathered at the house, some cooking, others busy at the “quilting.”

About 10 or 11 o’clock, the “husking” and the “quilting” were suspended, supper served and then came the “hoe down,” wherein heavy stumbling toes would be tripped to the notes of a screeching unruly violin, such fiddling was called “choking the goose,” or when there was no fiddle in evidence someone only “patted Juba” about as distinctly as the trotting of a horse over a bridge.

As a rule, pioneer festivities were orderly, yet once in a while there would be a few persons at the huskings who prided themselves in being and doing ugly.

Somewhere about the premises there was somebody or something that they would speak of as “Black Betty.”

After a few clandestine visits to where “Black Betty” was, the consequences would be that with her songs, yellings and a few fights would get in the works, and thereupon a fisticuff or two would impart interest to the gathering, and make the occasion the talk of the neighborhood until some other exciting matter came around.

BIOGRAPHIC
ANDREW EDMISTON

Andrew Edmiston, Esq., of Scotch-Irish ancestry, late of the lower Levels, is the subject of this biographic memoir. The immediate ancestry of the Edmiston relationship is traceable to Matthew Edmiston, who came to Augusta County, Va., from Chester County, Pa., among the earliest settlers of Augusta County, about 1740, or very soon thereafter…

Soon after his marriage with Mary (Polly) Gilliland in 1807, Mr. Edmiston settled near Locust, on lands now owned by George Callison…

It is also interesting to mention that Andrew Edmiston was a lineal descendant of Sir David Edmiston, cup-bearer to James 1st of Scotland; also of Sir James Edmiston, standard bearer of the royal colors in the battle of Sheriffmuir. In the Revolutionary war, Mr. Edmiston’s ancestors were distinguished, and notably at the battle of King’s Mountain.

Several of his grandsons were good Confederate soldiers in the late War Between the States.

Mr. and Mrs. Edmiston were the parents of five sons and five daughters: Lydia, Elizabeth Jane, Martha, Mary, James, George, Matthew, Andrew Jackson and Williams.

Lydia Edmiston was married to Richard McNeel, grandson of John McNeel, the original settler of the Levels, and lived near Millpoint…

James Edmiston married Mrs. Nancy Callison, relict of Isaac Callison, and a daughter of John Jordan…

In his youth and early manhood Andrew Edmiston seems to have had a consuming passion for athletic exercises, boxing, wrestling and feats of muscular endurance.

There was living at the time one Thomas Johnson, near the head of Stony Creek, who claimed to be the champion hard hitter of all that region. He heard of young Edmiston’s exploits as an athlete, and these exploits created some doubt as to which was the ‘best man,” and to settle the question, the ambitious Stony Creek champion sent a challenge to the champion of the lower Levels, that if he would meet him he would find out that though he might be the best the Levels could show, that he would soon find himself nowhere on Stony Creek if he just dared to show himself up there.

This fired young Edmiston, and made him as hot as the furnace we read of in Daniel. He may have sought rest but he did not find any that night, and so he set out by the light of the morning stars for West Union.

He walked from his home near Locust to John Smith’s, at the head of Stony Creek – fifteen or more miles – before breakfast to dispute the question of “best man” with Tom Johnson on his own Stony Creek ground.

Without stopping for rest or breakfast he sailed into Johnson, tooth, fist and toenail.

In the first round, Johnson landed a terrific blow on Edmiston’s shoulder that dislocated Edmiston’s arm, and yet he continued the contest until he saw his opportunity, and overpowered Johnson until he called out enough.

John Smith then took charge of the victor, the now best man of Stony Creek and the Levels, and gave him his breakfast, and by noon he was back at Locust.

He felt the effects of that dislocation all of his subsequent life. Slight exertion would ever after make his injured arm fly out of place at the shoulder…

Mr. Edmiston died April 15th, 1864, aged 87 years.

When the dying day came, when he was to pass over to the bright forever, it was found that he had nothing to do but to die…

more recommended stories