November 1927

Edgar Varner, who broke jail at Marlinton a few weeks ago, was shot and killed by an officer in Highland county last Wednesday, in resisting arrest. After Varner had broken jail, he stole a car at Campbell’s camp on Back Creek. The officers found him near McDowell. He was wanted in West Virginia, New Mexico and other states.

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George P. Edgar reports the killing of fourteen lambs by a panther on his Cranberry River plantation. The throat of each lamb was cut. There were no tracks or other sign as would have been the case if a bear had done the depredation. Some of the carcasses were covered up. A panther was seen last summer just across the mountain from where the sheep were killed.

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Layman and Reed Davis saw a fine big doe on the Jericho Flat, about a half mile from the county bridge last Saturday. The young men were rabbit hunting and came upon the deer. This is the first time in thirty years since a deer was seen on this ridge.

TANNERY TO REBUILD

Last Friday was a day of joy in this town of Marlinton, when telegrams came announcing the decision of the United States Leather company to rebuild their tannery.

Work will begin at once and it is expected that a few months will again see this great industry in operation.

On the night of September 21, the Greenbrier Tannery was destroyed by fire. For twenty-three years, this plant had run winter and summer, day in and day out, giving employment as good money to several hundred men. It was an institution in this community and our greatest industry. Like so many other blessings, its real value to us was brought home only by its loss…
It is really hard to express our feelings of thankfulness over this rebuilding of this plant. It means so much in every phase of our community life. So intricately are its affairs and its people interwoven into the religious, business, school, social and other activities of the life of this town, that its failure to be rebuilt would have been the kind of calamity one hates to think on.

This is the annual Thanksgiving season, and it is truly thanksgiving time in Marlinton.

A BEAR

Paul H. Price, of Morgantown, assistant State Geologist, and Dr. Phil Johnson, resident physician at State Hospital No. 3 at Fairmont, killed a fine bear on Turkey Mountain, at the head of Gauley River last Wednesday. It was a big two year old, fat, and weighed around two hundred pounds. The pelt was unusually well furred. The hunters were on a deer stand at the edge of a laurel thicket on top of the mountain. This mountain is the dividing ridge between the waters which go into Williams River by the way of Bannock Shoal and the Gauley waters. Price was armed with an 1873 Model United States Army Springfield rifle. Dr. Johnson had a 303 army high powered rifle loaded with bullets which had been “dum dummed.” Drivers were out to herd the deer across the ridge.

Several hundred yards away, the hunters saw something coming at a run along the mountain side. It was a bear traveling just under the brow of the mountain below the rim rock at the edge of the laurel. The sun on the bear’s sleek coat made it shine like silver.

The hunters held their fire until the bear came within 75 yards. Both shot. Price hit it back of the shoulder, and the bullet ranged back, coming out on the rump. Another jump and the bear would have been in the laurel and away. However, it turned right about and charged directly for the men. Ears back, hair on end, and eyes ablaze.

Then the war opened…

Both Mr. Price and Dr. Johnson were soldiers in the World War, and when the bear charged, they executed a counter movement and went toward the bear, which we understand is proper military procedure. It was an exciting moment that is more easily imagined than described.

It might be said right here that this was the first experience in big game hunting for these gentlemen, and the first time Dr. Johnson had ever been in the big woods.

In a short time, the drivers came up and the other standers called in.

The jubilee was on the camp meeting order.

The hunting party was composed of James Sharp, 70 years old, Paul H. Price, Dr. Phil Johnson, Ed C. Emmett Galford, Charlie J. Sharp and Calvin W. Price.

The bear was big and heavy and the camp was a good distance away. However, the game could not be skinned and divided in the woods for that all important unit of every well equipped hunting party, the camera, had been left in the camp. So, the bear had to be toted in and pictured.

Uncle Jim Sharp, old time big game hunter, had the bear drawn in a minute, leaving in the lights and liver. He stripped off the web, too. It will make a fine lot of oil.

A couple of well placed shots from a high powered rifle cut off a sapling as big as a weaver’s beam for a jiggling pole. The bear’s head and feet were tied to this pole and the party took time about in packing the dead weight up hill and down, over logs and rocks and through the spruce forest to the camp. It was a triumphal march, all right.

There was bear meat a plenty for all to eat. It is a proper diet for a man, but there are many people who have to acquire the taste before they can really enjoy eating bear. In this camp, three of the number had been dosed for croup as children with bear oil. In each case, the taste seemed to linger, and they did not choose any, thanks just the same.

Thursday morning, there was still plenty of provision in the camp, but any other game getting would be in the nature of an anticlimax anyway. Besides, there were pounds and pounds of the finest bear meat in the world to be saved. So movement toward home began in the rain and snow.

The party came over Yew Mountain to the forks of Tea Creek. This stream was a raging torrent and unfordable. It falls half a thousand feet in three miles. Ed Moore went up the west fork and got across. At a cutting camp, he found Perry Boggs, of Marlinton, who brought an axe and a saw. A tree was soon felled across the creek for a foot log. Perry and this writer belong to the same lodge. There is no doubt in my mind that he recognized the fraternity’s sign of distress, and he promptly responded.

That ten mile trip in the snow and rain, loaded with bear and camp things was a slavish drill. By three o’clock, the automobile was ready to go. It had been parked at the mouth of Little Laurel. At four o’clock, Marlinton was reached.
While the snow was heavy on the mountains, there was no snow at Marlinton.

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