Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What was the population of Pocahontas County in the 2010 census?
A. 8,719.
Q. Name at least one fort in Pocahontas County built as a refuge from the Indians.
A. Warwick at Green Bank, Days or Cackley at Mill Point, Drennen at Edray.

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

In the early times now under consideration it was an essential matter that about everything needed for comfortable use about the home should be homemade or at least somewhere in the immediate neighborhood. Thus it came that pioneer wives and daughters were not only ornamental, but exceedingly useful in promoting the comforts and attractions of their homes by the skill of their willing hands. Every household of any pretentions to independence or thrift had a loom, spinning wheels, little and big, a flax breaker, sheep shears, wool cards, and whatever else needful for changing wool and flax into clothing and blankets.

Sheep were raised on the farms and were usually sheared by the girls and boys. The wives and daughters would thereupon scour, card, spin, weave and knit the fleeces into clothing.

The flax was grown in the “flax patch,” usually a choice bit of ground. When ripe, the flax was pulled by hand, spread in layers until dry upon the ground where it had been pulled, then bound in bundles, carried away and spread very neatly over the cleanest and nicest sod to be found, most commonly the aftermath of a meadow. Here it remained with an occasional overturning until it was weathered, or watered. After an exposure of three or four weeks, or when weathered completely, the flax was gathered, bound in bundles, stored away in shelter until cool frosty days in late fall, winter or early spring would come, when it would be broken by the flax breaker, then scutched by the scutching knife over an upright board fastened to a block. Then what was left of the woody part by the breaker and scutching knife would be combed out by the hackle, and was now ready for spinning and weaving as flax or tow. The tow could be held in the hand and spun for coarse cloth, “tow linen.” The flax, being the straight and finer fibre, would be wrapped to the “rock,” attached to the little wheel and spun for the finer fabrics. The rock was a contrivance made by bending three or four branches of a bush together and tying them into a kind of frame-work at the upper end. Flax was most commonly put through the entire process from planting to wearing without leaving the farm on which it was grown.


The Friel relationship trace their ancestry to one Daniel O’Friel, a native of Ireland, who probably came to Augusta county with the Lewises in 1740. He settled on Middle River, between Churchville and Staunton. His children were James, William, Jeremiah and Anna.

James O’Friel went to Maryland, Eastern Shore. William settled in Highland County. Anna became a Mrs. Crawford and lived in Augusta.

Daniel O’Friel seems to have been a person of considerable means. He sold his property for Continental money, with a view of settling in Kentucky. The money being repudiated, he was unable to carry out his plans. Upon Jacob Warwick’s invitation, Jeremiah O’Friel came to Clover Lick. Mr. Warwick gave him land on Carrich Ridge. This land was exchanged with Sampson Matthews, Senior, for lands on Greenbrier, now occupied in part by his descendants.

Jeremiah Friel’s wife was Anna Brown, daughter of Joseph Brown, who was living at the time on Greenbrier River. Their first home was on Carrich Ridge, then afterwards they lived on the river. Their children were Joseph, Daniel, Josiah, John, Catherine, Hannah, Ellen, Mary and Jennie…

Jeremiah Friel and his sons were noted reapers. At that day there was cooperative harvesting. Squire Robert Gay’s wheat was usually the first to ripen. Beginning there, all hands from James Bridger’s down, would come hollering and singing, waving their sickles, eager to see who would cut the first sheaf and make the best record. Then from field to field up the river the harvesters would progress until Bridger’s harvest was reaped; thence to William and John Sharp’s and Josiah Brown’s and sometimes to Robert Moore’s at Edray. Then the sickle club would disband with great hilarity for their respective homes.

Late one evening at Friel’s, the harvesters quit without shocking up all that had been reaped and bound.

Jeremiah Friel observed: “Boys, it is so late and you are so tired, I believe we will let these sheaves rest till morning.” But after supper he noticed it lightning ominously in the west and north. He roused up all hands out of their beds, provided pine torches, and away all went in torchlight procession to the field and finished up the shocking just before midnight. This harvest scene must have been strangely picturesque. Before day, it was raining torrents attended with terrific thunder and lightning.

Jeremiah was a jovial companion for his sons and encouraged them from infancy in the favorite pastimes of the period, running foot races, wrestling and boxing…

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