Old Time Winters
By R. W. Brown
The Pocahontas Times
April 10, 1947
As we are writing this, we have been having a touch of Old Time Winter like we had fifty years ago when we were boys and walked two and three miles to the old country school and waded the snow more than a foot deep, and sometimes drifted over the top of the fences.
The snow would begin falling in November and lay until March. Well do I remember the “Big Snow” that commenced falling on December 16, 1890, and was about four feet deep, just over top of the fences. I was going to school at the old Bruffey School house two miles east of Green Bank. Miss Addie Williams was our teacher with about forty students. She sent all the small students home at two o’clock. It was then fun to wade that snow more than knee deep, more than two miles. In a few days, paths were made by horses walking single file and the school continued. (Automobiles were unknown). And such sleigh riding we would have with the one horse sleigh, the Yankee Jumper, the Go-Devil, Bobsleds and the Big Family sled.
Fifty odd years ago, in the winter time, we loved to attend the “Big Meetings” all over the country. We would make up a big sled load of boys and girls and go for miles to an old-fashioned revival meeting, where they shouted and got happy and had what they called a “mourner’s bench.”
With the bed full of straw and hay and covered with blankets and everyone sitting down flat in the sled and covered with blankets, what did we care if the thermometer was ten below zero? It was no trouble to get a crowd out to prayer meeting and the revival meetings; the house was always jammed full.
We only had four months of school. The Bruffey School, Piney Grove School and Oak Grove School would have spelling matches with each other. Each school had its Literary Society and Debating Society and the singing school, candy parties and taffy-pullings were all well attended.
At school we played “Fox and Geese” when we had the snow to make the ring. We made snow forts and fought the Revolutionary War over again. We lined up in battle array and with snow balls we pelted each other and when a man was hit, he had to go to the other side.
Then such fun as we had coasting on sleds and boards, and the seat of our pants would be worn out.
Fifty odd years ago we all walked to school; and in school we had old Ray’s arithmetic, with all its fundamental rules in mathematics, Harvey’s English Grammar, Mayhew’s double and single entry bookkeeping, Macy’s Civil Government, Holmes’ United States History, Myers’ General History, Cutter’s Physiology and Hygiene, West Virginia History, Penmanship, Mitchell’s Geography, Davies’ Algebra, McGuffey’s Speller and Readers, with morals taught in each lesson, more than is taught in some of our Sunday School literature of today.
In the past fifty odd years, the educational departments of West Virginia have found that those books are no good, and all have been changed and have been supplanted by books with no fundamental rules and full of Mother Goose stories.
We cannot understand why our school books must be changed so often. If they are educational at one time, why not another time? If they educated the great Statesmen of America, why not the present generation?
After all, some of the truly happy hours occurred and the most lasting friendships were made in the old country school of fifty odd years ago, when it was the community center and pride. At that time in school, we only got the fundamentals, so claimed by the educators of today, this 1947.
~ Arbovale, W. Va.
Tourism in Pocahontas County has rich history
William P. McNeel
The Pocahontas Times
A major project on the Monongahela National Forest in this county was the Highland Scenic Highway (W. Va. 150), planned to go from Richwood to Gormania in Grant County, following the high ridges. Construction started in 1965 at the visitor center on Cranberry Mountain and the first 22-mile section was completed to Rt. 219 on Elk Mountain in 1981. However, changing priorities for federal funds have resulted in this first section probably being the full extent of the road.
Today, the Monongahela National Forest is one of the major attractions for visitors to Pocahontas County and the other counties within the forest. Although there may be disagreement on the extend to which the forest should be managed for recreation versus timber production and other uses, all agree on the asset the MNF is to Pocahontas County.
The state has also expanded its recreational assets in the county. In 1953, 9,695 acres were purchased from the New River company and became Calvin W. Price State Forest. The interesting area of rock formations know as Beartown was acquired in 1970 and made part of the state park system. The Handley Hunting and Fishing Area was established on land purchased in 1959.
Although its major function is not to be a tourist attraction, visitors are welcome at the Edray Fish Hatchery. The hatchery was established in 1932…