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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What Boy Scout Reservation was established in Pocahontas County in 1960?
A. Buckskin Scout Reservation at Dilleys Mill

Q. Where is a stand of virgin spruce protected by the national forest in Pocahontas County.
A. Gaudineer Knob

Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
By William T. Price
Pioneer Methods and Social Customs

When it came to be possible to raise corn fit to eat in the limits of our county, its preparation for the table was a matter of prime importance. One of the earliest contrivances was the “hominy block.”

This was made from a large block of some hardwood, most commonly white oak, eighteen or twenty inches in diameter, hollowed out at one end by burning and then trimmed into the shape of a druggist’s mortar of huge proportions… The top was large, but it narrowed down until it assumed a funnel shape, and held a peck or more of grain. The grain had been slightly softened by soaking in tepid water, and was reduced by the use of a wooden pestle, usually made of tough material thick as a man’s wrist, an iron wedge inserted at one end, made fast by an iron band.

Pounding corn for a family of eight or ten persons was an all day business, and part of the night on Saturdays. When pounded, the grain would be in a more or less fine condition, and by using a seive made of deer skin stretched over a hoop and perforated with holes, before the wire sifters were known, the coarse and fine could be separated. The fine meal would do for “Johnny cakes,” which is derived from “journey cake,” baked on a board, and for bread, while the course could be either re-pounded or cooked as it was for hominy…

In thinking over what has been written concerning pioneer farming experiences, the writer feels safe in saying that if the successors of these early settlers could see and handle the rude and clumsy, hand made appliances devised and used by the pioneers’ busy hands in their toilsome, dangerous endeavors for a livelihood, they would be greatly surprised, and would be prone to regard them as implements of sorely tedious torture, were they compelled to make use of the same in their bread-winning pursuits in 1901.

It would be a serious mistake however to think in that way of our worthy forebears, because they passed many hours of genuine enjoyment. Their fewer wants easily satisfied, rendered them as well contented, if not better as a rule, than their descendants now living their strenuous lives in pursuit of luxuries of dress, housing and food that would have been the envy of princes and kings in pioneer days…


Among the worthy pioneers of our county, the venerable John Barlow, ancestor of the Barlow connection, is very deserving of remembrance.

He was the only son of Alexander Barlow, of Bath County, who was a French emigrant, and had married an English emigrant, whose name was Barbara. He [Alexander] was living in Bath when the Revolutionary War came on. Entering the service of the colonies he fell in battle, according to authentic tradition.

This soldier’s widow married Henry Casebolt and lived at the Auldridge Place on the mountain overlooking Buckeye.

Our pioneer friend, John Barlow, was born November 26, 1781, and when he reached manhood, he found employment very readily for he was honest and industrious. There will always be a place for such men as long as there remains work to be done.

Alexander Waddell, who lived on the Moore place near Marvin, had him employed. Young Barlow and one of the daughters became attached and were married in 1806.

The engagement occurred while Martha Waddell and young Barlow were getting in a supply of firewood. She drove the sled while he chopped and loaded. It is not often that wood is chopped and hauled under such pleasingly romantic circumstances. At the time of their marriage, the groom was 25 and the bride was 16.

John and Martha Barlow began home keeping at the “Briar Patch” on Buckley Mountain, now known as the Pyles property. A point that commands a very extensive view. Afterwards Mr. Barlow bought a piece of land from Thomas Brock, on Redlick mountain. Here he built up a home, reared his family – ten sons and five daughters – and spent the greater part of his married life. This property is now owned by his son, Henry Barlow…

It is worthy of mention that when our worthy pioneer brought the Brock land he paid for it in venison at fifty cents a saddle or pair. Mr. Barlow estimated the number of deer killed by him at fifteen hundred. On the most lucky day of all his hunting career, he killed six deer and wounded the seventh. He never kept count of the bears, panthers, wildcats turkeys and foxes shot by him. The elk and buffalo were virtually exterminated before his hunting days…

During his last days, while kept at home and out of the woods by the infirmities of age, our venerable friend was asked if he would like to live his life over again. He replied, “I have no wish to live my life over again, but there is one thing I would like to do, and that is to have one more good bear hunt on Redlick mountain.”

This aged and interesting man passed away January 23, 1866, verging 85 years…

Conscientiously honest themselves, they believed everybody else to be honest. They were Israelites in deed, in whom there was no guile. On them and their children rest the blessing promised to the meek and the pure in heart; provided, they cherish purity and meekness as their venerated pioneer ancestors did.

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