Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. Name the major Indian trail through Pocahontas County.
A. Seneca or Warrior’s Trail
Q. What U. S. route follows this trial from New York to Georgia?
A. U. S. Rt. 219

Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1981
By William T. Price

Natural Features and Social Customs

During the construction of the Greenbrier Railway the past two years (1899 -1900) several quarries of sandstone were opened along the line or nearby, and the material pronounced equal to the best for construction purposes.

For burning and fluxing purposes, limestone is very abundant, and much of it lies very near vast iron ore deposits.

Near the Little Levels in south Pocahontas, very pretty marble has been found, and the mountains on the west of the Levels contain vast amounts of black and white marbles. The specimens of which are very beautiful and promise great commercial value. These formations may be of ready access to the main stem of the Greenbrier Railway by short tramways from Seebert and Locust, and possibly points intervening.

The entire county from end to end east of the Greenbrier abounds in iron ore indications, principally the brown hematite and the reddish fossiliferous. The fossiliferous is not in thick veins or very widely distributed, but of the brown hematite, the supply is regarded as virtually inexhaustible. The veins of ore are large, of excellent quality and distributed over a vast area. In character the ores are pronounced the same as the ores of Monroe and Greenbrier counties. The ore veins of these counties are regarded as extensions of the veins found in Pocahontas…

As to the means of travel and communication in pioneer times, it seems that for years the pass ways to and from places in our county, and elsewhere beyond, were the trails made by buffaloes and Indians.

At first, the brush was trimmed away and widened for packhorses, then for sleds, then for wagons, as progress required. The pioneers seem to have noticed that it would be advisable to avoid the trails along the streams and valleys, and follow the crests of leading ridges, and so new paths were blazed accordingly and came to be used, hence the steepness of the old roads may be accounted for in great measure. It was much more practicable to escape an ambuscade on a crest or summit, than when hemmed in by valley hillsides.

With a tenacity worthy of a better purpose, the pioneers clung to the old paths with marked conservatism. The sons prided themselves with the idea that what was good enough for their fathers was good enough for them. About 1836, however, there seems to have been an awakening on the matter of better roads to and from the county. The Warm Springs and Huntersville Turnpike was projected, and completed about 1838, with Henry Harper and Wm. Gibson, a Huntersville merchant, contractors. It was a grand highway for that period, and awoke a sensation much like our people felt at seeing cars coming to Marlinton. Every stream was bridged from Huntersville to the Warm Springs, and the means of communication at the time between those places seemed to be all that was desired or could be reasonably expected.

Capt. William Cackley was in the Legislature that authorized and chartered the road, and, to use his own terse language, he had a “time of it log-rolling his bill through,” the expletives are here respectfully omitted…


This paper is devoted to the memory of two persons whose numerous descendants have formed an influential element of our citizenship for the past 75 years.

Felix Grimes, the pioneer, and his wife, Catherine, were natives of Ireland. The ship on which they sailed came near being lost during a storm in mid-ocean. At one time the masts were touching the waves, and water pouring in over the ship’s side. The passengers and some of the sailors were in frantic terror – some were praying, some cursing and swearing, and some wildly screaming with fright. The captain and some of the crew were self-possessed enough to urge the passengers to the opposite side of the vessel, and it righted at once, and the voyage was made in safety thereafter. It took three months to make the crossing. The landing was at New Castle, most probably, and some time was spent in Pennsylvania. Following the tide of emigration, these persons finally located a home on the uplands overlooking the valley of Knapps Creek from the west, nine or ten miles from Huntersville. It is believed they settled here about 1770.

The original name was Graham, but is came to be abbreviated to Grimes, and has so been written and pronounced all along.
Felix Grimes settled in the unbroken forest on lands now occupied by Morgan Grimes, the heirs of the late Davis Grimes, and others in the vicinity. The original site is now in the possession of Margaret Grimes, near Mt. Zion church… It was here these worthy persons reared their family, consisting of five sons and four daughters: Margaret, Mary, Sally and Nancy; Arthur, John, Charles, Henry and James.

Hon. John Grimes, son of Felix, the pioneer, married Elizabeth Burner, of Travelers Repose, and lived near Academy, on the farm now owned by Pocahontas county as an infirmary… He represented Pocahontas as a Democrat in the House of Delegates, 1841-42. Upon his motion, charters were granted for three academies, Hillsboro, Huntersville and Greenbank…

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