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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What state park has strange and interesting rock formations with holes that could serve as dens and spaces that could be streets?
A. Beartown
Q. What Cass teacher and author wrote novels about logging and life and people in Cass?
A. Warren “Tweard” Blackhurst

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

The Warm Springs and Huntersville Turnpike was projected, and completed about 1838. The Staunton and Parkersburg Pike was made two or three years later. It was located by the celebrated Crozet, one of the great Napoleon’s loyal engineers, who refugeed to the United States after Waterloo had made it rather uncomfortable for him in the old country.

About 1854 the Huttonsville and Marlinton Turnpike was located by Engineer Haymond. In the same year he engineered the Lewisburg and Marlinton Turnpike, and the Greenbrier bridge at Marlinton.

Colonel William Hamilton, of Randolph County, contracted for the road work from Huttonsville to Marlin’s Bottom.
Lemuel Chenoweth, from Beverly, built the bridge in 1854 -56.

Captain William Cochran superintended the Lewisburg Road, and all of these enterprises were completed by 1856.

During the War Between the States these highways, like so many other things, were virtually laid waste. The efforts to repair and keep them in proper condition have been many and varied, and much unfriendly criticism evoked as to the policy and management of the county authorities. As to road affairs, times change and people with them, and it seems citizens need time for living and learning.

No doubt the time will come sooner or later when the interests of the public highways will be committed to the management of persons specially qualified for the business, like law, medicine or politics.


David Gibson, a pioneer of Pocahontas county, and progenitor of the Gibson connection in our county, came from Augusta county, near Waynesboro, Virginia, about 1770.

He located near Gibson’s Knob, two miles south of Hillsboro, now in possession of Isaac McNeel. He reared a large family, but few of their names are known to the writer.

One of his sons, John moved to Indiana, where his descendants now live; a daughter, Mary, died in youth; Sally married Sampson Ochiltree and lived near Buckeye, where Henry Lightner now lives; Elizabeth married Joseph Buckley and lived on the neighboring farm, now owned by Levi Gay; Jennie married a Mr. Blake.

David Gibson, another son, located on the Old Field Fork of Elk about 1823, and began life in the woods.

The Hannah brothers had preceded him a year or two.

David Gibson’s wife, Mary, after whom Mary’s Chapel is named, was a daughter of the late William Sharp, near Edray. Her mother was Elizabeth Waddell, daughter of Alexander Waddell, a pioneer settler near Millpoint, the place now occupied by Joseph Smith and others.

The Gibson family on Elk consisted of five sons and three daughters. William, the oldest, lived on Elk. His wife was Polly Gay, daughter of the late Samuel M. Gay, near Marlinton; John married Margaret Townsend, near Driftwood; Davis, a well-known physician, married Elizabeth Stalnaker, daughter of Warwick Stalnaker, of Randolph; James Gibson married Jennie Friel, daughter of John Friel, who was killed in battle on Alleghany Mountain, December 1861; Jacob Gibson married a Miss Wamsley of Randolph, and was killed during the war near Huttonsville in a skirmish with a Jenkins’ Cavalry; David Gibson’s daughter, Elizabeth, became the wife of James McClure, near Edray; Mary married Rankin Poage, at Edray; Nancy became the wife of Samuel M. Gay, on the Indian Draft.

Mr. Gibson built up a comfortable home, in which he was assisted by his industrious sons and daughters. The habits of thrift learned from their parents have been successfully kept up, and prosperity attends them in their affairs, and all have comfortable homes and are prospering.

His home was open to the stranger that might come along. His confidences were sometimes abused and imposition practiced upon him, but that made no difference with his treatment of others. For years his home was at the service of the preachers, and thus, most of the preaching on Upper Elk was at his house.

It was a great undertaking to locate in the unbroken forest and build up a home and rear the family these worthy people succeeded so well in accomplishing…

The righteous, the honest and industrious should be held in lasting remembrance.

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