Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. Where in Pocahontas County was a federal prison camp from 1938 to 1959?
A. Cranberry Glades area, with an address of Mill Point.
Q. The Ridge and Valley and the Alleghany Plateau are the two geological provinces of what?
A. Pocahontas County.

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

We have seen how closely the world is held together by the continuity of history, and how, for good or for evil, we are what we are – not so much by ourselves – as by the toil, the sufferings, the conflicts, the character, and the achievements of those who came before us.

Our true intellectual ancestors, whatever the blood may have been composed of that coursed their veins, or the bones that formed their skulls. Philosophers assure us that the law of gravitation that orders and governs the course of the planetary worlds in their vast and tireless journeys through the illimitable realms of space likewise governs the destiny of the smallest grain of sand on the seashore as effectively as if it were the only one.

So, in a sense, the continuity of history reaches the destiny of empires, but has its influence the individual, as well. Hence it should be the desire of every one to know something of the past, and by the knowledge thus gained, construe the duties of the present and act for the well-being of the future.

In reference to our ancestors, it may be inquired why did they come here?

What were the impelling motives explaining their leaving the old world and seeking homes in the pathless regions of the western or new world.

Their lot for centuries was assigned to those sections of the earth in northern Europe, and subsequently northern America, whose climates are of such a character that the seasons succeed each other in a manner as requires constant effort for existence. In such latitudes, life is and always must be a struggle more or less arduous. There seems to be something in the air that makes the people who breathe it feel there is no time for rest. There must be always a toiling and a building up of ones own happiness out of the materials possessed by their neighbors, for their own personal self interest. Even when homes are as comfortable as can be made, with all the available appliances of civilization, it is a question whether such person have more real enjoyment in life than the sons of the forest had in their wigwams or tepees on the vales of Pocahontas…


Among the earliest settlers of the Elk region was Joseph Hannah, a son of David Hannah, who lived at the mouth of Locust Creek. He married Elizabeth Burnsides and early in the century settled on the “Old Field Fork of Elk.”

His home was on Mill Run near where William Hannah, a grandson, now lives. This immediate vicinity seems to have been a place of more than ordinary importance in prehistoric times. One of the most frequented Indian trails seems to have been from Clove Lick up the Creek to the Thomas Spring; thence over the mountain, crossing at the notch near Clark Rider’s farm; thence down by James Gibson’s to Elk. Here is the “Magic Circle,” mentioned elsewhere in this book. Nearly a mile further down was the encampment where about two acres of land had been denuded of trees for camp fires, and this was the “old field” that gave this branch of Elk its name, and was the first piece of ground planted by Joseph Hannah.

Mr. and Mrs. Hannah reared a large family of well-behaved, industrious children.This family did a good part in the industrial development of this thrifty section of our county…

Joseph Hannah was a person of impressive personal appearance. His memory was remarkably retentive, and his conversational powers something wonderful. He had committed to memory, it is believed by some, the greater portion of the Bible, and he could recite the Scriptures for hours at a time…

When the writer first remembers seeing Mr. Hannah, he was of very venerable appearance. His gray hair was combed back and plaited in a cue that hung down between his shoulders. The last time I ever saw him we were spending the night at Sampson Ocheltree’s, in the winter of 1849. The two old men were in busy conversation until a late hour, and most of the talk was about the children of Israel and the dealings of God.

The fire was getting low, the candle about burned out, when Mother Ocheltree observed it was about time to get ready for bed. At this suggestion Mr. Hannah arose and in a very soft solemn tone repeated and then sang a hymn. He then knelt in prayer and poured out his full heart in humble, trusting pray-er, in the tone and manner of a loving child to a kind and more loving father. The memory of that prayer, heard fifty years ago, imparts a pleasant glow to my feelings while writing these memorial sentences.

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