Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
By William T. Price
Natural Features and Social Customs
Now, putting all that has appeared in these articles on applied history in review, we may learn something of the motives that impelled our ancestors to select their homes in this region.
They possessed an energetic spirit that prompted them to desire a place where they could acquire a competency of earthly goods, so needful in times of disability, and for the decrepitude of advancing years. These people came among the mountains seeking refuge from civil and religious wrongs, and have a sanctuary where God could be worshipped, none daring to molest or make them afraid. They felt it a duty to provide for their households, and here land was to be had in goodly portions and sufficient to locate sons and daughters near the parental home, so ardent were their family affinities.
These reflections on applied history are now submitted to our readers for their consideration, to be discussed in any way most in harmony with their opinions. The writer’s ambition is that his people should have a history, and a future likewise, that may be worthy of praise and emulation.
“Should critics say my work is bad,
I won’t indulge in wail or woe,
I’ll simply smile and go my way
And say the critics do not know.
“But should they pat me on the back,
And say they think my work immense
I’ll take a rosier view of life
To think they show such rare good sense.”
Affairs having so far progressed, the formation of a new county was mooted and due arrangements made. A resolution to that effect was passed by the Virginia Legislature March, 1821. Thomas Mann Randolph was the Governor who signed the bill, and being a descendant of Pocahontas, “the virgin queen of a virgin world,” as General Skeene used to speak of her, this may have had something to do with the name selected for the county.
One hundred years ago, one of the most widely known citizens in the region now embraced by Pocahontas and Bath counties, was Levi Moore, Senior, a native of Wales. He was the pioneer of Frost, and came to there some time previous to the Revolution, and was among the first to make a permanent settlement. The lands he settled now owned by the Gibsons, Sharps and others. His wife was Susannah Crist and he first settled in Pennsylvania, where he lived until his family, two sons and two daughters were born and the older ones nearly grown.
Hannah Moore was married to Robert Gay, the ancestor of the Gay relationship, so frequently alluded to in these papers.
From Mrs. John Simmons and Mrs. Mary Jane Moore we learn the following particulars:
George Moore was at the notable wedding when Jacob Slaven and Miss Eleanor Lockridge were married near Driscol. The tradition is that a practical joke was played by one, James Brindley, at which the horse took fright, ran off, and the rider’s head struck a projecting fence stake and was instantly killed. George Moore lived a while on the land now held by Abram Sharp, but sold to John Sharp and went to Kentucky. He was back on a visit when his sudden death occurred as just mentioned.
Levi Moore, Junior, was a person of marked prominence in county affairs. In person, he was six feet, eleven inches in height, and well proportioned. He was a member of the Virginia legislature and was on the commission to locate the courthouse and selected a site near where George Baxter, county surveyor, now lives. His first marriage was with Miss Nancy Sharp, daughter of William Sharp, the Huntersville pioneer, and lived on the Moore homestead. In reference to their children the following items are recorded:
Rebecca Moore was married to Leonard Irvine, on Back Creek, and lived at the brick house where the road to Frost leaves the Back Creek road. Levi Irvine was killed in an accident; Lizzie Irvine was married to Henry Coffee, of Augusta County, Virginia; Cornelia Irvine was married to William Gardner and settled in Webster County; Wilton Irvine married Kate McCarty, daughter of George McCarty, and settled on Little Back Creek; Susannah Irvine was married to Cyrus Kelley on Little Creek; and there is a son, Herron Irvine…
The Honorable Levi Moore’s second marriage was with Mary McCarty, daughter of Timothy McCarty, a Revolutionary veteran, and the ancestor of the widely extended McCarty relationship in our county…
Levi Moore, Senior, located 575 acres of a “British survey on the headwaters of Knapps Creek.” After the Revolution, new requirements were made in order to secure permanent possession. It was to pay a requisite fee, a warrant would be laid, and a patent granted by the federal government. The new papers are dated 1798, and attested by Henry Grimes and Allen Poage, and signed by James Madison, Governor of Virginia.
Previous to the survey, George Poage had laid a warrant on two thousand acres, which would have included the 575 acres claimed by the Moores. At first the Moores contested for the British right, but when they found such was not valid, they then availed themselves of the provision authorizing exchange of warrants.
Levi Moore, Junior, appears in this new arrangement as assignee of Levi Moore, Senior, for lands adjoining the lands of Aaron Moore, who was living at that time on the Herold place. So, when a warrant held elsewhere was exchanged for the warrant on the land adjoining Aaron Moore, was agreed upon, the patent was applied for, George Poage stated the fact that there had been an exchange of warrants, and at Poage’s request the title for 575 acres was vested in Levi Moore, Junior, as assignee of Live Moore, Sr.
This transaction is interesting and instructive, as showing the spirit of the times, and how business men acted on the principles of an enlightened and pure conscience so far as the letter of the law went. Poage could have held the 575 acres, with all the improvements and good qualities of the land; yet within his breast there was the higher law of a conscience void of offense toward God and man, and he keeps his fellow citizen from suffering from the mistake he made when he relied on the validity of British right, which had been declared null and void by the results of the Revolution….
It makes us feel proud of our pioneer people to catch glimpses of what manner of men they were.
It is a sad day for any generation or family relationship to have it said of them that, like potatoes, the “best parts of them are in the ground.”
The record of this transaction is carefully preserved, and may be consulted time and again in the future as a testimony of what it is to be fair and square.