Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. Name the counties which border Pocahontas.
A. Randolph, Pendleton, Highland, Bath, Greenbrier and Webster.
Q. Name the rivers which originate in Pocahontas County.
A. Greenbrier, Cherry, Cranberry, Shavers Fork of Cheat, Tygart, Williams, Elk and Gauley.

Historic Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
by William T. Price

Distinctive Features

By an act of the Virginia Legislature at Richmond, Assembled in 1821, Pocahontas county was formed of territory detached from the counties of Bath, Pendleton and Randolph, aggregating 820 square miles. Colonel John Baxter of Stony Creek was very active in bringing about the organization of the new county. Two counties were provided for, one to be named Alleghany, the other Pocahontas. The intention was to name the county embracing the crown of the Alleghanies, “Alleghany,” the other lower down “Pocahontas,” but owing to a clerical oversight the intended names were interchanged.

The geographical position of our county is defined from 37 degrees, 40 minutes to 38 degrees, 45 minutes, North Latitude; from 79 degrees, 35 minutes to 80 degrees, 24 minutes, West Longitude. Approximately, Marlinton’s geographical position is indicated by the intersection of N.L. 38 degrees, 13 minutes, and W. L. 80 degrees, 8 minutes. The true meridian station mark of sandstone is located in the courthouse grounds 11.9 feet north-east of courthouse steps. The distant mark, north of station mark 957.5 feet on the south side of Marlin’s Mountain. August 16, 1898, the magnetic declination was 3 degrees, 31 minutes W. Mean annual change, 3 seconds approximately.


The Arbogast relationship is identified to a marked degree with the history of our Pocahontas people, and justly claims recognition in these short and simple annals. So far as known, the original progenitor of the Arbogasts in Pendleton and Pocahontas was Michael Arbogast, who must have been one of the original pioneers of what is now Highland County, in “Indian Times.”

He settled there some time previous to 1758. Fort Seybert on South Branch, about twelve miles northeast of Franklin, was the chief place of refuge for all the pioneers in that section when there was danger of being pillaged, slain or carried into captivity by raiding parties of Indians, led for the most part by Killbuck. Captain Seybert is reported to have made the remark, when his fort was taken in 1758, that if the Arbogasts had been there, he could have held the place in spite of the Indians.

Michael Arbogast had seven sons: Adam, George, Henry, John, Michael, David and Peter – the two last named were twins. The sons, excepting John, were all very powerful and stalwart in their physique, and were often more than two hundred pounds in weight.

Adam Arbogast married Margaret (Peggy) Hull, daughter of Adam Hull, near Hevener’s Store in what is now Highland County, Va. They came to the head of the Greenbrier, near Travellers Repose, in 1796, and settled on the place now occupied by Paul McNeel Yeager. Here he built up a home in the primitive forest, and reared his family. His sons were Benjamin, William, Adam, and Jacob. The daughters were Susan, Elizabeth, Mary, Barbara and Catherine. Barbara and Catherine died in youth…

Adam Arbogast, the pioneer, lived to be nearly one hundred years old. He recovered his second sight and for years had no need of eye glasses. Coming to this region early as he did, and having grown up in the period of Indian troubles, he had many thrilling adventures to relate. Upon one occasion his dogs treed a panther in an immense hemlock tree for which the upper Greenbrier is so celebrated. He called on John Yeager, his nearest neighbor, for assistance in capturing the dangerous animal, one of the largest of its kind. John Yeager was a famous and fearless climber of forest trees. A torch was procured and he began to climb, holding it in one hand. When he located the panther, he laid the torch on two limbs, descended the tree until he could reach the rifle that Mr. Arbogast had loaded and primed for him. He thereupon returned to his torch and by its light shot and killed his game.

Upon one occasion the pioneer had arranged for a bear hunt on Burner’s Mountain. When reaching the point designated, he was disappointed in not meeting his hunter friends. He killed a bear however, and as it was growing late and there were signs of a coming storm, he went into shelter, and soon a hurricane occurred. The next morning he found there was not a standing tree anywhere near; the dog was gone, the bear fast under fallen timber, the gun broken to pieces, and he was safe without a scratch or bruise. He had to go home for an axe to chop the tree off the bear and get help to bring it in.

What gives these stories their interest, is it all occurred just as he told it. Like the Father of his Country, Adam Arbogast could not and would not tell anything but the truth as he saw it.

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