Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
By William T. Price
Natural Features and Social Customs
One of the most memorable days in the social and civil history of Pocahontas County was the 5th day of March 1822, when the first court was held at the residence of John Bradshaw, at Huntersville, a log tenement that stood where the Lightner House now stands.
John Jordan, William Page, James Tallman, Robert Gay, John Baxter, George Burner, and Benjamin Tallman were present and handed in their commissions as Justices of the Peace, signed by Governor Randolph.
Colonel John Baxter administrated the oath of office, each member qualifying four times, in virtue of which multiplied qualifications the members of the new court were solemnly obligated to the faithful performance of official duties; fidelity to the Commonwealth of Virginia; support the national Constitution; and oppose dueling. William Poage, Jr., then administered the four prescribed oaths to Colonel John Baxter, and the proclamation was made that the court was duly open for business.
John Jordan was sworn in as High Sheriff, giving bond for $30,000, with Abram and Isaac McNeel as sureties or bondsmen. Josiah Beard was appointed Clerk, with Thomas Beard, George Poage and James Tallman bondsmen, on a bond of $3,000. Johnson Reynolds, of Lewisburg, qualified as Attorney for the Commonwealth. Sampson L. Mathews was recommended for appointment as Surveyor of Lands. William Hughes was appointed Constable for the Levels District, with William McNeel and Robert McClintock as sureties in a bond of $500. James Cooper was appointed Constable for the Head of Greenbrier, with William Slaven and Samuel Hogsett as bondsmen.
These proceedings occupied the first day, and court adjourned until 10 a.m. the following morning.
When Court convened March 6, 1822, all were present except Robert Gay. John Jordan, the High Sheriff, moved the Court that his son Jonathan Jordan be appointed Deputy Sheriff. The motion prevailed, granting the request, whereupon the four oaths, as already described were duly administered by the Clerk.
James Callison, William Edminson, John Hill, John Cochran, Alexander Waddell, John McNeill (Little John), Robert Moore, Martin Dilley, Benjamin Arbogast, William Sharp, William Hartman and Joseph Wolfenberger were appointed overseers of the various roads, completed and prospective, in the county.
Robert Gay, – still out of court – was appointed Commissioner of the Revenue. When informed of this appointment he appeared in court and gave bond in $1,000 with William Cackley and John Baxter sureties, whereupon he was duly qualified.
Attorneys Cyrus Curry from Lexington, Rockbridge County, and Johnston Reynolds, from Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, were licensed to practice law as the first two members of the Pocahontas Bar.
“Pennsylvania” John Moore is represented by a worthy posterity, and deserves special mention as one of the Pocahontas Pioneers. He was among the immigrants from Pennsylvania, and as there were several John Moores, the soubriquet “Pennsylvania” was and is attached to his name. Upon his marriage with Margaret Moore, daughter of Moses Moore, scout, hunter, and pioneer, John Moore settled and opened up the place now occupied by David Moore, near Mount Zion Church, in the Hills. Their family consisted of three sons and eight daughters…
John Moore, the ancestor of this branch of the Moore relationship, came first to Pennsylvania and thence to Virginia, early in the seventies of the eighteenth century. Except by marriage, there is no well authenticated relationship known to exist between his family and the other families of the Moore name – so numerous in our county – and who have performed such an important service in opening up prosperous homes, in the face of such serious obstacles, so bravely and perseveringly met and overcome by them.
We younger people, who were permitted to begin where the pioneers left off, can scarcely realize what it cost in laborious privations, in personal discomfort and inconvenience, in wear and tear of mind and body, to make possible what seems to come to us as naturally as the air we breathe.
In a modified sense, the same qualities that were requisite in clearing lands, and rearing homes, and making improvements, in the first place, are needed to retain what has been done, and add thereto. Eternal vigilance is said to be the price of liberty that cost the blood and lives of the brave. So, in a higher sense, eternal industry and economy is the price of living from the lands reclaimed at such a cost by those who worked and suffered while they lived for our good and their own.