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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
By William T. Price

‘Mad Ann’

March 22, 1858, it was the writer’s pleasure to visit Mrs. Smith, the aged mother of the late William Smith, who resided five and a half miles north of Covington on Jackson’s River. She had been well acquainted with “Mad Ann,” and related some recollections of this noted character of pioneer history.

She was of English birth, and claimed to have hailed from Liverpool. Her first husband was a Mr. Trotter, who was drowned in Jackson’s River near the residence of the late Squire Alexander McClintic. The water was quite shallow, but being in a state of intoxication he perished in the ripples, leaving a widow and two sons, William and John. William Trotter, in 1858, was living at Point Pleasant.

Mrs. Trotter lived a while as one of the nearest neighbors of the Smith family. Her property was a little rude log hut, three acres of arable land, two cows, two pigs and a horse. Before her reason became impaired she was a person of fine sense, and was much better educated than the generality of females of her day. As to her moral reputation in later life, she was not on a par with Caesar’s wife – above suspicion. Yet, she paid her debts, would not steal, or seek revenge for any insult in stealthy ways.

She made frequent journeys to Point Pleasant to carry powder and lead for the use of the troops stationed there to check Indian incursions. She became very erratic in later life, her mind becoming unsettled by grief over the death of one, Bailey, supposed to have been killed by the Indians. In person she was quite small, and after her mental troubles, preferred to wear a man’s attire. She rode “Liverpool,” a black, blaze-faced pony, and carried her rifle and shot pouch. She chewed tobacco, drank liquor, and thought it very becoming to use profane language.

She was regarded as perfectly harmless, unless irritated. Then she would shoot just as quickly as the triggers would work.

On her last visit to Alleghany, she went into camp and remained most of the summer, and the neighbors furnished her with provisions cheerfully and plentifully.

Mrs. Smith’s husband, having lost his horse by water murrain, hired “Liverpool” to plow corn; paid well for his use, put him in good order, and so poor Ann had a good fat horse to ride back to Ohio when her visit ended in the fall, and she soon after died…

The Honorable Virgil Lewis has prepared an interesting sketch of this remarkable person, and her fame is assured as long as the history of pioneer adventure has interested readers, and that will be as long as the State of West Virginia has a local habitation and a name.


The second group of McLaughlin relationship trace their ancestry to two brothers and two sisters of that name who settled in Pocahontas early in the century… William and John McLaughlin and their sisters Jennie and Nancy are the persons remembered as the ancestry of the second group.

William McLaughlin married Nancy Wylie, head of Jackson’s River, and settled on Thomas Creek, near Dunmore – his lands now held by his sons, Hugh and Robert.

Mrs. McLaughlin died a few years since at a very advanced age. She is remembered as a faithful and devoted nurse of her sick neighbors, and her services were held in high appreciation in times when there was no physician convenient. She and her neighbor, Elizabeth McCutchan, were sisters of charity in the best sense of the word. Sheep saffron was their main dependance in cases of measles. They were fully posted in the virtues of herb remedies…


The third group of the McLaughlin relationship in our county are the descendants of Squire Hugh McLaughlin, late of Marlinton. His early life was spent in part on Jackson’s River, Bath County. His wife was Nancy Gwinn, daughter of John Gwinn, Senior, and granddaughter of John Bradshaw.

Squire Hugh McLaughlin and Hugh McLaughlin, late of Huntersville, were cousins and were intimately associated when they were young men. They were married about the same time, jointly leased a piece of land on Jackson’s River, built a cabin and went to housekeeping. There was but one room. This they divided between them and kept separate establishments. Squire McLaughlin would often tell how an axe, maul and wedge made up his original business capital, and how his housekeeping effects were carried by his young wife on a horse the day they went to themselves in their cabin home on the leased land.
Upon the expiration of the lease, early in the twenties, Squire McLaughlin settled in the woods on Thomas Creek, and opened up lands now held by his son, George H. McLaughlin.

Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin were the parents of three sons and two daughters: William Jacob, John Calvin, George Henry, Elizabeth and Margaret.

Squire Hugh McLaughlin was married the second time to Mrs. Elizabeth Gum, (nee Lightner), of Highland. There were two sons by this marriage.

Harper McLaughlin first married Caroline Cackley, and lived at Marlinton, Second marriage was with Etta Yeager, of Travelers Repose.

Andrew M. McLaughlin married Mary Price, and now resides near Lewisburg…

After residing a number of years near Dunmore, Squire McLaughlin located west of Huntersville where he prospered in business. Thence he removed to Marlin’s Bottom, where he died in 1870, aged 69 years. Squire McLaughlin was a prominent citizen – a member of the county court, a ruling Elder in the Presbyterian church. He acquired an immense landed estate – one of the most valuable in the county…

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