Historic Sketches of Pocahontas County- 1901
By William T. Price
HUNTERSVILLE – THE FIRST COUNTY SEAT
For a number of years previous to the organization of the county, in 1821, Hun-tersville had been a public place, as merchants and tradesmen from the east would arrange to meet the hunters here and barter goods for the proceeds of the chase.
It was suggested by some that Smithville would be an appropriate name for the county seat, for apparent historical reasons.
The present name, Huntersville, however was strenuously insisted upon by John Bradshaw and his friends, as a special compliment to the hunters that swarmed there during the trading season, and to whose presence and patronage the place owed very much for its prosperous development.
It was for a long while after the organization of the county that Huntersville retained precedence as the principal trading place for the entire county. The largest stores were usually here. Many people would come every month to the courts, and once a year the “Big Muster” would bring out all, subject to military duty, between the ages of 18 and 45, and many others besides. During the superior courts and the big musters, quite a number of persons from the eastern counties would be here to sell hats, saddles, harness, stoneware, tobacco, thirty cent whiskey, and other commodities too numerous to specify.
The stores and bar rooms would do a rushing business, and the horse and cattle market would sometimes be very lively.
Take it altogether, Huntersville was by common consent regarded as a little place with large ways.
It was no uncommon thing for Huntersville merchants to realize three or four hundred percent on dry goods, and not much less on groceries, during the period from 1822 to 1845.
When the Huntersville and Warm Springs turnpike was made, and the Parkersburg road penetrated upper Pocahontas, then stores of importance opened at Greenbank and Millpoint and in rapid succession at other points until mercantile operations have come to what they are now.
A very disastrous fire occurred in the winter of 1852 by which the most of the business part of the village was consumed to ashes. The Craig residence, two stores, and a hotel, comprising a range of buildings extending from the Presbyterian church to the corner opposite the court house.
At the time there lived on Browns Mountain one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s veterans who had fought in the battle of Waterloo, named Frederick Burr. He came down to view the smoking ruins and on his return he was met by a person who inquired: “Well, Mr. Burr, how does Huntersville look now?” In his solemn way he replied,” It looks like a coat with nothing but the tails left.”
The ancestor of the Varner relationship in our county was Joseph Varner. He came from Pendleton county very early in the century and settled on the Crooked Branch of Elk, on property now in possession of William A. McAllister.
Mr. Varner’s parents, it is believed, came from Germany to Pennsylvania, thence to Pendleton, among the earliest settlers of that county.
The father lived to the age of 112 years and died in Pendleton. The widowed mother came to live with her son, Joseph, on Elk, and died there, and her remains were buried near the home. Her reputed age was 113 years, the oldest person that ever lived in this region.
Joesph Varner’s wife was Susan Herold, sister of Christopher Herold. They were the parents of four sons: John, Adam, Eli and Samuel. Their daughters were Elizabeth, Alice, Susan and Amanda. The Varner sisters seemed to have been ladies by nature, and were remarkable for their beauty, spriteliness, attractive manners and tidy housekeeping…