Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

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

In regard to educational interests, Huntersville has had some good schools. About the year 1841, a chartered Academy was built near the place now occupied by Dr. Patterson’s residence. The names of the teachers, as now remembered, were J. C. Humphries, from Greenville, August County, A. Crawford, of Brownsburg, Va., Rev. T. P W. Magruder, from Maryland, J. Woods Price, and a Professor Miller, from Pennsylvania.

To Huntersville is due the distinction of being the first place in Pocahontas where a Sunday school was held throughout the year.

In the year 1839, Rev. J. M. Harris, a young minister in broken health, was advised to come to the mountains as a relief for bronchial troubles. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and in his preparation for the ministry he was a student of such brilliant promise that he was called to do his first preaching by a church in New Orleans. His charge has since become the foremost Presbyterian church in the city, and achieved a national reputation under the ministry of Dr. Palmer.

For a time it looked as if Mr. Harris was destined to be a pulpit star of the first magnitude. Nervous prostration disabled him, and he resorted to the Virginia mountains as his forlorn hope for health. In a few weeks after reaching Huntersville he opened school, and also gathered a Sabbath school.

His school room was in a building near where the Methodist church now stands, and was in later years used by Dr. Matt Wallace as a physician’s office.

After a sojourn at Huntersville for a year or two, his health improved a good deal.

It was in his room at Holden’s Hotel the writer saw what a Greek Testament and Hebrew Bible looked like, and came to the conclusion that it would require something more than human to be able to make any sense out of books printed with something that looked more like grammatical bird tracks and systematic fly specks than printed words.

When Mr. Harris left Huntersville, he went to Hampshire County. There he married a lady of considerable wealth, and lived for many years in an isolated mountain home, where it was high and dry.

He had a fine library, the leading newspapers, reviews and magazines, and kept well informed as to what was going on in the world.

He tried to do good when opportunities permitted, though expecting any year might be his last…


It appears from such information as the compiler has been able to obtain, that this person was the pioneer settler of the Huntersville vicinity, and was the first to open up a permanent residence. Traces of the building he erected are yet visible near the new road around the mountain, a few rods from where the mountain road leaves the Dunmore and Huntersville road. Mr. Sharp located here about 1773, and saw service as a scout and a soldier. It is believed he came here from Augusta County, and probably lived in the vicinity of Staunton.

His wife’s name was Mary Meeks. She was a very amiable person, lived to a great age, and died at the home of her son, James Sharp, many years ago…

John Sharp, a son of William Sharp, upon his marriage with Sarah McCollam, settled on the farm near Verdant Valley, now occupied by his grandson, John Wesley Irvine.

William Sharp, Junior, was another son of the Huntersville pioneer, and settled Verdant Valley, and a numerous posterity is descended from them. He and his resolute young wife, Elizabeth Waddell, settled in the woods and built up a fine estate out of a forest noted for the tremendous size of its walnut, red oak and sugar maple trees, and reared a worthy family, highly respected for their industry and good citizenship…

James Sharp was much in the habit of hunting at the proper season, not only for the sport, but as a matter of business, for the proceeds were useful in bartering for family supplies for the comfort and sustenance of his household. While living at his first home on Cummings Creek, he had a very sensational adventure on Buckley Mountain.

It was growing late, and it was near the time to set out for home. He was passing leisurely along when a panther suddenly mounted a log, but a few yards in front of him. He shot the animal, but when the smoke cleared away, another stood in the same place on the log. This performance was repeated nine times, when the hunter became panic stricken and flanked out for home. Some time during the night the remainder of the pack followed his trail to his house and killed a yearling calf. Properly reinforced, Mr. Sharp went back to the spot where he had fired nine times, and there beheld what no hunter had seen before or since. Nine panthers, but they were good panthers now; every shot had told with fatal effect. It appears that there were seasons when these animals went in packs of fifteen or twenty, and this happened to be one of the times.

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