Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. How many rivers flow into Pocahontas?
A. None
Q. How does the average altitude of Pocahontas compare with other counties east of the Rockies?
A. Highest average altitude.

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

Distinctive Natural Features

Among the distinctive features of the north portion of this county is the fact of its being a part of the high region where nearly every river system of the Virginias finds their head springs. The entire county has a great elevation, some of the highest peaks in the State being within its limits. Greenbrier River rises in the north highlands and flows for the entire length of the county through the central portions.

Williams River is in the western part of the county, and joins the Gauley in Webster County. In the eastern limits of the county is Knapps Creek, rising in the Alleghany in the vicinity of Frost, and joins the Greenbrier at Marlinton. This junction of streams, where the bright waters meet, forms the rich alluvial delta where the first corn ripened in Pocahontas, and on which Marlinton is building up.

Deer Creek and Sitlington Creek from the east; Leatherbark, Warwicks Run and Clover Creek from the west are important tributaries to the Greenbrier, in north Pocahontas.

In central Pocahontas, Thorny Creek and Knapps Creek, with its branches, Douthards and Cochran’s creeks, Cumming’s and Brown’s creeks from the east; Stony Creek and Swago Creek from the west are the main tributaries of the Greenbrier.
In south Pocahontas, Stamping Creek and Locust Creek, and Trough Run from the west, and Beaver Creek, Laurel Run and Spice Run from the east are the tributaries of the Greenbrier River.

The Elk region in the northwest is drained by the Old Field Fork, Slaty Fork and Big Spring Branch of the Elk River…


Robert Gay, Esq., the subject of this sketch, was one of the most prominent personalities of his time in the affairs of early pioneer days He was a native of Augusta County, and was brought up to manhood on the banks of the Calf Pasture River, between Deerfield and Goshen. Just before the Revolution he came to this region and settled first on Brown’s Creek.
His wife was Hannah Moore, daughter of Levi Moore, Senior, who homesteaded and settled the place near Frost now occupied by the family of the late Samuel Gibson, Esq.

Afterwards Mr. Gay located on the east bank of the Greenbrier, about opposite the mouth of Stony Creek, near Marlinton. Subsequently he built a new house on the west bank… The timbers of this house are now in the dwelling occupied by Colonel Levi Gay. These are among the oldest specimens of hewn timber in the county. The tradition is that the old house now owned by M. J. McNeel is the first building of hewn timber ever erected in the county. Here the venerable pioneer spent his last years.

He [Robert Gay] figured prominently in the organization of the county, was a brave patriot, and widely known and much esteemed. He was a special friend of Jacob Warwick’s family, and pleasant relations have ever existed between the descendants of the two old pioneer comrades and attached personal friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gay reared a worthy family of six sons and three daughters. The sons were Samuel, George, John, Andrew, Robert and James; the daughters were Jennie, Sallie and Agnes…

This humble effort is put forth to perpetuate the memory of a very worthy man. In peace and in war his country could rely upon him. He belonged to that pioneer citizenship of whom Washington thought in a dark hour when he exclaimed: “Give me but a banner and rear it on the mountains of West Augusta, and I will rally around me the men that will lift my bleeding country from the dust and set her free!”

Having reared a very worthy family, having been prominent in public service in this section of Virginia before and since the organization of the county of Pocahontas, his life came to a close March 22, 1834. His remains were borne to the old burying ground on Stony Creek, near the Edray crossing, in sight of his home.

Mrs. Hannah Gay survived him in widowhood more than twenty-five years. In August 1859, on a visit to her daughter, Sally Bridger, something happened to enrage the bees and upon going out to see, she was attacked by them and before she could be rescued she was fatally injured, and died on August 15, 1859, at a very advanced age. She was borne to rest at the side of her noble husband, and thus passed away one of whom it was testified by many that she was one of the “best old ladies that ever lived in her neighborhood.”

The writer cordially agrees with that sentiment when he remembers how kind, and even affectionate, she was toward him while he was a mere youth.

“Keep on trying to do right, Billy, – there will be better times for you some day.”

These words he fondly treasures in his memory, and for fifty years has seen and felt how wise and useful such words are.

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