A GRUELING FOOT RACE
By Si Sharp
History of Pocahontas County ~ 1981
From about 1885 until 1914, there was an English settlement between Mingo and Linwood. These cultured, educated and good clean sport-minded families played soccer (introduced it to Pocahontas County) rode to hounds and had marathon foot racing. Young S. E. L. Grews, a famous English cross-country foot racer scheduled a race with young Dr. Norman Price, of Marlinton, to be run from Mingo to the Marlinton covered bridge – a distance of about 30 miles.
All the families along the route were out to watch the race and Dr. Cameron, of Mace, was to ride along in his buggy, at a leisurely pace, he thought, to give first-aid, if needed.
Dr. Norman set such a fast pace, that Dr. Cameron in his buggy could not keep up so he switched to a riding horse and tied his medicine bag on the saddle. Twelve miles down the road, at Slatyfork, Dr. Norman was leading Grews, and Dr. Cameron had not caught up with them.
Dr. Norman, a good friend of my father, L. D. Sharp, said that he had no doubt that he would have won had not he been persuaded to wear those new light weight tennis shoes. After 16 miles over the rocky road, Dr. Norman’s feet blistered and he pulled off the tennis shoes to soak his feet in the cold spring water at the Robert Gibson place on mid-Elk. His feet were so swollen, Dr. Norman could not put the shoes back on, and he had to abandon the race. Grews passed him and won the race in two hours and 59 minutes.
The re-run scheduled for the next spring never took place. That fall, Grews went on a bear hunt with a neighbor below Mingo up into Cheat Mountain. Grews ran along with the bear dogs all day in snow over a foot deep on the very cold day. When he came down onto a ridge where his neighbor was on a stand, Grews sat on a log to rest a bit.
The neighbor went on home and the next morning a member of Grew’s family came looking for him. They found him frozen to death sitting on the log.
He was buried in the Mingo Cemetery.
Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County ~ 1901
Acknowledgements are due Samuel Sutton and Mrs. Harvey Curry, near Dunmore, for the following items that may rescue from oblivion the memory of a very worthy and useful pioneer of upper Pocahontas. This was Daniel Kerr, who located soon after the Revolution on the upper end of the immense estate now owned by Uriah Hevener.
It seems very probable he came from Rockbridge county. He established a mill, sawmill and blacksmith shop on the Little Back Creek branch of Deer Creek, and his place became a centre of industry for a wide region.
He was married twice. The first wife was a Miss Kirkpatrick, of Anthonys Creek. Their children were Robert, John, William, Thomas and James.
Daniel Kerr’s second wife was a Miss McKamie, of Rockbridge, a very sprightly and attractive person. Her children were David, Daniel, Nancy, Betsy and Mary.
He was a sincerely pious person, and the close of his life was very touching. He had assembled his family for domestic worship and upon finishing the Scripture lesson he kneeled for prayer, and for a long interval he was silent. Upon going to him in that position he was found to be speechless and helpless.
Much of the time after this he appeared to take very little notice of what was going on, and seemed unable to recognize friends. One day, there was a gleam of intelligence and he uttered these words: “Farewell to all,” and then lapsed into silence, and not long thereafter died so gently he had been dead some minutes before the fact was realized.
Andy Hughes now lives on or near the site of the old Kerr home.
Lieutenant Robert D. Kerr, a son of James Kerr, graduated with distinction from West Point, in 1898…
David W. Kerr, one of the younger members of Daniel Kerr’s family, lived for years near Greenbank, and was a person of high reputation. He was a carpenter by trade, yet by diligent self-improvement he rose to be a person of prominence as a member of the county court.
The blessings called down by the good old pioneer abide with his descendants to the third and fourth generation…