Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Q. What is the anticline near Huntersville called?
A. Devil’s Backbone
Q. What are the four land districts of the county?
A. Green Bank, Huntersville, Edray and Little Levels.

Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County ~ 1901
By William T. Price
Distinctive Natural Features

Throughout Pocahontas County there is such an abundance of purest, freshest waters as beggars all ordinary powers of description. Literally it is a land of “springs and fountains,” beyond the dreams of poetic diction to portray realistically. Some of these springs gushing from the earth, even in midsummer, show undiminished volume, and with a temperature but little above that of iced water. The entire county is seemingly underlaid with vast reservoirs, whose dimensions puzzle the imagination, for from the level land as well as from the mountain sides pour forth great springs, many of them with volume sufficient to propel water mills. Larger streams thus starting from a hillside sometimes disappear, only to appear elsewhere from some unexpected opening in the earth. Of this it is believed that Locust Creek furnishes a notable example in its relation to Hills Creek.

Among the mineral springs for which this county may soon become famous, mention may be made of the Lockridge Spring, near Driscol; the Curry Meadow Springs at Huntersville.

James E. A. Gibbs, the sewing machine lock-stitch inventor, when a young man in delicate health, was employed to build a barn for William Fertig, forty or fifty years ago, a short distance below the Curry Spring. While at work he used the water because it was convenient to get at. To his grateful surprise, his health improved, and he became a vigorous person, and yet lives to pay a tribute for what this water had the means of doing for the benefit of his health.

The Peter McCarty group or springs at the head of Brown’s Creek, four miles from Huntersville; the Pritchard and Price Springs at Dunmore, three miles from Forrest Station on the Greenbrier Railroad; the Spring-House spring near the head of Clover Creek. All these Springs have a local reputation for remarkable cures and they seem to be analogous in their properties to the Capon Spring in Hampshire County


John McNeel, the ancestor of the McNeel relationship in our county, appears to have been the first to occupy the Little Levels by permanent settlement. He was a native of Frederick County, Virginia, but passed much of his early life in or near Cumberland, Maryland.

He seems to have been fond of athletics, and in a pugilistic contest his antagonist was so badly knocked out as to be regarded fatally injured. To avoid arrest and trial for murder, he refugeed. He followed the trend of the Alleghanies. A long while was spent in their gloomy solitudes, and his sufferings of mind and body can not be even imagined by any of us. Finally, going deeper and deeper into the wilderness, he came at last in view of the Levels, about 1765.

As he overlooked this section from some neighboring eminence, he saw much to remind him of his native region. An extensive, wooded plain, bordered by mountain ranges of unsurpassed beauty, and very fertile. He decided, as every thing looked so much like the old home scenery, to settle here; and chose a site for his cabin near the present home occupied by Hon. M. J. McNeel. Traces of this cabin have been seen by many persons yet living, between the gate on the public road and his residence. If the spot could be identified, it would be well to mark it with a piece of the marble recently found in such fabulous quantities close by.

Here the solitary man brooded over his supposed guilt, prayed with his broken heart for pardon, and hunted for his food, subsisting almost entirely upon venison and trout. One day while hunting he met Charles and Edward Kinnison, from his old home, who had come out here prospecting for a situation. He learned from them that the person he boxed with was not dead, not even seriously hurt. This was indeed good news, and then and there he felt free from all bloody stain, and could return without fear of molestation.

John McNeel insisted upon his friends to share his cabin with him. He assisted them in making a selection for a home adjoining his tract. The three then set out on their return to the lower Valley of Virginia.

While on his visit home, John McNeel married Martha Davis, who was born in Wales in 1740, and soon after their marriage they came out to the Levels. A few acres were soon cleared off, and plenty to subsist upon was raised.

Mr. McNeel seemed deeply impressed with a sense of gratitude to God for his providential care, after all his wanderings and fears to permit the lines to fall to him in such a pleasant, wealthy place, that he built a house for worship, the White Pole Church…

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