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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Over 80
By Annie Cromer
Published March 1, 1973
Jennie Bell Slaven’s
stories, continued

I will give this paper that I wrote for Evelyn Lee, Oscar’s daughter, to you. It is some history of our Slaven family.

Durbin, July 16, 1969 – I shall start at Bartow, which was called Travelers Repose Post Office. The home now owned by the Brown Beard family was then owned by Peter Yeager. Many travelers were entertained there; not many families lived in that neighborhood which was on the Staunton, Virginia, Pike to Parkersburg. Travel was by horseback or stagecoach, a carriage driven by horses. I have heard lots of people speak of the wonderful food served at Travelers Repose; always plenty of venison cooking in the iron pots, which were hanging on hooks from the large fireplace, and an abundance of native trout.

Now, coming back to Bartow, our grandmother, Isabelle Burner Slaven, was born in the large home above Matheny’s Store. My father, Jacob L. Slaven, spent a lot of time at Grandmother Burner’s; he said he was afraid to sleep upstairs, and Grandmother Burner would pull out the trundle bed, a little bed which was under her bed. I guess it was mostly woods around, lots of wild animals. The house and barn are still in good shape.

The Bartow Methodist Church, almost 100 years old, is still in good shape; by the church is the old cemetery in which many of our cousins and relations are resting; some of the markers are hardly readable now.

Coming down to Frank, is the old home of Jacob G. Slaven; he owned a large amount of land. Below the road was the large log house where our Grandfather Lanty Slaven was born. As you turn, a large clear stream that could be seen a few years ago, also a large willow tree, grown from a willow switch; a lady visiting in this home stuck her riding switch by the spring and it grew into the famous willow, providing shade for those who stopped to drink and water their horses. Mrs. Eades told me this. (The spring is gone now and the tree was cut five years ago.)

This house was a large home, built in the days when not much land was cleared; as the years passed, more land was cleared and they had lots of stock cows and sheep, also nice riding horses, which were very important as there were no cars and the roads were bad. It became a great stopping center, good food, choice of about any wild meat. Most travelers came by way of the Turnpike. It would be called a wilderness, but its beauty surpassed anything you see nowadays – nature, untouched by human hands. I have been told that panthers were plentiful; when they screamed, the bravest felt uneasy.

The Slaven Cemetery is above the road. Our great-great-grandfather and our grandfather, Lanty Slaven, and his children are resting there; not much left to show where the graves are. Uncle Pryor and Aunt Reggie – George was born June 18, 1860, died January 15, 1861, and infant daughter was born June 28, 1859 and died June 29, 1859; I just found out that they had these children.

Jacob Lee Slaven was buried at Bartow. Uncle Charlie Slaven was buried at Bartow; Uncle Gratz was born in Missouri; he was named for the Governor of Missouri. Grandfather Lanty moved to Missouri about 1868, didn’t live there long, came back and settled on Back Mountain. Grandfather and Uncle Randolph Slaven lived on adjoining farms.

Uncle Randolph moved to Huntersville and spent his remaining days there. His children were Allie, who married Lawyer Lock McClintic and had two daughters, Mary and Alice, and two sons; and Josia, who married Squire Brown – he was county clerk about thirty years. They had no children.

Oscar Slaven moved to Texas. I never knew him. Oscar P. Slaven visited him and said he was a very well-to-do cattleman.

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


For nearly a hundred years the name Collins has been a familiar one among our people. The progenitor was John Collins, a native of Ireland. He found his way from Pennsylvania to Pendleton county, where he met and married Barbara Full. He first settled on the Dunwoody place, near Meadow Dale, in Highland. About the year 1800 he moved to what is now Pocahontas county, and settled on the Greenbrier on lands now held by William H. Collins, and built up a home. There had been some improvements begun by former settlers, but so little that to all intents and purposes he settled in the woods. Mr. and Mrs. Collins were the parents of four sons and four daughters: John, James, Lewis and Charles; Barbara, Susannah, Mary and Elizabeth…

In reference to the sons of John Collins, we learn that John was a dealer in horses, and upon going to Richmond with a drove he was never heard of afterwards. The probability seems to be that he was killed and robbed in the Blue Ridge…

Lewis was facetiously called the “monarch of all he surveyed,” being regarded by common consent the strongest, most athletic and largest man in the county. He excelled as a ditcher, fence builder and mower. He belted many large tracts of land, and cleared many fields. He was noted for his good temper and jovial disposition. He never was known to provoke any one and, strange to say, he had more pugilistic knockouts than any one person of his time…

Charles Collins, of John the ancestral emigrant, married Mary McCarty, on Brown’s Mountain, and settled on Back Mountain where Jacob Shinaberry lives. They were the parents of six sons and three daughters…

Nancy married William Cassell, and lived on Back Mountain; John married Martha Moore, of Pennsylvania John, in the Hills, and settled in Upshur county…

William Hutcheson Collins first married Sallie Varner and located at the Greenbrier homestead…

With the assistance of the venerable William H. Collins, the writer has been able to illustrate in part the domestic history of a family that has done a great deal in subduing our primitive forests, and prepared the way for many families to live in comfort now.

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