Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

June 26, 1924
The Pocahontas Times

Samuel Gibson got himself a fine big two year old bear in a trap on Gauley Mountain Friday morning. He made his set a mile or so from the house, baited with a groundhog.

He and a neighbor went to look at it Friday morning, and as they neared the set, they heard the bear snort.

He was caught by a front leg and had evidently not been in long as he had not fought around much or carried the trap far. One shot was all that was required to make him a good bear. Mr. Gibson says this is as fine a bear pelt as he ever saw, and he has killed scores of bears besides having bought furs for years. This skin is jet black, fully furred, with the fur well out to the end of the hair. The only white is a spot on his neck. This is the first bear in years that Mr. Gibson has seen with such a spot.

There are two other bears near Mr. Gibson’s home. One is a powerful big one and the other is about the size of the one caught last week. Mr. Gibson has promised himself both of these bears.

There was no mast on the Gauley range last year and the bears left out for the chestnut woods. They have now come back in great numbers, and are killing sheep in all the Elk Country. Some of the sheep have been chased out of the woods so often by bears that they won’t leave the sod to range far from home. The bears are eating the nettles and other weeds of the rich mountain land to give variety to their diet of mutton and groundhog.

There is the promise of a big crop of beech mast this season, and with the blackberries in the cut over country, the bears will continue to gather in until holing up time next winter. If a lot of them are not killed off, many of the farmers will just about be put out of business. It used to be that only occasionally would a bear develop the sheep eating habit. Usually this was an old bear that had found out an easy way for a living, but now this sheep killing business seems to be general like with bears.

The bear Mr. Gibson got last week was the seventh he has caught in his lucky trap. This is a three spring, fifty-pound trap that one of the old Wanlesses had made for the late Thomas Galford, of Williams River. Ed Showalter used this trap a number of years on Cheat Mountain and caught bears in it. When he moved out he gave the trap to his friend Sam Gibson. Bears don’t get out of this trap. It was made right by a famous smith who knew bears as well as his trade. Fault is found with the Newhouse traps you buy in the store that if a good hold is not had above the bear’s paw, that the teeth of the trap cuts his toes and he pulls them off and is gone. This don’t happen in the lucky trap. There is no way of telling how many bears this trap has caught. Thomas Galford was a famous bear hunter in his day, and he caught dozens of them. The trap has been used continuously for perhaps seventy-five years.

To be continued…

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


For well nigh a hundred years, the Yeager name has been a familiar one. The Reager (sp) relationship derive their name from John Yeager, an immigrant from Pennsylvania, reared near Lancaster City. From the most authentic information available for these notes, he first located in Crabbottom. Upon his marriage with Anise Hull, a granddaughter of Peter Hull, one of the original settlers of the Crabbottom section, they settled at Travelers Repose, where Peter D. Yeager now resides.

In reference to John Yeager’s family, the following particulars have been obligingly furnished by the Hon. H. A. Yeager, one of his well-known descendants.

John Yeager, Junior, went to the far west and settled finally in Illinois; and his descendants are scattered widely over the great Northwest.

Jacob Yeager married Sarah Hidy, of Crabbottom, and thereupon he settled on what is known as Camp Allegheny. In his time he ranked among the most extensive landowners in that whole region. His claims comprised many thousand acres, embracing the “Dutch Settlement” and other tracts contiguous.

Joel Yeager married Rebecca Pray, of Highland County, and settled in Indiana…

Jacob Brook Yeager married Margaret McDaniel, at McDowell, in 1856, and settled in Indiana at South Whitney…

John Yeager, the Third, settled at the homestead.

Andrew Yeager, another son of John Yeager, the pioneer, married Elizabeth Dilley, and settled on the homestead. Two sons, Peter and Martin, and one daughter, Ella, who died at the age of 15 years of diphtheria, one of the first cases to appear in our whole county. In 1861, Andrew Yeager refuged to Highland, where he and his son, Martin, died of camp fever. His property was burned in the absence of the family. The battle of Camp Bartow was fought here in 1861.

Peter Dilley, the only surviving child of Andrew Yeager, married Margaret Bible, daughter of Jacob Bible, and rebuilt the pioneer homestead…

Peter D. Yeager now resides at Travelers Repose, the pioneer homestead, which he in a large measure restored from the terrible devastation of war. He was a Confederate soldier, became a prisoner and spent a long time at Camp Chase. He was not released until July 1865.

John Yeager, the pioneer, seems to have been a person of great physical endurance, a noted hunter, and an industrious, laborious farmer…

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