Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

June 26, 1924


One reason that bears are increasing so rapidly in the black forest on the western edge of Pocahontas is the fact that every family no longer keeps a pair of bear dogs. Occasionally a man has dogs which will fight a bear, but these dogs are the exception now. Mr. Gibson called my attention to the fact that a couple of old time cur dogs of his boyhood days would actually kill a bear.

Years ago, his kinsman, the late James Gibson, came to his place with the word that “the sheep had killed six of his bears” on the ridge that morning. The old gentleman in his excitement had gotten his words a little mixed, but there was a hunt on just the same. The bear was full and had bedded down a little ways from the kill. The dogs soon had him up a tree. Uncle Jim held a little high and scored a clean miss, but the bear let go all holds and dropped out of that tree like a sack of salt. He hit a running but the dogs laid on to him, and he had to go up another tree. One dog in his enthusiasm held until the bear had jerked him fifteen feet from the ground. It began to look like the dog would hold on so long that he would kill his fool self when he would fall.

This was young Sam’s turn to shoot, and he did such a good job of it that he had to walk several miles down to the Sharp homestead for an axe to cut the big tree. He killed that bear so dead that it laid over in a fork and never kicked enough to fall out.

In speaking about bear dogs, Mr. Gibson says two dogs which know to work together make the ideal team. One dog attacks and the bear goes for him. Then the other dog closes in like clockwork as the bear exposes himself. The bear turns on this dog and the other returns to the attack. They soon make things too interesting for the bear and he hunts a tree to save himself. With a big pack of dogs, they get in each other’s way and the bear soon kills and cripples most of them and discourages the others.

Mr. Gibson don’t know how many bears he has killed. He got his first bear when he was fourteen years of age, and as he has worked at bear hunting off and on ever since, his score is pretty high. He says he don’t calculate to raise himself any more bear dogs as he feels he is just a little too old to follow them around the mountains. He will take his out in trapping hereafter.

Mr. Gibson has given up his position as a track foreman on the Spruce Company’s railroad and to put in his time he is spudding some tan bark. This change in occupation will allow him more time to devote to ridding the country of its pest of sheep killing bears.

Mr. Gibson has noted the fact that when a bear is shot that unless he is killed out right it invariably comes toward the hunter. Lots of people have felt that they were being charged by a wounded bear, while the bear was really trying to get away from that place with all possible speed.

If the hunter allows himself to remain in the way, the wounded bear may hurt him, but he does it because his way is blocked. Mr. Gibson figures it out that when a bear is shot he turns and bites at the thing that has him. The next thing is to run, and as he is then invariably headed in the direction from whence came the bullet, that is the way he travels. A bear knows a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, and that is the way he goes, over and through things and not around.

If you don’t knock your bear down the first shot, get out of the way for you are liable to get run over.

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


The relationship bearing the Yeager name is at present mainly represented in our county by the descendants of John Yeager, of the third remove from the pioneer John Yeager.

Hence this paper will be mainly devoted to the home history of his descendants.

John Yeager’s wife was Margaret Arbogast, granddaughter of Adam Arbogast, the pioneer of the cast branch of the Greenbrier. Soon after his marriage he settled on the homestead, now known as Camp Alleghany. The sons were William Asbury, Henry Arbogast, Brown McLaurin, Paul McNeel and Jacob Reese. The daughters Eliza Ann, Fannie Elizabeth, Sarah Jane, who died aged 13 years; Eveline Medora, Leah Alice and Emma Mildred.

Eliza Ann became Mrs. A. M. V. Arbogast and lives on the east branch of the Greenbrier, near the northern limits of the county. Their home is widely known.

Fannie Elizabeth is now Mrs. James D. Kerr, and lives at the Kerr homestead on Salisburys Creek.

Eveline Medora was married to Josiah O. Beard, and now lives near Greenbank.

Leah Alice and her brother, Jacob Reese, died of diphtheria. They were among the first victims of this dread malady in our whole county, so far as there is any record…

Emma Mildred Yeager had a passion for learning, and was very popular in society and greatly esteemed for her attractive character. She had about completed the course of study at Winchester for a literary degree with marked distinction. Had it not been for circumstances over which the brilliant young student had no control, she would have been the first lady from our county to be thus honored.

William Asbury Yeager was a Confederate soldier in the 31st Virginia Regiment, and was killed at Hatcher’s Run, February 6, 1865…

Henry A. Yeager married Luverta Beard, of Greenbrier County, and settled at Camp Alleghany.

Brown McLaurin Yeager married Harriet Elizabeth Arbogast, and they live at Marlinton… Mr. Yeager is local manager for the Pocahontas Development Company. He has surveyed many thousand acres of land in Pocahontas and has served as commissioner of school lands.

Paul McNeel Yeager married Huldah Arbogast and lives on the pioneer homestead opened up by Adam Arbogast…

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