Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

January 25, 1923


Harry McDowell, an aged and highly respected colored citizen, died at his home in the Brush Country Monday morning, January 22, 1923. He has been sick for a week or two and a few days before his death he suffered a stroke of paralysis. His age was about 82 years. He is survived by a large family of children. He was twice married.

Harry McDowell in many respects was a remarkable man. He was born a slave, and was raised by the Burgher family in Bath County, near the historical Windy Cove Church. At the outbreak of the War between the States, his master and the other men folks went to the army, and Harry was left in charge of the plantation, to care for the women and children. He was faithful to his trust in every particular, in trying times when the county was invaded time and again by the opposing forces.

Uncle Harry had a retentive memory, and his knowledge of the local history of Bath and Pocahontas County was unusual. When a man of mature years, he taught himself to read, his text books being the Bible and the county paper.

About forty-six years ago, Harry McDowell came to Pocahontas County. He bought land and established a home in the Brush Country. He lived a useful life and was universally respected.


Joseph H. Wilson, colored, aged 72 years, departed this life January 17, 1923, at the hospital at Denmar, where he had been under treatment for some time.

Thus passes one of the best known and best beloved men of this county and state. He was born a slave on the Wilderness Farm in Bath County, and moved to this county as a young man forty-six years ago and established a home in the Brush Country near Marlinton. He never married.

For about forty years, he has, from time to time during each year, gone with hunting and fishing parties into the woods and in the intimate life of the camp came to know hundreds of the most prominent men in West Virginia, and there never was a man who met Uncle Joe that did not like him. It is not too much to say that during his long life, Uncle Joe never had a disagreement with anybody. He was a good man and a good citizen.

Judge McClintic writes us from Bluefield: “I will send you, before this week is over, a memorial and appreciation of Joseph Wilson. Only a court of many cases prevented my attending the funeral.”

February 1, 1923

Editor Times:

I wish to impose upon you and to use some of your space to note the death of Joseph Wilson, my friend and woods companion for thirty-five years, and to express an appreciation of what he was to me and others in that long period.

Beginning with the year 1887, and during each and every year since then, I, and usually others, were companions at least once, often twice and many times thrice in camping trips and sojourns in some part of Pocahontas County.

A partial list of those now called to memory who accompanied us during that period of time will not be uninteresting.

Upon the first trip, when he accompanied us to the cabin at Tea Creek in 1887, the land there then belonged to the Hon. Wesley Mollohan, as Trustee for himself and others. The party was composed of Mr. Mollohan, James H. Huling, L. M. McClintic and others. Upon subsequent trips, the following have at various times enjoyed camping with Joseph Wilson, either on Williams River or Cranberry River or at some of the other numerous places where hunters and fishermen foregather in Pocahontas County, for the pleasure that comes to those who love the solitude of the woods, the pleasure of the chase or the comfort and happiness gained from the use of the fishing rod, to wit:

Joseph Ruffner, Judge Frank A. Guthrie, Captain John K. Thompson, Edward W. Knight, Edward A. Donally, Henry Hunter McClintic, Edgar D. McClintic, Senator J. N. Camden, John K. Cowen, who was then President of the Baltimore & Ohio Company, Hon. C. P. Snyder, Dr. J. M. Mahan, Dr. F. T. McClintic, Hal W. Knight, C. A. Cabell, Murray Briggs, Wm. A. Bratton, Levi Gay, D. A. Fisher, Judge B. F. Keller, Edwin M. Keatley, B. L. Priddie, George J. McComas, Dr. John M. McConihay, Harry M. Anderson, W. G. Matthews, P. D. Yeager, Col. John T. McGraw, Hon. W. G. (Junior) Brown, John A. McLaughlin, Dr. Ernest Hill, Charles K. Payne, George W. Sharp, Judge S. H. Sharp, Hon. H. F. Young, Judge C. S. Dice, Judge A. S. Alexander, John L. Dickinson, J. W. Hill, T. S. McNeel, Judge Frank Lively, E. M. Smith, John Moore, Frank P. Anderson, Frank R. Hill, Alfred N. Edgar, William H. Knight, Harold W. Knight, Jr., Dr. Allan, Dr. E. F. Herold, Ira H. Mottersheard, and Arthur Jackson. No doubt there are many others not now called to mind.

In flight of years, the time has been long, but in sweet memories, it seems short.

Joseph Wilson, in a way often commented upon, seemed to belong to the McClintic family. Once I was asked if he belonged to me. My answer, spoken in truth, was that “he belonged to me and I belonged to him, the relation would be the same in either event.”

more recommended stories