Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

Excerpts from The Huntersville Road
Calvin W. Price
Thursday, April 26, 1928

This is supposed to be the last of the series under the title of the Huntersville road. It has been said that I got stalled on that road and have not been able to get off of it since.

There are at least two reasons for hash. The first is that it is a popular dish, especially with the aged, and the other is that there is nothing else in the house to set before the family. A large turkey in a small family finally appears in hash, and if I have to eat turkey, I prefer it in hash, for many cookings disguise the reptilian nature of the dish. And if it should hereafter appear that something else is offered on this subject, it will be because the goods expected did not come.

I have a little book that I hope to publish sometime about birds. In it, I have devoted the space to evidences of intelligence in birds, a phase of the subject which has been wonderfully neglected. I have an indefinite feeling that birds are the wisest of all animals and the most accomplished. They have even learned to speak human language and that is something that no other animal has ever done with the single exception of the donkey that Balaam heard…

One of the most remarkable incidents of intelligence and devotion to their human cousins is the tradition about the Cackley pigeons. Something over a hundred years ago, a citizen named William Cackley, a son of the pioneer Valentine Cackley, lived on the farm now owned and operated by Fred W. Ruckman at Marvin Chapel on the Seneca Trail, eight miles below Marlinton at the Stephen Sewell run. His wife was Jennie Gay, a daughter of Robert Gay, who lived just above Marlinton on the river. William Cackley kept a store at the place. He decided to move to Hunters-ville. This must have been just about the time that Huntersville had begun to boom by reason of being the county seat of the new county of Pocahontas. He did not go into the town, but settled up Cummings Creek in sight of the courthouse.

At Marvin Chapel, Mrs. Cackley had a flock of pigeons. When time came to move, she decided that it was not worthwhile to move the pigeons. They were hard to catch and of no intrinsic value. And they were not tame enough to have inspired any particular affection with the family. So no effort was made to move the pigeons. But it seems that the pigeons were doing some thinking on their part.

The distance from Marvin to Huntersville by way of Marlins Bottom is fourteen miles. The family moved one day, and the next morning at daybreak when the family woke and looked out, every pigeon was seen on an oak tree near the house. They had followed the family…

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

William Wanless

For more than a hundred years, the Wanless name has been a familiar one in our region of the country. According to tradition, vaguely entertained, Ralph and Stephen Wanless, natives of England, came to Virginia and settled on the Wanless place, near Mount Tabor school house, in the “Hills,” five miles north of Huntersville.

One of Ralph’s sons was William Wanless, who married Nancy Wilson, from near Fort Defiance, Virginia. She was a sister of the wife of Isaac Moore, Senior, of Knapps Creek. They settled on Back Alleghany, and were the parents of nine daughters and seven sons.

Their daughters were Rachel, Jane, Eliza, Martha, Nancy Ann, Margaret, who died aged 7 years, Mary, who died aged 15 years, Melinda, who was drowned when a young woman in Leatherbark Creek, and Matilda. The sons were James, Andrew, Nelson Ralph, Allen, and two unnamed, who died in infancy.

The Rev. James Wanless, a brother of William Wanless, was, in his day, widely known as a minister of the M. E. Church, and in the last years of his life was in the pale of the M. P. Church. Early in life, he married Miss Elizabeth Sharp, daughter of John Sharp, Senior, one of the original settlers near Frost, and settled on Thorny Creek at the place owned at this time by Newton Fertig. Sometime in the twenties, James Wanless cleared considerable land. His brother Stephen was a blacksmith, and lived on Back Creek near the Irvine Brick House. While trying to shoe a refractory horse belonging to Squire John Hamilton, about sixty years ago, he was instantly killed. His sons were John F., William and James. Rev. James Wanless adopted the three nephews and reared them to manhood. In the meantime, he prospered financially, and bought from James Sharp the property now occupied by John F. Wanless. In connection with his farming enterprises, James Wanless operated two mills and prospered enough to accumulate a very respectable competency for those times…

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