Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1821-2021

February 1930

Edith Knapper

With the advent of February, our minds as a race, instinctively turn to one whose rise from slavery, poverty and obscurity to a place of worldwide preeminence is little less than meteoric. Unlike the meteor whose brilliancy lasts but for a time, the fame of Frederick Douglass will last for ages, for his deeds are written not only upon the pages of history, but in the hearts of men.

Slave, fugitive, crusader, champion achiever of truest success, statesman, wielder of vast usefulness, commander of the world’s respect, yet humble and gentle, as are the truly great – such was Frederick Douglass.

This versatile character was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland, February 1817. His life as a slave was not unlike that of any other slave for he was placed at work as soon as his services were deemed of value.

Very early, probably about the age of nine, he showed unmistakable evidence of superior mental ability and through the kind offers of a white lady, he acquired rudimentary instruction. This, coupled with the remark that education is a dangerous thing for a slave, only set young Douglass to thinking, and he determined to acquire an education with tenfold his former zeal.

Since it is impossible to hold in slavery a people from whose eyes the scales of ignorance have been torn, quite naturally we find Douglass making an early break for freedom. Disguised as a servant, he escaped recapture and reached New York. His life was full of vicissitudes, but he accomplished much.

As an orator, he delivered speeches not only throughout the United States, but also in England. His famous “Fourth of July” speech might well be termed a masterpiece of literature.

As a writer and a statesman, he occupied a unique position. His superior ability as such was recognized by Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield and Arthur, all of which appointed him to positions of trust and honor.

He labored heroically for his race with no hope or expectation of reward and from absolute singleness of motive – duty to humanity. His remarkable life closed suddenly February 20, 1895.

Frederick Douglass’ career, his purity of character, his allegiance to principle and his fearlessness will be perpetuated in the history of the country and the hearts of men.

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.
Footprints that perhaps another
Sailing o’er life’s troubled main
Some forlorn and shipwrecked brother
Seeing, may take heart again.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


It looks like the power line for the county was assured. The Virginia Public Service Company, the company back of the enormous dam on Jackson River, has its lines to Renick. It is sixteen miles to Hillsboro, in the heart of the Little Levels, the premier farming community of the State.

Last week, Mr. Dorsey, the manager at Ronceverte, was in the county and saw a number of citizens and arranged a meeting with Mr. Wilson, the superintendent for Hillsboro.

Upwards of a hundred business men came by the meeting but Mr. Wilson was not able to attend. H. W. Beard was made president of the meeting…

It is thought, that if the line is extended into the county, that service will be assured both over the Seneca Trail to the Randolph line and their highway to Durbin.

In a general way, a power company expects ten customers to a mile, making the minimum number for the 16 miles 160 patrons…
To secure a power line for a farming community is important, like getting a railroad or highway. In other words, it is a great improvement, increasing the value of lands and homes and puts a county in a better class from every standpoint…


For several years it has been reported there was a panther on Cheat, in fact Bob Cromer saw where some large cat had chased a deer, evidently trying to run it down. Last week, Mr. O. L. Rexrode killed what I believe has been mistaken for a panther. It is a Canadian Lynx. I secured the hide. It measures 54 inches long and 25 inches broad. I did not see the animal myself, only the hide, but several men who did see it guessed it would weigh 75 pounds.

Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Cromer celebrated their golden wedding anniversary Wednesday, having been married January 29, 1880 by Rev. George P. Moore.

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Mrs. Arthur Anderton has returned to her home in Philadelphia, having fully recovered from her serious illness – thanks to Dr. George Hull. Again it has been demonstrated that it is not always those who have the greatest reputation that know the most. I imagine when she gets back home and walks into the hospital, where they gave her up, some of those widely advertised doctors will think they are seeing things.

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Business on our railroad is picking up. We had our first Sunday train last Sunday, about 30 loads.


On January 27, 1930, Mrs. Mary S. Lewis Kennison entered into life eternal after a long and useful life. She was the last member of the old James Lewis family, a sister of the late Mrs. Anna Lewis Clark, Mrs. Rebecca Lewis Kennison and Mrs. Emma Lewis Shrader… Interment was made in the McNeel cemetery by the side of her husband, John L. Kennison… She leaves to mourn her loss one daughter, Mrs. Emma Kennison Chapman, and two sons, Lorenzo and Lemuel at home.

Mrs. Kennison’s father, James Lewis, was one of the pioneer settlers of Little Levels and a descendant of John Lewis who surveyed the lands along the Greenbrier River. It was the object of James Lewis to obtain land along the Greenbrier and at one time he owned about five thousand acres. He served on the first jury in Pocahontas county, and he was one of the original proprietors of Hillsboro. James Lewis and Rebecca Sharp Lewis, his wife, were charter members of the little White Pole Church.

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Mrs. Maggie J. Friel, widow of the late Newton Friel, died at the home of Dee Friel near Fairview February 11, 1930. Her age was 73 years, 11 months and 27 days.

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Mrs. Levi Pennington, aged 87 years, died at her home near Cass of the infirmities of old age.

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James B. Shoemaker, aged 46 years, departed this life February 9, 1930 at the home of his father-in-law, Charlie Tharp, at Jacox… He leaves a wife and little daughter, Helen Frances. His body was tenderly laid to rest in the Beulah cemetery at Jacox.

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Zack Wright died at the Charlottesville hospital and was brought back to his home on Back Allegheny where he was buried in the Bethel graveyard.

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