Thursday, May 18, 1933

In the big wind storm Monday afternoon, five big sugar trees were blown down around the residence of Mr. E. J. Shanahan, on Elk Mountain, above Edray. A silo was blown down for M. J. McNeel and the roof of a barn blown off for Norval Clark in the Levels. Down in the Kanawha Valley it was a regular cyclone doing much damage to buildings.

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The Pocahontas County Rod and Gun Club expects to put on their annual snake and water dog contest next month. The high water this May has held back the time for starting.

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The fire tower at White Rock is hung on the highest point of the Beaver Lick. As so often happens in the Folded Mountains, there is a spring of never failing water welling up at this high point. It is a head fountain of the Mary Sharp Run. Around this spring there was once a cleared field, now grown up in a fine stand of trees. This clearing was made by Andrew Sharp, during the uneasy years of the War Between the States. His idea was to get the corn crop on which his family was dependent for living, away back in the mountains and out of danger from the raiding soldiers and the thieves which followed in the wake of every army, carrying bridle and saddle blanket. I never heard tell of any raids upon Mr. Sharp’s corn patch at the White Rocks.

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The White Rocks are so called because they are white. For specific information, I will say the tower is located on a bold exposure of sandstone of the white medina series. The stone here contains rounded white quartz pebbles, if my recollection serves me right. This white medina is the quartzite exposed to such good advantage along Knapps Creek between Huntersville and Minnehaha Spring. This stone resists weathering well and makes prominent ridges. I guess this thick bedded white sandstone forms the backbone of the Beaver Lick. The White Rocks are a few yards under 3,700 feet above sea level. I expect the tower more than makes up the difference. I would say it is about opposite Seebert and seven miles east of the Greenbrier River; it is some eight miles west from the Virginia state line. To go there, travel up Cummings Creek road from Hunters-ville; keep the tower in your eye, leave your car at the road and follow the telephone line up the mountain.

WHAT IS IT?

For several days, there have been unusual ravages among the lambs in the Hickory Lodge neighborhood, up the Jackson River, just over the Bath County line, and in the center of the wide mountain area which Mr. T. M. Gathright is developing as a big hunting estate.

Just after 2 o’clock Friday afternoon, Homer Perry, one of the crack shots of this section of Virginia, noted an attack on a flock by a great winged bird which swooped down out of the sky, seized a large lamb and commenced to devour it. It was upwards of 500 yards from him, but Homer drew a keen bead with his old army rifle and let fly and over keeled the great bird with a big hole drilled by a special soft-nosed bullet right through his heavy body. Then the question developed:
What is it?

It has a wing spread of 6 feet 6 inches. Ordinarily, one would say it was an eagle. But what kind of an eagle. Its plumage is certainly unusual in these mountains. The neck and head are covered with short, soft, pure white feathers, almost like eider down. It has the large, sharp curled beak and talons of the eagle, all right. The body and breast feathers are brown, but the striking part of the plumage is the back. From the center and top of the back, gradually widening until in full spread at the tip of the tail are feathers as white and even and glossy as any ever seen here on the finest purebred white Leghorn prize fowls at the Alleghany County Fair.

When T. M. Gathright rushed the real evidence of the kill into town about 3:00 p.m., with the great bird’s body still warm, local sportsmen went into a huddle to hold a post-mortem and decide what it is.

Dick Oliver said he thought it was a California condor and that he understood Charley Fudge used to shoot lots of them when he was a boy in the Rockies, or the Sierras, or the Andes, or somewhere.

In the end it was voted to unanimously ask an opinion of the great authority of the Alleghany Mountains, Hon. Calvin Price, the sage of Pocahontas.

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The above is from Major Richard Bierne’s Covington Virginian.

I thank him for them kind words. The bird is something rare all right, being a bald eagle in full, perfect plumage, or I miss my guess greatly.

Bald eagles are plenty common; not less than four having been killed and reported into this office in the past month. These were plenty big, too, having wing spreads of around six feet. What they lacked was the white back and the white tail. These only come with age. A sea or bald eagle comes into his full plumage at four or five years of age. If the Major will hunt up the emblem of the United States, in colors, I feel sure he will recognize his bird. I had an old outdoor friend who had killed a number of bald eagles, but had never got an old one. He used to complain to me that the artist had not painted the bird on our National emblem true to nature.