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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ 1891-2021

For whom was our county named?

A. Indian Princess Pocahontas

Where was the first county seat?

A. Huntersville

Sketches of Pocahontas County – 1901
William T. Price

Some Preliminary Words

From all that remains of the former presence of the Indians in our region, they never occupied it as a place for fixed permanent habitation, but for temporary resort in late Spring, Summer and early Autumn. The existing traces of Indian occupancy all indicate such to have been the fact. At Clover Lick, Marlinton and on the Old Field Fork of Elk are found the most that now remains indicating Indian temporary occupancy.

The most interesting trace of the kind in question is found in a meadow near Gibson’s on the Old Field Fork of Elk River, twelve miles from Marlinton. This meadow was cleared about forty years ago by William Gibson, and takes the place of one of the thickest patches of laurel and alder brush that the late Williams Gibson says he ever worked at in all his life. After it was cleared and put in meadow, a circle appeared about 132 feet in diameter, formed of a strange grass that has not grown nor been seen anywhere else. Mr. Gibson saw similar grass in Indiana.

This circle is formed of two figures representing rattlesnakes in the act of mutually swallowing each other. One figure – the yellow rattler – symbolizes light. The black rattler typifies darkness; both combined represent the succession of night and day, and illustrates the Indian idea of Time, that mysterious something that gives and takes life, having the power of life and death.

Here the hunters would assemble to invoke the favor of this mighty, mysterious deity, upon whom the contemplated pursuit of game, so essential to their subsistence and of their squaws and papooses, depended. Or if about to go on the war path, the braves would rally here as a rendezvous, and with their dark and bloody rites and ceremonial dances performed within or around this circle, would seek to placate the same mysterious power for success over their enemies in the pending battles.


Moses Moore, the progenitor of the largest relationship of the name in the county, came from what is now Timber Ridge, Rockbridge County, Virginia. About 1760 he was married to a Miss Elliot, a member of another Timber Ridge family. Their children were John, born January 29, 1762; James, born October 5, 1763; Margaret, born March 29, 1765; Moses, Jr., born February, 8, 1769; Hannah, born June 6, 1771; Robert, born May 27, 1772; Phebe, born February 13, 1774; and William, born September 18, 1784.

At the time of the Drennan raid, when James Baker and the Bridger boys were killed, Moses Moore was living on Swago, in sight of what is now the McClintic homestead. Phebe, his youngest daughter, remembered how the family refugeed to the fort at Mill Point, and while the Drennans and Moores and others were passing around the end of the mountain, they heard the firing at the Bridger Notch, when the boys were killed. This would make it 1786, when James Baker, the first school teacher in Pocahontas, was killed.

During the first years of his pioneer life in our region, Moses Moore spent much of his time hunting and trapping along Back Alleghany, upper Greenbrier River and Clover Lick vicinity. He was a close observer of Indian movements, and would make a careful search for Indian signs before resuming operations as the hunting seasons returned. The usual place for the Indians to cross the Greenbrier, in the hunting grounds mentioned, was at a passage narrow enough for them to vault over with a long pole. He would take notice accordingly which side of the river the vaulting pole would be on, and act accordingly. Finally the Indians seemed to have found out his strategy, and thereupon vaulted the narrow passage and cunningly threw the pole back to the other side.

This threw the hunter off his guard. It was Saturday; he set his traps, looked after the deer signs, and arranged his camp. The venerable William Collins, yet living (1901), is sure that the camping spot was on what is now the Charley Collins place, on the Greenbrier above the Cassell fording, at a place near Tub Mill, where Moses Moore was captured by the wily Indians.

It was the hunter’s purpose to pass the Sabbath at his camp in quiet repose and devotional reading of the Bible he carried about with him for company. He had put a fat turkey to roast about daylight, and was reclining on a bear skin reading a lesson from the Word, preparatory to a season of meditation and prayer before breakfast, a habit so characteristic of the Scotch-Irish at that period. He was interrupted by the breaking of a stick, and upon looking intently and steadily in the direction where the sound seemed to have come, he saw five or six warriors aiming their guns and moving cautiously upon him…

The prisoner was taken as far as Chillicothe and the Indians seemed to have been greatly elated over their capture…

By degrees he secured the confidence of his captors. In hunting he was successful and the Indian who was his keeper would give him ammunition, a part of which he would secret. The supply of ammunition was gradually increased, and the time given him to be absent was extended two or three days. With this increase of rations of powder and bullets and extension of time, he ventured to make escape, and got a start so far ahead that the Indians could see no hopeful chance of recapturing him.

It is nothing but just to remark, Moses Moore is one of the pioneers of this county who will be among those longest remembered in the future by those interested in our pioneer literature…

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