Thursday, March 13, 1947
February 20 to March 10, the schools of Pocahontas County were shut down by reason of deep snows. The roads were blocked. During those days, around five feet of snow fell. In the woods on the higher mountains, four and five feet of snow on the level was measured. Day after day, the temperature hung around in the twenties with strong winds blowing. February and March brought the winter above the average for severity…
No matter now hard the winter, the Greenbrier River is expected to clear itself of ice by the first week of March. The late Rev. Joshua Buckley, of the mouth of Swago, was born in 1819, and lived 85 useful years. In that time, only once did he cross the Greenbrier on ice as late as March 6. Since his death, the family has kept the score. Once, in 1905, have they crossed on ice as late as March 8. This is written March 10 and an elephant could walk safely on the ice over the Buckley Eddy.
Willard Herbert Wilfong and Miss Mary Frances Perry were married at the home of the officiating minister, Rev. J. W. Holliday, in Marlinton, March 10, 1947.
The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dennie Perry. The groom is the third son of Mr. and Mrs. Seebert Wilfong.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Rose, a baby girl, named Sally Hale. Mrs. Rose is the former Miss Nola Jones, daughter of M. Burton Jones, of Seebert.
Rev. Howard Underwood, aged 87 years, a son of the late Michael and Elizabeth Gum Underwood. He was the last one to be called. His body was laid to rest in the Beaver Creek Cemetery. He is survived by his wife and four children, Spurgeon, Betty, Wallace and Peachy; three sons of a former marriage, Origin, Leo and Watson. Their mother, Mrs. Effie Sharp Underwood, has been dead many years…
John Clark, aged 76 years, a native of Kentucky. His body was laid to rest in the family plot in Mountain View Cemetery. He was twice married. He and his first wife, the late Mrs. Myrtle Baxter Clark, are survived by nine children, Pearl, Homer, Artie, Lillie, Claudie, Harry, Howard, Lucille, and Nellie. About 15 years ago, he married Mrs. Tressie Quick. She and their three children, Dorsey, Florence and Ethel, survive.
Jacob Simmons, aged 76 years, a son of the late Joseph Simmons. His body was laid to rest in the Ruckman Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, who was Miss Birdie McClure, and their four sons, Merl, Sanford, Wayne and Henry. Mr. Simmons was a farmer and in all respects an outstanding citizen.
SOME LOCAL HISTORY
The defeat of General Braddock by the French and Indians in 1755 had kept hunters, trappers and adventurers generally pretty well out of the frontier valley of the Greenbrier. Then the taking of Fort Duquesne by General Andrew Lewis in 1758 restored confidence somewhat. So by the fall of 1759, hunters from the settlement on the Cowpasture River began to come over the mountains to the Western Waters for their supply of winter meat, and even to live.
One of these pioneer hunters was Samuel Givens. He crossed three divides and made his camp near the Big Spring on the head of Elk River near the Warriors Road or Seneca Trail, now U. S. Route 219.
One day Givens, in his hunt, came upon a man so weak from starvation he was almost dead. He was without clothes, and had taken shelter in the top of a fallen tree. The pioneer was well versed in what to do for a starving man, and nursed and fed him back to health. He could understand no word he said. At the end of the hunt, he put the man on one of his pack horses, and took him to the home of Colonel Dickinson, near Windy Cove Church.
The stranger was made welcome in the Dickinson home. At first there could be no communication between him and his host, but the man was a scholar. With writing material, he set to work to learn the language. From a book he would copy a word, show it to someone of the household. They would pronounce the word and show him the object it represented. The tradition is that in a month, the man had a fair working knowledge of English, and before winter was over, he was a fluent speaker.
His name was Selim, a native of Algeria, the son of a Turkish army officer, and grandson of a desert chieftain. He had been sent to school at Constantinople. On his way home, the ship was captured by a Spanish privateer. Later a French man-of-war caught the privateer and took over prisoners, including Selim. The French came on to New Orleans, and Selim and the other prisoners were sold as slaves to Louisiana planters.
Imagine the position of a desert born nobleman, totally unfitted for manual labor, being beaten by a rough neck overseer, trying to get some work out of him.
Escaping from the plantations, Selim shaped his course to the northeast. He knew about the English colonies and he also knew England was the only country represented in America to be at peace with Algeria. Somewhere he fell in with those wide roving Shawnees, taken prisoner by them and brought by easy stages to their towns in the region of Chillicothe, in the State of Ohio. This was an easy time for a desert-born man.
In the Shawnee towns were some white woman prisoners. He learned, through signs, the English countries from whence they had been taken were due east.
In the fall of 1759, Selim set forth to walk to the settled portions of Virginia. He lived on roots, herbs, berries, nuts. The snows came early and scarcity of food made him too weak to cope with hardships of a highland wilderness. By the time he had reached Pocahontas County, within twenty miles of a safe refuge in the early settlements on the Greenbrier, he crawled into the top of a fallen tree, there to surrender to peril and privation.
There, Samuel Given found him, to nurse him back to life…
To be continued…