Pocahontas County WVGenWeb - Life In our Ancestor's Time


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Send Email - Click Here!Please feel free to contact me regarding contributions, questions, problems, suggestions, remarks, etc. ~ County Coordinator

The USGenWeb Project consists of a group of volunteers working together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone.

WVGenWeb. Although the basic unit of organization for the USGenWeb Project is at the county level, State Websites include very important information as well, including resources for postings of unknown county queries, family reunion bulletin boards, state histories, and maps showing the changing county boundaries, among others. Many states also have ongoing projects as diverse as the transcription of Civil War regiments or the reuniting of families with lost photos, bibles, etc.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rain fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
~ The Irish Blessing


Life In Our Ancestor's Time

General lifestyle
Music and entertainment
Work and play


• Vintage Sewing Info

General lifestyle

• 18th Century History, from About.com - 1700's subjects include wars, agriculture, fashion, philosophy and more
• American Memory - "Votes for Women" suffrage pictures, 1850-1920
• Duties Of A Nurse 1877
• Elkins Had Its Crime and Violence, a man was hanged after a shootout with the police chief who later died, 1901
• History of the Health Sciences
• Pioneer Life - How did they survive in the Wilderness?
• The Life and Adventures of Wilburn Waters The famous hunter and trapper of White Top Mountain embracing early history of southwestern Virginia sufferings of the pioneers
• The Old Timers Page - the way we used to do it
• What was the Exchange Rate Then? - Find the exchange rate between the the United States dollar and the British pound, for any year between 1791 and 1999


• Scotch-Irish Presbyterians From Ulster to Rockbridge
• The Overland Trail - migration West
• WebRoots.org Genealogy Foundation - The Prairie Traveler. A Hand-Book For Overland Expeditions

Music and entertainment

• American Memory - Small-Town America, Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection 1850-1920
• American Memory - American Variety Stage, Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment 1870-1920
• Edden Hammons, Portrait of a West Virginia Fiddler
• West Virginia University, Folk Music at the West Virginia and Regional History Collection: Collection Level Inventory (use your browser find/search to locate Pocahontas Co. references)

Work and play

• Antique Irons
• Logging the Virgin Forests of West Virginia, The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
• Midwifery in West Virginia - WV Division of Culture and History
• Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association - Cass, Spruce
• Nurse, Duties Of in 1877, The Pocahontas Times
• Old Time Recipes and Wood Stoves, Weakley Co. TN RootsWeb
• Pioneer Methods and Social Customs. Excerpts from: Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County WV, William T. Price, Price Brothers
• Pioneer Nurses of West Virginia
• The Galford Lumber Company
• The Transformation of Agriculture
• Tractor Links

Excerpts from: Price, William T. Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County WV. Marlinton WV, Price Brothers Publishing, 1901

Section III. Pioneer Methods and Social Customs, pages 50-84
  Excerpt 1 of 2: page 59
Killing frosts early and late made the working of land a precarious source of subsistence until a comparatively recent period in the history of our county. As late as 1810, the fact that corn would ripen at Marlin's Bottom enough to be fit for meal was nearly a year's wonder.
Gardens for onions, parsnips, cucumbers, pumpkins, and turnips; patches for buckwheat, corn, beans, and potatoes, for many years comprised the most of pioneer farming enterprise in the way of supplementing their supplies of game and fish. The implements used for cleaning and cultivating these gardens and truck patches were of home manufacture, and for the most part rather rudely constructed, as mere makeshifts are apt to be.

The people were very frequently molested when at work, by the Indians. And on this account the men would carry their guns with them and have them always in ready reach, and while at work they would be on the look out lest cunning scouts in ambush would shoot them down while at their endeavors to win their living in the sweat of their faces. It being scarcely possible to keep a work horse because of the raiding Indians, most of the labor of farming had to be done with hoes. In course of time when horses and oxen could be kept and used, plows were in demand. The first plows were made entirely of seasoned hardwood. An improvement was made by attaching an iron plate to the plowing beam, and the "shovel plow" was evolved.
  Excerpt 2 of 2: partial pages 60-62
When the pioneers came to need more land than mere patches, they would chop three or four acres "smack smooth" and a log rolling was in order. By invitation the neighbors for miles would meet with their teams of horses or oxen, to assist in putting up logheaps for burning. This being done a feast was enjoyed, and all returned homewards.

The next thing was to burn the heaps. Outside the clearing a wide belt was raked inwardly to prevent the fire from "getting away." The preferred time for using fire was usually some night when all would be still and calm. The first thing was to burn the clearing over, thus making way with smaller brush, undergrowth, and other "trash." It was an impressive sight to witness as the smoke and flames of the burning heaps arose like pillars of fire by night, while the men, sweaty and sooty, passed among them keeping up the fires.

Another interesting pioneer social gathering was the "raising" of the dwelling or a barn. Nothing peculiary was expected, simply a return of like service when notified. "Huskings" were popular at a certain period. In some communities they would come off in the day as a matter of business, not recreation or frolic. But the typical "husking" was prepared for with some elaborate preparation. The ears would be pulled from the stalks, husks and all, and placed in ricks. This "husking" usually came off on some moon lighted night. A managing "boss" was chosen who arranged the men on opposite sides of the rick, and the contest was who would be the first to break over the crest line. Finding a red ear was considered good luck and so every ear would be noticed as it was broken off. Whoever scored the most red ears was the champion of the 1 "husking bee." While the fathers and sons were thus laborously but joyously disporting themselves at the corn ricks, the mothers and daughters were gathered at the house, some cooking, others busy at the 'quilting." About 10 or 11 o'clock the "husking" and the 'quilting" were suspended, supper served and then came the "hoe down," wherin heavy stumbling toes would be tripped to the notes of a screeching unruly violin, such fiddling was called "choking the goose," or when there was no fiddle in evidence some one only "patted Juba" about as distinctly as the trotting of a horse over a bridge.

As a rule pioneer festivities were orderly, yet once in a while there would be a few persons at the huskings who prided themselves in being and doing ugly. Somewhere about the premises there was some body or some thing that they would speak of as "Black Betty." After a few clandestine visits to where "Black Betty" was, the consequences would be that colored Elizabeth with her songs, yellings and a few fights would get in her work, and thereupon a fistcuff or two would impart interest to the gathering, and make the occasion the talk of the neighborhood until some other exciting matter came around.

1. Barbara WVGenWeb note: Also found a similar reference in New England area - the tradition was that the husking of a red ear gave license to kiss the one of choice.


Duties Of A Nurse 1877
Anonymous article, Published in The Pocahontas Times January 31, 1974


Duties Of A Nurse 1887

In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations:

1. Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient's furniture and windowsills.

2. Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day's business.

3. Light is important to observe the patient's condition. Therefore, each day fill kerosene lamps, clean chimneys, and trim wicks. Wash the windows once a week.

4. The nurse's notes are important in aiding the physician's work. Make your pens carefully, you may whittle mibs to your individual taste.

5. Each nurse on day duty will report every day at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m., except on the Sabbath, on which day you will be off from 12 noon to 2 p.m.

6. Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week if you go regularly to church.

7. Each nurse should lay aside from each payday a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years, so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you earn $30 a month you should set aside $15.

8. Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop, or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions, and integrity.

9. The nurse who performs her labors and serves her patients and doctors faithfully and without fault for a period of 5 years will be given an increase by the hospital administration of 5 cents a day, providing there are not hospital debts that are outstanding.

--- Anonymous


Page last updated -->  Wednesday, 28-Nov-2007 19:16:29 MST  

© Copyright 2008 by Barbara Gramp