The county’s own museum contains a collection of mementos from various eras of its history. And the grounds that surround it are a final resting place for people who lived there and Confederate soldiers who were once encamped along the river. The museum is open daily during the summer months.
In 1904, Frank R. Hunter, the first cashier of the Bank of Marlinton, and Anna Virginia Price were married in their newly constructed home, according to local accounts. Nearly 60 years later, the Pocahontas County Historical Society acquired the property from Mrs. Hunter in 1962 and the house was renovated for use as a museum.
The Pocahontas County Historical Society Museum was dedicated and opened June 5, 1963, during West Virginia’s centennial. Notables who attended the dedication included celebrated author Pearl S. Buck and West Virginia Governor W.W. Barron.
The Museum was eventually placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The Hunters’ house was built on two acres of land that were part of the James Atlee Price farm on the western bank of the Greenbrier River. A native of Botetourt County, Price was the first postmaster of Marlin’s Bottom in 1849.
Price and his wife, Margaret Davies Poage Price, are buried in the cemetery on the north side of the house, as are other members of the family.
In addition to the Price family graves, around 40 Confederate soldiers were buried on the opposite side of the house after the measles swept through their camp in 1861. The soldiers, who had camped in the vicinity of the present-day house, were part of General Loring’s Command during the first campaigns of the Civil War.
Near the graves, a log cabin was moved to the site in 1969, from its home on Kee Flats on the heights south of Marlinton. On the land that is now the golf course of the Pocahontas County Country Club, the Kee family built the cabin between 1835 and 1840. Tiny by today’s standards, the one-room cabin — with it’s loft above — was home to a family of nine in the late 1800s.
Walking inside the museum today, visitors will find a treasure trove of relics, artifacts and documents that form a sort of patchwork quilt of the history of Pocahontas County and the Price family.
In one display case, a selection of points and stone tools attest to the presence and activities of paleo-Indians and later progressions of Native Americans.
In the same room sits the portable organ that the Rev. William T. Price used in the services he preached in both of the Virginias.
A former sitting room now houses Civil War artifacts, including muskets, swords, Confederate currency and posters asking for able-bodied men to join the military ranks. Bearing witness to the split personality of a county that sat on the line between the North and the South, mementos of the Confederacy appear to outnumber reminders that West Virginia officially fought on the side of the Union.
In the dining room — now the museum’s library — documents and artifacts from the early establishment of Pocahontas County’s boundaries and government are on display.
In one corner, a highly-detailed topographic map from 1886-87 depicts a boundary line dispute to the north with Randolph County. It was eventually settled in Pocahontas’ favor, encompassing much of Cheat Mountain and its productive forests within the county line.
In another case, visitors can view the beautifully crafted brass and wood transit that was used by E.F. Curry, the county’s surveyor between 1908 and 1910.
Of course, no library in Pocahontas County would be complete with out a collection of the works of Buck and other writers born here, including Louise McNeill Pease, Warren “Tweard” Blackhurst, and G.D. McNeill—and the museum’s shelves are filled with volumes.
Still more displays in the former kitchen speak to the timber boom that cleared millions of board feet of virgin timber from the Allegheny Highlands and the network of railroads that hauled the timber from the mountains and hollows to the sawmills and tanneries.
Upstairs, individuals such as Calvin Gay and Dr. Norman R. Price have their own displays.
Through the lens of his camera, Gay chronicled much of the history of Pocahontas County and neighboring communities from 1915 through 1942. Social gatherings, sawmill laborers, county fairs and family portraits were all captured in his black-and-white photographs.
Dr. Price, who lived from 1874 until 1965, was known as the last of the country doctors in Pocahontas County who traveled by foot, horse and automobile to make housecalls up and down the mountains and valleys to care for the sick.
His calls also took him to neighboring communities in Webster, Randolph and Nicholas counties as well.
Several of the doctor’s personal items, including two box cameras and items he carried with him on his visits to the ill are on display at the museum
In room after room of the spacious house, various people and aspects of Pocahontas County’s history are represented through photographs, tools and documents.
While many of the pieces on the display were already in the home when the Historical Society bought it, many more have been donated by various people and families in the county.
That generosity has resulted in a collection brimming with stories of Pocahontas County’s colorful history and the people who first made their homes among its endless mountains.