“A Little Town With Big Ways”
The little town of Huntersville, West Virginia, began to take shape during the 18th century when hunters and trappers made inroads into the western edge of Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. They hunted the deep forests which were rich with game and fished the teeming streams in a vast wilderness previously only known to Native Americans.
In this place near Knapps Creek, where ancient hunting paths crossed, sprang up a gathering place for mountain men and adventurers to buy, barter and sell their furs, meat and skins, exchange supplies, hear news and pause from their travels.
The frontier village that gradually grew up here eventually became known as Huntersville and was established as the first county seat of Pocahontas County, Virginia in 1821.
One of the original settlers of Huntersville, John Bradshaw, had been an Indian scout for the Virginia militia before the Revolutionary War and fought with distinction in that war. When it was time to officially name the town, Col. John Bradshaw suggested “Huntersville” to honor the hunters whose presence had founded the town.
Col. Bradshaw donated the land for the first Pocahontas County courthouse which was situated near his home. A small remnant of that courthouse, the “Clerk’s Office,” still remains, and is in the process of being restored. The county’s first jail was built, a stone’s throw from the courthouse. The jail still stands, and is open for tours.
As roads penetrated other parts of the county, more and more goods became available and more settlers arrived. From 1822 to 1850 Huntersville continued to be a hub of trade in western Virginia. According to Cal Price, the famous editor of the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies, The Pocahontas Times, Huntersville was known as a “little place with big ways.”
Photos: Preserving Pocahontas/Pocahontas County Historical Society Collection
In 1891, Pocahontas County voted to move the county seat from Huntersville to the newly established logging boom town of Marlinton, located 6 miles to the west. Huntersville settled back into life as a farm village with a few stores and a lot of Pocahontas County historical significance.
In 2007, a not-for-profit organization called Huntersville Historical Traditions was formed to preserve, promote and educate about Huntersville history. It began acquiring and restoring the historical sites of Huntersville.
A festival sponsored by Huntersville Historical Traditions- Huntersville Traditions Day- is held annually, the first weekend of October, to showcase old time music, living history demonstrations and old Appalachian traditions.