Celebrate Pioneers of all eras
The word pioneer has evolved, just like Pioneer Days has evolved throughout the years. When the festival began, it was a celebration of the early settlers or ﾓpioneers,ﾔ but like everything in life it has morphed into something larger, into what it is today. And we as Pocahontas countians must change with it because baby, ﾓthe times, they are a changin.ﾔ
To me, a pioneer is a person who went on a journey to start a new life for himself and his future family. It doesnﾒt matter if they started this journey in the 1900s or the 2000s.
My mom and dad are pioneers. They moved to Pocahontas County in the 1970s, fresh out of college, to start a new life. As they left their childhood homes behind and set their sights on the horizon, they started a journey into the unknown, much like the pioneers who founded Pocahontas County.
Because of my parentsﾒ journeys, I can proudly say I am a first generation Pocahontas countian.
More pioneers who paved the way for the people of Pocahontas County include:
ﾕ Grote Reber who took his love and fascination in astronomy to new heights and made it possible for Green Bank to be home to the worldﾒs largest fully steerable radio telescope.
ﾕ Dr. Thomas Brigham, whose dream of a southern ski resort created Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
ﾕ The men and women who saw the dying logging town of Cass and decided, instead of letting it become another ghost town, to fight to make it into Cass Scenic Railroad.
ﾕ Pearl S. Buck, who paved the way for every eight-year-old who tells his or her teacher, ﾓI want to be a writer when I grow up.ﾔ
ﾕ Emma Beard, the non-native Pocahontas countian who loved this place more than most natives. In her short 101 years of life, Miss Emmaﾒs infectious love of this county, liberty and education rubbed off on every person who had the privilege of meeting her.
ﾕ Cal Price, long-time editor of the Pocahontas Times, was involved in the conservation movement that began the U.S. Forest Service. The Calvin W. Price State Forest was named in his honor.
ﾕ Marlin and Sewell, the actual pioneers who settled the Marlinton area, and had a falling out over religion. Sewell spent the winter in a sycamore tree.
ﾕ Anna Wallace, the first, and so far only, female Pocahontas County Superintendent of Schools.
ﾕ Jane Price Sharp, Bill McNeel and Robert Jacobson, the founders of the Pocahontas County Historical Society and Pioneer Days. The late Johnnie Hill was also instrumental in the genesis of this annual festival.
ﾕ Bruce Bosley, a native of Durbin who took his football skills to the National Football League as a member of the San Fransisco 49ers.
ﾕ The men and women who served or are serving in the military. Without their courage and sacrifices, we would not be living the free lives we are.
That is what a pioneer is to me and why I think Pioneer Days is a perfect mixture of yesterday and today.
Those are my pioneers, who are yours?