About the first
of May we begun to plan more definitely. The Flag Pole Station
on Keeney’s Knob was agreed upon as the site for our next camp.
We elected our cooks, wood choppers, water carriers, and
appointed a committee to raise funds necessary to enable us to
provide an abundant supply of good things to eat.
The committee did their work faithfully. It was supplemented by
the thoughtful arrangements made by Mrs. Harris, the school
matron. At noon, May 6th, we were allowed to free our minds from
the burden of our studies, and we took upon our shoulders what
proved to be an even greater burden – our camping outfit and
The day was very warm. Soon after we began our ascent some of
the company began to fall behind. But frequent rests kept up
their courage until about four o’clock, at which time we arrived
at Clay Pinch. At that point we were marching over a famous
Indian trail leading from Muddy Creek settlement to Green
An act of savage cruelty makes Clay Pinch memorable. In the
early history of this part of the state, a white settlement on
Muddy Creek, Greenbrier County, was attacked by the Indians. The
settlers were all murdered except a woman and her infant child.
The Indians were carrying them captive along this trail. When
they came to Clay Pinch the woman escaped from their sight. One
of the Indians caught the child by the heels and struck it
against a tree thinking that its cries would cause the mother to
come to its relief. She failed to come. They knocked its brains
out against a tree and moved on. They marched over the log in
which the woman was concealed. After they passed she went back
to Muddy Creek settlement, built a rail fence around her
murdered husband and made her way back to the fort at what is
At Clay Pinch our camping party disputed for a while. Some voted
to pitch camp, others voted to go on to Flag Pole Station. The
latter party prevailed. Fernando Sabourin, our Cuban member,
declared the American boys were crazy. Other complaints were
heard but on we went. The part of the climb just before we
reached the top was the hardest. One of our scribes, not a large
boy either, had to carry three skillets, a basket and two
blankets up this rough and almost perpendicular ascent.
At three minutes after six o’clock we stood at Flag Pole
Station, 3,940 feet above the level, and 2,384 feet above the
sea level on which we stood only five hours before. We soon
located the Elliber spring, near the very summit, and by it
pitched our camp. A roaring fire and the scent of ham, eggs and
coffee, soon made us realize that our ravenous appetites could
be indulged. I don’t believe we were ever so hungry or that we
ever enjoyed supper so much in our lives. We all agreed that it
was the best supper we ever ate and probably the largest, for we
were hungry as bears.
The camp fire, jokes, songs and tricks and a royal good time,
such as no other people in the world can enter into so heartily
as a band of school boys free from every rule and restriction,
made up the program until about eleven o’clock.
The night was divided into four watches with three men on duty
for each watch. Heaps of leaves were collected for beds. We
wrapped ourselves in our blankets and some of us were soon
asleep. The first watch was quiet and peaceful but the other
three were mixed with laughter and tricks. When some of us awoke
we found our feet tied securely to the tree and others found
themselves in various predicaments.
At three o’clock the entire camp was aroused to see Hailey’s
comet, but clouds hid it from view.
We ate breakfast at 6 o’clock. At eight we started on our
homeward journey. We stopped near Clay Pinch on our return,
played a game of baseball and were in the full enjoyment of our
noonday meal when it began to rain. A frame tent was hastily
constructed and covered with blankets, but they leaked. Finally
we broke camp and after a long muddy march arrived at Alderson
and the A.C.I.
Though we suffered some hardships yet all declare that we had a
royal good time, and some of us look forward to the time when we
shall camp on this grand old mountain for several days at a time
and experience to even greater degree the genuine delight of
camping in the mountains sleeping under the bare sky, drinking
the sparking mountain water, and eating when we have appetites
that cannot be satisfied.
A.C.I. Camping Party