The Story of Samuel Pringle's Bear Fight Debuts at Audra and Holly River state parks in August

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV – A new storytelling presentation about two famous West Virginia pioneers will debut in August at two West Virginia state parks.

             In 1761, at the tail end of the French and Indian War, John and Samuel Pringle deserted from the English army at Fort Pitt. The two brothers made their way to an uninhabited remote region of Western Virginia along what is now the Buckhannon River where they lived in a hollow sycamore tree for three years. 

         “This is the story of the first two pioneers of this region and their struggle with the wilderness and all the hardship and terrors it contained,” said Sissie Summers of the West Virginia State Parks system.  “A sycamore tree as a home is a far cry from even basic comforts we’re accustomed to today, 251 years later.”  

         Visitors to Audra and Holly River state parks will have the opportunity to hear the hair-raising tale about Samuel Pringle’s hand-to-paw fight with a huge black bear, as told in the first person by Gene Thorn, a living history storyteller from French Creek, W.Va.  Thorn wears period-correct clothing and interacts with the audience through questions and answers. 

            The recollection and story of Samuel Pringle’s Bear Fight is scheduled at Audra State Park on August 3 at the picnic shelter and again at Holly River State Park on August 8 at the Old Pavilion.  Both programs begin at 7 p.m. and will last about 45 minutes. Interpretative activities are open to the public and park guests at no charge.


            Audra State Park is located in Barbour County.  For Audra information call 304-457-1162  or visit  There are three access routes to Audra:

·         From Rte. 33, turn on Talbot Road. At the first Y, stay left. At the next intersection, turn left and travel approximately six miles until reaching Audra State Park. This route is approximately 13 miles from Rte. 33.

·         From Belington at the only stoplight in town, turn on to Audra State Park Road and drive straight. This route is approximately 10 miles from Belington.

·         South on Interstate 79, take exit 115 (Stonewood/Nutter Fort exit). Make a left on to Rte. 20 south. After four miles, make a right to stay on Rte. 20 south. Stay on Rte. 20 for approximately 10 miles, then make a left on to Rte. 119 north. Follow Rte. 119 north for approximately five miles. Turn right on to Audra State Park Road. Follow for six miles until arriving at Audra State Park.


            Holly River State Park is in Webster County. The park is located on WV 20, 32 miles south of Buckhannon and 20 miles north of Webster Springs. Interstate 79 running north/south through central West Virginia offers access to WV 20 at several points. For park information call 304-493-6353or visit

Comments powered by Disqus