Located directly across from the entrance to the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, 3,240-foot Kates Mountain is a familiar landmark in eastern Greenbrier County. The name derives from Kate Carpenter who, along with her husband, Nicholas, was among the first white settlers in the Greenbrier region. In 1756, Nicholas was killed in an Indian attack, but Kate managed to escape with their infant daughter, Frances. Because Kate Carpenter was able to conceal herself and her child, they avoided capture and for that heroic act the ridge has ever since been known as Kates Mountain.
Kates Mountain is known for many species of unusual flora, particularly for its rare Kates Mountain clover and box huckleberry. John K. Small first discovered the clover in 1892. Its large white blossoms, twice the size of ordinary white clover, flower in April and May. It thrives only on true shale barrens. The box huckleberry was first discovered in the late 18th century and then largely forgotten until it was rediscovered in the 1920s in small patches in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, and Kentucky. It grows as a ground cover under rhododendrons and white pines and is the only kind of huckleberry in this region with evergreen leaves.
A portion of Kates Mountain is located within the boundaries of Greenbrier State Forest. Scenic Kates Mountain road begins at White Sulphur Springs and travels the ridge before ending at the state forest headquarters.
This Article was written by Robert S. Conte
Last Revised on October 07, 2010
Rice, Otis K. A History of Greenbrier County. Parsons: McClain, 1986.