~ CIVIL WAR DAYS AT FRENCH CREEK ~Note: Mr. Loomis is a resident of Diamond Springs, Kansas. He is closely related to the Gould and Phillips families, being a great-grandson of David Phillips who came with his family from Ashfield, Mass. in 1815 and settled at French Creek.
BY JUSTIN LOOMIS
When the Civil War broke out, the people of Upshur County Virginia, now W Va., were almost solid for the Union, while the inhabitants of the surrounding counties were largely for the South.
Information supplied by April Faith
Transcribed by Dorothy McCann Phillips
Pictures added by John Buczek
wife of Mirandus Rexrod
Daughter of William Phillips and Mehitable Gould
To account for this phenomena sentiment in favor of the Union in this county named, it is necessary to explain that the first settlers here in this region. on the waters of the Buckhannon River were from the North, chiefly Mass. and Conn. There were families by the name of Brooks, Gould, Morgan, Phillips, Leonard, Sexton, Thorpe, Young and many others who brought the New England sentiment with them and planted them so fiercely in that virgin soil that they have never been uprooted, although many fine southern families settled there later on.
Among these immigrants from new England was my grandfather, John Loomis who was a g g g grandson of Joseph Loomis who crossed the Atlantic from Braintree, England in 1638 and settled at Windsor, Conn. in 1639 where some of his descendants still reside. On my mother's side, my grandfather William Phillips then a young man, came with his father's family from Mass. in the year 1815 and settled at the end of the trail on Mulberry Ridge, near French Creek, a branch of the Buckhannon River.
Shortly afterward, William married Mehitable Gould and located on Laurel Fork of French Creek where they raised a family of twelve children --eight boys and four girls. Six of these sons were in the Union Army and will figure largely in the story.
These first settlers found a land of high steep hills, covered with forests and abounding with deer, black bears, panthers, wildcats, foxes, wild turkeys, ruffled grouse, or pheasants as they were called there, wild pigeons, and many other small animals and birds. There were abundant springs and streams of clear, soft water. A Presbyterian Church was organized in 1820 which is still flourishing, having stood the test of a century.
Click on map to see larger view
French Creek Post Office was established and letter postage was twenty-five cents. French Creek claims the distinction of having the first Total Abstinence Society in America.It was organized in 1828--the town never had a saloon!
"Old Squire Zedikiah Morgan" built the first water power saw and grist mill on the Buckhannon River, and a few years afterwards almost every stream had its little gristmill, with its stone burrs where people could get their grain ground.
The old Squire, like Goodrich's "Peter Pinder" was a great storyteller. We children were frequently entertained by a recital of stories by him. If any told an exaggerated story in his presence, he would tell one so palpably impossible that the man would be silenced. In fact, his stories rivaled those of Baron Munchausen. "I was following a path through the woods one day," he said, "when I heard something going rumble te rumble, and I turned out of my path to see what it was, when I came to a little hollow on the hillside, caused by the uprooting of a big tree some years before, and there I saw a long, crooked stub of a tree that had fallen into the hollow, and was rolling first to one side of the hollow, then to the other back to the other---rumble to rumble, rumble te rumble ! It was so crooked it wouldn't lie on either side."
"Once when traveling", he said, "as night was setting in, I stopped at a house to inquire if I could put up for the night. A woman came to the door and as we were talking, I heard something, jump-jump-jump-jump on the floor, and glancing in at the door, I saw that the woman had been making mush in a kettle on the hearth, and when she left it to answer my summons, it had got to boiling so hard that it started to jumping across the floor. Seeing that I would have mush for supper, I rode on."
In that country, a "smoky chimney" was a housewife's grief and a mason who could build a chimney that would 'draw" was well in demand.
One day a man had been boasting at great length on what a wonderful draft his chimney had, when old Squire Morgan said, "The strongest draft I ever knew a chimney to have was at a backwoods cabin where I once stopped overnight. We were sitting around the fire, engaged in conversation, when a little dog started to cross the hearth before the fire; suddenly he began scratching with all his might trying to keep from being drawn toward the fire, and before I discovered what was wrong, up the chimney he went! The draft was so strong it drew him right up and out the top" !
A man was telling how many wild pigeons he had killed with one shot. "I was out one day" old Squire Morgan remarked, "when a large flock of pigeons alighted in a beech tree, directly over my head; one long slender limb was crowded with them. I fired a ball directly through the center of the limb, splitting it open, and the toes of the pigeons dropped into the crack, and it closed up again and held them fast. I gathered a whole basket of pigeons as the result of than one shot"!
The abundance of game and the need of meat, together with the necessity of being an accurate shot in order to protect them selves and their domestic animals from panthers, bears and wildcats, produced many fearless hunters among the settlers. A local writer says, "No firmer foot ever trod the mountain trail---no steadier muscles ever gripped the hunting knife---no keener eye ever glanced along the rifle barrel than were possessed by some of these pioneers. They had in a marked degree, that mysterious forest instinct which told them, without any process of reasoning, in what thicket the bear would likely bed down, whether the running buck would cross the stream and in which direction camp lay."
All these qualities, handed down to the younger generations, were a valuable asset when the war of secession called for men to fight in the hill forests of Virginia. For some years before the outbreak of the Civil War, the laws of Virginia required every able bodied man of military age to attend "muster" twice a year. As I remember right, there was a township or precinct muster and also a county or "big muster". The roll would be called and the men formed in line in their proper companies, and with their officers marched to the sound of the fife and drum to ...........their parade grounds and there drilled for several hours. Many small boys were sure to be present, and at the completion of the drilling, the boys would be formed at the rear of the lines and marched from the fields, keeping step with the tap of the drum. Men that trained were more readily whipped into fighting condition when the war came. I remember when my father came home from the last muster ever held in Buckhannon under the old Virginia laws. It was early in 1861 and the first thing he said was -- We may as well stop work on the oil well, there is going to be war and that soon.
He, with two or three of our neighbors had commenced drilling a well over at the "burning spring" where several shallow wells were producing an abundance of oil. It was called "rock oil" at that time; only two years before what is said to be the first oil well in this country, was "brought in" near Titusville, Pennsylvania by Col. Edwin L. Drake, at a depth of sixty-nine feet. The process of drilling was very simple and inexpensive: a man on the scaffold would lift the drill by means of a spring pole, and another, standing below would give it the proper turns before it dropped; but the war put an end to that venture. My brothers and sisters and I had put all of our capital into that venture - even down to the last copper cent, such as were in circulation at that time, on condition that our capital should be doubled when we struck oil. It was our first and also our last investment in oil wells. Later on we received our capital back but it was not doubled.
At the presidential election of 1860 it was said that the Virginia State authorities would allow no ballots with the name of Abraham Lincoln on them; that statement is probably untrue but be that as it may there were no such ballots at the Upshur County polling places of which I am speaking, and many who would have voted for Lincoln cast their ballots for John Bell, the Constitutional Union candidate instead. As a matter of fact, Lincoln received only 1929 votes in the whole state, and owing to the circumstance that the Democratic vote was divided between John C. Breckenridge and Stephen A Douglas, Bell carried the state by a small plurality
So far as my boyhood knowledge went, there was only one slave in Upshur County, a mere boy owned by "Zeke" Townsend, on Bull Run, yet about this time, 1859, - 1860 ---southern sympathizers began to express their opinions quite freely: for example, a few days after the news reached us that John Brown, the Kansas Free Sate upholder, and rank abolitionist of Ossa watomie, and Harper's Ferry fame had been hanged at Charleston, a nine year old school playmate and I were playing together at the recess hour when he asked me, "Are you glad John Brown was hung?" "No", I said, "I guess not". His reply was, "Well, I am," with special emphasis on the pronoun.
There were no "free schools" in the state of Virginia prior to the war of secession. Some families would have a private reader come to live with them and teach their children: then there were public schools = where the people would work together and build a house, and the teacher would be compensated by every family paying a stipulated sum for each pupil sent. The children of our family went to the public school when there was one within reach; but sometimes we had a private teacher. One such, named Adeline Haynes, a very fleshy woman, went to meeting with us one Sunday in an old sled, and to avoid rough roads, we drove down the millpond, half a mile on the ice, but on returning, we feared the ice would not be safe as it was thawing fast, and to get home, it was necessary to drive out a ridge road and down a long and very steep hill. The road going straight down to the house. In hauling corn down this hill, it had been a custom to cut a small tree suitable for firewood, and without trimming it of its larger limbs, chain it to the axle of the wagon to hold it back, as otherwise the team could not hold it, but we had no axe to cut a tree with they said and my father would not have cut one on Sunday if he had an axe. So he said we'd better all get out and walk down the hill, as he thought the oxen could hold the empty sled. We all got out but Adeline: she, not relishing the idea of walking, said she would sit in the rear of the sled, and if disaster threatened, she could tumble off. My father, at the head of the oxen, started them down: then followed a scene both exiting and amusing: the oxen broke away and, with snow flying and the sled bouncing and Adeline clinging on, they went down that steep hill on the dead run until they became afraid the sled would push them off their feet, and then they swerved out of the road, into the scrub oak brush: Adeline rolled off into the snow and the sled and all concerned brought up among the trees unharmed.
Mother's eight brothers were named Franklin, David, Lafayette, Mortimer, Herbert, Lothrop, Goodwin, and James. When the call for volunteers came the two youngest, Goodwin and also their youngest sister were still living at home with their mother who was a widow. Uncle Frank, Lafayette, Herbert, and Jim---then nineteen years old --immediately enlisted in Company E Third Regiment. West Virginia Infantry. Mortimer enlisted in the Twenty-sixth Illinois Regiment, and Lathrop in the Upshur Battery. Uncle Goodwin wanted to volunteer with the others - but Grandma said she would have to keep him to take care of her. In a short time he became sick and died, and left Grandma and Electa alone.
My father said little about enlisting, for he had a family of seven children, the youngest a babe, to look after --and besides, an accident two years before had left him with a stiff shoulder that probably would have prevented his being accepted for military service. he was "snaking" in firewood with a yoke of oxen when he started to jump over the log they were dragging and a limb caught his foot and threw him onto his right elbow, putting the shoulder out of joint. A hired man, my brother John and I were with him and we all were in the house. "Mat, you blow the horn for mother," he said, "and John, you go to the pasture and catch a horse in case we have to have a Doctor." Mother was somewhere on the farm, gathering blackberries, and she was the first necessity. If any one was taken sick or injured or anything was wrong at our house, the best thing was --"Where id Mother?". She heard the horn and saw John going for the horse, and knew something serious had happened and hurried home. In the meantime, the hired man had gone for our nearest neighbor, Major Thorpe, and on the way he fortunately met John Lemmons who had experience in setting dislocated shoulders. When the three men arrived, the setting of the joint proved to be a hard task--but, thinking that they had at last gotten it back in place, it was decided to not send for a doctor, as there was no one nearer than Buckhannon ten miles away. It was afterwards feared that the arm bone had not been put entirely back into the socket of the shoulder, and the result was a partially stiffened joint.
That accident came near being the cause of a much worse mishap about three weeks afterwards. My father
owned a "canoe" or "dugout" some forty feet long that had been made from a poplar tree. He had gone in that canoe down French Creek to a mill, a half-mile below our place. On returning, no one being with him except my eleven year old sister Mollie, he was poling the canoe with his left hand when the pole slipped on a rock, and let him plunge from the canoe into the water. At the same time sending the canoe entirely out of his reach His right arm was still in a sling and also bound tight to his body. Mollie was yelling, "Oh papa, will drown" Papa will drown ". --but making no attempt to paddle the canoe to him. He was wearing heavy boots but managed to swim with his left hand to the shore and then told Mollie how to bring the canoe to him.
The death of Uncle Goodwin left but one living of Mother's eight brothers that was not in the army---Uncle David.
The family had nicknamed each other. David was named Smut and Herbert they called Cudge. Nicknames of some kind for those two seemed to be required because of their peculiarities and so every one called them by those names. I will thus call them in this story.
The possessed a drollery of speech natural to them that was fascinating. This was especially true in the case of Uncle Smut. he had a low-pitched voice and a slow drawl emphasized at the end of a sentence that attracted attention anywhere. These characteristics accompanied by a natural grimace of countenance and an odd motion of body made him irresistible.
Uncle Cudge when on what proved to be his last furlough home, made a visit to out house and spoke feelingly of his young wife and little Jerome. he was very proud of them and with reason. two years before the was he had wooed and won a worthy young girl who, though reared in the backwoods, was refined and sensibly educated. She was the sister of John Carter, who later became one of the most esteemed preachers the state had ever produced, who when he was preparing himself to preach was in the habit of going out into the woods and preaching to the trees and rocks. Uncle Cudge's attractive wife and little Jerome were never to see him again.
During the time of furloughs, Uncle Frank visited us, and in talking matters over, Mother expressed her opinion that he ought to have stayed at home instead of enlisting, he was the oldest of the family - being up in the forties, and had a large family of his own. "If the young men won't go to war, " he said, "the old men will have to "Yes", mother replied, "but what if you should be killed."
Then Uncle Frank made a statement that came back to us again and again in the months and years that followed. "I will never be killed by a rebel bullet" he exclaimed solemnly. "They may shoot me to pieces but they won't kill me." "You better be careful what you say" Mother told him, but he didn't say it in a spurt of bravado. he was a Christian man whose belief in God was substantiated by a life that corresponded well with such belief, and God by his omniscience beheld him in the coming summer of 1862, living for 3 long months, desperately wounded, in a hostile country, neglected, weak, helpless and homesick, and seemingly gave him beforehand the assurance that an enemy bullet would never kill him, to keep him from sinking into despair during that almost unprecedented ordeal. He himself so regarded it, and so expressed himself though he was little given to incline of telling his inner experiences.
Dr. A. E. Winship of Boston is reported to have said recently, "Every illiterate from the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas are infinitely better skilled to shoot and dodge shots in the War than United States senators and university presidents. Every one of them was worth more to the army than all their critics when it came to handling firearms or facing firearms. In the mountains on the east of Kentucky and Tennessee and on the west of the Carolinas, their has been as good native brains as in Wall Street, Harvard, Yale or Princeton.
The mountains have been full of men pure blood brains."
There is some truth in this, --not because they are illiterate, but because of their environment. The French Creek Civil War soldiers were not different, quite the opposite---but they had the same environment, the same mountain woods training, which develops awareness, a quick, clear eye and brain, an acute hearing, originality of thought, a tenacious memory and a superior nerve. This last sentence is especially descriptive of Uncle Lafayette, who had few equals as a woods scout and sharpshooter. His son Ed who spent the greater part of his life in the regular army as a sharpshooter, serving during the Indian campaigns and in the Philippines War, is said even now, at the age of seventy-two to never miss a shot.
It was true in the World War that reports and rumors that were afterwards proven false caused almost as much worry for a time, at least, as the actualities that occurred , but much more in the Civil War where we were surrounded by secessionists, and unionists, and secessionists were intermingled were there rumors---some of them true but more of them false--flying thick and fast and they caused many a day and many a night of worry and suspense especially to the women and children acted in those stirring times.
Not many miles away there were guerilla bands of bushwhackers as they were frequently called---the base fellows, the off scouring of the backwoods who sympathized with the South - but irresponsible men whose sympathies with the South was no stronger than their sympathies for the love of bloodshed and of pillaging and burning.
The women and children whose protectors were away fighting for the Union, had reason to fear these outlaws and it seemed like there were men not far away ---men who had no love for the Union people---who rather enjoyed starting the alarm, "The bushwhackers are coming!"
Aunt Jane Nicely was alone with her children when a guerilla band was in the neighborhood, and she hung a large iron kettle on the crane in the fireplace and filling it with water, she carried in plenty of firewood, put the children to bed, placed a big dipper handy and kept that water hot all night. Sitting there alert, during the long hours, she would have welcomed a panther's scream to break the suspense for she did not fear a panther. But the morning came at last to her relief. She afterwards declared she would have thrown hot water on the outlaws had they attempted to come into the house.
There was staying at our house a young man named Tip Lemmons---he had been given the name of William Henry Harrison, in honor of President Harrison, the hero at the Battle of Tippecanoe and as the campaign cry of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" was remembered, his name was shortened Tip---who had been taking the prospect of going to war quite cheerfully and told us that when he went he would start away whistling. The rumor soon came that a raid was to be made on Buckhannon, and that every man who had a gun was wanted there to guard the bridge across the river, over which the enemy would have to come. Tin had no gun, but he started just the same, about sundown, on foot. he had gone a little way up the hill when he bethought himself, and commenced loudly whistling a merry tune. The alarm was a false one, but Tip soon enlisted in Company E and went through the war---a good soldier, unharmed.
My father came home one day from Buckhannon where he had bought some groceries, and exclaimed, "Coffee is fifty cents a pound in Baltimore, Old England has pitched onto the North!" It was at the time of Mason and Slidell affair and as there was no daily mail at our place, the false report from Baltimore, where all our merchants bought their goods, made us believe for some time that the North would have to fight Great Britain.
There came a report that a Southern Army was marching into Upshur County and some in our neighborhood started with their cattle to Pennsylvania to keep them from furnishing the Confederates with Beef. My father and John took our young cattle and went with them. The Confederates did not come just then but while the men were gone with the cattle, a worse scare occurred. We lived near the mouth of a stream called Grand Camp, because it had been a grand camping place of the Indians when they roamed the country. My Mother's uncle, Uncle Hod Phillips, lived on Laurel Fork, west of Grand Camp, and he owned a fine black horse, which, to keep from being seized, he would bring to Grand Camp every time there was an alarm given and hide it in the woods, far enough away from any road to prevent persons passing along hearing it whinny.
At the time referred to, Uncle Hod, after hiding the horse, and reported that a guerilla band was creating terror only a little way off, and just then a man appearing at a bend in the road . Uncle hod said, "I guess I'll step into the edge of the woods till I see who it is." Mother remarked to me, "You may go with him". We went several rods, into the woods back of the house, and sat down. After about perhaps fifteen minutes someone called
"It's Martin Burr!" , Uncle Hod exclaimed., Going back to the house with him, Burr sat down and told what he had heard about the scare: "They are burning haystacks, corn cribs, and everything ", he said. My sister Mat fidgeted when he spoke of haystacks and pretty soon she slipped out of the house and was gone for some time. Mother had put what money she had and some other valuables into an old iron teakettle - and giving the kettle to Mat, and told her to hide it in some safe place. Mat had hidden it under the edge of a haystack, hence the fidgeting when the burning of haystacks were mentioned.
Just before night, Mother told me to take "Old Baldy" , the best riding horse we had left at home and tie her
in the woods. I selected what I called a safe place, and left her there till the next day. So far as we know we
all slept soundly that night---"the terror" did not touch us.
"Call it New Virginia", Salome Phillips exclaimed---she was a young girl who had been bedfast for years with rheumatism. "We'll call it Kanawha" the delegates to the convention said."We'll call it West Virginia", Congress declared when on June 20, 1863 it was finally admitted into theUnion.
The Governor of Virginia had sent an army into western counties to prevent them from separating from the old State, when General McClellan appeared on the scene: he surprised that army in Phillipi while it was yet asleep in the early morning and routed it, then defeated it again at Rich Mountain. My father volunteered with his four-horse team and wagon to help haul provisions for McClellan's troops and passed Rich Mountain while blood was yet fresh on the battlefield.
The picture to the left shows McClellan with his wife. Click on image to see full size
McClellan gained the high esteem of his soldiers, and Uncle Frank sent word to mother, suggesting that she name her baby Franklin McClellan and she decided to do so: But when McClellan was relieved of his command, she changed her mind and called the baby Franklin Phillips. . Some of McClellan's men composed and sang the song---"Give us back our old Commander", until the song had to be suppressed in the army.
The Upshur County soldiers crossed the mountain under the immediate command of General Milroy and found them selves participating on May 8 1867 in the Battle of McDowell under the command of General Fremont.
The battle was being fought in the woods and they were standing behind trees, loading and firing, Indian fashion, when some of the enemy succeeded in getting around on the flank of the Union troops and firing a volley before they were discovered. Uncle Frank was struck by a musket ball, which passed through the flesh of the left thigh and entered the right thigh, breaking and shattering the bone so near the body that the surgeon believed an amputation would be fatal; in fact they considered the wound a mortal one. Major Potts, with Uncle Cudge, managed to carry him in this condition from the battlefield to an old jail room in Franklin, Pendleton County, and Uncle Cudge was detailed to stay and take care of him.
General Fremont with his forces, including the Third Regiment, moved immediately to the relief of General Banks, in the Shenandoah Valley. Only two days later the Confederates occupied the Town of Franklin, made Uncle Cudge a prisoner, sent him away and left Uncle Frank with no one to take care of him. This much his relatives at home learned from letters received from the army, but for two months no further news concerning
him was received by them.
A neighbor of ours, Martin Burr, who lived on the ridge near the head of Grand Camp, passed out house on his way to and from Buckhannon, and he made these journeys always on foot, so frequently and was so good a news gatherer, that we called him the mail carrier. I was playing in our dooryard one afternoon in June, as he was passing on his way home; mother, who had seen him coming stepped out in the porch and asked, "What is the news?"
He hesitated a moment, then replied, "I have no good news for you: Jim is killed!", Then he continued, "There has been a battle at Cross Keys and our folks were engaged in it, and Jim was shot through the temple and killed instantly." Jim's grave is unknown. The Battle of Cross keys was on the 7th, some say the 8th of June, thus in one month one of mother's brothers was desperately wounded, and left to in hostile lands, another taken prisoner and was never to return; while a third was instantly killed and hurriedly buried in an unmarked grave. They had been pitted against the prayers and generalship of "Stonewall" Jackson, who was a West Virginian, born at Clarksburg, and someone has said that Jackson was such a man after God's own heart that He had to take him to heaven before he could give much success to the Union Armies.
Later on in the summer, Company E was engaged at Bull Run, where George Phillips, a cousin to Uncle Cudge, was made a prisoner and taken to Richmond, where he was kept for two months before he was exchanged.
"One day in Libby Prison," he said, "as I was standing with the haggard prisoners, someone stepped up to me
and laid his hand on my shoulder; I looked up and there was Cudge!---reduced almost to skin and bones, his eyes sunken and he so weak he could hardly stand without support." "Why haven't you been exchanged long ago", I asked. he replies, "They won't parole me till I take an oath that I will never fight 'em again, and I'll stay here till I rot before I'll take such an oath! If I ever get out of here, I'll fight 'em and I tell them so!"
Libby Prison, Richmond Va.. Click on picture to see larger version
He was a man of strong feeling and experience when his brother Frank was wounded and he taken forcibly from him when his aid was so much needed by his brother had doubtless half-crazed him. That news brought home by George Phillips, was the last his friends ever had regarding him. Cudges grave is unknown.
At home another raid by bushwhackers caused our family to hide away our valuables---not under a haystack this time---and all leave our house and go up Grand Camp to our neighbor, John Lemmon's house, to stay overnight---the guerilla bands preferred the nighttime for their work.
About this time I was sent on an errand over to Major Thorpe's and had the rare chance of seeing a ruffled grouse drumming. They were almost as large and somewhat resembled the western prairie chicken, and were so unafraid ,especially when a dog scared one up---that it would light on a limb of a tree scarcely higher than a man's head , and if the dog kept barking would allow one to come up with a gun directly under it, yet they were so wary when drumming that they were rarely seen performing.
It was a cloudy morning and going through the woods, I heard one commencing drumming, and caught sight of it fluttering wings, and stopped and waited till it had drummed several times. It was standing on an old log, and would commence by bringing its wings together with a quick stroke, almost a jerk, then pause several seconds before the next stroke. Then the strokes gradually becoming more rapid till they ended in a hum, its wings moving so fast that they became a blur., like the spokes in a swiftly turning wheel . Thump--thump--thump---thump.
Finally catching a glimpse of me it flew away, followed by another one---I suppose the mate---which had been sitting on the other side of the log, unseen by me. This drumming, like the low-pitched ----hoo, hoo hoo, of the Great Horned Owl, is a sound that carries far; to seem no louder than it does when one is close by it.
The now extremely rare pileated woodpecker (woodcock) the natives call them---was plentiful, almost any time of day one would hear his loud, jubilant rollicking call and look up in time to see him alighting on the trunk of a tree or old stump, and commence hopping upward and around the trunk. I think he never alighted without giving his call. His large size and the bright red on his head made him a conspicuous bird.
But to return to that secession center in Pendleton County..."O War! What heartlessness does thee engender! What crimes are chargeable to thee! The residents of the town of Franklin were so hostile to the North that those who otherwise would have shown kindness to Uncle Frank refrained from doing so because they feared the public sentiment. There was a kind-hearted Doctor living in the town but he didn't dare dress the Union soldier’s wounds for fear he would be ostracized by his townsmen. There was a kindhearted woman who sent him a little food, and some kind-hearted boys who would once in a while do him a little favor---he was a great singer ---in the Presbyterian Church on the hill above the little village of French Creek, situated where the "turnpike" crossed the creek of the same name, his voice had been heard rising above those of the others every Sunday for many years---and now as he lay helpless on his back in that old jail room in Franklin he would begin singing, and a few boys would usually come to hear him. When he was finished, he would say "Now won't you bring me a little water?"
He sang a great deal trying to keep his thoughts from the suffering: but what should he sing? It wouldn't do to singpatriotic songs. Fortunately he knew many hymns and he could sing them without giving offense to any one.
The flesh wound in the left thigh soon healed, his blood was so ...... that any cut would heal with "first intention". he had often said, "If you will leave my bones alone, I won't mind cuts in the flesh much". This condition of the blood probably saved his life at this time, for the right thigh could not heal, the ball being wedged between the ends of the bone so it could not knit together, the bone being splintered, and all this in hot weather, with nursing and without proper care. "I will never be killed by a rebel bullet" was often in his mind.
Along toward the middle of July, a stranger who had journeyed through Franklin from somewhere in the eastern part of the state, was passing through French Creek and incidentally stated that a wounded Union soldier was lying neglected and suffering at the town of Franklin. he could not give much information about him---had not learned his name nor where he was from, could not even give the name of the regiment or state to which he belonged.
This report made by the stranger created excitement through the region. Could the wounded man be Frank Phillips still alive? Some said, "No!"---others thought it might be. When Electa ---Frank's youngest sister heard the report, she exclaimed: "It is Frank, mother, he needs me, and I'm going to him to nurse him back to life and bring him home!"
Her mother and other relatives tried to dissuade her, telling her that the secessionists, learning of her intention, would take her captive, and that she would never see her home and people again...or, if they wouldn’t molest her. Frank would probably be dead before he she could reach him. To all at which she replies, "Frank needs me ' I am going to him and you mustn't hinder me!". She came over to our home and asked mother to let my sister Mat(?) then eighteen years old---go with her, but mother replied:
"One is enough to lose". I have wondered at mother's answer not her refusal to let Mat go, but it's fearfully
discouraging implication that whoever went would be sure to lose ; She was usually very careful about what she said. But Electa was convinced that she ought to go and had gained a consent from her mother.
There were many things to consider, would it be safe for her to carry money sufficient for her expenses? If she rode a horse would there be any hope that the first confederate she met would not seize it and take it from her? While her various friends and relatives were puzzling over these things, Uncle Smut who lived six miles from the old home place was doing some thinking: he had a horse he had owned for many years; his name was Barney. I had heard him brag on as old Uncle Smut could brag. When but six years old I remember that Uncle Smut's family---they were then living on Grand Camp and ours were going home from a spelling school, all of us being on foot except Aunt Esther, who was riding Barney with a child on her lap and another one on behind her - and then when we came to a very steep, rocky, slippery place in the woods, where it was pitch-dark, all our anxiety was put to rest by Uncle Smut's comic remark, "Stick your toenails in Barney!" Barney wouldn't pull in a "sold collar" --Uncle Smut would put the harness on him, and exercise him for a while before hitching him to a load.
But now Barney was getting bony and showed his age, yet still possessing considerable endurance. Uncle Smut, though as much attached to him as ever, brought him down to Electa and with feeling, said: "Barney is not much for looks anymore: I don't think the South will want him, but he’ll carry you there!
You take him and go!" Uncle Smut's "You take him and go!" were perhaps the first words real encouragement that Electa had received, but now that the question of her going was decided, almost everybody was offering encouragement and expressing sympathy wit the undertaking. Uncle Smut's ten year old son, Greely. and my younger sister Ellen also about ten, was sent to Grandma while Electa would be absent. The enigma of how to keep the Confederates from taking her horse from her, having been solved, the matter of providing a saddle which they would not seize presented less difficulty. Almost every woman and girl in that hill country possessed a sidesaddle and long riding skirt, and every meeting house store or other public place had its horse-block from which a lady could mount her horse with grace and ease and gracefulness. Horseback riding was about the only mode of conveyance -- carriages, except on the turnpike, being rarely seen. -- and few things would have been more shocking than to see a woman or girl riding astride -- neither the men nor the women would have allowed it. And, as the Confederate soldiers would have little need of a sidesaddle, it was thought Electa's saddle would be safe from confiscation. The few other necessities which she could take having been provided for, she was now ready to start.
She was a tall, rather slender girl, with dark complexion---and being quite at home in a sidesaddle made a graceful appearance as she started on her journey. She had gone but a few miles when she was reminded of one of the difficulties she would encounter: she came to the Buckhannon River at a place known as Sago, where there was no bridge: the only way to cross except when the water was low enough to ford was by rowing a skiff and allowing the horse to swim behind it .
Proceeding in an easterly direction, she soon entered a country unknown to her, and a feeling of indescribable loneliness and sense of fear came over her as she traversed a wooded, hilly region on roads not much traveled, coming to points where she would be uncertain which way to go, yet hardly knowing if she wanted to meet any one of whom she could inquire the road.
Follow her travels, click on the map to see a larger image.
She had another considerable river to cross before she reached the town of Beverly, on Tygart's Valley River in Randolph County. Beverly was occupied by Union troops: from there on she was in the enemies country, and the natural hindrances to travel also became more marked. Randolph County is traversed by several parallel ranges of the Allegheny Mountains, and many streams flowing between those ranges from the Cheat and Monongalia Rivers.
Cheat River is so named because of its extremely variable volumes of water, sometimes a large stream often becoming in a few hours quite insignificant. Thus she was continually in doubt whether she was coming to a fordable stream or not.
Cheat River, Preston County West Virginia
Electa, urging old Barney along, crossed Leading Creek, went over Big Cheat Mountain, where frequently she found herself in or above the clouds, then down into the valley of Big Cheat River. The strain on her nerves was tremendous, finding a place where she would dare stay all night--what reason to give for traveling through such a land in such a time unattended---would she be taken for a spy? She might say that she was going to see a brother in Franklin---but what undesired questions would follow? what ruffians would she encounter in the dense woods she had to traverse? what guerilla bands would be in the way? would the pickets of a Southern army stop her and ask for her pass?
Through all this and much more the old hymn was verified, "God shall charge His angel legions Watch and ward o'er thee to keep. Though thou walk through hostile regions, though in desert wilds thou sleep."
Her way lay over Shaver Mountain --then across Glady Fork of Cheat River --on to the Black Fork of Cheat, still on across Dry Fork of Cheat , then over the Allegheny Range and down the North Fork of South Branch of the Potomac and across the mountains to the South Branch of the Potomac on which the town of Franklin is situated.
After four days of hard riding up and down mountains on rough winding zigzag roads, she had now reached the place for which she started. Was her brother still alive, and if so, how could she find him! Seeing a group of men standing farther along the street, she dismounted and hitching Barney to a post, walked up to them, and asked if they knew of a wounded Union soldier there.
Their answer was: "No, all of the men have died, or been moved away." Shocked and puzzled she stood silent for a moment.Just then, from a distance and very faintly, came the sound of some one singing "From Greenland's icy mountains. From India's coral strand. Where Africa's sunny fountains: Roll down the golden sand----"
Who's that singing", she asked. Then louder and clearer as the voice came to the high-pitched part of the tune---"From many an ancient river, From many-----" "That's Frank's voice".. Electa shouted, as she rushed toward the old building from which the sound came. She afterward said "Nothing could hold me then!"
She stepped into the door of the room where Uncle Frank was lying, and as he saw her, he exclaimed, "Why, Lec" and began crying like a child. his powerful physique and iron nerves had been subjected on such a prolonged and weakening ordeal that no mortal man could have kept from breaking down under like conditions. "But such a room", Electa said in speaking of it afterwards. "I went to work and made a different looking place of it." She secured medicine and food for him, dressed his wound as best she could, and took care of him. She cut Barney loose to eat grass on the common and along the roadside, and he stayed in sight most of the time. One day she saw some soldiers go up to him and look him over: one put a bridle on him and led him a little way, and then pulled the bridle off , gave him a slap with it, and went off and left him.
Things were looking hopeful, when one day a Confederate officer, with a squad of his men came into the old jail room, and, after asking some questions, said to Electa, "I'm sorry, Miss, but I reckon you will have to go with us ". Then, using Electa's words, "No lawyer made a better plea for a person than Frank did for me that they would not take me away with them!" "Yes", said the soldier, addressing Electa, "but you will go to the Union line and report what has been done here, and bring a body of troops and burn the town". "No", she replied, "there is nothing of that kind in my heart. I only want to take care of my brother and take him home when he is able to be carried there". Convinced that she meant what she said, he motioned to his men to follow, and went quietly away.
After a time, she found a way to get word home that she believed Uncle Frank would be able to be carried on a stretcher in a few weeks. Whether she suggested that some old men would be allowed to come and get him , or whether that originated in French Creek I do not know. ..but that plan was soon talked of and arranged for. My father agreed with Major Thorpe that if the Major would go, he would do the necessary work on the Major's farm while he was gone.
Edwin Phillips, John Riggleman and Elza Haddock also volunteered to go. These four were all gray-haired old men--too old as any one could be for military service. they set off on foot and made the journey over the mountains to Franklin without being molested and stopping at the jail long enough only for greetings, and to know how things were. They went into the woods for material with which to make a stretcher. Now, a man in the town that was acquainted with these Upshur County people, had seen them, and immediately took it upon himself to go to the Confederate camp and report their presence. His name I will not mention, though I remember it well. He must have had the heart of a demon---if a demon can be said to have a heart (for he was well know were honest old men who had come there for no other purpose than to carry his wounded soldier who could not possibly ever bear arms again. the result was that within a few hours after they arrived in Franklin, and while they were yet in the woods making the stretcher, they were surrounded, taken prisoner, and placed in confinement : and the next day --with their hands tied behind their backs, they were marched off toward Staunton.
Thus, that effort which had commanded confidence in the region of French Creek, ended in a disastrous failure, and the task of getting Uncle Frank home with its hitherto insurmountable difficulties, still rested in Electa's hands. She found that a few persons in the town were a little more inclined to befriend her than heretofore. The kind-hearted woman before mentioned helped her some. The Dr. was finally persuaded to give the wound a little attention; and there being an epidemic there at that time, Electa had a mild attack of it, and the Dr. treated her for the disease. He also showed her his method of treating diphtheria, and gave her a little of the drug, and telling her how to apply it. Before the summer was over there were many who blessed him for doing so, for there was a terrible scourge of diphtheria that year, and other Dr.’s were not very successful in treating it, but more of that further along. Electa now began looking around to see if she could employ some of the citizens to carry her brother to the Union lines. She finally succeeded and one Monday morning they started. Faithful Barney having remained nearby during the four weeks of her stay there.
Their progress was necessarily slow and sometimes painful to the wounded man, but those mountaineers were sure-footed and reasonably careful as up and down, up and down, they continued on their journey.
At last, about 3 o'clock on Saturday morning, they reached Beverly and the Union line. Dismissing her carriers. Electa now could let her nerves relax a little, and a great feeling of relief and safety came to her and her brother as the bluecoats gathered around them. Union soldiers, from the forces there were immediately detailed to carry Uncle Frank to the rest of the way to his home, and word soon reached French Creek that they were coming by the way of Buckhannon so as to take advantage of the only good road. Relief parties, neighbors, friends-- nearly everybody, started to meet them, and from Buckhannon, the wounded man on the stretcher, and Electa on old Barney, were escorted by a throng who made a gala day of it.
Coming to the little village of French Creek, they stopped to rest. Uncle Frank lived on a ridge between Bush Run and Kanawha Run, about three miles south of this place, but the most direct road was rough and steep--so they decided to follow the turnpike farther up and then take an old ridge road around to his house. Proceeding up the zig zag pike to the top of the hill, a momentary sadness and regret enveloped the wounded man, as he looked where the old meeting house had stood, for it burned to the ground while he was away: a company of soldiers had camped in it, and had accidentally set it on fire. Reaching the place where they were to leave the turnpike, they took the old road bending around on the top on a narrow ridge where, some years , the owner of the land had--illegally perhaps--laid up a rail fence for many rods, directly in the road. But the escorting throng was in no mood just then to hesitate over technicalities, and those rails went flying down the hillside so swiftly, that the progress of the procession was hardly checked.
Thirty minutes more and Uncle Frank was lying on his own bed in his own house, with his wife and children around him: the soldiers were on their return to Beverly - and Electa was proceeding on to her Mother's house. Still seated on old Barney, who walked with his ears erect as he once more approached scenes that were familiar to him.
But Electa was not allowed to rest long before her services were again called for. Diphtheria was carrying off children throughout the whole region: nothing could check it, and few recovered who were taken down with it. Two of Major Thorpe’s children - Mary Jane and Aaron, had been attacked with it----- the major, still being a captive in Staunton with the three others, before mentioned, and Mother and Mat had spent a great deal of their time to procure them. Both the children had died, Mary Jane, the oldest had requested they wished for their father to come back before they had a funeral service preached. "But", she added with a pathetic sob, "if he is not back in six months, then have it preached.
Soon after Electa reached her home, the only remaining Thorpe child, and also my sister Ellen, were stricken with it and as soon as Electa heard of it, she came over and treated them according to the instructions the physician in Pendleton County had given her, and they both recovered. She doubtless saved the lives of other children too during the Diphtheria epidemic. This epidemic was followed by Scarlet Fever and the few children who lived through the Diphtheria epidemic -- that were not stricken with Scarlet Fever and it too was a severe force that year. Of our family M------, and ......, and I had it. One of the Dr.’s instructions at the time was "Do not allow a person with fever to drink cold water". Now, the thing I wanted was cold water, but they said, "It won't do for you to drink it". And I thought that settled it, but I promised myself that when I got well, I'd go down to Grand Camp and lie down on a rock and drink and drink till I got all I wanted...and when I did get well, I was disgusted to find that, after all that thinking of what pleasure I would have to gratifying my thirst, that when I could get water, I didn't want it.
After being brought home, Uncle Frank lay helpless and suffering for five or six years, and underwent repeated surgical operations for the course of that bullet, and pieces of bone. My father went to see him after an operation, and found him singing, he stepped into the room, and said, "Well, you aren't dead yet" "No, and no likelihood of it" Uncle Frank replied. He ultimately recovered sufficiently to walk on crutches, and continued so for many years, but for the last ten or fifteen years of his life, he was again helpless. At some important elections, his family carried him to the polls for him to vote, and they carried him home again. He died a natural death at the age of eighty, an enemy bullet did not kill him!
In the fall of 1862 and for months afterwards, the words, "Jenkin's Raid" were heard so often that that now, sixty years have passed, they still remain a familiar sound. One morning in September of that year, about 11 o'clock, Mother heard some one hurriedly getting his horse through the barn next to our house, and as she came to the porch, Henry -----called to her, "The Confederates came over into Centerville this morning and captured me there, but I got away from them and ran down home to get my horse and am trying to reach Buckhannon before they do to warn the people there. They are following the turnpike ..have already passed French Creek, and killed Josh -Brooks " and away he went.
My father and John were over at Major Thorpe's getting up firewood, as Major Thorpe was still a prisoner, and Mother told me to go to Thorpe's an tell them what Henry Quire?(sp) said. For while they were not on the turnpike, they were on a road that some of the raiders might choose to take. I found them eating their noon meal and my father asked, "What are you after?". "After "-------" I said. "After ___", exclaimed Mrs. Thorpe, "Well there aren't any such here". I told her there might be pretty soon and repeated what we had heard. "Well, you go back home", my father said. "We'll haul another load or two of wood before we go, but we'll keep on the lookout".
Late that evening, the Morgans who lived on the turnpike, came to our house and said that if we would allow it, he guessed he would stay with us that night, and from him we learned more about the raid. The Confederate Colonel Lenkins, with several companies of his soldiers had surprised Centerville that morning and ransacked Dr.’s offices and drugstores for surgical instruments. quinine, and other things that they were in need of, and taking men, saddles, and horses wherever they found them, and shooting at men who tried to avoid capture.
A Captain of one company stopped at a house, before they reached French Creek, where there was no one home but a boy of ten years old, and the boy exclaimed, "You can't have that saddle!" The captain looked at him, but went on with the saddle. "You take that saddle and I’ll shoot you" declared the boy, picking up his father's rifle. Then the captain laughed at him, and commenced putting the saddle on his horse.
The boy, true to his word, raised the gun and fired, hitting the captain in the knee. he climbed onto his saddle and rode as far as Buckhannon, but the would was so painful he went no further.
When the raiders reached French Creek, Josher Brooks, who owned a store there, had just time to put what money he had into his pocket, and step outside, and close and lock the door, when they rode up and informed him that he was their prisoner. He asked permission to go a little way to speak to the family where he was stopping, and to get a drink of water. perhaps his captors were thirsty and granted his request. As they approached the well, Adeline Haynes, the heroine of the ox sled ride, who was staying there, and had suspected that the main reason Brooks had for wishing to come there before he was marched away was to get his money to a safe place went out with a glass in her hand, and stepped between him and his captors. Now, when Adeline Haynes stepped between people, their view was likely to be obstructed. She was the extreme opposite of diminutive, and moreover, hoop skirts were in vogue at that time.
As she handed Brooks the glass, he handed her his purse, and she put her hand containing it under her apron, and stood there talking to him while he gave the men water. Then he took a drink himself, and then reported he was ready to go. he had not been killed as reported.
The southerners, proceeding along the road, came to where Chet Morgan lived. Chet was a brother to Ike, who stayed the night after Chet's adventure. As Chet saw them coming he started running across the pasture to the woods. They fired a volley at him, and he fell to the ground, rolled over, and kicked once or twice. He heard one of them say, "There's one less Yankee!" As soon as their attention was turned elsewhere, he scrambled behind a bush, the ran to the woods, unhurt.
Ike Morgan, who lived a little further along, heard the shouting, and looking up the road, saw them coming and started for the woods; seeing them lift their guns, he dodged behind a tree as the ounce balls went whistling past him. "I heard some of them come, 'spat, 'spat against the tree I was standing behind", he said, in telling of it, "and it seemed to me they hit that tree mighty hard". As soon as that squad had gone past, Ike made his way into a safe place and at night came to our hose, as before stated.
The next morning, after breakfast, we were sitting on the porch when some one hailed from the edge of the woods across Grand Camp, to the west "Jason Loomis"! My father jumped off the porch and answered him. Ike Morgan said, "It's Chet!"
Martin Burr, who, with two or three others, was just coming through the meadow, called to Chet, "All right", but Chet would not come out of the woods. "Won't you bring me over a piece of bread and butter" he called.
"Oh, come over and get some breakfast", my father replied. He had slept in a Laurel thicket that night, and had had nothing to eat except berries since the morning before. Seeing that he could not be persuaded to come to the house, Mother put up a lunch for him, and the men all decided to go over where he was.
In the meantime the girls Mat and Mollie had been getting permission to go over to Morgan's to hear the news. As they were starting, Ike called to then, "Tell the folks we've got Chet up here in a hollow log---safe and sound" For once Martin Burr did not have much news for us. He had preferred to stay pretty close to home.
An hour or two after the men had gone into the woods with Chet, we at the house saw them running across a road south into a larger tract of timber. It created a ripple of excitement, but, as was afterwards shown, they had feared that they would be easily surrounded where they were, and thought they would go into a larger body of woods, and had run across the road to lessen the chance of being seen.
Before noon Mat and Mollie returned and reported that some of Jenkin's men had stopped at Ike's house and had resented the idea that any one should think they were bushwhackers. "We are regular Southern soldiers" they proudly said, "and are not molesting women and children, nor destroying private property".
Further along toward Buckhannon, the head scouts met Eldridge Burr and his son-in-law on horseback. They wheeled their horses and ran and two or three scouts gave chase. Burr was riding an old horse just off grass and it soon began to puff, so he said to his son-in-law: "You put on full speed straight ahead and I'll turn at the crossroad just ahead, and if they follow me, you can save your horse and yourself."
Burr hadn't gone far on the crossroad when they began to shoot at him, and he stopped and waited for them to come up. After detaining him awhile, they released him. His son-in-law escaped with his horse.
There was a Company of Union soldiers, raw recruits, camped near Buckhannon, in a meadow enclosed by a stake and rider fence and, although taken by surprise, they fired on the scouts who whirled and went back to report to their commander. he formed his men for the attack and, as they charged over the fence into the meadow, the Union soldiers fled for their lives.
The next day, two of them, mere boys, without hats or guns---they hadn't received their uniforms as yet---came past our house and one of them said, "You'd have run too if you had been there: they rode their horses right over that stake and rider fence on the dead run and they were the biggest men I ever saw".
Colonel Jenkins entered Buckhannon and, after his men had secured every surgical instrument they could find in the doctor's office and drug stores, also all the quinine and other drugs that the Southern armies were in need of, they entered stores and threw coffee, sugar, and other foodstuffs out into the streets, and of course, confiscated horses, saddles, shoes, etc. Jenkins then released the citizens he had captured and leaving the wounded Captain there, went on his way, following the turnpike northwest to Weston in Lewis County.
The Captain's knee became so bad that the physicians told him if his leg was not amputated, he would probably lose his life. "But", they said, "What are we to do? You have taken away surgical instruments from us: we have nothing but a hand saw to operate with." He declined to let them amputate without proper instruments. The boy who shot him went down to see him and the Captain told him he was a brave boy. All efforts to save the Captain without the operation failed, and he died.
Later in the fall, the four old men, major Thorpe, Edwin Phillips, Elza Haddock and John Riggleman, who had been captured in Franklin, after being held prisoner at Staunton, about two months, were released and allowed to make their way home. Major Thorpe to find two of his children dead and buried. The next spring the Confederate General Imboden came with his army into the County and remained there for two weeks.
Uncle Smut, having joined a company of home guards, composed of old men, organized to protect their families from the bushwhackers, was drilling one day at Centerville, with his company, when they were suddenly surrounded by Southern soldiers and marched off as prisoners, thus leaving their families worse off than they would have been, had the men not organized. some months before Uncle Smut and the others saw home again. He lived to be about 80 years old and interested his listeners to the last.
Electa married a member of Company E and reared a family of her own. She died recently, at the age of 82 years. During half a century, on each Memorial Day, she carried flowers of her own raising to the old churchyard, and decorated with the choicest of them the cross inscribed, "To Our Unknown Dead." ,,,remembering that "under the sod and the dew" in an unknown somewhere lies the dust of Cudge and Jim
When the War ended in 1860, the French Creek soldiers supposed they would be immediately discharged. ,,,as the end of the War ended their enlistment: but some observing informed the army authorities that the company would make ideal Indian fighters...so...instead of being discharged, they were held and later on sent to Leavenworth, Kansas, where after being fitted out with supplies, they were in the fall of 1865, ordered across the plains. This, although as high a compliment to the company as the United States government could perhaps have given: was very disappointing to the men, who wished to be with their families at home, and who knew they were being wronged. They voted to make as strong a protest as was in their power to do. ..only two men, Chandler Gould, and Lafayette Phillips, holding out against the proposal to mutiny. But orders were orders and protests were in vain and across the plains they went, spending most of the winter in deep snow, being kept busy cutting and hauling wood for fires to keep themselves warm. In the spring or summer of 1866 they were taken home and given an honorable discharge.
The region of which I have been writing is a good point from which to study the peculiarities of the dialects of different localities, as it is starting point for Yankee-Land and Dixie, where Northerners and Southerners have intermingled. The Yankee's "I guess", and the Southerner's, "I reckon" soon became interchangeable, as did the Northerner's "pail" and the Southerner's "bucket" and the Northern "come boss" and the Southern "Sook calf", but the Northerner had to give up his "wagon reach" for the Southerner’s "coupling pole". Neither could he bring any New England "brooks" to West Virginia, they are all "runs" there. Bush "Run", Kettle "Run", Big "Run", Kanawha "Run", Bull "Run", Mudlick "Run", Sand "Run" and so on. In Illinois, they are "branches", in Kansas they are :creeks", while in Minnesota they are "rivers", no matter how small they are .
The wild Vermillion River and the romantic Minnehaha would be called "runs" in West Virginia. The barnyard of New England is usually "cow-pen", in West Virginia and "corral" in the west. The Virginia "gully" becomes a "ravine" in Kansas and Nebraska, or a "draw" farther west.
Some years ago, Uncle Lathrop, when coming home from Washington D.C., on the B& O railroad, chanced to get into a coach occupied by Indians who were returning from Washington to their reservation in Wyoming, and in talking, their chief said, "Our people, our ancestors once lived not far from here---off in there---waving his hand to the South. "I live about 50 miles south of here, near a big sheltering rock, which we call Indian Camp", replied Uncle Lathrop. At that the Indians were all attention, and asked him to describe the rock. "It is about twenty feet high, and forms a large semi-circle, which is sheltered by the overhanging of rock. It makes a natural auditorium in which the whites frequently hold meetings and was known to have formerly a great camping place for the Indians. On its being described to them, the Indians asked, "is there a dripping rock close by"?
About twenty rods north there is a dripping rock--24 feet high, cropping out of the hillside, and dripping all along from the top of the rock to the ground below. Uncle Lathrop told them he got water for his home was from that rock.
Then they asked, "How far is it to clear river water?" The Buckhannon River, a very clear stream, runs within one-half or three-fourths of a mile east of that place.
Their next question was, "How far is it to muddy water?" Grand Camp, which heads just over the ridge west from Indian Camp, is a very clear stream itself, but it flows into French Creek, which is muddy water.
The Indians then said: "There is a round rock with a fist top in the edge of that clear water river that that tips when you walk on it. " Uncle Lathrop declared, "I know the place, I have caught many a trout while standing on that rock." The Indians were now satisfied, "You have been to Camp Rock" they exclaimed. "Our old men would like to stop and see the place where our people once lived, but the young men fear the white people would not like it." The rock that tipped when the Indians walked on it two hundred years ago -- and maybe two thousand years ago has now been broken up and taken to Buckhannon and ground into sand, for use in the glass industry.
I have been unable to learn the name of the tribe to which these Indians belong, but this episode shows what minute and accurate knowledge of a region has been handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation of these Indians.
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids