Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pawpaw Tree Incident

Pawaw Tree Incident marker 2047 near Buskirk, KYPike County, KY
Marker Number: 2047

Marker Text: This episode is result of August 1882 election-day fight. Tolbert, a son of Randolph McCoy, exchanged heated words with Ellison Hatfield, which started a fight. Tolbert, Pharmer and Randolph McCoy Jr. stabbed Ellison to death. Later the three brothers were captured by Hatfield clan, tied to pawpaw trees, and shot in retaliation. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

Location: Near Buskirk, KY State Highway 1056 about 3/4 of a mile from the West Virginia/Kentucky border from Matewan, WV. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 2000.

Pawpaw Tree Incident near Buskirk, Kentucky on Route 1056

Photo taken looking south on KY Route 1056, road north goes to Matewan, WV only about a mile away. Click any photo to enlarge.

  I have spent the last three evenings watching the History Channel series on the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. I have taken many photos related to these two families and will be sharing them in the next couple of weeks. The History Channel program helped to make the stories and lives of these two families more genuine. Regardless of how terrible the events of the feud were to these two families, we are talking about families and their often flawed relationships.

  According to most historical accounts, the significant turning point in the feud occurred during the Election Fight in August 1882. Three of Randolph McCoy’s sons ended up in a violent dispute with two brothers of Devil Anse. During the chaos of the fight one of the McCoy brothers stabbed Ellison Hatfield multiple times and then shot him in the back. Authorities in Kentucky soon apprehended the McCoy’s, but the Hatfield’s interceded, spiriting the men to Hatfield territory in West Virginia.

Hog Trial/Election Fight

Hog Trial marker 2066 in McCarr, Kentucky reverse side Election FightPike County, KY
Marker Number: 2066

Marker Text: In 1873 Randolph McCoy accused Floyd Hatfield of stealing his hog. A trial followed, presided over by Reverend Anderson Hatfield, justice of the peace. To be fair, the jury consisted of six Hatfields and six McCoys. One witness, William Staton, stated he had seen Floyd mark the hog's ear. This resulted in Floyd's acquittal. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

Election Fight marker 2066 in McCarr, KentuckyElection Fight (reverse) - In August 1882 an election was held near Jerry Hatfield's house. A fight broke out between Tolbert McCoy and Elias Hatfield. Tolbert's brothers joined in the fight as did Ellison Hatfield, who was stabbed and shot. He later died in West Virginia. The McCoy brothers were captured and killed in the "pawpaw tree" incident. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

Location:  In McCarr, Kentucky next to McCarr Post Office, KY Route 319 (Toler Road) west of KY Route 1056, the McCoy Cemetery Marker is located on the same lot. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 2001.

Election Fight and Hog Trial marker 2066 in McCarr, KY  After the killing of Asa Harmon McCoy in 1865, an uneasy peace reigned for a few years in the Tug Valley. Then one day in 1873, Randolph McCoy stopped to visit Floyd Hatfield, a cousin of Devil Anse Hatfield. Floyd lived in Stringtown on the Kentucky side of the Tug River. Randolph McCoy happened to see a hog which he said bore the McCoy marking on its ear. McCoy accused Floyd Hatfield of penning up one of his hogs. Floyd Hatfield denied stealing the hog. Randolph went to Preacher Anderson Hatfield (Preacher Anse), a Baptist minister and a justice of the peace. There he brought suit against Floyd for the recovery of his hog.

Site of the Hog Trial marker with state marker in background.

Another Hog Trial marker is at the site.  Text and close up photo is below.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The pig was only in the fight because some of the Hatfields believed that since the pig was on their land, it was theirs. Some of the McCoys objected, saying the "notches" (markings) on the pig's ears were McCoy marks, not Hatfield marks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hatfield-McCoy Feud

Hatfield-McCoy Feud marker in Matewan, West VirginiaMingo County, WV

Marker Text: The death in 1882 of Ellison Hatfield, brother of "Devil Anse", from wounds he received in an election-day fight in Pike County, Kentucky, with three sons of Randolph McCoy, and their subsequent killing by the Hatfields, triggered America's most famous family feud. The feud continued six years across the Tug River and brought death to an untold number of Hatfields, McCoys, and their kinsmen.

Location: WV Route 49 (Railroad Avenue), at junction with Laurel Street in Matewan, WV. Erected by the West Virginia Department of Archives and History in 1970.

  Dutch Hatfield stated that he knew only one thing for sure about the feud: If someone says he knows the true story of the battle, he doesn't. No one knows the truth, he says. Nor will it ever be known. The truth was buried with the people who fought and died in this rugged mountain terrain during the years of the feud. From interview with Dutch Hatfield, Newtown, WV, the grandson of Ellison Hatfield.

  Historical markers related to the Hatfield-McCoy Feud are located in both West Virginia and Kentucky. This marker located in Matewan, WV indicates the feud began with the death of Ellison Hatfield in 1882 following the election-day fight across the Tug River into Kentucky and the subsequent Paw Paw Tree incident in Kentucky. There are markers in Kentucky on both the Election-day fight and Paw Paw Tree incident.

  Yesterday's marker from Kentucky about the Killing of Asa Harmon McCoy indicated the start of the feud with this incident. I don't claim any expertise on the history of the feud. Based on what I have read and the stories I heard while living in this area a few years ago. A person's viewpoint on the feud greatly depends on many things, such as, which side of the river one lives, whose family one identifies, and how much a person's view was influenced by media reports of the time. I am not sure anyone could give an exact point where the feud began.

  Link to a List of Books and Articles on the Feud provided by West Virginia Division of Cultural and History.  Hatfield-McCoy Feud in an article from the Beckley Post-Herald on August 7, 1957.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Site of Killing of Asa Harmon McCoy

Killing Of Asa Harmon McCoy marker in Pike County, KYPike County, KY
Marker Number: 2068

Marker Text: Asa Harmon McCoy, a Union soldier, was shot in 1865 by the Logan Wildcats. The Wildcats were led by Confederate "Devil Anse" Hatfield. Jim Vance was the suspected leader in the murder, although there was never a conviction. This was the first incident between the two families. Presented by Pikeville-Pike County Tourism.

Location: Entrance to Blackberry School, just off KY 1056, near Ransom, KY. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 2001.

Killing Of Asa Harmon McCoy marker near Blackberry School

The bridge on the right of the marker connects, KY Road 1056 and the Blackberry School and Fire Department on this side of the creek.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  I have collected several photos of historical markers related to the Hatfield-McCoy families and the world's famous feud which struck the imaginations of the nation outside of Appalachia. The Hatfield-McCoy feud began in the mountainous Tug River valley. The Tug River separates West Virginia from Kentucky and separated most of the Hatfield and McCoy clans. William Anderson Hatfield was the recognized leader of the Hatfield's and went by the nickname of “Devil Anse”. The leader of the McCoy's was Randolph McCoy, or known as Ole Ran'l.

  Many legends and misconceptions about the Hatfield-McCoy Feud has been told over the years. Most of the misunderstandings about the conflicts between these two families were promoted by the newspapers starting in 1887 when reports on the feud were printed. The newspapers portrayed the Hatfield’s as violent backwoods hillbillies who roamed the mountains stirring up violence. The newspapers sensational coverage fueled a series of stories and legends shaping Americas imagination for these two families. What began as a local story had now become a national legend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

First Battle of Winchester

First Battle of Winchester marker A-7 in Winchester, VAMarker No. A-7
City of Winchester, VA

Marker Text: Here Stonewall Jackson, in the early morning of May 25, 1862, halted his advance guard and observed the union position.

Location: At 2120 Valley Avenue, in the south end of the City of Winchester on U.S. Route 11 next to a parking lot for Burger King. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1928.

First Battle of Winchester  A-7 along Valley Pike in Winchester, VA  Today's earlier marker by the same title is located about two south of this marker on the same road, the old Valley Pike. As Jackson's main body of his army rest at the southern location, an advance guard of troops observed the defensive positions the Union army were establishing in Winchester. The main action of the Battle would occur another half a mile north.

  During the night, the advance of Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's division (four brigades) reached Buffalo Lick. Ewell’s division converged on Winchester from the southeast using the Front Royal Pike. On May 25, Ewell attacked Camp Hill, while the Louisiana Brigade of Jackson’s division outflanked and overran the Union position on Bowers Hill.

First Battle of Winchester

First Battle Of Winchester marker A-11 south of Winchester, VAMarker No. A-11
Frederick County, VA

Marker Text: Here Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and his army, early on the morning of 25 May 1862, defeated Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks' forces during Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign. Banks, outnumbered and outflanked, hastily retreated north through the streets of Winchester. The Confederate pursuit was lethargic, as the men were exhausted from a week of heavy marching, but they captured many Union soldiers and a large quantity of wagons and stores. Because of Jackson's victory here, the Valley was temporarily cleared of Federal armies. President Abraham Lincoln diverted 30,000 men from the Union advance on Richmond to strike at Jackson.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (Valley Pike), 0.1 miles south of Route 37, south of Winchester. Marker grouped with Marker A-8 (Second Battle of Winchester).  Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2006.

  This is a newer marker with an expanded text. Older Marker Text read: “The main body of Stonewall Jackson's army halted here to rest in the early morning of May 25, 1862.”

  Today, 150 years ago, on the early morning of May 25, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson rested the main body of his army here before proceeding into Winchester, VA to attack Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks' army. Jackson's army had just marched from Front Royal, VA during May 24.

  After skirmishing with Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks’s retreating army at Middletown and Newtown (now, Stephens City) on May 24, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson’s division continued north on the Valley Pike (U.S. Route 11) toward Winchester. About two miles further north, Banks was attempting to reorganize his army to defend the town. Stephens City is only about two miles south of this marker.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First Battle of Winchester

First Battle Of Winchester marker A-5 on Handley Boul. Winchester, VAMarker No. A-5
City of Winchester, VA

Marker Text: On May 24, 1862, Confederate forces under Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson pursued Major General Nathaniel Banks' Union Army from Strasburg to Winchester. Banks made a stand south of Winchester, posting one of two infantry brigades on Bower's Hill, now known as Williamsburg Heights, and the other here in the plain below. In attacks the following day, Jackson routed the Union Army and drove it through the town towards Harper's Ferry.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (Valley Avenue) 0.1 miles south of Handley Boulevard. Erected by the Conservation and Historic Resources in 1988.

  After the Battle of Front Royal on May 23, which basically resulted in eliminating the Union's 1st Maryland Infantry under the command of Col. John R. Kenly and the loss of vital communication lines, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks' Union Army based Strasburg, VA west of Front Royal. Banks believing he might be facing a larger Confederate army than actually existed moved his army north to Winchester to take defensive positions. He established his defense here near this marker on May 24.

First Battle Of Winchester  A-5 on Handley Boul. Winchester, VA

Marker is on Handley Boul. and John Handley High School is in the distance in the center of the photo.  This area is where most of fighting happened.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  This movement of both armies sets the stage for the First Battle of Winchester. The Battle to occur on May 25 would be the first of three battles to occur in and near Winchester. Other Civil War battles other than the battles called First, Second and Third Battles of Winchester also occurred near Winchester. The First Battle of Kernstown (south of Winchester) had occurred over a month earlier which began Jackson's Valley Campaign. The next year would be the Second Battle of Kernstown and in 1864 would be the Battle of Cedar Creek, occurring between Winchester and Strasburg. The Shenandoah Valley was an important military objective of both armies through the war. Many communities, like Winchester, found themselves occupied by one army or the other throughout the war.

  As described in the marker text, Bower's Hill is west of this marker behind the John Handley High School. In the above photo the high school can be seen in the distance behind the marker. Most of the features of the battlefield have been lost due to the growth of the City of Winchester since the Civil War and before individuals were working to preserve main features of the battle.

  From these positions, Banks would attempt to keep the Confederate Army under the command of “Stonewall” Jackson from taking control of the Shenandoah Valley.

Engagement of Middletown

Engagement Of Middletown marker A-16 in Middletown, VA Marker No. A-16
Frederick County, VA

Marker Text: Here Stonewall Jackson, on May 24, 1862, attacked Banks, retreating from Strasburg, and forced him to divide his army.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (Main Street/ Valley Pike) north of First Street, Middletown in front of Wayside Inn. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1929.

  When Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks heard of Col. Kenly's defeat and loss of Front Royal, Banks ordered a hasty retreat from Strasburg and began to move his army north on the Valley Pike toward Winchester. Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” J. Jackson divided his army moving his division to the Valley Pike (Route 11) from Front Royal and Gen. Richard S. Ewell moving his division north on the Front Royal Pike (most of the old road is current Route 522). In this way they would be able to approach Winchester from two different vantage points, Jackson on the west side and Ewell on the east.

Engagement Of Middletown  A-16 on U.S. Route 11 Middletown, VA

Marker is in the center of Middletown in front of the Wayside Inn.  Photo looking south on U.S. Route 11.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Jackson's men marched throughout the night and engaged Banks' retreating army protecting the rear of his retreating army here in Middletown on May 24.

  Jackson continued to pursue Banks’ army north on the Valley Pike and attacked again at Newtown (now, Stephens City). The Confederates took many Union prisoners and captured many wagons and stores. Jackson pressed the pursuit for most of the night and allowed his exhausted soldiers, but a few hours sleep before dawn. We will continue this story with other markers leading up to the First Battle of Winchester.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Capture of Front Royal

Capture Of Front Royal marker J-8 in Front Royal, VAMarker No. J-8
Warren County, VA

Marker Text: Stonewall Jackson, moving against Banks, captured this town from a Union force under Colonel Kenly, May 23, 1862.

Location: In front of the Warren County Courthouse on East Main Street. Courthouse is on Route 340 at the corner of South Royal Avenue and East Main Street in the town of Front Royal. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1927.

Capture Of Front Royal - J-8 in front of Warren Co. Courthouse  One hundred and Fifty years ago today Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson's army attacked the Union Army troops under the command of Colonel Kenly, occupying the town of Front Royal, Virginia.

  The Battle of Front Royal was the second major engagement of "Stonewall" Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign. Jackson had deceived Banks into believing his army was still in the main Valley near Harrisonburg. Jackson managed to move his army swiftly north to New Market and crossed the Massanutten Mountains via the New Market Gap to Luray crossing the South Fork of the Shenandoah at the White House Bridge.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Belle Boyd and Jackson

Belle Boyd and Jackson marker JD-1 south of Front Royal, VAMarker No. JD-1
Warren County, VA

Marker Text: Near here Stonewall Jackson was met by the spy, Belle Boyd, and informed of the position of the Union troops at Front Royal, May 23, 1862. Jackson was advancing northward, attempting to get between Banks' army and Winchester.

Location: On U.S. Route 340, south of Front Royal and the entrance to the Skyline Drive, 0.1 miles south of VA Route 619 in front of the entrance of Skyline Caverns. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1929.

Belle Boyd and Jackson marker JD-1 at entrance to Skyline CavernsPhoto taken looking north on U.S. Route 340 toward Front Royal in Front of entrance to Skyline Caverns.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Today's marker like the previous two are related to the Battle of Front Royal which occurred 150 years ago on May 23, 1862. As the marker states the events described happened near here, which is not uncommon for many state historical markers when this marker was erected in 1929. The location of the meeting between Belle Boyd and Stonewall Jackson occurred on Browntown Road, 0.7 miles northeast of this marker. A Civil War Trail marker is located on the site of the meeting, further north on 340 and at the next right turn on Browntown Road, northeast. This marker is one of several comprising a driving tour of the Front Royal Battlefield, photo and text of this marker is below.

Captain Belle Boyd "I thank you, for myself and for the army, for the immense service that you have rendered your country today."

  These words were written by Confederate General Stonewall Jackson to 18 year old Belle Boyd in appreciation of information she brought him, braving enemy fire south of Front Royal. General Stonewall Jackson made Belle Boyd an honorary member of his staff with the rank of captain for the intelligence she provided in the capture of Front Royal, Virginia.

Monday, May 21, 2012

White House

White House marker C-30 in Page County, VAMarker No. C-30
Page County, VA

Marker Text: The old building just north of the road was built for a fort in 1760. It has long been a landmark in this valley.

Location: On the west side of Luray, VA on U.S. Route 211/340 west of the State Route 766 at a pull off in front of a small cemetery. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1927.

White House marker C-30 along U.S. Routes 211/340

Photo taken looking west on Route 211 toward river and bridge.  White House is in the distance to the right of the markers with the white roof.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Today's marker is one of the early Virginia Historical markers originally erected in 1927. The marker text makes mention of an old fort erected around 1760, which still exists. What is not mentioned in the marker but is explained on a nearby Civil War Trails marker. This old fort played a role during Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson's Valley campaign and the White House Bridge, which once stood nearby. The marker originally was located closer to the White House and the river, where you can see the bridge is located in the background. The house is now west of the marker. It was probably moved here when the road was widened or when the new highway bridge was built.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brother against Brother

Brother Against Brother marker J-17 in Front Royal, VAMarker No. J-17
Town of Front Royal

Warren County, VA

Marker Text: The first Maryland Regiment, U.S.A., was a part of the force holding this town when it was attacked by Stonewall Jackson, May 23, 1862. With Jackson was the First Maryland Regiment, C.S.A. The two regiments were arrayed against each other.

Location: On Route 340, North Royal Avenue at intersection with Chester Street, in the town of Front Royal. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1932

Brother Against Brother marker and Stone Monument on Battle of Front RoyalPhoto is looking south on North Royal Avenue with the street on the right. Click any photo to enlarge.

  Throughout the American Civil War one characteristic of the war were divided family loyalties between the North and South. Individuals within families often fought on opposing sides. Today's marker describes these tensions of brother against brother during the Battle of Front Royal on May 23, 1863.

  Prior to the Civil War, Maryland had strong ties with Virginia and the other southern states. Maryland was quite different than many southern states being heavily populated and more industrialized than her southern sisters, most Marylanders still considered themselves "southerners" being south of the famed Mason-Dixon Line. When Virginia seceded from the Union many Marylanders clamored for their state to secede as well. President Abraham Lincoln, recognizing the strategic importance of keeping Maryland in the Union, suspended the writ of habeas corpus and arrested the most ardent secessionists.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lord Fairfax

Lord Fairfax marker Q-4d in Winchester, VAMarker No. Q-4-d
City of Winchester
Frederick County, Virginia

Marker Text: Thomas Fairfax (1693-1781), sixth Baron Fairfax of Cameron, was the proprietor of the Northern Neck Proprietary, a vast landholding that lay between the Rappanannock and Potomac Rivers, and extended to the Blue Ridge. Born in England, he came to Virginia about 1735 and moved to the Shenandoah Valley about 1747. He eventually lived in Greenway Court in present day Clarke County, while managing his landholdings. In 1749, he was named a justice of the peace for Frederick County, and also served as one of the justices of the county court of chancery that met in Winchester, and as a county lieutenant for a number of years. He is buried at Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester.

Location: On U.S. Route 522 (North Frederick Pike), near Autumn View Lane, 0.3 miles east of Route 37. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2003.

Lord Fairfax marker Q-4d on U.S. Route 522 looking north toward exit with Route 37.  Lord Fairfax, whose home was at Greenway Court in the Shenandoah Valley, was the only peer of the realm to take up permanent residence in North America. "The Proprietor," as Fairfax was often known was a generous and beloved patron. He not only provided Thomas Marshall (father of John Marshall) and George Washington with a substantial income, but also offered a model of wisdom and modesty that was exceptionally rare in frontier America. Equally important, by representing his lordship in Fauquier county, Thomas Marshall acquired an immediate social standing that otherwise might have eluded him. As witnessed today throughout Northern Virginia, Lord Fairfax's name is associated with many places, institutions, and structures. I have posted other markers related to him, Greenway Court, Fairfax Line, Old Chapel and White Post.