The War Between the States

"The Woah"

When War came to Hampshire county, it came in like a lion.

The Western counties of Virginia had long been wanting to break away from the eastern "elite" government in Richmond and form their own government to deal with what remained more-or-less frontier problems. Virginia's Secession from the United States provided the perfect excuse. On June 20, 1862, a collection of men representing themselves as the interim government of West Virginia voted to break off from the seceded Virginia and petition for admission to the Union as a separate State. This petition was rapidly granted, and on 20 June 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.

Hampshire county, not quite Western frontier but not quite Eastern elite either, opted to go with West Virginia officially. Like most of the rest of the state, what individuals did unofficially was quite a different matter.

Hampshire countians served in a number of military units on both sides. Indeed, the inhabitants of the Davis History House, then the Angus MacDonald family of blacksmiths, saw half its sons go North and half go south. The neighbor across the street, son of a German immigrant who had been naturalized a mere 20 years earlier, put on the grey of the 7th Virginia Cavalry, CSA. Others donned the blue of the 11th West Virginia Infantry, USA.

It is documented fact that Romney changed hands 56 times during this conflict. It is locally well-known that many many more turnovers occurred, and a popular local story goes that the Confederates built the cook fire one morning, the Yankees put the bacon on to fry, the Confederates ate it, and the Yankees put the fire out. The military would count this as one turn-over, but the beleaguered population considered it three turnovers.

Hampshire county has what very well may be the oldest Confederate monument in the country. Ordered by the ladies of Romney from a statuary company in Baltimore, the statue was crated and ready to leave the factory before the inscription was carved to reduce the chances of anti-Southern sentiments preventing the shipment.

The Underground Railroad

West Virginia is bordered on the West by Ohio, to the northeast by Pennsylvania and Maryland, all officially free states like West Virginia. Along the Ohio River border of Ohio and West Virginia there are numerous identified stations of the Underground Railroad. Dr. Ancella Bickley, of the WV Archives and History Commission, is spearheading a project to locate suspected Underground Railroad sites in West Virginia on the theory that a man or woman swimming the Ohio River into Ohio probably stepped into the water in West Virginia. If you or your family has any oral history or family tradition about a place on the farm where slaves hid, or where children weren't allowed to venture after dusk, or which were strictly forbidden to children for no apparent reason, please contact Dr. Bickley at the Archives in Charleston WV with the details. Include in your letter the fact that you were alerted to her search via this page.


There is a special board post a query about any West Virginia soldier.

There are many known soldiers of the War, known as recently as the 1950s as "the late unpleasantness".

Note: In the following lists various symbols appear by the name. You may ignore them.

I do not know because I haven't checked it out yet how many if any of these men were not white. If you identify any, please let me know and I'll note them.

These names are newly-found and have not yet been co-mingled with names already listed. They are Confederates, unless otherwise stated.



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