Traditional Stories


CAPTAIN HENRY ALLISON FERRELL

Henry A. Ferrell enlisted in the Confederate army on September 10, 1862, just prior to Lee's first attempt to invade the north. Henry, about twenty-five years old at that time, was born in Monongalia County, Virginia, the son of Lewis L. and Dorcas Powell Ferrell of that county. In a letter to the Grantsville News in 1913, Henry signs it, Commander Company C, Thirty-third Virginia Cavalry. This was probably the designation of the first unit in which he served. Unit designations were frequently changed during the war due to the drastic losses from battles. On July 24, 1863, he was promoted from lieutenant to captain but his letter from that period refers to his unit as the Forty-sixth Battalion Virginia Cavalry. The promotion to captain, occurring barely ten days after Gettysburg, was by election and was apparently not fully confirmed until October 31, 1863. The cavalry units Captain Ferrell served in were part of Jackson's brigade and Early's corps, attached throughout the war to Army Valley Dietrich which was responsible for defending Virginia's military frontier between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains.

Henry had married Jane Trippett of Monongalia County just before the war broke out and left two small children behind him when he enlisted in September 1862. Monongalia County was in Federal control throughout the war, making it very dangerous for southern soldiers to visit their families. The family remembers being told by Henry's wife, Jane, of "friendly" visits by her Republican neighbors inquiring as to when Henry might be home again. It was not uncommon for Confederate soldiers, returning for family visits during the long winters of the war, to be quietly murdered by their vigilant neighbors--"Bushwhacked."

After the war, Captain Ferrell returned to his farm in Monongalia County and apparently lived in peace with his victorious neighbors. In the late 1870s Henry and his younger brother, George, became aware of the newly cleared lands on the Little Kanawha. In 1880, Henry, his brother George, sister Elizabeth, and their families with their parents, Lewis, Sr., and Dorcas, all moved to the Freed, Leading Creek area of Calhoun County. In later years Captain Henry Ferrell taught school in Calhoun, as did his son, Lewis L., II. During the last twenty-five years of his long life Henry shared his home with a Union veteran of the war, Jeremiah Knight, Company E, Second West Virginia Cavalry, who was the father of Henry's daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lewis L. (Ella Knight) Ferrell II. Captain Henry died January 1919 and was buried in the Freed Cemetery on Leading Creek.

Source: Frank Ferrell, Akron, Ohio.


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