Chapter LVII - Murder of Captain Stump

History of Hampshire County West Virginia From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present
By Hu Maxwell and H. L. Swisher
Morgantown, West Virginia; A. Brown Boughner Printer; 1897

PART 2 County History
Pages 651-655

Following are the names of the members of Captain George W. Stump's company, B, Eighteenth regiment Virginia cavalry, copied from the official roll of the company, now in possession of Lieutenant Philip H. Snarr of Hardy county: George W. Stump, captain, Hampshire county; William H. Feller, first lieutenant, Hardy county; Robert Oats, second lieutenant, Hardy county; Philip K. Snarr, second lieutenant, Hardy county; Solomon Park, first sergeant, Hampshire county; Samuel W. Feller, second sergeant, Shenandoah county; John Park, third sergeant, Hampshire county; Henry Cobin, fourth sergeant, Hampshire county; Henry G. Houser, fifth sergeant, Hampshire county; Robert J. Damon, first corporal, Hardy county; James W. Tucker, second corporal, Hardy county; John Tharp, third corporal, Hampshire county; John T. Mathias, fourth corporal, Hardy county; David J. Buckley, quarter-master sergeant, Hardy county; William H. Davidson, blacksmith, Hardy county; Park Ashford, farrier, Hampshire county. Privates: John H« Anderson, Shenandoah; Jacob Brock, Hardy; Robert T. Burch, Hardy; Joseph Brill, Hardy; William W. Bean, Hardy; John W. R. Bean, Hardy; John H< Broil, Hardy; Asa C. Bean, Hardy; John T. Brown, Hardy; William F. Bean, Hardy; William W. Bean, jr., Hardy; George W. Bean, Hardy; Bennett Bean, Hardy; Alfred J. Beau, Hardy; John H. Comb, Hampshire; Charles Combs, Hardy; Jehu Combs, Hardy; George W. Combs, Hardy; Jeremiah Dove, Hardy; Abraham Delawder, Hardy; Jacob Delawder, Hardy; John Delawder, Hardy; Samuel Delawder, Hardy; Amos Delawder, Hardy; Joseph H. Earls, Hardy; Cyprianus Fitzwater, Hardy; William H. Fitzwater, Hardy; John P. Gretzman, Hampshire; George Greaves, Augusta; Jeremiah Higgs, Rockingham; Elias Higgs, Rockingham; John Hunsbary, Hardy; William Hatter man, Hardy; George W. Harless, Hardy;. Peter Kohne, Hardy; Philip W. Link, Hardy; John Link, Hardy; Joseph Lowery, Hardy; Joseph Linthicum, Hardy; Ambrose Lind, Hardy; Jacob Mathias, Hardy; Samuel Moyers, Hardy; Isaac Moyers, Hardy; John N. Mathias, Hardy; Samuel May, Hardy; Abraham Moyers, Rockingham; Elijah L. Nazelrod, Hardy; Benjamin Park, Hampshire; Joseph M. Parker, Hardy; James W. Poland, Hampshire; James A. Pepper, Hampshire; Jacob C. Stultz, Hampshire; Cyrus See, Hampshire; George W. Shireman, Hampshire; Allmon Sager, Hampshire; Abner Shireman, Jackson Strawderman, Hampshire; Leonard Strawderman, Hampshire; Jacob Smith, Hampshire; Joseph T. Tucker, Hampshire; James W. Taylor, Hampshire; Philip Whitmer, Hardy; Selestine Whitmer, Hardy; Jacob Walker, Hardy; David Witmer, Hardy; Adam Whitmer, Hardy; Abraham Whitmer, Hardy; Charles Wilson, Hardy.

The Murder of Captain Stump. — No soldier sent from Hampshire into the confederate army was more active than Captain Stump, whose home was on the South branch, a few miles above Romney. He was a man of wealth, and equipped at his own expense the men of his. company, except a portion of their arms. He furnished, the horses. He was wounded in the neck near Winchester late in 1864, and was incapacitated for service for some time. Early in 1865 he again took the field, but was still suffering from his wound. About the first of February he marched with his men to the vicinity of Moorefield, and. thence to Hampshire, and on February 5. early in the morning, he arrived at William Stump's, two miles above Romney. His father lived there, and he stopped to see his people. He rode into a lane, tied his horse and went into the house.

In order to understand the particulars of his death, it is necessary to go back and detail the movements of the federal force which pursued and overtook him. General Custer, afterwards killed by Sitting Bull, was then at Winchester, and about the first of February, 1865, sent spies to discover the whereabouts of Major Henry Gilmor, who was believed to have a small confederate force on the South fork, in Hardy county. The spies made their report, and Custer sent three hundred cavalry, under Major Young, across the mountains into the South branch valley. These men passed up North river in the night. There was a confederate picket in that part of the country under command of a man named Heiskell. One of his men discovered the union cavalry, and it was evident that they were striking for Gilmor or McNeill. This picket asked permission of Heiskell to go to McNeill and Gilmor and inform them of their danger. Heiskell refused to give his consent and ordered the picket not to go, saying that he was not doing picket service for McNeill. This selfishness on his part no doubt cost the life of Captain Stump and caused the capture of Gilmor. Major Young pushed forward with his cavalry and captured Major Gilmor, and then moved down the South branch to Romney. On the way he overtook and captured some of Captain Stump's men, and learned from them that the captain was ahead. These federals wore gray uniforms.

They proceeded to William Stump's, and seeing a horse tied, concluded that Captain Stump was there. The captain had just arrived and was entering the house, having only reached the porch when he observed that strangers were in the vicinity. He walked to the edge of the porch, and seeing several horses tied to the fence and hearing men talking on the other side of the house, he realized that he was in danger of capture, and started toward his horse. His wound prevented him from running and he walked up the yard. By that time the federals had entered the house, and several were in the yard. One of them said to William Stump: "Who is that man and what is he running for?" Mr. Stump made no reply. Captain Stump had by this time reached his horse and had untied him. At this moment he was fired at with a revolver, but was not struck. The shot brought several yankees round the house and they fired as the captain was mounting his horse. The animal was struck and the captain fell heavily on the frozen ground. The federals surrounded him, and as he was trying to rise, one of them shot him in the side. He was overpowered and taken prisoner. They carried him to the lane below the house. He asked permission to see his father, who was sick in the house. His request was denied. They mounted him on a horse and started with him down the road. The manner of his death was learned from those who took part in it. He had gone but a short distance when he became too sick to ride. One of the guards so reported to Major Young, who is said to have replied: "Make him sicker." At any rate, he was murdered on the spot, and the soldiers claimed that they did it in obedience to the orders of Major Young. Captain Stump was shot more than a dozen times, was stripped of his clothes and left dead in the road. His brother removed the body. Not only did the friends of Captain Stump consider that he was murdered, but the union soldiers regarded it as murder and spoke of it as such.

All of Captain Stump's papers fell into the hands of the federals. None of his property in the valley of Virginia was ever recovered by his friends. It was known that he had many horses there, as well as other property; but in the excitement and danger of the time, nothing was saved. Shortly after the war Colonel Young went to the border between Mexico and the United States, and was caught by the Mexicans and hanged.

Taxing Citizens. — An example of how the innocent sometimes suffer for the guilty was seen on December 2, 1864, in the lower part of the South branch valley. When McCausland passed through that country in August, 1864, some of his men burned the residence of Mrs. Huffman. No one ever accused the citizens of the surrounding country of having anything to do with it. Yet, on December 2, 1864, a squad of union soldiers were sent into the valley and levied and forcibly collected a tax from the citizens from Michael Blue's to the mouth of the South branch to reimburse Mrs. Huffman for her loss. It was done in war, and many thing's are tolerated in war which would not be endured in peace; but, nevertheless, a proceeding like that outrages every sentiment of justice.

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