Typed by Frank Manning & Linda Fluharty.
Floods in the Ohio River - The Fearful Ravages of Cholera in Wheeling - General Lafayette's Visit to Wheeling - Daniel Webster's Visit to Wheeling - Jenny Lind's Visit to Wheeling - The Earthquake volunteers - Tri-State Reunion.
FLOODS IN THE OHIO RIVER.
The first flood in the Ohio River, of which we have any account, occurred in the fall of 1768, and is said to have been one of the highest known up to that time, being notable from the fact that it swept away the Indian town known as "Mingo" town, named from the tribe that inhabited it, which was situated a few miles below the present city of Steubenville, Ohio.
In the year 1789 this section was visited by another heavy flood, which was the occasion of the loss of considerable property to the early inhabitants of this region.
In the year 1811, the inhabitants on the banks of the Ohio were subjected to still another flood. The inhabitants of Wheeling were greatly agitated by reason of the rapid rise of the waters after the prevalence of a long and severe storm. The river was filled with all sorts of drift, such as cabins, corn cribs, fences and outhouses of various kinds. The waters bore of their surface thousands of pumpkins which had been washed from the vines, and from the number of this vegetable borne away on the current, it received the name and was always spoken of afterwards as the "Great Pumpkin Flood."
In the year 1832 occurred the great flood of that year, which was highly destructive in its character, causing the loss of much valuable property. The Island opposite Wheeling was submerged to the depth of 10 feet. Daniel Zane, who lived at this time in a brick house on the Island, was apprehensive that the north wall of his house would he battered down by the number of logs and trees which were hurled against it, borne by the irresistible farce of the current. From the frequent concussions, the wall began to weaken and was bulging inwards, but fortunately a large tree lodged at the wall and in a large degree protected it from the threatened demolition. During the night he and his family remained up, but fearful every moment that the house might fall and they be submerged beneath its ruins. But a kind Providence watched over and protected them. In the early morning he took steps toward moving his family to Wheeling. His ferrymen ? Walker Hunter and John Watkins, faithful and devoted friends of Mr. Zane, ? revived to make the effort to convey the family to the other side. They succeeded in getting the horse ferry boat, which was fastened a short distance below the house to a large walnut tree to the front of the dwelling, when the family emerged from a window in the second story to the boat, which rode on a level with it, reaching it in safety.
The crossing of the angry waters to the town was full of danger as the river was full of driftwood. and the fear that something about the boat might break and usher them all to a watery grave made it an extremely perilous undertaking. It required strong arms and brave hearts to accomplish the passage. The boat, as we have said, was a horse ferry operated by horse power. There were two horses. A landing was effected in Monroe (now Twelfth) street, midway between Main and Market streets, near a livery stable kept by a person by the name of Fogle. As they landed, the faithful horses, overcome by exhaustion, fell dead in their tracks.
The next important flood occurred in the year 1852, and was about one foot lower than the flood of 1832. Steamboats crossed over the Island from the Virginia to the Ohio side of the river unobstructed. Much valuable property was wrecked and destroyed, and the losses in Wheeling and its vicinity amounted to many thousands of dollars.
The next flood in the order of time was that of 1860, which attained to a height of 43 feet and seen inches. This was followed by a flood in 1861, which occurred in September of that year, and reached a height of 44 feet. In the spring of the following year. Wheeling was visited with a flood of the depth of 37 feet. In March, 1865, the flood of this year reached the height of 41 feet, and in the winter of the succeeding year it reached within a few inches of 30 feet. In 1878 the water reached to the height of 34 feet nine inches. In June, 1881, it reached a height of 40 feet. In 1883 it rose to the height of 39 feet.
In February, 1884, occurred the highest and most destructive flood of any that had preceded it. Hundreds lost their houses and their household goods and great devastation was wrought all along the banks of the river. At Wheeling it reached to the unprecedented height of 52 feet.
In January of 1891, and in February of the same year the high water marks were, respectively, 33 and 34 feet. In the winter of 1893 it rose to the height of 36 feet, two inches.
THE FEARFUUL RAVAGES OF CHOLERA IN WHEELING.
The year 1833 was one the counterpart of which before or since was never experienced in this city, as some of our old citizens who still I remain can testify. It was in the summer of that year that the Asiatic cholera made its appearance in this community.
Reports of its fearful ravages in the cities and settlements along the Mississippi and lower Ohio Rivers were received almost daily and these in the most instances, far from being exaggerated, fell greatly short of the reality.
Hence in its advance up the valley of the last named river, its approach was regarded with an unspeakable dread, which awakened the anxious fears and terrorized the hearts of the stoutest.
The Angel of Death, whose fearful mission was world-wide, was abroad in the land, bearing pestilence on his wings, scattering broadcast his fearful shafts and poisoning the air with his breath. Who would escape the dire scourge, or who were fated to fall victims before it, were questions which human foresight and wisdom were at a loss to answer. The gloomy pall of death was hanging over the nation and the alarm was universal.
It furnished a fruitful theme for pulpit discourses; it made the subject for press editorials and news items; it was the prominent thing discussed in the family circle; and it was the all absorbing topic of conversation among friends and acquaintances as they met in the streets, and with blanched cheek and bated breath dwelt upon its fearful havoc.
The very atmosphere seemed to be charged with some portentious calamity and business was paralyzed in view of the anticipated result of this mysterious visitant. Numbers of persons betrayed the fear of which they were the victims, both in looks and conversation.
During the plague's greatest prevalence, the stores were generally closed, the different branches of trade and business were suspended, and every one appeared to realize that a more fatal sword than that of Damocles was hanging over their heads which might at any sudden and unexpected moment descend with fatal effect.
Those who could left the city and abandoned their homes, some fleeing to the country and others to small towns and villages in the vicinity. Many of such never found a place of safety, but were attacked by the scourge and found solitary graves among strangers, or in remote resting places.
In the cemetery, coffins by the score strewed the ground waiting for sepulture, while the grave diggers from mere exhaustion were compelled to desist from their labors, and fresh hands had to be called upon to complete the work of burial.
The population of the town was reduced to a minimum, as all who could leave it had embraced the opportunity of doing so, and in the case of some their departure was so hurried that the remains of the food which they had tastily partaken and the dishes used by them were left upon the cumbered tables in the condition they were when the occupants arose from the same.
Men then, as never before, recognized the fact that there was a Providence which ruled over the destinies of His creatures and ordered all things according to the dictates of His will; and at the same time realized in all its force the uncertainty of life. Scoffers ceased to sneer, nervously trembled, as with bated breath they spoke of the death of some intimate friend or familiar acquaintance, which fell like a blow upon their bewildered senses. Lovers of pleasure forgot their fond pursuits and abandoned their usual haunts, and with humbled mien and chastened countenances wended their silent way aimlessly along the deserted streets with other thoughts and feelings than those on pleasure bent.
The mourners went about the streets with bowed heads, sorrow-stricken and woe-begone, as they missed from their accustomed places the forms of loved ones. There was scarcely a house which was unvisited by the fell destroyer and where the habiliments of mourning were not seen.
The physicians of the city were worn out by their constant and unremitting care and attention to the sick and dying, and in some instances, where friends and relatives, captivated by their fears of the dread scourge had fled from the bedsides of their suffering ones, these were the only nurses and attendants. Day and night alike, they were hurried from house to house in answer to the demands for their attention and skill, and to their credit be it recorded as long as tired nature could bear the they never hesitated to respond.
The city authorities were not slow in adopting and recommending all known expedients to meet the plague and prevent its spread. The streets were cleaned, the cellars limed and everything in any manner calculated to foster disease was abated.
They likewise interdicted the sale of vegetables and fruits, such as beans, cabbage, radishes, cucumbers, apples, pears, peaches, etc., and cautioned the people against their use. Coal fires were lighted and constantly kept burning on the corners of the streets, on the supposition that the sulphur would prove an antedote to the malaria in the atmosphere. A spectator standing on the summit of one of the hills overlooking the city witnessed a sad and gloomy picture. He looked down upon lonely and deserted streets in which was discovered no dray or vehicle of any kind, except such as were engaged in the mournful duty of conveying the dead to resting places. The hollow sound produced by the rumbling wheels of these last alone broke the silence of the desolation which otherwise reigned supreme. A dense cloud of smoke hung over the city like a funeral pall, suggestive of the fact that here, indeed, was a city where death reigned and held high carnival.
Thomas J. Lees, a local poet, and who was a witness of the sad and sorrowful scenes of that mournful period, gave expression in verse to the havoc which death made in the community and the desolation experienced in those trying days. From this address, which was written for the Wheeling Times, on the first New Year's Day after the appearance of the cholera in the city, we make the following quotation:
Hence the alarm which had been sounded was for the purpose of securing volunteers to go to Bridgeport and render needed assistance and attention. The call was not unheeded, but met with prompt response. The ferry boat which then plied between the Wheeling shore and the Island was soon crowded with, persons of both sexes, messengers of mercy, who hastened to the relief of the unfortunate denizens of the stricken village. The report was doubtless exaggerated, but whether so or not it is a fact that no town or city in the land suffered as severely in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, as did Bridgeport.
On the site of the present freight depot of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Wheeling there was located at the time of which we write a factory known as the "Point Cotton Factory," the machinery of which had been removed, and the building was used by the city as a hospital for cholera patients and others suffering from contagious diseases. It had been placed under the control and superintendency of Isaac Burt, a most worthy and capable gentleman. The building was well adapted for the purpose for which it was used.
After the cholera had abated, and the inmates had recovered or died, two persons residing in a small tenement situated about 20 yards from the factory building on the bank of the river, about ten o'clock one night there seated at a window which looked out upon the factory, when their attention was arrested by a light in the first story, or machine room, moving towards the spiral staircase, which was erected on the outside of the building for communication with the upper stories.
As the light entered the rotunda, its rays shown through the lower window and in a few minutes it reappeared at the window of the second platform and from thence passed into the second story toward the east end of the building, when to their great astonishment it flashed out, with the power and intensity of a dozen lamps, on the yard beneath, seemingly through a door in the north end of the picking room. The persons who were witnesses of the phenomena were not alarmed, as it was common when there were sick persons in the building to see lights at night borne by the attendants shining through the windows, as they were compelled to pass tip and down the stairs. At the time it was supposed by them that a patient had been brought to the hospital at some time during the afternoon, whose arrival they had not observed. But the next morning, upon inquiry being made of the boy who slept in the building, a son of Mr. Burt's, ?who was about twelve or fifteen years of age, he stated that there were no patients in this building during the night, and that he had retired to bed about eight o’clock in the evening and that he had not been up after retiring, and moreover, that he had no light, nor any means with which to strike one, and that it was impossible for any one to have entered the building without his knowledge, as nothing was missing, and that when lie arose he found all the doors, by which entrance could have been obtained, securely barred and bolted, just as he had left them on the preceding night.
Now as to the correctness of the story as stated by the witnesses, there could be no doubt, as they were persons of recognized standing and integrity in the community. Besides, they could have no possible reason or motive for fabricating such a story, which at the time was accepted as true and caused no small sensation in the community, and was generally and freely discussed.
Though there is a mystery connected with this affair, we are far from believing that there was anything supernatural in it, or that it does not admit of explanation on scientific principles. But this is not the place to enter into such discussion. We simply submit it as an episode of the period of which we write.
GENERAL LAFAYETTE'S VISIT TO WHEELING.
On Tuesday, May 24, 1825, an express arrived from Grave Creek at about half past 11 A. M. announcing to the citizens of Wheeling that the steamboat "Herald," having on board General Lafayette and others, had passed the flats just as he started and that the distinguished Frenchman might be expected in the course of half an hour. Immediately the bells commenced ringing (that being the signal agreed upon to announce the approach of the General and his company) and all was bustle and preparation. The members of the Independent Company of Volunteers, who were to receive him at his landing, hastily moved towards the place of rendezvous, while at intervals the sound of martial music swelled upon the ear. It was a typical day, with a cloudless sky canopying the earth, while the sun clothed hill and valley in the largeness of its glory and beauty, and all nature seemed to be in unison, with the interesting occasion. It was a day fraught with joy and gladness, filling every patriotic heart with emotions of gratitude. Groups of anxious and expectant citizens had collected on the banks of the river and with straining sight were endeavoring tot catch some signs of the near approach of their long expected guest. Not long did they have to wait, for the report of a distant gun and the cloud of blue smoke which lifted above. gave the certain intimation that the nation's guest was near at hand. In a few minutes the boat moved majestically up to the landing. The scene now presented was one of unusual interest. In front of the landing place was drawn up in order the "Independent Blues," under the command of Capt. William McConnell. Arranged upon the right and left in files were a crowd of citizens, awaiting in breathless anxiety the appearance of the hero. In the space between were the committee of arrangements, consisting of the following named individuals: A. Woods, S. Sprigg, G. Dulty, M. W. Chapline, E. B. Swearingen and Z. Jacob, the members of the corporation, and a few of the most prominent citizens. All the beauty, fashion and intellect of Wheeling had assembled to witness the imposing scene.
Upon the arrival of the boat at Beymer's landing, which at that day was the public landing, the General descended from the boat, followed by his son, George Washington Lafayette, M. Le Vasseur, his secretary, and the Governor of Ohio, who had accompanied him from Cincinnati. Upon landing, he was introduced to the authorities by Andrew Stewart, of Pennsylvania, after which he was addressed as follows by judge Alexander Caldwell, of the district court "General Lafayette : - The citizens of Wheeling welcome you to Western Virginia. After the lapse of forty-three years, you return to the Atlantic States, the scene of your former usefulness, the theatre of your former glory. We of the West scarcely permitted ourselves to hope that we should have the happiness of seeing you among us. Your arrival revives in our recollection the debt of gratitude we owe to the patriot who sacrificed so much in the cause of liberty. Although from a political point of view, it is impossible to foresee to the fullest extent the beneficial consequences which may result to mankind from the establishment of this republic, yet as the tree of liberty, which your valor contributed to plant in these states, has taken so firm a root; may we not indulge the hope that it will in future times extend its branches throughout the world and render the object for which you fought universal. Upon the seaboard since your first departure new cities have arisen, and other indications of the nation's march to greatness are visible. But in the West populous towns and new states have sprung into existence. Liberty and the blessings pertaining to the free government have triumphed; civilization has prevailed over savage life, and a new generation of people, taught by their fathers to venerate the name of Lafayette, welcome the arrival of their second parent. General, we receive you with the most lively sensibility and shall part from you with the deepest regret."
Lafayette replied as follows:
"'It affords me great pleasure, after the interesting tour I have made, once more to arrive on the territory of Virginia. It recalls to memory the many interesting occurrences which befell me in this state, and the firm and endearing friendships I formed with so many of her citizens, some of whom have gone down to the tomb, yet enough remain to remind me of former days. During my long stay, the people of the United States have established a government, founded on liberal and just principles, having liberty for its basis, and the happiness of the community for its aim. Such a government deserves to be perpetuated to all future time. May all nations profit by it; may its example have no other limit than the globe itself.
"Upon the seaboard new cities have indeed arisen, in population trebled, and commerce greatly extended. This was to have been expected. But in the West within the same period, cities and populous towns almost without number have been erected upon sites covered with forests and inhabited by beasts of prey. New states have likewise been formed of territories then only known to the native Indian. Such are the effects of a paternal and wise government.
"The affectionate reception with which the citizens of this town favor me, fills me with sensibility, and the manifestations of regard so generally bestowed affect my heart. I beg them to accept of my best wishes for their health and happiness."
At the conclusion of the address he entered a barouche in waiting, which was drawn by a span of dun-colored horses, the establishment being the property of John McLure, Sr., which was generously loaned by him for the occasion. Noah Zane. Esq., took a seat beside him. While this was transpiring, the most profound silence reigned throughout the assembled multitude. Amidst the solemn and imposing stillness of the scene, every heart beat at high speed with expectation, and every countenance told how intense was the feeling that the presence of the nation's benefactor excited. But no sooner was he seated than the air was rent with the acclamations of admiring thousands.
The procession then moved in the following order: The "Independent Blues," citizens on horseback, the barouche with General Lafayette and Mr. Zane, a carriage with George Washington Lafayette and M. Le Vasseur, the Governor of Ohio and suite in two carriages, and a procession of citizens. The procession passed up to Main street, to Mr. Simm's hotel, where accommodations had been provided for the guests. Here great numbers of every age, and condition were presented to the General and his patience and condescension, as well as urbanity, were truly admirable. After a short time, he retired to his chamber, where he engaged in writing letters until about 2 o'clock, when he again presented himself to the people. Numbers pressed round him, and many a hoary veteran who had fought under him, and by his side, the battles of the Revolution, eagerly grasped the hand of his loved, but long-absent commander.
"Wept" o'er his wounds and tales of sorrow done,
shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won."
To these he was particularly kind and attentive. While recounting their common sufferings and triumphs, he frequently grasped their hands with emotion, and expressed the happiness he felt in again meeting his old comrades. At 4 o'clock a company of 30 sat down to dinner prepared by Mr. Simms, at which Col. Moses W. Chapline presided. No toasts had been prepared, but the following sentiments were proposed:
By the president: "The health of our distinguished guest."
By Lafayette: "Wheeling ? The center of communication of the East and West ? may it be more frequent and more beneficial."
At 7 o'clock the General visited his Masonic brethren of Ohio Lodge, No. 1, of which order he was a worthy and honorable member. He was welcomed to the lodge room by the late Morgan Nelson, D. D., grand master, and conducted to the east, where an address of welcome was delivered by the grand master, which was appropriately responded toy by their guest, At the conclusion of these proceedings, the lodge was called from labor to refreshments and the brethren were severally presented to their distinguished guest.
On the same evening a public ball was given at Virginia Hotel, the proprietor of which was Edward Graham, and the ladies were favored with an introduction to the General. He sat upon a dias or raised platform, which had been erected at one end of the dancing hall, from which he witnessed the festivities, from a participation in which he was prevented from actively engaging by reason of his wound and the gout from which he was a great sufferer at times. The display of female beauty and elegance on the occasion was astonishing for a place no larger in size than Wheeling then was. The tickets to the ball were readily disposed of at the price of $10 each and not less than l00 couples were in attendance. The rooms were handsomely decorated and no pains nor expense were spared by Mr. Graham to provide an elegant entertainment, and he merited and received the thanks of the citizens for his successful exertions on that interesting occurrence. The company was gratified by the presence of Andrew Stewart of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and the members of the committee from Washington, Pennsylvania, consisting of judge Baird, T. McGiflin, T. McKennan, T. Morgan and D. Moore, who came here to meet the General and invite him to their respective towns.
On the 25th of May, at 8 o'clock in the morning, the General, accompanied by the Governor of Ohio, and the other gentlemen, who had escorted him hither, proceeded on his way to Washington, Pennsylvania, being escorted out of town by the military, the committee of arrangements and other citizens, the latter of whom continued with the General to the boundary line separating this state from Pennsylvania, when the Washington committee took charge of him and he was conducted on his journey.
A few more than three score years and ten have passed since the happening of the local event herein recorded and the nation's guest of that day has long since departed to that bourne from which no traveler returns and as yet no fitting monument has been erected by his countrymen to commemorate his knightly qualities and chivalrous character, but it is the privilege of the rising generation to recall his noble, disinterestedness and illustrious deeds in the dlark hours of their country's peril, and by their contributions aid in erecting a suitable monument to perpetuate his fame and memory.
A few years since, when in Paris, the writer visited Pere la Chase, a Necropolis where repose so many of France's distinguished dead, expecting to find there the tomb of Lafavette, but turned away disappointed on learning that his remains reposed in another cemetery.
Lafayette died in Paris, May 2o, 1834, at the age of seventy-seven. His funeral was grand and impressive, conducted with the greatest order, the demeanor of the great multitude which attended it being solemn and deeply reverent. At the time of Lafayette's visit to the United States, Charles X was the King of France, ? a person of weak character, jealous disposition and biased judgment. The enthusiasm which characterized the reception of Lafayette in the history of this country aroused the prejudices of this suspicious monarch, and he at once imposed the most severe restrictions on the French press, lest the expressions of respect and gratitude upon the part of the people of the United States toward their visitor should awaken within the breasts of his subjects sympathetic feelings in behalf of republicanism and sow the seeds of unrest and disquietude.
Of the gay crowd of ladies and gentlemen who were in attendance at the ball above referred to, all have passed away.
As a matter of curious interest and an expression of sentiment on the part of our English cousins during the visit of General Lafayette to our country in 1824-25 we copy from an English paper under date of February 24, 1825, the following effusion:
The old world's night he leaves behind,
The morn of the new is before him
And the ocean is calm and the winds are kind,
And the Heavens shine mildly o'er him.
And see, on the shores of Freedom's land,
A nation is fondly straying,
And asking each billow that breaks on the strand,
Why their guest is so long delaying.
He comes! he lands ? and a thousand arms
Are stretched at once to enfold him;
And Liberty clasps him in all her charms,
Rejoicing again to behold him.
Sublime from her throne in the World of the West
She extends him the sceptre he gave her,
While the millions around her cry-'Hail' to their guest
The hero who conquered to rave her.
Oh! who would not envy the godlike pride
And triumph his soul is feeling,
While the sons of those sires who fought by his side
Their gratitude thus are revealing.
Those sires now sleep in the arms of their Fame,
Where soon he shall hasten to find them;
But their spirits still hear and approve the acclaim
Which he yet is enjoying behind them.
But who is he with looks so white
Who comes by so many surrounded?
'Tis the 'Father' who first in America's right
The trumpet of Liberty sounded!
With filial awe the crowds attend,
And weeps while his tears are flowing ?
While he clings round the neck of his ancient friend,
And seems to his bosom growing.
Now Lafayette! the hour is come,
The proudest that ever passed o'er thee,
When thou sharest of true glory a mightier sum
Than all who have gone before thee.
And glowing forever in Fame’s bright sky,
Shall the triumph thou now art reaping
Be the pole-star of hope to the patriot’s eye
When thou art with Washington sleeping.”
“Signed W. B.”
Written at Dunfires.
General Lafayette being expected to arrive here on Tuesday or Wednesday nex, the committee of arrangement have determined upon the following order for his reception. On leaving the steamboat, the General will be received at Beymer's landing where a procession will be formed in the following order:
Wheeling Independent Blues,
Committee of Arrangements,
General Lafayette and a member of the Committee of Arrangements,
Mr, G, W, Lafayette, and Mr, LeVasseur, Citizens.
The procession will move up to the Main street, and down the street to Mr, Simms' hotel, where the General will be received by the Committee of Arrangements. On the evening of the General's arrival a ball will be given at Mr. E. Graham's Tavern. (Signed) ?A. Woods, S. Sprigg, G. Dully, M. W. Chapline, E. B. Swearingen, and Z. Jacob.
Committee of Arrangements,
DANIEL WEBSTER'S VISIT TO WHEELING.
The following account of the visit of Daniel Webster to Wheeling and his speech on the occasion was communicated by an old-time resident of this city.
Up to 1837, and even much later, the old Virginia Hotel, though often changing proprietors, maintained its position as the best house in Wheeling. Although the U. S, Hotel was large and near the river and stage offices, the Virginia had the most boarders and travelers. It occupied the corner where the Grant House afterward stood. but it consisted only of a front the depth of one room below and two chambers above, with two wings running back to Market street, leaving a little square for dirt and boot-blacks, each wing having a two-story porch, affording the only way to the chambers above. It was not much of a hotel.
Daniel Webster, with his wife and daughter, Katie, had commenced their trip westward. They came by the coach to Pittsburg. We had invited him to Wheeling, and a committee went to Pittsburg for him. On the day he was expected a boat was chartered, all the flags of the city were borrowed, and a big crowd of citizens went on to meet him. The boat on which he was we met near sunset above Martinsville, and amid flying flags, rousing cheers and playing bands, the boats were lashed together and went triumphantly down to Wheeling.
Beltzhoover, who then kept the house and kept a good one, had been employed to prepare dinner for the next day at two o'clock at $10 a ticket, and all that the dining room would hold were sold. This, I think, covered the whole expense of the committee, boat and dinner. The dinner as well as wines were good. Our mail came in from the east about half past seven o'clock in the evening, and the New York papers announced the suspension of the banks. In the morning I handed Mr. Webster the papers. He remarked that he knew it must take place and extend over the whole country, but did not expect it so soon. His speech at the dinner was confined to the causes of the suspension and the necessary, effects, ? a long, widespread depression of business, which he traced directly to the action of the government in the tariff of 1833, and the destruction of the United States Bank. I had gone in with Frank Campbell, and had carried paper and pencil with a view of taking some notes and giving a synopsis of the speech as best I could. We sat directly opposite him, and both were spellbound, looking in his face until he closed. I had heard him often before, but was as much awed as when I first heard him in the Cowinshield murder case in 1829. That massive man, who seemed to loom up above all others, who inspired one with his majesty of person, with his voice, with the flash of his deep-set, dark, hazel eye, and with his every movement, yet he was not really a large man, ? in height only about five feet, ten inches. His head looked very large, but there are many as large. He wore a 7? hat. Mr. Clay's looked much smaller, but was of the same size. His shoulders and chest were very large, that was all: he tapered to small hips and very small hands and feet. He weighed very little, if any, over 200 pounds.
The power of his deep sonorous voice, and of the only gestures he ever made, ? bowing his head slightly. and raising his right hand to a level with his shoulder, with all extended fore finger, ? aided in the impression of majesty and power. Possessed of a power, to an extent equalled by no other man I have ever heard or of whom I have ever read, of going directly to the point at which he aimed without an unnecessary word or the use of one for which you could substitute another without weakening the sentence, aided not only in captivating your fancy or giving scope to your imagination, but commanded, nay, grasped your reason and your soul. Cicero has lived and been fondly read for many centuries, but he was like the brook running over its pebbly bed straight to the sea; Webster, like the roar of mighty waters when the tide rushes into the Bay of Fundy with a bead of 20 feet and all living things cry and fly before it, as from the simoon of the great desert. Cicero, with his pure, limited language, with but words enough to express his ideas, was like the man with but One suit of clothes. If his tailor had done his duty he must be well dressed, taste or no taste, while Webster, with the most diffuse of all languages, was given a whole store full of clothes, yet he dressed with the most perfect possible taste, using his own judgment in the selection.
You have all seen portraits of Mr. Webster, but none of them do justice to the power his personal appearance had upon those who saw him for the first time at least. Willis Gaylord Clarke well described it in the Knickerbocker of that day. Walking in company with an English friend they passed Webster. The Englishman turned and repassed him, and, Coming back to his friend with horror written on his countenance, exclaimed, "Who is that man?" "Mr. Webster," was the reply. "What Webster?" "Why Daniel Webster, of Massachusetts, of New England, of America, of the World." "If I had met him in the Alps," said the Englishman, "I should have fled from him as an assassin. He is an assassin of mind. No one ever met him but fell before him."
That speech to that little dining-room full in Wheeling was among his most powerful efforts. It was published everywhere and formed the basis of the financial discussions of 1840, and in his great Andover speech in 1844 he quoted largely from it. He remained in Wheeling over Sunday and attended Rev. Dr. Weed's church on Fourth street, where he said he heard a very good sermon.
It was amusing to see him and his family going to church. He went ahead with that never-to-be-forgotten tramp, placing his foot down as though he intended to stay there. There was no elasticity in his legs, and apparently no bones, heel or instep in his feet. His wife, not much for pretty, came about a rod behind, with much the same tramp. Miss Kate went a rod behind her, with more of good looks and less stiffness, but she was very hard to keep step with, and if the daisies of Marshfield would rise unhurt from under her feet they are hardier than any I have seen. They left for the West, per steamer, on Monday morning and left a dark and heavy pall over the city, which was only raised in 1840 by the songs of “Clear de Kitchen,” and “We’ve nothing else to do.” Yet they tell us these panics are periodical. They have a cause as sure as the world has a God.
Beltzhoover kept his house for a year after and his servants used to say they got all the travelers from the steamers and stages "'cept they had har trunks and shoes." McCrearv then kept it for a year or two, during which time it was extended back to Market street. Then a man came from the East who might have kept a Sunday-school, perhaps, if he had not drank and gambled, but he could not keep a hotel. Then came James Mathews, who changed the name to Monroe House.
JENNY LIND'S VISIT TO WHEELING.
In the year 1851 Jenny Lind visited this city, having been brought here by a committee of gentlemen, consisting of John Bishop, Samuel H. Greer, Jacob S. Rhodes, Andrew J. Pannell and others. P. T. Barnum, the great showman, was her manager, and the committee made arrangements with him to give one concert in the city, for which they agreed to pay him $5,000. The committee had procured the Fourth Street M. E, church as the place for the proposed concert, that being at the time the most commodious audience room in the city four holding the expectant crowd. The fame of this distinguished artiste had preceded her, and the whole community was excited at the prospect of seeing and hearing this nightingale of the North, the melody of whose voice sounded throughout the civilized world.
The choice of seats was put up at public auction, and the first was bid in by am individual of the name of Michael Imhoff, a tailor, for the sum of $250. He chose a seat in the most conspicuous part of the edifice. He procured an imitation of a large eagle, which he caused to he sumptuously covered with gold leaf; this was secured on his back and shoulders, the outstretched wings of the bird hovering with protecting wings over his head, forming a canopy under the overshadowing pinions of which he sheltered his aesthetic cranium. He was exquisite in his dress, which was a la niode; it consisted of a blue cloth swallow-tailed coat, which was adorned with strikingly bright and shiny brass buttons, a white marseilles vest, lavender colored pantaloons and a necktie of the same character. Of course, he attracted the observation of all present, which he seemed to have hugely enjoyed.
The ordinary price of admission tickets was $10 each; some sold higher, as they commanded a premium. The largest number of tickets sold at any one price brought $5, the holders of which were entitled to seats in the galleries of the church. The street in front of the church was crowded with an anxious throng of eager spectators who stood for hours hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous songstress, while the inside of the building was so crowded that standing room was at a premium. The committee realized the handsome sum of several hundred dollars above the sum stipulated to be paid for her appearance. The troupe consisted principally of Jenny Lind, Signor Salvi, Monsieur Beletti and Prof. Jules Benedict. and was attended by a fine orchestra.
THE EARTHQUAKE VOLUNTEERS.
In its day the organization termed the Earthquake Volunteers held a conspicuous position in our local annals and was productive of an amount of fun that would in these changed times be deemed marvelous. Through the greater portion of the first half of this century a law was in existence and rigidly enforced compelling all able-bodied citizens between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five to attend an annual muster lasting one day in each year: long before the law was repealed it became extremely irksome and was regarded as a great bore.
The natural outgrowth of that feeling is exemplified in the picture you are now looking at. ? the muster of the "Earthquake Volunteers," a burlesque on the regular muster.
The reporter looked with new interest at the picture. It represents a motley gathering on the square in front of Strong's Exchange Coffee House on Eleventh street, near the Market House. The aim of the militiamen was to have as many unique and grotesque costumes and transparencies as possible, and their success, judging from the picture, must have been something to be proud of.
Opening an old scrap book the judge showed the following call printed in the Wheeling Times:
The Earthquake Independent Volunteers, and others who wish to join this far famed corps, are requested to meet at the Bachelor's Hall on Thursday Evening next (6th inst.) at early candle light, for the purpose of making arrangements for the approaching celebration of the Battle of Bladensburg, also to transact other business relating to ? £---…….†*??&”~~‡aeæ£¶???‡Æ~J'--.......-.-""t*-&.i..--.--,:aex o iT&skllc--T**TIIA*=1f..--~. II--.--Tw FTtc4 JIM ° t+JJJ$i11? ---D!I1I+£w ---~ D£ce-~t-~l-----: IIJT!Aw C-~ i -- ; 1 ) ( $c. Q Y'LW-;-DLNUTZ!!" W-'~~- ;- L V-oe æce*£YXQJDVM?????.... (as written!)
By Order of the CAPTAIN.
-- ( ' * -'-, Orderly Sergeant.
August 4, 1835.
If the above be taken as a fair sample of the effect of an earthquake among the types, what must it have been among the people? The muster took place on the sixth day of November, 1835, and, although there is no record at hand to show it, the population doubtless turned out en masse to see it.
To the right in the picture is an ambulance labeled: "For the Dead, Wounded, Sick, Lame and Drunk." A long flagstaff fastened at the front of the ambulance bore near its apex a triangular device, the letters on which are indistinct, at the point a live fox calmly surveyed the scene from the vantage ground of a small platform, The ambulance was comfortably full, doubtless the exact condition of its occupants. Other banners were interesting. "Earthquake Volunteers, the Terror of the Whole World; "For our Wives, Our Children, Our Sweethearts, Our Chimney Corners;” "We Have Met the Enemy and We are Theirs." "Soldiers in Peace, Citizens in War," "My Soul's Delight," ? this was alcove and below an assortment of decanters and glasses; "The Bullwark of the Nation," ? a cadaverous longhorned bull; "Rennet of the Revolutionary Heroes;" "Our Sample Will Inspire Our Children." At the head of the column the commanding officer rode an old horse that had been turned out to die, but had had a little life galvanized into him for the occasion. Across his shoulder he bore a big green sword, 20 feet long, inscribed with the legend, “We are Born to Command.” Big wooden swords seemed to be popular, not less than a score being shown. Brooms were the favorite weapons, with pitchforks and hay rakes neck and neck for second position. A detachment was proudly guarding “Long Tom,” a huge section of stove pipe.
The older residents of the city, when in a reminiscent mood, often laugh over the merry days of “auld lang syne,” and none of them produce such merriment as the memory-painted days of the muster of the “Earthquake Volunteers.”
On the 23rd day of September, 1886, a Tri-State Reunion was an event the equal of which, in its way, was never before witnessed in Wheeling. In general and profuse decorations nothing ever approached it, except the celebration of the Centennial, and that did not equal it. The crowd has seldom been surpassed in Wheeling, and this crowd was unfavorably affected by threats of rain, by the rain of the night before, and by the fact that at least two of the railroads instead of cooperating with the committee in securing a large attendance seemed actuated by a desire to prevent the people from coming to the city. It is safe to assert that under circumstances entirely favorable the crowd in town would have been twice as large.
As it was everything passed off smoothly, everybody was pleased, and the success of the Tri-State Reunion of 1886 did much to contribute to the success of the Society of the Army of West Virginia in 1887.
The grand parade and review of the veterans took place as arranged for in the programme. Like everything else about the reunion, it was a big success, and made a very decided impression upon the thousands that lined the streets along the line of march. While the number in line was not as large as many expected to see, the procession was still a notable and interesting one. The heavy rain of the previous night had made the streets, except those paved with the brick blocks, very muddy and slippery and difficult to march over. This fact and the clouds, which threatened rain all the morning, served to keep a large number out of the ranks. Indeed, it was a common remark that the number of old soldiers in the crowds that filled the sidewalks and watched the column swing by almost equaled the number marching in the streets.
At daybreak a national salute of 13 rounds was fired on the State Fair Grounds from the 12-pound Parrot gun brought down from East Liverpool and handled by a squad under the command of Capt. Joshua Curfman. At the same time the clear, ringing notes of the reveille were sounded by Bugler Roller from the top of Wheeling hill. The thundering echoes of the salute had not yet ceased reverberating among the Ohio and West Virginia hills, and the bugle call was yet sounding, when the city was wide awake and the streets alive with the bustle of preparation.
Decorations disturbed by the wind and rain of the night before were arranged and additional flags and mottoes put out. The day broke bright and clear, but soon after the sky was overcast with clouds that betokened rain. Only a few drops fell, however, and the clouds served to shield the marchers from the sun's rays. The day was warm, but not oppressively so.
Col. W. B. Curtis, who had been chosen the chief marshal of the day, had issued his order commanding the troops to be in position to move promptly at nine o'clock, but it was not until after ten o'clock the order to move was passed along the line. The delay was occasioned by the lateness of trains bearing troops that were to take part in the parade. As it was, several companies did not get into the city in time to start with the column, and were obliged to drop in at various points along the route.
With the troops from out of the city came their families and other excursionists, filled with patriotic desires to make the Tri-State Reunion as much of a success as possible. Everybody seemed to take a special interest in the occasion, and it was largely this that made the reunion such an eminent success. The excursionists mingled with the residents, who were out in force and crowded the sidewalks so that locomotion was a rather formidable task unless the muddy streets were resorted to.
From eight to nine o'clock the scene on Market street from Twelfth to the postoffice and in the Public Square were full of interest and life. This was especially the case about the general headquarters, just below the McLure House. There the street was packed full; there was a continual reunion in progress for over two hours, and as each delegation from out of the city arrived the enthusiasm increased until it had infected everyone. The men cheered and sang; the drums rolled and marked the old-time step, and the fife's shrill accompaniment was heard above all the noise. Bands played patriotic airs; comrades who had not seen each other since the war rushed into each other's arms and wept for very joy as they gazed in each other's eyes and clasped hands once again.
Generals and colonels and majors on horses dashed about with martial bearing, - good riders mostly, who had seen service too long to sit uneasily in the saddle on such a playday as this. Horses, too, were full of the spirit of the occasion; they were slick fellows, fattened at the crib without compensatory service, but for all the world war horses; many of the saddle stocks were worn and faded, the burnish of the gilt stars somewhat dimmed, but all in condition for efficient service.
About nine o'clock the various G. A. R. posts, companies and regimental organizations began falling into line and taking up their line of march toward the rendezvous, the Public Square. While this was going on an opportunity was afforded to inspect the crowds on the streets.
There were business men, professional men and laboring men; city, town and country people; soldiers and civilians; young and old of both sexes; children by the thousands, under foot and in every place they ought not to be. Everybody was in good humor, with a kindly heart and good wishes for the old veterans. Tiny flags were worn in button-holes by the hundreds of spectators; the best of order prevailed, and the good humor that was everywhere apparent was marked.
Shortly after ten o'clock the bugle sounded the advance and the column too up the line of march. As the commands were given the old soldiers straightened up and with the old, easy- swinging step moved along, happy that they were once more able to join their comrades and renew the warm friendships formed during the Rebellion. At the head of the column rode Chief of Police Smith and 14 men of the force, two or three of them veterans, all mounted. The police were in full dress and looked and rode well. Colonel Curtis and his staff were next in line; they were all men who had seen service in the saddle, and they looked handsome and brave as their steeds pranced along. The "awkward squad," composed of the Tr-State Reunion committees, were next in the line.
Following were the G.A.R. posts, company and regimental organizations, and old soldiers from almost every state in the Union that contributed soldiers to the Union Army; there were bands and drum corps that blew and rattled out the music in a lively manner,- the Richmond, Ohio, cornet band, the Gas City band of Wellsburg, the Union cornet band of Aetnaville, and the famous Opera House band of this city. Junior Vice Commander B. N. Linsey of the Department of Ohio, G.A.R., from Steubenville, was in command of about 200 men from the various posts of Jefferson county. Capt. D. S. Ball, of Canton, Ohio, commanded a squad of about 40 men, representing 22 Ohio regiments.
The Bridgeport drum corps was at the head of a squad of 25 men from Company F, Fiftieth Ohio, commanded by W. T. Steadman. Brannon Post, No. 221, of Bridgeport, under command of Lewis Skidmore, turned out 60 strong. East Liverpool was well represented. It sent a drum corps of 10 pieces, and General Lyon Post, No. 44, with its handsome little post cannon. There were about 50 men in all, counting the men in charge of the post gun, under the command of Fred G. Coxrall and J. N. Rose. Pierpont Post, of Wellsburg, was in line, handsomely uniformed and very enthusiastic. This post also had its post cannon and pulled it through the streets. The cannon are made of shells from the Gettysburg field, are handsomely plated and are complete in every particular. They were frequently fired at street crossings, wherever the column was halted during the march and their deafening reports always brought forth a cheer and the old cry of "Lie down." The men were very proud of their pets and polished them and cared for them in the tenderest manner.
Squire H. C. Peterman was in command of soldiers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and California, about 75 altogether. There were in round numbers 125 members of the old First West Virginia Cavalry, Third Brigade, Custer's Division, in line, under command of Captain Grubb, an old Ohio veteran. The cavalry was marshaled by Adjutant F. C. Robinson, Capt. W. A. McCoy and Captain Seltzer. Nearly every man wore a red flannel necktie and a conspicuous yellow badge.
Meade Post, No. 6, of Fairmont, Capt. J. W. Shrayer, had a number of that town's leading citizens in line. J. W. Holliday Post, No. 12, of Wheeling, W. J. Robb, commanding, followed Meade with 28 men in line, headed by McGiven's drum corps. The Cameron drum corps was at the head of S. B. Stiger Post, No. 35, of that place; Daniel Franklin commanded the 75 men this post mustered; they carried a beautiful silk banner. E. W. Stephens Post, No. 35, recently organized in South Wheeling, was out with its own drum corps, 28 strong, commanded by Joseph Arkle. Hon. Josiah Sinclare was at the head of 25 men from Hancock Post, No. 48, of Benwood.
Col. Henry B. Hubbard commanded the old First West Virginia Infantry; there were about 80 survivors of the famous old regiment in line, and they marched in fine form. Capt. S. Kraus commanded the 42 men of the Seventh West Virginia Infantry that reported for duty, - they carried their old battle flags and were manifestly proud of them. The Black Eagle drum corps furnished the music for Battery "D: (Carlin's), First West Virginia Light Artillery; there were 53 of the battery in the column, commanded by Lieutenant Harris. Then there were detachments from the posts at Mount Pleasant, Barnesville and other points. Spangler Post, of Bellaire, and Thoburn Post, both of Martin's Ferry, turned out in great shape. Drummond Post, No. 202, of St. Clairsville, was mounted. There were 60 men under command of Col. J. F. Charlesworth and all were mounted on white or gray horses, - this post was one of the features of the parade.
Bringing up the rear were open carriages containing General Duvall, Capt. John Carlin, West Virginia department commander G. A. R.; Captain B. B. Dovener, treasurer; P. B. Dobbins, Mayor Grubb and Dr. T. H. Logan, W. E. Hughes and Howard Hazlett, the executive committee; officers of the Chamber of Commerce; Captain Hart, of Washington, Pennsylvania, hospital steward of the First West Virginia Infantry; Gen. R. E. Fleming, of Fairmount; Maj. T. Hudson McKee, of Washington, D. D.; Maj. Lee Haymond, of Clarksburg; Surgeon Neale, of the Thirty-first Ohio; Sergeant McCauley; D. W. Arend and John Shusler, of Pittsburg; Col. N. Wilkinson; the Women's Relief Corps attached to Spangler Post, No. 133, of Bellaire, and a number of others. McPherson Camp, No. 1, Sons of Veterans, another East Liverpool organization, was also in line.
All along the route of the procession the decorations were profuse and the cheering and enthusiasm incessant. Over 1,000 men were in line. By 12:30 o'clock all were on the Island, the Infantry crossing on the pontoon bridge and the cavalry and carriages over the suspension bridge.
In getting into the Fair Grounds the rush was so great that a blockade at the gates was with difficulty averted several times. The old "vets" had grown hungry on their march and they broke for the dinner tables at once. The Bellaire Relief Corps ladies hastened to the assistance of the 50 or 60 Wheeling ladies who, under the direction of comrades Waterman and Busby, fed at least 5,000 people in three hours.
The dinner was the greatest success of all the reunion successes, and too much praise and credit cannot be given to the able committee which arranged for and served it. Not only were the soldiers fed, but their wives and families were looked after. In fact, anybody that was hungry could be satisfied for the asking.
The bill of fare consisted of baked beans, cold met, pickles, pickles, bread and hard tack, pie and cheese, doughnuts, cakes and other good things, and Joseph Speidel & Company's "Ohio Valley" coffee. Speidel gave the coffee and made it; there were 11 barrels on tap to commence with, but almost as muchmore had to be made to supply the demand. There was enough of everything for everybody and plenty left after all had gone away. The dinner pleased the men immensely and the liberality displayed in the donating of such generous supplies was very gratifying.
In the afternoon the ladies rested from their work by singing a number of war songs that drew people in large numbers and the dining hall was soon packed with a chorus that could be heard for squared when some old favorite like "Marching Through Georgia" was started. About one o'clock Capt. J. N. Rose, commanding the squad in charge of General Lyon Post's gun, from East Liverpool, fired a salute and soon after the speaking began from a stand erected on the track in front of the grandstand. The grandstand was filled to overflowing and the men stood on the track to the number of several thousands.
Comrade Melvin Richards led the singing, the accompaniment being played by Comrade Sheib. The exercises opened with the singing of "America," in which nearly every one of the vast crowd joined. Captain Dovener then introduced Commander Carlin, who offered a fervent and appropriate prayer. Mayor J. W. Grubb was presented by General Duvall, and in a very few words, which were sensible and to the point, extended the freedom of the city and bade all a hearty welcome back to old Camp Carlisle. Dr. T. H. Logan, president of the Chamber of Commerce, was brought forward on behalf of that body and said:
"Veteran Soldiers: It affords me very great pleasure in behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of Wheeling to second the remarks of his honor, the mayor, and extend to you a cordial and heartfelt welcome.
"And to these words of wisdom we feel prompted to add our hearty congratulations over the fact that so many of you have been spared to meet together in this interesting reunion and to recount in the presence of your wives, children and friends the thrilling incidents of your eventful soldier life.
"We further congratulate you that you have been spared to witness with your own eyes the wonderful and splendid results which have been achieved for our beloved country, by the labors and sacrifices rendered by yourselves and comrades.
"We congratulate you that you have exchanged the weapons of war for the arts of peace; and that the one glorious flag of our country is honored, not only by the allegiance, but by the sincere devotion of both the blue and the gray.
"In conclusion permit me to emphasize, if possible, our words of welcome, to extend our cordial greetings, and to wish you long life in which to enjoy the blessings you have earned for yourselves and your children, and to receive the honors with which a grateful country is glad to crown you."
Maj. T. H. McKee responded to these two welcomes in a speech of considerable length, but which was full of interest. It was listened to attentively and frequently the applause was such that the speaker was obliged to stop and pause. His address abounded in political passages, was well delivered and was one of the most appropriate speeches of the occasion. At the conclusion of Major McKee's eloquent speech the crowd sang heartily, "Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom," the old soldiers coming in heartily on the chorus.
Captain Dovener then said he was about to call on a man whose name was familiar to every old soldier of three states and to every old soldier of three states and to every person within sound of his voice, - Mr. A. W. Campbell, former editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer. Mr. Campbell's name was received with cheers. Mr. Campbell was called out from the crowd at the rear of the speaker's stand and escorted to the front by General Duvall, and after being presented by Captain Dovener to the audience proceeded to remark that he was on this occasion what, in military parlance, would be called a conscript. He had therefore no special speech to make. The occasion was a speech of itself. It spoke to us of the momentous days of the past, the stirring days of 1861, when the island whereon they were gathered was a camp where there were sworn in the first soldiers from the immediate border who had answered the call of the president of the United States for volunteers to save the national capital and beat back the wave of secession and rebellion that was threatening to sweep over us.
"The historian of the future will have a subject worthy of his pen when he comes to write of those days on this border. He will dwell on that phase of the early conflict that in the opinion of the speaker reflected the highest glory on the loyal people of West Virginia. West Virginia had not voted for Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election pf 1860. The Republican party in her borders was a mere handful. The people as a whole were opposed to that party. All their partisan prejudices were against its ascendancy in the government. But they did not mistake the nature of the issue that was made in 1861. No appeal to their prejudices could disguise the fact from their patriotic instincts that the issue had ceased to be of a partisan character when the South, of which they were nominally a part, had taken up arms to overthrow the government of their fathers. It was then that they ceased to think of themselves as partisans and gave to the world am exhibition of high and devoted loyalty that has never been surpassed in our history. Who can say what might have been the ultimate result of the great conflict had the people of this border thrown their weight and influence into the opposing scale and made of this island another Vicksburg to thwart the navigation of this river and hinder and delay the operations of the government by land and water? Who can say what difference it might have made had the 33,000 loyal troops of West Virginia been enlisted on the other side? That was a time when it did not need a great deal to turn the scale. It is not too much to say that the troops raised on the borders of the slave states saved the Union. They represented the sentiment within the border states that stayed and beat back the rebellion, that enabled the government to get a foothold in the enemy's country. We never can sufficiently honor the men along this border, who saw their duty clear in the dark days of 1861, and it is indeed well that we have these reunions of the heroic men who answered their country's call in those days. These occasions are schools for young who have since appeared on the stage of action. They here learn the story of the war in an impressive way. They see their fathers and grandfathers gathered here, carrying these flags and wearing the insignia of their service, and they hear from familiar lips personal references to the events that have now become matters of history. When I look upon these veterans and remember that year by year these ranks must grow thinner, I think of the welcome that was given by Daniel Webster to the veterans who fifty years after the battle of Bunker Hill appeared once more on the scene to witness the laying of the corner-stone of its now historic monument. 'Venerable men,' said Webster, 'you have come down to us from another generation. Your deeds made it possible for us to assemble here to-day under the flag of our country and commemorate your sacrifices.' So I say to these border veterans who are gathered here on this island to-day, it was your loyalty, your heroism, your sacrifices that preserved this flag that floats above us and made it still the emblem of an undivided country. We owe it all to you, and therefore we extend to you to-day our heartfelt greetings."
After the singing of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," and the announcement of the meeting there next year of the Society of the Army of West Virginia by Captain Carlin, Captain Carlin, Captain Dovener read a letter from Gen. B. F. Kelley, presenting his excuse for absence and expressing his regret, but urging all the boys to meet in Wheeling next. The latter evoked applause. Professor Crago read a fine poem, "The Last Reunion," in that eloquent manner of which he is master. It aroused enthusiasm.
Col. George B. Caldwell was then introduced by Captain Dovener as "one of the biggest soldiers in the army." Colonel Caldwell was greeted with enthusiastic applause and cheers. He made a model reunion speech, short, boiling over with enthusiasm, full of personal reminiscences, not without graver feeling, and concluding with a peroration which was the most eloquent thing heard from the stand during the afternoon. It was generally voted the best speech made, and this verdict is just.
Hon. Lorenzo Danford, of St. Clairsville, a captain in the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was then presented, and made an eloquent speech, urging upon the old soldiers their duty to do all in their power to secure pensions for comrades who were entitled to them. These sentiments ere heartily indorsed. His eulogy of Lincoln was grand, and aroused the crowd wonderfully. "Marching Through Georgia" was then sung and the crowd dispersed, with three cheers for Mother Holliday, whom Captain Dovener presented as a "mother in Israel, who gave four sons to the Union."
The Society of the First Virginia Volunteer Infantry met in the Opera House in the evening, Gen. I. H. Duvall, president in the chair. S. F. Dean was made temporary secretary. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. It was moved that a vote of thanks be tendered to the Wellsburg Brass Band for their services on this occasion. An executive committee of five was named to have general management of the next reunion, the committee being E. C. Irwin, S. F. Dean, C. J. Rawlings, James A. Henry and William Gilchrist. A committee of three was also appointed to formulate rules for the government of the society. The chair appointed T. H. McKee, J. A. McCauly and Hon. Thayer Melvin. A general advisory committee of four was appointed, consisting of Capt. G. M. White, Hon. Thayer Melvin, Capt. Thomas Reed and W. A. Harp. It was moved by Captain Robb that the next annual reunion be held on the first day of the meeting of the Society of the Army of West Virginia, which was adopted, it was agreed that as many of the members as are in the city attend the funeral of Comrade Emery, of Company A, who died Wednesday (Note: John Emery, 1st WV Inf.). A resolution was adopted that the thanks of this society be tendered to Manager Forse for the use of the Opera House so generously adopted by a standing vote: "Resolved, That the thanks of this society in behalf of all our comrades be tendered to the ladies' committee having in charge the entertainment of the veterans. All feel deeply our indebtedness to them for their valuable aid in making this reunion a success, and to the citizens and soldiers of Wheeling we desire to express our obligations for another evidence of their hospitality furnished this day. To Capt. William Price & Company our warmest thanks are returned for free transit across the river by the pontoon bridge - a big-hearted boatman's characteristic act."
The rest of the evening was spent in holding a regimental camp fire, during which a number of interesting speeches were made, notably by Col. Henry Hubbard, Hon. Thayer Melvin and a number of others. The boys separated feeling that the reunion had been an entire success. Colonel Hubbard's address was in the nature of an historical sketch, and it was so interesting and valuable to the members of the regiment and their friends that it is appended in full:
"Comrades and Fellow Soldiers: I will not say your call has taken me by surprise, for a soldier to be surprised is to be disgraced. So anticipating your call I have prepared from memory a short sketch of the First West Virginia Infantry in the three months' service. In doing this it may be well to review the anomalous condition in which the Union men of the border slave states were placed at the commencement of the war. From the standpoint of state sovereignty they were rebels, and as rebels beyond a doubt would they have been treated and punished by fine, imprisonment, confiscation or death had the South succeeded in disrupting the tie that bound the Union together.
"Serious as the outlook was in this direction, it was backed by distrust on the part of the government at Washington to such an extent that they were refused arms with which to assist that government, or with which to protect themselves. In support of this statement let me state a fact which to many of you may be novel, - that is that the guns with which we were armed were furnished by the governor of Massachusetts at the solicitation of A. W. Campbell, S. H. Woodward, E. M. Norton and perhaps others. Such, then, was the condition of the Union men of the border slave states, - cursed as traitors by their state government, and viewed with suspicion by the government at Washington. Such being the case, it is not to their credit that there were men who could view unappalled the approach of the storm which was to burst in fury on their heads, unsheltered as they were by the general government, and cast out by the state to which they owed allegiance, an allegiance they would have gladly paid in any other cause than the rending of the bonds that bound the states together? The trepidation, frown of uncertainty, which affected the boldest, was thrown to the winds when the government proclaimed she would recognize the Union men of the coder slave states, give them arms and commission the officers. But the First Virginia was formed before this, when all was darkness and uncertainty, when no one knew who was to be depended on save God and the right.
"Previous to this, however, a number of companies have been formed here and known as the Home Guards. Some of these were made up of men beyond the period of active service, who when called on to enter the service of the United States, had to decline, while others were composed of younger men, who volunteered to a man. Well do I remember the casting about for arms for these same Home Guards, and the heterogeneousness of their equipment, - old flint-lock muskets which had seen service in the Revolution, if not in Queen Anne's time, horse pistols, squirrel rifles, and shot guns, many of which were mire to be dreaded at the breech than at the muzzle. It was from the ranks of these Home Guards that a large portion of the regiment was recruited.
"The roll of the captains as they stood on the roster, was: Andrew H. Britt, Company A; Edward W. Stevens, Company B; Isaac N. Fordyce, Company C; Montford S. Stokley, Company D; George C. Trimble, Company E; James Connolly, Company F; James F. Kuhn, Company G; Thos. C. Park, Company H; ?. W. Chapman, Company I; George W. Robinson, Company K. The lack of military knowledge was so great amongst us that it made the selection of a colonel one of the greatest difficulty, as no home resident was known who had ever more than shouldered a broom stick a a militiaman; but it was solved by sending for B. F. Kelley, then of Philadelphia, a man who, in bygone times, had directed the movements of the cornstalk and broomhandle brigades at the militia musters on the commons, which then girted our city.
"How happy the selection, none here need to be told, but history will tell to the generations yet to come, scarcely had the regiment been mustered, when the enemy, who had made a lodgment on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Grafton, sent a detachment to burn the bridges at this end of the road. No sooner was this known than the order to march was given and this at a time when not a single thing saved muskets and ammunition had been issued. Not a tent, blanket, haversack, canteen, or cooking utensil, not even a cartridge box in which to carry their ammunition.
"Taking the cars here, they moved to the burnt bridges, and from there taking the advance, supported by the gallant fellows from Ohio and Indiana, moved toward Grafton, from which point the enemy fell back at their approach to Phillipi. From Grafton a move to Phillipi was made, which, though successful, was at the cost of a serious wound to the Colonel, which was so severe that it retired him from active service for the remainder of his term of enlistment. This being among the first successful moves against the enemy, it received, as it deserved, no little applause. Called by the suffrage of the officers in an election held at Philippi, where five companies of the regiment were encamped at the time, to the honorable position of lieutenant-colonel. I joined them at that place, and will not soon forget my first night in camp.
"Arriving after night I found quarters with Lieutenant McNeely in the tent he had borrowed from the Seventh Indiana, but before the introductions were fairly through a storm of wind and rain came on that gave us work for most of the night to keep our tents from being carried bodily away. The wind was so violent that it blew down large trees in camp, fortunately without injury to any of the command. Along toward morning, while lying down, I heard the orderly that was stationed in front of the tent challenge, and soon heard an inquiry for the Colonel. I at once went to the opening in the tent and inquired what was wanted, and was gravely informed by the party that he had recruited a company which he wished inspected and mustered into service, and that the company was paraded in the rear of the tent.
"Partly realizing the condition of the men from what I had learned from Lieutenant McNeely, I thought it best to humor the man, and so accompanied him. On turning the rear of the tent I found a company of 16 men drawn up in line, each with a flour barrel over his head, and reclining against a stump was a 'paddy' placarded with the intelligence that he had been drowned in the storm. After complimenting the officer on the fine appearance of his men, and assuring him they would be mustered, I advised him to dismiss them to their quarters, when I was politely informed they carried their quarters with them. Here were men who had been for six weeks without shelter, and for three weeks without anyone to look after them, the major being sick, the colonel wounded, the lieutenant-colonel not having reported for duty after being commissioned.
"This you will remember was before years of service had inured them to hardships, and was aggravated by the fact that they were surrounded by troops from Ohio and Indiana who were fairly burdened with the amount of their outfit, many of them having been furnished with overcoats as for a winter campaign. After breakfast I ordered a parade of the battalion for inspection, and I hope you will consider it no disgrace to my manhood, when I tell you tears nearly choked my utterance when I saw the condition they were in. Lying out in the weather for weeks, they were 'soiled doves' and no mistake, besides which many were shoeless, hatless, shirtless, and one poor fellow really breechless, and to hide his nakedness had to wrap himself up in part of an old quilt!
"The night's rain, with their previous exposure, had produced no small degree of mutiny, and from all parts of the camp previous to parade could be heard the cry of 'Camp Carlisle,' 'Camp Carlisle,' for which, sympathizing as I did with them, I could hardly blame them. However, I counseled them to commit no overt act until I could see what could be done by seeing General Morris, at Grafton, when if nothing could be done to better their condition, I would head the column for Camp Carlisle. So dismissing them, I turned my horse's head, and though the rain was pouring down, started for Grafton. In fact, it had been a steady pour all through the parade, but as they had no shelter to go to it mattered little whether they were on parade or not.
"At Grafton I found General Morris, to whom I told my story and demanded some relief for the men. The General, who had very patiently heard my story, quietly remarked when I got through, 'Perhaps you had better see General McClellan," and sent an orderly to show the way.
"Permit me to say right here that General McClellan's sympathy and kindness on that occasion will never be forgotten by me, for on hearing my statement he told me to go to the quartermaster's department and see what I could find that I could make available, and make a requisition for it, and he would approve it and have it started for camp at once. While I was there he telegraphed to Wheeling for tents, which were loaded on the cars that night, and two days after everyman of the five companies was comfortably sheltered, and Camp Carlisle for a time forgotten.
"I have no doubt that many of you who were on the Hunter raid, or similar expeditions, will be disposed to smile at the idea of my being so worked up over the hardships of the men, but you must remember everything is measured by comparison, and this was in the days when McCook's regiment had 52 two-horse teams to move its baggage. The move on Philippi was followed by the move on Laurel Hill, but General McClellan's success at Rich Mountain made it necessary for the Johnnies to light out from there in such a hurry that they had not time to strike a tent, and from that time on tents were at such a discount that I used one as a stable for my horse. A day's march took us from Laurel Hill to Beverly, where we remained until our time expired, and we were ordered home to be mustered out.
"Of the five companies belonging to the regiment it is proper to say they were generally scattered, - some doing duty as bridge guards on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, others at Buchanan. But all collected at Grafton, from where we took the cars for Wheeling and Camp Carlisle."