Thursday, December 14, 2006

Confederate Sympathizers

Some of the grandfathers of Orlando folks who we've identifed among the accused:

Anthony R Blake
B S Blake *
W A Blake
Stewart Blake *

Evan Cooper
Nimrod B Foster
Martin Fox
Walter Fox

Benoni Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell *
Samuel Posey
T S Posey *
E Riffle
John Scott Riffle *
Alexander Skinner *
Draper John Skinner
Granville B Skinner *
* indicates those found guilty

Horrible things happened during the Civil War and they happened all around Clover Fork and Oil Creek. It wasn't all "heros fallen in honorable battle."

A couple of men decapitated a boy & buried him in a shallow grave of rocks.

Confederate officers stopped farmers, even Confederate supporters, as they plowed their fields and took the plowhorses, their means of feeding their families.

John [William Riffle] died in 1861 during the Civil War when Federals captured him in Weston and tied him to the back of their wagon making him walk as they traveled. Eventually they shot and killed him and left him for dead by the side of the road. His body was moved more than once before he was finally at rest.

We are told that the north and south quickly put the war behind and united to move forward, as the sketch to the right illustrates1. The Disenfranchisement of Confederate Sympathizers discussed here is one of the indications that the healing may have been far slower than we would have wished1.


Communities, particularly in Collins Settlement, where southern sentiment ran high were still divided. There was some bitterness between the factions. Although the general population seemed to believe that it was best to forget the war & get down to the business at hand, there were some who would not.

On October 4, 1869, the Lewis County Registration Board gave notice that open sessions would be held concerning charges that certain residents were or had been sympathetic to the Confederate States. All that was required for an individual to be charged was for someone to "think" that the person was a southern sympathizers. It was up to the person charged with the crime to prove his innocence, but the Registration Board could disallow any or all testimony that it wanted. An individual found guilty lost all civil rights & was not considered a citizen of the state. There was no appeal to any court over the decision of the appointed board.

Three members of this board were James McCorley, his son-in-law James Coonrod, & Dr. W. H. Hall. Shortly after the hearings started, Dr. Hall resigned. He declared that his conscience & the oath he had taken would not allow him to be a part of this travesty of justice. When the notices were sent to the individual charged, they were told that they would need two witnesses to testify on their behalf. Once the hearings began, however, they were informed that they had to have four witnesses and no time would be allowed to obtain additional witnesses. The persons charged by this board were:

1. John G Arnold
2. Philip E Barb *
3. Z Curtis
4. Minter B Dennison [b.1828]
5. Joseph Bennet *
6. Joseph D Bennet
6. Marcelles Bennet
7. Anthony R Blake
8. B S Blake *
9. W A Blake
10. Stewart Blake *
11. J A Craig *
12. Salathiel Craig *
13. W W Craig *
14. Robert Crawford *
15. C D Curtis
16. J C Jenkins
17. Evan Cooper *
18. Joseph Hall
19. Nimrod B Foster
20. Martin Fox
21. Walter Fox
22. William F Heetor *
23. James M Heflin *
24. George A Hoover
25. P A Larentz
26. Jonathan Lewis *
27. Henry McCally
28. R B McCutchin *
29. J W D McCutchin
30. Benoni Mitchell
31. Joseph Mitchell *
32. Samuel Posey
33. T S Posey *
34. E Riffle
35. J S Riffle *
36. H H Rittenhouse *
37. John Scott
38. Thomas Scott *
39. John Sims *
40. Alexander Skinner *
41. D J Skinner
42. G B Skinner *
43. Joseph B Wallace *

* indicates those found guilty

The War Between the States was a very personal and passionate war in Confluence (Orlando). So far I’m pretty sure of nine boys and men from Confluence who fought and all supported for the Confederacy:
7, 10. "Anthony Blake and Stewart McClung Blake were mustered into the 125th West Virginia State Militia in 1860. However, they were later found guilty, with other relatives, of being Southern sympathizers and were disenfranchised in 1869, in a Lewis County Court.2 " We don’t know the story behind their Confederate status. Stewart was 25 and Anthony was 30 in 1860.The boys had moved to Confluence with the folks, John Burton and Abigail (Crissmor) Blake when they were infants/toddlers. Anthony Blake married Rebecca Posey and Stewart married Lucinda Posey

19. Nimrod Brandon Foster b.1831, married Mary Elizabeth Dawson in Albemarle County, VA.

40, 41, 42. Alexander Skinner, Draper John Skinner, Granville B. Skinner. Three Skinners are listed in an article about the disenfranchisement of Confederate sympathizers: Alexander, D J and G B Skinner. I believe these were Jackson’s brothers Draper and Granville and their father Alexander. Alexander was 57 in 1860, Draper and Granville were in their late 20s.

8 John Scott Riffle (pictured at right.) J.S. Riffle is also listed in the article about disenfranchised Confederates. I believe this would be John Scott Riffle, even though he would have only been 12 in 1860. He married Granville Skinner’s daughter, Mary Ann.

8 Calvin Skinner was a private in the Confederate Army and deserted in the summer of 1863 according to Ron Skinner. Released and sent north via New Creek, WV 10/12/1863. 4

Confederate Veterans Not Accussed
We know of several veterans who were not mentioned
"Michael Dexter Posey served with Co. G, 62nd Regiment, Virginia Mounted Infantry2." Michael Dexter Posey was about 17 in 1860. He and Jackson McWhorter Skinner were both grandsons of Catherine (Scott) Skinner Posey and served in the same unit.

8 Jackson McWhorter Skinner was also 17 in 1860 and served with Co. G, 62nd Regiment, Virginia Mounted Infantry. He was wounded at New Market. He was one of the disenfranchised, although his name is not listed. (See the Feb 27 entry) Jackson and Patience (Duvall) Skinner are my grandmother’s paternal grandparents. The drawing at the right is Jackson in later years.

1. The sketch was done by Joseph Diss Debarr, an immigrant from the Alsace (France) who settled in Doddridge County.

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