A FAMOUS CITY IN WEST VIRGINIA.
Clarksburg, TheBirthplace of the Great
Chieftan [sic] Stonewall Jackson.
Recollectionsof The Pioneers—Early Struggles
ofthe Soldier Who Knew Noth-
ingof The Word Fear—Deputy Sheriff at Eighteen.
ByF. B. M’Quiston, Staff Correspondent,
inPittsburgh Sunday Dispatch.
A pretty little spot nestlingbetween two Harrison county hills, on Elk creek, is this wee city, thebirthplace of Stonewall Jackson. A fewdays spent up here have proved refreshing. Clarksburg is a little world within itself. It is one of the oldest towns in the country and I am told hasnot grown much in the last three quarters of a century. It has been a city now about one year, andis the county seat. True it is thatwithin a dozen miles of our Allegheny Court House we have about a dozenboroughs, each larger than this West Virginia city, which has about 5,000inhabitants.
Clarksburg is famous on two scores,its age and as the place where General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, known the worldover as “Stonewall” Jackson, was born and raised. It was this little town that sent out in the 60’s that young manwhose fighting ability and generalship won the love of the Confederacy, and thepast two days I have met and talked with gray-haired men who were big boys whenJackson was in short dresses. Youngermen have told me how they went swimming with Tommie [sic] Jackson back in the30’s.
HOUSE WHERE HE WAS BORN.
Stonewall Jackson was born in alittle story and a half brick house in what is now the center of the town. It was an old house when the future greatGeneral was ushered into this troubled world; it got older each day, but it wasnot until 1881 that the crush of business forced the little landmark away. A great four story building owned by DavidDavidson now stands on the site. Lastnight I called on Colonel Luther Haymond, who had nursed StonewallJackson. Mr. Haymond is a man whoseappearance commands admiration. He haslived long and well, not fast. Ninetywinters have left his hair white as snow, but aside from this he does not showage. Mr. Haymond is near six feet tall,straight as an arrow, yet strong and muscular. He can read unusually small print without glasses. Mr. Haymond was a member of the Legislatureand a prominent banker here. Lastevening he sat across the room from me and we carried on a lengthy conversationin an ordinary tone. His sense ofhearing is unusually keen for a man of such years. Said he:
“Yes, I knew Stonewall Jacksonalmost from the day he was born. I knewhim intimately from the first day he came out on the street with his brotherWarren. He was born on June [sic] 21,1824. When he was 4 years old I went toclerking in the store of Ed McCullough, which stood near the Jackson home. I was then about 17 years old.
TOMMY HAD ONLY ONE SHIRT.
“Some days after I went into thestore the little Jackson boys came running in. It was an awfully hot day and the boys horrified Mr. McCullough andseveral customers by bursting in to view in abbreviated costumes. They wore little linen pants held up withstrings, but had no shirts on. Warren,the elder, explained that his mother was washing their shirts and that they hadslipped out of the house while she was busy. Mr. McCullough at once took the boys to the back of the store and cutoff a great piece of shirting and gave it to them so that they might have atleast two shirts apiece. This will showyou how poor the Jacksons were and under how great a handicap the future greatGeneral started on his face with the world.
“Tommy was just 7 years old when hisfather died and the financial troubles which had all along pressed on thefamily were now trebled [sic] when the head of the house had fallen. Cummings Jackson, who lived 19 miles up theriver in Lewis county, came down to see the family and he took a great fancy towee Tommy, the gray-eyed fearless chap who had already started out to lick allthe 10 year old boys on both sides of the creek. He offered to take the bright lad to his home and send him toschool. The young widow saw no betterchance, it would leave one less mouth to feed and the boy would be sure of goodtreatment, so for a time Clarksburg knew the lad no more; that is, he didn’tlive here, but he visited his mother and old friends very frequently. He used to spend much time with Aunt KatyWilliams, a motherly old soul who lived down by the creek. His relative, Mrs. Mary S. Jackson, wholived on the hill, also received many visits from him then and in after life.
STONEWALL AS A CONSTABLE.
“While up in Lewis county TommyJackson’s great love of fighting and for horses was developed. The boy wasn’t more than 16 years old whenhe began riding as a constable in the county. He was soon afterward made deputy sheriff in the county then very wildand lawless, and until he was 18 years old he was the terror of all evildoers. He was the finest horseman Iever saw. I used to admire him as hedashed into town at full speed on his visits to his mother and his young sisterLaura. In 1831 Mrs. Jackson againmarried and I was one of the wedding guests. She married Blake B. Woodson.
“When 19 years of age young Jacksonfirst became prominent. The daringyoung deputy riding night and day was named for the West Point cadetship bySamuel Hayes, then Congressman from this district. I well remember the day he started from here to West Point. He had ridden over from Weston with all hisworldly goods tied up in saddle bags. He got the appointment and an hour later he was riding out of town tocatch the stage on the river below. Hesent his horse back to Weston. Fromthis time out it seemed that the boy belong to the world, not to us. He came back to see us occasionally dressingin his nice blue uniform—this was before the gray was thought of. He graduated with high honor and when thecall of the South went up, he was instructor at the military school over atLexington.
“There was much real mourning herewhen news came that the famous “Stonewall” of Bull Run had been killed by oneof his own men at Chancellorsville. Hewas only 39 years of age when he died.
The antiquity of this town, whichwas laid out before the Revolutionary War, in 1772, is something whichimpresses on upon entering its gates. “Stranger, we don’t pretend to be anything here but a real old-fashionedtown,” said the barber this afternoon as he shaved me very carefully—thatechoes the sentiment of our entire city. From the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station, full three-quarters of amile from the center of the city, it presents a beautiful picture of repose andsimplicity.
IT RESEMBLES FREDERICKTOWN.
An old citizen here tells me thatthis place bears some resemblance to Fredericktown, in Maryland, the famousresidence of Barbara Fritchie, whose little fuss with Stonewall Jackson on oneSeptember day has been so beautifully told by Whittier. This may be so, for even this great poetmust have had such an inspiring picture as this before him when he said thevalley was:
Fairas a garden of the Lord
Tothe eyes of the famished revel horde.
General Clark, the famous Indianfighter, of Kentucky, was the man for whom Clarksburg was named. Two rows of log cabins were built in1772. There is one old cabin standing yetnear the big Tinsman block. It is saidthat it was built in 1774. It looks afew years older than that, however.
Yesterday afternoon I stood on someold pieces of masonry on the playground of the public school. It is all that remains of the firstchartered institution of learning founded west of the mountains, the oldRandolph Academy, a branch of the William and Mary College of Virginia. The academy was incorporated in 18?7 [illegiblecopy]. James Madison was one of thetrustees of the academy. Raising moneyby lottery for a college each year would create quite a comment now, but thiswas what was done 100 years ago for this old academy, whose foundation stonesare yet plain to be seen. TheLegislature of Virginia a[u]theorized Madison and other trustees “to raise asum of money by lottery, not to exceed 1,000 pounds.”
Fifty years later the identity ofthe Randolph Academy was lost in the Northwestern Virginia Academy, which had anice brick building. A great deep-tonedbell was hung in the cupola of the new building, and for the last 80 years thatsame bell has rung out a welcome to the children of Clarksburg. It now hangs in the public schooltower. In 1866 Clarksburg passed out ofthe collegiate and academic world by turning over the Northwestern VirginiaAcademy building to the public school authorities. The Dispatch is indebted to Miss Lillie Hart for thiseducational data.
MOST IMPORTANT R. R. CENTRE.
Clarksburg, though small, is perhapsthe most important railroad and commercial centre of its size in thecountry. This assertion is made withoutfear of contradiction. When theBaltimore and Ohio Railroad put its line through this region in the 50’s noaccount was taken of the town of Clarksburg, which sat some distance from theproposed line. The railroad people nodoubt thought the town would get up early the first morning after a train wassent through and move over to the railroad. The railway people were wrong—the road still runs along the top of thehill by itself, while the town still nestles close to the creek as a hundredyears before. Travelers get to and fromthe station in buses. The West Virginiaand Pittsburgh and the Monongah roads now also run in at the Baltimore and Ohiostation, and the one little station is the busiest place that I have ever seen.
Figures are not at hand as to the businesstransacted at this depot in 1897, but in 1896 $40,000 loaded cars were handledat this depot. Think of it!—a stationat a little town of 5,000 souls taking in at its station $1,000,000 forexpress, freight and tickets. The saleof tickets alone amounted to $105,000. The year 1897 was better than the previous year, but I am told that 1893was the biggest year ever known in railroad business here. One hundred and eleven thousands dollars’worth of tickets were sold by the agent here, and these figures do not give afair idea of the amount of travel out of Clarksburg, as almost all the peoplegoing out use mileage books. There arethree very healthy scalpers’ offices in this little town and the scalpers weardiamonds. It is here that the great veinof Pittsburg [sic] coal reaches its maximum thickness—nine feet. The mines close by have an output of about250,000 tons per annum. These figuresare matters of fact and can be shown anyone who inquires. There seems just a little justice in theclaim that Clarksburg is the most important station on the Baltimore and Ohiobetween Baltimore and Cincinnati.
A CTIY OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE.
Clarksburg keeps in very close touchwith the outside world. The number ofnewspapers coming in daily is astonishing. Every train brings papers from some corner of the outside world. Over their breakfasts they read the eveningpapers of Cincinnati, Baltimore, New York, Pittsburg [sic] and Wheeling. At supper they have all the news of theworld by that day’s morning papers.
For the first time in twenty-twoyears Clarksburg has liquor licenses.
In mayor M. G. Holmes Clarksburg hasa fine magistrate. I had a long talkwith him a few days ago and found that he has several good ideas which, when hegets them running, will no doubt lend to the improvement of the city. I do not think,however, that his improvementwill reach to the street car stage. Itseems funny to see a city with a lively mayor and a town council not having astreet car or any public conveyance save a bus, but this is Clarksburg for you.
In the Clarksburg TELEGRAM, issuedweekly, the people have a good-wide-awake up-to-date paper. State Senator Stuart F Reed is editor. Mr. Reed, though young, is the Republicanleader of this the richest, county in the State. It was he who nominated Elkins for the United States Senate. He was a Regent of the State University ofWest Virginia and is postmaster at Clarksburg.