by Bob Stealey
This past week, I received an interesting historical item from the Rev. Karen-Fae Rawlings of Franklin. Let me waste no space in getting to it.
More than 100 people enjoyed the third annual Civil War Battle of Riverton in Pendleton County on Sunday, March 7, said Rev. Rawlings.
"On March 2nd, 1862, federal troops clashed with the Dixie Boys in harsh temperatures and snow in the Hinkle Gap of Riverton," she wrote.
This year's event started at 1 p.m. in the Clinton M. Hedrick Community Building, hosted by the Order of the Bonnie Blue Phoebe Warner Chapter, Rev. Rawlings said. There were exhibits of local Civil War artifacts, photos and weaponry for visitors to see.
The program opened with the hostesses explaining the objectives of their organization, and why they are the Phoebe Warner Chapter, Rev. Rawlings said.
"Phoebe Warner was a true Confederate heroine," she wrote. "She carried news of federal forces' plans to capture Confederate troops in Franklin, which included her husband and sons.
"She walked in the middle of a cold, snowy February night from her home in Germany Valley by way of the Dolly Path across North Mountain, fording a swollen Friend's Run several times before securing a horse and riding to Franklin," according to Rawlings.
She also pointed out that Jack Warner, a great-great grandson of Phoebe Warner, eloquently spoke on the Dixie Boys and seven battles that occurred in Pendleton County in which they participated. Included among these were the Battle of Riverton in Hinkle Gap, Battle of Smith Creek, Brushy Run near Onego, Harman Hills, Smith Mountain, Germany Valley and Roots Run. The Dixie Boys were local boys serving as the Confederate home guard, or militia.
"Dewayne Borror, local Civil War historian, spoke on the Battle of Riverton and the local troops that participated there," she said. "He has researched the local soldiers and the Civil War events in Pendleton County. Dewayne is commander of Brig. Gen. James Boggs' Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans, and commands the Dixie Boys."
Also last Sunday, Ray Day spoke on Perry Bland and Thomas Powers, the two Confederate soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Riverton.
"After door prizes were drawn," Rev. Rawlings wrote, "we adjourned to Hinkle Gap for the third annual Re-enactment of the Battle of Riverton.
"Muskets bellowed and the smell of gunpowder filled the air as federal and Confederate troops clashed in Hinkle Gap. After an intense exchange, Confederate forces retreated, leaving two dead.
"The dead were drug from the steep hillside and left on display across the rail fence, while the federals celebrated their victory," she concluded.
The word earlier this week of a plan to develop a destination resort center out of the old Weston State Hospital property -- and to revitalize the central business district -- sounds to me as promising as it does phenomenal.
An option on the old Weston State Hospital, which has stood vacant for the past 10 years, was taken by a corporation that is based in California.
If enough money to finance the endeavor can be obtained, such a massive revitalization project would very likely be the best piece of economic news this region has had the pleasure of hearing in quite some time. I congratulate the efforts of all those who brought it about.