Pvt. William Frederick Kump Bridge
Bridge over North River on County Road 4/1
Proposed by HistoricHampshire.org
Presented to the Legislature by Delegate Ruth Rowan
Dedicated at North River Mills Day, May 7, 2016
William Frederick Kump was born November 16, 1847 and raised in North River Mills the son of the local blacksmith, Frederick Kump, and his wife Juliana Ears [or Juliann Earles]. His father had bought the log house located on land once owned by Rees Pritchard, a Revolutionary War veteran, in 1847, the year of William's birth. As the Civil War was approaching young William grew up in a community with strong southern sentiments. During the Civil War Hampshire County raised thirteen Confederate Companies but only one unit for the Union.
Much against his family's wishes and the sentiments of the local community, William Kump decided to fight for the Union. The tradition says that as he left home and walked up the road his father desperately tried to persuade his son to reconsider. He failed to dissuade the young man. William enlisted at Paw Paw on February 23, 1864 lying about his age.
William Frederick Kump never returned home. Nor did he ever have a chance to see his hopes for a Union victory come to pass. He was killed at the Battle of Halltown on August 24, 1864 five months and one day after he enlisted. His grave site is unknown.
It is fitting that in the County with the first monument raised to the Confederate dead (at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney) there should be a memorial to those few who chose a different path. William Kump and his family represent the terrible cost of war that Hampshire County suffered as families were split asunder, some never to be reunited. Only recently did some of Frederick Kump's descendants learn that there had been another son born to their ancestor's marriage. It is fitting that one of Hampshire County's oldest communities memorializes this noble young soldier who followed his heart and that we remember the terrible cost of war that the community suffered.
Interpretive Sign for Kump Bridge - Click to enlarge
Historical Records of Old Frederick and Hampshire Co., Va.; by Wilmer L. Kerns; Heritage Books, Westminster, Md. revised 2007
United States Army service records attached
Earliest Settlers, Western Frederick, Eastern Hampshire Counties; by Grace Kelso Garner; 1978
Notes on the Kump Property, North River Mills, Hampshire County, W. Va.; by Wilmer L. Kerns; unpublished manuscript dated May 1, 1987
Note: Due to a transcription error in some military records, William is sometimes referred to as William S. Kump rather than William F. Kump.
We are indebted to the research of Stephanie Bailes Brown for bringing William's story to our attention.
We thank Delegate Ruth Rowan and Senator Charles Trump for shepharding this resolution through the West Virginia Legislature.