Camp Walker Article
We are indebted to J. William Hunt for the following article, taken from his column, "Across The Desk," in the Cumberland Evening Times:
A dozen letters and numerous calls in person and by phone followed publication of the Confederate Reunion picture in the Cumberland Sunday Times, June 17. The picture, it will be recalled, showed approximately 30 old Confederate veterans at Camp Walker, Hampshire County, W.Va., in the early years of this century. Only two of the men were identified by the owner of the picture, Earl J. Orndorff, of Keyser. They were W. H. Maloney and Thomas Gulick.
Others identified since publication of the picture are George H. Johnson, William L. Vandegrift, Anthony Jackson Shanholtz, Scott Alkire, Steve Hannas and S. H. Williams.
Arthur Ewers, Romney, points out that Camp Walker is on a hillside facing Little Capon River east of Romney. Not far distant is old Ebenezer Church at which Stonewall Jackson stopped to pray.
Mrs. Annie French, of Augusta, has the Confederate uniform worn by Stephen Hannas, which he donned for the annual reunions at Camp Walker. The uniform is in excellent condition, we are informed and one of the few still in existence in wearable condition.
This writer particularly values a printed booklet from Miss Ada Vandegrift, Cumberland, which contains the constitution of "The Society of Ex-Confederate Soldiers in Hampshire County," as adopted in 1883, and a list of the members enrolled as of September 5, 1883.
The organizational meeting of the Ex-Confederate Soldiers was held July 31, 1883, following a call published in the South Branch Intelligencer. Isaac T. Grady was temporary chairman and S. L. Flournoy secretary of that first meeting in the Court House at Romney.
First officers of the Society were Isaac T. Brady, president; Dr. R. W. Dailey, Alex Monroe and B. J. McDonald, vice presidents; R. J. Pugh, recording secretary; S. L. Flournoy, corresponding secretary; Rev. G. W. Finley, chaplain, and Joseph A. Pancake, treasurer.
Later a corporation was set up with authority to purchase, sell and convey real estate and personal property. Incorporators were W. H. Maloney, V. M. Poling, John S. Pancake, C. S. White, William Montgomery, J. W. Maloney, Brady and Flournoy. On the executive committee for many years were S. H. Williams, John S. Pancake, V. M. Poling, Montgomery, Maloney, and Flournoy.
The booklet containing the constitution roster, minutes and other material concerning the Confederate Veterans organization belonged to William L. Vandegrift (1840-1919), who served under General Imboden and spent several months as a prisoner of war in Camp Chase, Ohio.
Mrs. Howard Compton, Romney, sent identification of two men in the picture, one being her father, A. Jackson Shanholtz, and an uncle, Scott Alkire.
Dalton J. Sheetz, Keyser, recognized his uncle, George Harness Johnson, whose father was Okey Johnson. The Confederate vet was born near Headsville and spent most of his life around Romney.
While many of the Ex-Confederates of the South Branch Valley served with McNeill's Rangers, a large number fought under other Southern leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Imboden, Jones, Jeb Stuart and Pickett.
It is related of "Squire" W. H. Maloney that he was riding close to Union General Benjamin F. Kelly in the flight from Cumberland after McNeill's Rangers had captured Kelly and General George Crook here on the morning of February 22, 1865. By the time the group reached Pattersons Creek in the flight southward, General Kelly turned to Maloney and complained he was sore from riding bareback. "Soldier, can't you get me a saddle, please?" The Hampshire Countian rode off to one of the captured Union horses, took off the saddle and carried it to General Kelly. "Damn it; that's my own good saddle," exclaimed the elated general as Maloney handed it to him. The captive commander was then allowed to ride his own horse and saddle in the dash through the South Branch Valley to Richmond.
From about 1888 to 1918, a period of 30 years, the Confederate reunions at Camp Walker were "big" events. To cope with an ever-increasing commercialization of the event, the organization passed a resolution on August 13, 1889, that "no huckstering shall be allowed on the grounds where the reunion is held." In the treasury on that date was $51.86.
All are now gone - and only memories remain of the once large and active contingent that carried the Stars and Bars in the War Between the States.
The above article was transcribed from a clipping in the library file; the only reference to source was a note: "Romney, West Virginia, Wednesday, September 12, 1956." It is assumed it comes from the Hampshire Review of that date.
Original deed from Henry Haines and James H. Powell & Sarah A. Powell, his wife, to The Society of the Ex-Confederate Soldiers in Hampshire County, deed book 69, page 294.
Camp Walker Deed, Deed Bk. 85, page 138 to Sons and Daughters of the Ex-Confederates (?). The current deed reference may be Deed Book 245 page 632. Map: 05-18 Parcel: 36
For notes on James Alexander Walker who commanded the Stonewall Brigade after Gen. Jackson's death and for whom the reunion park may have been named click here. We thank Tracy D. Bakic for this information.