The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book by Joseph Barry


Click here to Download The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book by Joseph Barry English having PDF Size 2.6 MB and No of Pages 118.

Harper’s Ferry, including Bolivar, is a town which, before the war of the late rebellion, contained a population of about three thousand—nine-tenths of whom were whites. At the breaking out of hostilities nearly all the inhabitants left their homes—some casting their lots with “the confederacy” and about an equal number with the old government.

The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book by Joseph Barry

Name of Book The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry
Author Joseph Barry
PDF Size 2.6 MB
No of Pages 118
Language  English
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On the restoration of peace, comparatively few of them returned. A great many colored people, however, who came at various times with the armies from southern Virginia, have remained, so that the proportion of the races at the place is materially changed. Also, many soldiers of the national army who married Virginia ladies, during the war, have settled there and, consequently.

The town yet contains a considerable number of inhabitants. The present population may be set down at sixteen hundred whites and seven hundred blacks. The village is situated in Jefferson county, now West Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah, at the base and in the very shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountain.

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The distance from Washington City is fifty-five miles, and from Baltimore eighty-one miles. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad crosses the Potomac, at the place, on a magnificent bridge [Pg 5] and the Winchester and Potomac railroad, now absorbed by the Baltimore and Ohio, has its northern terminus in the town.

The Chesapeake and Ohio canal, also, is in the immediate neighborhood. Within the last twelve years, the place has become a favorite summer resort for the people of Washington City and, from about the first of June to the last of October, it is visited by tourists from every part of the northern states and Europe.

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The scenery around the place is celebrated for its grandeur, and Thomas Jefferson has immortalized it in a fine description composed, it is said, on a remarkable rock that commands a magnificent view of both rivers and their junction. The rock itself is a wonderful freak of Nature and it is regarded by the inhabitants with pride for its being a great natural curiosity.

And with veneration on account of the tradition among them that, seated on it, Jefferson wrote his “Notes on Virginia.” It is, therefore, called “Jefferson’s Rock.” It is composed of several huge masses of stone, piled on one another (although the whole is regarded as one rock) the upper piece resting on a foundation, some years ago, so narrow that it might easily be made to sway back and forth by a child’s hand.

It is supported now, however, by pillars placed under it, by order of one of the old armory superintendents, the original foundation having dwindled to very unsafe dimensions by the action of the weather, and still more, by the devastations of tourists and curiosity-hunters. It is situated on the south side of “Cemetery Hill.” The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book

Behind the Catholic church, the lofty and glittering spire of which can be seen at a great distance, as you approach from the East, adding much beauty to the scene. The first church building there was erected in 1833 by Father Gildea. In 1896 the old edifice was torn down and a beautiful one substituted, under the supervision of the Rev. Laurence Kelley.

There can be no doubt that this church, at least, is “built on a rock,” for there is not soil enough anywhere near it to plant a few flowers around the House of Worship or the parsonage, and the worthy Fathers have been obliged to haul a scanty supply from a considerable distance to nourish two or three rosebushes.

If “The Gates of Hell” try to prevail against this institution they had better assault from above. There will be no chance for attacking the foundation, for it is solid rock, extending, no one knows how far, into the bowels of the earth or through them, perhaps, all the way to the supposed location of those terrible gates themselves. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book

On one side, the Maryland Heights, now so famous in history and, on the other, the Loudoun Heights rise majestically, and imagination might easily picture them as guardian giants defending the portals of the noble Valley of Virginia. The Maryland Heights ascend in successive plateaus to an altitude of thirteen hundred feet above the surrounding country, and two thousand feet above the level of the sea.

The Loudoun Heights are not so lofty, but the ascent to them is difficult and, consequently, as the foot of man seldom treads them, they present the appearance of a more marked primeval wildness than the Maryland mountain— a circumstance which compensates the tourist for their inferiority in height.

Between these two ramparts, in a gorge of savage grandeur, the lordly Potomac takes to his embrace the beautiful Shenandoah—”The Daughter of the Stars,” as the Indians poetically styled this lovely stream. It will be seen, hereafter, however, that this usually serene and amiable damsel, like the daughters of men, is subject to occasional “spells” of perversity, and that. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book

When she does take a tantrum she makes things lively around her. The former river rises in western Virginia and, tumbling from the Alleghany Mountains in an impetuous volume, traverses the northern extremity of the Valley of Virginia, forming the boundary between “The Old Dominion” and the State of Maryland.

At Harper’s Ferry it encounters the Blue Ridge, at right angles, and receives the tributary Shenandoah which, rising in the upper part of the great valley, flows in a northerly course, at the base of the same mountain, and unites its strength with the Potomac to cut a passage to the Ocean.

This is the scenery of which Jefferson said that a sight of it was worth a voyage across the Atlantic, and no person with the least poetry in his soul will consider the praise extravagant. It is, truly, a sublime spectacle and imagination, when allowed to do so, lends its aid to the really wonderful sublimity of the scene. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Download

In his time, one of those exhibitions then rare, but unfortunately too common now—a prize fight—took place at, or very near Harper’s Ferry. The then notorious Yankee Sullivan and an English bruiser named Ben Caunt, met by appointment there in 1846, and treated the people to one of those brutal shows.

Caunt came to Harper’s Ferry several weeks before the fight and there he went through his course of training. He was the favorite with the people, no doubt, because of his nationality—most of the armorers being descended from Birmingham gun-smiths. Sullivan arrived on the night before the encounter and with him came a crowd of shoulder-hitters, pick-pockets, et hoc genus omne.

They took possession of the town and, until the fight was decided, the utmost terror prevailed among the peaceable inhabitants. The battle ground was outside the town limits, east of the Shenandoah, in a meadow near what is called “the old still-house,” on the line of Jefferson and Loudoun counties. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Download

Sullivan won the fight, but the exhibition broke up in a general row. In the summer of 1850, the fearful scourge—the Asiatic cholera again made its appearance at the place and decimated the people. Although it is said that the ravages of this pestilence are mostly confined to people of dissolute habits, it was not so in this case, for it visited the homes of rich and poor indiscriminately, and all classes suffered equally.

It is estimated that over one hundred people at the place perished by this epidemic and, the town having been deserted by all who could leave it, business, too, suffered severely. Major Symington was succeeded, in 1851, by Colonel Benjamin Huger. He was of Huguenot extraction and a native of South Carolina.

His administration was not marked by any very important events. The excitement against the military system that arose in the time of Colonel Craig continued unabated. During Colonel Huger’s superintendency in 1851, a sad accident occurred at Harper’s Ferry. On the opening of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad from Cumberland to Fairmont. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Download

An excursion train containing the principal officers of the road proceeded from Baltimore to what was then the western terminus of that great channel of commerce. A number of Harper’s Ferry people determined to give them a salute, as they passed that station, and, with this purpose, they loaded an old twelve-pounder cannon which was kept at the armory for such occasions.

Through some mismanagement, there was a premature explosion which caused the death of two colored men. One of them, named John Butler, was a veteran of the war of 1812 and had been long a resident of the town. The other, named Scipio, was, too, like Butler, well known and respected at the place.

A third party, a white man, named James O’Laughlin, to whose want of forethought the accident was attributed, lost his life shortly afterwards by being run over by the railway cars, in front of the ticket office. In 1852, on an order from the Secretary of War, the government disposed of a considerable portion of its property at Harper’s Ferry to employes at the armory. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Download

Many of those people desired to purchase houses and the government deemed it politic to encourage them in so doing. The plan insured a number of prudent, sober and steady mechanics for employment in the government works—men who, having a deep interest in the place, would consult the well-being of society there and would feel the more attached to the public service.

Cook and another of Brown’s party, named Albert Hazlett, were arrested in Pennsylvania and brought back to Virginia on requisitions. This circumstance furnished a lesson to the fanatics who unhappily abounded on both sides of Mason and Dixon’s line. To the southern men it ought to have proved that the people of the north did not sympathize to any great extent with the invaders of Virginia.

And to the northern people who expressed themselves as being shocked at the want of clemency exhibited by the state of Virginia on this occasion, it showed that among themselves were men who were ready to deliver over Brown’s party to the tender mercies of the slave holders for the sake of a few hundred dollars offered as a reward for this service. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Free

Cook and another white man, named Edwin Coppic, with two negroes, named Green and Copeland, were executed on the 16th of December, in the same year and Hazlett and Aaron D. Stevens—both white—met the same fate on the 16th of March, 1860. Brown’s trial was, of course, a mere matter of form.

He took no pains to extenuate his guilt and openly avowed that he desired no favors from the state of Virginia. Two young lawyers of Boston, named Hoyt and Sennott, volunteered to defend him and they acquitted themselves creditably. The Honorable Samuel Chilton, of Washington City, was employed for the defense by John A.

Andrew, of Massachusetts, afterwards governor of that state, but, of course nothing could save the prisoner and he was executed as before stated. Brown died with unshaken fortitude and, bitter as the animosity against him was, his courage or rather his stoic indifference elicited the admiration of even his unrelenting enemies. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Free

Indeed it is difficult at the present time to do justice to the character of this remarkable man, but, no doubt, the future historian of this country who will write when the passions that excite us have subsided or, perhaps, are forgotten will class him with the Scotch Covenanters of the 17th century.

It appears to the writer that in many respects John Brown very closely resembled John Balfour, of Burly, whose character is so finely portrayed in Scott’s “Old Mortality.” Albert Hazlett, of Pennsylvania, was a man of about five feet and eleven inches in height, raw-boned and muscular. His hair was red and his eyes were of a muddy brown color and of a very unpleasant expression.

He was very roughly dressed on the day of the raid, and in every sense of the word he looked like an “ugly customer.” He made his escape from Harper’s Ferry on the evening of the 17th, about the time when Brown withdrew his force into the engine house, but he was afterward captured in Pennsylvania and executed with Stevens. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Free

His age was about thirty-three years. John E. Cook was a native of Connecticut and he was a young man of about twenty-eight years—five feet and eight inches in height, though, as he stooped a good deal, he did not appear to be so tall. He had fair hair and bright blue eyes and he was, on the whole, quite an intelligent looking man.

As before stated, he had resided several years at Harper’s Ferry, and he had become acquainted with all the young men of the place, by whom he was regarded as a pleasant companion. He had married a respectable young lady of the place, who knew nothing of his former life or of his plans against the peace of Virginia.

He was highly connected and the governor of Indiana at that time—Willard—was his brother-in-law, being the husband of Cook’s sister. At his trial Daniel Voorhees, afterward so famous as a politician and criminal lawyer, made a speech for the defense which is regarded as one of his best efforts. The Strange Story of Harpers Ferry PDF Book Free

Little is known of Stuart Taylor. Some contend that he was a man of medium size and very dark complexion, while others believe that he was a redhaired young man who was bayoneted by the marines in the engine house and dragged dead from that building at the same time that Brown was removed.

The writer is inclined to the latter opinion and he thinks that those who favor the former confound him with a man named Anderson of whom mention will soon be made at some length. William Lehman, who was killed on a rock in the Potomac while endeavoring to escape, was quite a young man, with jet black hair and a very florid complexion.

The killing of this young man was, under all circumstances of the case, an act of great barbarity, as he had made signs of a desire to surrender. The man who shot him was, as before stated, but a temporary resident of Harper’s Ferry and, in reality, belonged to a neighboring county. Nothing can be gained by giving his name and the concealing of it may save people yet unborn from unmerited shame. In justice it must be said that he now claims that Lehman drew a pistol to shoot him, but we did not hear of this until very lately.