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History Corner By Pat Ross & Fran Snead


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January 09, 2007
Here are some little known facts concerning Henry County and the Civil War. In addition to information gathered at the Historical Center, information was taken from the August 1961 program of the Henry County Horse Show and from the March 1928 edition of The Danville Register.

'As brave a company of soldiers as ever drew sword in defense of their country went out from Martinsville on June 3, 1861, under the leadership of Peter R. Reamey'. Henry County furnished another unit with Cabell Hairston as Captain.

The uniform of Orren W. Barrow, Captain, Company H of the 24th Virginia Infantry is in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

John R. Brown, Company D of the 24th Virginia Infantry, organized the first bank in Martinsville.

Robert Bolling Dandridge, Company H of the 24th Virginia Infantry, was a descendant of Duncan, King of Scotland, who was killed by MacBeth and immortalized by Shakespeare.

Greenberry Thornton Griggs, Captain, Company F of the 57th Virginia Infantry, was the first superintendent of public schools in Henry County after the War. As a result of his efforts, Martinsville had one of the first high schools in Virginia.

The reins of 'Old Sorrel' were given to John Peter Lavinder, Company F of the 42nd Virginia Infantry, when Stonewall Jackson was brought in mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. Service records from the 42nd Virginia Infantry state that John Peter's brother, Jessie Benjamin Lavinder, was with LTG Thomas J. Jackson when he was brought into camp mortally wounded. Both Lavinders enlisted at Oak Level and both were musicians, Field and Staff. John Peter was transferred as a drummer, Field and Staff, in 1861.

John Hill Matthews of Company G of the 42nd Virginia Infantry served as Henry County Court Clerk for thirty-six and one-half years, in addition to the ten years he served as a deputy in the same office. He was awarded a mail contract in Henry County during the war and was assigned the duty of transferring troops between Martinsville and Danville until the war?s end. His son, Thomas C. Matthews, and his grandson, John Hill Matthews, followed his service in the Henry County Clerk?s office.

Peter R. Reamey, Captain, Physician and Surgeon of Company H of the 24th Virginia Infantry, trained the first company that went from Henry County to join the Confederate Army. At the age of four years he read 'A Life of Franklin' and at the age of five years he was studying English and Latin grammar.

Four brothers from Patrick County enlisted at Spoon Creek in Patrick County. Joseph G. Penn enlisted on May 22, 1861 at the age of 28; his brother, Thomas Green Penn, enlisted on the same date at the age of 22; brother John S. enlisted on the same date at the age of 17. Their brother, William A. Penn, enlisted on May 15, 1861 at the age of 19. John S. Penn was the only brother who died in the war. He died in Lewisburg, West Virginia, and his brother, Thomas Green Penn, was furloughed to accompany his brother?s remains home.

If you are interested in the Civil War, Thomas D. Perry will present an annual workshop on ?Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor? at 11 A.M. at the Historical Center on Saturday, February 3rd. Information will be focused on the various ways of tracing ancestors using published resources available at the Historical Center and also using internet tools from the Library of Virginia.

Mark this date on your calendar, have your questions ready for Tom, and we hope to see you on February 3rd.

Also, remember the Historical Center's expansion fund as you make your budget for 2007. We appreciate your support!

Pat Ross

'The Roots that make Us One are Stronger than the Branches that Divide Us.' Author unknown.








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