“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Spencer in Roane County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)


Major Civil War Events Impacting Spencer and Roane County


— The Blue and Gray Trail —

Spencer Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 14, 2008
1. Spencer Marker
April 12, 1861—Confederates attack Fort Sumter.

April 17, 1861—Virginia Secession Ordinance adopted.

June 19, 1861—Statewide vote on ordinance confirmed. Roane County voted in favor of secession, although majority of future West Virginia counties voted against it.

June 11, 1861—Second Wheeling Convention adopted resolution to organize pro-Union Restored Government of Virginia.

June 24, 186l—Large assembly of Roane Countians adopts resolutions of loyalty to the State of Virginia. Federal troops of the 22nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry then occupied Spencer briefly.

August 1861—11-day siege of Spencer. (See sign on right)

December 1861—Col. John C. Rathbone, Union Commander of the 11th (West) Virginia Infantry, established command post in Court House.

May 1862—Major
Col. John C. Rathbone image. Click for full size.
2. Col. John C. Rathbone
Close up of photo reproduced on the marker.
Click or scan to see
this page online
George C. Trimble led four companies from Spencer to Arnoldsburg, where battle with Confederate guerillas resulted in victory. Col. Rathbone, located in Parkersburg, sent an erroneous message to Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley in Weston that guerillas captured Arnoldsburg and Spencer. Kelley led a large force to Spencer and found it secure. Guerilla leaders deceive Rathbone into temporary truce, which was rescinded by Kelley.

September 1862—In September most Union troops in the area were sent to defend against Lee’s attacks in western Virginia, and Confederate guerillas operated more freely. Also, the Spencer Weekly Bulletin reported, “bands of horse thieves, belonging properly to neither side, ravaged the county and killed unoffending citizens.”

June 20, 1863—West Virginia becomes 35th state. Home Guards established.

October 1863—Battle of Bulltown, Braxton County, involves many Roane Countians.

May 9, 1864—Many Roane County soldiers on both sides killed and wounded at Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. Gen. Jenkins killed.

April 9, 1865—Lee
Roane County Courthouse 1859–1887 image. Click for full size.
3. Roane County Courthouse 1859–1887
Close up of photo reproduced on marker
surrenders to Grant at Appomattox.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1983.
Location. 38° 48.1′ N, 81° 21.017′ W. Marker is in Spencer, West Virginia, in Roane County. Marker is on Main Street (U.S. 33), on the left when traveling east. It is at the court house. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spencer WV 25276, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. U. S. Civil War (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Spencer (here, next to this marker); Capture of Spencer (a few steps from this marker); Col. Ruby G. Bradley (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Spencer (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas Asbury Roberts (approx. 8 miles away); Roane County / Jackson County (approx. 9.3 miles away); Pocatalico River (approx. 11.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spencer.
More about this marker. A portrait of Col. John C. Rathbone is reproduced on the marker, as is a map of the Blue and Gray Trail and a line drawing of the Civil War era Roane County Courthouse.
Also see . . .
This marker is on the Left image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 14, 2008
4. This marker is on the Left

1. 6th West Virginia Infantry. From Loyal West Virginia 1861-1865, by Theodore Lang. (Submitted on November 27, 2008.) 

2. 11th West Virginia Infantry Volunteers. John C. Dawson’s web pages. A great resource. (Submitted on December 6, 2008.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 27, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,699 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 27, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   4. submitted on September 13, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Sep. 17, 2021