Local historian highlights Randolph’s role in Gettysburg

ELKINS – A local historian offered insight into Randolph County’s involvement with the Battle of Gettysburg during a special presentation at the historic Darden Mill in Elkins Wednesday.

Don Rice presented the results of his original research on the subject in his presentation, “Randolph Countians at Gettysburg During and After the Battle,” which was sponsored by the Randolph Historical Society.

Rice’s presentation included visual aids, as well as stories of veterans’ reunions of 1913 and 1938 commemorating the most famous of Civil War battles.

Rice noted that Randolph County had both Union and Confederate supporters during the Civil War, though there seemed to be more loyalty to the South. He said the 7th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which fought at Gettysburg, included Randolph soldiers.

“No one has ever written about this before,” said Rice, a retired educator and longtime leader of the Randolph County Historical Society. “It’s compelling to see how involved Randolph County was in the Civil War beyond our local area.”

Troops from Randolph County played critical roles during those three days at Gettysburg in July 1863, less than a month after West Virginia gained statehood, Rice said.

Rice read the names of some of the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, which, he said, included familiar names for this region like Canfield, McCloud, Harding, Darden, DeWitt and Hart.

Darden Mill owner C-HOPE (Citizens for Historical Opportunity, Preservation and Education) has recently completed renovations to the first floor of the building. People used the event as an opportunity to check out the building and the new exhibit by the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, “Discovering the Appalachian Forest,” which is open this fall only for special events.

It will open for regular hours in the spring, when the West Virginia Railroad Museum will join the Appalachian Forest exhibit.

Active since 1924, the RCHS has worked for decades to protect and present the heritage of Randolph County. They own and operate the Randolph County Museum in the historic Blackman-Bosworth store building in Beverly, with a wide collection of Randolph County artifacts.

For more information, send and email to randolphcountyhs@gmail.com or call 304-637-7424.

Contact Chad Clem by email at cclem@theintermountain.com.