23 January 2009


This is not a picture of me. (I'm not near as dashing.) Every once in a while, I'll get an email asking me something about "your photograph" in the "About Me" section of this page. I always get a chuckle out of that.

This image is actually a photograph of Confederate *Colonel C. H. Withrow who once taught school at Fishburne Military in Waynesboro, Virginia - my hometown. It came into my possession after my father's death, along with a pewter cup with Withrow's name inscribed on it, "from the Class of '91." My father used to tell me that he could remember walking up the road from his home with his grandfather and feeding the old Colonel's horse, "Bird." That was in the late 1930's, early 1940's.

Colonel Withrow, along with his horse Bird, are both long gone. His image here simply pays homage to a time when the old veterans who fought in the War Between the States were still around to impact the lives of those around them; including my father. Dad never forgot the days he and his grandfather fed that old horse. Neither did he forget the stories told him by the old Colonel and the connection that it gave him to his past and the sacrifices that were paid on the very land upon which my father was born and grew up. Those memories were passed on to my father's son. And he won't ever forget either.

*I'm not sure if he was actually a Colonel or if that was just a complimentary title he used, as did many Southern gentleman in those days. I don't see any insignia on his coat, so I'm just not sure. Most of this is oral history though I have been able to verify a good portion of it.


cenantua said...

If C.H. Withrow and Charles H. Withrow are one in the same, then he was never a colonel, but started as a private and ended up as a sergeant in Co. I, 1st Regt. Confederate Engineer Troops. Charles H. Charles H. Withrow was born in Augusta County, Va. and by occupation was a farmer. Withrow enlisted in Richmond on Jan. 22, 1864 at the age of 25 (actually, the "declaration of recruit" shows that he was 25 years and 11 months old when he enlisted. He was also listed as having grey eyes, sandy hair, and 5'10"). He was signed-up for a period of three years by Capt. Samuel T. Bayly. He was promoted to sgt on 4/19/64. In August 1864, he was detailed to some unspecified duty at Blandford (Church???) with the regiment. He actually applied for a commission as a lieutenant, but for some reason he withdrew his request sometime in April 1864.

There is also a Charles N. Withrow who was a 2nd Lt. of artillery and a staff officer, but to what staff he was assigned, I have no idea without looking deeper. It may be that the middle initial was transcribed incorrectly and this might be evidence of his application for a lieutenancy.

Charles H. Withrow was born February 6, 1838 and was the second of six children (he was, by the way, the only son) to William and Mary Ann Jones Withrow. He married Mary W. Shryock (b. 9/29/1850 in Hopkinsville, Ky.) on 2/24/1874 in St. Louis, Mo. They had at least two children; 1) Howard G. Withrow (b. 3/30/1875, Danville, Boyle Co., Ky.) and Percy Withrow (b. 10/15/1877, also in Danville, Ky.). Howard died just short of his first birthday.

As for more info on Charles' parents... Mary Ann was born in Danville, Boyle Co., Ky. on Jan. 11, 1809). She married William Withrow on October 16, 1833. He was the son of Archibald and Mary Horner Withrow. William was born on May 17, 1809 in Mt. Joy Township, Adams (York) Co., Pa. and died Nov. 23, 1893 in Waynesboro.

Jubilo said...

Dear Old Dominion ,
The photgraph does conjur up a distant past doesn't it?
I read that Kevin the Carpetbagger was named as "Scalawag of the Year," by some organization. As a non- Southerner he by definition cannot be a Scalawag ; he is however, a carpetbagger .
David Corbett

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes it does. Whoever gave the award needs a dictionary. Nonetheless, congratulations Kevin!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Robert. I had a feeling you'd come through! I'm not sure about all you've discovered. I do have another good resource that I'll look at this evening and update/comment on it. If he was born in 1838, that would likely have made him too old to be the same one my father talked about. Perhaps the horse outlived the "Colonel" and my Dad's memory was inaccurate . . . ?

Also, some time last year, I was in contact with someone at Fishburne and they believed they did have a teacher by that name in the right time frame. They were to get back to me, but never did. I'll follow up.


cenantua said...


There is also a book about the Oglethorpe Infantry (Co. D, 1st Georgia Infantry) that mentions "Colonel C.H. Withrow."

As many Confederate regiments came into Virginia by rail in 1861, Augusta County was a hub of troop movements. Obviously, Withrow was witness to the movements of many soldiers through the county and, at some point in the years after the war, made conversation with the author (Walter Clark) of the book.

Clark wrote...

"About the middle of June we were off for Staunton by rail, stopping at Waynesboro to partake of a bountiful feast prepared for
us by the ladies and served on rough pine tables in pic-
nic style.

(Col. C.H. Withrow, then a resident of Waynesboro, recalls the incident and says that he was strongly im-pressed with the appetite shown by the boys on that
occasion, that the presence of beauty did not prevent them from doing ample justice to the spread.)

At Staunton the regiment was entertained by a con-
cert, in which "the children of the Blind Asylum sang
patriotic Southern airs."

See pages 13 & 14 of this book...

In "Men of Mark in Virginia" by Lyon G. Tyler. Withrow was not the subject of an entry, but was mentioned under the entry for William Patrick, the son of the Major William Patrick of Waynesboro (1st Va. Cav.) who was killed during the war. William Patrick, Jr. attended a "boy's classical school in Waynesboro, which was taught by the Reverend W.T. Richardson and by C.H. Withrow." William went on to enter "Washington and Lee university... where he graduated, in 1873." Therefore, it looks like Withrow may have been teaching in Waynesboro in the 60s, following the war.

Also, Withrow is mentioned in the newspapers in Augusta County several times in 1870 (see the newspapers in the Valley of the Shadow website), but it appears (from the information about his marriage and the birth of his children) he left not long after that for Kentucky.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

That's very interesting Robert. This sounds more like the one who I'm referring to. I recall something about a "classical school." Do you have a DOB for this gentleman?

By the way, the very old red brick house that still stands on Main St. in downtown Waynesboro was once owned by the Withrow family of the Colonel.

cenantua said...

The Charles H. Withrow that I mention throughout these comments is one in the same. The birthdate was 1838. The same man served in the Confederate Engineers, taught the boys school in Waynesboro in the latter 1860s, was mentioned in the newspapers in 1870, and went to Kentucky sometime after 1870. The question is, when did Charles H. Withrow return to Augusta County? I can imagine that he may have returned and taught at Fishburne, but, as you mention, the dates of your father's memory and the birthdate of Charles H. Withrow are presenting some problems in figuring this out. In my search on the Web, I lose track of Withrow before 1880.

You may want to take a look at the 1900-1930 census records for the area to see what Withrow family may have been in Waynesboro at that time which corresponds with the memories of your father. It also might be worth your time to check out the area cemetery records to see if Withrow was buried here (to give you another benchmark to consider through Withrow's deathdate).

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Robert. I had already thought about checking into the records at Riverview. I'll drop by the Waynesboro Heritage Museum as well and see what help they might be able to offer.

I almost forgot to mention, my Dad always said the horse was stabled at the Colonel's home on Pine Avenue. I did confirm that a house owned by a Withrow still stands on Pine. I was by there just the other day, it just happens to be for sale.

cenantua said...

You know, come to think of it, you may want to take a look in my book Gibraltar just to see if he is listed among the members of the SJ Camp, UCV. I don't have a copy handy with me here, but I think I nailed-down the members of the camp up to to a certain date. There were others who joined after that date, however.

As I mentioned, I only found two children born to Charles and his wife. I wonder if there were more and they may be the "legacy" of the family that ended up in Waynesboro. Perhaps Percy Withrow lived in that house on Pine.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert: I found this email from 2007 from the Treasurer's office in W'boro:

"Mr. Williams,

Mr. Yount was correct in directing you to the Treasurer’s Office for records concerning Riverview Cemetery. I have located an owner who is listed as C. H. Withrow & Sisters purchased on November 1, 1900. They purchased an entire Block which consists of 48 lots. It is Block 38 and there appear to be 22 persons already buried there. Mr. Withrow is listed as “Prof” which I am assuming meant that he was a Professor? It also appears that the deed to these properties was sent to 946 20th North; Seattle, Wash.

I hope that this has helped you and I do hope that this is the correct information that you were looking for. Please let me know if I can help you again in any way.


Sandee Dixon, Treasurer

City of Waynesboro"

cenantua said...

That's a good piece of info from which to work.

If you go out to the cemetery and start looking around, the name Withrow may be "drowned a bit" within the plot, so consider the married names of his sisters as well; those being Caldwell (Cumora married William M. Caldwell), Swoope (Helena married Bolling W. Swoope), and Chase (Caroline married H. Larson Chase).

Another sister, Evelyn, married Matthew H. Houston, but they spent a great deal of time in Japan and China. I don't know if they were missionaries or not, but it sounds like they may have been. They were married in Yokohama, Japan in 1871; had two children in Hangechow, China in 1872 and 1874; were back in Waynesboro for the birth of their third child (1876), but were in Saylorsville, Ky. for the birth of their fourth child in 1879; and then back in China again for the birth of their last child in 1881. Evelyn Withrow Houston died in Hangechow in 1882. It may be that this sister isn't among those in the family plot at Riverview.

I can't find anything about another sister, Louisa, beyond the date of her birth.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks again Robert, this is most interesting. I assume you're getting all this from one of the online genealogy services?

cenantua said...

No, I go crazy with rapid Google searches, consider all that I can find, and assemble it all in the end. For Withrow's actual service record info, however, I did tap into the subscription that I have with Footnote.com.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Aha, Google makes us all look very smart - even me. :)

Godspeed in your doctorate in this related area.

cenantua said...

Ah yes, but first things first. Before I jump to another degree this time, I need to get a job after graduation, and that, considering the economy, is the greater problem. Ugghhh!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

As you move into the upper echelons of academia, keep a sharp eye out for those pinko commie-libs.

cenantua said...

Will do :-)

Mary Highsmith said...

Charles H. Withrow was my great great uncle. His sister, Caroline Elizabeth Withrow, was my great grandmother. My father, Withrow Chase MacPherson, was born and raised in the old Withrow home on Main Street, which was torn down in 1955. I had read elsewhere your account of helping your grandfather feed the horse Bird that belonged to C.H. Withrow, and wondered how that could have taken place in the 1930s. He did have a horse named Bird, who would have died before then, I would imagine. Both of Mr. Withrow's sons died as babies. Percy is buried in the Waynesboro cemetery. If Howard is also buried there, his grave is unmarked. Mr. Withrow, along with his sister Louisa, ran a school next to their home in Waynesboro for a time. I'm not sure if that was right after the War Between the States or not. In the 1870s they taught school in Kentucky for a few years in the town their mother was from. Mr. Withrow later served for many years on the faculty of the Richmond Academy in Georgia. Mr. Withrow was indeed an officer in the CSA (see Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXIX, 1921).

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Thank you so much for sharing this information! I need to go back and read again my father's account (which is actually second hand by the now deceased local historian, Curtis Bowman). It could be that I'm the one who's confused. By the way, my grandmother's middle name was "Chase." I'd like to explore this more with you. Would you be so kind as to send me an email with your contact information - confidential, of course.

Send to stonewallbook@yahoo.com

Thank you!