I was recently doing some research and reading through part of Charles Wilson's Baptized in Blood - The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920, when I came across a very curious passage regarding benefactors of Washington College in Lexington after the WBTS. Somehow, I had missed this when reading Wilson's book years ago:
". . . the Yankee inventor Cyrus McCormick had contributed $20,000 by his death in 1884. . ." (pages 152-153)
Say again? "Yankee" inventor?(!) McCormick was born in 1809 at “Walnut Grove,” a large family farm located just south of my home on the Rockbridge/Augusta County line here in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. So he was born a Southerner. Yes, he moved to Chicago in 1847 to market his patented reaper but McCormick never turned his back on the South. He was a loyal Democrat and believed Abraham Lincoln’s election portended doom. He would eventually purchase the Chicago Times which became an outlet for McCormick's pro-Southern politics. He ran for Congress in 1864 on a platform to stop the war and had also tried to get the North to make concessions in 1860 and 1861 in hopes of preventing war. How does one describe this man as a "Yankee"?
Ironically, McCormick's reaper actually contributed to the Confederacy's defeat by allowing the North to export grain and feed its huge army. Dr. Wilson is an accomplished scholar which makes his labeling McCormick a Yankee all the more curious. How does one who specializes in the study of the WBTS and Southern culture not know that McCormick was, by all standards, a Southerner and committed Confederate sympathizer?