Friends of Wheeling Offer Tour of Cemetery

Even before the firing on Fort Sumter marked the beginning of the Civil War, citizens of Wheeling began to let their preferences known. As hostilities became more imminent, these preferences became more pronounced.

Many of Wheeling’s “old guard” – families with surnames such as Zane, Steenrod and Phillips – believed that Virginia should remain united and loyal to the government in Richmond. Their names can be seen on a published list of “Traitors of Wheeling” – those who signed the Ordinance of Secession.

More recent residents of Wheeling, in particular the blue-collar workers of South, Center and East Wheeling, felt their loyalties lay with the Union. First-generation German and Irish immigrants were among those who led recruitment efforts for the North. Ultimately, Wheeling families were broken apart, just as the state itself was torn.

In recognition of the struggles of that time, Friends of Wheeling is sponsoring a “Blue and Gray” tour of Greenwood Cemetery, highlighting the lives of Wheeling citizens on both sides of the conflict. The free tour takes place Sunday, May 22, in the cemetery, located at 1526 National Road, Wheeling.

Visitors to this historic cemetery will hear costumed presenters relate first-person accounts of their experiences during the Civil War. Two separate tours will each feature seven characters, including both Union and Confederate sympathizers.

Continuous walking tours will run between noon and 5 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 4:30 p.m. Parking will be available at Wheeling Park, with limousine shuttle service to and from the cemetery provided by area funeral homes.

Featured in one tour will be:

  • James P. Adams – A Confederate infantryman who lost his left arm in the war, portrayed by Marty Medovic;
  • William Willey Arnett – Fairmont lawyer who served the Confederate cause and became a noted Wheeling defense attorney after the war, portrayed by Pat Cassidy;
  • Octavius Bray – whose brothers-in-law Thomas Harris and James Harris and Andrew Glass were Union soldiers from South Wheeling, portrayed by a descendant of Bray, Ward Bray;
  • Archibald Campbell – pro-Union editor of The Wheeling Intelligencer, portrayed by Joe Figaretti;
  • John Carlin – captain of a Union artillery company known as Carlin’s Battery, portrayed by Roger Micker;
  • Ellen White – wife of Robert White, a diehard Confederate who was buried in his uniform many years after the war, portrayed by Judi Hendrickson;
  • Edwin Zane – A young Confederate soldier killed after the battle of Gettysburg. His mother will be portrayed by Gael Fincham.

The second tour will include:

  • George Baird Caldwell – an early Union volunteer, portrayed by Art Musicaro;
  • Sue Smith Caldwell – Caldwell’s wife, who, despite her husband’s Union service, was a Confederate smuggler in her own right, portrayed by Vicky Musicaro;
  • Mary Hazlett – wife of Dr. Robert Hazlett, noted Union surgeon, portrayed by Kate Quinn;
  • Francis Hoge – Annapolis graduate and member of the Confederate navy, portrayed by Carson Cox;
  • Chester D. Hubbard – pro-Union member of the Virginia secession convention, portrayed by Travis Henline;
  • India Hornbrook Kelley – daughter-in-law of Union Gen. B.F. Kelley, portrayed by Jeanne Finstein;
  • Henry Seamon – a member of the Union Carlin’s battery and prisoner at Andersonville, portrayed by Trevor Clatterbuck;
  • Daniel Shriver – founder of the Confederate Shriver Grays, portrayed by Derek Bell.

Costumed guides will lead groups through the tour. Members of the re-enactment militia group, Wheeling Fencibles, will provide an honor guard. Representatives of the Wheeling Area Genealogical Society will be present to answer questions that people may have about their Wheeling ancestors from that time period. Members of the Ohio Valley Civil War Roundtable will exhibit Civil War artifacts.

The event is sponsored by Friends of Wheeling, West Virginia’s oldest historic preservation organization, with support from the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp.