Saturday, March 2, 2013

Skeleton Found 50 Years After Battle of Guyandotte


Probable Victim of Civil War Battle

Believed to Have Been Killed in Flight During Burning of Guyandotte

Guyandotte Cemetery, Photo by Melissa Stanley

While walking near 31st Street and the Ohio River Sunday, Richard White unearthed portions of a human skeleton that is believed to be the remains of one of the victims of the battle which took place when the town of Guyandotte was burned during the Civil War. A skull unearthed by slipping of the soil led to a search and several other parts of the skeleton were found.

Its state of decomposition removed all suspicions of murder that could have been committed within recent years.  

The theory was then advanced that some soldier wounded in the encounter of Confederate soldiers under General Jenkins and Federals under Colonel Zeigler, had crawled away from the battlefield to perish without the knowledge of his comrades.  Or perhaps had been buried and the marks of his grave obliterated in the lapse of years.

-Huntington Advertiser, 27 March 1911

I was looking up some unrelated information and came across this newspaper article in the Huntington Advertiser.  I often talk about how I have the good luck to come across some really interesting items in my research.  This little tidbit is no exception, and is particular interest to my work with HPIR's Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours!  HPIR started its tour business with haunted history tours held each year during Guyandotte Civil War Days, an annual festival that commemorates the raid, and subsequent burning' of Guyandotte, which in November of 1861 was home to a Union recruitment camp.

While our tours have grown, and we now offer several different options throughout the year, our yearly Civil War Days tours are still our us the perfect opportunity to share the rich, Civil War history (and associated haunts, of course) with our guests.  A big part of that history does involve the Confederate attack on the town, much of which did actively take place on the old suspension bridge leading out of town.  We do know that there are several deaths associated with the bridge, as men both fought valiantly against the raiders coming across...but also tried to flee by jumping into the icy waters and swimming to freedom.

What I find particularly interesting about this article is the lack of any follow-up.  I scanned the newspapers for the next few weeks, but found no mention of where the bones were taken, or if they were ever identified.  However, digging into some of the historical accounts of the battle, and other documents concerning those who lost their lives that night, I hope to help uncover this mystery!

Please join me and the other members of HPIR's Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours this fall to hear MY theories on who this unfortunate soul could have many other fun, historical facts and NEW ghost sightings/evidence concerning Huntington's oldest neighborhood.  Mark your calendars now because its gonna be a spooky ride!

Tour dates will be announced soon!

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