Sketches by Joseph H. Diss Debar

No. 1
Pen drawing of a deer's head, found in the Blennerhassett mansion in 1806. Obtained in 1847 from W. Henderson Phelps, at Parkersburg, whose father, Col. Hugh Phelps, occupied the place in command of the Wood County militia, when Blennerhasset was suspected of treason in conspiracy with Aaron Burr and others.

Nos. 2 and 3
Pictures of Indian heads found at the Blennerhassett mansion with the preceding number. All three pictures were obtained from Mr. Phelps in 1847 and the Indian heads slightly retouched by a Baltimore artist, Mr. Boadley, in 1849.

No. 4
Indian arrows and tomahawks, ploughed up on Cove Creek, Doddridge County in 1846.

No. 4A
Old Indian Spring on Carder's camp run of Cove Creek, walled in with stone slabs. It was long covered by a land slip from a steep adjacent bank; but unearthed again upon indications from Mr. William Haymond, surveyor of Harrison County, who was one of the first party of white men who found the spring in its original state, in 1797.

No. 5
Sketch of Mrs. Lewis Cass, nee Spencer, of Wood County, Virginia by David H. Strother, of Berkeley County Virginia, later known as an illustrator and writer on the staff of Harper's Monthly, under the nom de plume of Porte-Crayon.

No. 6
Head of the Little Kanawha River, in what is now Upshur County. The figure is that of Edward Jackson, grandfather of Stonewall, who, as surveyor of Harrison County, was busy there about 1784- 1800, and was sketched from a description given by his youngest brother, George W. of Weston, Lewis County, in 1848.

No. 7
Before the first coach was put upon the road, the mail was carried on horseback between Clarksburg and Chillicothe, by Asa Davis, of a very numerous pioneer connection and the smallest man in Harrison County. On one of his trips, a delay of twenty-four hours was caused by a family event near the North Fork of Hughes River, sketched from the mail carrier's own description, in 1847.

No. 8
According to Mr. Sutton, who fought around the Clarksburg fort in Indian days, and was nearly a century old in 1846, the first bridge between that point and the Ohio River was made of split slabs and spanned a deep drain near its mouth on Goose Creek. Sketched in 1846.

No. 9
The first coach (of English or Old Virginia make) that ever traveled from Winchester to the Ohio River. In 1846 it belonged to Major Hildebrand, mail contractor at Marietta, Ohio, and was temporarily stored in a dilapidated condition with Gen. Carder, hotel keeper at Clarksburg. The house is an average specimen of the old road taverns where the coach used to stop.

No. 10
Pioneer laborers. Burning dry logs in a deadening.

No. 11
Erection of a log house. An old time house-raising by the surrounding neighbors.

No. 12
The old sled-trail over the mountains. 1780-1790.

No. 13
The Northwestern Turnpike, from Winchester to Parkersburg, fifty years later.

No. 14
The pioneer's first crop.

No. 15
Interior of a pioneer home.

No. 16
Old hunter's camp on Tanner's Fork, Gilmer County 1846. Formerly much frequented by hunters from Harrison and Lewis. The old hunter on the right is pioneer William Patton of Bear Fork, Gilmer County.

No. 17
A group of pioneers from various sections. 1846-1849.

No. 18
Heyer's bear trap in the Buckhannon mountains; Randolph County 1846.

No. 19
Lawyers traveling to courts.

No. 20
Capt. Nathan Davis, President of the County Court of Doddridge County 1846. Pioneer settler and found of the town of West Union (see Appendix B).

No. 21
Hon. Ephraim Bee; blacksmith, hotel keeper and farmer. Member of the first New-State Legislature; 1863, delivering a stump speech against Henry A. Wise's invasion, 1863.

No. 22
Group of old time county court "squires"; taken from different counties. 1846-1849.

No. 23
Eli B. Tucker, a noted fiddler and horse trader. On his right the tallest man in Doddridge; on his left, the smallest, William F. Davis, brother to Asa Davis (see No. 7). 1847.

No. 24
First German settlers' dwelling (Jacob Rupperts') near Cove Creek, St. Clara Colony, Doddridge County 1846.

No. 25
Debar House, built 1852 at the mouth of Carder's camp run of Cove Creek. Headquarters of the St. Clara Colony, the first successful settlement made by immigrant Germans within the boundary of West Virginia.

No. 26
Hon. John S. Duncan and his brother-in-law, Major James M. Jackson, lawyers of Clarksburg, burlesking a law case; 1846. As a member of the Virginia Legislature Mr. Duncan was an ardent champion of the right of way for the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. Major Jackson was the son of U. S. District Judge John G. Jackson (see Appendix A).

No. 27
In the foreground, Capt. Caleb Boggess, of Harrison County 1846; late cadet of the Virginia Military Institute, subsequently attorney for the B. & O. R. R. in West Virginia. In the distance, Hon. Edwin L. Duncan, Circuit Judge; father of John S. (see Appendix B)

No. 28
Marshall Robinson of Clarksburg, 1846. Pioneer, expert in hunting, fishing and quieter sports about town. The costumes in the three foregoing sketches, as in all others, are most carefully reproduced as characteristic of the period.

No. 29
Col. Kimheloe and Chas. S. Lewis, of Harrison, lawyers, engaged in a political argument 1848. The Col. was an Old Virginian by birth, proverbially pompous and self-respecting and the subject of many popular anecdotes. Mr. Lewis later was a representative in Congress and a circuit judge.

No. 30
Major Minter Bailey, surveyor of Lewis County and generous hotel-keeper at Weston, and Col. John G. Stringer of the same county, former representative in Congress previous to 1847, when the sketch was taken.

No. 31
Mr. Joseph Gratz of Philadelphia, owner of a large tract of West Virginia land, and Daniel Sherwood, surveyor of Doddridge County, at a supposed corner of the Gratz survey, then involved in a tedious and noted litigation (see Appendix B).

No. 32
Hon. John W. Brockenborough, U. S. judge for the Western District of Virginia before the Civil War.

No. 33
Hon. Benj. H. Smith, of Charleston, Kanawha County, a prominent land lawyer and legislator. Member of the General Assembly of Virginia and of the West Virginia Legislature, U. S. District Attorney for West Virginia for many years.

No. 34
Hon. Lewis Maxwell of Lewis County, a noted land lawyer and speculator; representative in Congress. The figure in his rear represents Hon. James M. Stephenson, of Parkersburg, lawyer; member of the General Assembly in 1846-47 and later president of the Parkersburg National Bank.

No. 35
Hon. William A. Harrison, of Clarksburg, a popular land and jury lawyer; later judge of the West Virginia Court of Appeals. Father of Circuit Judge Thomas Harrison. Hon. William A. Harrison was noted for the style and neatness of his attire.

No. 36
Hon. James H. Ferguson, originally of Logan County, an able lawyer and member of the General Assembly of Virginia. After the advent of the new state, he took a leading part in the revision of the Constitution and Code of Laws. Served several terms as member of the Legislature and later as circuit judge.

No. 37
Col. Sieber, who during the Civil War commanded a Union regiment in West Virginia, temporarily stationed at Logan Courthouse. The absent inhabitants destining to cease bushwhacking his men, he reduced the town to ashes. After the war he resided at Hoboken, New Jersey, where he was accidentally met by the writer. Col. Sieber was a native of Prussia, where he had served in the regular army.

No. 38
Hon. Evermont Ward, of Logan County, lawyer, member of the General Assembly of Virginia and circuit judge. On the staff of ex-Governor Henry A. Wise on his invasion of West Virginia during the Civil War. On the return of peace he manufactured, and personally hawked through the country Ward's Magic Relief, with scant success.

No. 39
John Brown of Ossawatomie, incognito attending a slave kidnapping trial in the Federal Court at Clarksburg, in August 1859. (See Appendix A).

No. 40
John Brown on the road to Shinnston where he went every evening after adjournment of Court. On the last day of the trial he fell in with the writer with whom he freely conversed without disclosing his identity.

No. 41
Col. Thos. J. Jackson (Stonewall) at the Parkersburg Mineral Wells pending the presidential campaign in the fall 1860. Sketched from life on the margin of a newspaper.

No. 42
The same, perusing his daily paper (See Appendix A.)

No. 43
Hon. John S. Carlile, lawyer at Clarksburg, and earliest promoter of the movement to provide a separate government for the loyal portion of Virginia, in 1861. Later U. S. Senator for the State reorganized upon his plan, under Governor Peirpoint.

No. 44
Hon. John J. Jackson, of Parkersburg, Judge of the United States District Court for West Virginia, succeeding Judge Brockenborough. Sketched while holding court at Wheeling in the summer of 1863. (Thompson trial.)

No. 45
Gen. George B. McClellan at the Grafton house, Grafton, on assuming active command in West Virginia.

No. 46
Types of West Virginia volunteers in the Union Army.

No. 47
A group of general and other officers in command of West Virginia troops during the Civil War.

No. 48
A squad of citizens Homeguards, scouting for guerillas and horse thieves during the war.

No. 49
Confederate prisoners at Grafton, after McClellan's fights at Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill.

No. 50
Sketch of President Abraham Lincoln, taken at Willard's hotel, Washington, June 1864. This was a characteristic attitude of Mr. Lincoln during leisurely conversation.

No. 51
Hon. Arthur I. Boreman of Parkersburg, lawyer, circuit judge, and first governor of West Virginia, inaugurating the new state at Wheeling, June 20, 1863.

No. 52
Photograph of the original design of the State Seal of West Virginia, with the report of the Committee on Seals.

No. 53
Hon. Daniel Lamb, of Wheeling, lawyer, member of the constitution convention of West Virginia and of the Legislature, reading a report as chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary in the House of Delegates, 1864. The member nearest on his left is Col. Lewis Ruffner, Kanawha, and the farthest in the rear is Mr. Joseph L. Wheat, the eccentric member from Morgan.

No. 54
Hon. Waitman T. Willey of Morgantown, member of the Constitutional Convention, one of the first two U. S. Senators for West Virginia and author of the Willey Amendment for the gradual abolition of slavery in the new state, before the passage of the 15th amendment to the federal constitution.

No. 55
Major, (later Brev. Brig. Gen.) Nathan Goff of the 5th Va. and W. Va. Cavalry, near New Creek, 1863. After the war, lawyer, U. S. district attorney, and representative in Congress. Toward the close of Hayes's administration Secretary of the Navy and now one of the U. S. judges for West Virginia. The portly figure on foot is that of Capt. Michael Donohue, of the same regiment.

No. 56
[Nathan Goff?]

No. 57
President Abraham Lincoln walking and discussing West Virginia affairs with Hon. Peter G. Van Winkle, senator from that state, June 1864.

No. 58
Uncertain news from the seat of war, in the hall of the McClure House, Wheeling, 1863. The group in the foreground is composed of Hon. Wm. E. Stevenson, president of the State Senate, later governor, on the right. Next the tall form of Hon. Lee Roy Kramer, of Monongalia (chariman of House of Delegates in 1864) and reading the paper, Hon. James C. McGrew, member for Preston County, and later representative in Congress. On his right, with his hands clasped behind him, Mr. A. W. Campbell, editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer.

No. 59
Col. David H. Strother, of Berkeley Springs, on Gen. Pope's staff, at Cedar Creek, Va., August 1862. Formerly artistic and literary contributor of Harper's Monthly under the nom de plume of Porte Crayon. Author of a pamphlet on West Virginia's resources, 1874 or 75.

No. 60
Meeting of old neighbors after the Civil War.

No. 61
Hon. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, at Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he was invited to lecture at the Agricultural Fair, September 30, 1869. On the right in his rear the house where Gen. Stonewall Jackson was born. (See Appendix A.)

No. 62
Hon. Peter G. Van Winkle, a lawyer, now literary student; member of the Constitutional Convention of West Virginia; of the first House of Delegates, and one of the first two U. S. senators for the new state. The sketch was made during the Senator's last illness which carried him off in April 1872. His companion is Prof. John C. Nash, a well known educator who occasionally called there for a literary chat. Mr. Van Winkle was a native of Paterson, New Jersey, and a cousin of Parke Godwin on his mother's side. The lady in the picture on the wall is his wife, Juliette, nee Rathbone, who had died early in the forties.

No. 63 and 64
Feminine type of West Virginia, high and low.

No. 65
First courthouse of Wood County, a log building erected about 1802 at the mouth of Rifle Run, at Parkersburg. Part of the lower floor was used as a jail. Post and pillory in the rear.

No. 66
Second courthouse of Wood County, a brick building erected on the site of the present courthouse, and completed in February 1817. The builder's name was Caleb Bailey.

No. 67
Thomas Hughes, a famous pioneer and Indian fighter of Harrison County who first resided about the fort at Clarksburg and later at Hacker's Creek. This sketch was made from the verbal description of Adam Flesher, another pioneer, very familiar with Hughes. When it was finished (1847) I asked pioneer Sutton, at West Union, which of his old-time friends it most resembled. Scanning it attentively with a kindling eye for a few moments, he replied that if it was not like old Tom Hughes it was not like any one he could remember. Sutton was then over 90 years of age and Flesher 86.

No. 68
Extreme head of the South Fork of Hughes River, where Thomas and Jesse Hughes, Carder, Lowther and others often camped on their hunts. Carder had another camp named after himself, two miles farther south, on Cove Creek, where the Debar house now stands.

No. 69
Militia muster at the county seat, about 1846. The captain and drill-master is a veteran of the War of 1812, posting the new colonel and staff upon the program of the day.

No. 70
An attentive jury; not illustrating any particular locality, but a fair average of a circuit court jury, about 1850.

No. 71
A slave gang brought up in Virginia and being transported to Kentucky, in 1847. The men were generally handcuffed together in pairs and the women and children followed in a wagon. Such caravans always drew great crowds along the road through Western Virginia.

No. 72
Col. Alexander Scott Withers, author of Chronicles of Border Warfare, published at Clarksburg in 1831. The colonel, who kindly sat for this sketch in 1854, was then about 60 years of age and engaged in farming in Lewis County. He died near Parkersburg in 1865, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Thomas Tavenner.

No. 73
Watching a lick, a method of deer hunting formerly much practiced in the summer, when the deer come after dusk or at early dawn to the brackish puddles, called licks, which prevail all through the West Virginia hills.

No. 74
Dan Duskey, a noted guerilla of Calhoun County, charged with several murders and other criminal offenses unconnected with politics during the Civil War. After much trouble he was captured early in 1864 and confined in the Wheeling jail. He tried to obtain his release by proposing to Governor Boreman to use his influence for the pacification of the Little Kanawha region. Though this was not accepted, he finally escaped from the extreme penalties of the law.

No. 75
Mrs. John Neal, whose husband was one of the earliest settlers of Parkersburg. Hon. Lawrence T. Neal, ex-member of Congress, of Chillicothe, Ohio, is one of her grandsons. Photographed in 1872.

No. 76
One of the earliest free schools in the new state, on Sand Road, near Parkersburg. Taken in 1867.

No. 77
West Virginia Medical Convention, held at Parkersburg in 1873.

No. 78
The first oil excitement at Burning Springs, Wirt County, in 1861. Gen. Karns, a Pennsylvanian, was the first operator who struck oil in the state. John V. Rathbone was one of the original proprietors of the Burning Springs farm. The first successful wells were named after him, the Camdens, and William Harkness.

No. 79
Hunting on Tanner's Fork

Sources on Joseph H. Diss Debar

West Virginia Archives and History