Civil War Transcendence: Part 50


"Walnut Hill" - Jefferson County, West Virginia.  Image via Library of Congress

“Walnut Hill” – Jefferson County, West Virginia. Image via Library of Congress

Thank heavens that each town, no matter what size, usually had a livery stable. I got Beau bedded down for the night for just $1, which included a combing, some hay and a sprinkle of oats.

I asked if there was a hotel in town.

Mr. Johnson, the livery owner, just laughed and said, “There ain’t no hotel, but Widow Hawkins takes in boarders for a dollar-a-night, plus breakfast.”

I thanked him, and following his directions, walked down the street with my pokes thrown over my shoulder for about two blocks. I turned right for one block and found the white, two-story house of Widow Hawkins.

Apparently, this was a very popular boarding house. There were five men sitting around the parlor smoking cigars, reading or talking when I entered.  I asked for the Widow and was directed to the room across the hall.

Once I entered the room, I was taken aback by the beautiful woman sitting behind a desk in the middle of the room.  She looked up and smiled. I asked if she had any room for the night and she said yes, but I would have to share it with a drummer from Richmond. I remembered a drummer was like a traveling salesman.

I grinned and replied that it depended on what he was selling. She laughed and said his wares were men’s shirts.  I said that was fine and asked how much for the night.

“One dollar and breakfast in the morning.”

I acquiesced, paid the rent, and got my key to a room on the second floor.

The Widow said Mr. Holstein would be the other room occupant for the night.  I thanked her, went across the hall to the parlor, and asked if Mr. Holstein was there. I was told he had gone to the local saloon to celebrate a rather large sale he had made in Harper’s Ferry at a local hardware and clothing store.

I went out on the front porch and sat in the lone rocking chair to watch the beautiful sunset.  I allowed myself to relax my guard and thought of how far I had come in just 10 days.

It was amazing to me that I was still alive.

About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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