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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
February 11, 1862


Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 15, 1862

A Brutal Murder in Wirt County – Arrest of the Murderer.

CAMP PEIRPOINT,
WIRT COURT HOUSE, Feb. 12, ’62.

Editors Intelligencer:

A most brutal and cold blooded murder was perpetrated at this place last night, between 12 and 1 o’clock, by a private named William F. Clayton, belonging to Company H, 11th Virginia Infantry.

It appears that last summer, this man Clayton was arrested by a detachment of Home Guards, on the charge of being a secessionist. Among the party making the arrest was one Samuel Geho. Clayton swore to have revenge upon Geho. Clayton eventually obtained his liberty, and has since been drifting around from one place to another, and finally enlisted in Company H, 11th Virginia Regiment. – This company Samuel Geho, also belonged to. Clayton had been with the company but two or three days, when it became evident from his actions that something was up. He would slip around from one place to another. The night the murder was committed, all the company except those on guard and Clayton, was asleep. Samuel Geho was lying asleep on a bench before the fire, when Clayton entered the room noiselessly, and picking up a loaded musket, placed the muzzle within a few inches of Geho’s side, and fired. The ball passed clear through the body, and lodged just beneath the head of another man, who was asleep on the floor. The villain fired with the intention of killing both of the men, as he had a grudge against both of them.

After firing the shot he threw down the gun and rushed down stairs crying, “man shot!” “man shot!” passed the Quarter guard, passed the main guard and on towards the picket, and would have passed there also, but the stern challange [sic] of the picket guard, coupled with an ominous “click-click!” told him he could not pass there. He stopped short and remarked, “there is a man killed at the guard house, and the officer of the guard wants you to come in right away.” “Then the officer of the guard don’t know his duty if he sent you on an errand of that kind,” replied the sentry. “Well,” replied Clayton, “I’ll will [sic] tell you refuse to come,” and started back with all speed. He got out of sight of the picket, threw himself down on the damp ground, crawled to the water’s edge, crossed the river and broke for the woods. As soon as it was light enough to see, Col. Rathbone dispatched a courier to Major Trimble, commanding at Burning Springs, acquainting him of the transaction, and sending a description of the murderer. Proper steps were at once taken by the Major, and the same night Col. Rathbone received intelligence of the murderer’s arrest. He was arrest by Company B, 11th Virginia Regiment, Capt. James W. Myers. After shooting the man he deserted the service, thereby doubly jeopardizing his neck. He has since confessed to doing the deed, and is now in jail at Elizabeth, “Camp Pierpoint,” Wirt Court-house. Geho leaves a wife and two children. He resided in Wetzel county, Va. His remains were brought up to New Martinsville on the steamer Eagle for interment. Geho at the time of being shot was lying asleep with his hands crossed upon his breast, and so deadly was the aim that not the quivering of a muscle could be detected, only a gasping sigh and he was dead.

Yours truly,
C.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1862

West Virginia Archives and History