October 30, 1863
Troy, Gilmer Co., West Va.,
October 2d, 1863.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Gilmer county, having learned that the reputations of J. F. W. Holt and John B. Varner have been assailed, as Union men, in the City of Wheeling and elsewhere: Now, we consider it due to those men to join with them in giving a fair and explicit statement in relation to them as Union men.
They have given us clear and incontestable proof of loyalty as any men in our county or in West Virginia. They have been compelled to leave their homes, and for a considerable part of the time since this infamous rebellion commenced have been refuges. They have been robbed of horses, cattle, and their homes have been plundered by the rebels. In the commencement of the contest, J. F. W. Holt made speeches against the ordinance of secession in the midst of insults and threats from the most rampant rebels in the land, and voted against the ordinance under like circumstances. Two of his sons have been in the Federal army about two years.
John B. Varner and his brothers exerted all their influence in favor of the Union and voted against the ordinance of secession, and all have been firm and unwavering ever since. One of his brother was among the first to volunteer in West Virginia and is now a Lieutenant in Co. G, 10th Virginia regiment infantry. Two other brothers have been in the Federal army about two years. His youngest brother, quite a youth, killed the notorious Bill Wilson while in the act of robbing his brothers (John B. Varner) house.
J. F. W. Holt and John B Varner have been engaged in selling goods in this country for the last few months. The object of their assailants, we have no doubt, has been to injure them in their business. We now think it is due to the reputation o f these men, and the whole community, that the characters of their assailants should be published. We presume we are not mistaken in the names. They are known in this region of country as Philip Cox, George Knisely Cox and Elisha Snodgrass. Had their slander not went out among strangers, and been confined to the country where these slanderers were known, we would have considered it wholly unnecessary to have noticed it, but as they have seen proper to extend their usual sphere of lying and misrepresentation, we think it important to give them a passing notice concerning their sphere of lying.
The two Coxes, father and son, some years ago acted as deputy sheriffs in Lewis county, which embraced at that time the principal part of this county (Gilmer) – during their term of office they made and left about as dark and unfavorable a record as could well have been made in the same time, so much so that no discerning respectable man who knows them, would now believe their word, even under oath. They wound up their sheriffalty by embezzling their property – breaking up a part of their securities and seriously injuring others.
And more recently they have, (though living independently and possessing a good deal of property,) been using every stratagem to avoid paying a proper amount of taxes on lands, store goods and money. Geo. K. Cox has been merchandising for several years, yet he give in no property or money to the Commissioner of the Revenue, and perhaps selling between fifteen hundred and three thousand dollars’ worth of goods every year, and to avoid paying the usual license for selling goods, changes the style of his firm every year, and swears it is a new concern commencing with about five hundred dollars. And the said George K. Cox has exerted all his influence, by lying and misrepresentation, to prevent the Sheriff from collecting taxes in this county; and he has used all his influence in opposition to the raising of home guards for the proper defence of our neighborhood. In a word, he has been a perfect annoyance to the Union men of this neighborhood.
Elisha Snodgrass is a brother-in-law of the said Cox, and we think is pretty well inaugurated into their grand system of lying and misrepresentation. We do think the character of these men should be published throughout the land.
|J. F. W. Holt,||J. S. W. Farnsworth,|
|John B. Varner,||Edmund West,|
|W.W. Warner,||Granville W. Sleith,|
|Wm. H. Snider||John West,|
|Daniel F. Steinbeck,||H. E. Heckert,|
|Daniel D. Bush,||G. V. Heckert,|
|P.M. Maneypenny,||George Heckert, Jr.,|
|M. H. Stump,||Wm. Maneypenney,|
|Adam Heckert||Peter Heckert.|
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: October 1863