XII. RECONSTRUCTION AND THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF INDUSTRY (1866-1883)
The damage inflicted by the Civil War was serious, but not mortal, to eastern Jefferson County. However, much of the area was desolate when the paroled Confederate troops returned home in the spring and summer of 1865. One sympathetic correspondent for the London Times reported to his readers that the turnpike and adjacent land between Harper's Ferry and Charles Town
appears to have been waste country from time immemorial.... This moor was a few months ago divided into farms, cornfields, and orchards ¾ now wiped clean out of existence. There are no fences to show even where the fields were once marked off, and the trees stand out gaunt and spectral in the wide waste, their branches shot away or torn down for fuel by the succession of armies which passed up and down the sorely harassed valley.
He noted that, between Shepherdstown and Winchester,
the once fertile fields are lying completely barren, for the owners have lost all their means, their negroes having fled, and their houses and money having been carried off.
There is not a fence left along the whole distance, and graves are scattered everywhere by the roadside. Far and wide the fields, often yellow with corn, look like a black and barren common.1
Wandering bands of Union soldiers reportedly caused much of the deliberate damage without the knowledge or approval of their superiors.
Although the local white workforce was definitely reduced from death or disabling injuries suffered during the war, the full extent of this problem is difficult to determine. About 15% of the local men who served the Confederacy were killed or mortally wounded; and the number of veterans who could not work, or who took months or years to recuperate was probably similar. The loss of slave labor is also difficult to assess. According to contemporary sources, few able-bodied black workers remained in the area after the war. At the same time, few of the blacks who did remain were employed locally in agriculture or skilled trades.2
As previously mentioned, death and disease also took their toll of the civilian population, particularly during the second year of the war. Available death statistics for the area indicate that the death rate among civilians during 1862 was approximately 100% greater than the average during the preceding or following five years.3 The specific reasons for this startling increase are not known. Figure 12-1 provides an overview of the Bakerton area following the Civil War.
Farmland was plentiful and cheap immediately after the war, with farms on which fences had been destroyed selling for $25 per acre. Labor and money were the ingredients missing, and those families who still had these precious commodities had the opportunity to regain their lost prosperity.4
Little is known about the ways local farmers were affected by the loss of their slaves, or how blacks in the area reacted when they found themselves free. However, after all of the moral objections to slavery are aired and the prejudices of slave owners and abolitionists heard, black and white people still remained together in eastern Jefferson County. Many of the blacks had been linked to white residents for generations by bondage or blood. Some were too old to begin a new life, and others were tied to their white neighbors with bonds of genuine love or affection. Old Ben, one of John Engle's  slaves, returned to his ex-master's house after he had been freed, remaining there until he died.5
A similar incident was related about Daniel W. Hendricks  and his slave Clifton:
After the war Daniel tried to make Clifton understand that he was a free man. Clifton refused to leave. A small cabin was built on the back of the farm for Clifton and together Daniel and Clifton walked across the fields to a neighbor's to claim Harriet, Clifton's wife.6
Agriculture had suffered the least of the local resources, but even here the war had caused substantial damage, particularly to Southern supporters' lands that had been occupied by Federal troops. The fragmentary accounts of Engle, the Orebank, Moler's Cross Roads, and the Cement Mill suggest that the damage at these sites was comparable to that previously described. The farm of John Engle, near the present site of Engle, West Virginia, is an illustration. Engle estimated that Federal troops took or destroyed $4,197 worth of property, including 1882 panels of fence, 25 acres of timber, 250 bushels of wheat, 196 barrels of corn, 7 horses, 3 cattle, 12 sheep, and 10 cords of wood.7 One of the few local farmers owning a large number of slaves, John Engle had also lost 15 black workers. He died shortly after his son Jacob returned from the war, and the property was divided among Jacob and his brothers James, John, and George.8 The farms owned by the Knott and Moler families along the Potomac River probably met a similar fate.
One year after the war ended, Jacob H. Engle built his own house, Alta Vista, on the land left to him by his father. Built of brick salvaged from the Harper's Ferry Armory, the house faces Bolivar Heights (Figure 12-2). Readers who know of the pre-war struggle between the Armory and the Bakerton area will understand its symbolic significance.
The pre-war economy of the Bakerton area had been based on mining as well as on agriculture. The destruction of the Harpers Ferry Armory had little impact on the local iron industry, since the government had never made extensive use of this nearby resource. The Antietam Iron Works and the Virginia Orebank were bought by Daniel and John Ahl in 1864, and the job of rebuilding the iron industry began shortly after the end of the war.
Even after the destruction of the armory, access to the Potomac River from the Virginia Orebank was still limited because the United States owned the land along the river bank. The problem was solved temporarily in 1866 when the Ahls obtained right of way to the river, and the right to quarry iron ore, on the adjacent property owned by George W. Moler . By the following year, the Ahls had purchased an additional 90 acres of the original Orebank from the heirs of the previous owner of Antietam Iron Works and had built another furnace at the Maryland operation.9 Congress passed an act in 1868 permitting the sale of lands, tenements, and water privileges belonging to the United States Armory at Harpers Ferry, and the Ahls acquired the "right to dig iron ore upon a tract of 1,600 acres of land bordering on the Potomac River known as 'Friends' Ore Bank."10 The property appears to have been quarried for a few years and then became inactive from 1874 to 1888.
Quarrying of limestone along the Potomac River had begun early in the nineteenth century, and it continued during this period at Knott's and Flanagan's Quarries. The owner of one of the operations, Samuel C. Knott , was an influential member of the community, for he employed a large number of local workers both at the quarry and on his farm. He was described by his grandson, John O. Knott  as
short, stocky, decidedly bowed in the legs, but exact in dress and in up-keep. He wore side-whiskers, after the English custom, shaved daily, had a full upstanding suit of hair, dressed in black, rode a nice horse carefully groomed, a high silk hat ¾ was withal, the old time country gentleman of the gentry class.
He spoke very little, read the newspapers incessantly, rode to Shepherdstown every day for the mail and distributed it to the neighbors on his way home. He had a deep, gutteral voice. I never heard him laugh and he seldom joked.
So far as I know, grandfather never gave his voice in church meeting and never "talked religion" with anybody. But his home was the preacher's home, and his support was the main one from the community in which our family resided.11
After the war, Samuel Knott turned over control of his quarry to his surviving sons William , Charles , Samuel , and George , who were operating the business under the name of William J. Knott & Brothers as early as 1869. No evidence has appeared thus far to indicate that Samuel Knott or his sons burned lime. Their product seems to have been sold locally or sent to Washington via the C. & O. canal for further processing. Each son inherited one-fourth of the 20-acre quarry when their father died in 1872.12
By 1875, brothers William, George, and Charles had purchased a house and lot in the District of Columbia, presumably to be used as part of their own lime-burning operation in that area. The family may have owned or operated the Columbia Lime Kilns in the District as early as 1870. (See Figure 12-6.) The fourth brother, Samuel M. Knott, appears to have withdrawn from the business.13
Large-scale local lime burning operations were first developed by William Engle (grandson of Philip Engle, Sr., and son of William Engle ) and D.R. Houser on the farm owned by the former. Houser, who lived in Washington County, Maryland, worked on the Engle farm. The two men discovered a deposit of high quality limestone on the Engle property and, in the area then known as Bunker Hill, built a kiln to burn lime for agricultural purposes. This kiln seems to be the one patented by William Engle and later sold to the Baker Brothers.14
The development of education after the Civil War was influenced, in part, by the law forbidding Confederate veterans from serving as teachers. Their place was filled by women who had educated local children during the war years and later by a new generation of local teachers, many of whom were sons and daughters of Civil War veterans. During the first decade after the war, classes in the Bakerton area may have been held at the Zion Presbyterian Church. In 1878, William Engle  sold a tract of land to the Board of Education upon which the one-room Oak Grove School was built.15 (See Figure 12-7.)
The school house at Moler's Crossroads had survived the war and appears to have been back in operation shortly after the conflict ended. In 1879, George W. Banks, from the last class at Shepherd College, was teaching there and other Shepherd alumni, including John O. Knott , George M. Knott , James M. Engle, Jesse A. Engle, and Rosa A. Cockrell also entered the teaching profession about the same time.16 Several of them continued to teach in the Bakerton area for decades. The Reinhart School was torn down in 1880 and replaced by a new one on the property of D.G. Moler ; this building was also known as the Reinhart School.
The Elk Run Schoolhouse at Engle was established in 1883 or 1884 on land donated to the Board of Education by Benjamin Engle.17 The school was probably built to accommodate children of quarry workers, since it was erected about the time that Otho J. Keller purchased land near Engle for a limestone quarry.
Before the war, no Methodist churches had existed in the Bakerton area even though many of the people appear to have been members of that denomination. Some worshippers went to services in Harpers Ferry or Shepherdstown, and many local Methodists attended church at Union (Uvilla). However, the length of the journey to Union as well as religious and social differences eventually prompted the people closer to the Potomac River to hold services at the Reinhart schoolhouse at Moler's Cross Roads.
Margaret Saunders Knott  still held considerable influence in the Moler's Cross Roads congregation after the war. Every Sunday, beneath the window next to the choir, "Grandmother" Margaret Knott could be seen, "dressed in an 'oil-boiled' black silk dress, white lace collar, fastened with a black cameo pin."18 Sunday school was supervised by John Hoffman, a Reformer described as "a very patriarchal-looking man, tall, large-framed, with long white hair flowing over his shoulders."19 Recalling those post-war services, Nellie Hendricks Moler noted:
In the very earliest days, there were no song books. The leader would read two lines of a stanza, and the congregation would sing those two lines; then, by alternate reading and singing, the hymn would be sung.... At this time, the singing was always led by Dave Fraley, a one-legged Confederate soldier. He was seconded by D. Griff Moler  who sat beside him and suggested what songs to use. Dave always had his "tuning fork" with him, and it was of absorbing interest to the younger folks to watch him pull it from his pocket and use it, to "get the right pitch."... Later, when some new song books came into vogue, a favorite song among the old Confederates (of whom there were a large number) was "Let Us Pass Over the River and Rest Under the Shade of the Trees." It was pathetic to hear those men, who had known Stonewall Jackson, sing that song.20
Bush meetings were begun by Methodists at this time in the woods next to the Reinhart Schoolhouse, and large crowds came from miles around to these gatherings. Other denominations also used the Reinhart Schoolhouse building for worship at the time. This multi-denominational use ended when the Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1874 (Figure 12-8). Many of the Lutherans who had attended services at the schoolhouse began attending the Lutheran church at Uvilla after the Methodist church at Moler's Crossroads was erected.21
Religious services seem to have been conducted at Engle during the 1870's or early 1880's on or near the present site of Keller Chapel. Benjamin D. Engle's 1883 deed giving Jefferson County a schoolhouse lot noted that "The lot intended to be conveyed is part of the Silver Grove jointly used as a camp meeting ..."22
Some time during the 1870's the Forest Grange Hall was established at River Bend (Figure 12-9) , and the Knott, Taylor, and Moler families played major roles in the development of this organization.23 Charles H. Knott  served as Grange Master during the 1880's as well as Master of the West Virginia Grange. He would also serve a term as State Senator.24 The Grange Hall, now in ruins, still marks the location of these activities.
The early 1880's mark the end of an era in eastern Jefferson County and the beginning of a period still remembered by some of the oldest local residents. By this time, the generation that had experienced the Civil War was beginning to step aside and their children were starting to take their place. The trade boundaries that had existed between Harper's Ferry and its northern neighbors before the Civil War had disintegrated as eastern Jefferson County continued to grow and prosper and as Harper's Ferry struggled to fill the gap caused by the loss of the Armory.
The development of industry and the growth of religious, educational, and social institutions point to the emergence of three distinct areas in eastern Jefferson County during the post-war period. Although the area as a whole was still bound together by mining, agriculture, and kinship, Engle, Bakerton, and Moler's Cross Roads had begun to form their own social groups (Figure 12-1). This view was shared by one keen observer of the past, Rev. John O. Knott , who watched local events from the Civil War period to the 1950's. Commenting on the differences between the area near the Potomac River and the land further west, he noted:
The Unionville community was an aristocratic, highly intelligent one, of a social standing that had far more of Old Virginia about it than the Reinhart school-house neighborhood. The latter community was decidedly colored and flavored by Maryland and even Pennsylvania ideas and manners; but Unionville was more like the old community life in and about Charles Town.... Unionville and Duffields were closely associated and formed what might be called one distinct church and social section of the county...25
Although the close association between eastern Jefferson County and the Dargan-Antietam area would continue for decades, local reliance on the C. & O. Canal for commercial transportation was about to diminish. By the end of the decade, the Antietam Iron Works would be permanently closed and Pittsburg, the market for iron ore, was best reached by rail.26
Limestone quarrying along the canal would continue until about 1922, when the canal closed. Meanwhile the canal's vulnerability to flood damage and the cost and slowness of barge transportation would make it a less reliable and economical way to move goods to market.
Previous chapters have noted that the construction of the B. & O. Railroad through Jefferson County created scores of potential access points at which local industry could move its goods to market. Eastern Jefferson County was about to take advantage of this transportation resource, and the expansion of the local limestone industry was about to provide the opportunity. The people who would bring about this change and create two new villages in the process were no-nonsense Methodist and Presbyterian businessmen of German descent. Had these men been named Engle, Moler, or Knott, eastern Jefferson County would be a different place today. Instead, they were named Keller and Baker, and they came from Buckeystown, Maryland, not Jefferson County.
1. Shepherdstown Register, December 20, 1865.
2. Dennis Frye, Notes on Co. D., 12th Virginia Cavalry, March 1987; see Tables 10-1 and 10-2 for estimates of the antebellum slave population; Shepherdstown Register, July 15, 1865, December 20, 1865.
3. Analysis by the author based on mortality data from Bee Line Chapter, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, Tombstone Inscriptions in Jefferson County, West Virginia (Missouri: Walsworth Publishing Co., 1981)
4. Shepherdstown Register, July 15, 1865.
5. James M. Engle, History of the Engle Family, p. 12.
6. Florence Hendricks Moore, Descendants of Albert(us) Hendricks(on), p. 54.
7. An assessment of property taken and destroyed by the Federal troops, belonging to the estate of John Engle, decd. Manuscript (1866) in the possession of Kenneth and Donna Kidwiler, Engle, W. Va.
8. Will of John Engle, Will Book Z, p. 470, Charles Town, W. Va.
9. Deed Book 1 (1866), pp. 399-400; Deed Book 2, pp. 338-339, Charles Town, W. Va. Thompson, pp. 98-100.
10. C.W. Snell, Acquisition and Disposal, vol. I, p. 36. The right to dig iron ore, not the ownership of the land, had been conveyed to the United States by Henry Lee in 1800. The precise location of the whole 1,600-acre tract is not specified in Lee's deeds. Little more than 100 acres of the Orebank was actually suitable for mining iron ore.
11. John Olin Knott, excerpts made from his diary by Audrey Gaines Schultz.
12. Account of William H. Gody to William J. Knott & Brothers, November 29, 1869. Knott-Reinhart Papers. Recorder's Will Book, pp. 225-235, Charles Town, W. Va.; Shepherdstown Register, March 3, 1872. Samuel M. Knott sold Spring Mill Farm and his interest in the quarry to his brother William in 1873; Deed Book A, p. 129, Charles Town, W. Va.
13. Letter of William, George, and Charles Knott, July 29, 1875; Columbia Lime Kilns Letterhead; Knott-Reinhart Papers.
14. W. J. B. Houser, Biographical sketch of William Engle (Undated typescript) in the possession of Charles Knott, Bakerton, W. Va. James M. Engle, History of the Engle Family (Washington, D.C., 1906), p. 77. According to Samuel J. Donley (Interview, March 7, 1987), the Flanagans built limekilns in the hollow just east of what would later be the Bakerton quarry.
15. Deed Book G, pp. 491-492, Charles Town, W. Va.
16. Shepherdstown Register, January 25, 1879, and September 10, 1881.
17. Deed Book O, p. 467, Charles Town, W. Va. Engle's deed stipulated that the land be used only to erect a school for white children.
18. Nellie Hendricks Moler, History of the Founding of Bethesda M.E. Church South: 1874-1934 (Moler's Cross Roads, W. Va., 1934.
19. Nellie Hendricks Moler, History.
20. Nellie Hendricks Moler, History.
21. John O. Knott, "The Old Unionville Church," Shepherdstown Register, April 1, 1920.
22. Deed Book O, p. 467, Charles Town, W. Va.
23. Shepherdstown Register, February 8, 1879.
24. George W. Aykinson and Alvaro F. Gibbens, Prominent Men of West Virginia, pp. 884-885; Shepherdstown Register, May 5, 1898.
25. John O. Knott, "The Old Unionville Church."
26. Michael Thompson, Iron Industry, p. 102.
XIII. THE FOUNDERS OF BAKERTON