“PORTE CRAYON” STORIES THAT MENTION THE ROY FAMILY
AND THE PENDLETON/RANDOLPH COUNTY VA-WV AREA – 1850’s-1860’s
A report by Catherine Thompson
The Roy families, along with other families of the area, were mentioned in several articles written and illustrated by “Porte Crayon”, probably written in the 1850’s. The articles were published in the early 1870’s in Harper’s (New Monthly) magazine in a series called “The Mountains”. “Porte Crayon” was the pen name of David H. Strother (1816-1888). He was a writer and illustrator. The articles are most entertaining and very descriptive of the Randolph Co. region. I enjoyed them so much that I’d like to share them with all of you. Each article is linked below, with some of my notes regarding subjects, locations and names/surnames.
You can view these articles at the Cornell University Library – The Making of America web site (an excellent resource).
Once you get to the site, be sure to click the box in the upper left corner to adjust the VIEW to 75% for easier reading.
The Making of America project is extensive and if you wish to visit their main site (which is searchable),
The link is: http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/
“THE MOUNTAINS” by Porte Crayon
“The Mountains – I”
Volume 44, Issue 263, Published April 1872, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, traveling companions, Ice Mountain, Romney, peach brandy, Moorfield, Mullin’s Hotel, peacocks and turkeys.
Locations: Morgan Co., Martinsburg & Romney Turnpike, Cacapon River, North River, Hampshire Co., Slane’s Crossroads, Fah’s Tavern, Ice Mountain of Hampshire, Romney, Mill Creek, Moorfield, South Branch, Highland Co., Pendleton Co., South Branch, North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork, North Branch of Potomac
This first article of the series tells about his group’s plans to visit the Mountains and the adventure they anticipate. The writer introduces himself and his traveling companions (5 men and 4 ladies, 9 total) and tells about the first few days of their trip.
Mr. Meadows – a large landed proprietor and cattle dealer of the South Branch country.
Mrs. Meadows – middle-aged matron and the best housekeeper in Hardy County.
Lilly Meadows – 18 years old, just returning from boarding school in Philadelphia.
Miss Prudence Primrose – a bright New Englander, Lilly’s teacher from school and her friend.
Mrs. Rhoda Dendron – Fair Rhoda, a charming young widow, about 25 years old.
Major Marshal – a veteran of the Mexican war.
Richard Rattlebrain – Dick, about 23 years old, a society gentleman.
Augustus Cockney – a dry goods clerk from New York City.
Laurence Laureat – the author, 33 years old (this would date this series about 1850?).
In this article the group has reached Moorfield. (Nice names he made up for the travelers!)
“The Mountains – II”
Volume 44, Issue 264, Published May 1872, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, description of a mountaineer, Dr. Didiwick, Roby’s, Yeokem’s, mountain supper, bear hunting, turkeys.
Locations: South Branch, Petersburg Gap, Petersburg, Big Plains.
Names/Surnames: Dr. Didiwick, Roby, Yeokem, Betsy Yeokem, John Yeokem,
In this article the group has reached Petersburg.
“The Mountains – III”
Volume 45, Issue 265, Published June 1872, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: Adam Karr’s place, young minister story, Seneca Rocks, eagle story, horse story, visit to Karr’s, Adamson’s store, Sylvester Rains, Cathedral Rock mouth of Seneca,
Sketches: Karr’s pinnacles, Country Store
Locations: North Fork of South Branch, Pendleton Co., Old Seneca Road, Chimney Rocks, Cloverton, North Fork Gap, Adam Karr’s place, Seneca Rocks, Dry Fork
Names/Surnames: Adam Karr, Jim Pogue, Sylvester Rains, Mahala Armantrout, Susie Mullinx, Peg Teters, Zed Kyle, Dilly Wyatt, Martha White, Emily Bonner, old Sam Bonner,
In this article the party gets as far as Seneca Rocks.
“The Mountains – IV”
Volume 45, Issue 267, Published August 1872, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, cooking trout, exploding fish, Washington Roy. Hetterick’s cabin, Gandy tunnel.
Locations: North Fork, Seneca creek, Alleghany Ridge, Red Creek, Gandy, Franklin, Dry Fork Valley, Gandy, Teter’s,
Sketches: Curiosity (Washington Roy), Jesse Hetterick, Jane Hetterick, Job Hetterick,
Names/surnames: Aaron Armantrout (Armentrout?), Hetterick (Hedrick?), Roy, Zed Kyle, Nelson, Tom Mullinx, Jane Hetterick, Job Hetterick, Harney Hetterick,
In this article the party meets up with Washington Roy (son of Joseph Roy 2, grandson of Joseph Roy 1)
“The Mountains – V”
Volume 45, Issue 268, Published September 1872, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, Rifle shooting, Soldier White, Dilly Wyatt
Names/surnames: Roy, Jesse Armantrout, White, Wyatt
“The Mountains – VI”
Volume 45, Issue 270, Published November 1872, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, dancing, ladies, fishing, Gandy tunnel.
Locations: Gandy, Gandy tunnel.
Sketches: Jake Nelson, Old Teters, Peggy Teters,
Names/surnames: Dilly Wyatt, Soldier White, Sylvester Rains, Phemie Bonner, Peg Teters, Adamson’s store, Jake Nelson, Mrs. White, Armantrout, Tom Mullenix,
“The Mountains – VII”
Volume 46, Issue 275, Published April 1873, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, Soldier White, Gandy tunnel, ruffians, wolf story, visit to Joseph Roy cabin, kitten story, Washington Roy, jug story.
Locations: Dry Fork Valley, Gandy, Red Creek, Dry Fork
Sketches: The Old Dragon (Joseph Roy 2), Bub (Jacob Roy), kitten story, etc.
Names/surnames: Soldier White, Miss Prue, Peg Teters, Roy, Tom Mullinx, Jesse Hetterick (Hedrick?), Bill Grey, Flanagin, Bub Roy, Betsy Roy,
This article mentions Joseph Roy (2) and his children, “Bub” (Jacob Roy), “Betsy” (Elizabeth Roy), Washington Roy.
“The Mountains – VIII”
Volume 47, Issue 282, Published November 1873, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: The Mountains of West Virginia, a trip to Blackwater Falls with Washington Roy, visit to Washington Roy’s place.
Locations: Black Fork of Cheat, Blackwater Falls, Red Creek, Canaan Falls, Horseshoe Bend, north fork of Potomac, Dry Fork, Laurel Fork, Middle Fork, Par-a-fax’s stone.
Sketches: Washington Roy’s family, Fanceller’s youngest, Roy & Johnson.
Names/surnames: Fanceller (Fansler?), Roy, Teeters (Teter?), Mulciber (blacksmith), Johnson, Flanagin, Bill Grey
This article is about a trip to Blackwater Falls with Washington Roy.
“The Mountains – IX”
Volume 49, Issue 290, Published July 1874, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: Traveling talk, Winston Tavern, Winston-Parkersburg Turnpike, Rowzey’s life and bears,
Locations: Winston Tavern, Beverly, Reamer’s Tavern, Greenland Gap, Moorfield, Mullen’s Hotel,
Sketches: Rowzey, Leather Bill Atkins,
Names/Surnames: Martha White, Dilly Wyatt, Mr. Rowzey, Mr. Best, Bill Swanson,
This article is about the return trip and has stories told by Rowzey.
“The Mountains – X”
Volume 51, Issue 304, Published September 1875, Harper & Bros., New York
Subject: Ice Mountain tournament and games, Raphael and his horse, the Black Knight..
Locations: Ice Mountain, Dry Fork
Names/Surnames: Raphael, Rhodomont, Jake Nelson of Dry Fork.
This is the last article in the series.
ABOUT HARPERS NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE
Journal title: Harper’s (New Monthly) Magazine
Preceding Title: International monthly magazine
Succeeding Title: Harper’s monthly magazine
Publisher: Harper &I Bros.
Place of Publication: New York
MOA Volumes: 1-98 (1850-1899)
ABOUT “PORTE CRAYON” (author and illustrator)
(This biography is from the archives of AskART.com)
“Porte Crayon” was the pen name of David H. Strother (1816-1888). He was a writer and illustrator.
Noted as one of the America’s foremost draughtsmen and writer of Southern regionalism, he was likely the best-known graphic artist in the United States at the time of the Civil War. Born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, he grew up in a family whose ancestors had settled in King George County in the mid 17th century. They were primarily farmers, and many of them served in the Revolutionary War. Physically frail, he was protected from rough play by his parents and encouraged in aesthetic pursuits including art lessons from his father. He had his first formal training from Italian drawing masters active in Philadelphia, Pietro Ancora and Gennario Persico.
In 1829, he had measles, which reportedly transformed him from a quiet, passive personality to someone more reckless and aggressive. His parents sent him to Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, to channel his energy, but he quit before the year ended. He spent several years in Martinsburg, primarily in idleness and wild socializing. In 1836, he set on a career of the only thing he found challenging–art, and he was encouraged by his teacher and successful artist, John Gadsby Chapman, who gave him lessons stressing the importance of good draughtsmanship.
In 1837, at Chapman’s suggestion, he enrolled at New York University with S.F.B. Morse, and did such spirited sketches that he got much recognition and encouragement. He devoted some time to being a portrait painter and spent 14 months traveling the Ohio River valley for subjects. He returned to Martinsburg because his father had suggested a European tour, and in November 1840, sailed for Europe and stayed until 1843. He attended classes in Paris at an unnamed academy and was not particularly impressed until he got to Italy where he spent much time.
When he returned to the United States, through the influence of John Chapman he became employed as a graphic artist. He learned to copy his sketches directly onto boxwood blocks, which led to accuracy that was often missing in 19th century engraving. His career began sporadically because of ill health and his partying habits, but in the fall of 1850, he accepted an offer for 20 book illustrations for a popular book, “Swallow Barn.”
Shortly after that he began an affiliation with Fletcher Harper of “Harper’s Monthly” that lasted nearly 25 years. After entertaining Washington Irving in Martinsburg and hearing his stories, he created the pseudonym “Porte Crayon” for himself and set about sketching and telling stories of the Shenandoah Valley in a way reminiscent of what Irving had done for the Hudson River Valley. Readers of “Harper’s Monthly” were most receptive, and one of his biggest stories was the John Brown’s insurrection at Harper’s Ferry.
Strother later served in the Civil War with the Union Army and violently opposed to secession, played a key map-making role in guiding Union forces through the South. At the end of the war, he was appointed Virginia’s first post-war Adjutant General and made a valiant attempt to reconstruct Virginia. For “Harper’s,” he did eleven installments of “Personal Recollections of the War,” which were illustrations and writings. His last years were spent fighting personal indebtedness, countering antagonism over his war activities, doing some illustrations, and being involved in Mexican-American diplomacy. In 1888, he died of pneumonia in Charles Town, West Virginia. He had completed nearly 200 paintings, was a highly regarded writer of over 50 articles, and an illustrator who wrote about and depicted regional oral traditions, anecdotes that allowed Northerners to know more about Southern culture.
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Special thanks to Cathy for giving us permission to post her report.