I’ve never been able to figure out the big deal about the American Civil War. I’ve felt it should have been more important in my life, but it just never was. I’ve lived in an area more connected to southern Confederate sympathies than the northern Union side most of my life.
Benjamin Warden (B.W.) McKeever, my Great Grandfather, bought my farm from the John M. Hopewell family, who owned Big House during the Civil War. An old story in the Moorefield Examiner describes an incident when a visiting unnamed Confederate soldier was kept hidden in crawl space beneath the dining room floor after passage down through a hidden trap door. B.W. was an ex-soldier for the Confederacy, who came here from the Shenandoah Valley around Singer’s Glen area
B.W. was a store keeper / business man and later a member of the Hardy County Court. He served when covered bridges were built beside my farm over CaCapon River and across Lost River at the gap where Lost River sinks. He also was part of the court which sponsored the detailed survey of boundaries between Hardy and Hampshire counties.
The story surrounding the “trap door soldier” claims a Yankee patrol riding up CaCapon Valley stopped for lunch at Big House where they ate in the room over the hidden soldier’s head. My father introduced me to the tricky trap door at least fifty years ago. I crawled down into deep dust, found several skulls of small animals which died there, came out and have never gone back. The hole has been on display during several Heritage Weekends Mom opened the house for tour. I’m writing this column in that room perhaps ten feet from the hidden trapdoor.