Robert William Renick
Submitted by Jimmie Barnes <email@example.com>
This handwritten story came into my possession during the 1980's while I was researching my Walkup ancestors in Greenbrier Co., WV. It was among many items that were given to me. June 1998.
Written by John Joseph Walkup (1870 - 1960?)
Sometime during the War between the States, Robert Renick, his brother Calvin Renick, Clark Hanna and my father Christopher Walkup were on the road between Renick (Falling Springs) and Frankfort going to Frankfort about one mile this side of Frankfort, they were captured by a scouting party of Union soldiers.
It seems a large force of Union men were to camp near Hillsboro that night and this scouting party was to join them there. So our boys were made to face about and go to Hillsboro. In route to Hillsboro that day, Robert Renick, who was a Free Mason, had the opportunity to talk with a Yank Captain who was also a Mason. The Captain agreed that he would not report any prisoners and after they went into camp if they wanted to take the chance it was up to them.
They went into camp between sundown and dark. The boys had already agreed to try to get away. Everything was or looked like confusion (But was not). Men were leading horses to water, men were feeding horses, men were building fires, some were cooking supper. Everybody seemed to be very busy.
Calvin Renick had not agreed to the plan, that is to ride their very own horses out, he wanted to leave the horses and walk out, which he did. Now Calvin had a very fine Kentucky Mare which he hated to leave so he told my father to take her out and keep her for his own. My father did bring her out but gave her back to Calvin.
My father knew the country around Hillsboro well, having gone to school there staying with Uncle Joe Beard, so he took the lead somewhat in advance leading his own horse and riding Calvin's horse.
Father had laid down several stake and rider fences (the only kind of fence known in those days), when he heard a horse galloping coming up in his rear, thinking the Yankee's were after them father dropped the horse he was leading and was about to take off when he heard Clark Hanna say to Robert Renick, "I got the best bridle they had." In the dark and some distance apart, they had not missed Clark who had coveted the silver mounted bridle on the Captain's horse and stayed behind to get it, not steal but capture it, they didn't steal during the war they just captured and anything you got off the enemy was yours. Of course, Robert and Christopher were scared almost out of their wits.
Robert Renick had a very sharp tongue and when riled he could use it perfection. So after his heart got out of his throat and back to where it belonged, he proceeded to lambaste Clark Hanna for scaring him. He started out by giving him fits for treating the Yank Capt. so bad after the Capt. had been so good as to allow their escape, and wound up by saying, "You blooming idiot, why didn't you bring the horse and saddle along with the bridle?"
Our boys had decided to take the road known now as the old road leading from Hillsboro to Renick, running parallel with the Greenbrier River, coming around the end of Droop Mt. instead of crossing it as they had done going to Hillsboro that morning after coming around Droop the old road led on down by Brownstown by the Oak Grove Meth. church, over Dave Meadow Hill as it does today into Falling Springs or Renick.
My father never told me how they spent the night. I suppose they made dry camp some where along the road, had they come straight home they could have made the trip in three hours, as it was they did not get to Renick till sometime the next forenoon.
Now the boys were tired and hungry not having anything to eat since breakfast yesterday morning, still they are very cautious. They stopped on the crest of Dave Meadow Hill to look over the valley below, including the little village of Falling Springs which consisted of the post office, the black smith shop, the log school house, the general store and Presbyterian Church.
As they scanned the valley over, everything seemed peaceful and quiet, too quiet since four citizens of the community had been taken prisoner by Union soldiers just the day before.
We can easily imagine that nervous tension was running pretty high, especially in the homes of the men who had been taken away to be shot or almost as bad, taken to some northern prison camp.
Now there was in the neighborhood at this time, three or four confederate soldiers probably on furlough, who took it on themselves to do some scouting of their own.
The boys on Dave Meadow Hill after looking over the valley below, cast their eyes to the main road leading across Spring Creek Mt. and what they saw there didn't look a bit good.
Four mounted men had suddenly come into view, coming down the mountain. The boys on Dave Meadow, thinking they were Yanks, that they themselves had not been seen, left the road by turning east, straight down to the hill next to the river. After going down the hill some distance they stopped to decide what to do next. They would like very much to know what those Yanks were going to do. they decided to go back and what they say looked worse.
The two parties had seen each other at about the same time. The boys on the mountain road had counted three men four horses and one empty saddle, so this is the same party of Yanks who captured our friends yesterday, they immediately threw down the fence and galloped across the
valley between the two roads coming to the crest of Dave Meadow Hill just in time to meet the other men who were coming back to take a second look face to face about 75 yards apart, the scouting party was armed, one of them threw his musket to his shoulder and pulled the trigger and the cap burst but the gun failed to fire. My father said he heard the cap burst, that started them back down the hill again, my father again dropping the reins of the horse he was leading, and this time they didn't come back to take any more looks, down they went and crossed the river.
The scouting party coming up recognized the horse as being my fathers then the light began to dawn, seeing their mistake they came on down the hill calling as loud as they could for the boys to come back, stating they were friends and meant no harm.
Betty Dotson Renick