Clipped From Beckley Post-Herald
walking But taking m i n u t e 35 Yesterday And Today- Oak Hill Cobbler Knew Tiger By SHIRLEY DONNELLY One of my interesting links with the local past is B u r l Martin, shoe repairman at Oak Hill. He is one of the 21 children who were born to John Franklin Martin down Putnam C o u n t y way. The Oak Hill shoe cobbler wac born- a t Buffalo in 1907 but when he was two years o l d , Burl's f ather moved the family to Pliny. It was there, neighbor, that knew Gen. John "Tiger John" McCausland, the Confederate general who reduced Chambersburg, Chambersburg, Pa., to charcoal when that city refused to meet his demand for a ransom. as his n e a r Burl Martin THE OAK HILL shoe man's father, John Franklin Martin, born in Sissonville in 1848, the baby in a family of a dozen children, lived to the age of 91. One of Burl's brothers lived to be 98 and another rounded out 96 years. Burl's sister, Mrs. Florence Martin Krouse, died in 1972 at the advanced age of 99. Their cousin was the late Pat B. "Brother Pat" Withrow (1880-1557), world famous rescue mission worker, founder of Union Mission, Charleston, who was 77 when he died more than 15 years ago. As Burl was half-soling my other pair of shoes, we spoke of the funeral of "Brother Pat" on Nov. 30, 1957, when 1,600 persons were present in the Union Mission auditorium. It was one of the largest funeral attendances I have ever had. A COUPLE OF General McCausland's McCausland's sons were prone to get into trouble, according to Burl Martin. When one of the boys killed a man on the McCausland estate, it looked like he was going to be convicted and sent to prison. Burl said the fiery old gentleman, who was reputed to be very wealthy, said, "They'll not send my boy to the pen! To defend him I've got more money than two mules can haul." The story runs that the general's boy did not go to the pen for that crime albeit his next offense sent him there, so avers the Oak Hill man. REGARDING G E N E R A L McCausland wealth, a number of stories used to be told. One had to do with the burning burning of Chambers'burg, July 30, 1864. General David H. Hunter, Union officer, had been raiding the valley of Virginia and eastern West Virginia. He burned the homes of influential southern families. To even things, General Jubal Early ordered General Mc- Causland to give the North dose of its own medicine. Chambersburg was selected as his target. When the authorities refused to meet the ransom demands of General McCausland, he applied the torch to the town. Â· It made him a marked and when the war was over, McCausland had to spend time in Egypt and other places to keep the Northern authorities from getting their hands on him. THE TRADITIONAL story that McCausland did get ransom money from Chambersburg Chambersburg and sent it to Point Pleasant in a box labeled "goods." In the box he nailed up a man, with food and to supply him. This story, likely apocryphal, goes on to say, according to Burl Martin, that when the of "goods" arrived at Point Pleasant, the man released himself and a lot of the money, which he concealed General McCausland. This story says the man in the box was known and was never again allowed in Point Pleasant under penalty of shot! It is told that it was that cache of ransom money that General M c C a bought those thousands of of river bottom that made one the state's largest landowners. landowners. General McCausland died in 1928.