On episode 14 of The WV Podcast, our Famous West Virginian is Jennifer Garner, and we have the story of Captain Philip J. Thurmond, a Confederate partisan ranger who was killed in an attack on Winfield, WV.
Welcome to The WV Podcast, West Virginia’s Podcast. This show features the great state of West Virginia and stories of the amazing people who make it such a wonderful place to live. Your hosts are Jeff & Dee Holbrook. Let’s tear down the negative hillbilly stereotype that has been assigned to us by the national media. Let’s tell our own story.
Maker Of The Rain, our theme music, was composed and performed by Tonya Kouns Holbrook, a lifelong West Virginia resident.
Welcome to Episode 14 of The WV Podcast.
Special Thanks to John Adkins.
The European Starling was brought to the United States in 1890, and has been largely regarded as a pest. It is unfortunate that its adaptability and intelligence is so good that it many times competes for nesting sites, and edges out other indigenous species that we like, such as the Bluebird and the Red Headed Woodpecker.
Where we live on rather densely wooded property, they generally stay away all year long, part of their intelligence prompting them to keep to open areas such as parks and fields so they can spot danger in advance.
The one exception is in the fall, as they leave the valley and gather in the trees up on the mountain where we live. The noise they make can be deafening, and can start and stop quite suddenly as they choose to abruptly fly in formation to another location in the trees.
I placed one of our digital recorders outside when they showed up this year and here is a couple of minutes of the cacophony. You will hear them as the number of starlings builds and wanes, then builds again, and then the sudden beating of thousands of wings as they react to my coming back outside to retrieve the recorder.
Famous West Virginian: Jennifer Garner
Actress Jennifer Anne Garner was born on April 17, 1972, in Houston, Texas. Her father was a chemical engineer and her mother a retired English professor. Garner was raised in Charleston, West Virginia, with her two sisters, where she graduated from George Washington High. Jennifer attended Denison University in Ohio, where she graduated with a degree in theater in 1996.
Jennifer performed in theater in New York City before moving to LA where she found work in television.
In 2000, Garner earned notice for her recurring role on the hit show Felicity, and the show’s producer subsequently cast her as the lead in a new ABC drama, Alias, playing CIA agent Sydney Bristow, a role that made the young actress into an overnight success, earning her a loyal following of viewers, critical praise and several award nominations and wins.
Miss Garner met her future husband while co-starring in the 2001 movie, Pearl Harbor, and in June, 2005 the two married. The couple have three children together.
Jennifer is a huge supporter of her home state and serves on charities such as Save the Children, focusing on advocating early education, as well as being an ambassador for six years. In 2014 Garner joined the Invest in Us campaign, and in 2015 she appeared in a PBS documentary which focuses on rural poverty among children in West Virginia. Jennifer Garner was named the 2007 West Virginian of the Year by the Charleston Gazette.
In the Civil War, Captain Philip J Thurmond commanded a company of Partisan Rangers who were mostly raised in Fayette, Greenbrier and Monroe counties in 1862. Being a partisan ranger was appealing because of the loose connection to the army. You could be a scout, a spy, or participate in raids for the cause, but you were able to stay near your home and not be subject to being shipped off to some other state to fight. The big liability involved being shot or hanged upon capture instead of being treated according to the normal rules of war. This still occurred sometimes in spite of the Virginia Governor issuing a declaration saying partisans were actually normal soldiers.
This was the way Thurmond’s Partisan Rangers operated early in the war, but by 1863, they had been incorporated in the 44th Virginia Cavalry. They fought in Gettysburg, East Tennesee and the Shenandoah Valley, and then began raiding out of a base in Tazewell, Virginia, reaching into north central West Virginia. Many engagements followed, including a raid on Weston, famously removing the money from the Weston Exchange Bank, and capturing the entire Union garrision at Buckhannon, including the commanding officer.
In October of 1864, attention was turned to Winfield, and on the 26th, an attack was launched. The Confederates came in from both ends of town. The battle lasted for around an hour, but the attack was repulsed. Even though the Federals pursued them for several hours, there was no chance to continue battle.
The union commander, Captain John M. Reynolds reported that Thurmond ordered a charge, led it himself, and was mortally wounded with the first fire they received. He died shortly thereafter in the company of his brother Elias in the home of Putnam County Judge Hoge in Winfield. He was buried in an unmarked grave near the Hoge House with the understanding the family would claim the body after the war. Unfortunately, no one ever came.
The historic Hoge House had been moved to a new location near the new Putnam County Judical Building, and on October 30th, 2010, was reunited with Captain Philip J. Thurmond when he was reburied with full honors beside it.
Here is some audio from Jim Flook of The Rivers To Ridges Heritage Trail giving the story of the battle, his burial, and subsequent reburial.
You can see the video of this by going to http://holbrooknewmedia.com/youtube.
You can find links to several other articles, and even a video drama of Captain Philip J. Thurmond’s story by going to the show notes for episode 14 of The WV Podcast at http://wvpodcast.com.
Links to Articles and Video involving Captain Philip J. Thurmond:
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