Complex connections

Posted on November 22, 2010 by


I saw this today, and the first thing I thought was, “oh, I bet Harry would be interested in this”…

The thing is, I was looking for the headstones of David Hunter Strother’s (aka Porte Crayon… or, around these parts, simply, “The Porte“) parents. Well, this stone was not ten feet from John Strother’s stone… and not surprisingly really, once you know how Peyton Randolph Harrison, II (1832-1861… and yes, part of THE Harrison family) was connected to the Hunter and Pendleton families, through which John Strother’s wife, Elizabeth Pendleton, was also descended. Confused yet?

First, a little bio for Peyton R. Harrison, II…

Peyton Randolph Harrison, II, graduated from the law department of Princeton University and achieved a very successful practice at Martinsburg. He was appointed to deliver the oration at the 4th of July celebration at Martinsburg in 1860. Immediately before the outbreak of the war between the states he entered the Confederate Army [2nd Va. Infantry] with the commission of lieutenant, and he and two of his cousins were killed in the first battle of Manassas. He married Sarah Forrest Hunter, a native of Martinsburg and daughter of Edmund Pendleton and Martha Crawford (Abell) Hunter. Edmund Pendleton Hunter was a native of Martinsburg, an attorney by profession, and died of cholera in early life. He was a grand master of Virginia Masonry before the state was divided, and was one of the first eminent grand commanders of Knights Templars in West Virginia. In that capacity he laid the cornerstone of the old Reformed Church at Martinsburg. Later, when this church was burned down, his grandson, the present Peyton Randolph Harrison, as grand master officiated at the cornerstone laying. E. P. Hunter’s wife was born near Elkwood in Jefferson County. Sarah F. Harrison is still living, at the age of eighty-eight. She became the mother of the following children: Jane Cary, wife of Rev. Edward D. Washburn; Edmund P.; Peyton Randolph.

So, this Sarah Forrest Hunter, wife of the above mentioned Peyton Randolph Harrison, II, was the daughter of Edmund Pendleton (ca. 1809-after 1825), and Edmund was a brother to Elizabeth Pendleton (you can see a replica of D.H. Strother’s ca. 1837 painting of her, here… it’s a piece that seems to be popular in some art markets).

Edmund Pendleton's stone, at Norbourne Cemetery.

Elizabeth Pendleton married John Strother, and, so… Elizabeth and John were the parents of David Hunter Strother.

David Hunter Strother

John Strother's stone

Elizabeth Pendleton Strother's stone

Those who know about John Strother know he was a die-hard Union man… and a veteran of the War of 1812. It’s likely that his son adopted his own stance on Union from his father… Virginians or not… Union was first. So, it’s interesting to see the Strother, Pendleton, Hunter, and Harrison family members all buried together in, what is more or less, a 20×20 foot section, at  the center of the west wall in Norbourne Cemetery in Martinsburg, West Virginia (D.H. Strother isn’t here, but was buried in the cemetery that he designed… Green Hill, which is also in Martinsburg).

Now, since we see the name “David Hunter” in this bunch, as some know, David Hunter Strother was a cousin to Union Gen. David Hunter. In fact, Gen. David Hunter was the son of Chaplain Andrew Hunter (New Jersey Brigade of the Continental Army… see here for some very interesting information regarding Chaplain Hunter in the Revolution).

Gen. David Hunter

Chaplain Hunter was brother to David Hunter (ca. 1760-1829)… both of them being sons to yet another David Hunter (ca. 1715/25-after 1776). David Hunter (ca. 1760-1829) was the father of the aforementioned John Strother who married Elizabeth Pendleton.

David Hunter's (ca. 1760-1829) stone pretty much reflects the overall condition of this cemetery. Vandals have tipped a large number of the stones there, and to say it is in sad shape is an understatement.

So, there you have it. Complex connections indeed… and, likely quite an interesting bunch to listen to, if they ever got into discussions about different opinions of the Civil War.

*Additional note of interest:

The cousins mentioned in Harrison’s bio above are also buried here. Holmes and Tucker Conrad lay together in the same grave (see here). John Quincy Adams Nadenbousch (1824-1892), first colonel of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, can also be found in this cemetery…