Ward Hill Lamon, his brother, Robert… and Christian F. Laise

Posted on July 24, 2013 by


It might seem that the title implies a connection between all three. Yes, all three can be considered Southern Unionists, but I don’t think Laise had any actual association with the Lamon brothers. Apart from their Southern Unionist leanings, all three had a connection to place… Gerrardstown, West Virginia. That was the focus of my afternoon destination, one day last week.

My objective was simple… find the grave of Christian F. Laise. As some might recall, Laise was one of the presidents of the wartime Union League, in Berkeley County, West Virginia. I started, knowing that Laise was buried in the Gerrardstown Presbyterian Cemetery.

The village seems to stand in contrast with the Inwood, which is on the other side of I-81. There was… I think… one country store, churches, and homes… and that was it. All-in-all, Gerrardstown seems like a quaint place.


Though the current church structure dates to 1893, the original ca. 1760 stone meeting house is still on site.


But, to the point… I found Christian Laise.

Headstone of Christian F. Laise

Headstone of Christian F. Laise

I know it seems like a rather simple accomplishment, but, as the title of this post implies, there’s more to it.

Though I already knew another person of interest was here… indeed… less than 40 yards from Laise’s stone, I stopped at this stone…

Ward Hill Lamon Headstone

Ward Hill Lamon Headstone

What I’ve always found interesting is the absolute absence of any indication, on the stone, about what Ward Hill Lamon did. Keep that in mind… the absence of any indication of what he did.

Within site of Ward’s stone, the headstones of Ward and Robert’s parents.


So, where is Robert Lamon?

He’s actually buried in Norbourne Parish Cemetery in Martinsburg.

Robert Lamon headstone

Robert Lamon headstone

Remember that thing I told you to keep in mind… the absence of any indication what he did…?

Take that to another level… Robert’s obituary…

Death of Robert Lamon

Mr. Robert Lamon breathed his last on Tuesday morning, October 22, at 12:20 a.m., at the residence of Mr. Alburtis Miller, near State Line, Pa., where he, his wife and little son Davidson, were visiting, of heart disease, aged 59 years and 8 months. On Monday evening a telegram was received here summoning to his bedside his son Alburtis, two daughters, Misses Bessie and Hallie and his family physician, Dr. G.P. Morrison. From the nature of the telegram his friends here feared the worst, and Capt. W.B. Colston, an uncle of Mrs. Lamon, accompanied the children so as to be with his niece in her hour of trial. The remains were brought to his late home, near this city on Tuesday, and will be buried from Trinity Episcopal Church to-day, at 11 a.m. under the auspices of Equality Lodge No. 44 A.F. and A.M., the interment to be at Norborne cemetery.

Mr. Lamon was one of nature’s nobleman, possessing a heart always alive to generous emotions, tender as a woman’s at the distress of others, yet brave as a lion in the execution of what he considered his duty and upright and honest in all of his dealings. His kindly disposition led him to extend a helping hand to all who applied to him for monied assistance or friendly aid. His kindness of heart did not show itself in words, for he was particularly reserved, but in acts, and many there are in this county who found in him a friend in need. In politics Mr. Lamon was a Democrat, and his fellow citizens showed their high appreciation of him by electing him High Sheriff of the county in 1884 and in 1890. After the county had been captured by the Republicans, he was elected to the Legislature by a handsome majority. In his family Mr. Lamon was a kind and affectionate husband, and a tender loving father. His widow and children are stricken with grief, realizing to the full their incomparable loss. May the God of all mercy temper the wind to the shorn lamb and enable them to bear with Christian resignation the visitation of a mysterious Providence. The writer of this article well knew the many excellent qualities of the deceased and with his family mourns the loss of a true friend.

Yes, he played second fiddle to his brother, Ward… but, knowing his association with Lincoln and his work during the Civil War… not a word is mentioned of it in his obituary.

You may have caught it, however… the mention of Capt. W.B. Colston, who was an uncle to Robert Lamon’s second wife. It seems ironic that the sole wartime connection to the war, throughout Robert’s entire obituary, is found in the title given Colston in this obituary…

William Brockenbrough Colston was a captain in the 2nd Virginia Infantry… the Stonewall Brigade… and gets (one might say) top-billing regarding any connection, whatsoever, to ties to the Civil War.

Had Robert Lamon come to a point in his life that he was satisfied to leave the past in the past or was this a reflection of place… that, perhaps… Berkeley County, in postwar years, was more fond of the memory of her Confederate connections than of the Union? That said, however, don’t let that reference to his affiliation to the Republican Party go unnoticed. That was still a part of “them’ing” (identifying those “outside the fold”) in places like Berkeley County, in the postwar, 19th century.

See… it is good to get out in the field and realize this sort of thing. Though… it leaves us asking more questions.