Stonewall Jacksons’ Mapmaker and Davis and Elkins College
Several years ago I was attending an event at Halliehurst on the campus of Davis and Elkins College. I arrived early and being a lover of books, I was drawn to the library room of the mansion. I noticed a rather old book about surveying for railroads and opened it and was startled to see the name Jedediah Hotchkiss inscribed inside.
Being a student of the civil war, I knew that Hotchkiss was on the staff of General Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War and drew many, if not most, of the maps he used during their many campaigns.
Consequently, I began to do some research to determine what this book was doing in Halliehurst in Elkins.
A few years later I discovered a book entitled, Jedediah Hotchkiss, Rebel Mapmaker and Virginia Businessman by Peter W. Roper.
On page 240, the mystery was solved.
“In 1891 the Lexington Presbytery, which administered the church over a large part of Virginia and West Virginia, was anxious to “establish a first class school” in Elkins, West Virginia. Hotchkiss was appointed secretary to the committee charged with this task. In this role he labored in an adverse financial climate to raise funds, and used his business connections to maintain the interest of Senators Davis and Elkins who were major benefactors. That phase of the project was abandoned after the death of Hotchkiss, but with the return of more favorable conditions, Davis and Elkins College was founded in 1903. As a mark of Hotchkiss’ interest, his widow donated in 1907, a gift of books from his library and a cabinet of minerals.”
I have since visited the mansion to see if I could find the book again with no success. I also wonder where is the cabinet of minerals?
Check back later for the rest of this story and some answers about the location of the cabinet of minerals.