Editor’s note: — Wyoming County was one of the border counties between the armies of the north and south and, while no major battles were fought in this section, Wyoming was the scene of much sectional strife and “guerilla” warfare between the marauding thieving “Home Guards” of the two contending sides.
In Wyoming County, both sides maintained small squads of Home Guards. The commanders of the Union Home Guards were Lt. Ferdinand Neumann, Richard M. Cook, Thomas Godfrey, Charles Stewart, Hiram Lambert and Sanders Mullens. On the Confederate side there were Major Dick Stratton of Logan, the “Logan Wildcats,” Andrew Gunnoe, Charles S. Canterbury and Russel Cook, who commanded Home Guards.
Home Guards were consumers and very poor producers. They felt that they had to live as well as other people, consequently, their captains on both sides allowed their soldiers to rob the corn cribs, smoke houses, granaries and chicken coops of the folks whose sympathies were on the other side in conflict.
This confiscation of property led to the guerilla warfare and the killings that took place in Wyoming County.
The families of every member of our history were involved in this war feud. Some of us have been trying for 81 years to outlive it and forget it, but the regrettable facts continue to bob up, so we have decided to make a clean breast of it and let the world know the facts as they are now history.
First Man Killed
This sectional feud took many lives on both sides. One of the first men killed in these skirmishes was John Allen Jr., generally known as “Crap” Allen. Allen lived on the Perry McGraw place near Glens Fork Gap. His brother-in-law, Ralph Laferty, with some of Lt. Neumann’s men (Union), captured him in early 1862 and took him prisoner to Charles Stewart’s on Laurel Fork.
Here he was given charge as a prisoner to Laferty, Dick Elkins, Owen Smith, and John J. Mitchell, who were to deliver him to the Union forces in Kanawha County.
In Walnut Gap, on the Wyoming-Boone line, they told Allen that he might run for his life, and as he started running, Laferty and Elkins shot and killed him and left him lying in the woods.