One Hardscrabble Sumbitch
October 3, 2008 5:47 PM   Subscribe

The John Mobberly Story (parts one through four) about a Confederate Guerilla who terrorized Loudoun county Virginia and the Harpers Ferry area, as written by blogger Neddie Jingo.

Parts five through fifteen can be followed at the bottom of each post.
posted by Devils Rancher (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Great post - you're writing about my part of the world! Harper's Ferry's ten minutes up the road from me - Route 50 around here is known as John Mosby's Highway, the ferry across the Potomac at White's Ferry is the General Jubal A. Early, and there's a house literally across the street from me that has a "hidden" room inside it that bears graffiti on the wall from members of Mosby's Rangers who holed up there.

The story of John Brown has always fascinated me, and the fact that West Virginia seceded from Virginia because they (the West Virginians) were anti-slavery where the Old Dominion remained staunchly pro has always fascinated me.

These days, the greatest threat to Loudoun is either MS-13 and other Latino gangs in the Eastern part of the county, or the encroachment of ex-urban development sprawl in the rural West.
posted by kcds at 6:00 PM on October 3, 2008

Thanks, this is great. I'm a big Neddie Jingo fan.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:47 PM on October 3, 2008

Very cool, thanks! I live in Springfield in Fairfax county, just a stone's throw from all of this.

And seconding MS-13 around here... on the Lower East Side of Springfield they're quite visible, but harmless enough on their home turf.

Looks like I have me reading set for the weekend now. Thanks again!
posted by matty at 9:28 PM on October 3, 2008

Former Loudounite here. It's nice to read about the history of the area. Neddie Jingo is right on. Loudoun County School Board won't name new schools after people because no one will know who they are named after. (I invite you to do the math). So Loudoun schools are named after non-existant landmarks.

On a side note: West Virginians' motives for secession from Virginia also included not liking being so distant from the capital and the politicians who always favored the low-landers/big property owners and not them. This group included some slave owners (The fact that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in Confederate States was done to satiate these people during the war). In some ways, it was also a secession of opportunity.

I should also point out that when the people of the western counties voted for secession, there were a lot of Union officers at the polls controlling the voting, and some have questioned whether or not it was a truly fair vote. A lot of men in grey were turned away. Enthusiasm was stronger the farthest west reaches of what is now WV, and some of the border counties that are now on the WV/Va line really struggled with the decision.

WV sent just about the same number of men to the Union Army as they did the Confederate army, and many of those Confederates did not accept the secession of their home counties after the war. They sued. The Virginia Assembly voided the secession and claimed West Virginia. The Assembly also wanted to sock West Virginia - if they were allowed to continue to be separate - to pay for pre-war debt for setting up infrastructure like the railroads along the Potomac, Shenandoah, James&Kanawha. It eventually went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of WV.
posted by julen at 10:32 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Julen, that sounds like some interesting history to follow up on in-depth. I'm still a bit of a void when it comes to the causes of the civil war & the general political climate leading up to it, & didn't know there even was a secession of West Virginia. Interesting stuff.

kcds, Neddie goes off big time on ex-urban development in some of his other posts, and writes about the situation there with alacrity. One positive boon of the banking crisis might be a slowdown of that particular er, "phenomenon." In Texas, the bastards are destroying out Karst plain (read water source for 4 million) to the west of Austin & San Antonio, so it's a frustrating issue, for sure. Everyone who could afford a half-million mortgage in the 90's & early 2000's wanted themselves a 5-acre "ranch." Bleargh.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:09 AM on October 4, 2008

I wish I had a good book - or even a website (which might be better suited to deal with the complexity around this war with its themes of slavery, economy, states rights vs. federal rights, independence and rebellion, loyalty and fear, all intertwined) - to recommend. I got my knowledge from proximity, an excellent American history teacher, bits and pieces from a wide array of books, and a family that includes Park Service employees, teachers, history buffs, and West Virginia lovers. I grew up in Virginia where history can suddenly be palpable or subtle at the turn of a hat, and I always wanted to know why things were the way they were. As with everything in history, it can be really complex at the individual, local, state, and national levels.
posted by julen at 2:25 PM on October 4, 2008

The Mobberly series was great but quits too soon. How did John get "assassinated", for instance? Well, according to Wikipedia it was Charles Stewart, who Mobberly literally rode over roughshod and left for dead, that was responsible for the deed. And there is this odd quote from a book review: "...reviled by Unionists as an illiterate, illegitimate bandit, no gentleman, and perhaps a Jew..." Say, what? Anyway, I wish Neddie Jingo had comtinued the series.
posted by CCBC at 3:47 PM on October 4, 2008

Hmm. I wonder if I'm related to this guy. My great-grandmother was a Mobberly, and there's a bunch of back-and-forth between Delaware/Virginia, and S. Ohio around that time period and earlier. If so, that makes the second crazy killer dude in my family tree (I'm also related to one of the regicides who killed Charles I).

Considering the other Mobberlys in the family, it wouldn't much surprise me.
posted by at 12:22 PM on October 5, 2008

« Older Man uses craigslist to form bank robbery plot   |   Prog Rock Special - part 1 Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments